Energy Lobbyist Dupes London (Ontario) Newspaper

Sat, 2007-07-14 11:28Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Energy Lobbyist Dupes London (Ontario) Newspaper

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.

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Comments

Tom Harris has appeared in other, more backwater venues as well. He forayed onto a rather unknown blog to which I regularly contribute (http://community.livejournal.com/boiling_frog)and caused quite a stir! The blog is devoted to issues surrounding climate change and sustainable solutions to the problem, and Harris started ‘contributing’ once another blog member posted a CBC Fifth Estate video entitled “The Denial Machine”. I am not sure why he decided to come to this blog in particular, but I have a feeling that he forays into many others. Still, he was readily attacked by the bloggers, some of whom he charged with being dogmatic or unwilling to see another viewpoint.
Mr. Harris visited my blog also, and several others, when we posted remarks critical of his organization. He stopped after awhile, but still occasionally tries to hustle up support at the FreeDominion website.

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I’m surprised that working engineers haven’t taken Tom down a notch. If I was an engineer I think I would be offended that he tries use his degree to put weight behind his agenda-driven, unscientific assertions. Littlemore is exactly right that Tom’s profession as a lobbyist should have been made more clear.

On the other hand, even though unprepared for his misleading submission, I think Elizabeth May outshone him by far. Maybe that wasn’t hard with arguments like these that he made: “Canada should forget about carbon taxes and other harebrained schemes to stop climate change, something that has occurred since Earth had an atmosphere. Debating the best ways to enable CO2 reduction — carbons taxes, carbon credit trading, etc. — is moot.” Uh, yeah, convincing. Where do policy people get off trying to limit damage from things that are ongoing (terrorist attacks, bad treatment of minorities, drunk driving, etc), anyway?

I’m going to try to read more about this report Elizabeth May cites and about the Green Party proposal. Anyone want to compare notes? Here’s a website with the GP press release and links to their plan (I don’t know if I have time to read the whole thing):
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/releases/20.06.2007 and here’s the Jaccard report referred to in the London Free Press thing (I’ll focus my energies here):
http://www.greenparty.ca/files/JaccardFullReport.pdf

Global warmists love to latch onto every localized spell of hot weather as “proof” of their fantasies.

Here, Tim Blair effectively puts that shoe onto the warmist foot. http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,22069080-5001031,00.html

How is this post in anyway connected with the topic at hand?
One could easily attach links showing that AGW deniers (I should say GW deniers) use short term local weather to suggest that nothing is amiss. During the coldest weeks of every winter the Edmonton Sun, for example, trots out the latest temperature readings at the airport to suggest global warming is a myth. What Tim Blair’s article forgets to mention is that many predictions for 2007 were associated with the winter’s El Nino conditions which, thankfully, flipped into La Nina early in the year. I wonder if the mechanisms and predictions of GW deniers can be so sensibly linked to observed temperatures?

Actually, I don’t wonder at all – GW deniers put forth no testable theories and predictions. All they can do is make vague sky-is-falling warnings with respect to the economy if any CO2 tax or cap and trade policy is implemented. That’s what Zog likes to do, and he makes sure to ignore the fact that such a policy would be reversible (unlike CO2 emissions in a business as usual future) if hardships were too great. Now we see a study commissioned by Canada’s government in denial that tell’s Zog his unresearched, bald assertions are wrong. What does he do? Change the subject.

Zog, I hope you will read the report or at least try to comment intelligently on the issue of Tom Harris’ misrepresentations that initiated this thread. Good luck.

“…such a policy would be reversible…”

You assume that earth’s resources are infinite. “Spend billions (some Europeans are sugesting trillions) and, if it was wrong-headed, well - no harm done.”

That’s not the way the world economy functions, Steve. Think of all the useful things that could be accomplished if that wealth was directed to useful purposes rather than squandered on stupid initiatives deliberately designed to cripple industrial development and halt progress. Clean, potable water for Africans and reduction of smog-inducing emissions in the industrial world would be a good start. Oh wait, can’t do the latter. Further reduction of noxious emissions through more complete combustion would increase the production of “deadly” CO2. Darn.

.. can also be achieved - and much simpler - by burning less fossil fuel. And you could use the money you saved through modest, intelligent conservation measures to drill wells in Africa, which must be Zog's hobby.

In fact, Zog, how much of your day do you spend advocating for African aid? THAT sounds like a better hobby than trying to deny climate change. 

Actually Zog, I don’t assume that the Earth’s resources are infinite. I guess I do assume, to some degree, that natural resources we don’t use too hastily now can be used in the not too distant future, if that’s what people decide to do. So I do think there is some compensation there. On the other hand, the more we delay reducing emissions, the more difficult it will be (and costly) to keep the planet cool. I haven’t seen any work describing essentially irreversible positive feedbacks that send the economy to an unfavorable new equilibrium. There is a lot of research describing such an outcome with climate and ecosystems.

But let’s stop beating around the bush. I’ll admit that I’m no expert on the global economy. An expert was, however, commissioned to do a study on the effects of shifting income taxes to carbon taxes, and that study found no evidence for catastrophic effects on the economy. You put in quotation marks something about spending trillions, but all I was writing about was the report on tax-shifting in Canada that Elizabeth May discussed. Don’t you want to discuss that? Why not?

ZOG, if you are so concerned about the economy, then you must be concerned about AGW as they are intertwined. The Stern Review shows how if temperatures continue to rise as is forecasted, by 2050, the global economy will shrink by 20%. See here:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/sternreview_index.cfm

If you cannot see the economic dangers of AGW, then get your friggin’ head out of the sand.

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