Modern anti-science was created by the tobacco industry in the 1950s and then used against climate science, often by the same well-experienced think tanks and individuals. Tobacco anti-science is strangely entangled with climate anti-science, as the attached report shows in detail involving Fred Singer's SEPP, Joseph Bast's Heartland, and more. (Fakery 2 10/25/12 updates this post with more data.)
George C Marshall Institute
It seems inevitable. Although we don’t know yet just how bad the situation is at Japan’s damaged nuclear plants in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, the events across the Pacific are already triggering a new and differently tinged debate over nuclear power back here at home.
Nuclear defenders are calling for keeping things in perspective—fossil fuels, they point out, have many more costs and risks associated with them than nuclear power; and newer generation reactor designs are far safer than those built in Japan many decades ago (a number of US plants from the same era have the same or similar designs).
Yet figures as influential as Senator Joseph Lieberman are already saying we should “put the brakes” on developing new nuclear plants in the U.S.—despite plans for a so-called “Nuclear Renaissance” that have won strong support from President Obama.
As someone who specializes in reporting on the politics of science, I find all of this fascinating—for the following reason.
Will Happer, as chair of the George C. Marshall Institute, will testify Thursday before Rep. Ed Markey’s Select committee as the sole GOP witness arguing against the global warming consensus. Even though Happer, a physicist, has published exactly one paper that discusses climate change, he is apparently the top choice of the GOP to discuss “the ability to present data and information that can guide global warming solutions in a sometimes fierce political landscape.”
Professor Will Happer augments his Princeton duties with high-profile climate denial. Ever since he and Fred Singer claimed that ozone depletion was not happening, Happer has been willing to let his Princeton position and American Physical Union title serve the whims of ExxonMobil’s policy goals.
Happer proudly says “I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind.”
He even falsely told a congressional committee: “We evolved as a species when CO2 concentrations were three or four times what they are now”. Actually, you need to go back hundreds of millions of years to find CO2 levels this high. Sorry Mr. Happer, your facts might be a bit muddled, but your motivations are clear.
In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who’s-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change.
As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage. The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy. In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.
Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on. After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.
For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.
Among the many conservative think tanks faithfully pushing the skeptic message in Washington, D.C., few are as prominent—or, should I say, infamous—as the Heartland Institute. The “independent” research and non-profit group has the dubious distinction of having organized the first major denier-palooza, the “International Conference on Climate Change,” last year. Despite a less than stellar showing, and an even more lukewarm follow-up in March, it’s hoping that the third time will be the charm.
The likes of Senator James Inhofe, Lord Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts will be descending on the Washington Court Hotel this week to discuss the “widespread dissent to the asserted “consensus” on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change.” Its ostensible purpose will be to “expose Congressional staff and journalists to leading scientists and economists in the nation’s capital” and demonstrate that “global warming is not a crisis and that immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary”—which it calls the emerging consensus view of (the handful of) scientists outside the IPCC.
Lorne Gunter of the National Post disgraced himself yet again this weekend with another outrageously inaccurate column about something he apparently knows nothing about: climate science.
Gunter held forward William Happer as his climate skeptic champion to put those dullards at the IPCC to shame. He crows that Happer “is hardly a climate change ‘denier’ ”, and is instead “one of the world’s leading experts on the interactions of visible and infrared radiation with gases.”
A quick internet search reveals that Happer is not climate researcher at all. His recent publications relate to MRI imaging in the lungs of rats.
Perhaps more revealing is that Happer is also the Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute – a right wing thing tank that has received $715,000 from Exxon Mobil since 1998. The usual list of Exxon-funded hacks have also been involved with this “Institute”, including Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, and Patrick J. Michaels.
Just when you thought it was safe to acknowledge the unequivocal reality of global warming…..
Just when you thought the U.S. government was ready to admit that it has a serious emissions problem, and do something about it….
Just when you thought the skeptic party was over…
No way: There has been a strong run of nonsense from global warming “skeptics” and deniers lately. They are not ashamed, and they are not changing their tune. In fact, it sounds like they are gearing up for the next battle.
Climate “Science” by the Pound
A climate change petition started in 1988 by the tobacco industry's favourite scientist (Federick Seitz), has just been re-released with a reported 31,072 signatures of “scientists” - some of whom are reported to actually work in the field.
The Oregon Petition was originally started by Dr. Seitz (formerly the principal adviser to the RJ Reynolds medical research program) and by Arthur B. Robinson, a lapsed biochemist who now operates the one-man Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
Roy W. Spencer
- Ph.D., Meteorology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1981). 
- Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Harvard University (1980).
- M.A. in Astrophysics, Harvard University (1975).