by HENRY PAYNE February 25, 2015 4:00 AM
It isn’t the fossil-fuel companies that are polluting climate science. Citing documents uncovered by the radical environmental group Greenpeace, a group of media outlets - including the New York Times and the Boston Globe - have attacked global-warming skeptic Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon for allegedly hiding $1.2 million in contributions from “fossil fuel companies.” The articles were the latest in an ongoing campaign by greens and their media allies to discredit opponents of the warming agenda.
But in allying themselves closely with activist groups with which they share ideological goals, reporters have fundamentally misled readers on the facts of global-warming funding. In truth, the overwhelming majority of climate-research funding comes from the federal government and left-wing foundations. And while the energy industry funds both sides of the climate debate, the government/foundation monies go only toward research that advances the warming regulatory agenda. With a clear public-policy outcome in mind, the government/foundation gravy train is a much greater threat to scientific integrity. Officials with the Smithsonian Institution which employs Dr. Soon told the Times it appeared the scientist had violated disclosure standards, and they said they would look into the matter. Soon, a Malaysian immigrant, is a widely respected astrophysicist, and his allies came quickly to his defense. “It is a despicable, reprehensible attack on a man of great personal integrity,” says Myron Ebell, the director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who questioned why media organizations were singling out Soon over research funding.
Indeed, experts in the research community say that it is much more difficult for some of the top climate scientists - Soon, Roger Pielke Jr., the CATO Institute’s Patrick Michaels, MIT’s now-retired Richard Lindzen - to get funding for their work because they do not embrace the global-warming fearmongering favored by the government-funded climate establishment. “Soon’s integrity in the scientific community shines out,” says Ebell. “He has foregone his own career advancement to advance scientific truth. If he had only mouthed establishment platitudes, he could’ve been named to head a big university [research center] like Michael Mann.”
Mann is the controversial director of Pennsylvania State’s Earth System Science Center. He was at the center of the 2009 Climategate scandal, in which e-mails were uncovered from climatologists discussing how to skew scientific evidence and blackball experts who don’t agree with them. Mann is typical of pro-warming scientists who have taken millions from government agencies. The federal government - which will gain unprecedented regulatory power if climate legislation is passed - has funded scientific research to the tune of $32.5 billion since 1989, according the Science and Public Policy Institute. That is an amount that dwarfs research contributions from oil companies and utilities, which have historically funded both sides of the debate. Mann, for example, has received some $6 million, mostly in government grants - according to a study by The American Spectator - including $500,000 in federal stimulus money while he was under investigation for his Climategate e-mails. Despite claims that they are watchdogs of the establishment, media outlets such as the Times have ignored the government’s oversized role in directing research. And they have ignored millions in contributions from left-wing foundations ‘ contributions that, like government grants, seek to tip the scales to one side of the debate.
Last summer, a minority staff report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gave details on a “Billionaire’s Club” - a shadowy network of charitable foundations that distribute billions to advance climate alarmism. Shadowy nonprofits such as the Energy Foundation and Tides Foundation distributed billions to far-left green groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, which in turn send staff to the EPA who then direct federal grants back to the same green groups. It is incestuous. It is opaque. Major media ignored the report. Media outlets have also discriminated in their reporting on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The Times trumpeted Greenpeace FOIA requests revealing Soon’s benefactors, yet it has ignored the government’s refusal of FOIA filings requesting transparency in pro-warming scientists’ funding. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, for example, has submitted FOIA requests asking for the sources of outside income of NASA scientist James Hansen (a key ally of Al Gore). The government has stonewalled, according to Ebell. Media reporting further misleads readers in suggesting that “fossil fuel” utilities such as the Southern Company (a $409,000 contributor to Soon’s research, according to the Times) seek only to undermine climate science. In truth, energy companies today invest in solar, biomass, and landfill facilities in addition to carbon fuels. Companies such as Duke Energy, Exelon Corporation, NRG Energy, and Shell have even gone so far as to join with green groups in forming the U.S. Climate Action Partnership - an industry/green coalition that wants to “enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
This alliance worries a scientific community that is hardly unanimous that warming is a threat. Continued funding of contrarians such as Soon and Lindzen is essential to getting the best scientific research at a time when the EPA wants to shut down America’s most affordable power source, coal - at enormous cost to consumers. The lack of warming for over a decade (witness this winter’s dangerous, record-breaking low temperatures) and Climategate are proof that the establishment has oversold a warming crisis. Attempts by the media to shut up their critics ignore the real threat to science.
Henry Payne is auto columnist for the Detroit News, an editorial cartoonist with United Feature Syndicate, and a regular contributor to National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications.
A little over four hundred years after the Salem witch trials, witch-hunts are still used as a tactic of social persecution and a vehicle to censure those who do not conform to a special interest agenda. From Salem to McCarthy to today’s attacks on so called “climate skeptics,” witch-hunts tear the fabric of a free society. “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.” Voltaire
In the past week, Greenpeace initiated an attack on Dr. Willie Soon, a scientist at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, because of his research on climate change and now several members of Congress have sent letters to 100 organizations that either raise questions and doubts that human activities using fossil energy are causing catastrophic climate change and/or might have provided funds to scientists who are labeled “skeptics.” Letters also have been sent to at least seven universities where some “skeptic” scientists are affiliated. These letters request a lot of funding information.
The misguided assumption, behind what appears to be a politically orchestrated attack on the credibility of those who question the climate orthodoxy, is that their findings and science-based beliefs are insincere and for sale to the highest bidder. The problem with this assumption is that it implies that scientists and researchers who rely primarily on public funding for their climate work are not motivated to tailor their research to the beliefs and policy views of their funding sources.
In 1994, Nightline anchor, Ted Koppel ended a program dealing with climate skepticism this way,
“...issues have to be debated and settled on scientific grounds, not politics. There is nothing new about major institutions seeking to influence science to their own ends. The church did it, ruling families have done it, the communists did it, and so have others, in the name of anti communism. But it has always been a corrupting influence, and it always will be.
The measure of good science is neither the politics of the scientist nor the people with whom the scientist associates. It is the immersion of hypotheses into the acid of truth. That’s the hard way to do it, but it’s the only way that works.”
In 2005, then President of the George C. Marshall Institute Jeff Kueter wrote a Policy Outlook on the issue of climate funding. Ten years later Jeff’s analysis and conclusions are every bit as relevant as they were then.
Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,”
In a letter to Grijalva released this afternoon, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) - a scientific and professional society representing atmospheric and oceanic scientists - expressed strong opposition to the inquiry.
“Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources - and thereby questioning their scientific integrity - sends a chilling message to all academic researchers,” the AMS wrote.
See also what Judith Curry says about the issue - she and her university are one of the 7 targets. Roger Pielke Jr., a luke warmer who has researched extreme weather and its impact and has testified with inconvenient facts to congress was another target and he reponded:
“I am Under ‘Investigation’ - Accuses Dems of ‘a politically-motivated ‘witch hunt’ designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name. Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none. He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views)’.
‘The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject.
What’s happening along the climate front never ceases to amaze. We’re being told 2014 and this frigid winter are actually the warmest on record, and all this cold, snow and other “extreme weather” is due to carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. But then the Climate Chaos, Inc. community lets the real cat out of the bag. One top UN official has said their real “climate” mission is to “intentionally transform the [global] economic development model,” while another declares that it is to negotiate “the distribution of the world’s resources.” Meanwhile, a new study reveals that “mainstream” journalists have decided climate change “is real, and we’re responsible.” Therefore, skeptics “are no longer being interviewed,” and at least one news organization now has an explicit editorial policy “discouraging reporters from quoting climate change deniers.” The impacts of their anti-fossil fuel policies on our lives, livelihoods and living standards are deliberately ignored by the media, climate alarmists and too many politicians who supposedly represent us.
My commentary this week delves into all these issues, and more.
Thank you for posting it, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.
Climate Chaos, Inc. and media allies ban news and books on climate realism
Some 200 nations may sign a “modest” Kyoto II climate treaty, say December 2014 media reports from Lima, Peru. But will developing nations agree to stop using coal to generate electricity? No. Curtail economic growth? No. Cease emitting carbon dioxide? Maybe, but only a little, sometime in the future, when it is more convenient to do so, without binding commitments. Then why would they sign a treaty?
Primarily because they expect to get free energy technology transfers, and billions of dollars a year in climate “mitigation, adaptation and reparation” money from Western nations that they blame (and which blame themselves) for the “dangerous climate change”, “rising seas” and “extreme weather” that they claim are “unprecedented” and due to carbon dioxide emissions during the 150 years since the Industrial Revolution began. These FRCs (Formerly Rich Countries) have implemented low-carbon energy policies and penalties that have strangled their economies, dramatically increased energy prices and killed millions of jobs. But now poor developing countries demand that they also transfer $100 billion per year, for decades (with most of that probably going to their governing elites’ Swiss banks accounts).
Where is this likely taking us? President Obama has long promised to “fundamentally transform” the U.S. economy and ensure that electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.” His edicts are doing precisely that. And now Christiana Figueres, the UN’s chief climate change official, has declared that her unelected bureaucrats are undertaking ‘probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global] economic development model.’ [emphasis added] Her incredible admission underscores what another high-ranking IPCC official said several years ago: “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.’
Why would any sane families or nations consign their fates to such insane, perverse arrangements? The arrangements are being imposed on them, through force, fabrication and fraud.
Poor, middle and working class families will get little but more layoffs, further reductions in living standards and longer postponement of dreams. But meanwhile Climate Chaos, Inc. (Big Green, Big Government, alarmist scientists, crony corporatist “green” energy companies, and allied universities and scientific groups) will become richer, gain more control over our lives and livelihoods, and rarely be held accountable for the damage they cause. Retracting their “dangerous manmade climate change” tautologies would endanger their money, power and reputations.
That’s why their hypotheses, assertions, intentions and computer models always trump reality. It’s why they are increasingly vicious and relentless in vilifying realist scientists like Willie Soon who challenge their “97% consensus” and “manmade climate catastrophe” mantras - and in demanding that the news media ignore experts and analyses that do not toe the Climate Chaos line. They denigrate realists as “climate deniers” (deliberately suggesting Holocaust denial) and “oil industry shills” (while hiding their own suspect ethics, data “adjustments,” and Big Green billion-dollar Russian and other funding sources).
Realists get precious little (or no) oil money and constantly underscore the role of climate change throughout Earth and human history. What we contest is the notion that climate and weather fluctuations today are manmade, unprecedented and dangerous. Alarmists deny that Earth’s climate is often in flux, solar and other natural forces drive weather and climate, and atmospheric carbon dioxide plays only a minimal role. Real-world evidence demolishes virtually every alarmist claim.
The climate reality record is presented in a readable, thought-provoking new book, About Face: Why the world needs more CO2; The failed science of global warming, by late U.S. economist Arthur Hughes, Australian geologist Cliff Ollier and Canadian meteorologist Madhav Khandekar. Sea level is rising at only 1.5 mm per year now (six inches per century), they note, and there is zero evidence that the rate is escalating or that coastal communities are at risk. Nor is ?ocean acidification” a legitimate problem.
Alarmists use it to replace other disproven scares with a new panic. Earth’s oceans have never been acidic. They are mildly alkaline. Their enormous volumes of water cannot become acidic - that is, plummet from an 8.2 pH level 150 years ago and their current 8.1 pH into the acidic realm of 7.0 or lower, due to the tiny amount of atmospheric CO2 attributable to fossil fuel use, in less than five centuries, experts explain.
The tiny effect of rising CO2 levels on climate contrasts sharply with their enormous benefits to plant growth and agriculture. Not only is more CO2 “greening” deserts, forests and grasslands; it is increasing grain and food yields worldwide, and helping people in developing nations live longer, healthier lives.
Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are not in danger of collapsing, the About Face authors demonstrate; in fact, they are growing. Similarly, contrary to another scare, extreme weather events are not increasing.
No Category 3-5 hurricane has struck the United States for a record nine years, and Earth’s temperature has not budged for 18 years. Claims that 2014 was “the hottest year on record” are based on airport and urban measurements that are higher than rural locations and are always “adjusted” upward, with year-to-year differences expressed in hundredths of a degree. Outside those areas, for most of the world - the 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans and 85% of land area that is mountains, deserts, grasslands, tundra, and boreal or tropical rain forests - practically no data exist. So NASA and other alarmists falsely extrapolate from their manipulated urban data to fill in massive gaps for the other 95% of the Earth.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Northeast is suffering through record snows and its lowest winter temperatures in decades, and America’s East Coast air has been 25-30 degrees F below normal. England’s winter death rate is almost one-third higher than normal: nearly 29,000 deaths in a two-week period in January 2015, largely because people can no longer afford to heat their homes properly, due to UK climate policies.
What’s really going on? Our sun “has gone quiet again, during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century,” dating back to 1906, says Vencore weather analyst Paul Dorian.
Alarmists don’t want to talk about that - or about what is happening in Asia. BP’s Energy Outlook 2035 report forecasts that China’s oil, natural gas and coal use will increase by some 50% and its carbon dioxide emissions by 37% over the next 20 years. India’s energy production will soar 117% ‘ with fossil fuels accounting for 87% of all demand in 2035. Its CO2 emissions will also skyrocket. So even if the USA and EU eliminated fossil fuels, atmospheric carbon dioxide would continue to climb.
Climate alarmists want the newspaper and television media to ignore this information and the “skeptics” who might present it. Bill Nye “the science guy” recently asked MSNBC to link all weather events to climate change. “Just say the words climate change” when you talk about this winter’s cold and snow,” he begged. A new study shows how widespread these repulsive practices have become.
Quoting one journalist, a George Mason University analysis found that U.S. media outlets “pretty much” agree that climate change “is real, it’s happening, and we’re responsible. That debate is over.” As a result, “critics are no longer being interviewed,” the study said. In the view of “mainstream” media outlets, seeking or presenting both sides on the climate issue is a “false balance.” At least one news organization now has an explicit editorial policy “discouraging reporters from quoting climate change deniers in environment or science coverage,” the Washington Examiner noted.
Media reputations are at stake. They’ve been in bed so long with the Climate Chaos complex that acknowledging the critical role of natural forces, the expertise of climate realists, the debate that still rages, or the Grand Canyon between climate crisis claims and real-world evidence would destroy what little credibility the media still has. It would also start the collapse of the Climate Chaos house of cards.
But the real stakes are much higher. They are the businesses, jobs, families, living standards and liberties that will be increasingly threatened if President Obama, EPA, Big Green and the United Nations remain free to impose their climate and energy agenda. Responsible governors, state legislators and members of Congress must get involved, block these actions, and roll back the destructive policies.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.