Friday, October 28, 2016

Tom Harris of ICSC is Engaging in Censorship

Tom Harris, the paid shill of the fossil fuel industry, is paid to publish articles and letters in the media advocating anti-science, pseudo-science, falsehoods and false arguments to support his clients in the fossil fuel industry. That is bad enough, but now we know he is also engaged in censoring comments that point out just how wrong he is in his claims. He does this by 'flagging' any 'inappropriate comments' (read: has actual science in it) and the comment gets removed. Harris has confirmed himself that he does this (note how many comments are deleted in this conversation).

When Tom Harris doesn't like what someone posts, he censors it by flagging it.
Meanwhile he says he has the right to freedom of speech.
I guess only Tom has the right to freedom of speech in Tom's world.


I flag as inappropriate comments that spread unfounded rumors against me, and I will keep doing that as it violates the posting rules of The Hill.


Then how do you explain flagging posts such as:
“Do you really want to go there Tom? Really?”
“The donation referred to is the one by the Heartland Institute Institute to the ICSC in 2007. This is verified in their Form 990…a government record that can’t be deleted. Perhaps you made donor information confidential after this embarrassing revelation?”
“You’re a mechanical engineer, not someone with a PhD, no matter how many times someone erroneously introduces you as “Dr.” and you fail to correct them. Why don’t you correct them Tom”.
Another was a list of negative reviews from Carleton students you taught. There are many other replies to your posts that were based on veritable facts yet they were flagged also.
How are these flagged posts “unfounded rumours” when they are based on facts Tom?

This comment was deleted.


comments like this just poison the debate.

Evan Jones II

Ahh, Tommie is so sensitive...LOL

 This comment was deleted.


flagged as inappropriate for the reason stated above.


Again Tom Harris is stacking the deck by censoring posts he doesn't like.

Evan Jones II
Seems that there is more truth in jest, Tommie.
Struck a nerve...patting myself on the back.
I asked a friend, "How can Tommie sleep at night doing what he does?"
"Simple" friend replied...."in silk sheets"
Mission accomplished...until next encounter

Kimo Krauthammer
I thought GOP politicians said you weren't even supposed to mention global warming in Florida. Just put your head in the sand, and it will go away, along with your house.

Of course, the irony is Harris is one of the deniers engaged in the "we only want a debate" claim.

Free Speech Must Apply To Climate Change Debate, by Tom Harris, March 6, 2016

If he really wants a debate, why is he censoring anyone who disagrees with him? This truly shows the lack of validity in his claims. The fact that he continues to deny his connections to the fossil fuel and tobacco industry is another one:

FYI, my organization, the International Climate Science Coalition, is not right-wing (our participants come from across the political spectrum), is not funded by "big oil," and are not lobbyists or "shills" for industry of any short. I have never worked as a PR rep for any company or sector.
Tom Harris

Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada

Really? Take a look at the facts: Tom Harris - Paid Shill

Or here: Tom Harris (Canadian engineer/PR Specialist)

You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. I would say the company Harris is keeping in the picture reflects poorly, except I'm not sure it doesn't reflect poorly on them that they are keeping company with Harris.

I make the offer to anyone who gets their comments deleted by Harris. Send them to me and I will publish them in a post that Harris, or anyone else, will be unable to delete. Here are some examples of posts Harris had deleted. Click on the image to expand them:

Keep up the good work, Tom. You're making deniers everywhere look the way they truly are - bad.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice Extent Continues to Decrease

September 2016 saw a tie for the second lowest Arctic sea ice extent ever recorded. The minimum extent, occurring on September 10th this year, was 4.14 million square kilometers. NSIDC said this was tied for second lowest extent with the 2007 minimum of 4.154 million square kilometers, which occurred on September 18, 2007. That doesn't look like a tie to me, but the people at NSIDC are the experts and the ones who get to decide - so a tie it is.

The fact that the extent was so low is important, but we are more concerned with a trend than a single datum point. And, the trend is not good.

Source: NSIDC
NSIDC reports the September minimum extent is declining at a rate of 87,200 square kilometers per year (13.3% per decade). If this rate continues, we will see an ice free Arctic on a regular basis starting some time in the mid-2060s (4.14 million square kilometers divided by 87,200 square kilometers per year = 47.5 years).  Of course, as we can see by the graph above, the actual extent varies considerably from year-to-year. Therefore, we can expect to see an isolated case of an ice-free Arctic before that time.

But, we still haven't examined the most important aspect of the sea ice. The fact is, the Arctic sea ice extent has a downward trend for every month of the year. Over time, the sea ice extent is getting smaller every year for every month of the year. Most disturbingly, this is even true for March, when the maximum ice extent normally occurs:

Source: NSIDC

This year's maximum was the lowest every recorded at 14.52 million square kilometers on March 24, 2016. The average extent for March was the second lowest average, after only March 2015. The maximum extent is declining at a rate of 42,100 square kilometers per year (2.7 percent per decade). At that rate, we will see an Arctic Ocean that never freezes over within 350 years. Hopefully, we'll take actions before then and prevent that from happening. But, the very fact that we need to discuss it at all is disturbing. 

One of the things that is lost in the discussion is the fact that the planet's axial tilt is not changing with global warming. We are still tilted at 23.5 degrees relative to the ecliptic plane. This means the poles each have one sunrise and one sunset per year, spending six months in darkness during their respective winters. The orbital mechanics causing winter have not changed. So, how is it the sea ice maximum extent is decreasing? We still have the same amount of darkness as before, that hasn't changed. So, why is the ice extent decreasing?

Of course, the anti-science people make various claims. One person, in a comment on this website, recently said the ice extent isn't decreasing at all. This person stated the minimum occurred in 2012 and has been increasing ever since. In response to that, I encourage everyone to take a look at the two graphs above. Not only do both show a clear downward trend, but they show this trend has continued in recent years when you leave out the anomalous year of 2012. Selecting one year and using that as the only datum point is the absolute extreme case of cherry-picking.

Other claims are that it isn't global warming that is responsible for this decrease,but natural weather variations, most commonly the Arctic Oscillation (AO). This shows just how little science the anti-science people understand. Here is a plot of the AO over time:

Source: NOAA
When the AO is in a positive phase, winds circulate around the Arctic and trap cold air masses in the north. When it is in a negative phase, the winds weaken and the cold air mass can move southward and be replaced by warm air moving in. The claim is the AO has been mostly negative and this is what is causing the warming in the Arctic. But, as you can see, the AO switches back and forth with a great deal of variability. So, how is it that this accounts for the loss of sea ice?

The fact is, sea ice extent is decreasing on a regular trendline. This cannot bode well for the climate, the environment and for us.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

More Legal Problems for the Fossil Fuel Industry

A lawsuit has been filed against ExxonMobil in federal court in Massachusetts. The lawsuit deals with a facility owned by ExxonMobil that is vulnerable to raising sea levels and which Exxon failed to properly account for when building the facility. This is significant. In other legal proceedings, Exxon has used the defense that it knew about climate change and has never denied it. Now, it is in the situation where it failed to address the dangers from climate change, the same climate change it claims it always knew about and never denied, and this inaction has put coastal areas at risk. By the way, this inaction also put the assets of shareholders at risk. The SEC might be interested in that.

So, tell us Exxon. Which is it? It didn't know about climate change and that's why it didn't take proper actions to safeguard its facilities? Or, it knew all along and didn't care.

Oh, by the way, there are lots more facilities that are at risk and many more companies that could be held liable. It's getting interesting. Wouldn't it be poetic justice if Exxon and other fossil fuel companies end up having to spend billions of dollars fixing facilities because they refused to address climate change?