Climate Change Deniers Should Be In Prison...

Thom Hartmann asks climate change denier Paul Driessen, Senior Policy Analyst-Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)
Website:, why he should not be thrown in prison for lying to the American public about climate change.


TomHarrisICSC's picture
TomHarrisICSC 3 years 47 weeks ago

Thom, why did you act in such an immature fashion with Paul Dreissen? Do you really think being rude and agressive towards your guests, continually interrupting them and misrepresenting what they are saying, you will win converts to your point of view? Note how polite Mr. Driessen was, no matter how you goaded him and called him names. Shame.

Mr. Driessen should have asked you, "why should YOU, Thom, not be thrown in prison for misleading (I won't say lying since you might actually believe what you are saying) the American public about climate change and promoting policies that kill millions of Africans, destroys hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US, and leads to massive increases in electricy costs, mostly affecting the poor of America?

The answer, of course, is that you live in America, not Saudi Arabia, and so you enjoy freedom of expression, even when the point of view being expressed is not one others agree with. Voltaire once said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.” Do you agree with Voltaire? Or are you siding with the princes of Saudi Arabia on this?

Here is an except from our press release

"The international focus on reducing CO2 emissions makes it more difficult for developing countries to finance the construction of vitally-needed power plants," said Leyland. "For example, South Africa was able to secure a $3.9 billion loan in 2010 to build the Medupi coal-fired power station only because developing nation representatives on the World Bank board voted for approval. The U.S. and four European nation members abstained from approval because of their worries about climate change. They seemed to want South Africans to use wind and solar power instead, sources too expensive for widespread use even in the wealthiest nations."

The next day we issued the press release at

I'd be happy to debate you any time, Thom. Game?

Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (Mech.)
Executive Director,
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

PFWELLS's picture
PFWELLS 3 years 47 weeks ago

One of several books in my personal library has the title "Climate Change in Prehistory" by William James Burroughs, second edition. It is a 300 page book on the history of climate change over 100,000 years and includes 18 pages totalling some 280 scientific references.

A bumper sticker on my car reads "When does the climate NOT change?"

Anyone who calls me a climate change denier obviously does not know what they are talking about, so I just ignore them. The climate changes (note the plural) we are experiencing are nothing unusual, contrary to all the rhetoric. The reality of the big picture is that we are approaching the next ice age and our only option is to adapt. There is no way we are going to be able to stop it.

econdemocracy's picture
econdemocracy 3 years 46 weeks ago

Pfwells, is this some kind of joke? Like, suppose someone is accused of having started a fire, charged with arson, and imagine the suspect responds by saying to the police:

"who me? I didn't do it. I can show you that over the last 100,000 years - most of it before I was even born! - there were lots of fires. How silly are you police officers of claiming I committed arson. There have been fires going on since centuries before I was born, heck, since centuries before humans walked the Earth. Silly, incompetent cops, or maybe even in the payroll of some liberal think tank, you accuse me of arson when I can show you it's been happening, fires happening, for thousands even millions of years. Why the nerve of you, accusing me of arson"

Would you take that seriously? Of course not. But that's what you just did. No, really. It's exactly the logic you just used. Who are you trying to fool, yourself, or the rest of us? You just said you don't believe in human-caused climate change (which is sometimes called simply "climate change") and your evidence, your huge and supposedly impressive "evidence" is that the climate has "changed" in the past? Really?

Come on, you know perfectly well that the fact that fires have existed long before humans, in no way, shape, or form, does that rule out that, now that we do have people on this Earth, that someone can commit arson. You know that. The fact that the climate "changed" in the past (which the scientists, I want to assure you in case you're worried ,they are very well aware of that....) does not rule out in any way, shape, or form, that since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has placed a large role in changing the climate.

The fact that to save time people (on all sides) call it "climate change" --a term championed by a conservative operative, Frank Luntz saying it would sound less severe than Global Warming, so he pushed for the term Climate Change, by the way -- the fact folks on all sides don't usually use the longer phrase Anthropogenic Climate Change or Anthropogenic Global Warming, doesn't change a thing. A rose is a rose, whatever you call it. We can call it "Climate Beautification" or any other term, doesn't affect what it is, what is actually is, and that humans have played a big role..the science shows, is that climate has changed sharply since the Industrial Revolution.

CO2 levels have gone up from about 280ppm, to today's 400pm, in the blink of an eye geologically speaking - since the industrial revolution (and most of the increase since mid-1900s) which is the blink of an eye geologically. We know that the CO2 levels have fluctuated between about 180ppm and maybe 295ppm for the last 800,000 years....then in the blink of an eye (a mere 1/10 of 1 percents of that 800,000 year period would be 800 years, and the industrial revolution, how long ago did that start? It was only about 1/4 of that, of that 1/10 of 1 percent; only some 200 years ago) in that blink of an eye, shot up from 280ppm to today's 400ppm.

More evidence?

Analysis of how much human activities release, minus how much oceans and biosphere have absorbed, guess what? The numbers add up: they match that very increase from 280ppm to 400ppm.

As if that's not enough of a smoking gun, how about another one? Analysis of carbon isotopes show where the new carbon came from - "CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels or burning forests has quite a different isotopic composition from CO2 in the atmosphere" (RealClimate website by actual climate scientists) and the isotope ratios are a completely independent way to find a second smoking gun which shows, guess what? The extra CO2 came from burning fossil fuels/forests.

Another good website is SkepticalScience which has a list of top myths (like, isn't it the sun that is causing recent global warming? Well no, if the sun was the main factor, the warming would be during the day ,not at night. If it was greenhouse gasses, you'd expect the increase in temperature at night, to be larger than the increase in temperature during the day. The numbers were measured and, sure enough, temperatures have gone up by more, at night. So much for "it's all because of the sun") but it has many more myths, detailed explanations, links, actual citations of science papers, and more.

econdemocracy's picture
econdemocracy 3 years 46 weeks ago

"promoting policies that kill millions of Africans, destroys hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US, and leads to massive increases in electricy costs,"

That is one huge string of claims, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You gave none.

When scientists talk about climate, they have lots of evidence. As for your claims, first of all, reneewables in more and more parts of the country cost the same or LESS. So much for "increases in electricity costs" being a foregone conclusion that we're doomed to have if we actually work for a cleaner world.

But the problem goes deeper, and the hypocrisy. Aren't conservatives against "free-loaders"?

Why should a business "prosper" in part by dumping pollution into the Commons? The Commons aren't just some touchy feely thing that leftists use, it's what hard-nosed, for-profit competing businesses rely on every single day...including the major part of the Commons called the climate, that other businesses rely on. By externalizing costs onto both the public and other businesses by not paying for their dumping GHGs into the atmosphere, these oil-gas-coal based industries are free-loaders.

Worse, even Economics 101 is flunked by conservatives who claim to love market economics, by simply counting only *parts* of the balance sheet. No business would stay afloat - they would go bankrupt probably quickly too - if they had incompetent accountants who counted only some (but not other of the big) costs, or only some (but not others of the big revenues).

Well, for the "costs" of taking steps towards a cleaner environment including less pollution into the atmosphere, it simply flunks Economics 101 and Business 101 to count as "costs" only costs to polluters, and to skip most everything else.

This includes skipping not only the benefits (the other side of the balance sheet as it were) of protecting the environment, and polluting also miserably fails to count other *costs* - the costs of Business As Usual fossil fuel based dirty energy.

Like the cost of not taking action, letting more and more pollution accumulate. Those costs are not accounted for in the rhetoric of "oh my, the huge liberal costs of cleaning up the environment are under your bed, they're gonna get you!"

Not only children's health, and lung disease, but those for starters. Then the costs of rising sees that, surprise surprise, affect the poor that you say you care about. Bangladesh for example is very vulnerable to sea level rise, it's population is 160 million, to put that in perspective, as recently as 1950 the population of the United States was just 150 million. So Bangladesh is not small. And highly vulnerable to sea level rise, and is a very poor country. The same poor, low-income people which the "let's not lower business profits by demanding they stop being free-loaders and polluting our common atmosphere" crowd claims to care so much about.

That's just one (huge) example. A large fraction of Bangladesh would be underwater from the kind of modest sea level rise we'll get this century (and the sea doesn't stop rising then, ya know?) if we're lucky and avoid any nasty surprises.

But it's not the multi-billion dollar immensely powerful fossil fuel industry, or heavily polluting free-loader industries who make a profit on the back of cleaner industries by polluting shared common resources, it's not the powerful flat-earth "Free market" ideoogy that all regulation is bad (well, if it hurts profits of the powerful..regulating us little folks is "ok")'s not that, it's that they care oh so much about the poor...that's the ticket..