Getting Ahead of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

by | Jan 21, 2020 |

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Earth Day was largely ignited by a spark that came off a railroad trestle across the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland that actually lit the river on fire in June of 1969. Less than a year later, in April 1970, the first Earth Day was launched. The annual event, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this April 22nd, has proven to be the most fertile place and time each year to grow one fraudulent fear-mongering claim after another.
As Nicolas Loris wrote in the Bangor Daily News on April 22, 2019,

“We should be thankful that the gloom and doom predictions made throughout the past several decades haven’t come true. Fear-mongering about explosive population growth, food crises and the imminent depletion of natural resources have been a staple of Earth Day events since 1970. And the common thread among them is that they’ve stirred up a lot more emotion than facts.”

It is easy to predict that this year’s Earth Day headlines will involve how little time we have to save the world from man-caused climate change. The coming disaster is supposedly being caused by our use of fossil fuels which have resulted in a carbon dioxide increase that is one ten thousandths of one percent of the air (yes, you read that right).
Last year’s Earth Day prompted Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute to dive into Ronald Bailey’s accumulation of Earth Day frauds at its 30th anniversary in 2000. It is more important now to revisit them, as most are long forgotten. When remembered they should help to make it clear to our readers that we have long been assaulted by environmental frauds and the climate delusion is just the latest. It may be the first, however, actually able to bring our society to it knees if action on it were to be implemented. Surely, an attempt to implement it will be made if any of the Democratic contenders for the Presidency are elected as it has been part of each of their campaign promises.
Our goal in the following is not simply to have you revisit the memory lane of fear-mongering frauds of the 1970s, but more importantly, to arm you with simple facts to share with people who buy into today’s alarm that life as we know it is in jeopardy.

Harvard biologist George Wald estimated in 1970 that if the world’s many environmental problems were not quickly addressed, civilization will end in as little as 30 years.

Washington University biologist Barry Commoner agreed with this estimate stating the Earth will no longer be suitable for human habitation. At the same time the New York Times editorial page warned that, unless man stopped pollution and conserved resources, intolerable deterioration and possible extinction was likely.
Perhaps the world champion of modern doom-saying is Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, first published in 1968. In the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle he said, “the death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” Ehrlich’s most alarmist prediction in 1970 was that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people including 65 million Americans would perish in what he called “the great die off.”
For this extreme, and unjustified, alarmism, he won the famous MacArthur genius award and became a frequent guest on the Johnny Carson show with annual dire predictions, none of which ever came true. He is still at it today 50 years later claiming all his predictions will come true; he has just been off on the timing.
Not only was Ehrlich wrong about the impact of population growth, population experts today predict a decline in world population in the last half of this century which will create a need to change our economic models. Due to amazing advances in agriculture, starvation has actually been wiped out across the globe.
In a 1970 issue of Life magazine, scientists reported that, by 1985, urban dwellers would have to wear gas masks because of air pollution. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time magazine that year that the build up of nitrogen in our atmosphere would filter out light making our land unusable for crops. Barry Commoner reported that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in our rivers causing freshwater fish to suffocate.
We all know that, even before the first Earth Day, we were told we would run out of oil well before the end of the 20th century. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American in 1970 showing we would run out of copper soon after the year 2000 and lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver likely before that. Of course, that has not happened.
The same year, Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute stated that he believed within 25 years as many as 75% of all species would be extinct. Our favorite nonsensical forecast is Kenneth Watt’s warning in a 1970 speech that “if present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000, twice what it would take to put us in a another ice age.”
Let’s keep these spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day in mind when we are bombarded this April with a few new frauds and the ever-present climate catastrophe.

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Dr. Jay Lehr and Mr. Tom Harris assert concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere is far too tiny to have a major impact. “…carbon dioxide increase that is one ten thousandths of one percent of the air (yes, you read that right)” but Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr both accept the scientific evidence that shows the same tiny amount of atmospheric CO₂ is key to all life on Earth.
Dr. Lehr’s and Mr. Harris’ disparagement of environmentalists as frauds is strange given their glowing endorsement of the environmental laws and regulations enacted by environmentalists. According to Dr. Lehr, “1968 began a major legislative effort by scientists to bring knowledge of our environment to bear on procedures and regulations that could staunch the unnecessary outpouring of industrial, municipal and domestic waste into the air we breathe, the water we drink and swim in, the water wells we pump from and the soil in which we grow our food.
Between 1972 and 1980, Congress passed a safety net of environmental laws that adequately protected every medium of our environment. They spawned an environmental improvement and protection program during the ensuing two decades that became the most successful grass roots, self-improvement program in our nation’s history.” (Source “We Must Loudly Contest Environmental Myths”
By Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris, Jan 7, 2020, America Out Loud)
Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr reject the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change and embrace false, misleading and contradictory political conspiracy theories. For example: 1) Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr claim the global warming movement is a socialist plot “…to attack freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” They write, “The long term goal of the movement is to unite the world under a single socialistic government in which there is no capitalism, no democracy, and no freedom.” (Source “The Goal: a Single Socialistic Government in which there is No Capitalism, No Democracy, No Freedom” By Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris, Jan 29, 2019, America Out Loud)
2) However, Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris also claim Al Gore is responsible for “the dangerous mythology of dangerous manmade global warming.” (Source “HOW AL GORE BUILT THE GLOBAL WARMING FRAUD” Oct 19, 2018, The Heartland Institute)
3) But Mr. Harris claims “man-made carbon dioxide causing global warming” was a “myth” created by Maurice Strong. (Source “$312 Billion: Green Energy Makes Ontario the Most Debt-Ridden Province on Earth” by Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris, Jun 18, 2018, PJ Media)

Tom Harris
2 years ago

This Disqus profile – https://disqus.com/by/disqus_JzQ88MTX2I/following/ – shows that since March 31, 2016, Mr. James has made 4,180 comments. Here is a sample of some of his many, many posts apparently trying to discredit my writings in online article comment sections: https://www.google.ca/search?site=&source=hp&q=%22Tom+Harris%22+%22Dave+James%22&gws_rd=cr&ei=nyGDWefuDavcjwSb-oK4DA . I already explained to Mr. James that many of his points are either wrong or misleading . I will not waste any more time explaining this to him, unless other people bring up the same or similar questions.

Russell Cook
Russell Cook
Reply to  Tom Harris
2 years ago

An ordinary, objective, critical thinking reader can easily identify Tom Harris, no matter where he appears, as being an administrator of the International Climate Science Coalition, and that he writes articles, op-eds, and letters-to-the-editor in publications around the world to offer a side of the global warming issue that the media basically does not provide: references to science-based opposition against the IPCC’s conclusions about catastrophic man-caused global warming. He’s like an out-of-town speaker bringing news to local residents who may not have previously heard about in their own newspapers.
I could understand how non-local followers of the Al Gore side of the issue might run across his pieces via internet search results, and wish to dispute what he says. No crime in that. I vaguely remember encountering him that way sometime in 2009-10, but I agreed with his position, and emailed him about my own narrow work on the issue where I questioned the widespread false accusation about skeptic scientists / skeptic speakers being paid oil money to spread lies. As a sort of related hobby, I noted to Tom in later correspondence how entertaining it was to challenge global warming believers online to support their accusations about ‘crooked skeptics.’ Invariably, none could point to evidence proving the accusation had any merit. Around four/five years later, Tom mentioned to me that he had a particular little band of online comment stalkers following him around the internet, which I hadn’t noticed. It didn’t take long to establish who these specific stalkers were, and occasionally, new ones joined them. “Dave James” was one of the subsequent joiners.
Worthwhile to mention that at his primary Disqus dotcom account, “Dave James” had only accumulated a little over 2000 comments from March 2016 to the beginning of last January, the clear majority of them aimed at Tom Harris, a comment-posting average that was just under 2 comments per day, EVERY day. My own comment average dating back to 2012, for anyone curious about it, is less than one comment per day. I just don’t have the available time to do it. But in just the last year, the comment count from “Dave James” more than doubled, to an average approaching 6 comments per day, EVERY day. Again, with the bulk of his comments aimed at Harris, but also a bit more of them lately aimed at three or so other prominent skeptic authors. Me, my comment history is all over the map regarding the climate issue. I’ve had my fun on some occasions tormenting this comment stalker mob that follows Harris on their unsupportable assertions, and he knows I’ve long lived rent-free in the mind of these people because of that. Just like so many other ordinary commenters I’ve encountered over the last 8+ years, these stalkers routinely sidestep myriad problems with their comments. Try asking “Dave James” if that is his real first and last name, and watch how defensive he becomes about it, like he’s not proud of something with it. Dare to ask him about what else he has never disclosed about himself, and watch him sidestep that six ways to Sunday.
It’s one thing to have a desire to challenge a prominent speaker and offer counterpoints; it’s a whole other ballgame when a person has the appearance of being a stalker with an appointed role to tear down a speaker with continual guilt-by-association insinuations and false premise claims about ‘dubious advocacy.’

Tom Harris
Reply to  Russell Cook
2 years ago

The following is interesting from your post, Russell:
“But in just the last year, the comment count from “Dave James” more than doubled, to an average approaching 6 comments per day, EVERY day.”
So, one naturally wonders: is there a single person named “Dave James” who must be spending most of his life posting comments to oppose me (as many of his comments show considerable research), or is there a team of researchers and posters who post under the name “Dave James?” Curious to hear what people think.

Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Tom Harris vaguely implies he has discussed his opinion piece in some other forum at some other time. He hasn’t. Refusing to debate your op-ed is not the sign of a strong, well supported argument.
The words Mr. Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr write have far more impact on their credibility than anything I write. That is why I directly quote Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr and provide the source of the quote so their words can be read in context.

Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Mr. Russell Cook’s insults are not rational. Mr. Cook’s personal attacks say far more about him that it does about me.
Mr. Cook is a blogger and is a fellow Heartland associate of Mr. Harris. (Source archived bio of Russell Cook on the Heartland website) One of Mr. Cook’s roles is “get in and fight back” in comment sections with people who take issue with false and misleading op-eds by Heartland associates. (Source “Exploratory Journeys with Tom Harris” Episode – 17, Nov 27, 2019: Tom interviews Russell Cook) However, Mr. Cook does not make a rational argument in support of Dr. Lehr’s and Mr. Harris’ opinion piece.
Mr. Cook does not dispute my direct and well-supported criticisms of the content of Dr. Jay Lehr’s and Mr. Harris’ opinion pieces. Like Mr. Cook, me and everyone else, Mr. Harris’ and Dr. Lehr’s arguments are not above criticism.

Tom Harris
2 years ago

I repost the following so it is not missed in the comment thread:
The following is interesting from your post, Russell:
“But in just the last year, the comment count from “Dave James” more than doubled, to an average approaching 6 comments per day, EVERY day.”
So, one naturally wonders: is there a single person named “Dave James” who must be spending most of his life posting comments to oppose me (as many of his comments show considerable research), or is there a team of researchers and posters who post under the name “Dave James?” Curious to hear what people think.

Russell Cook
Russell Cook
Reply to  Tom Harris
2 years ago

This “Dave James” commenter is indeed hard to fathom. In my run-ins with him over the years, he’s said the strangest things, and when challenged to back up that stuff, he only digs different deeper holes for himself while trying to go on offense with lines of reasoning that defy comprehension. In some cases, his replies resemble remarks from a template on how to sidestep problematic appearances by prompting the critic in any given situation to defend whatever off-the-shelf comeback he dishes out. It looks robotic sometimes. In response to that <—, we can count on him saying, "insults are not an indicator of a rational argument." It's entertaining how he claims I don't dispute his points, when that's practically all I've done in most of my encounters with him over the years. Remember the time when he showed up out-of-the-blue at one of your Facebook page posts (once again proving to all how it isn't an insult to call him a stalker of you) to make a spectacularly bizarre claim about deleted material when the material was still right there in plain sight? I posted screencaptures of the material, which he bizarrely disputed until it became obvious how he could no longer sustain whatever angles he was throwing out, so he then deleted every one of his posts there. It was embarrassing to watch. Honestly, what I can't figure out is whether he really does have crippling comprehension problems with abundantly obvious points squarely in front of his face, or if he's gaslighting people in order to see how they respond to the weird things he puts out.
Tough to get a good read on him. I have my fun torturing him about defining what "associate" means to him in his world, but I can't actually tell if he knows his portrayal of me doesn't fly or not. Weird how he keeps referring to an archived Heartland bio of me to imply I have a current associate label, like an associate attorney in a law firm, isn't it? But when I say that, his comeback will be something akin to me putting out an argument he never made. But he still won't say directly what an "associate" of Heartland is. Or what an associate of any organization is, for that matter. Ask him to tell us what an associate of Greenpeace is, and he'll probably respond that the question doesn't address his criticisms of Jay Lehr's articles. Yet he's the one who's been bringing up association in a fat lot of comments he's directed at you over length of time he's been stalking your articles, op-eds, etc,

Dave James
Dave James
Reply to  Russell Cook
2 years ago

Tom Harris acknowledges he is a policy adviser to the Heartland Institute but Mr. Russell Cook does not like being associated with the Heartland Institute even-though he admits taking money from the Heartland Institute on his blog. According to Mr. Cook, “By January 2013, my savings were drawn down to a critical level. The Heartland Institute…generously offered me a $12,000 strings-free grant to enable me to continue devoting time to this subject.” (Source gelbspanfiles dot com /about)
Mr. Cook admits my posts are hard for him to fathom (“This “Dave James” commenter is indeed hard to fathom.”) He also admits he finds my lines of reasoning strange. In fact, Mr. Cook states that they defy his ability to comprehend (“…he’s said the strangest things…while trying to go on offense with lines of reasoning that defy comprehension.”) After admitting his inability to understand my posts, Mr. Cook speculates that I am the one who suffers from “crippling comprehension problems.”

Russell Cook
Russell Cook
Reply to  Tom Harris
2 years ago

Piling on, if I may: I just did a Google search of the url for my GelbspanFiles blog to see what folks might have been saying about it over the last month – one helpful result was a comment reply elsewhere regarding the sociologist Riley Dunlap in connection with the smear of skeptic climate scientists. One other result was our pal “Dave James” right here, regarding the nice donations I got. In his little world, anyone who receives a donation from any sizable entity is now implied to be a nefarious direct associate to whatever activities that entity is involved in. Weird reasoning, no? What other reason would he have for bringing up specific “associations”? Meanwhile, notice the time span difference of my prior comment here and just how soon “Dave James” replied to it: just a minute over 2 1/2 hours later, at 1:25 in the morning. Me, I come back in here around 3 days later because, well, I have a life, and a variety of things occupying my time …. and “Dave James” evidently does not.
The guy is insulted when I call him a comment stalker, but he routinely returns within hours and proves he is one. Write another of your articles at practically any online outlet anywhere around the world, and he predictably shows up to offer his strange guilt-by-association narratives about you within hours of the article’s publication. Hard to comprehend why he digs these holes for himself by deflecting the “stalker” label, which only draws more attention to the situation. And, like I said before, he says the strangest things. He says outright in his latest comment that “Russell Cook does not like being associated with the Heartland Institute…”, but he would be able — even if if his reputation depended on it — to find a statement anywhere in my decade’s worth of online writings where I said any such thing. Hard to comprehend why on Earth he would offer that kind of literally unsupportable statement. Then he finishes up with the even harder-to-comprehend notion that, because I find the rationale he uses for the things he says to be inexplicable, it implies I have elemental comprehension problems. I don’t understand why he is oblivious to his other assortment of inconsistent assertions over the years, or why chooses the lame defense of attempting to project his own self-awareness deficiency onto his critics.

Russell Cook
Russell Cook
Reply to  Russell Cook
2 years ago

Piling on, redux. Compare:
Russell Cook January 28, 2020 at 12:28 pm
Dave James January 28, 2020 at 5:55 pm
Then rummage through the collection of articles here at AmericaOutLoud authored by “Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris” and count up the number of times when “Dave James” has NOT come in to criticize Lehr & Harris. Like I said in my comment 3 days back, “Dave James” is an online comment stalker, with no life other than that activity. Click on his Disqus comment account link that he provided in his Jan 22 comment and take the time to go back through his four year commenting history, and it becomes abundantly obvious who he stalks. Find his Facebook account with the url string “/profile.php?id=100009262716514” after the main url address which has the 3 penguins avatar illustration, and you’ll see ol’ Dave uses FB entirely for the purpose of commenting at Harris’ articles where a Facebook login is required to enable commenting. At least Harris has Facebook Friends to correspond with. I have plenty myself, just added a new one who’s a prominent staffer at a research center. How many FB Friends does “Dave James” have? Zip. Zero. Nada. But his account sure does prove my point about him.
Notice in my previous 3 day old comment how I challenged ol’ Dave to show a solitary instance where his claim is proven that “Russell Cook does not like being associated with the Heartland Institute…,” and rather than stand and deliver on his assertion, he’s now saying “Mr. Cook denial of his association with Heartland makes no sense.” That statement is as disingenuous as saying skeptic climate scientists and speakers such as Tom Harris deny climate change or that the planet is warming. The fun I’ve had with ol’ Dave (I feel somewhat guilty about it, it’s like torturing a defenseless kitten) is when I tell him it’s a tenuous association at best, and that he can’t prove it’s anything more than that. We all know what an associate of a company or group is, and he does, too, and when he’s cornered into proving I am what he implies, he backpedals into sidesteps that I or Heartland are ‘distancing’ ourselves from each other, which he also couldn’t prove if his reputation depended on it. Fun that he further backpedals with his most recent January 28 comment to say “I’ve never asserted Mr. Cook’s association with Heartland is nefarious.” Riiiiight. If it is a good association, then why bring it up at all? The reality is, the Heartland name is a dogwhistle for all enviro-activists who routinely describe it as a corrupt place with evil intent. If it turned out that ol’ Dave was an operative of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and I was to say his associate status with them wasn’t nefarious, my assorted pals would say to me, “Have you lost your mind??” Who can guess why ol’ Dave says what he does, but it sure never improves his credibility appearance.
As ever, I have an altruistic set of purposes in these jousts with enviro-activists like “Dave James”, which is to prompt them to do serious introspection into their faulty lines of reasoning / zealous pursuit of self-defeating activities, and realize that it is based on false premises and misguided ideological beliefs. My larger purpose, in what otherwise looks like fruitless comment jousts, is to show others on my side that activists like ol’ Dave will invariably sidestep circumstances where their arguments fall apart when you hold them accountable for what they said. Keep at it long enough, and they invariably embarrass themselves beyond belief with their intellectually dishonest narratives, and they sometimes flee the scene altogether in self-censorship. Either way, it becomes obvious that they are what they are. My hope is that they finally comprehend what their failure is, and flip to the side of objective, critical thinking. When that happens, they may become some of the most ardent AGW skeptics we’ve ever seen, with the added benefit of having first-hand insider information of what goes on in the non-public AGW zealot side of the issue.

Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Tom Harris refuses to discuss his opinion piece. He cannot or will not address my criticisms of the content of his and Dr. Jay Lehr’s opinion pieces. Instead Mr. Harris speculates if I am more than one person while his fellow Heartland Institute associate Russell Cook launches personal attacks.
Mr. Harris asserts because my posts are so well-researched must be more than one person. But recognizing the false and misleading arguments made by Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris is not difficult nor time consuming. Mr. Harris asserts I write six comments a day opposing him but a quick review of my Disqus profile (which he links to) shows his assertion is false. https://disqus.com/by/disqus_JzQ88MTX2I/
False assertions and baseless speculation is not the sign of a well-considered post.

Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Tom Harris’ facebook friend and fellow Heartland associate Russell Cook writes, “In his little world (referring to me), anyone who receives a donation from any sizable entity is now implied to be a nefarious direct associate to whatever activities that entity is involved in.” But I’ve never asserted Mr. Cook’s association with Heartland is nefarious. Mr. Cook denial of his association with Heartland makes no sense. Mr. Cook admits to taking their money.
Mr. Harris asks his facebook friends to speculate if I am a group of people because my “comments show considerable research” while Mr. Harris falls repeats his personal attacks but neither address my criticisms of Dr. Jay Lehr’s and Mr. Tom Harris’ opinion piece:
Dr. Jay Lehr and Mr. Tom Harris assert concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere is far too tiny to have a major impact. “…carbon dioxide increase that is one ten thousandths of one percent of the air (yes, you read that right)” but Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr both accept the scientific evidence that shows the same tiny amount of atmospheric CO₂ is key to all life on Earth.
Dr. Lehr’s and Mr. Harris’ disparagement of environmentalists as frauds is strange given their glowing endorsement of the environmental laws and regulations enacted by environmentalists. Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr reject the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change and embrace false, misleading and contradictory political conspiracy theories.

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