Little to Add to Climate Debate

Posted 2 October 2016 by in Letters

WINNIPEG – LETTERS – Tom Harris, as usual, has little to offer to any “debate” about climate change, other than his oft-repeated appeals to greed – we should keep the money for ourselves instead of investing in efforts to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions. Instead of contributing to the discussion, offers excuses like “Canada is so small, what effect can we possibly have?” ignoring the reality that Canada’s per-capita emissions are among the highest in the world.

He then suggests that “poorer countries have indicated that they have no intention of following our lead”. Wouldn’t it be fair to assume that “poorer” countries may not be willing to commit to the industrial world’s emissions targets because they can’t afford it? He fails to mention that as of today, 60 countries representing 48% of the world’s carbon emissions have signed on to the Paris Agreement.

Tom thinks Canada should follow the lead of President Duterte of the Philippines, a man who sees politics in very simple terms: Duterte has has been accused of ordering the illegal killings of more than 1000 people in the the Philippines, and said he was sorry he hadn’t participated in the rape and murder of a nun. Really, Tom? Is this someone we should be taking advice from on climate policy or anything else?

Duterte: “If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews … there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/30/rodrigo-duterte-vows-to-kill-3-million-drug-addicts-and-likens-himself-to-hitler)

The rest of the article is the usual stuff Tom Harris peddles – he doesn’t think the public or politicians should listen to climate scientists, instead they should read Tom Harris’ propaganda from his fake “Non-governmental” Climate Panel. He doesn’t think the Earth’s temperature increase is big enough to worry about. He doesn’t believe that there’s been any increase in the rate of sea level rise or the frequency of extreme weather (both of which have been observed). We don’t know anything about climate because our current models aren’t good enough. These are all claims that have been refuted by actual climate scientists.

Why does Tom Harris publish similarly misleading articles in small town papers and web news outlets in Canada and the US? Tom is a “consultant” for the Heartland Institute in Chicago, which calls itself “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change”. Heartland no longer discloses their funding sources, but in the past they received funding from energy companies like Exxon and various right-wing foundations like the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (in case you didn’t know, Koch Industries is also a major oil company). I wonder why big oil companies would give money to promote anti-climate change propaganda? It’s not their profits they’re worried about is it? Exxon themselves have been accused of misleading their shareholders about the risks of climate change, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised to hear supporters like Mr. Harris spouting the same misinformation.

Taras B.
Winnipeg