Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tom Harris the Fraudulent Scientist

unjustifiably claiming or being credited with particular accomplishments or qualities.
Synonyms: dishonest, cheating, swindling, corrupt, criminal, illegal, unlawful, illicit

Now we can say for absolute certainty - Tom Harris is a fraud. The subtitle on this posting should be "How many lies can one man tell in 30 minutes?"

Take a look at this remarkable Skype interview he did on May 19, 2017. It's remarkable in the number of false statements he makes. It is also remarkable in that he allows himself to be called a scientist and a climate expert. He is neither. Harris is a mechanical engineer and a lobbyist. He does not have credentials as a scientist, has never performed as a scientist, and is not currently working as a scientist. In short, Harris is allowing himself to be unjustifiably credited with qualities he does not possess. That is the definition of fraud and it is not the first time he has done this. He is a repeat offender, so we have a pattern of behavior.

If you are not fully aware of Harris' resume, you can read a lot more about him at the clearing house web page: Tom Harris Paid Shill

There are so many false and misleading statements in this video that it's hard to list them all, but I'll comment on some. I apologize for the length of this post, but there are just too many lies in this interview to let them go unmentioned.

At the 2:00 mark, Harris states, "Even if you believe we are causing an enormous problem, which I don't, ..." 
Response: This is from a man who has stated he has never denied climate change. 

At the 2:50 mark, "We don't actually know we are causing significant climate change anyway. We have not seen a significant increase, or decrease for that matter, in the global average temperature, which they calculate, it's not a real thing, it's just a statistic. We don't actually see any change since about 2000."
Response: Once again, Harris is denying the existence of global warming and climate change. But, why doesn't Harris tell you that 16 of the 17 hottest years ever recorded have happened since 2000? And, why is Harris trying to cherry-pick the data and not discuss the whole temperature record? You can make any point you want, if you limit the discussion to only the data you want to discuss and eliminate the rest.  

And, don't forget, Harris just stated that temperature is not a real thing. Maybe he needs to tell the oceans, the ice, the birds, the fish, plants, the... well, you get the picture. Everything in nature thinks temperature is a real thing and that it's changing.

At 3:15 "The models are not working."
Response: Really? This is one of the most often quoted lies in the denier-sphere, and one of the most easily debunked. Read about climate models here. You can read my posting on this topic at: Let's discuss climate models. Meanwhile, take a look at this graphic:

Source: Benestad and Schmidt

This is figure 2 from the paper Solar Trends and Global Warming, by Benestad and Schmidt. The blue line is the model output and the red line is the observed global average temperature (<T>). As you can see, the model and measured values are in very good agreement.

At 3:25. Harris goes off a diatribe that addressing climate change is costing $1 billion per day. He says this doesn't make sense when there are many problems that could use a $1 billion per day. 
Response: Take note, he doesn't say anything about where this $1 billion figure comes from and where any the money is going. Not to mention that this is an irrelevant discussion. How does the cost of addressing climate change affect the science? It doesn't. So, why is Harris raising this issue if not to create an emotional response in the listener?

The $1 billion per day figure is actually outdated and probably comes from a 2013 report you can read about here. Interestingly, this same report discusses how in that same year, the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry amounted to $523 billion - more than $1.4 billion per day. Wow! We could address a lot of problems simply by cutting subsidies for the fossil fuel industry! (In case you were wondering, the total amount of subsidies for the renewable energy industry was only $88 billion - about one-sixth as much.)

According to the GAO, the US federal government spent $24 billion on climate change in 2014 - much less than what Harris wants you to believe. When he talks about this $1 billion dollars, that includes things like crop damage (which we can't do anything about), damage due to rising sea level and storms (which we are stuck with), spreading disease (which we are stuck with), etc. In other words, there is no decision to be made regarding spending money on climate change. When a storm wipes out your house or business or crops, you don't get to decide if you're going to spend that money. It already disappeared. So, why doesn't Harris talk about this, unless he wants to deceive?

And, he fails to ever address the coming cost of climate change that we will be stuck with if we don't do something now. After all, the reason we have to address climate change today is because people like Tom Harris worked so hard to prevent us from addressing it in the past.

At 3:50 the host asks Harris about the risk that the US will lose as much as 25% of its sovereignty due to the Paris Agreement. Harris never actually confirms, or denies, this figure. But, after stating the Paris Agreement is not a legally enforced treaty, he goes on about how environmentalists can use agreements like this to engage in legal actions in an attempt to force the government to conform to environmental laws. 
Response: Well, the reason we have to go to court is because people like Harris work so hard to help people break the law. If Harris, and people like him, wouldn't work so hard to block actions to address the problem there wouldn't be a need for legal actions. Having our own courts is not a threat to our sovereignty. This is a false, strawman argument.

At 8:10, Harris goes on about how helping people in the future is "immoral". 
Response: This is a simply mind-boggling statement. If nothing else, remember those people in the future are us. We're not only talking about people 100 years from now, we're talking about helping people tomorrow. Tomorrow is the also in the future. Let's not even get started on the issue of taking care of our own children. According to Harris, helping anyone beyond today is immoral. That's because the only thing that matters to Harris are the profits of his employers - the fossil fuel industry, especially the coal industry.

At 13:20, the host goes on about how 'global warming, or is it climate change this week...It seems like it changes every single week.' 
Response: That's because this guy is more interested in denying science than trying to understand it. Climate change is not another name for global warming - it's a different issue. They are both what they sound like - global warming is about the rising temperature while climate change addresses all of the changes in the climate, including, but not limited to, global warming. For instance, acidification of the oceans is not global warming, but it is climate change. This was shortly after this same host said Trump has 'been excellent' in regards to environmental laws. How is allowing coal companies to dump their poisonous waste in our drinking water 'excellent'? When you meet people who say things like what this guy said it merely shows they are truly anti-science and not the least bit interested in the facts or the science. They've made their minds up and no amount of logic or scientific evidence will ever change it. It is a mental illness.

At 15:20, the host, after making all sorts of bizarre statements, says to Harris, "I'm not the scientist here, you are." Harris does nothing to correct him. 
Response: As I said earlier, Harris is not a scientist and never has been. By allowing himself to be addressed as a scientist, he is committing fraud by allowing himself to be credited with accomplishments and qualities he doesn't possess.

At 15:40, Harris makes a mind-numbing statement, "Actually, warming is beneficial." 
Response: I'm not going to go into all of the damage that is resulting from global warming and climate change. I'm merely going to point you to Harris' comment about how we're spending $1 billion per day on climate change and there are other problems that could benefit from that money. Amazingly hypocritical!

Immediately after this statement, Harris produces the report from the Nonscientific Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The NIPCC is a completely debunked pseudoscience organization. I like to compare them to the horoscope in the daily paper - they are both equally scientifically valid. If you are using the NIPCC as your reference, you might as well use your daily horoscope as one. Notice how Harris always refers to this organization and it's publication, but he never produces any science. That's because there is no valid science to support the NIPCC, or Harris, either.

18:40 - 'The fear of warming is a bit silly."
Response: Harris' logic is that if one guy doesn't have to shovel snow from his driveway, global warming must be good. He's wrong. Take a look:

17:10 "Climatologist Dr. Tim Ball, our science advisor..." 
17: 15 "Dr. Tim Ball, he's a well renowned climatologist..."
Response: Tim Ball is not a climatologist, he's a geographer. Harris is committing fraud again by giving unearned attributes to someone else. Ball has never worked in climate science, was never a member of a climate science department and has never earned any credentials as a climatologist.

According to the courts, where Ball was able to present all of his evidence, Ball "never held a reputation in the scientific community as a noted climatologist and authority on global warming." 

And, referring to Ball as 'The Plaintiff", the court said: 

"The Plaintiff's credentials and credibility as an expert on the
issue of global warming have been repeatedly disparaged in the media;


"The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

17:30 Harris states the entire Arctic archipelago is covered by only one weather station.
Response: This is an outright lie.  This web page listed below lists FIVE stations in CANADA ALONE that are either permanently manned or remotely operated. 

And, Harris makes no mention whatsoever of the satellites that orbit and take measurements on a continuous basis. This statement, and his claim about rising Arctic temperature is a grotesque lie on his part.

I could stop there because I have made my point - Harris is a fraud and an anti-science propagandist. But, this is too much fun, so let's keep going.

Starting at about 18:00 he goes on about historical climate change and tries to make the analogy with today's climate change. The climate has always changed, therefore any change we might be experiencing is merely natural.
Observe the false logic. What Harris says is like saying "Pneumonia kills people. Bullets kill people. Pneumonia is a naturally occurring disease. Therefore, bullets are a naturally occurring disease." 
See that the real experts have to say about the natural versus manmade climate change.

1830: The temperature record is "only a few decades."
Response: This is another one of his self-defeating statements because he was just talking about the temperature over the centuries. How can he discuss temperature and climate change over centuries, millennia, and even millions of years, if the temperature record is only 'a few decades'? 

Actually, our current instrument record goes back to around 1850. But, the scientific record (using temperature proxies), goes back even further. Using ice cores, we have a good record going back about 800,000 years. Geologic records give us data going back millions of years.

18:50 Harris discusses the standard deviation of the temperature record and states that it could have gotten colder in 2016 instead of setting a record high.
Response: This is one of those truly deceptive statements Harris loves to make because he thinks everyone is too stupid to check his claims. The only possible way for Harris' claims about the temperature record could occur is if you accept that the actual temperature is at the lower two standard deviations (or more) point. Two standard deviations is about 95%. In other words, there is a 95% chance, in this case, that the temperature is higher than the two standard deviation mark. Harris would require every year to hit the two standard deviation mark. Over a mere 16 years (since 2000), the chances of hitting the lower bound is about 1 in 4.4 x 1031. The odds are impossible.

Oh, even if you're interested in only one year, the odds of the higher standard deviations is equally valid. In other words, Harris is making a point that the amount of error in the measurements could be negative without including that the error might be positive. It is equally possible that the temperature was actually higher. Strange how he left that bit out.

19:10 The host states that global warming is merely hot air coming from liberal's mouths. Then he goes into a diatribe that global warming is a grand conspiracy for people to have control over others.
Response: I always find statements like this to be almost hilarious in their stupidity. This guy just made a blanket statement about billions of people and every climate scientist on the planet without knowing a single thing about them. In case you didn't know, that is called bigotry. If you ever had any doubt at all that people like this have no interest in the evidence, this should clear it up for you. According to this guy's reasoning, science changes depending on your political views. And, for the record, I am FAR from being a liberal. 

19:40 Harris states carbon emissions from fossil fuel are not pollution.
Response: Lots has been said on this topic. Here's my comments:

Of course, Harris refers to the pseudoscience NIPCC at this point. See my comments above about that. In short, the only reason Harris would refer to them is because he has no valid science to support his claims. But, that has never even slowed him down. Don't let the science or the facts get in the way. He also refers to the Idsos, another debunked group of fraudulent pseudoscientists who are on the payroll of the Heartland Institute. The reality is, global warming is leading to reduced crop yields and even the crops that we are getting have less nutritional value. Oh, don't forget that CO2 is not selective. If it is food for plants we like, it is also food for plants we don't like, such as weeds in the farm fields and invasive species. Again, Harris never mentions any of that.

21:40 Most of that billion dollars a day goes to alternative energy to try and stop climate change. This is all part of the claim that climate change is just a great conspiracy to control the world because if you control energy, you control the world.
Response: As we've already seen, alternative energy got about $88 billion in 2014 while the FFI got $523 billion  And, Harris doesn't address the fact that energy is already controlled and that list of people includes his employers (Hmmm. Maybe that's why he didn't want to mention it.) Energy is controlled by a few corporations and organizations - such as OPEC, ExxonMobil, Shell, etc. And, who is funding all of the denier activities, such as Harris? The fossil fuel industry. The same ones who already control the world's energy supplies. 

21:50 Harris once again denies the existence of climate change.

22: 10 Harris goes on a lecture about coal.
Response: Harris never mentions all of the damage from burning coal. He never discusses acid rain, arsenic in the water supplies, mercury emissions, particulate air pollution, health hazards, poisonous ash from the power plants, or any of the other issues associated with mining and burning coal. He never mentions something like the study discussed here:

Harris wants you to believe Obama is the only reason coal is struggling. The reality is that coal is struggling for economic reasons. It's simply too expensive.

22:45 The host states, "It is very refreshing I guess is the word I'm looking for, to talk to someone that is a scientist, that is a professional, that knows a lot about you know global, uh, global climate and climate change and things like that..." Harris only smiles.
Response: Just like when the host called Harris a scientist at the  15:20 mark, this statement is not true and Harris did nothing to correct him. Again, Harris has engaged in fraud.

This host the goes on a mindless diatribe about how he wants clean air, but he doesn't want to do it at the "barrel of a gun." His prior statements show this claim is false. Remember, he already said Trump's action on the environment were 'excellent.' He is not interested in clean air, he only wants his own clean air and the rest of the world is expendable. And, by making statement about having to do it at gun point is nothing more than the rantings of a lunatic. Where, and when, has anyone pushed environmental laws on the public at gunpoint? No instances of this actually happening are provided. 

And, while he states he doesn't want any of this done with the government's 'heavy hand', he never mentions how it is market forces, not the government, that is changing the energy industry. No government 'heavy hand,' just the heavy hand of the market.

24:00 Harris goes into a discussion of a great conspiracy to make developed nations, "especially the United States," pay for damages in the developing countries caused by extreme weather, citing an example of the Philippines suing for damage caused by a tsunami.
Response. Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes, not climate change. Once again, Harris doesn't let the science get in the way of lies and deception.

Instead of making conspiracy claims, maybe Harris should simply discuss how this mechanism allows for a civilized and orderly way for grievances to be addressed. According to Harris, that's a bad thing.

25:20 Harris discusses Micronesia suing a coal company and states, "because they're having dangerous sea level rise."
Response: The longer you let this guy talk, the more he hangs himself. He has already stated there is no climate change and its 'silly' to be concerned about rising temperatures. How can there be 'dangerous sea level rise' if there's nothing to worry about and a little warming is "good for us?"

So, there you have it. This was a lot of fun and I hope you've learned something about Harris in particular and climate change deniers in general.

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