Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tom Harris - Paid Shill

[UPDATE: A commenter (Hey?) provided a link to an article at the website Scholars and Rogues (see comments below) that is so good I am posting it here:
Tom Harris – hypocritical peddler of deceitful climate change editorials (corrected)]

Tom Harris, the fossil fuel industry shill, has objected to me calling him a shill. Per his comment on my posting concerning the campaign against wind power:

TomHarrisICSC Christopher Keating
Only an idiot or someone being dishonest would say that calling someone a paid shill is not name calling. BTW, I have no employers. You just made that up too.

To which I responded:

My, my. Look who's resorting to name calling.

Shill, n. the confederate of a gambler, pitchman, auctioneer, etc. who pretends to buy, bet, or bid so as to lure onlookers into participating.

The fossil fuel industry pays you (directly or indirectly, it makes no difference and you know where the money is coming from) to make false statements promoting their business and undermining their competitors for the sake of fooling the public. That is being a shill. And, it also qualifies them as your employers.

Or, would you care to rehash your long, storied career working on the behalf of the fossil fuel and tobacco industries?

The thing that I wonder about is why you are so determined to deny this when the public record on it is so extensive.
Mr. Harris' response to this follows:

Are you a liar or just forgetful, Keating? I have told you several times in the past that I have never worked for the fossil fuel and tobacco industries. In fact, as I explained to you before, I was an anti-tobacco activist and was instrumental in getting smoking banned on long haul flights in Canada.

Mr. Harris says I'm either a liar or forgetful, thereby questioning my credibility. Let's look at the facts and you decide.

He denies this, but he has a long track record that is hard to hide. He was the Executive Director of the now defunct Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), which was controlled by energy business lobbyists. He was the Director of Operations for High Park Group (HPG), a registered lobbying firm for energy clients, and worked for APCO Worldwide which promoted fossil fuel interests. He is also affiliated with the Heartland Institute which is a leading climate change denier organization, promotes tobacco interests, and is funded by the fossil fuel industry to spread climate change denial misinformation. Possibly his worst reference is his association with the so-called ‘Friends of Science,' even though they are the furthest thing from being friends of science, or society for that matter. This group has been shown to receive its funding from the fossil fuel industry, something they went to great lengths to hide (why is that?).

Today, Mr. Harris describes himself as being the "executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition" (quote taken from his postings). The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) was founded by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition in 2007, which is a climate change denier organization and is cosponsor with the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). In turn, ICSC created the Australian Climate Coalition, another organization devoted to denying climate change, and the Climate Science Coalition of America. Yes, the last one is also an organization devoted to denying climate change. 

As for the tobacco industry, it should be stated that Mr. Harris proclaims strongly he has never been involved with promoting the tobacco industry. Yet, he was with APCO Worldwide, which has a strong record fighting for tobacco. Mr. Harris says he had nothing to do with that. That is very misleading. Even if he wasn't directly involved, by working for APCO and promoting them in their efforts, he is promoting tobacco. And, if Mr. Harris found their involvement with tobacco so objectionable, why did he take the job?

But, there's more. After APCO, Mr. Harris became strongly involved with the Heartland Institute, which is a major promoter of the tobacco industry. Once again, by promoting Heartland, he is promoting the things they do. And, in both cases, he knew about their involvement with tobacco before he became associated with them. In that light, it is not possible to say Mr. Harris does not promote tobacco. His efforts are most certainly promoting that industry.

Now, as the "executive director" of ICSC, one of Mr. Harris' functions is to go every media outlet he can find and post editorials and letters either promoting the fossil fuel industry or undermining their competitors. A casual review of these letters finds them full of inaccuracies and falsehoods.

For instance, Mr. Harris states the “debate rages in the science community” about how much human activity affects climate change. This is an extremely misleading statement because he uses it to call into question the issue that the science is settled. Yes, the science is settled (much to his dismay). Manmade emissions are creating climate change. There is no debate in the climate science community on this issue. Is there work to do on the details? Of course. There is even debate on the particular details. This does not qualify as a ‘raging debate’ on whether manmade climate change is real or not. With the exception of a few fossil-fuel supported individuals, the climate science community is essentially in unanimous agreement. Which brings up the question – why is it so many of the people who insist manmade climate change isn’t real are also receiving funds from the fossil fuel industry?  

I saw one today where he stated 6.5% of all grain grown is diverted to produce biofuel for the purpose of fighting climate change. In fact, the major purpose for converting grain to biofuel is to reduce imports of oil by substituting ethanol for gasoline. So, why did Mr. Harris make such a misleading statement?

And, of course, it has already been discussed how he is engaged in a campaign against wind power. 

So, you decide. Am I a liar or forgetful when I state Mr. Harris is a paid shill for the fossil fuel industry? 

And, it is not name-calling, either.


  1. Dr. Keating:

    You are correct, your response does not satisfy me.

    First, my claim that the reduction in SO2 emissions is the cause of global warming obviously applies only to eras when there were significant accumulations of SO2 in the atmosphere. One must look to other reasons for earlier eras, although it does apply back to the 1930's. (and probably also to the 1920's)

    The crux of your objection is that SO2 emissions have been increasing
    since year 2000 and that 14 of the 15 hottest years have occurred in that time period.

    It is true that SO2 emissions have increased--in some areas--but these increases have been more than offset by reductions elsewhere, so that the NET result is that total global emissions have actually decreased, causing the observed warming trend..

    See "The last decade of global anthropogenic sulfur dioxide: 2000 - 2011 emissions", table 1, and also click on "Supplementary Data" (just before the abstract) and see Table S-1.

    Here are the total Global SO2 emissions over the later years, in Megatonnes, from Table S-2:

    1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011

    121 110 106 112 103 101

    As you can see, except for the period 2000 - 2005 (when there was .02 deg. C. of cooling), emissions have steadily decreased, explaining the warming trend.

    I have no SO2 data since 2011, but if one assumes that emissions have decreased at the same rate as between 2010 and 2011 (2 Megatonnes per year) , total emissions at 2015 would be 93 Megatonnes, leading to an expected temperature rise of .02 x 8 = 0.16 deg. C above that at 2011, which was 0.55 deg. C. Warming due to the current weak El Nino would also need to be added, with the result that current higher temperatures are easily explained in terms of reduced SO2 emissions.

    Bottom line: SO2 Decreases Are Responsible For Global Warming.

    Or, do you have other data that could prove me wrong?

  2. I wish I had something to make you rejoin reality.

  3. It is amazing how you simply reject anything that doesn't fit your preconceived beliefs. In fact, it is so unbelievable I've decided you are a troll just trying to take up my time with banalities. The idea that increasing SO2 today causes global cooling, but increasing SO2 by four times as much 150 years ago does not is a testimony to the way you reject science. Further go to your very own reference and look at their quote in the abstract:

    "After increasing until about 2006, we estimate a declining trend continuing until 2011."

    So, for the seven years of 2000 to 2006, SO2 levels were increasing. And, yet, the temperature continued to rise during those seven years. Really amazing, Burl. And, of course, you are convinced you know more about this than all of the scientists in the world devoted to studying SO2 in the atmosphere. Really amazing.

    It is time to end this conversation. Please do not bring it back here.

    Here is the paper discussed above:

  4. I stopped reading when Keating wrote his usual nonsense, "Tom Harris, the fossil fuel industry shill" since it is just an unfounded smear that is too stupid to discuss further.

  5. Then, why did you come back to comment?

  6. To see if you had come to your senses and also to get the link to your efforts. As I said, it helps keep donors happy to see our opponents will spend this amount of time attacking us, versus what we are actually saying.

  7. I think you mean the amount of time people will spend exposing you and your employers. You just have to hate it when the truth about your efforts is publicized. Again, I love to hear your employers in the fossil fuel and denier industries are concerned about me. It makes is all that much more worthwhile. Thanks for the compliment.

  8. If you'd like another tip of the hat to your work (so to speak), your commenter pal "cunudiun" were just talking about this site over at the NewsHour site a couple of days ago, each of us agreeing readers should come in here and see if you actually back up what you say in your personal attacks. Weird, huh? Especially from him since - as I detailed at my own's latest post - his comment against me violated NewsHour comment policy for exactly what it was, an unsupportable personal attack. And what then do I see here today? Yet another in your lineage of unsupportable personal attacks that are all show and no go.

    Puh-lease! "... the amount of time people will spend exposing you and your employers. ..." Bring it!! Any day of the week and twice on Sunday. If you and your pals had any actual evidence to indict skeptic scientists and/or skeptic speakers over the last 20+ years, dontcha think y'all would come up with more than just the same old "reposition global warming" 'smoking gun that the UCS felt compelled to regurgitate just two weeks ago????

    But no, you bizarrely keep comments from a year ago rather than deleting them proving you literally cannot point to a scintilla of evidence proving skeptics knowingly lie and are paid/instructed to do so, and your pal "cunudiun" shoots himself in the foot with a cannon while becoming a serial comment stalker of mine .... and I first saw that guy in your own blog comments when I came barging in here to see if you could put your money where your mouth was.

  9. I've been wondering how long Heartland's hatchet man could stay out of the discussion. You're still selling the same old nonsense, I see.

    Your comment above is a perfect example of the deceit practiced by you climate change deniers. Showing someone is funded by the fossil fuel industry and has a vested interest in denying science is NOT a personal attack. If I were to say Mr. Harris kicks the neighbor's dog, that would be a personal attack and irrelevant to the discussion. Anything that is relevant cannot be a personal attack and motivation is most certainly relevant.

    And, let me add, the claims made by you, Tom Harris, and every other denier that has come here have been refuted with science and evidence. You can keep saying I haven't done so (you actually have the right to lie), but it isn't true. Just like almost everything else deniers say.

  10. "… Showing someone is funded by the fossil fuel industry and has a vested interest in denying science is NOT a personal attack …"

    Yeee-aaahhh! When you back that up with irrefutable proof that the FF industry actually does so with malicious intent with a person who full well knows AGW is long-settled science, but who can be corrupted to deny this so-called 'truth'.

    '…Skeptics refuted with science and evidence…"??? Hardly. You have never established that what Tom says is anything beyond a contradiction of IPCC assessments, that he receives any kind of illicit paycheck or that he denies science. Thus, astute readers here will not be able to ignore your non-stop appearance of hurling personal attacks. All show and no go, you are, including your abject failure to prove I'm ANYBODY's hatchet man. Worse, like I point out in my latest blog post, you and your pals don't even lift a finger to refute what I write about on myriad ways the 'corrupt skeptics' accusation falls apart. That's REALLY weird. I'd think you could've come up with multiple blog posts ripping my work to shreds …… if only you could find fault with the verbatim words from your own heroes that I routinely feature.

  11. The evidence is massive, conclusive and irrefutable. Just because there are no, in your words, recordings of meetings or canceled check stubs, does not change that fact. ExxonMobil and several other fossil fuel entities have admitted they provided funds to denier agencies. Internal documents, including documents filed with the government, have shown these institutions used those funds to undermine climate science for the purpose of putting doubt in the minds of the public and delay any governmental actions that would impact the fossil fuel industry's profits.

    Keep saying it isn't true. The only thing you're undermining is your credibility. But, I think most people already know you have none, so no damage done.

    I don't read your blog and I'm not about to. The science is settled and I have no need to debate the reality of manmade climate change. The majority of the public accepts that fact and the percentage is growing. The campaign by your employers is not going well and is collapsing due to its own corruption. Think tobacco industry.

    I spend my time now promoting the reality of what is going on and trying to get people to think about what needs to be done. The reality is coming in hard and fast nowadays. Climate change isn't something that needs to be worried about 100 years from now. It is something we have to worry about today.

  12. "One must look to other reasons for earlier eras".

    This is an ad hoc hypothesis.

    "Or, do you have other data that could prove me wrong?"

    Shifting the burden of evidence won't work either.

  13. You complain about how I call you Heartland's hatchet man. Well, one of the interesting things about you is how you never show up until someone criticizes one of your cronies, like Tom Harris. I have to wonder about the communications. Harris: "Russell! Keating is criticizing me again! Do something!" Russell: "Don't worry. I'll go attack him to make him back off." Then, add in the fact Heartland lists you on their webpage with the sold job of attacking one particular blogger and it's easy to see why I call you Heartland's hatchet man.

    Well, that's probably generous, considering you're not very good at it. Maybe Heartland's pocket knife man would be better. Heartland's fingernail file man?

  14. Constant GardenerJuly 23, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    Hi Dr. Keating: I see you've invited the execrable Harris and Cook back for another round. I marvel at your tolerance for their sort.

  15. It's fun beating them up, even if it is light work.

  16. Live in whatever alternate reality, 911Truther/ChemTrail-style conspiracy-driven world you wish, there is no way on Earth you can prove I didn't first arrive here at your blog purely on my own volition, nor can you prove I've questioned the veracity of yours and others regurgitations of the 'industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists' accusation for the last 7+ years under the direction/payment of ANYBODY. Stop and think about your line of reasoning for a moment: one of the interesting things about the accusation against skeptic climate scientists is how it never showed up until they criticized your dear enviro-activist leaders - but none of your dear leaders in the mainstream media ever fact-checked the core of the accusation, where it originally came from, or who was promulgating it.

    I did, and you continue to sidestep every challenge I put to you to back up the core assertion of the accusation.

    Meanwhile, what's up with the "the sold[sic] job of attacking one particular blogger" line? What blogger? Show us all exactly where it says that. Surely you don't actually believe the "Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist" Ross Gelbspan is a mere blogger, do you?? Really???

  17. Puh-lease. You openly say the "evidence is massive, conclusive and irrefutable", yet when I challenged you last year via the three different analogies of presenting evidence at a courtroom evidentiary hearing, or to prove a pure hearsay sighting of a rare bird, or to satisfy the demands of a Washington Post-style legendary news editor, you struck out rather than hit what should have been home runs. You response here is as bad as Dan Rather sidestepping his 'George W Bush National Guard fabricated documents' disaster by saying there is evidence out there somewhere proving his accusation. Skeptic climate scientists didn't manufacture evidence out of thin air at the behest of industry people, they were pointing out doubt in the global warming issue that was pre-existing to begin with and industry people found that out AFTERWARD. Your beloved Ross Gelbspan felt compelled to take words out of context from industry annual reports in order to twist that into an 'industry sought out scientists' line. I have those report copies and you do not, and Gelbspan has never shown his copies for a very good reason. If you would read my blog, you'd know all about that particular wipeout.

    You don't read my blog. I read yours. I read your heroes' books, articles, I watch interviews of them and their own video presentations. But you just shot yourself in the foot with a cannon again - you don't read opposition material because it undermines all that you BELIEVE. As I've said now at ClimteCrocks, DesmogUK and elsewhere, look in the mirror and repeat as often as it takes until you get it: "It doesn't matter what I believe, it only matters what I can prove!"

    You only believe I'm employed by Heartland to knowingly spread lies, you believe criticism against your dear leaders is collapsing, and you believe in the 'tobacco industry parallel' talking point, but you literally cannot prove a word of it. Hurl all the accusations you like, and torture yourself to sleep with nightmares of apocalyptic climate mayhem, but ask yourself why it is that you are compelled to pursue this on BELIEFS which are enslaved to erasing criticism, rather than facing it head-on.

    This is your wake up call. Read my blog, read skeptic climate science assessment, watch skeptic presentations, do some critical thinking, and you can look forward to the uplifting prospect of being freed from your own unsupportable ideology. As I said at the end of one of my Breitbart pieces ( ) several years back, quoting a famous US movie line, "Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss."

    You view me and other critics with unrestrained hatred which tears you apart. I view you as potentially one of the strongest skeptics there could ever be, once you have actually objectively viewed both sides of the issue. You've already indicated you don't read material you oppose. I've probably already read more of your own side's political material than you have, and maybe even more of the scientific material than you have, that's why I am as confident as I am, and that's why I have confidence in a positive outcome for you.

  18. Arguably hard to invite someone back when they already live rent-free in that person's mind. Meanwhile, stay tuned at my own blog. Hint: Green Corps.

  19. Not hatred. Just disgust. Well deserved disgust, too. And, no, it doesn't tear me apart.

    I didn't bother to read your diatribe here, but I'll let it stand unless someone tells me there is some particular reason it needs to be removed.

  20. Apparently I hit a sore spot with you. That makes two diatribes in one day. And, no, I didn't bother to read this one, either.

  21. Thanks. I'm going to be working on this today and hope to post it soon.

    Another thing about Cook is how he always shows up to bash anyone that makes comments exposing people like Tom Harris. Clearly, his role is to intimidate anyone who is willing to stand up to the deniers.

  22. But you can't prove< that! (Russell Cook is not a scientists and such insinuations are only allowed to be made against scientists.)

  23. Both you and I recommending others come read what is posted here is indeed pretty funny, but the only thing weird is you recommending people read stuff you're apparently not capable of understanding yourself.

  24. See also :

  25. Here it is:

  26. Here is is: