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Gov't Climate Researcher Exposed for Hiding Funds...So Breitbart Jumps to His Rescue?

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posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 03:57 PM
This story is a really great example of the discord in the global warming debate. There are those who believe it’s a big conspiracy perpetrated by scientists who get funding just to say it’s real, and those who insist there is actually a massive PR campaign waged by oil companies, conservative think tanks, and paid-off shills to convince everyone it’s a hoax. I think this story shows just how much that conflicting information is spun to appeal to people’s confirmation bias.

Meet Dr. Willie Soon:

Dr. Soon has published several papers on climate change over the last 15 years, and he actually fits the perfect profile for the global warming conspiracy crowd.

He is an employee of the Smithsonian Institute, so he is literally a government scientist. Because he works for a government agency though, his funding has also been accessed through some recent freedom of information requests - and the results don’t look particularly good for Willie. Not only has his actual funding been sourced, but his requests for that funding have also been published. You can check some of these out for yourself here:

Funding That Climate Researcher Failed to Disclose

As the title above implies, Dr. Soon is now in deep doo-doo not so much for receiving these grants, but for failing to disclose them when publishing his research. That’s because standard peer-review practice requires you to be open and transparent about these things. This is especially critical in Dr. Soon’s case because his climate change research happens to be conveniently conducive to his sponsors’ political and economic agendas. There is a very clear conflict of interest here when you consider the results of Dr. Soon’s work, and his financial backers’ motives.

The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress.

Source: NY Times


So there you have it! Man made global warming skeptics have been preaching about this dubious connection for years, but up until now it’s been little more than speculation and innuendo “follow the money” *hint*hint*wink*wink*. Now, here, we finally have some tangible concrete PROOF this is indeed what’s going on behind the scenes. Rejoice global warming conspiracy theorists, for you have finally been vindicated by the cold hard facts!

Oh sh**, wait.

I guess there’s one problem though - Dr. Soon is actually a notorious climate skeptic. His research has all set out to trivialize the human role. And that funding (which he conveniently forgot to disclose of course) came strictly from fossil fuel interests:

Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show.

Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry

Now I’m not going to get too deep into this part because quite frankly it’s not at all breaking news – many astute ATS members here have been pointing out these shady connections between prominent “skeptics” of global warming and the fossil fuel industry for years.

The point though (the reason this issue deserved its own thread) is this: whether you believe global warming is a hoax, or global warming denial is the real hoax, or somewhere in between – if you’re really concerned with the facts and the truth then you should be looking at all the evidence fairly and objectively no? I know most people have already made up their minds and won’t do that no matter what.

The reason I presented the information in the manner above though is because I bet there were a lot of people just nodding their heads in casual approval when they thought Dr. Soon was on the other team. So has anything changed now? The evidence for all his misdeeds is still exactly the same.

Yet now look at how conservative media is reacting to this story:

I find this headline hilariously hypocritical. Breitbart is one of those sources always smearing climate scientists as skewing their research for the funding. Except they never seem to have any actual proof to offer, just the usual speculation/innuendo/propaganda - and they often source their stories back to some random blog post on the internet.

So here we have actual explicit proof of this happening. But because the scientist at the center of the controversy happens to be a global warming skeptic, apparently that whole “follow the money” meme is invalid now, and Willie’s just being publicly SMEARED for telling the truth! The poor guy (I hope his $1.25 million can comfort him).

That still begs the key question though: is he telling the truth? The answer should actually be independent of where his funding comes from, and his research should speak for itself. Unfortunately that option doesn't offer much salvation for Dr. Soon.

Detailed cross-examination of his work has revealed it is deceptively cherry-picked at times, and just untenable at others:

We have also reviewed and, in some cases, tested with new analysis, papers (in particular Soon and Baliunas, 2003, MM2003 and MM2005b) which claim to refute that IPCC2001 conclusion and found that those claims were not well supported.

Millennial temperature reconstruction intercomparison and evaluation

He’s also been involved in some serious controversy regarding how he managed to get this shoddy research past peer-review in the first place, enough so that the incident has its own Wikipedia entry:

Soon and Baliunas controversy

Any way you slice it, this guy has a long history of specious reasoning, if not outright fraud. He’s not even actually a climate scientist – his PhD is in Aerospace Engineering. And yet conservative media treats him like some kind of misunderstood vilified hero now that the prison tower spotlight landed on him. Can you imagine if his research pointed toward man made global warming instead – they would have absolutely torn him to shreds over this. But now he’s just a martyr apparently.

So the point is...well there is no point really. Debating this topic is 99% pointless because people will just twist all this evidence to fit their pre-disposed beliefs one way or the other.

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 04:00 PM
Follow the Money!

The whole “follow the money” meme is so ridiculous, because most people only say it, they never actually follow it.

It apparently makes more sense that 97% of climate scientists everywhere are in cahoots with academic institutions, businesses and governments all over the world to invent this massive elaborate tax fraud, but the idea that the other 3% are just taking cheques from Exxon and the Koch Brothers to say it’s all part of this elaborate tax fraud, is some absurd, unfounded character assassination. How dare you!

Meanwhile when you actually do follow the money, with proper investigative research and paper trails - like what happened here with Willie Soon (instead of the hypothetical innuendo and paranoid daydreaming most “skeptics” seem to prefer), time and time again it’s that 3% who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Billion-dollar climate denial network exposed

You would think if the other 97% were doing this even worse, then the evidence for that would be at least 32.33 times more prevalent, but nope. The well is pretty much dry on that end, outside of all the headlines on Breitbart and the denier blogs that make up in self-contradiction and hyperbole, what they lack in actual facts or proof.

But again, it’s pointless – because those people that want to believe all this empty fluff from Breitbart and the denier blogs will just continue believing it no matter what. And they’ll just continue preaching about the “church of global warming” and how brainwashed anyone who doesn't “follow the money” is.

Nobody likes a hypocrite.

edit on 25-2-2015 by mc_squared because: fixed link

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 04:35 PM

originally posted by: mc_squared
You would think if the other 97% were doing this even worse, then the evidence for that would be at least 32.33 times more prevalent, but nope. The well is pretty much dry on that end, outside of all the headlines on Breitbart and the denier blogs that make up in self-contradiction and hyperbole, what they lack in actual facts or proof.

I'm not aware of too many claims of corporate money links to the so-called "consensus" scientists. Most of the claims are that these scientists receive their funding from government and accademic sources, which is well documented as a fact. The other side of the argument is that these government sources are pushing AGW theory as fact because it open the door for them to pass more legislation, claim more control over the people, and extort more taxes from their constituents while universities and the like ride along due to the nature of public university funding being largely at the whim of their political leadership.

Not exactly sure what further evidence is needed, really. You clearly have a circle jerk of policy makers being in charge of money sources towards the folks developing the data they use to publicly make their policies. It is absolutely apparent that there is a direct cost and power benefit to the scientists and governments to ensure AGW is not questioned. The conflict of interest is in full swing on both sides.

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 06:08 PM
a reply to: burdman30ott6

So basically you have this massive global conspiracy carved out of little more than ideological bias and paranoid fantasy:

“I don’t like government regulation therefore I believe governments around the world are influencing 97% of scientists to violate their ethical standards for funding”

And the justification is "Proof? We don't need no stinkin' proof!"

Meanwhile nothing about this narrative adds up particularly well in reality.

Where is all the documentation detailing the “deliverables” they have to provide (like Willie Soon did here) to get this funding?

If governments are meddling in the affairs of climate scientists so much to promote global warming, then why does the actual evidence reveal the exact opposite:

Duck stated that the current inability of scientists to discuss their research stems from a communications policy change made by the Harper government in 2007, in order to enforce tighter controls on interviews with Environment Canada scientists. In 2010, it was reported that media coverage of climate change had been reduced by 80 per cent. This is the result of federal scientists being forced to seek approval before speaking with reporters, including approval to written responses.

Muzzled scientists: The challenges of reporting on climate change in Canada

Then, in one well-documented case, the Bush administration blatantly tampered with the integrity of scientific analysis at a federal agency when, in June 2003, the White House tried to make a series of changes to the EPA’s draft Report on the Environment. A front-page article in the New York Times broke the news that White House officials tried to force the EPA to substantially alter the report’s section on climate change. The EPA report, which referenced the NAS review and other studies, stated that human activity is contributing significantly to climate change.

Climate Change Research Distorted and Suppressed

If this is all such a big elaborate ploy to establish new regulations, then why was the first peer-reviewed paper predicting CO2 induced warming published in 1896:

On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground

Does Al Gore have a time machine, or is this whole conspiracy so elaborate it’s been secretly in the works for 120 years?

If the warming scientists are all in on it – then why do they publish op-eds criticizing cap and trade, and calling instead for revenue-neutral systems where the money taxed on large-carbon polluting industries is recycled directly to the taxpayer so they can choose what to spend it on themselves:

There is a better alternative, one that would be more efficient and less costly than cap and trade: “fee and dividend.” Under this approach, a gradually rising carbon fee would be collected at the mine or port of entry for each fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas). The fee would be uniform, a certain number of dollars per ton of carbon dioxide in the fuel. The public would not directly pay any fee, but the price of goods would rise in proportion to how much carbon-emitting fuel is used in their production.

All of the collected fees would then be distributed to the public. Prudent people would use their dividend wisely, adjusting their lifestyle, choice of vehicle and so on. Those who do better than average in choosing less-polluting goods would receive more in the dividend than they pay in added costs.

”Cap & Fade” by NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen

The fact is there are so many plot holes and inconsistencies and contradictions in your version of this conspiracy, it completely falls apart at the slightest hint of research and critical thinking.

Meanwhile the idea that it’s really the “deniers” - the fossil fuel industries, free-market think tanks, political lobbyists, and their paid shills - just making up this ridiculous conspiracy to undermine the simple scientific truth here continues to add up. It only reinforces itself the more you unravel this thread with real actual skepticism, not Breitbart headlines.

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 06:24 PM

originally posted by: mc_squared
a reply to: burdman30ott6

So basically you have this massive global conspiracy carved out of little more than ideological bias and paranoid fantasy:

I didn't say there was a lack of evidence, I said the evidence is pretty obvious. UN Agenda 21 wasn't a "paranoid fantasy", it's a honest to goodness documented UN action plan.

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 06:52 PM
a reply to: burdman30ott6

No, Agenda 21 is not a paranoid fantasy - but all the hysterical right wing fearmongering over it is:

It's like saying Mars is real, therefore Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast was an actual event.

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 06:53 PM
I am often amused by the relative success the media routinely achieves obfuscating the issue of the matter; while effectively negating the legitimacy of any input. (It seems oddly parallel to the old conspiracy theorist meme... "show me evidence" and then "I don't accept that evidence!")

The network structure of the Academic Industrial Complex is such that there are in fact NO objective approaches to any research that is "funded" via a systematic entity who exists solely to make revenue flow through 'institutions."

Even the "squeaky clean" institutional research efforts cannot escape the fact that the revenue flow they facilitate is already tainted by the political posture of various committee members, the level of "commercial" interest in the outcome, and the treacherously undefinable manipulation of public imagery foisted upon us via press releases, and editorialized reporting.

Of course, I am struck suspicious when they idea that the researcher "hid" the connections comes to mind. If there was a deliberate "hiding" happening - then yes - it deserves the scrutiny of balanced inquiry....

... unfortunately, the only people who are allowed to "SAY" they conduct balanced inquiry and report findings are the make believe "press" ... who are neither balanced, nor capable of inquiry at all... mostly now the generalization is true that they simply collate press releases and editorialize social mine-able data to "create" hyped and dramatized articles that foment highly-charged arguments about the irrelevant peripheral matters that don't speak to the so-called subject of the research.

If we are to directly accuse someone of manipulating the facts, in order to forge a truth that is 'expedient' to their 'belief;' recognize that such a belief is not based in fact. By associating known 'interested' influential institutions with the researcher we are doing no less than applying the old "guilt by association" which more often than not leads us not towards the facts, but away from them, towards a more marketable 'truth.'

The connection between Soon and the "energy" industry funding, is merely a circumstantial connection - the kind political pundits "love" to abuse for our entertainment. It does not - in fact - automatically mean the industry successfully "influenced" the researcher(s). Also, the idea that the principle "researcher" has adopted a position means little... why? Because the position is based upon "'research."

Research - despite the ostensible position that it is the 'god' gift of organized science to humanity - is NOT a guarantee that it is CORRECT nor that it is CORRECTLY interpreted.

What "outrage" is being cultivated by the NYT article is just as potentially skewed and over-dramatized as the idea that researcher's must live in a professional bubble or their every pronouncement is poisoned fruit.

edit on 02pmx02pmWed, 25 Feb 2015 18:57:59 -060059 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 07:04 PM

originally posted by: Maxmars
The connection between Soon and the "energy" industry funding, is merely a circumstantial connection

Which is exactly why I went out of my way in the OP to say this:

That still begs the key question though: is he telling the truth? The answer should actually be independent of where his funding comes from, and his research should speak for itself.

And then pointed out several legitimate criticisms of his work.

His funding is suspicious. Him hiding it is much more suspicious. His research is repeatedly shown to be deceptive and bad. That's probably because he is an Aerospace Engineer who takes money from the Koch Brothers to write papers on polar bear populations.

If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 08:14 PM
a reply to: mc_squared

You, my esteemed friend, have cut to the chase. I meant no offense in my choice of speech.

Why has the effective coverage from media not led to the exclusion of his presence on the stage? Instead they appear to sensationalizes it with severe rapidity? I mean, here we have someone who, as you say bears the cadence of a 'tool' - detracting from the perpetual inertia of doing nothing, we slather ourselves in righteous indignation and sling jabs at one another.

There are in fact only a few such issues in which such a select few can effective total commitment to one way of thinking or the other... and we are discussing a person whom they have chosen as authoritative enough to offer the notion of legitimacy for their inevitable choices.

But how does the media reflect this development. As a fracas between factions of people. Perhaps I am under or over thinking this...

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 10:46 PM
It really is a mental illness at play here. It's like they don't how science works and they want to be afraid!

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 10:57 PM
One sponsor i would be looking for closely on the goal warming team aside from academia and government is from banks and wall street. Those guys are chomping at the bit to get to trading carbon credits so that they can skim even more from those that produce something.

I personally am not that concerned about climate change mainly because i don't trust either side. I am concerned about other ecological issues like deforestation, over fishing, clean water, and ocean pollution.

posted on Feb, 25 2015 @ 11:25 PM
The global warming hype can be looked at like a red herring where the focus of our environmental problems is put on global warming and the other major problems that we are clearly causing on this planet are not talked about and debated.

Now that the anti global warming belief is gaining support, we have created a false dilemma where we have an 'either or' debate about something that is difficult to prove.

Meanwhile man continues to destroy nature, we continue to pump pollution into our atmosphere, oceans, lakes, and aquifers. This reality is ignored and all the talk on the MSM about the environment is focused on either GW is happening or it is not and a hoax created to raise our taxes.

False dilemma.....
edit on 25-2-2015 by jrod because: fixit

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 01:11 AM
a reply to: jrod

Not sure what fantastic land you have inhabited, but here on earth there are huge followings for environmental issues outside of global warming. Not sure where you got the idea that there weren't discussions going on? I'm thinking you just made it up because it sounded good in your head.
edit on 26-2-2015 by TsukiLunar because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 01:29 AM
a reply to: TsukiLunar

Not sure if that is an attempt at an ad hominem or if you missed the point of my post and truly do not know what I mean by false dilemma and red herring. Both political parties in the US have huge followings, just like the global warming believers AND now the global warming hoax believers now have a large following. Over the past decade, this belief that man made global warming is just a scam aimed at raising taxes is gaining support.

I try to stick with known facts in these climate 'debates'.

CO2 has risen over 40% in the past half century....This is well documented.
edit on 26-2-2015 by jrod because: x

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 01:45 AM
a reply to: jrod

Not sure if you realize that your 'false dillema' makes no sense. Global warming is very serious, very real fact. You can't have a false dilemma when one of the answers is already proven true. Never mind that the entire premise is basically yes or no issue. Either global warming is real, or its not.

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 01:54 AM
a reply to: mc_squared

Want to know the easy way to tell which side has people being paid to lie? Almost every side of almost every issue is guilty. The question is how prevalent is it, not if it happens.

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 05:40 AM

originally posted by: mc_squared

But again, it’s pointless – because those people that want to believe all this empty fluff from Breitbart and the denier blogs will just continue believing it no matter what. And they’ll just continue preaching about the “church of global warming” and how brainwashed anyone who doesn't “follow the money” is.

Nobody likes a hypocrite.

I sympathise with your frustration....

It has become all too apparent, to myself, that the deniers are not interested in the truth or facts. They "don't" want to believe what climate scientists are telling them. There is a subtle but important different between "don't" and "can't". If you have trouble with the facts (the climate papers do require a knowledge of physics) or have fallen for the BS spouted forth from these denial websites then you "can't" believe what the climate scientist is telling you but with enough time and enough information you would start to question the BS!!!! However, if you "don't" want to believe what you are being told then no amount of information will have the slightest effect. Instead arguments go round in circles, The same old "shown to be BS several times" keeps getting re-iterated as if an undeniable truth, the con man who is a climate scientist is hauled out in public as "the truth about climate science". Tiresome....

I don't think hypocrisy is flowing around here but outright denial for a reason or reasons I have yet to work out. Although I strongly suspect some selfish motive.

To folks who keep on about "follow the money" fine.....but DO NOT limit yourself to the grand ol U S of A. Look at the funding in other countries. when you do that you will be more inclined to believe the non US climate scientist.

I would also love to know about these mythical GW taxes!?!?!?!? Sure we have tax on petrol (gas to you US folks) but we have always had this. Petrol, smoking and alcohol, governments have always chosen these to tax because we can't stop consuming them, we re addicted to all 3. Outside of these three historically highly taxed products I have not seen one red cent in increased taxation related to GW. It's a myth perpetuated by the deniers to scare the people into listening to them.

Good luck mc_squared you will need it around here........

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 06:12 AM
The Fossil Fuel industry and global warming deniers get caught red-handed paying for "deliverables," i.e. "scientific" reports to back up their invented claims global warming isn't happening. Dr. Soon was willing to throw away all credibility in exchange for a quick buck. It should also be noted that Dr. Soon was a frequent Fox "News" contributor in their non-stop propaganda wave in support of the fossil fuel industry.

Armageddon for Climate Change Deniers

For decades, the fossil-fuel industry has been underwriting a huge, successful campaign to lie about climate change. Like the tobacco industry before it, energy companies have created a body of pseudoscience, created by paid lackeys, and successfully co-opted the mainstream of the Republican Party to their “point of view.”

This week, that campaign took a serious body blow, as one of its leading pseudo-scientific voices was exposed as a liar and a fraud, having accepted millions of corporate dollars to pose as a climate-change skeptic.

edit on 26-2-2015 by Blackmarketeer because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 06:22 AM
It really doesn't matter if GW is real or not. We don't have any affordable, viable alternatives to our current fossil fuel based energy grid. Until we do the point is moot unless we are willing to return to the stone age which the majority of the people are not. This is the social and economic reality no matter how many studies are pumped out by climate change scientists.
edit on 2015/2/26 by Metallicus because: sp

posted on Feb, 26 2015 @ 09:11 AM
a reply to: jrod

True, the debate has been segregated into two extremely polarized camps - but this is also indicative of a larger political polarization that’s taking place, especially in the U.S.

I see it as both a bad and a good thing though. Because in some ways it certainly obfuscates the bigger picture (by distracting from it), but in other ways – the more you let the extremists drive the bus, the more reasonable people can start to see things a bit more clearly again.

You’ve been involved in a lot of these nutty global warming threads lately so I know you’ve seen it too: every one of them gets hijacked these days by this absurd argument that the rise in CO2 isn’t even man made. I mean it’s one thing to bog the issue down in complicated questions over feedbacks and climate sensitivity and what not, but when someone’s main case falls back on the idea that this is just a natural coincidence now:

You may not be able to convince that particular person (because they are so far beyond the pale), but at least others on the same sideline start to sober up pretty quick. The end result is that it kind of resets and centers the conversation again. The extremist is left standing there looking more or less like this guy:

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