Tag Archives: Jonathan Kay

Tom Harris, Heartland and the 2007 Bali open letter to the U.N.

Tom Harris

There has been renewed scrutiny of climate contrarian PR specialist Tom Harris in the wake of a highly critical report on a controversial course Harris taught at Carleton University, most recently in 2011. Much of the current interest in Harris has naturally focused on his involvement with the Heartland Institute, itself very much in the news following the leak of detailed budget and fundraising plans (accompanied by a suspect two-page strategy memo).

Today I’ll take a close look at the beginning of the Harris-Heartland connection in 2007, based on Heartland’s publicly available 2007 tax declaration and December 2007 press releases, as well as the illuminating full recorded interview of Harris by Suzanne Goldberg of the Guardian. Taken together, these provide compelling evidence that Heartland funded Tom Harris’s Natural Resource Stewardship Project right around the time that Harris was organizing the Bali contrarian petition attacking climate science, part of a broader attempt by Heartland to disrupt the December 2007 UNFCCC conference.

National Post financial editor Terence Corcoran essentially provided Harris the sole (but very powerful) PR channel for the petition, while hiding Harris’s involvement, a fact that the Post has never publicly acknowledged to this day. Now that it turns out that the effort was likely funded by the Heartland Institute, the Post’s credibility has been compromised even further.

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National Post shocking turnaround: “Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause”

First, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  And then I checked the date at the top of the screen to make sure I hadn’t stumbled across a leftover April Fool’s joke.

But the date read “July 15, 2010”. And the headline of the National Post’s lead opinion piece still read forthrightly:

Bad science: Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause

The piece itself, by longtime Post columnist Jonathan Kay,  is as forthright an excoriation of “climate-change deniers” (his term) as I’ve read anywhere.  And, unlike previous (and very occasional) token AGW commentators, Kay is a National Post insider, who happens to be comment pages editor. Indeed, there are intriguing indications that the Post’s treatment of the climate change issue may be undergoing a shift, although it’s too early to say how far it will go.

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