PNAS study measures climate change expert credibility. Are you convinced?

It is difficult to get away from the Hewlett Foundation in matters of climate propaganda, it really is. More research pours out everyday that solidifies the position and status of the non-existent theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming ( I would say h/t: Michael Tobis, but I don’t wear a hat).

By the way, did you know why climate bloggers go skiing naked with just their hats on? Because 75% of the body’s heat is given off by ‘radiative physics’ to outer space from the head alone, that is why. (H/t: Jerry Seinfeld).

The story, jokes apart, is about a PNAS study – “Expert credibility in climate change“. One of the authors of this paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is Jacob Harold – a ‘Program Officer of Philanthropy’ with the Hewlett Foundation. The paper demonstrates, using nothing less than a Mann-Whitney U test that skeptics are not really scientists worth bothering about (p<0.000001).

The study we hear, has been funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Now, how can a funding officer of a philanthropic organization be part of a project which is funded by his own organization? I am genuinely curious to know as I am totally ignorant in these matters.

Grand Strategy

Lest we forget, the business of philanthropy is big business. The Hewlett Foundation’s assets stood at $6.7 billion dollars in 2009. Obviously a substantial fund as this, will simply not throw money around just to get rid of its cash – there will be a goal, an aim, a direction for its spending. This is serious money we are talking about.

Mr Harold himself, is very helpful in this regard. Shall we hear him speak, in his own words:

Does the Hewlett Foundation have a philosophy of philanthropy?

[Jacob Harold:] Some people think of philanthropy in two categories. There’s what’s known as “responsive philanthropy,” when a foundation waits for nonprofits to come to it with their own ideas and then tries to give money to the best organizations. A foundation that practices “strategic philanthropy” will itself have a strategy and goals and then, in partnership with nonprofit organizations, do everything it can to see those goals are met. It requires much more engagement with grantees.  Not every grant we make is completely in a strategic framework, and sometimes it makes a lot of sense to be responsive to support new ideas. But I’d say we subscribe much more to the strategic philosophy than some foundations (italics mine).

Since we know that the Hewlett Foundation grants ridiculously huge sums of money to support climate change activities, and it operates, not blindly as a charity does, but as a strategic organization that does ‘everything it can to see that its goals are met’, working ‘closely with grantees’, … could it be that papers such as these are part of some grand ‘strategy’ to see that its climate ‘goals’ are met?

Of course not.

The PNAS effort is designed only to inform its scientific audience and the print and TV media that they need not bother seeking skeptics’ opinions on climate matters because they are bibliometrically challenged.

I hope the printed magazine comes with two anti-depressants stapled to the back-cover – the skeptic scientists are going to need it to get through their day after seeing this paper.



  1. GregO


    Wow, Hewlett Foundation has a hand in this…interesting. I have been keeping up on the PNAS paper on the blogs from the beginning yesterday and am amazed that (1 such a paper was even written (what was the point?) (2 How terribly serious it is taken by everyone.

    I was going to post on a couple of blogs but the tone got down right nuclear right away. So I have stayed away to let the big boys (and girls) battle it out.

    Clearly what we have here with the PNAS paper is a beauty contest – and beauty contests are never pretty.

  2. Shub Niggurath

    I think it is being taken ‘seriously’ as one would a troll – it pushes everyone’s ‘buttons’. To that extent, the authors are probably congratulating themselves.

  3. Oliver K. Manuel

    The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is taken seriously because it documents what many of us have long feared:

    The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) – the group responsible for protecting science in the United States as a matter of national security – has joined forces with politicians to use science as a tool of propaganda to the detriment of our free society.

    Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of that development in his farewell address to the nation on 17 January 1961:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

    It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  4. intrepid_wanders

    Sad thing is that they got a reaction at all, other than “rubbish”. That is exactly what Schneider was looking for. If were not for this likes of Peter Webster, Michael Levi and the new tribe forming, “Very Likely Disgusted”, I might be brought to yelling at my display (Ok, too late).(

    Anyhow Shub, nice to see your blog, I have enjoyed your “discussions” elsewhere time and time again.

  5. Shub Niggurath


    The authors could have said:

    Look guys, you think these scientists and scholars have some expertise in climate change science, but if you look at their publication record, it is not as good as the scientists who participated in the IPCC process.

    Instead, they conclude, advising a different target, the media:

    Look guys, these so-called skeptics do not have a good publication track record, so you should not talk to them or listen to them.

    There is a world of difference between the two things.

  6. Michael Cejnar

    The thought an unelected advocacy Foundation with $6.7 billion in assets is scary no matter what their views may be.

  7. hro001

    And the irony is that of the quixotic quartet, only one (Schneider) can lay claim to “credibility” and “expertise” – in accordance with their “criteria”!

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