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’.
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
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.