LETTER: Climate Lobby members should follow founder’s advice

Reader accused by other readers of being a big oil lobbyist responds.

Re: “Harris’ letter a lot of hot air,” May 27

It is vital that everyone involved in the climate debate encourage leaders in science, engineering, economics, and public policy to contribute to the public discussion. At stake are trillions of dollars, countless jobs, and, if people like Citizens’ Climate Lobby founder and president Marshall Saunders are right, the fate of the environment itself.

So it is a tragedy that because the debate is now riddled with censorship and personal attacks, many experts are afraid to comment publicly. Saunders should consider whether some of his Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers are exacerbating this problem.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby assert on their website that they “believe in respect for all viewpoints, even for those who would oppose us.” Former NASA scientist and now Citizens’ Climate Lobby advisory board Member Dr. James Hansen writes “Founder Marshall Saunders espouses respect and love for political opponents of a carbon fee …”

So how well did Citizens’ Climate Lobby members, Jan Slakov, Laura Sacks, Michael Jessen, and Kate Polle follow this approach in their May 27 letters to the editor?

They accused me of being part of a public relations effort to mislead the public about climate science. In an apparent attempt to “disgrace the messenger” they linked me to industry campaigns in the tobacco and the hydrocarbon fuels sectors.

The suggestion that my opinion is for sale is seriously offensive, and begs the question: how does this fulfil Saunders’ goal of “respect and love” for opponents?

It does not matter who funds us. All that matters is whether what we are saying is correct or not. If funding sources did matter, then what does Citizens’ Climate Lobby have to say about the David Suzuki Foundation having accepted donations from the oil and gas sector? Why is Citizens’ Climate Lobby apparently not concerned that most climate scientists are employed by organizations that promote climate alarm? These researchers obviously have a direct interest in supporting their employers’ point of view.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s charges against me are unjustified anyways. They could not possibly know who the International Climate Science Coalition’s donors are since they have been confidential since I started as executive director in 2008. And I have always opposed smoking; both my grandfather and aunt died from smoking excessively. As an airworthiness engineer at Transport Canada, I contributed to getting smoking banned on long haul flights for safety reasons.

Saunders should remind Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers that passionate belief in their cause does not give them license to abuse opponents.

Tom Harris

Executive Director

International Climate Science Coalition

Ottawa

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