Institute for Energy Research Admits It Was Behind Anti-Wind Study

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Danish journalists have confirmed that The Institute for Energy Research commissioned and paid for the anti-wind energy study released last year by a Danish think tank that claimed Denmark exaggerates the amount of wind energy it produces (it doesn’t), questioned whether wind energy reduces carbon emissions (it does), and asserted that the U.S. should choose coal over wind because it’s cheaper (it’s not when you count the true costs of coal).

The Copenhagen Post reports:
“A controversial report critical of the wind energy industry from conservative think tank CEPOS was commissioned and paid for by an American think tank with close ties to the coal and oil industries.”

That American think tank is the Institute for Energy Research, which has received $307,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998 and unknown additional sums from other oil and coal industry sources.  The Guardian reported last year that the Institute for Energy Research has received recent funding from KBR and trusts set up by Koch Industries, which has multiple ties to IER and its sister organization American Energy Alliance.

IER’s President Thomas J. Pyle previously worked as a lobbyist for Koch Industries, while IER’s CEO Robert L. Bradley was formerly Director of Public Relations Policy at Enron, where he served as speechwriter for Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. 

Pyle, Bradley and IER have direct and indirect ties to a laundry list of dirty energy industry front groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, TASSC, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.   Bradley and the IER have argued that supplies of fossil fuels are virtually limitless, and that American dependence on oil imports from Middle Eastern dictatorships “pose no threat to national security.”

IER has railed against green jobs, arguing that oil and gas are better job creators, despite the fact that investment in clean energy technology creates four times as many jobs as investment in oil and gas.  IER continues its campaign against wind energy as well, asserting recently that the Obama administration had been “caught red-handed working with Big Wind energy lobbyists.”

Yes, those scary “Big Wind energy lobbyists” pose a real threat to America.  You can’t make this stuff up folks.  Unless, of course, you work at the oil-and-coal-funded Institute for Energy Research.

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The funding for the wind energy study which alleged the project to be non-economic, though said to be so, has been shown to come, at least in part, for the ExxonMobil group. The insinuation is that the report is false, misleading or an outright lie, or disinformation (don’t we love our subtleties of not letting others understand what is really going on?). Funding may influence results, for certain. The issue is strongly felt in “relevance” demonstrations to secure government funding. Of course, raising the subject without showing the results to be, indeed, false, is to engage in simple ad hominem attacks. The practical extent to which alternative energy sources can place in our economy have been questioned many times, though this may reflect the immaturity of the technology at this time.

Proponents tend to downgrade problems while opponents downgrade potential. The reality is not easy to determine. But the question of funding here raises funding questions generally: if Al Gore or the David Suzuki Foundation had paid for the study, and the study came out positively, would DeSmogBlog question the personal integrity of either the researchers or the funding organizations? Warmist or denialists both have positions at an ideological level. What matters is the true situation, difficult as it is to determine. Are wind farms economic today or under some specific scenario, how much can they displace of the fossil fuel energy sources (considering their on-off again nature), and are there drawbacks that limit their use or benefit? In other cases the “science” seems to be difficult to pin down other than by correlation or a gut-feel. In this case, dollars in, dollars out, energy in, energy out, should be four simple numbers.

Funding sources should be irrelevant. We should also recognize that funding in a politicized environment - including within corporations - is always conclusion driven to some extent. We would not expect Mr. Gore to pay for someone to identify the technical flaws in his film, An Inconvenient Truth. If wind power is, indeed, oversold or, at this time, an ideological rather than an economic attraction, and this “truth” is to come out, who would DeSmogBlog look to fund the report that brought this up.

I write these things not because I am a strict denialist. I write them because “facts” are what should determine the course of our great nations, not principles, in the climate change debate - unless we decide, as a people, that the principles are what count, not facts (or economics). Democracy, after all, is about principles, not really about what is best for the most.

In truth, currently the majority of the in-coming money is on the warmist side; it is the environmental movement, researchers and politicians that stand to lose the most financing in the near-term should the predictions of catastrophic change be shown false. The denialist side, obviously recognizing money is involved, focuses on the potential for lost future money. Both sides are not, however, just about money. Doing the “right” thing drives both sides, even if what that right thing is, is in dispute. Both sides have powerful incentives for confirmation. biases We must recognize that. Can we not end the insinuations, and bear down on the facts?

I am very pleased that you have been able to find the story about the close links between CEPOS and IER.

CEPOS’ report commissioned by IER has two authors: Hugo Sharman, Incoteco and Henrik Meyer, Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC). Copenhagen Consensus Center is run by Bjørn Lomborg and funded by the Danish State.

Henrik Meyer has in the past been working closely with Bjørn Lomborg in The Danish Environmental Institute (IMV). In CEPOS’ Wind Energy report, page 29, it is stated that Henrik Meyer is on leave at the date of publishing.

Hugo Sharman has in the past been working on off-shore constructions for large multinational clients, page 6.

CEPOS has made public that Hugo Sharman and Henrik Meyer are paid directly by IER.

This is not a proof that CCC is funded by the US oil and coal industry. However, there is a smoking gun for close relations between Bjørn Lomborg/Henrik Meyer and the US oil and coal industry.

However, it is correct to state that at least one of the staff at Copenhagen Consensus Center has been paid by the US oil and coal industry.

It is also correct to state that there are close links between CEPOS and Bjørn Lombrog/Copenhagen Census Center.

You are welcome to verify my statements.