tom harris

Mon, 2013-09-23 12:37Kevin Grandia
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Global Warming Hasn't Stopped - It's the Hottest Decade on Record

With the release of a major climate science report by the United Nations coming this week, the self-proclaimed climate “skeptics,” better referred to as the climate deniers or flat-earthers, are kicking it into high gear for their fossil fuel clients and right wing ringleaders. 

The likes of Tom Harris, better known for his lobbying work on behalf of the Canadian energy industry, and Fred Singer, formally a tobacco company expert-for-hire, are trying to make headlines again claiming that the warming of our planet has significantly slowed down. As Harris, a man with absolutely no scientific background in climate change, reassures us like a bunch of schoolchildren, “don't be scared.” 

I wish it were the case that the rate of global warming has significantly slowed and that we don't have to “be scared” of more extreme weather events, droughts and flooding. 

But according to the scientific community, the experts who have decades of training in the field of atmospheric and climactic study, our planet continues to warm. In fact, we just came through the hottest decade ever recorded. Not only was it the hottest decade recorded, it has occurred despite the presence of major cooling factors, like La Nina's and reduced solar activity. Such events should result in a significant dip in the earth's temperature, but they are only having a relatively slight cooling effect. 

Not good. And not at all what the flat earth society is trying to tell you.

Tue, 2013-09-17 14:42Brendan DeMelle
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International Climate Science Coalition Lacks Credibility, Launches Heartland Institute Anti-Science Report

The self-proclaimed experts at the International Climate Science Coalition have today launched another fanciful flight into the realm of climate denialism and United Nations conspiracy theories.

The ICSC, headed by Tom Harris, a former Canadian energy company public relations consultant, is trying to grab media attention with a new report written by the who's who of the climate denier conspiracy bunch. The report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, is part of a series published by a Chicago-based front group for the oil and tobacco industries called the Heartland Institute

I really hope mainstream media does not fall for their trickery again. After all, it is pretty well known by now that Fred Singer, the lead author on the International Climate Science Coalition's report, was an apologist for the tobacco industry long before he got into the business of denying the basic science of climate change. The other authors of the report, Bob Carter and Craig Idsohave equally shaky backgrounds when it comes to the science of climate change

To give you an idea of just how shaky, look no further than Craig Idso. DeSmog discovered last year that Idso was getting paid a whopping $11,600 a month by the Heartland Institute - not exactly the most reputable source of information when it comes to a globally important issue like climate change.

Interestingly, the press release put out today by the ICSC makes no mention at all of the Heartland Institute's role in funding and publishing the report. Perhaps because of that nasty Unabomber billboard, even ICSC is afraid to be associated publicly with Heartland?  

This report goes so far as to actually make the absurd claim that, “CO2 is 'the gas of life'. The more CO2, the more life.” Yes, and water is also vital to life until you find yourself drowning in it. 

In an effort to dupe reporters into trusting these “climate experts,” this anti-science outfit even named itself the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), mirroring the official science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This is the same small group of people who claim a grand conspiracy by the United Nations to take over the world. This echo chamber of climate denial attempts to prop up non-experts in the hopes of grabbing a few headlines before journalists figure out they have been fooled by conmen. 

The only story to be found in this latest salvo by the International Climate Science Coalition and the Heartland Institute is whether anyone in the press will actually fall for this nonsense again. 

Wed, 2013-05-29 07:23Ben Jervey
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Enemies of Science Want to Confuse You About The 97-Percent Consensus Study

Earlier this month, John Cook of Skeptical Science and his team of volunteers at the Consensus Project released the latest definitive study of global warming scientific consensus, revealing that 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers with a clear view on the subject agree that global warming is occurring and that humans are the primary cause.

Ever since, we've seen the predictable pushback from fossil fuel industry apologists and climate deniers.

The loudest response comes from the Alberta-based Friends of Science, a shadowy non-profit with a history of Canadian oil company ties, which DeSmogBlog has covered extensively over the years.

From their press release:

Mon, 2012-03-12 12:59Guest
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Climate Change Denial Isn't About Science, or Even Skepticism

Cross-posted from the David Suzuki Foundation's Science Matters blog. By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Editorial and Communications Specialist Ian Hanington.

Let's suppose the world's legitimate scientific institutions and academies, climate scientists, and most of the world's governments are wrong.

Maybe, as some people have argued, they're involved in a massive conspiracy to impose a socialist world order. Maybe the money's just too damn good. It doesn't matter. Let's just imagine they're wrong, and that the polar ice caps aren't melting and the climate isn't changing. Or, if you prefer, that it's happening, but that it's a natural occurrence — nothing to do with seven billion people spewing carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

Would it still make sense to continue rapidly burning the world's diminishing supply of fossil fuels? Does it mean we shouldn't worry about pollution?

Tue, 2012-02-28 08:12Richard Littlemore
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Fake Heartland "Scientist" Infiltrates Canadian University

Bogus climate course “a source of embarrassment to the institution”

An energy industry public relations man and lobbyist with no background in climate science has infiltrated Carleton University in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, teaching a course on climate change denial that other Carleton professors describe as “a source of embarrassment to the institution.”

Tom Harris, who originally trained as a mechanical engineer, has been a strategist for the climate change denial industry for at least a decade. A favourite presenter misrepresented as a PhD at the Heartland Institute’s regular climate change denial conferences, Harris has worked directly for companies like the international PR giant APCO Worldwide or for energy industry lobby firms such as Toronto’s High Park Group. More recently, he has launched or led at least three phony “grassroots organizations” – energy industry front groups that promote confusion or denial in climate science.

Now, Harris is teaching at Carleton, passing on a mix of climate denial mythology and flat out fiction, telling students that the planet isn’t really warming, that (if it is), humans aren’t to blame, that (if they are) if might be a good thing and that, regardless, it’s just too complicated for mere scientists to figure out. (“The climate problem is so difficult that we might never solve it.”)

Harris’s ridiculous claims have been laid bare in a new report by the Canadian Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS), which has gone through videotapes of lectures from Climate Change: An Earth Sciences Perspective (ERTH2402), identifying 142 errors, exaggerations or outright prevarications.

Thu, 2011-06-30 11:12Michael Fisher
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Denial-a-Palooza: Where Are All the Scientists That Deniers Love To Talk About?

Where are all the scientists?

Wake up and smell the fossil fuel funding. That’s right, it’s that time of year again: the Heartland Institute is hosting its Sixth (annual?*) International Conference on Climate Change over the next two days in Washington D.C.

DeSmogBlog already revealed some of the oily sponsors behind the event. Now it’s time to take a look at the so-called scientists Heartland has rounded up to accomplish this year’s theme of “Restoring the Scientific Method.”   

Wed, 2011-06-29 10:40Graham Readfearn
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Climate Sceptic Group Reveals Strategy Document to Win Hearts and Minds

International Climate Science Coalition

In December 2009 at a gathering of climate change deniers in Copenhagen, Dr Tom Harris** was shimmering with enthusiasm for his latest project.

Dr Mr. Harris, executive director of the Ottawa-based sceptic group the International Climate Science Coalition, explained how he had managed to gather “hundreds” of signatures from “climate experts” who wanted to challenge “supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change” to provide evidence.

Not only that, but it had taken him just “two weeks” to gather the signatures, which he then explained numbered 150 (so much for hundreds).

“This list is growing quickly,” he said, “and we are going to maintain it as something called the register. We expect it eventually to be thousands.”

With such a surge in supporters, how is the global register going a full 18 months on?

Wed, 2011-06-22 17:48Richard Littlemore
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Canadian Geologists Embarrass Themselves on Climate

The joint conference of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC) and the Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) included a DenierFest sideshow worthy of the Heartland Institute, with guest speakers flown in from as far away as Australia and Europe in an effort to address one organizer’s concern about an “unbalanced debate.”

Notwithstanding the manipulations of the deluded University of Toronto geologist Dr. Andrew Miall, the conference featured a full helping of honest-to-goodness science. There were occasions galore during which knowledgeable people spoke about matters with which they have legitimate expertise.

Then there were the sessions that featured the likes of Australians Bob Carter and Ian Plimer, people who do no actual work in climate science but who are only too delighted to tell you that everything we understand about human influence on global warming is a carefully constructed fiction. Organizers even brought in the Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark - a man who will clutch his chest and fall to the ground rather than offer a straight answer as to why he insists the sun is causing climate change when the sun has been in a long weak cycle even as the earth continues to overheat. (The “heart attack,” reported above, was later confirmed to be a stress reaction.)

Fri, 2011-02-11 12:50Richard Littlemore
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Tom Harris: Silly Petitions; Lies of Omission

Public relations man and energy industry lobbyist Tom Harris has launched a new paper arguing that the great scientific academies in the world have misrepresented the consensus that human activity is causing climate change - and yet Harris begins and ends by misrepresenting himself.

The bio in Harris’s paper, released by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, presents him as “Executive Director of the science-based, nonpartisan group, the International Climate Science Coalition.” It says he’s “an engineer and project manager” and it comes close to the truth in adding that he is a “communications professional and media and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic.”

What it doesn’t mention is that Harris is a PR guy and a lobbyist, most commonly for energy industry firms. We know, for example, that he was a senior associate for the PR firm APCO Worldwide, in which role he was instrumental in launching the climate change denial (and oil industry front group) Friends of Science. We know that he moved on to a senior position at a lobby firm called the High Park Group, from which perch he created the Natural Resource Stewardship Project. We know that when NRSP was outed as an astroturf group that Harris popped up next at the International Climate Science Coalition, a group devoted not to science but to “coordinated local activism.”

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