- Associate’s Degree in Graphic Arts, Al Collins School of Graphic Design
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, University of New Mexico
- B.A. Psychology, Northwestern University, 1969
- M.S. Mathematical Psychophysics, Northwestern University, 1976
In early 2012, it seemed like the future of Bjørn Lomborg’s influential think tank was in serious doubt.
The Danish Government had changed its political stripes and the millions in public funds that had poured into his Copenhagen Consensus Center had come to an abrupt halt.
Lomborg told The Ecologist magazine he was worried there would be a limited pool of donors willing to part with cash to support his work.
“We have to make sure that that funding, if it’s going to go forward, is unassailable,” Lomborg said.
The impression back in 2012 might have been that Lomborg’s think tank was struggling for cash, but a DeSmogBlog investigation suggests the opposite.
The nonprofit Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) has spent almost $1 million on public relations since registering in the US in 2008. More than $4 million in grants and donations have flooded in since 2008, three quarters of which came in 2011 and 2012.
In one year alone, the Copenhagen Consensus Center paid Lomborg $775,000.
Three university professors are resigning as editors at a scientific publisher in protest at its decision to retract research linking climate change scepticism to conspiratorial thinking.
Professors Ugo Bardi, of the University of Florence, Italy and Björn Brembs, of the University of Regensburg, Germany, launched scathing attacks on the Switzerland-based publisher Frontiers. Professor Colin Davis, of the University of Bristol, has also resigned in protest.
The academics said the journal should have stood by the authors of the research, with one saying the publishers had caved in to pressure from “delusionals.”
Frontiers staff and the three research authors, led by cognitive psychology professor Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol, had signed agreements preventing them from discussing the nature of the complaints, but DeSmogBlog revealed sceptics had claimed the research was defamatory.
Frontiers last year formed a partnership with the publishers of the high-profile Nature journal.
Brembs described Frontiers' retraction decision as “an outrageous act of a scientific journal caving in to pressure from delusionals” who, he said, were “demanding the science about their publicly displayed delusions be hidden from the world.”
A university has criticized conservative media for a serious misrepresentation of one of its academics that sparked a torrent of abuse from climate science deniers.
As revealed by DeSmogBlog, Rochester Institute of Technology assistant professor Lawrence Torcello received hundreds of e-mails after conservative media incorrectly claimed he had called for climate skeptics to be jailed.
Torcello wrote an article for The Conversation website arguing there was “good reason to consider” that “the funding of climate denial” was morally and criminally negligent.
But conservative media, including FoxNation, The Drudge Report, Breitbart and The Daily Caller, incorrectly claimed that Torcello had either called for contrarian scientists to be jailed or for Americans who did not accept the evidence for human-caused climate change to be imprisoned. Climate skeptic blogger Anthony Watts also encouraged readers to complain to the university.
In a followup statement, the university said:
The search for truth is the animating force of a university, and it behooves those who support open and respectful discussion of controversial issues to get the facts right. Recently the views expressed by a member of our community, Professor Lawrence Torcello, have been misrepresented by some in the media. The misrepresentation follows a pattern similar to other incidents of misrepresentation involving academics that work on topics related to climate change.
“DIE you maggot,” reads one of the hundreds of emails from climate science deniers that have dropped into philosopher Lawrence Torcello’s inbox in recent days.
“Fortunately, your kind will be marched to the wall with all the other leftist detritus,” says another.
Others accuse Torcello, an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Philosophy in the west of New York State, of being a fascist, Stalinist and a Nazi.
The catalyst for the bilious outpouring was an article Torcello had written for The Conversation website arguing there was “good reason to consider” that “the funding of climate denial” was morally and criminally negligent.
“I knew there would be debate in the comment section, which I was welcoming,” Torcello told me, adding he also knew the “usual climate denialist blogs” wouldn’t like it too much.
“But I didn’t expect the wide level of exposure that the misrepresentations would get in the press and I didn’t expect the intense storm of hate mail and Twitter harassment the article experienced.”
At one point, he says he picked up his phone to be told that soon he would be “paid a visit”. One email told Torcello — in customary all-caps angriness — that he was a “FAGGOT” and that global warming was “A LIE STRAIGHT FROM THE JEWS”.
“When I include phone calls and twitter harassment in addition to the emails I’ve received, then somewhere above 700 items of correspondence seems like a good estimate,” says Torcello.
“I did stop keeping count after the first few days of constant bombardment, but over a week later mail is still coming.”
When the industry group was launched in 2008, the message was that coal — the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning globally — could be part of the future.
“I believe we can limit greenhouse gases,” declared one of the wholesome American citizens depicted in the ACCCE television adverts.
One can only presume that the ACCCE has now dropped its hopes of limiting greenhouse gases, given that its latest “landmark report” claims the benefits to society of putting extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere massively outweigh the costs. Surely the message should be, “burn baby, burn”?
The Social Costs Of Carbon? No, The Social Benefits Of Carbon report by ACCCE claims the benefits of adding extra CO2 to the atmosphere are between 50 and 500 times higher than the costs.
But the report attacks climate change science using sources as ideologically tainted as the Heartland Institute – an organisation which once ran a billboard campaign with a picture of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski to claim that the “most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
At its core, the ACCCE report is one long misrepresentation of the impact of coal on the planet, from its effects on growing food crops to raising sea levels to fuelling risk-laden climate change.
It’s known as the Kochtopus – the extensive network of think tanks, institutes, university departments, political funding arms and “grassroots” activist groups funded by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch.
The multi-tentacled network has pumped tens of millions of dollars into groups that deny the risks of human-caused climate change.
But if it is Koch cash that helps fuel these groups, then what is it that fuels the Koch brothers themselves beyond the obvious financial interest?
As DeSmogBlog has revealed, Charles Koch is a long-standing member of the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) – a global group of industrialists, academics and economists who share the “neoliberal” ideology of limiting government control.
If the Koch network has many groups dangling from its tentacles, then Charles Koch’s membership with the Mont Pelerin Society provides a window into the ideological heart of the Kochtopus.
DeSmogBlog today publishes the global membership directory of the Mont Pelerin Society as it was in 2010, with all personal contact details redacted.
[Pending Further Investigation]