It may come as a surprise to some that Alberta pioneered carbon pricing — not just in Canada, but for all of North America.
By the 1950s, smoking's cause of disease had risen to strong scientific consensus, but Big Tobacco needed an illusion of scientific controversy to keep the public in doubt. As seen in the new film Merchants of Doubt, they developed superb marketing tactics copied by others, including the fossil fuel industry and allies.
The scientific consensus on human causation of climate change is just as strong as that on smoking, so the same tactics are used against it, plus Internet-amplified harassment of scientists. Fred Singer recently tried to revive a nearly-forgotten 2007 attack on climate consensus, one of the silliest and least competent, entangled with plagiarism and falsification. A revisit of this episode may be instructive, as consensus (not unanimity) is important enough that people keep challenging it.
Willie Soon has gained a global spotlight from many recent news articles (New York Times, Boston Globe, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc). This was lit by documents obtained from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), whose former director had said of Soon that “no one pays any attention to him.” An impassioned defense was published, not by the CfA, but by the Heartland Institute, for whom he seems vastly more important, a tireless star. Heartland has even purchased Google AdWords, so the first hit for Willie Soon is this:
Soon's frequent efforts for Heartland started no later than 2003. They raise questions about potential unreported Conflict of Interest even if unpaid. But did Heartland pay him? If so, how much, when, for what and with whose money? Heartland is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose climate anti-science tactics were preceded by a long history of paid efforts for tobacco companies, as per Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free Of Tax.
Readers unfamiliar wiith Soon might start with DeSmogBlog's profile. and follow by reading story of a personal encounter. The history and other details motivate some questions, summarized next, then explained in detail.
Willie Soon has been in the news lately, but the recent 131p FOIA shines even more light on climate anti-science. It details tax-exempt tactics that use a sciency facade to promote anti-science to the public. It includes some grant proposals and results for 2008-2012. These are quite enlightening, but cover only a fraction of Soon's history of fossil funding, about which he told DeSmog UK's Brendan Montague amazing tales.
Funding Science versus Funding Anti-Science
In real science, scientists:
1. propose a research topic for grant funding, often to government agencies via open, fiercely-competitive processes peer-reviewed by experts who include past performance. Awards are usually publicly visible, as seen at the National Science Foundation(NSF)or National Institutes of Health (NIH).
2. do research, whose outcomes are not predetermined, present results at science meetings and publish in credible science journals, regularly acknowledging funding sources. They may do some outreach for general public, and may even get public exposure, but to be successful they must convince other field experts of their work's merit. Scientists comprise their primary audience.
3. provide one or more reports to the funding agency listing the papers, talks or other relevant accomplishments. Such reports are usually public, often online.
Anti-science is a PR effort aimed to cast doubt on science, not among scientists, but among the public and policymakers.
In “Rand Paul Is Linked to Doctors' Group That Supports Vaccination Challenges,” the New York Times documented his long involvement (~1990-2010) with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), but only scratched the surface of the strangeness. AAPS Executive Director Jane Orient and her associates run a tightly-coupled group of 501(c)(3) public charities. They seem to reject much modern science and focus efforts to promote political views, perhaps beyond the 501(c) rules. Enough has been learned since this earlier post to motivate this update and some following posts, especially given the recent prominence of DDP's favorite outside speaker, Willie Soon. [Willie Soon's fossil fuel funding, and failures to disclose, are hot in the news right now, see New York Times, The Guardian, Inside Climate News, and DeSmogBlog.]
Of course, organization membership does not imply acceptance of all positions, but Rand Paul's long-time association raises questions. Which of their views on science does he accept? Which of their policies does he support? Rand Paul is still featured at AAPS About Us, often using “we” regarding its actions.
In “Rand Paul Is Linked to Doctors' Group That Supports Vaccination Challenges” the New York Times documented his long involvement with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), but only scratched the surface of the strangeness. AAPS Executive Director Jane Orient and her associates run a tightly-coupled group of 501(c)(3) public charities. They seem to reject much modern science and spend their efforts to promote political views, perhaps beyond the 501(c) rules.
03/01/15 UPDATE: see more extensive, updated replacement version of this post.
Of course, organization membership does not imply acceptance of all positions, but Paul's long-time association raises questions. Which of their views on science does he accept? Which of their policies does he support? Do their views seen in related organizations carry over into AAPS?
On January 21, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) again displayed the same deception/incompetence that pervaded his book, The Greatest Hoax (2012).
In this video segment (3:00-5:20), he presented a poster on the Senate floor that matches the image below from “Kyoto by Degrees,” an anonymous Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Opinion piece, June 21, 2005. Both contained claims plausibly called academic or journalistic deception, created for public confusion.
Regardless of ancient tempreatures, modern temperature rise is human-caused, not just natural variation: you damaged your furnace so it now ignores the thermostat. Heat varies erratically, room by room, and day by day, but each week the house is overall wamer than the last. Your attic Arctic fridge's ice cubes are melting and even the basement freezer is starting to struggle. The furnace will take months to fix, and you need to start, whether or not you believe rumors that some previous owner experienced warmer weather.
Following is the WSJ image Inhofe used without mentioning that source:
“Trend in average” : Deception.
The original curve was sketched in 1965 by Hubert Lamb, who grafted estimates of 900-1680AD with 1680-1961AD measurements compiled by Gordon Manley. It covered a 21x34-mile patch of England.
“exactly as shown”: Falsification. false citation. Real science uses captions and caveats, ignored here by cherry-pickers who plucked the graph out of context and even altered the image.
“mean”: Fabrication. See below.
The attached 4-page excerpt from IPCC(1990) includes the real p.202 image in context, shown below for easy comparison with this altered version. Someone changed “Years before present” (sic) to “Year,” deleted (c), capitalized all words and converted sans-serif to serif font. The resulting image was copied along murky paths, including onto p.33 of Inhofe's Greatest Hoax book, where it is cited as “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change, the IPCC Scientific Assessment 202 (1990). His story there is clearly refuted by IPCC's surrounding text pp.199-203. Perhaps he never read that.
The NYTimes just ran “Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’ - Richard Berman Energy Industry Talk Secretly Taped”. Rick Berman has long been the architect of “public charities” for any client willing to pay. Berman's Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF, EIN 26-0006579) evolved from his Guest Choice Network, but much of the tax-exempt “contribution” went to his own corporate PR firm.
Many cogs in the fossil fog machine have been funded by Big Tobacco, as per Fakery 2, Fostering the TEA Party, Tobacco operative hired by Kochs, Think tanks fight for E-cigs.
Berman was paid well by Philip Morris (PM), which stays in business only by addicting people during vulnerable adolescent/young adult brain development, so they can be lifeshort customers. Berman has worked for companies that privatize the profits and socialize the costs. He attacked fine scientists like Steve Schneider (Stanford) and Stan Glantz (UCSF).
Following is a small sample from the instructive Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. Philip Morris was quite friendly to Berman, responding quickly with money, at least $600K + ($200K + $200K + $500K) + $350K + $300K = $2.15M
$21.5M in 4 years.
As Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Yelp and other high-tech Silicon Valley companies abandon the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a few facts need more emphasis to understand this wolf in business clothes, bringing “sample bills” to legislatures.
ALEC is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity,” as per its IRS Form 990s. Donations to it get tax breaks. Common Cause filed complaints against ALEC in 2012 and 2013, but these take years, as do similar complaints related to Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free of Tax.
High-tech companies finally noticed problems with climate change policies at ALEC, unsurprising given the strong influence of fossil energy companies. But companies also were effectively side-by-side with Big Tobacco, whose continued existence requires nicotine addiction of adolescents, which only works by “rewiring” the brain during rapid development that ends by age 25 or usually earlier.
ALEC includes the usual think tanks that attack science and support both industries. Does ALEC have a monopoly on access to power? Can reasonable business people find no representation except through a group that is often anti-science, anti-environment and anti-health?
The world of climate dismissives often could be Wonderland, although with multiple Mad Hatters. Both have characters who can believe six impossible things before breakfast. Many wrong climate claims seem more like the Cheshire Cat, who could appear as just a floating grin or a bodiless face to avoid beheading.
Climate claims/myths might be called “Cheshire Claims” here. Like the Cat, they appear anywhere and get repeated without checking, no matter how absurd. As the Cat said, “We're all mad in here,” an apt description for attempts to disprove the well-established role of fossil fuels in CO2 rise, using misrepresented satellite data.
Many Cheshire Claims are found in Murry Salby's “CO2 rise is natural”, Skeptical Science (SkS) Myths #188/#189. Each page there summarizes the science and the myth (grin), examines any myth details (face), and then introduces credible, peer-reviewed science to refute the myth.
An unsupported statement by Rupert Darwall led to re-examination of a Salby image that proved to be quite misleading. People with some expertise create claims that others just naively repeat. Darwall seems well-connected with the usual think tanks. On September 24, he will speak at a Heritage Foundation book event on his The Age of Global Warming: A History. Then he heads to Houston for Sept 25/26 conference hosted by Texas Public Policy Foundation.