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Climate Science Truths abused

Re: "Nothing environmentally friendly about Conservatives' budget," column by Tom Harris, of the Climate Science Coalition -- June 9

It is time to declare war on the contemptible oil industry shills who invent the blatantly fraudulent climate change denial "science."

Their arguments are fodder for journalists such as Lorrie Goldstein and Peter Worthington of Sun Media.

How can we expect the public to see the difference between people like Tom Harris and the legitimate scientists who analyse the evidence? It is not difficult if we can start with the two basic truths that are the foundation of the science of humancaused global warming.

Truth 1: The "greenhouse effect" caused almost entirely by water vapour, reduces the amount of heat being lost to space. It has always been with us and is vital to our survival.

Without it, the Earth would be a ball of ice.

Human-caused warming, however, is the gradual enhancement of the greenhouse effect, caused by increasing concentrations in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The vast majority of scientists recognize the latter is a problem that must be addressed.

Truth 2: Carbon dioxide has a measurable property, the way in which it absorbs and re-emits heat energy, which makes it a potent greenhouse gas. This property is totally separate from, and unrelated to, its beneficial role in photosynthesis in plants.

Some abuse these two truths. For example, Harris tries to trick us with the false logic that carbon dioxide is good for plants, so it cannot be harmful.

The best analogy for his reasoning: "Your body requires calories, so fat and sugar cannot be harmful. Eat all you want. Weight gain has some advantages, too."

Tom Harris, who claims to be a scientist, was an energy industry lobbyist, but now has moved into full-time climate change denial. His "International Climate Science Coalition" is a group run by Harris and a few like-minded people, some of the same people featured on two other Canadian websites: friendsofscience and climatechange101.

This incestuous trio of sites all contain logic tricks such as the above. They totally confuse the total greenhouse effect (good) and humancaused enhancement of that effect (bad and getting worse). Just look at the quiz on both the Harris and "Climate Change 101" websites, attributed to Harris and Tim Ball of friendsofscience. It presents these same distortions and other trick questions based on irrelevant climate facts, suggesting by innuendo that the real science is not logical.

If you search for climate information on the Internet, you will find lots of good science, perhaps even more climate change fraud. Just remember to use the test of the two basic truths.

Len Wiseman Lively

Tom Harris’ bogus article is here.