Natural Resources Stewardship Project

Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP)

Background

The Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP) was a Canadian non-profit organization launched in 2006 with the listed goal of promoting “responsible environmental stewardship.” The website was no longer in operation after March 2008. [1], [2]

According to an archived version of its website, the “NRSP is a federally incorporated, non-profit, non-partisan organization that will promote responsible environmental stewardship through: [1]

  • broad-based media, government and public relations; 
  • consumer education and advocacy; 
  • private initiative and the promotion of private property rights;
  • market-based approaches; and
  • sensible and efficient legislative and regulatory frameworks, particularly at the federal level.”

According to NRSP, its strategy is to “effectively counter the government relations and communications of today’s powerful and well-funded environmental lobby,” which includes preventing the government from regulating CO2 or other greenhouse gases. [3]

In 2007, DeSmog found that two of three NRSP directors were lobbyists for the energy industry: Timothy Egan, a director of NRSP, was also the president of the High Park Group (HPG), a lobbying firm based in Toronto. Julio Legos, HPG director of regulatory affairs, is also listed as an NRSP director. NRSP Executive Director Tom Harris is also a former consultant for the High Park Group. [4]

The NRSP also maintained offices in the same Toronto building as the High Park Group. The NRSP mailing address was #2-263 Roncesvalles Avenue, in Toronto while High Park’s address was #4-263 Roncesvalles Avenue until they moved their location. [4]

The NRSP also shares a range of staff with the Friends of Science (FoS), including Tim Ball, Tim Patterson, Tad Murty, Sallie Baliunas, and Tom Harris. The Globe and Mail exposed the Friends of Science group’s oil industry connections. The NRSP “includes many of the same participants and shares the objective of debunking the scientific establishment’s position on climate change,” The Vancouver Sun noted. [5], [6], [7]

Stance on Climate Change

In the NRSP‘s “First Year Action Plan” on “Understanding Climate Change,” it declared: [3]

CO2 is very unlikely to be a substantial driver of climate change and is not a pollutant. Global climate change is primarily a natural phenomenon.”

Funding

Tom Harris has said that a confidentiality agreement prevents him from saying whether energy companies are funding the Natural Resources Stewardship Project. [8]

Harris, who has made several comments on his SourceWatch entry, claimed that he “made no reference to ‘a confidentiality agreement’ as no such document exists.” According to Tom Harris, “It is normal for non-profit entities like NRSP to protect the privacy of supporters by not publicizing contributions.” Harris himself has edited the NRSP SourceWatch article a number of times, including the statement on his group’s funding. [9]

Harris has argued that there is nothing wrong with industry funding. “All the companies want is to see information coming out about research that supports their side. They wouldn’t have to if all sides were covered (by the media),” Harris said, quoted in the Toronto Star. [10]

Key People

At the time of the group’s formation, NRSP directors were listed as follows: [11]

* Both Timothy Egan and Julio Legos were directly associated with the High Park Advocacy Group, a Toronto-based lobbying firm, at the time the NRSP was formed. Executive Director of the NRSP, Tom Harris, is also a former High Park consultant. [4]

Executives

Name 2007 2008 Description
Timothy F. Ball Y Y NRSP Chairman
Tom Harris Y   NRSP Executive Director

Science Advisory Committee

Name 2007 2008
Fred Michel Y Y
Ian Clark Y Y
Bob Carter Y Y
Sallie Baliunas Y  
Tim Patterson Y Y
Vincent Gray Y Y

Allied Experts

Name 2007 2008
Al Pekarek Y Y
Art Robinson Y Y
David R. Legates Y Y
David Wojick Y Y
Fred Singer Y Y
Garth W. Paltridge  Y Y
Gary D. Sharp Y Y
Hans Erren Y Y
Hans H.J. Labohm Y Y
Howard C. Hayden Y Y
Hugh W. Ellsaesser Y Y
Ian Plimer Y Y
Lee C. Gerhard Y Y
Madhav Khandekar Y Y
Nils-Axel Mörner Y Y
Paavo Siitam Y  
Paul Copper Y Y
Peter Dietze Y Y
Richard Courtney Y Y
Richard S. Lindzen Y Y
Rob Scagel Y Y
Robert Balling Y Y
Tad Murty Y Y
Wibjörn Karlén Y Y
Zbigniew Jaworowski Y Y

Actions

December 12, 2007

On Dec. 13, 2007, towards the end of the U.N. climate change conference held in Bali, Indonesia, the National Post published an open letter to the UN signed by over a hundred climate change skeptics under the title “Don’t fight, adapt” along with a list of signatories. [12], [13]

The letter claims that “it is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages” and concludes that “the IPCC’s conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity.” [12]

Before the conference in Bali, the letter had been circulated by the NRSP for potential signatures. On Dec. 6, 2008, a week before the publication of the open letter, the text of e-mail was posted at canadafreepress.com, freedominion.ca and bogatafreeplanet.com. The text has been removed from the Canadian websites, but remained for some time at bogatafreeplanet.com. While that text was also removed, an archive of the original (PDF) remains at DeepClimate.org. [14]

The request letter was “coordinated” by Bob Carter, as well as NRSP Executive Director Tom Harris. All NRSP Advisory Committee members are also signatories to the open letter itself. When the open letter was first introduced by Terence Corcoran of the National Post, he failed to mention the role of the NRSP in the project, merely describing it as “assembled under Robert M. Carter, a professor at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory of James Cook University in Australia.” He also did not mention that Carter was a “Scientific Advisor” to the NRSP at the time. [15]

February 2007

Tom Harris was quoted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, criticizing the IPCC. [16], [17]

This is […] a U.N.-backed body that quite frankly is an advocacy group for controls on carbon emissions,” said Harris. There’re over 10,000 reports that come out in any year on climate change […] and this group doesn’t represent at all that many of the leading scientists in the field. Our own scientists have raised questions about the data they’ve seen from the IPCC.”

Also in February, Harris declared in a Canada Free Press article that the impact on climate of delaying CO2 reductions in Canada would be “Essentially none.” [18]

2006/2007

The NRSP outlined its First Year Action Plan on “Understanding Climate Change”. The plan is reproduced below, with emphasis added. [3]

“While individual scientists, engineers and economists have spoken out about the serious flaws in the Kyoto Protocol and other carbon dioxide emission (CO2) control schemes, much more is needed. In particular, a high profile, independent and professional non-profit entity is urgently required that can effectively counter the government relations and communications of today’s powerful and well-funded environmental lobby. This is the purpose of the NRSP. Taking advantage of our substantive understanding of the issue, NRSP is well positioned to effectively mobilize Canadians to force government to deal with climate change in a more realistic fashion than through the control of CO2 and other ‘greenhouse gases’.
 

Goals for 2006/07:

  1. NRSP‘s first campaign is focused on dispelling the notion that Canada needs CO2 reduction plans. CO2 is very unlikely to be a substantial driver of climate change and is not a pollutant. Global climate change is primarily a natural phenomenon and so governments should focus on solving environmental problems over which we have influence (air, land and water pollution being obvious examples). NRSP will articulate a vision that also promotes assisting our most vulnerable citizens adapt to climate change while encouraging continued research in this exceptionally complex field.
  2. Become recognized by media, government, industry and ordinary Canadians as the most reputable voice for the promotion of science-based climate change policy.
  3. Identify and track the positions of MPs and MLAs across the country in order to identify, and assist, politicians willing to support developing climate and pollution policy based on the most up-to-date science, engineering and economics.
  4. Have a measurable impact on the public’s understanding of climate change, with a target of significantly lessening support for implementation of CO2 controls.

Strategy:

Create a much stronger and more public debate concerning climate and pollution policy by:

  1. distinguishing legitimate concerns about climate change and pollution from unsupportable claims that humans are a significant contributor to climate change
  2. showing how, in many cases, the promotion of severe greenhouse gas restrictions is not beneficial to Canadians or the environment and merely reflect predetermined agendas and strong vested interests

Tactics:

  • Direct media input (OpEds, letters, media appearances) from non-governmental, non-industry climate scientists and NRSP executives
  • Establishment of an experts speaker’s bureau for public appearances, media interviews and government testimony
  • Convening well-publicized news conferences with experts in the field
  • Coordinating unbiased public opinion polling on the issue
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Email and Internet newsletters to NRSP supporters and other concerned Canadians
  • Public education campaigns
  • Consumer advocacy based on the latest developments in science, engineering and economics concerning climate change and pollution.

October 23, 2006

Tim Ball and Tom Harris co-wrote a column at Canada Free Press shortly after their group’s formation. As DeSmog‘s Richard Littlemore reported, Ball and Harris went on to criticize Johanne Gélinas, Canada’s Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development. Gélinas had released a report criticizing the last federal administration’s job of dealing with climate change. [19], [20]

“Gélinas appears to have an almost childlike faith in the infallibility of the UN‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) citing them reverentially throughout her report,” Ball and Harris wrote.

October 19, 2006

The NRSP issued a press release praising the Conservative government’s choice to ignore the Kyoto Protocol, noting that “Kyoto ratification was a serious mistake that Canada must remedy by withdrawing from the Protocol in February 2008, the earliest date possible.” [21], [22]

“First, we are very pleased the Government makes no reference to the Kyoto Protocol or purchasing ‘carbon credits’ from foreign governments in their announcements today,’ said Dr. Timothy Ball, Chairman of NRSP. ‘Kyoto ratification was a serious mistake that Canada must remedy by withdrawing from the Protocol in February 2008, the earliest date possible.’

“Second, NRSP expresses support for the Government’s promise of open consultations with Canadians before emission regulations are decided upon, something that has never occurred to date despite over a decade of government action on the issues. ‘The opportunity will now exist to involve independent climate scientists, engineers and economists,’ explains NRSP advisor Dr. Tim Patterson, Carleton University earth sciences professor.

Third, NRSP considers it an advance that the government is now speaking about reducing greenhouse intensities over the short and medium term, instead of absolute emission caps.”

Despite this praise, the NRSP complains that CO2 is even being considered as something that should be regulated:

 “First, while NRSP considers it an advance that CO(2) – a benign gas – is not listed as a pollutant or toxin, there is disappointment that it is being considered for regulation without extensive further study,” the release read. “ Second, and related to this point, NRSP disputes the need for long term CO(2) targets. Funds allocated to CO(2) reduction should clearly be diverted to working on real environmental concerns – including adaptation to the natural phenomenon of climate change.” [21]

October 12, 2006

The NRSP was launched on October 12, 2006, with its first campaign “focused on dispelling the notion that Canada will benefit from carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emission control.” Prominent climate change skeptics Timothy Ball and Tom Harris led the NRSP as Chairman and Executive Director, respectively. [23]

The NRSP described their “First Year Initiatives” as follows:

First Priority Project:

  • “Understanding Climate Change”
    A proactive grassroots campaign to counter the Kyoto Protocol and other greenhouse gas reduction schemes while promoting sensible climate change policy.

Second Priority Project:

  • “The Science Audit Centre”
    The establishment of an independent and highly credible auditing mechanism to properly review scientific studies before they are employed as a basis of national and international environmental policy decisions

Contact & Address

As of August 27, 2008, the main contact information was: [24]

A102-1075 Bay St, Suite 405
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2B2 
Canada

613-234-4487 
[email protected]

DeSmog noted that, until more recently, both the NRSP and High Park Group shared a similar mailing address, with NRSP at #2-263 Roncesvalles Avenue, in Toronto and HPG at #4-263 Roncesvalles Avenue. [4]

Related Organizations

Social Media

The NRSP does not have a presence on social media.

Resources

  1. NRSP Background,” Natural Resource Stewardship Project. Archived March 12, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/jnDu2

  2. NRSP Homepage. Archived March 14, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/MuhPT

  3. The NRSP Strategy: First Year Action Plan: ‘Understanding Climate Change’,” Natural Resources Stewardship Project. Archived September 27, 2007. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/WQwEF

  4. James Hoggan. “NRSP Controlled by Energy Lobbyists,” DeSmog, January 18, 2007.

  5. Richard Littlemore. “Discredited Friends of Science Re-emerge as the Natural Resources Stewardship Project,” DeSmog, October 12, 2006.

  6. Mr. Cool: Nurturing doubt about climate change is big business,” Globe and Mail, Aug 12, 2006. Republished at Charles Montgomery journalist. Archived May 3, 2011.

  7. Peter O’neil. “Climate-change “skeptics” hopeful Harper accepts their view,The Vancouver Sun, October 16, 2006. Archived January 3, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/87DWv

  8. Climate-change ‘skeptics’ hopeful Harper accepts their view,” Canwest News Service, October 16, 2006. Archived Augut 3, 2009. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/gl1fD

  9. Tom Harris. “To the editor (Vancouver Sun),” On 10/16/06 5:23 PM. See Talk:Natural Resources Stewardship Project, SourceWatch. Archived August 8, 2017.

  10. Peter Gorrie. “Who’s still cool on global warming?The Toronto Star, January 28, 2007. Archived August 9, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/dgR32

  11. Corporation #4326741 BN #818837072RC0001,” Corporations Canada Search. Archived December 19, 2007. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/sFy8X

  12. Don’t fight, adapt,” National Post, December 12, 2007. Archived November 26, 2013.

  13. Signatories of an open letter on the UN climate conference,” National Post, December 18, 2007. Archived November 26, 2013.

  14. Open Letter to the UN Secretary General Concerning Global Warming” (PDF)Bogota Free Planet, December 6, 2007. Retrieved from DeepClimate.

  15. Terence Corcoran. “A new call for reason,” National Post, December 12, 2007. Archived November 26, 2013.

  16. Richard Littlemore. “NRSP Steps up the IPCC Bashing,” DeSmog, February 3, 2007.

  17. Tim Collie. “Warming may swamp state? Worries rise,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Febuary 2, 2007. Archived February 8, 2007. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JBnpx

  18. Tom Harris. “Asking the right questions about climate change,” Canada Free Press, January 31, 2007. Archived May 29, 2007. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/B8u3X

  19. Tim Ball and Tom Harris. “Environment Commissioner should stick to auditing,” Canada Free Press, October 21, 2006. Archived April 25, 2007. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/BaMUH

  20. Richard Littlemore. “NRSP Team Finally Earns Publishing Credit,DeSmog, October 23, 2006.

  21. (Press Release). “Clean Air Act an improvement on what we had before, but problems remain, says new environment group NRSP,” CNW Group, October 19, 2006. Archived Mah 31, 2014.

  22. Richard Littlemore. “Uh oh … the NRSP is Praising Harper’s Climate Change Bill,” DeSmog, October 19, 2006.

  23. (Press Release). ”Science-based Environment Group Preparing for Launch,” Natural Resources Stewardship Project, October 12, 2006. Archived February 13, 2007. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/EFA4C

  24. “Contact Info,” Natural Resources Stewardship Project. Archived August 27, 2008. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/F9fnR

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