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Earth The Almighty Buck Science

Climate Skeptic Funded By Oil and Coal Companies 504

Posted by timothy
from the not-that-I-can-recall-at-this-time-sir-no dept.
Honken writes with a report from The Guardian that "'One of the world's most prominent scientific figures to be sceptical about climate change has admitted to being paid more than $1m in the past decade by major US oil and coal companies.' This somewhat contradicts that [Harvard researcher Willie] Soon in a 2003 US senate hearing said that he had 'not knowingly been hired by, nor employed by, nor received grants from any organisation that had taken advocacy positions with respect to the Kyoto protocol or the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.'"
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Climate Skeptic Funded By Oil and Coal Companies

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  • and in other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:15PM (#36625362) Homepage Journal

    many climatologist on both sides of the discussion are employed by people who take a particular interest in one outcome or another.

    So, you found one you don't like, I am quite sure we can find more, there are probably even websites dedicated to this.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:21PM (#36625454)

    Lying in these kinds of hearings is utterly amoral and can have drastic negative consequences for society.

  • by Biff Stu (654099) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:22PM (#36625466)

    Most climatologists who support global warming are employed by public sector or non-profit universities and rely on research grants from the federal government. How is this in any way equivalent to taking money from Big Oil and Coal?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:22PM (#36625468)

    Yep.. on one side are the people who want to keep making $$$ profits. And on the other side are people who'd like to avoid massive coastal flooding and ecological destruction in the next several centuries. We all have our biases, I guess.

  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:22PM (#36625470)
    The news here is that he lied about it.
  • Lying to Congress (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SETIGuy (33768) * on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:23PM (#36625480) Homepage
    I remember when lying to Congress used to be a crime. Now it's just an alternative lifestyle.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:27PM (#36625534)

    many climatologist on both sides of the discussion are employed by people who take a particular interest in one outcome or another

    Your attempt to muddy the waters aside, one thing is clear: this guy accepted a million dollars to deny reality.

  • by Pino Grigio (2232472) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:30PM (#36625588)
    It's quite simple: the more catastrophic the scenario, the more cash your institution will get for further research work and the more expenses paid trips you'll get to the Maldives.
  • by SETIGuy (33768) * on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:33PM (#36625624) Homepage
    Other than the fact that that is a lie promulgated by conservative talk radio hosts, it would be a good point.
  • by SETIGuy (33768) * on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:34PM (#36625644) Homepage
    Al Gore isn't a climate scientist.
  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:35PM (#36625666) Homepage

    many climatologist on both sides of the discussion are employed by people who take a particular interest in one outcome or another.

    What do you mean by "both sides"? Really? What funding source were you thinking of that has a financial interest comparable to the trillion dollar profits of the fossil-fuel companies?

    That's the party line of the climate-change deniers: "Oh, it doesn't matter that the so-called skeptics are all funded by fossil-fuel companies, because both sides are funded by dirty money."

    But, oddly, when there is even a rumor that a climate scientist has received as much as a lunch paid for by a source that is not absolutely spotlessly apolitical, isn't it amazing how the blogosphere lights up with accusations of how climate change is "bought and paid for." (Even when the rumor turns out to be unrelated to actual fact.)

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:36PM (#36625680)
    This is not just a person who happens to get money from somewhere. This is a person who lied to the US senate about where they were getting money. There is a big difference here and trying to make the two issues equivalent just makes me think you are pushing an agenda.
  • by Pino Grigio (2232472) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:37PM (#36625700)
    But it isn't a lie. It's a fact. Billions of dollars are being poured into climate research by tax-payers. That is an order of magnitude more than corporations are spending on the sceptical viewpoint. None of that money would be available to these institutions and researchers if the conclusion was, "climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is ~1C and in other news, increasing CO2 makes plants grow more vigorously". Al Gore has made millions from this fraud. But you people are completely blind to these things.
  • by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:40PM (#36625752) Journal

    Ok. Who are the big bidders for pro-climate change? And by big I mean those that can put down millions.

    Clean energy, who spends most of their money on R&D?

    Politicos? Who could get leverage a lot cheaper elsewhere with that same money?

    Who?

  • by Goaway (82658) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:41PM (#36625774) Homepage

    But it isn't a lie. It's a fact.

    Well, no, it just isn't. Perhaps you are wishing really hard for it to be a fact, but that will not make it so. It just plain isn't true.

    But it really doesn't need to be my word against yours. There's a rule to these situations. That rule says that you are supposed to provide evidence, since you're the one making the claim.

    That should be easy, since it's a "fact", yes?

  • by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:44PM (#36625812) Journal

    Research does not equal support for global warming.

    Research finds support but it also finds things such as weather satilites. Climate trends. Water tables. Pollution and air quality surveys. Storm prediction. I could go on.

    There are many reasons to pour money into researching the climate and weather other than just to "support" global warming. The research just happens to be supporting it.

  • by Benfea (1365845) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:44PM (#36625828)

    Here's a hint: the universities and research agencies that employ most normal scientists get the same amount of money regardless of the findings on anthropogenic climate change. The oil companies who employ all of the prominent ACC skeptics stand to lose billions of dollars if the findings are not a certain way.

    Let's put it another way. Acme Pharmaceuticals wants to start selling a new drug. Scientists from universities find that the drug is not safe. Scientists employed by Acme Pharmaceuticals find that the drug is perfectly safe. Given these two pieces of information, would you give this new drug to your children?

    This constant "the other side is exactly as bad" argument from conservatives and libertarians is laughable in almost every instance it is used.

  • by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:45PM (#36625834) Journal

    It isn't news.

    You won't hear about it in the media.

    If he was a supporter of Global Warming we'd hear about it for a couple of weeks as one of the top stories.

  • by shilly (142940) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:52PM (#36625912)

    What *is it* with fuckwits like you?

    Greenpeace global revenues in 2010: about 56m euros. Exxon just about pipped Greenpeace there, with an income of 311bn dollars in the same year. So clearly it is Greenpeace who is able to throw money around like billy-o and has an enormous financial stake in the outcome of this debate. Yes, that's absolutely clear.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:52PM (#36625922)

    I'm reminded of when all the government and educational-funded scientists were doing studies that showed smoking tobacco is bad for you and leads to cancer... and the tobacco companies all had their "scientists" [wikipedia.org], many of whom later testified to Congress about the fact that they'd falsified their "studies" to suit those who were paying them.

    Eerily familiar isn't it?

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:55PM (#36625942)

    30 years ago the Republicunts insisting smoking wasn't bad for you (on the pay of Big Tobacco) were playing the same game there. They still are screaming about the "free choice to smoke" in my area as we try to eliminate smoking from public places.

    Remember the "your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins" idea the Republicunts keep screaming about when they want "freedom"? Well, your right to smoke ends when you blow it in my face, asswad.

  • by TallGuyRacer (920071) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:56PM (#36625960) Homepage
    Please stop refering to these people as climate 'skeptics'. They are climate 'deniers' - just like holocaust deniers and round earth deniers.
  • Researchers who are subsidized by public concerns are paid to provide results that may be useful to the public. The grant process is transparent.

    Researchers who are subsidized by private concerns are paid to provide results that are useful to the owners. The grant process is opaque.

    The perceived interests of active shareholders and executives often do not coincide with the perceived interests of the public at large, ergo private concerns often attempt to hide their role in certain kinds of "research", because the degree of self interest in controlling the results is all too apparent.

  • by Broolucks (1978922) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:13PM (#36626240)

    There is no need to spend a lot on the skeptical viewpoint since there is no research to be done on that front. Billions will buy research, millions will buy people.

    As for government interference, it's pretty obvious that conservatives (at least republicans and Canadian conservatives) are trying to push the skeptical point of view. I'm not sure how a government conspiracy to shove climate alarmism down our throats could survive eight years of Bush presidency and the staunch opposition of roughly half of the political spectrum. There has been intimidation, partisan appointments and attempts at censorship from the government *against* the theory of anthropogenic climate change, so at best I would say scientists have been getting a pretty damn mixed signal from big government.

    Of course I guess you could just say these valiant heroes are putting their careers on the line saving us from the green apocalypse. But of course, they are nearly powerless in the face of the gargantuan amounts of money Al Gore has been personally channeling into universities with the help of the dark cabal with which he has deeply infiltrated all levels of government and acts in spite of whatever party is supposed to control it.

  • Double Standard (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:15PM (#36626262)

    I think it strange that research done by ethical people funded by organizations with one vested interest is deemed suspect while research done by ethical people funded by organizations with other vested interests is not.

    The environmental community is not without funding issues. They have to cater to their contributors to continue to receive funding. An organization that gathers funding under the auspices that global warming is caused by human activity that published research contrary to that position will not continue to get funding. It is possible that the research is tainted in the same way and for the same reasons as research funded by oil companies.

    Even Government funded research funding is not above suspicion. If the research does not agree with the position of the government will the funding continue?

    Anywhere that money changes hand the desires of the one giving the money influences the outcome. The only solution I see is to have an independent body that takes money from all contributors and distributes it to researchers. That way researchers are not funded by one side or the other.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:16PM (#36626286)
    Climategate doesn't change much of anything, all it did was show that climate scientists were pissed off at global-warming skeptics, and it didn't show that climate data was ever falsified or altered. I'm sure you'll find similar amounts of ire from evolutionary biologists against creationists, but it doesn't change the facts of evolution. In essence, ClimateGate was trumped up by climate-skeptics and dishonestly turned into a propaganda piece to convince the public that global warming is a big sham.

    Skeptics claim this trove of e-mails shows the scientists at the U.K. research center were engaging in evidence-tampering, and they are portraying the affair as a major scandal: "Climategate." ... An article from the conservative-leaning Canada Free Press claims that the stolen files are proof of a "deliberate fraud" and "the greatest deception in history." We find such claims to be far wide of the mark. The e-mails (which have been made available by an unidentified individual here) do show a few scientists talking frankly among themselves — sometimes being rude, dismissive, insular, or even behaving like jerks. Whether they show anything beyond that is still in doubt. An investigation is being conducted by East Anglia University, and the head of CRU, Phil Jones, has "stepped aside" until it is completed. However, many of the e-mails that are being held up as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics eager to find evidence of a conspiracy. And even if they showed what the critics claim, there remains ample evidence that the earth is getting warmer.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/ [factcheck.org]

    As for carbon-taxes, you can still believe Anthropogenic Global Warming is happening and disagree with the carbon-tax solution. In fact, I've seen experiment that show that, if you present people with arguments that global warming is real and carbon-tax is the solution, and then show a second group of people an argument that global warming is real and nuclear power is the solution, people are more likely to accept the idea of global warming+nuclear power solution. What this says to me is that people aren't making up their minds from the facts of global warming, but they're making decisions about the reality of global warming based on their fears of what happens if they accept it.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:22PM (#36626368)

    Here's a hint: the universities and research agencies that employ most normal scientists get the same amount of money regardless of the findings on anthropogenic climate change.

    That's not true. It is so freakingly obviously wrong I can't imagine why you would say it.

    Assume for a second that early findings on AGW said "we aren't responsible for it. Our 'greenhouse emissions' aren't a problem. There may be change taking place, but it's nothing we can stop." Just how much research money into, oh, wave generated energy, do you think Universities would get if there was no real impetus to fund it? Yes, some, based on "running out of oil", but when a scientist can tack on "and has lower carbon emissions" it's a no-brainer for the funding agencies. When that agency goes back to congress and can say "we're funding studies on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it is important", don't you think that congress will hand them more money to do that? Where does that money go? To the researchers.

    Not to mention that the scientists who said "AGW not a problem" won't get funding to study AGW anymore. It's not a problem! Sheesh, Universities are creating Climate Change Policy Centers left and right, based on both federal and state money. Do you really imagine that there would be that much money if the finding on AGW was "ho hum nothing to see here"?

    This constant "the other side is exactly as bad" argument from conservatives and libertarians is laughable in almost every instance it is used.

    The hypocricy of those who point fingers at scientists (not their research, but the people themselves) who are paid by industry and claim that the source of the money has bought their ethics, yet deny that there is money flowing to those who are funded by the government the same way, isn't laughable, it is sad. Now, before you jump up and down and try to argue that the ivy tower scientists are lilly white ... note that I didn't say they weren't. I said that the hypocricy of thinking that one group is coal black because of how they are paid while the other side is lilly white is the issue.

    You want to argue the science, fine. You want to argue the person and deny the science simply because of who paid for it, that's pathetic. It's certainly not how science is supposed to work.

  • by enormouspenis (741718) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:26PM (#36626418)
    If you read the article, near the top he is damned for receiving grants from "the Koch Foundation". That means the entire article is a leftist hit piece; and Leftists lie about everything. No need to read further. Look for an objective piece on the subject somewhere else before you form an opinion.
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:50PM (#36626714)

    I believe you'll find the oil companies have put hundreds of millions of dollars of funding into 'global warming'

    Oil companies have put basically all of their money into funding global warming.

    Or is that not what you meant?

  • by Zenaku (821866) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:57PM (#36626816)

    Don't be stupid. I think I'm with the vast majority of the lefties on these issues, and my position is nothing like the hypocritical straw man you've constructed.

    Both tobacco and marijuana should be perfectly legal to purchase, and to use in the privacy of your own home. Both should be illegal to smoke in a public building. You have the right to decide for yourself what to put in your body; you don't have the right to put it in mine.

    Since I don't think that is too complicated for you to have understood, I can only conclude that you were being deliberately obtuse.

  • by damburger (981828) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:02PM (#36626872)

    The Scientific Consensus is Wrong!

    Follow this Link to Cherry-Picked Research That I Misunderstood After Reading The Abstract!

    Because I Have Provided One Link You Must Now Give Me the Credence You Give to the Entire Scientific Establishment!

    Yup, sounds like denialism to me.

  • by damburger (981828) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:13PM (#36627020)

    So, because I don't reject the crushing scientific consensus because you have linked to one paper (that doesn't contradict the consensus that much if you read it), I'm some kind of zealot? Simply because I require a bit more evidence from you, you throw a strop?

    Here is a more appropriate paper for someone like you to read: https://physics.le.ac.uk/journals/index.php/pst/article/view/363/204 [le.ac.uk]

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:17PM (#36627068)
    This is the real "climategate". Of the emails stolen from CRU that the best climate skeptics could do was a couple of quotes out of context in the the roughly 70mb of emails. I even downloaded the torrent to see for myself*. This was heralded as proof of the climate change hoax. It was not, rather it proved everything was legit.

    THIS is worthy of the title Climategate, the real scandal is in the millions spent or trying to seed doubt and stall planet-saving policy. (After initial expenditure, hords of useful idiots and wackjobs take over - they are desperate for something to fight since the cold war, there are no longer commies under their beds).

    Once again the data doesn't support what the deniers claim. Once again, caught red handed, lying for money.

    Deniers: Please please present examples of scientists caught out doing false science for money from whoever has a vested interest in saving the world rather than wrecking it for short term profit, I dunno... EV battery company?

    *(In actual fact the volume of emails showed nothing untoward, just genuine scientists doing their usual thing).
  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:21PM (#36627132)

    As a previous poster said, the ones making the claim need to provide the proof. All we have it conjecture and computer models...basically guesses. Fancy guesses, but still nothing that approaches the level of "proof".

    Any idiot knows, you can't prove a negative, which what you just claimed they have to do.

    And heaven knows that researchers who advocate more government control to reduce AGW would never do anything like accept money from the government, which who also advocated more government control.

    If anything, government funded reserarchers have more of a conflict of interest than do privately funded researchers.

  • Re:Big Ego Problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:24PM (#36627178)

    You have no idea how egocentric and individualistic scientists are. There is no causal link here strong enough to override the "I'm smarter than my fellow scientists and I can humiliate them by showing how wrong and stupid they are" opportunity that all climatologists scientists have. Without an iron clad conspiracy, the situation in which all climatologists lie out of interest would be completely unstable: the first ones to tell the others climatologists are wrong would get multiple awards plus funding.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:29PM (#36627226)

    "Union of Concerned Scientists"
    Union of Activists and Leftists and Maybe a Few Scientists Pushing their Agenda.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @04:33PM (#36627290)

    Governments want more control.

    AGW Scientists want to give the cover for taking more control.

  • by bckrispi (725257) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @05:00PM (#36627634)
    The problem is, the demagogues and dittoheads that buy in to climate change denial won't be budged an inch by the findings of the Scientific Method. All it takes is one "Climatologist" on the payroll of Exxon to talk on the Glen Beck show for five minutes, and their point will be irrefutably proven to them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2011 @05:41PM (#36628144)

    Well, you could use chaos theory to prove that climate models cannot make useful long term predictions. But the only people who would listen to such a (mathematical) result would already be skeptics, and whoever wrote such a proof would find his career had reached a rather abrupt end. The scientific establishment would close ranks against him, even though he would surely be vindicated by history.

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