Hell hath no fury like a global warming crisis theology scorned by informed skeptics. Take the recent New York Times attack on my very good and highly distinguished friend Dr. Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, for example.
Titled “Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher”
the hit piece by Justin Gillis and John Schwartz stated that Dr. Soon “ . . . has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers.” This was purportedly supported by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) materials obtained by Greenpeace through its Climate Investigations Center.
First, let’s recognize that the supporting FOIA documents referred to an agreement between the Smithsonian (not Dr. Soon) and Southern Company Services, Inc., whereby 40 percent of that more than $1.2 million — so let’s call it $1.3 million — ($520, 000) went directly to the Smithsonian. This left a total $780,000 over 11 years, an average $71,000 per year, to support the actual research activities. Anyone who believes Dr. Soon would compromise his strong science ethic for any amount of money — much less that very modest amount — clearly doesn’t know him in the least.
The New York Times expose' makes a big deal about a reference to “deliverables” being provided in the agreement. This is a standard and benign term applied to virtually every research agreement I have ever witnessed. In fact, those heralded FOIA document discoveries simply provided that Southern would receive ongoing progress reports.
If the accusers had bothered to notice, those agreements only granted Southern a non-exclusive, irrevocable no-cost license to utilize the unclassified advance research data and results for its internal purposes. The terms specifically noted that the Smithsonian Institution’s charter requires that all such grant results “must be unclassified, in order not to abridge the institution’s right to publish, without restriction, findings that result from this research project.”
So the intended New York Times story takeaway was that Dr. Soon’s published research is tainted by evil fossil industry influences. By implication this stigma isn’t to be limited solely to findings related to his study of solar variability influences upon climate change, the topic referred to in that supposedly newsworthy FOIA document.
No, by extension it presumably suggests that no scientist who ever accepts research funding from any special interest-linked sponsors should be trusted.
If so, then what about confidence in the veracity of information commissioned or otherwise obtained by Greenpeace and its Climate Investigations Center which describes itself as “a group funded by foundations seeking to limit the risks of climate change”? Do these activist organizations make their estimated $363,000,000 annual funding sources publicly available?
Of course we should expect every assurance that our government climate research industry pipeline only funds projects based dispassionately upon scientific merit . . . right?
Like, for example, the nearly $500,000 the National Science Foundation (NSF) doled out to fund Michael Mann’s infamous study titled “Toward Improved Projections of the Climate Response to Anthropogenic [man-made] Forcing” which optimistically would contribute “to the understanding of abrupt climate change.” Given the past 18 years of flat global mean temperatures despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels, just how’s his resulting hockey stick global warming projection working out?
Yes, Dr. Soon has accepted funding from sources other than beneficent government tax money distributors. Incidentally, lots of that tax largesse comes from those dirty energy corporations that Greenpeace decries in its publications.
The spurious attack on Willie Soon would have us somehow believe corporate research sponsorship automatically results in dishonest science; while dependence upon politically expedient government policy-driven financing is naively assumed to be more legitimate.
Instead, the real test of scientific substance and integrity must demand adherence to strict and transparent research methodologies based upon reliable data and applying solid logic leading to verifiable conclusions.
Ad hominem assaults disparaging the integrity of this leading authority on relationships between solar phenomena and global climate are unconscionable.As Australian former James Cook University School of Earth Sciences head Bob Carterwrote in a letter to Harvard-Smithsonian Director Charles Alcock, “The accusations that Willie’s funding sources dictate what he writes in his research papers are of course untrue; as they would also be untrue if alleged against the many other distinguished scientists you employ whose funding is derived from external sources.”
The “Gray Lady” New York Times attained a darker shade of gray in posting this character assassination rubbish. Doing so has proven her to be no lady at all.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now
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