Response to Shane

September 13, 2010 Updated: September 13, 2010

To the Editor,

Joel Shane asserts in his response "‘Oil is safe’ Real Message Behind Tom Harris Letter" to my article, "No Consensus Among Scientists on the Cause of Climate Change," both published by The Epoch Times, that I wrote "it is 'ridiculous' for scientists to claim that man is involved in climate change.” I did not.

I wrote that the statement of David Suzuki and Faisal Moola that “research of close to 98 per cent of the world's climate scientists” … “shows humans are contributing to rapidly increasing global average temperatures that threaten our future” is ridiculous. Anyone who is familiar with the field knows that only a minority of climate scientists even study human influence, so, yes, the Suzuki/Moola statement is absurd.

Shane asserts that I imply “we shouldn’t worry about taking responsibility for changing how we consume fossil fuels.” I didn’t even address the issue. Like most sensible people, I strongly support a reduction of air, land and water pollution and the conservation of natural resources. However, that we are significantly impacting global climate is unknown with many leading scientists concluding we are not.

I also said nothing about the corporate funding sources of The David Suzuki Foundation, something anyone can see in their annual reports, and I did not attack the integrity of Suzuki or Moola. Yet Shane essentially accuses me of being dishonest and having vested interests that shape my messages and even managed to slip in a tobacco connection.

I have only one tobacco connection—in 1985, I petitioned then Transport Minister John Crosby to ban smoking on medium and long haul flights since research indicated that side-stream smoke impairs the visual acuity of pilots landing at night.

Aside from publicizing the 10 funders of a climate science news conference in 2002 (which included two Order of Canada philanthropists and yes, a couple of energy companies), financial supporters of my work on environmental issues have always been confidential. The reasons for this are obvious—no one wants to be harassed for supporting alternatives to the viewpoints of extremists.

Consider how activists intensely harassed those connected with the BC forestry industry, suppliers and customers included. When people donate to help ICSC bring a more realistic, apolitical perspective to the climate debate, the last thing they want is for their support to be made public.

As someone who completed post graduate studies in thermo-fluid sciences (M. Eng. and PhD courses), spent over three decades working professionally in science and technology, and now teaches a second year climate science course at Carleton University, I have a responsibility to speak out when I see obvious mistakes in the assertions of activists.

For Shane to dismiss me as a PR person paid to do the bidding of “giant oil firms” is as illogical as it is offensive since, aside from what he is able to pick up off the Web, he knows nothing about my motivations at all.


Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.