Climate scientists perform fossil-fuel funded research

Can I interest you in some advice from hypocrites?

After pouncing on Willie Soon for not disclosing funding in his journal papers, it turned out scientist Jon Koomey had done the same thing in several of his own papers (e.g, here, here, here).

Acccording to Gavin Schmidt, any reasons Soon might have not disclosing funding are not even ‘remotely defendable’ as ‘similar post-hoc justifications have been used to excuse horrific unethical practices’.

Behind every believer hankering after purity likely lies a sinful past. Thus one finds Schmidt’s colleague Michael Mann admitting to activist-cum-activist Brendan Montaugue in The Ecologist that his own career was supported by grants from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Mann, who doesn’t miss an opportunity to label his opponents as ‘industry-funded’ or ‘fossil-fuel funded’, worked under scientist Barry Saltzman who he acknowledges in the Climategate emails, ‘got significant support from the EPRI through the years’.

Mann’s own work was supported by grants from the dreaded ‘coal-industry front group’ EPRI. He published not one but two papers with such acknowledgements as shown below:

Mann EPRI funding

Mann’s acknowledgments for funding in the Journal of Geophysical Research (left) and Journal of Climate (right)

 The support did not stop there. From the Climategate emails we see how in c.2005 paleoclimate scientists were faced with some trepidation over accepting ‘industry-related sponsoring’ for a workshop. One of them wrote in an email (emphasis mine):

Maybe unsurprisingly, EPRI 

seems to have a general philosophy of handing climate change by adaptation rather than mitigation, on which not everyone may agree. On the other hand, this is beyond our objectives of reconstructing and understanding climate change. Nevetheless, in the light of this, points that we think needed clarifying and assuring are 1) that the science remains independent.
2) that the credibility of the group and the results does not suffer from industry-related sponsoring.

If these two points can be dealt with, then this could be a good opportunity to get the initiative going. Keith and Mike, it would be important to have your opinions on this. It is clear that all of us addressed here had to be comfortable with EPRI sponsoring and the way this is handled.

Setting aside the excessively over-developed political sensitivities of a scientist who saw the mere accepting of funds from those who favoured ‘handling climate change by adaptation’ as morally objectionable, there was ‘industry sponsorship’ involved. Horror of horrors, that should have been enough for Mike to put his foot down.

But that’s not what he happened (emphasis mine):

Thanks for the update and summary. Having the endorsement of EPPRI (sic) for this could actually be helpful. There is nothing intrinsically anti-industry about the science (though some may feel there is), and so having EPPRI’s (sic) stamp of approval could be helpful for both us and the broader community.

My Ph.D advisor (Barry Saltzman) got significant support from EPPRI (sic) through the years, and he never fealt that they in any way tried to place any constraints on what he did, published, etc

I personally don’t see a problem with this. […]

Hilariously, Mann is oblivious to the evil of accepting support from ‘industry’ but instead answers to the opposite moral conundrum, i.e, one of accepting money from industry to produce research they knew were set to harm it!

Importantly Mann vouched for the impartial nature of EPRI’s funding support.

The ‘four-day workshop’ did take place with EPRI support in Wengen Switzerland in 2006. The meeting, the esteemed scientists wrote in the AGU in-house journal Eos  was a ‘unique setting of the snow-covered Bernese Alps’ that ‘provided a good setting for informal discussions’.

Interestingly, the email thread around the ‘the Wengen paper’—born from discussions at the Swiss resort—runs all the way through rebuttals to the hockey stick, Steve McIntyre, FOI requests from David Holland, down to Climategate.

Back to the EPRI, the ‘industry sponsorship’ of climate scholars did not stop at Wengen. In 2008 Mann, and Schmidt, were in sunny Trieste sipping the good stuff discussing more paleoclimate at yet another ‘industry-funded’ workshop

Mann and Schmidt and others in Trieste, Italy. Sponsored by EPRI.

Mann and Schmidt and others in Trieste, Italy. Sponsored by EPRI.

With all the above, one has to ask – why is accepting support from fossil-fuel industry front groups ok according to … Mann?

In 1994 Mann and his co-author begin their EPRI fossil-fuel funded paper declaring ‘in the face of possible anthropogenic effects on global climate, there is a need to characterize better the nature of historical climate variability’. Just the thing a ‘denier’ would say. Soon is different – he’s given the dirty eye for accepting funding from the same EPRI which turns into a ‘lobby shop’ for the coal-dominated US electricity sector.

Scientists who obtained funding but failed to declare them in their papers, like Koomey, and the alarmist ones who obtained funding from industry sources, like Mann, should step up and speak out – in support of Willie Soon.



  1. Brad Keyes

    Has Mann himself been tweeting in condemnation of Willie Soon, or does he have sufficient self-awareness / guilty conscience to keep his mouth shut?

  2. Shub Niggurath

    No, Mann has been leaving messages that he doesn’t accept fossil fuel money for conferences:


    and in general making philosophical observations such as:

    It is hard to know just how much damage these deniers-for-hire have done to our civilization and our planet by needlessly delaying the action necessary to avert dangerous climate change.

  3. stewgreen

    ^^^ Dingaling – Lying by omission in the above
    always check for careful wording in the statements of known propagandists
    He allows the concept to ferment in the listener that “I think taking fossil fuel money is bad I never do it ”
    by he stating
    “I have ignored multiple invitations to speak at their fossil fuel-funded pseudo-conferences…”
    ..thus omitting that he has actually has taken fossil fuel money
    ..he must be aware that that incorrect meme would ferment in the mind of an independent listener
    ..therefore he is a disinformer

  4. stewgreen

    Hypocrite Mann and all are certaintly not interested in your insight Shub you are not of the “one true faith” like they are ..and in their minds a little so in and disinformation is allowed as it so important to spread the word of the “one true faith of CAGW”

  5. Brad Keyes

    Ah, the overly-specific protestation of innocence: the classic example of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi. In retrospect it should’ve been obvious from those tweets that Mann himself had “hitherto unexplored links to fossil fuels” (to quote his own imaginative speculations about Steve McIntyre).

    They can’t make a decent temperature projection to save their lives, but when it comes to psychological projection the climate establishmentarians are past masters!

  6. Shub Niggurath

    Well, sooner or later, the excuses will run out.

    It is ironic that the fossil-fuel funded Wengen workshop was instrumental in conjuring a defence of the IPCC 1990 Lamb temperature graph and assorted problems highlighted by skeptics which the Team was anxious to be seen as being plugged up and fixed.

    Look at Gavin’s latest article on Soon on Realclimate. He writes Soon’s S&B 2003 paper was bad as shown by ‘resignation of 5 editors in protest at the way the paper was handled’. Behind the scenes, one sees Hulme telling the editors to resign in protest (“…and hence a mass resignation of review editors may be warranted.”) because ‘experts’ in paleo-climate didn’t like the paper, one of the them being Gavin’s colleague Mann himself.

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  8. willard (@nevaudit)

    > Behind the scenes, one sees Hulme telling the editors to resign in protest (“…and hence a mass resignation of review editors may be warranted.”) because ‘experts’ in paleo-climate didn’t like the paper, one of the them being Gavin’s colleague Mann himself.

    We’ve been there before, Shub:

    [A]dding Mike Hulme to the lot is welcome, as we always need for another “champion,” if you know what I mean. Perhaps you ought to remind Blair how Hulme reacted to CG I and II, and how this undercuts the scope of his narrative. Perhaps you’ll need to refer to external sources for that.

    You again forget to mention that one of the resigning editors is Hans von Storch.

    I’m sure I could find an woeful fall here about hypocrisy, but I find of _tu quoques_ suboptimal.

  9. Shub Niggurath

    von Storch was out of the action orchestrated by the Team. He wanted to publish his own editorial statement about the situation, was refused, and subsequently resigned. How can von Storch’s resignation say anything given that the *joined* the journal after publication of the paper when you say the resignations of editors prove the paper was bad?

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