Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tom Harris Employs McCarthyism Scare Tactics

My favorite fossil fuel shill has stooped to a new low in a recent op/ed piece by comparing people who support business and science to Soviet sympathizers and calling them 'useful idiots.'

Here is the response I submitted:

Harris resorts to McCarthyism

Re: OP/Ed: The climate scare’s ‘useful idiots’, Sep 17

Tom Harris is sinking to a new low. It is a common tactic among those denying climate change to denigrate climate scientists and anyone accepting the science. Amazingly, anyone who promotes or accepts climate science is somehow a ‘liberal’ without any possible knowledge of the person’s political beliefs or affiliations. Now, anyone who is both pro-business and pro-science is a ‘useful idiot’ and is compared to Soviet sympathizers. You have to wonder what is Mr. Harris’ motive and objective here. We can’t be sure because Mr. Harris refuses to reveal any of his funding sources, but he has a long history of being affiliated with fossil fuel and tobacco and there is ample evidence ICSC is supported by the fossil fuel industry.

What is less amazing is how he then uses this McCarthyism scare tactic to introduce false claims. For instance, discussing the effects of the CPP on global warming, he states, “The Chamber correctly concludes, “it’s essentially undetectable.”” Of course, what they don’t want to tell you is how much of an increase there will be without the CPP.  We are already almost 1.5 degrees (.81 C) above the 20th century average and the global temperature is increasing rapidly. 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. 2015 will smash that record.
Also, Mr. Harris fails to discuss the other effects of the CPP, as listed by the EPA (http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-overview-clean-power-plan):
·  Within this larger context, the Clean Power Plan itself is projected to contribute significant pollution reductions, resulting in important benefits, including:
  • Climate benefits of $20 billion
  • Health benefits of $14-$34 billion
  • Net benefits of $26-$45 billion
·  Because carbon pollution comes packaged with other dangerous air pollutants, the Clean Power Plan will also protect public health, avoiding each year:
  • 3,600 premature deaths
  • 1,700 heart attacks
  • 90,000 asthma attacks
  • 300,000 missed work days and school days
The fact is, the CPP and clean energy are good for the public and for the economy. What they are bad for is the fossil fuel industry, Mr. Harris’ customers. This explains the increasingly shrill rhetoric coming from his fossil fuel advocacy group.
I wonder, how many of the readers of his op/ed feel as though being pro-science somehow puts you in the same category as Soviet sympathizers. Do you feel that if you are both pro-business and pro-science you are a ‘useful idiot’? Why would Mr. Harris resort to those kinds of tactics? And, more importantly, why would you bother to listen to him? McCarthy got his power by creating fear with lies and smear tactics. He was defeated by ignoring him. The fossil fuel anti-science crowd is doing the same thing by spreading lies and using smear tactics. They need to be treated the same way as McCarthy. Ignore them.
Dr. Christopher Keating is a professor of physics and does research in climate change and planetary geophysics. He is the author of two books on climate change and writes the blog Dialogues on Global Warming. He also issued the $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge which ran through July 2014.

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