New York’s Times republished a Greenpeace press release on the front page of its Sunday, 22nd February edition that attacks Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for obtaining $1.2 million in funding for his research over the last decade from energy corporations, electric utilities, and charitable foundations related to those companies. The press release, cleverly disguised as an article supposedly written by Times reporters Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, also claims that Dr. Soon did not adequately disclose the sources of his funding in articles published in scientific journals.
According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Greenpeace and its closely affiliated so-called “Climate Investigations Center,” Soon received $409,000 from the Southern Company, a major utility, and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation to fund his research. The Greenpeace press release as republished in the Times notes that “Mr. Koch’s fortune derives partly from oil refining.” Yes, and the biggest charitable foundation donor to environmental pressure groups is the Pew Charitable Trusts, which was founded on the Pew family’s Sun Oil Company earnings. Other major givers to green groups are the various Rockefeller foundations, which are based on earnings from Standard Oil (of which Exxon Mobil and Chevron are among the many successor companies). So what’s Greenpeace’s point? And everyone knows that scientists who accept funding from the EPA are never influenced by the source of their funding. That’s why the EPA funds so much research that contradicts its policies. Right?
I have known Willie Soon for about fifteen years. I respect him highly, particularly for the great integrity he has shown in pursuing his politically incorrect research under scurrilous attacks like the one reprinted in the NY Times. If Willie valued money over science, he would have joined the Global Warming Pep Squad long ago.
It is perhaps surprising that Greenpeace continues to attack the “skeptical scientists” who are brave enough to dispute the alarmist consensus. After all, they have been successfully characterized as a tiny group of misfits and incompetents. How can they possibly threaten the claimed consensus of 97% of all climate scientists? The answer is obvious: the global warming industry is running scared because the scientific consensus is not based on known scientific facts. It is based on discredited climate model projections, such as the ones promoted by Gavin Schmidt at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and fantasy reconstructions of past climate history, such as the infamous hockey stick. Greenpeace and the other green pressure groups as well as their corporate allies who stand to benefit are increasingly desperate to achieve government control of the energy economy before the consensus goes poof.
Had they wanted to do some reporting, the Times’s reporters could have provided some context and some comparisons. They could have read the contracts and noted, as does Kip Hansen in Watts Up With That, that the grants were made not to Soon but to the Smithsonian, which never complained while taking its sizable cut off the top, but is now investigating him. And as Michael Bastasch discovers in the Daily Caller, the Smithsonian signed a contract with the Southern Company that includes a non-disclosure provision. In its defense, a Smithsonian spokesman said that such non-disclosure provisions are “relatively common.” In not disclosing his funding sources for journal articles, it appears to me that. Dr. Soon was abiding by the Smithsonian’s contract, which included widely-used boilerplate language. If the Times had bothered to check, they almost certainly would have found that many scientists publish articles in journals without disclosing all their sources of funding or their indirect sources of funding.