Don't Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition

Sun, 2011-04-17 15:41Emma Pullman
Emma Pullman's picture

Don't Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) recently published a flashy headline that reads, 900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism Of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm’. The article links to a blog post on listing more than 900 papers which, according to the GWPF, refute “concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic.”

The “900+ papers” list is supposed to somehow prove that a score of scientists reject the scientific consensus on climate change. One might be persuaded by the big numbers. We’re not.

Oh, where to begin? First, a note of caution about the Global Warming Policy Foundation. It’s a UK group opposing climate change action. Sourcewatch’s digging reveals links to right-wing libertarian climate change deniers. According to the UK Charity Commission, GWPF’s mandate is to “advance the public understanding of global warming and of its possible consequences, and also of the measures taken or proposed to be taken in response to it”. Actually, they’re a heck of a lot more interested in sowing seeds of doubt than in disseminating knowledge. The GWPF’s director is the Heartland Institute’s* Benny Peiser, climate change denier extraordinaire. Other notable members include Canada’s Ross McKitrick of the Fraser Institute.   

Curiously, the GWPF was launched just as the Climategate emails were released. An op-ed by Chairman Nigel Lawson announced the GWPF, predicted the (hopeful) failure of the Copenhagen climate talks, and called for an inquiry into the content of the stolen emails.

Using a screen-scraping process to analyze the data on the “900+” list, the folks over at Carbon Brief dug up some pretty incriminating information. Turns out nine of the ten most cited authors on the list (representing 186 of the 938 papers) have links to ExonMobil-funded organizations. The tenth has co-authored several papers with Exxon-funded contributors. Anyone familiar with these kinds of lists (“More than 500 scientists dispute global warming” or “more Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”) knows that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.  Many familiar climate skeptic names appear over and over again.

Dr. Sherwood B Idso is the most cited author on the list, having authored or co-authored 67 of the papers. Idso is president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a think tank funded by ExxonMobil and the Sarah Scaife Foundation

The second most cited is Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, a well-known climate sceptic who admits that around 40% of his funding comes from the oil industry.

When you really crunch the numbers, all you really find is a small echochamber of the same individuals who pop up on every denier list and petition around. James W. Prall at the University of Toronto has put together a fantastic analysis of the names that appear on these lists, and shows how most of them share funding ties to the oil industry. 

Now a note on the most cited journals on this list. Articles from trade journal Energy and Environment are cited 137 times on the list. Energy and Environment is edited by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen and Benny Peiser. Numerous known climate skeptics sit on the editorial staff including Sallie Baliunas, Patrick Michaels, Ross McKitrick, and Richard Lindzen.  The journal has become a go-to resource for policymakers and politicians who are skeptical of the scientific consensus of climate change. 

Michael Ashley of the University of New South Wales has described it as “the climate sceptic’s journal of choice”. The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge is considered a key resource for establishing the credentials and influence of key academic journals. It does not list Energy and Environment.  

A further 24 papers come from the journal Climate Research which is perhaps best known for publishing a 2003 paper by Sallie Baliunas and Willy Soon that received funding from the American Petroleum Institute. In response to the paper’s publication, the editor in chief, Hans Von Storch, and five of ten members of the editorial board, resigned in protest.

Let’s contrast this “900+ list” with the real facts. Expert Credibility in Climate Changewhich appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines over 2,400 climate scientists and authors who have signed public statements on climate change. Their research says that 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field believe that global warming is happening, and that we must respond to it.

A note to deniers: if you keep publishing these lists, we’ll keep debunking them. Long lists might look convincing, but they’re no substitute for research that is free of fossil fuel industry bias and is taken seriously by the scientific community. 

*Updated: Peiser is listed as one of the global warming ‘experts’ by the Heartland Institute, but does not work there.

Image Credit: Prospect Magazine


It should also be noted that in the two months Poptechs list has gone from 850 papers to 900 papers. In that same period there have been more than 2500 peer reviewed papers published on climate change.

Ironically, this is in keeping with the research that shows that 97-98 percent of climate scientists agree with AGW theory.


Are you seriously suggesting there have been 2500 peer reviewed papers on climate change published in the past 2 months?

Seriously? That kind of assertion just makes you look very silly, there arent that many journals out there! Or is this just another of your ridiculous Google Scholar keyword searches?

Peter... You really need to get up to speed if you want to comment on this issue.

Here is a VERY conservative estimation of climate research.

"The baseline time span for this database is (publication years) 1999-June 30, 2009 from the third bimonthly update (a 10-year + 6-month period). The resulting database contained 27,989 (10 years) and 11,428 (2 years) papers; 53,136 authors; 176 nations; 2,494 journals; and 10,801 institutions."

Get used to it. Poptechs number is a very very small number that is actually decreasing in size.


The sciencewatch "research" is based on the same erroneous methods you employ, doing a Google search on keywords, then assuming everything written agrees with you. Is this really the best you can come up with? So 27,989 articles mention climate change or global warming in the abstract? Forgive me for being seriously unimpressed if you think this amounts to evidence - did you, or they, actually read ANY of these.

Science is not done by counting heads, but by making and testing hypotheses. Something alien to climate "science", it would appear. Making up silly numbers of papers - most of which are nothing at all to do with AGW- is a clear sign of desperation. You need to give up before you embarrass yourself even more

You obviously didnt even read the page I linked you to. Sorry to pop your bubble but Google was not used. If you use Google scholar you get vastly greater results.


I did read it, but you may be correct that they used some other search engine rather than Google, I apologise if this is the case.

They do specify how they did the search, though

"The initial data pool was created using the search terms "climate change*" or "global warm*" in titles, abstracts, and keywords of original articles, reviews, and proceedings papers published between January 1, 1999 and June 30, 2009."

Im not sure how this would turn up markedly different results from Google Scholar, no matter which search engine is used. It still makes no attempt to discern what the papers actually say about AGW, and is therefore still of very little value. Quite likely many of the papers on Andrews list are also on theirs.

Thats not is required of a denominator. I put Poptechs list in context to the broader body of climate science. Even by the most generous of measures his list is a tiny fraction of the entire body of research done on climate change.

You have done no such thing but demonstrate you are Google Scholar illiterate,

Google Scholar Illiteracy at Skeptical Science

Please provide the 1001 search result for any of your Google Scholar searches.

Surely in the end what matters is not what proportion of papers support one view or another. What matters is which ones are right.

Its true there are large number of papers which mention climate change in the abstract, largely to attract funding, but how many of these provide any evidence that human co2 emissions are causing dangerous warming?

Actually, the answer to that question is clearly zero. At least if its not, please let me know, as Dr Roy Spencer has issued a public challenge to produce ONE such paper, but has had no takers. You could be the first!

It's funny that you start out with the correct notion that popularity does not matter, it is being right. And Spencer's articles have quite often shown to be wrong, with his most recent book being the laughing stock because of outright stupidity in his modeling (something with modeling an elefant). That's not uncommon for Spencer, who did the same on his blog with his CO2 modeling, claiming 80% of the increase came from the oceans. I'm surprised he hasn't retracted that blogpost yet, it is so naively wrong, even my young nephew understood what was wrong (and he's more the social science type).

And then there are his challenges. They are often very poorly worded and quantified (as a result, Tamino's challenges to Roy Spencer was equally 'valid'), and often focus on one single paper. It's like saying "show me one paper that proves gravity exists". There is no such paper, it's a large body of work that constitutes the proof. Spencer's challenge is, from a scientific philosophical point of view, outright unscientific.

And if you don't think so, try to answer this one:
Show me one peer-reviewed paper that shows HIV is the main cause of AIDS.
Or this one:
Show me one peer-reviewed paper that proves the theory of evolution.
Or this one:
Show me one peer-reviewed paper that shows god does not exist (or vice versa, for that matter).

Peter... Youre about to get on a plane traveling from New York to Sydney. There are 97 aviation engineers standing in front of you saying they think theres about a 90 percent chance the plane with crash. But there are 3 there also who say theres no problem at all. Do you get on the plane?

Do you take your family on the plane with you?


Apart from the fact that you 97 percent figure is a total crock, your analogy is phoney as well. We are not on a plane, we are on a planet we cant get off, and the choice is between an extraordinary claim that something unprecedented is about to happen (are plane crashes unpredecented), and a far more plausible viewpoint that nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

Whats more, in your analogy not getting on the plane doesn't cause economic devastation, and wont condemn millions of the worlds most vulnerable people to needless poverty.

Think of the children!

Peter... Again, you should read the research. The 97 number is accurate. You may not like it, but it is accurate.

Second, when you are on a passenger plane at FL370, you can not get off.

Third, has mass extinction occurred on this planet before? Climate change driven extinction events? Yes.

Fourth, we are not talking about actions that are going to cause economic devastation unless people like you cant come to grips with the reality of this issue so that we delay action until its too late. In fact, quite the opposite.

We need to do four things:

1) Address our use of FFs and reduce emissions by at least 80 percent, soon.
2) Address and eliminate poverty globally.
3) Address population growth.
4) Restore natural systems.

We cant do just one or two. Its not a menu. We need to do all these. We do this and humanity will continue to prosper. Fail to do any one of them and the house of cards will come tumbling down.


Yet again. the 97 percent figure is the result of a stupidly flawed study - sorry if you cant accept this, but fine, you keep quoting that while people are laughing at you.

Mas extinctions due to climate change? Maybe, I'm sure a massive asteroid or a mega volcanic eruption will change the climate somewhat. No fossil fuels involved then, I note.

To speak of eliminating poverty, while seeking to destroy any chance of the worlds poor having access to affordable reliable energy (because that is indeed what is proposed) is hypocritical in the extreme. Until there is an actual, economic replacement for fossil fuels, we will need them to lift the worlds poor out of poverty, and allow them the lifestyle I'm sure you take for granted. Gentle breezes and sunbeams will never fuel an industrial society, for that we have to BURN stuff!

No Peter... Its just that people like you have no capacity to see ways forward. You can only look backward.

Already, per Energy Secretary Steven Chu, solar is going to match the price of coal WITHOUT SUBSIDIES by the end of this decade and continue to fall. (I wouldnt be putting money into any new coal fired plants today because theyre going to soon be obsolete.)

Your "burning stuff" solution to poverty has not done the job for the past 150 years? If burning stuff ends poverty... why do we still have poverty? It should have been eradicated decades ago by that logic.

No. Its new technologies that are going to eradicate poverty. Yes. Solar and wind.

Maybe solar will match coal - its got a huge distance to go in a very short time to achieve what you claim, but if it does, all well and good, let private capitalists build solar power stations and get rich.

I wouldn't rush to put my money into it though. Remember, its not todays fossil fuel technology solar will have to compete with at the end of th decade, it the fossil fuel of then, and thats a rapidly moving target.

Although given the very diffuse nature of solar energy, even at vastly improved efficiencies it will still take huge swathes of the earths surface to generate industrial amounts of power - Im not at all clear how this is more environmentally friendly that a nice compact nuclear or gas power station? This vision of our future doesn't seem to me to offer much space for wilderness. How much space do you really want humanity to take up on this planet - all of it?

Wilson claims:

"we are on a planet we cant get off,..."

the delusion is just incredible...

How did you plan to get off then?

Touche, you got me there :) Have to stop speed reading...

Go home you statisticians! Wow and this thread all started because of Poptech`s counting of heads.


Counting of papers, no heads were counted because the list has nothing to do with the personal position of any of the authors as explicitly stated,

Disclaimer: The inclusion of a paper in this list does not imply a specific personal position to any of the authors.

This post has been completely refuted,

Rebuttal to Don't Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition

In an iconic twist of irony the website funded by a convicted money launderer attempts to smear respected scientists and policy analysts who disagree with them as funded by fossil fuel companies. What is falsely implied is that these scientists are corrupt and fossil fuel companies are paying them to be skeptical. This is an easy argument to prove, you simply need to show that these scientists changed their position on AGW after receiving a monetary donation from a fossil fuel company. Alarmists never show this because they cannot. These scientists all held a skeptical position prior to receiving any monetary donations. Any monetary donations these scientists received was because the donor agreed with the scientific position that the scientist already held. Alarmists cannot comprehend this irrefutable logic because they emotionally refuse to accept that there are credentialed scientists who do not share their beliefs.

Andrew... That is the pure definition of an ad hom logical fallacy. A knows B. B is bad. Therefore A is also bad. Nice "irrefutable logic" there brainiac.

Ad hominem logical fallacy is what this DeSmogBlog article is.

Prove that a single skeptical scientist changed their position on AGW due to a monetary donation.

This is essentially what Andrew does every time. Anyone who challenges is flawed list instantly earns a response article contorting logic in more ways that you knew were possible. Its a sight to behold.

Suffice to say, Andrew doesnt take criticism well.

My logic is irrefutable,

Prove that a single skeptical scientist changed their position on AGW due to a monetary donation

Having read through the comments again it seems that no one can mount a serious rebuttal of the core argument of this post: that the list of 900 papers is dominated by researchers who receive funding from fossil fuel companies, and who have trouble getting into respected journals.

This is a question of trust. Should we trust respected scientific journals, academic societies and the overwhelming majority of climate scientists? Or - should we trust a relatively few scientists who are funded by an industry that has billions at stake in maintaining public doubt about the need to act to prevent catastrophic climate change?

Of course skepticism is essential to science - but these would be Galileos look a lot more like one piece in a PR megaphone that is trying to protect the interests of the richest corporations on earth.

Thank you to the author for continuing to expose that fact.


ALL the articles noted ARE in respected scientific journals, every single one of them. The reason this is so difficult for skeptics was revealed in glorious technicolor by Climategate, but these 900+ papers still got published, against all the odds, and not because they were reviewed by their mates like many of the pro AGW papers.

It doesn't take much research to find a large number of worthless papers which have passed "pal review" to get into leading journals - Mann Bradley Hughes 98 (hockey stick) and Steig et al 09 ("warming " antarctic) are 2 prime examples (there are many others) of just how credulous reviewers can be if the conclusions of a paper suit their prejudices.

And as pointed out down thread, Hadley CRU, the leading alarmist research center, has received funds from both BP and Shell. Thats not what makes them wrong, though...

Peter Wilson writes "articles" regularly on that scurrilous web site "American Stinker". No wonder he thinks that "Energy and Environment" is a "respected scientific journal". What a joke. It is obvious that this clown has lots of time to waste and he is hoping that he will waste lots of respectable scientists' time too by having to rebut his lies. Why are such dishonest people allowed to overrun this web site with their lies and misinformation?

Sorry Ian, your ad hominem has backfired badly, thats not me (Im a New Zealander). I have visited American Thinker, usually on a link from a climate site, but on most issues they are way too conservative for me

But you accuse me of dishonesty - on what basis, pray tell? Have I said anything on this blog that you can actually disprove - if I have I assure you its an honest mistake. I have no interest other than the truth here and you are right, way too much time on my hands at present:)

I await your apology (but not with my breath held) for this baseless smear

Whether you are the person who writes on American Stinker is immaterial. For a start, do you think anyone here believes a word of what you say after all the nonsense you have posted here?

Secondly, you are just as ignorant of science and how it is performed as anyone who writes for American Stinker. If you do not want to be confused with such dishonesty then there is a simple solution, stop supporting dishonest nonsense and act in a responsible and honest manner.

Simple, isn't it?

Again, Ian, have you any constructive contribution to make ot this debate, or is personal abuse as good as it gets from you?

Classy /sarc

Again, Ian, have you any constructive contribution to make ot this debate, or is personal abuse as good as it gets from you?

Classy /sarc

You are irrational.

Provide some science and we can discuss how the burning of fossil fuels is affecting our climate to the detriment of future generations.

You are just a scientifically ignorant denier who does not understand anything about science or how it is conducted.

Where are the papers that support your denialist views? They do not exist or you would be providing them and supporting them. You can't do that so you insult scientists.

And the list of papers discussed in this thread do not show that AGW is not real and will not cause problems to future generations.

Get a life.

Where are the papers? Haven't you read the article at the top, there are over 900 of them. Duh

Who is irrational? I at least have something other than puerile ad hominem abuse to bring to the debate. Do you actually have anything to say?

Actually Ian, how old are you? This is an adult forum, sonny, if you want to call people poopyhead there are other places you can do it.

This ridiculous argument has been refuted multiple times,

1. Prove that the list is dominated by scientists who actually receive money from fossil fuel companies. That has not been done here. It is falsely implied that if a scientist went to a meeting for coffee and donuts hosted by an organization that in the last 20 years received a $5 donation from a fossil fuel company unrelated to science that scientist is now "funded by the fossil fuel industry". Please provide actual documents irrefutably demonstrating direct fossil fuel funding.

2. Then prove that the few scientists on the list who have received small direct donations from energy companies over the last 20 years have received enough energy company funding to sustain their research all this time.

3. Finally prove that a single skeptical scientist changed their scientific position regarding AGW due to a monetary donation from anyone not just energy companies.


Peter Wilson claims "ALL the articles noted ARE in respected scientific journals, every single one of them."

That is absolute bullshit-- that is also a lie and he knows it. Also, Emma ask Wilson how many "skeptic" papers on the list have been refuted since publication. I just thought of another one, G&T 2009.

And a warning Emma, Andrew (Poptech) has a history of cyber stalking (he will deny it of course, but I can email you about what happened) and the last thread of his at SkepticalSacience must be close to 1000 posts, mostly by Andrew (Poptech).

Rob and others, you are wasting youre time trying to reason with these guys-- you are fighting against a staunch ideology, and no amount of reasoning, science or facts will change their belief system.

"Peter Wilson claims "ALL the articles noted ARE in respected scientific journals, every single one of them."

That is absolute bullshit-- that is also a lie and he knows it."

Albatross--I wish I had seen your post earlier. My post to him was on the assumption he was open to persuasion. By making such an easily disproved claim he demonstrates he is only interested in rhetoric and maintaining his stance regardless of the evidence.

If I had known this earlier, I would not have bothered replying, or limited myself to a few lines.

Does he think people cannot check for themselves? This is the equivalent of the Czech president stealing a pen while on tv and thinking no-one is going to notice (you have to Google that one if you havent seen it--it so perfectly exemplified the mindset of most deniers whether it be in climate or evolution, i.e. no-one will notice.

As for Andrew, there is no point--I have seen him over on other sites and he is impervious to any evidence (I had to laugh to see he still has that one paper on his list long after it has been pointed out it does not support his thesis. Thought he would have weeded that one out by now).

Hi Dan Andrews,

Not to worry. Yes, not worth our time really. Oh well, happy to let the "skeptics" and deniers of AGW score a few own goals now and again. Sad thing is that they have convinced themselves that these blog battles actually have the attention of policy makers and the such, and while they are feverishly typing away, the policy makers are talking to the real and reputable scientists....

Leaving aside your silly prejudice against E&E, which one is not in a peer reviewed journal?

Do you have anything coherent to say, or is ranting your only trick?

You said "reputable" peer review journal :) And please stop arguing from emotion Peter.

Give me some time, and Ill draft a list....

No I didn't, cant you read, I said peer reviewed. I really have no interest in your opinion of E&E.

Get back when you've finished that list, Im dying to see it. Wont hold my breath though...

There's a difference between a journal containing peer-reviewed papers, and papers actually being peer-reviewed. A while ago a friend of mine went through the list, finding a range of Editorials (hardly ever peer-reviewed), viewpoints (idem), opinions (idem), and communications (depending on the journal, idem). I also noted that Jack Barrett's article is on the list, even though Houghton refuted him, and Barrett acknowledged in the response he was wrong.

Oh, and then there are the papers from "regulation", a magazine from the CATO institute (and formerly the American Enterprise Institute). Doesn't seem to be peer-reviewed, unless you mistake Editorial scrutiny with peer-review.

No I am impervious to lies, misinformation and strawman arguments. Various legitimate corrections have been made to the list based on actual evidence.

All the papers on the list support skeptic arguments against AGW Alarm defined as, "concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic."

Yes all the papers on the list were peer-reviewed.

G&T 2009 have refuted the published criticism of their paper, thus rebuttal can be found on the list following the original paper.

Please stop spreading lies about me as I have never "cyberstalked" anyone. I suggest looking up the definition, "the use of the Internet to follow and watch someone in a threatening way".

Prove that I followed Ian anywhere in a threatening way.

G&T is dead Andrew...and again denying the physics is not the same as skepticism.

The authors have refuted all published criticisms of their paper,

- Reply to "Comment on 'Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics' by Joshua B. Halpern, Christopher M. Colose, Chris H0-Stuart, Joel D. Shore, Arthur P. Smith, Jorg Zimmermann"
(International Journal of Modern Physics B, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp. 1333-1359, April 2010)
- Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner

my last post,

I rebuttal, doesnt mean they successfully refuted the critique, it means that they had an opportunity to reply, as it is called "Reply to...."

If G&T are correct, and it is not, Andrew then the the whole argument about AGW becomes moot. We can all pack our bags and call it quits.

Let me ask you this, do you agree with their findings that?

"In our falsification paper we have shown that the atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effects as taken- for-granted concepts in global climatology do not fit into the scientific realm of theoretical and applied physics."

Explain to us in detail, how this paper (which essentially states that the so-called greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics) fits the criteria of your list? Is it consistent with the findings of other findings in the list that agree the greenhouse effect is real and doesnt violate the second law? How does including this paper in your list constitute presenting a coherent and consistent argument about AGW?

Even Spencer accepts theory of the greenhouse effect as understood by mainstream science. And so does Lindzen. And so does Curry.

My last post too

Actually I have to agree on this point, I see no reason to doubt that CO2 absorbs IR in the 15 micron band very effectively. This is an established result, and could well be regarded as settled science.

What is NOT settled is the idea that EXTRA CO2 will cause significant EXTRA warming. Already there is so much CO2 that an IR photon of 15 microns wavelength is unlikely to get more than a few inches off the ground, let alone out into space. Reducing the altitude the IR penetrates by a few more inches seems unlikely to overheat the earth, and in the absence of any evidence that it will, Ill remain sceptical about the warming effects of CO2, which I see s a bit player in the climate play, nothing like the leading actor proposed.

Another scientific result which is very well settled is the beneficial effects of CO2 on plant life. From a plants point of view there is barely enough CO2 to thrive on, and more would be very welcome. In fact the fact that there is more CO2 as result of our industry (also not generally in dispute, I point out for clarity) may well be responsible for the recent greening of the Sahel, and other desert regions, not to mention the well documented increased productivity of the biosphere in recent decades. This could be very useful with a few more billion mouths to feed.

More CO2 - why fight a good thing?



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