Letter: Even Exxon supports reducing greenhouse gases

Mr. Harris would benefit from briefly reviewing what Exxon says about pursuing their objectives in reducing greenhouse gases…

To the editor:

Tom Harris [Little Evidence greenhouseWarming Climate Leads to Forest Fires, Tom Harris letter to the editor of the Kelowna Capital News, Sept. 25] has added an unusual perspective on Angela Nagy’s assertion that there are many business opportunities available to innovators and entrepreneurs who have the ability to introduce legitimate green technologies and improvements to our economy, and, perhaps more importantly, to our environment.

Mr. Harris, who is affiliated with the much derided Heartland Institute, (he is listed as one of their “experts”) has seemingly cherry-picked some information from the UN IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] that questions whether or not the recent extreme weather phenomena are caused by climate change. Ostensibly, since there is a lack of ironclad proof of the connection, we are to quickly conclude that the UN IPCC has joined the Heartland Institute in its denial of human induced climate change and that we should just shut down all further business initiatives to mitigate climate change and drill baby, drill or, in B.C., frack baby, frack.

He goes on to make the point that efforts to reduce our carbon footprint is a waste of our money. Most unusual, indeed. Even a cursory Google search of the IPCC will reveal that they can get downright scary when they talk about the dire consequences of unabated anthropogenic climate change.

He also makes the point that we should be spending more money on adapting to the effects of climate change which may actually be a reasonable suggestion. The peculiar thing about this is that this makes more sense to those of us that suspect that the severe weather necessitates this kind of action. Harris argues that the severe weather consequences are not related to climate change but then tells us we should be spending gobs of our money bracing ourselves for the storm. Most unusual.

Harris’ raison d’etre seems to be ‘unusual.’ It gets him a lot of attention. I read his kind of slop like I’m looking at some kind of gory roadside carnage. Unusual to us—but all very usual coming from the same institute that was trying to tell us as late as the 1990s that cigarette smoke was not so terribly bad for our health. Before The Heartland Institute stopped disclosing their source of funds, they listed the who’s who of the oil industry and conservative sources including the Koch family of course. It’s also a little unusual to see that even ExxonMobile yanked their funding from these people because the oil company had at least some remaining vestiges of integrity that led them to stop funding groups that were skeptical of climate change.

Maybe Mr. Harris would benefit from briefly reviewing what Exxon says about pursuing their objectives in reducing greenhouse gases right on their own website (http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/current-issues/climate-policy/climate-policy-principles/overview):

• promoting energy efficiency

• deploying existing technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively

• supporting research and development of new low-emissions technologies and

• supporting climate research to help inform the ongoing policy response.

Although Mr. Harris scorns Ms. Nagy for not being “on the right side of this debate,” Exxon certainly doesn’t agree with him and neither do I.

Alan Monk, Kelowna