Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mountain Ave. typing school provides platform for the Flat Earth Society ....


It's as if our note yesterday on the FreeP Editorial Board resulted in an immediate brain fart.

How else can you explain a big opinion piece from well-known and completely discredited climate change deniers in today's paper?

As we have stated before, it is not simply good enough to put up 'one side of the debate' on climate change when that side is represented by the tiniest fraction of climate change 'experts' and that side is made up of stalking horses for the oil industry who conceal their dirty and self-interested benefactors.

Tim Ball, one of the authors of today's piece, is well known locally as a former professor of geography at the University of Winnipeg (although he claims he was a climatology professor) and a long-time climate change denier. He is one of the infamous 61 signatories to a letter sent last year to Stephen Harper urging him to eschew the prevailing climate change science by the vast majority of experts in the field.

Ball is usually associated these days with the Calgary-based Friends of Science (FOS), a shell organization that has long been exposed as funded by the oil industry, including in reports in the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.

He has also been exposed for padding his resume, torquing his former position with the University of Winnipeg as "one of the first climatology PhDs in the world", before his early retirement in 1996, which is a ludicrous claim. He also regularly bills himself as "Climatologist and Prof Emeritus of Geography at the University of Winnipeg." He is in fact not listed in the U of W's roll of professors emeriti.

He also sued the Calgary Herald and CanWest for printing a truthful article about him. He is billed by the DeSmogBlog -- a leading watchdog source on climate change deniers -- as someone whose "credibility lies in shreds".

His co-author, Tom Harris, is head of an organization called the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP). The NRSP is controlled by the High Park Advocacy Group, a lobbying firm that specializes in the oil and natural gas industry.

It is becoming increasingly common for the fossil fuel lobby to take a page out of big tobacco's playbook and set up shell organizations to attempt to influence public opinion on climate change. It's clear the NRSP and FOS are false fronts for special interests in the oil industry.

Even very basic research by the FreeP Editorial Board would have easily dug up this stuff on Ball, for example, which is very well known.

To put up these stalking horse frauds on the editorial pages, whose game has been prominently exposed by independent research groups and the media, is completely unsupportable. It's a sham and terrible journalism. It does the Free Press readership a great disservice. It's complete amateur hour.

Mr. Ritchie, you have to do something.