By Willie Soon
In recent weeks I have been the target of attacks in the press by various radical environmental and politically motivated groups. This effort should be seen for what it is: a shameless attempt to silence my scientific research and writings, and to make an example out of me as a warning to any other researcher who may dare question in the slightest their fervently held orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming.
I am saddened and appalled by this effort, not only because of the personal hurt it causes me and my family and friends, but also because of the damage it does to the integrity of the scientific process. I am willing to debate the substance of my research and competing views of climate change with anyone, anytime, anywhere. It is a shame that those who disagree with me resolutely decline all public debate and stoop instead to underhanded and unscientific ad hominem tactics.
Let me be clear. I have never been motivated by financial gain to write any scientific paper, nor have I ever hidden grants or any other alleged conflict of interest. I have been a solar and stellar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for a quarter of a century, during which time I have published numerous peer-reviewed, scholarly articles. The fact that my research has been supported in part by donations to the Smithsonian Institution from many sources, including some energy producers, has long been a matter of public record. In submitting my academic writings I have always complied with what I understood to be disclosure practices in my field generally, consistent with the level of disclosure made by many of my Smithsonian colleagues.
If the standards for disclosure are to change, then let them change evenly. If a journal that has peer-reviewed and published my work concludes that additional disclosures are appropriate, I am happy to comply. I would ask only that other authors - on all sides of the debate - are also required to make similar disclosures. And I call on the media outlets that have so quickly repeated my attackers’ accusations to similarly look into the motivations of and disclosures that may or may not have been made by their preferred, IPCC-linked scientists.
I regret deeply that the attacks on me now appear to have spilled over onto other scientists who have dared to question the degree to which human activities might be causing dangerous global warming, a topic that ought rightly be the subject of rigorous open debate, not personal attack. I similarly regret the terrible message this pillorying sends young researchers about the costs of questioning widely accepted “truths.”
Finally, I thank all my many colleagues and friends who have bravely objected to this smear campaign on my behalf and I challenge all parties involved to focus on real scientific issues for the betterment of humanity.
See more here.
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.
Herein lies the major issue. In September 2014, SEPP produced a handout “Climate Fears and Finance” in which SEPP calculated that, based on US government reports, from Fiscal Year (FY) 1993 to FY 2013 total US expenditures on climate change amounted to more than $165 Billion. More than $35 Billion was identified as climate science. The Federal government has not produced a systematic accounting since FY 2013.
For these massive expenditures, we have expensive climate models that grossly overestimate current temperature trends ( of no warming). Virtually nothing has gone to understanding the natural causes of climate change, a glaring omission because climate change has been occurring for hundreds of millions of years - long before humanity existed. As Fred Singer pointed out, each of the five major reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have major defects in evidence and/or logic. Americans are getting a very poor return on these massive expenditures.
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.