Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Irrelevent Tom Harris: The Future of Denialism

Tom Harris is a well-known paid shill for the fossil fuel and tobacco industries.  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 StewardshipProject (NRSP), which was controlled by energy business lobbyists. He was the Director of Operations for High Park Group (HPG), a fossil fuel PR agency, and worked for APCO Worldwide which promoted tobacco interests. He is also affiliated with the anti-science Heartland Institute which promotes tobacco interests and is funded by the fossil fuel industry (FFI) 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?).

According to, ICSC is linked to the following fossil fuel supported organizations (organizations with an * after their names are known to receive funding from ExxonMobil):

The Heartland Institute*;
Science and Public Policy Institute;
American Council on Science and Health*;
International Policy Network - North America*;
Cooler Heads Coalition;
Tech Central Science Foundation*;
Australian Science Coalition;
Institute for Public Affairs;
Competitive Enterprise Institute*;
George C. Marshall Institute*;
New Zealand Climate Science Coalition;
and the Fraser Institute*

All of these organizations are known to receive funding from the fossil fuel industry, many times via Donors Trust or the Heartland Institute. In other words, the organizations paying ICSC are all paid by the fossil fuel industry.

In his role as executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), Mr. Harris is paid to put editorials in as many media sources as he can with the goal of providing false information with the express purpose of deceiving the public into not supporting any actions that may impact the profits of his employers in the fossil fuel industry. At first glance, it would seem the FFI is getting their money's worth. By my count, Tom Harris has written or co-written articles that have appeared in over 20 news outlets since the beginning of October. They even hosted an alternative meeting in Paris during the COP21 conference.

But, let's take a closer look. These articles have appeared in important news outlets such as the North Korean Times (yes, THAT North Korea), the Uzbekistan Newsnet, Pagosa Daily Post, Your Houston News, the Malay Mail, the Lethbridge Herald, Daily Inter Lake, and Mothers Against Wind Turbines. I don't view any of these as being relevant sources of outreach.

And, when we actually read his articles (a really unpleasant exercise of wading through lies, false arguments, and deception), we find increasingly shrill claims and statements. Along the way, he made gems of statements such as "I have never worked as a PR rep for any company or sector (see his resume above) (Munroe News Star),  "...the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense." (Yes, it is and no one is making any such claim. So, why is Mr. Harris claiming someone is?) (Westmoreland County Times), and "Coal sector workers ... must demand that their leaders defend them properly."  (The coal industry probably has the worst record of any industry since the slave days of abusing its employees. Why would coal workers turn to the industry leaders?" (Daily Inter Lake).  

And, how about that Paris meeting? I saw only one report in the news media (yes, only one). That article stated there was  an audience of "about 35 mostly greying, white, middle-aged men, and a handful of women." Seriously? COP21 had representatives from 195 different countries, and the deniers can get only 35 individuals? I'm going to guess that most of them were the people hosting the conference.

Now, he may be facing criminal charges in Canada as a result of his actions.

Mr. Harris is taking on the appearance of someone who has fallen to the wayside and knows it. But, he shouldn't feel lonely. All of the other FFI lobbyists are right there with him.

The message is clear. No one is interested and no one is listening.

Maybe ExxonMobile should ask for it's money back.

the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense. - See more at:
the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense. - See more at:
the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense. - See more at:

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