(UPDATE: The original submission was too long to be accepted. Below is the updated, shorter version.)
Re “Reader's view: Resist calls to smother climate debate,” March 20, by Tom Harris.
Mr. Harris’ claim that scientists are stifling debate on climate change is false. There is a healthy debate on this topic. What the scientific community is opposed to is people interjecting anti-science rhetoric into the discussion. Harris is the executive director of the Canadian fossil fuel advocacy group International Climate Science Coalition and is paid to place pro-fossil fuel/anti-science letters for public consumption.
Harris states, “no sensible person, … denies that climate changes.” In fact, Mr. Harris is on record as denying climate change. The reality is that the climate is changing and is changing much more dramatically than at anytime in the last 800,000 years. Harris also says this fact is “irrelevant to anyone but specialists in the field” when it is actually relevant to everyone. Polls show over 97% of all climate scientists acknowledge the reality of manmade climate change. Harris is deceitful stating no such poll has ever been taken.
Harris’ quotes Dr. Tim Ball. Ball is a geographer, not a climatologist. In a libel suit he was forced to drop, court documents stated about Ball, "The Plaintiff's credentials and credibility as an expert on the issue of global warming have been repeatedly disparaged in the media.” And, “The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist." Ball stated carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas. This is the equivalent of saying gravity doesn’t exist. The properties of CO2 as a greenhouse gas are well documented.
Any debate should be limited to real science, not anti-science rhetoric.
Dr. Christopher Keating
Dr. Keating is a professor of physics and conducts research in planetary geophysics, including climate change.