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Tom Harris


Global Warming Hasn't Stopped - It's the Hottest Decade on Record

Mon, 23 Sep 2013 19:37:21 +0000


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.

For more on Tom Harris, see his DeSmogBlog profile.  And for a look at Fred Singer, check out this handy sharable graphic from the Climate Denial Playbook series: 

Tom Harris Pops Up Down Under

Thu, 03 Jul 2008 05:35:29 +0000

In an article titled the Sad Demise of On-Line Opinion, Australian Clive Hamilton, writes:

“The editors' appeal to the principles of good journalism to defend the publication of denialist anti-science, but have failed their readers by breaking another tenet of journalistic ethics. The lead author of 'The UN climate change numbers hoax”, Tom Harris, is described by On Line Opinion at the end of the article as “an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition'.

What readers were not told is that Harris is a paid lobbyist for energy companies, that he has tried to change his Wikipedia entry to conceal the fact that he is or has been employed by the PR company High Park Group, and that at least one other website has pulled his articles because he is a paid political lobbyist.”

None of this information is hard to find. See, for example here.”

Thanks for the link Clive, you can also find more about Tom Harris and his climate denial resume in our research database. 

International Climate Science Coalition Bets that a Lie, Repeated Often Enough ...

Wed, 23 Apr 2008 04:08:12 +0000

In the public relations version of waterboarding, the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) has re-released a six-week-old petition claiming once again that the science academies of every country in the developing world are all wrong about global warming.The petition features a familiar cast of characters - tobacco apologists and energy industry regulars - and is being plumped up by an energy industry lobbyist who has moved full-time into climate change denial. The force behind the ICSC is public relations consultant and lobbyist Tom Harris, the person who organized the coming-out party for the now-discredited Friends of Science. Harris later abandoned the “Friends” and “quit” his job at the Toronto-based energy industry lobby firm The High Park Group to set up the High Park-supported Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP).Consistent through all these groups have been the “scientists” who continue to lend their name to the denial effort. Check the Friends Scientific Advisory Board, the NRSP Science Advisory Committee and the ICSC Science Advisory Board and you pretty soon start recognizing names. You have people like Fred Singer, who has long been willing to lend his name to big tobacco, to the DDT industry, to the ozone destroying CFC industry and, recently, to the energy industry, but who has a bad habit of trying to deny it after the fact. You have the guileful Tim Ball, who found that making up details about his own (unspectacular) academic career was just as easy as freehanding graphs that purport to tell us something relevant about climate change. Only the name of the organization seems to change, as well as the current Chair, now Tim Patterson instead of Tim Ball. The good news about Patterson taking the position is that it might give him less time to peddle his silliness to impressionable young students at Carleton University in Ottawa.The people in this group have argued repeatedly that science is not a popularity event, that the scientific consensus that is evident in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is no consensus at all, because some scientists disagree.But the IPCC actually assembles, reviews and presents for analysis the latest science on global warming. But Harris's ever morphing mob just keeps coming up with goofy petitions, the Oregon Petition, the Slick 60, and now the “Manhattan Declaration.” There is nothing of science in this. It's purest PR - and not very good PR at that.I suppose it's nice for the Harris family that Tom can continue to charge different (oily?) people money for this work. But it's still a mystery how the guy sleeps at night. Tags: Tim PattersonICSCInternational Climate Science Coalition[...]

ICSC: International Climate Science Confusion

Mon, 24 Mar 2008 05:31:03 +0000


Our old friend Tom Harris, energy-industry lobbyist turned, well, turned into a badly disguised energy-industry lobbyist, has gone international, taking over as executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

The ICSC appears to be a New Zealand-based version of the usual suspects, a group of self-proclaimed experts who do little or no research on climate change, but who can always make time to serve on the advisory board of any oily organization that is trying to forestall action on global warming.

ICSC offers no information as to the source of its funding, so we would be delighted if any freelance DeSmoggers out there can offer any insight into the history and economic roots of the organization.

NRSP Peddling Deceptive Statistics About IPCC

Mon, 17 Dec 2007 17:40:24 +0000

The energy-backed Natural Resources Steward Project's Tom Harris is at it again, spreading questionable statistics about the review process of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.In Harris's most recent diatribe on Canada Free Press, the energy industry PR guy says the IPCC is misleading people by saying its work was reviewed by 2,500 scientists. To the contrary, Harris and a new collaborator named John Mclean, say that whole sections of the IPCC reports are reviewed by very few people, and that the editors don't always respect reviewers' input. For example, in reference to the chapter that contains the broadest consensus statements about human-induced global warming, Harris and Mclean say:“In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears. And of these 62 reviewers, 55 had serious vested interests, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial. In addition, almost 60 per cent of all the comments from official IPCC scientist reviewers concerning this crucial chapter were rejected by IPCC editors.”As someone whose own conflict of interest is so well documented, Harris is a bit dodgy about offering any evidence for the “seriously vested interests” charge. But when someone (thanks Dave) took the time to follow up Harris and Mclean's statistical analysis, it turned out that this statistical sample was more than a little misleading. The IPCC had indeed rejected a lot of comments in this section, but 90 per cent came from a single reviewer: NRSP insider Dr. Vincent Gray, a New Zealand chemist and coal expert who has never published peer-reviewed work on climate science and whose last peer-reviewed publication on any topic appeared 17 years ago. And a large number of rejections came because the input was grammatically or logically insensible.Once again, Harris deserves some grudging admiration: he has succeeded again in spreading disinformation all around the internet and has even won publication of this “analysis” in the mainstream press (although the Saskatoon Star Phoenix is not quite the New York Times). The fact that he is a front man for a Toronto energy industry lobby firm always disappears into the detail (the Star Phoenix either didn't bother checking his credentials or doesn't mind shilling for PR people who want to hide the identity and motivations of their deep-pocketed clients). Tags: Canada Free Pressvincent grayStar PhoenixJohn Mclean[...]

August Newsmaker Award to Steve McIntyre

Thu, 30 Aug 2007 17:45:38 +0000


Hats off to Steve McIntyre, the most effective foot soldier in the campaign to deny or downplay climate change.

Having spent the rest of August on holidays - too much of it in a Toronto traffic jam - I have been ignoring the DeSmogBlog (my apologies) and the climate change debate generally. Except for the traffic part, it's been glorious. 

Now I see that the resourceful “semiretired” mining analyst McIntyre has scored again with a statistical quibble over how NASA keeps its temperature records.

This, for the denial community, has been a clean kill. The blogs, as I read back over the month, have been alive the argument over the importance of 1998 or 1934 as the hottest year on record. Hacks and flaks like Tim Ball and Tom Harris have been crowing about “faulty data” underpinning the “global warming scare,” and legitimate science sources like have been reduced to minimizing the importance of McIntyre's discovery.

And in the midst of this torrid and mostly pointless debate, everyone has stopped talking about what we should be doing about the problem. Notwithstanding the chilling bits of evidence - the unprecedented collapse in Arctic sea ice, for example - we have gone back, once again, to arguing over whether there IS a problem.

So, congratulations to McIntyre, et al. It must be a real pleasure for them to be able to say things like Four of the 10 warmest years on record are now acknowledged to have occurred when human production of CO2 was minimal, in the 1930s.” That leaves only six of the warmest years on record (McIntyre might call that a statistically significant majority) left over to prove the point:

Folks, we need to move on. 

NRSP Launches Nationwide Radio Campaign

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 17:14:41 +0000


For an organization that can't account for where it gets its money, the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (Not Really Science People) sure seems to be spreading around a great deal.

It's most recent spending spree involves a nationwide radio advertising campaign that would have us believe that there is “no consensus” on the reality and causes of climate change and that the Slick 60 (see our Denier Database) is actually a legitimate group of climate scientists.

Click here to enjoy NRSP PR person-in residece Tom Harris voice three 30-second flights of fancy. But while listening, remember to add the disclaimer: “This message brought to you by the High Park Group, an energy industry lobby firm that founded the NRSP so it doesn't have to report who is paying for its devious efforts at policy manipulation.”

Energy Lobbyist Dupes London (Ontario) Newspaper

Sat, 14 Jul 2007 18:28:20 +0000


Galling as it is to be part of the publicity machine for the phony Natural Resources Stewardship Project (think Not Really Science People), I have to congratulate Tom Harris on his recent coup - appearing as a commentator in the London (Ontario) Free Press opposite Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

The newspaper advertised a debate between Harris and May over this question: “Is a new, revenue neutral tax the best way to fight climate change or is artificially increasing the cost of fossil fuels a foolhardy attempt to solve planet’s ills?”

But there are a couple of problems. First, May says she was invited to contribute to a debate with “an economist,” and was only told after the fact that “they couldn't get anyone” and were using Tom Harris instead.

The “debate” itself was also skewed. May put forth her best arguments, in response to which, Harris argued that CO2 isn't causing climate change - as if that was somehow relevant, or true.

A determined optimist could look at this situation and take heart. It's vaguely reassuring that a major Canadian newspaper can't find a single economist - or even a legitimate scientist - to argue against a revenue neutral carbon tax.

But it is alarming, still, that the readers of the London Free Press might now believe that a legitimate argument yet continues. It is a stark failure in the duties of a newspaper of record that the Free Press failed to inform its readers that their policy expert is actually an energy industry lobbyist. The Toronto Star figured it out and that information is only an internet click away.

Again, though, you have to hand it to Harris. As head hack for the NRSP, an organization which which in its wildest imaginings couldn't gather up the national legitimacy of the Rhinoceros Party, Harris has now been treated with equal weight as an elected leader of a national political organization. Well done Tom. I only hope that someone at the Free Press has the wit to be humiliated for having been so badly manipulated.

(image) Stumble It!

An Astroturf group primer

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 14:21:29 +0000

Here , in a terse 219 words, is everything you need to know about Tom Harris , the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, the origin of fake grassroots organizations and the involvement of big oil. Nice one Jenny Carter.

Pinocchio Harris Dismisses CO2 Effect

Tue, 19 Jun 2007 18:41:06 +0000


The carbon dioxide emissions from Ontario coal stations would be more costly to remove but are not something we should be concerned about since their contribution to global climate change is insignificant.

It's amazing that Tom Harris can write stuff like this without having his nose bump up against his computer monitor.

I suppose you could argue that Canada's contribution to global CO2 is an “insignificant” two per cent (a contribution we make even though we have just 0.005 per cent of the world's population). You also could argue that Ontario's coal-fired electrical plants generate an “insignificant” 40 per cent of that province's CO2 emissions from industrial sources. In fact , coal has the highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of all combustible fuels, and four of Canada’s five largest single emitters are coal-fired electrical generating stations.

Perhaps, though, Harris is trying to say that CO2 is an “insignificant” contributor to climate change in general, a fiction that he probably learned from his brother-in-disinformative-public-relations, Dr. Tim Ball (see next post).

There is an argument to be made that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty could have taken another tack. Perhaps he could have insisted (like B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell) that coal-fired plants find a way to sequester their CO2 output.

But the real issue here should be this: who's paying Tom Harris to lobby on behalf of the Ontario energy industry? And why should we allow the High Park Group to evade its reporting requirements under the federal lobbyist's registry by pretending that the Natural Resources Stewardship Project is an independent operation?

Harris, Ball Courting Political Isolation

Wed, 06 Jun 2007 22:22:54 +0000


The Natural Resources Stewardship Project condemned Prime Minister Stephen Harper today for Canada's “total capitulation to climate change dogma.”

The Prime Minister has spent the early part of the week speaking to European leaders who will clearly not tolerate ill-informed denial of global warming as an international issue. As early as Monday, Harper had obviously got the message, calling climate change “perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today.”

In this article, the principals from the energy industry lobby group the NRSP mount a heroic, but irrelevant argument suggesting that CO2 is our friend. They write that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere must reach 4,500 parts per million before endangering human life - ignoring entirely the overwhelming evidence of the effect of CO2 on climate.

Aside from the general goofiness of the argument, the most interesting aspect of this article (not counting the snazzy redesign on the Canada Free Press website) is the degree to which the NRSP has distanced itself from all potential political allies. This is not a victory of dogma over delerium, it is proof that, ultimately, science cannot be credibly denied. You have to hope that Tim Ball and Tom Harris (inset) are looking for other work because, increasingly, it appears that this party is over.

Pssst! Wanna Buy a Cheap, Inefficient, Illegal Lightbulb

Thu, 17 May 2007 15:51:35 +0000


Hide your children: the dim bulbs at the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP) are warning that the federal ban on incandescent lightbulbs could soon give rise to a black market in inefficient lighting.

Imagine, Tim Ball and Tom Harris , decked out in bulky coats and lurking in the alleyways of Toronto and Victoria, offering addicts the opportunty to burn four to six times as much energy with a single lightbulb.

Ah well, when energy industry lobby firms run out of money to pay the NRSP principals to dissemble on climate change, at least the two spinmeisters have an exit strategy.

NRSP: Not Ready to Stop Perjuring

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 14:09:27 +0000


Natural Resources Stewardship Project executive director Tom Harris has been out taking advantage of small-town reporters again , going so far as to convince the Cornwall Standard Freeholde that he is a “scientist.”

He is nothing of the kind. He's a PR guy who's running a front group for an energy industry lobby firm. It's not clear how the reporter came to the erroneous conclusion, but if Harris had an ounce of integrity, he would phone the paper and demand a correction.

The “real” scientist in the story was Carleton University Professor Tim Patterson (inset), who seems equally willing to say things that are entirely fictional. Again, there are no direct quotes around the stupidest of his comments, so we can't say for sure how the defenceless reporter came to write the story. But here's a mix of quotes and paraphrasing that also demands a retraction:

Patterson said much of the up-to-date research indicates that “changes in the brightness of the sun” are almost certainly the primary cause of the warming trend since the end of the “Little Ice Age” in the late 19th century. Human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas of concern in most plans to curb climate change, appear to have little effect on global climate, he said. (my emphasis)

If Patterson can produce any of this “up-to-date research,” I invite him to do so. The guy wanders around with a solar forcing graph that is almost 30 years out of date because actual up-to-date research shows that he either has sunspots in his eyes or he is misleading the public on purpose.

So, c'mon you guys. Phone the Standard Freeholder and set the record straight, or admit that you're making stuff up on behalf of your energy industry clients.

NRSP: Not Really Sufficiently Principled

Wed, 18 Apr 2007 00:46:33 +0000

A column in the Toronto Sun yesterday sets a new low in the disingenuous disinformation campaign by the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP).NRSP Executive Director Tom Harris (the PR guy) and Chair Dr. Tim Ball (the other PR guy) launch an attack on the well-respected Dr. John Stone, vice-chair of Working Group 2 (WG2) of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), characterizing him as a “highly politicized bureaucrat” who has been too quick to accept that the effect of CO2 on climate change is settled science.Harris and Ball instead advance the testimony of their witness, “Dr. Richard Courtney, a UK-based climate science consultant and IPCC expert reviewer,” (my emphasis) who says that climate science is anything but settled.But Richard Courtney is hardly a source to be taken seriously. In fact, there is every reason to believe that if he has a Ph.D. at all, he got it out of a box of cracker jacks.Courtney is really just another PR guy. He's a union official and a Technical Editor for CoalTrans International, the journal of the international coal trading industry, and his principal expertise seems to be in coming up with imaginative and self-promoting ways to suggest that climate change is either not happening or that its cause remains a deep, dark mystery. It would be embarrassing to any real scientist to be seen on the same newspaper page with this guy. Having presented Courtney as something he is not, Harris and Ball move on to one of their other favourite “experts,” Dr. Tim Patterson, who repeats the strained claim that climate change is an unavoidable result of a warming sun, a position that has been conclusively and repeatedly dismissed, including in this reference by one of the world's foremost astrophysicists.We have seen before how shameless Harris and Ball can be in representing their energy industry clients. But it never ceases to surprise me that big city dailies - even dailies as undiscriminating as the Toronto Sun - continue to publish their palaver when 30 second on Google would have proven to be what it is: fallacious and silly. Tags: NRSPNatural Resources Stewardship ProjectRichard Courtney[...]

Ever heard of the "Natural Resource Stewardship Project?" Brown University has.

Tue, 10 Apr 2007 14:36:59 +0000

If Brown University newspaper's Don Trella ever wants a job writing at DSBlog, we would love to chat. Check out Trella's piece on Tom Harris and the NRSP

A couple of good quotes:

The NRSP is a coalition whose leadership includes about half of the last handful of climate scientists of note who reject global warming as a “myth.” 

 Ironically, they realize their position is so out of the mainstream, they have to use a name that not only belies their true purpose but in fact implies they are environmentalists.