Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2Science)

 Background

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, also known as CO2Science is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Arizona run by a family of climate change skeptics including Craig D. Idso (Chairman and former President), his father Sherwood B. Idso (President), and his brother Keith E. Idso (Vice President). Craig Idso founded the Center in January, 1998. 

The Idsos have had ties to the energy industry. In the early 2000s Craig Idso was the director of environmental science at Peabody Energy, the world's largest privately owned coal company. And Craig and Keith Idso are both tied to the Western Fuels Association, having published a October 1999 report by the Greening Earth Society titled “Forecasting World Food Supplies: The Impact of the Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentration.” [1], [2]

According to their website, the Center “was created to disseminate factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.” [3]

One of the primary arguments made by the Center is that more CO2 in the atmosphere would be beneficial to humanity, particularly due to its supposed benefit to plant growth.

The Center publishes a weekly CO2Science newsletter where they attempt to “separate reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change.”

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change racked No. 8 on a list of the “Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial” compiled by Mother Jones in 2009. [1]

Stance on Climate Change

“Suffice it to say for now, there is no compelling reason to believe there will necessarily be any global warming as a result of the activities of man, especially those activities that result in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.” [4]

“… there is no compelling reason to believe that the rise in temperature [since the Industrial Revolution] was caused by the rise in CO2.  Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that future increases in the air's CO2 content will produce any global warming…”

“Atmospheric CO2 enrichment brings growth and prosperity to man and nature alike.” [5]

 Funding

According to Sherwood Idso, “we never discuss our funding. Why? Because we believe that ideas about the way the world of nature operates should stand or fall on their own merits, irrespective of the source of support for the person or organization that produces them.” [6]

John Mashey recently released a report that question's the Center's charitable tax status and funding (PDF - see p. 69) as well as that of the Heartland Institute and the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP).

According to Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has received $100,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [7]

Media Transparency lists an additional $100,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. [8]

Greenpeace's PolluterWatch project found that the Center had also received a total of $85,000 from Koch Foundations from 1997-2009. [9]

Donor's Capital Fund (DCF) also donated a total of $283,800 between 2007 and 2009. DCF has recently been reveled as a major funder of numerous climate change skeptic organizations, as it offers a conduit for other individuals and organizations to donate anonymously. [10]

At-a-Glance:

Key People

Scientific and Policy Advisors

According to the Center's Brochure (PDF - undated), Scientific and Policy Advisors have included:

 Actions

Ongoing - NIPCC Reports

Craig Idso has been a leading author of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) reports (2011 and 2009), which appears to be a joint project of the Heartland Institute, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

According to leaked documents from the Heartland Institute (See DeSmogBlog entry on Heartland), Heartland plans to pay Craig Idso $11,600 per month for his work on the NIPCC Project in 2012. 

The NIPCC Reports attempt to counter the reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many of the authors and reviewers of the NIPCC report do not have credentials related to the topic of climate, while others have received significant funding from industry sources.

May 21 - 23, 2012

CO2Science is listed as an official Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

February, 2011

Teamed up with Tom Harris of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) to produce a petition attempting to rebut an earlier letter written by 18 climate scientists to Members of Congress.

The 18-scientist letter urged “our elected leaders to work together to focus the nation on what the science is telling us, particularly with respect to impacts now occurring around the country.” [14]

The rebuttal letter organized by Harris and Idso refers to the 18 climate scientists as “climate alarmists” who “appear to be unaware of 'what is happening to our planet’s climate,' as well as the vast amount of research that has produced that knowledge.” [15]

SkepticalScience debunks the arguments used in the skeptic's petition. [16]

November 3, 2003

Issued a report, entitled “Enhanced or Impaired? Human Health in a CO2-Enriched Warmer World,” written by the “father-and-sons team of Sherwood, Craig and Keith Idso.”

According to the Center's Press Release (PDF), “… people would likely be healthier and live considerably longer in a world of higher temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration.” [17]

The report “also describes a number of non-climatic effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment that positively impact human health, including the concentration enhancement of various health-promoting constituents of food and medicinal plants.”

July 29, 2003

Issued a report (PDF) that they claim “Debunks Claims of Warming-Induced Extinctions,” arguing that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be beneficial because “Plants in a CO2-enriched atmosphere generally prefer warmer temperatures than they do when exposed to normal air.” [18]

The idea that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would be beneficial because of its impact on plant growth is a common argument by climate change skeptics. [19]

Related Organizations

Note that while the website for CO2Science generally refers to itself as the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, SourceWatch (and a report by GuideStar) show that CO2 Science is a separate entity, although also a 501(c)(3) charity. [20]

The EIN (Employer Identification Number) for CO2 Science is 20-2778308 while the EIN for the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change is 86-0902777.

 Resources

  1. Josh Harkinson. “No. 8: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (A.K.A. The Idso Family),” Mother Jones, December 4, 2009.

  2. Give Peace a Chance by Giving Plants a Chance,” CO2Science, Volume 2, Number 19 (October 1, 1999).

  3. Mission Statement,” CO2Science. Accessed March, 2012.

  4. Assessing the Potential for Serious Global Warming,” CO2Science, Volume 4, Number 30 (July 25, 2001).

  5. C. D. Idso and K. E. Idso. “Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming: Where We Stand on the Issue,” Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, 1998.

  6. What Motivates the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change?”, CO2Science. Accessed March, 2012.

  7. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Center for the Study of CO2 and Climate Change.

  8. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change,” Media Transparency. Accessed March, 2012.

  9. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change - Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace. Accessed March, 2012.

  10. Nonprofit Organization Information: DONORS CAPITAL FUND INC,” Economic Research Institute. Accessed March 7, 2012.

  11. Chairman,” CO2Science. Accessed March, 2012.

  12. President,” CO2Science. Accessed March, 2012.

  13. Vice President,” CO2Science. Accessed March, 2012.

  14. The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change,” January 28, 2011. Republished by Climate Science Watch, February 1, 2011.

  15. In reply to 'The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change,'” February 8, 2011. Republished by WattsUpWithThat.

  16. Carbon Dioxide and Earth's Future: Pursuing the Prudent Path,” SkepticalScience.

  17. “Study Touts Health Benefits of CO2-Enriched Warmer World” (Press Release- PDF), Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, November 3, 2003.

  18. “Study Debunks Claims of Warming-Induced Extinctions” (PDF - Media Release), Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, July 29, 2003.

  19. CO2 is plant food,” Skeptical Science. Accessed March, 2012.

  20. CO2SCIENCE,” Report by GuideStar. Accessed March 7, 2012.

  21. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change,” Wikipedia Entry.

  22. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change,” SourceWatch Profile.