Category Archives: Propaganda

RICO-teering: How climate activists ‘knew’ they were going to pin the blame on Exxon

Picture this.

You are a scientist. You wake up one morning and go:

“Why don’t I write a letter to the US Attorney General asking her to throw fossil fuel companies in jail under the RICO act?

It would be my civic deed for the day”.

Sounds plausible?

No it doesn’t. Climate scientists have a penchant for signing activist letters. But letters pushing legal advice to an Attorney General recommending prosecution of opponents?

So where do these strange ideas come from?

Step forward ‘Climate Accountability Institute’

The Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) is a small front attempting to marry ‘climate concerns’ to environmentalism and tobacco prohibitionist tactics. But ‘small’ is a relative term in the climate activist world.

In 2012 the CAI held a ‘workshop’ in La Jolla California. It was ‘conceived’ by Naomi Oreskes and others, and called ‘Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.’ Stanton Glantz, a prominent tobacco control activist scientist was present as were a clutch of lawyers, climate scientists, communication professionals, PR agency heads, bloggers and journalists.

They released a report (pdf):

CAI report

The workshop was an ‘exploratory, open-ended dialogue’ on the use of  ‘lessons from tobacco-related education, laws, and litigation to address climate change.’

The headline conclusion was essentially conspiracy theory. Here it is, verbatim (emphasis mine):

A key breakthrough in the public and legal case for tobacco control came when internal documents came to light showing the tobacco industry had knowingly misled the public. Similar documents may well exist in the vaults of the fossil fuel industry and their trade associations and front groups…

Why do these mythical documents needed to be ‘unearthed’?

While we currently lack a compelling public narrative about climate change in the United States, we may be close to coalescing around one. Furthermore, climate change may loom larger today in the public mind than tobacco did when public health advocates began winning policy victories.

The reader should take a moment to grasp the momentous logic: We know legally ‘incriminating documents’ (their choice of words) ‘may’ exist, because tobacco activists had a breakthrough with such documents. They need to be found in order to make climate change a ‘looming threat’ in the public mind. 

Try thinking of a more reverse-engineered form of activism.

The first chapter in the report is ‘Lessons from Tobacco Control’. It is mainly one section called ‘The Importance of Documents in Tobacco Litigation’

importance tobacco

We learn next to nothing about these supposed ‘documents’ from the report. After all, they haven’t been released or even found.

But ‘the documents’ were very valuable:

says ‘one of the most important lessons to emerge from the history of tobacco litigation’ was the ‘value of bringing internal industry documents to light’.

There was little doubt about their existence:

… many participants suggested that incriminating documents may exist that demonstrate collusion among the major fossil fuel companies …

Since they were so sure they exist, careful plotting was needed on companies whose vaults to raid

He [Glantz] stressed the need to think carefully about which companies and which trade groups might have documents that could be especially useful.

Stanton Glantz was a vocal workshop participant:exciting

Glantz was so excited he proposed using the tobacco archives platform at the University of California San Francisco for climate documents (which were yet to be found)

Because the Legacy Collection’s software and infrastructure is already in place, Glantz suggested it could be a possible home for a parallel collection of documents from the fossil fuel industry pertaining to climate change.

In what mode were the documents to be used?


Most importantly, the release of these documents meant that charges of conspiracy or racketeering could become a crucial component of tobacco litigation

Having firmly established that documents convenient to their strategy existed, the delegates moved on to discussing how to obtain them


The answer was once again clear: ‘lawsuits’. It was not just lawsuits, it was ‘Congressional hearings’, ‘sympathetic state attorney generals’ and ‘false advertising claims’.

State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light

Oreskes had a bunch of advertisements with her:

Oreskes noted that she has some of the public relations memos from the group and asked whether a false advertising claim could be brought in such a case.

Even libel suits were deemed useful:

Roberta Walburn noted that libel suits can also serve to obtain documents that might shed light on industry tactics.

Once the documents were in the bag, a story needed to be spun. :

In lawsuits targeting carbon producers, lawyers at the workshop agreed, plaintiffs need

to make evidence of a conspiracy a prominent part of their case.

Now you know where the line on how ‘fossil fuel companies ‘knew’ they were doing wrong but yet did it’ comes from. The cries of ‘it’s a conspiracy!’ are planned and pre-meditated, on lawyers’ advice.

This is where RICO came in:

Richard Ayres, an experienced environmental attorney, suggested that the RICO Act, which had been used effectively against the tobacco industry, could similarly be used to bring a lawsuit against carbon producers.

Richard Ayres is no slouch. A prominent environmental lawyer, he is co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Ayres knew starting lawsuits against productive companies wouldn’t look good. They needed to be spun:

It has to be something positive

How? By dressing it up as injury ‘compensation’

Even if your ultimate goal might be to shut down a company, you still might be wise to start out by asking for compensation for injured parties.”

The suggestions appeared to grow outlandish at every turn. Richard Heede, one of CAI’s members, had come up with a system for blaming individual companies:

Heede is working to derive the proportion of the planet’s atmospheric carbon load that is traceable to the fossil fuels produced and marketed by each of these companies

Heede’s bizarre formulas, we learn, were received ‘positively’ by ‘most of the workshop’s participants’. One UCS participant felt that ‘it could potentially be useful as part of a coordinated campaign to identify key climate “wrongdoers.” Another felt it was useful in blaming faceless corporate entities instead of countries thereby bypassing provoking patriotic impulses in international negotiations.

Heede’s work was funded by Greenpeace. Of note, Greenpeace counsel Jasper Teulings was present at the meeting.

An inspired Oreskes then appears to have proposed blaming sea level rise on corporations:

Picking up on this notion, Naomi Oreskes suggested that some portion of sea level rise could be attributed to the emissions caused by a single carbon-producing company

The oil company Exxon made its appearance in her example:

She suggested, “You might be able to say, ‘Here’s Exxon’s contribution to what’s happening to Key West or Venice.’”

This was a strategy Glantz liked:

…Stanton Glantz expressed some enthusiasm about such a strategy, based on his experience with tobacco litigation. As he put it, “I would be surprised if the industry chose to attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil.

The conspiratorial tide did not recede. Former computer scientist John Mashey claimed collusion between ‘climate change deniers’ and fossil fuel companies:

[Mashey] presented a brief overview of some of his research, which traces funding, personnel, and messaging connections between roughly 600 individuals …

The penultimate section in the report is on how delegates planned to win ‘public opinion’. Even with RICO, some felt it was ‘not easy’ (‘RICO is not easy. It is certainly not a sure win’ – Ayres) and others were wary of drawing the attention of “hostile legislators who might seek to undermine them”.

With public opinion, the delegates were clearly divided. PR mavens, lawyers and activists wanted to cry fraud, paint up villains and create outrage:

To mobilize, people often need to be outraged.

Daniel Yankelovich a ‘public opinion researcher’ involved in ‘citizen education’ appears to have balked at the ‘sue, sue, sue’ chanting. Court cases are useful only after the public had been won over, he said.


It is not clear he grasped the activists and lawyers aimed for the same with a spectacular legal victory or headlines generated by court cases and bypass the whole issue of ‘citizen education’ .

The workshop ended and there was ‘agreement’. ‘Documents’ needed to be obtained. Legal action was needed both for ‘wresting potentially useful internal documents’ and ‘maintaining pressure on the industry’.

A consensus had emerged

… an emerging consensus on a strategy that incorporates legal action with a narrative that creates public outrage.

The participants, we learn

…made commitments to try to coordinate future efforts, continue discussing strategies for gaining access to internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliated climate denial network…


Photo (c) Brenda Ekwurzel, from the report


Why is the report important? Because climate activists have done everything the delegates said they wanted done, in the report.

Everyone from climate skeptics like Roy Spencer, columnists like Holman Jenkins Jr and even a consensusist like William Connolley has been left scratching their head. However, from RICO to ‘Exxon knew’ — the twin defibrillator paddles in use to reanimate a moribund climate Frankenstein — the present actions of climate activists have been none but the pre-meditated ones presented in the report.

These include the latest letter from US Senators to Exxon, the conspiratorial ‘Exxon Knew’ campaign with the portrayal of old Exxon reports by InsideClimateNews as ‘internal documents’, the RICO letter from scientists and much more. Particularly, with the pathetic ‘journalism’ of InsideClimateNews it is almost as if climate activists have willed these ‘documents’ into existence – just as they were advised.

The CAI are free to plot the downfall of their opponents. But it is somewhat of a surprise to see the entirety of their ideas to be picked up and translated into action by the intellectually bankrupt climate activist movement.

Klinger and the RICO debacle

Arrested for eating all the donuts

Climate skeptic arrested for eating all donuts (j/k click on link for full story)

To get a grip on the Jagadish Shukla Barbara Streisand Own-goal Backfire Effect, you should start with Paul Matthews’ summary. Briefly, a bunch of scientists headed by Shukla decided to jump on the climate-tobacco bandwagon with a letter (to none less the American president) seeking persecution of ‘corporations and other organizations’ under the US RICO Act. The bunch then hastily fled the field, taking the letter down, when it was shown Shukla’s own various organizations were less than squeaky clean with federal funding.

But Shukla’s colleague Barry Klinger still hangs on at the scene of the crime so to speak, as he pens thoughts on ‘why RICO’ and his ‘ambivalence’ about the letter (which he fully signed).

These show the contradictory mish-mash that climate scientists seem to pass off as their understanding of the climate debate. To a fault, none of it seems to extend beyond the latest New York Times or Washington Post article and faithfully incorporates every trope and cliché sold by climate activists and PR hacks.

The first underlying mythical assumption of Klinger et al is a common one: the work of climate scientists greatly threatens the fossil fuel industry, which is scared of them. Fossil fuel companies provide a convenient, cartoonish ‘evil corporation‘ target for climate activists, and those in climate science with a world-justifying fuzzy feeling from imagining themselves ranged against powerful, unbeatable opponents.

In sociologic terms, fossil fuel companies are the folk-devil. But beyond this, there is little substance to the fantasy. Fossil fuel companies and their products are tightly interwoven with the fabric of modern life. Writing bad things about them is no more a ‘threat’ to them than cataloguing the evils of water (drowning, sweating) is a threat to the local water board. At best you make what they sell expensive. Forcibly making coal more expensive hurts consumers of coal power more than it does coal companies.

Klinger is all innocent about the second point in the RICO letter: We didn’t want to shut down speech, he says, only bring a few ‘giant corporations’ to court for fraud. Even there he admits the ‘standard for finding fraud is quite high’, is not sure whether a case would clear the bar, all while hoping such a case would be ‘a relatively limited affair’. Furthermore, after signing the letter, Klinger is suddenly concerned that there might be ‘squelching’ of  ‘the free speech of scientists’ themselves.

As Paul Matthews notes, with this degree of confusion it is evident Klinger should not have signed the letter at all.

The tobacco master settlement agreement and the course of actions that led to it serve as an inspiration and a template to the climate movement. In anticapitalist discourse, advertising creates unnatural demand for nonessential goods (like the shiny Yellow Hummers whose sole purpose is to consume more of the oil industry products). When fighting against it, an activist can only rail against greed, consumerism and ‘consumption’ (and look foolish). In puritannical abolitionist discourse, ‘addiction’ serves in the same role. But ‘addiction’ has a special edge—you can ignore the buyer (he’s helpless, ‘addicted’) and go after the dealer, in a legal setting.

Second is the power of the ‘internal documents’. Tobacco executives appeared before the US Senate to declare openly they did not think nicotine was addictive. Internal tobacco company memos and documents were later used to show that executives ‘knew’ about the addicting properties of tobacco. This was one of the reasons behind the abolitionists’ ‘they knew!’ success.

Climate activists presently attempt to follow both templates: the world is ‘addicted’ to fossil fuel – meaning not that it wants, desires or craves oil (which it does) but that it is not responsible for its state. Who are responsible? Companies that sell these products. As for the ‘secret internal documents’, a couple of newly minted ‘science journalists’ from the Tom Levenson school of science journalism have attempted to establish Exxon ‘knew’ the dangers of CO2 but chose to keep mum about it, using a tranche of old typewritten documents.

For climate activist zealots, it is immaterial that the square peg of CO2 does not fit in the round hole of tobacco. Any new rhetorical toy is a welcome addition for the exhausted, intellectually threadbare lot of arguments so jam it in they will. All the better if the toy has a proven track record of ‘success’ in a morality play.

But what about climate scientists themselves? They should see through that people use oil and coal products not from ‘addiction’ but because they are indispensible to normal daily life. The type and nature of their benefits are unlike tobacco’s. What about the absurd argument that Exxon ‘knew’ how bad climate change would in 1977? One hates to admit it but yes, Wikipedia’s William Connelley is right—Exxon knew as much as anyone else about the climate and what they ‘knew’ internally is what they declared externally. There is no ‘gotcha’.

Nor can there be one either. The very question of what is ‘known’ vis a vis anthropogenic climate change, i.e, set beyond reasonable doubt, remains in contest to date. What can said to be known when the IPCC has yet to say what it truly ‘knows’ with any rigor beyond appeals to ‘consensus’ and ‘expert judgment’?

Klinger himself admits to the latter. He lays out, though not explicitly, how the case for the consensus is riddled with holes. To prove he’s no alarmist, he points out he and his boss Shukla wrote papers pointing out the contribution of natural factors in 20th century climate change. Klinger says the paper is an example of their scientific equanimity. It is absurd to think he and Shukla should be considered unbiased for publishing such papers whereas Exxon should be thrown in jail were they to have referenced it.

Though Klinger inadvertently admits several points and caveats he refuses to cave in fully. What he does insist is being allowed to score points against ‘corporations’ by bringing civil suits against them, even if only briefly and futilely, simply because they just deserve their day in court. This is extrarordinarily political, activist, and short-sighted. Surely this sort of bottled-up political yearning and frustation in scientists is … dangerous?

However, it doesn’t end there. In a last gasp, as he realises the turn the letter his signed has taken Klinger argues his critics, being the advocates for free speech that they are, ought not restrict his freedom to shut down his critics from speaking freely. A fitting colophon to the RICO debacle indeed.

Make up your mind Lubos

Not too long ago, climatic blogger Lubos Motl declared:

if done right, temperature adjustments are great

Lubos said people asking questions had an ‘adjustment-phobia’ that ‘unmask[ed] their anti-scientific credentials’. (He didn’t stop there, of course, calling the questioners ‘nutjobs’, deleting comments and retrospectively editing his words.)

Now, he writes a post questioning adjustments made by Karl et al 2015 in Science, the pause-destroying paper with the devastating conclusion that adding numbers to temperatures makes them go up.

The post is actually chock-full of sensible questions about the ‘hiatus-killer’, such as:

However, the shock is that the warming trend extracted from the marine vessels was copied to the buoys time series


The warming trend indicated by the buoys – a project that was specifically designed by scientists to measure the temperature of the ocean – was completely erased by Karl et al.


If you’re not dull, you will ask: Why didn’t they do just the opposite? They could have repaired the trend from the marine vessels for them to agree with the lower trend from the buoys

I think it is time to call Lubos Motl an anti-scientific nutjob.

2C: ‘An ivory-tower view of life’

Oliver Geden‘s bold article on 2C in Nature continues in the line Richard Tol highlighted many months ago: the make-believe world of international climate negotiations is running headlong toward the terrain of the impossible.

As expected, scientivist and activist ‘communities’ wasted no time exploding in disbelief and Scientific American wasted no time collecting the reactions. Here is one of them:

Others, like Tom Burke, founding director of U.K.-based environmental group E3G, dismissed the Nature piece as “an ivory-tower view of life” that focuses on what is being said in academic literature rather than what is happening on the ground …

E3G is a climate activist organization founded by the physicist-turned-diplomat-turned-climate preacher John Ashton. (some of whose Yeats-influenced climate poetry can be seen here).

E3G celebrated its 10th anniversary in existence recently. Here are some pictures:

14640539664_99494c0f6d_k 14662595633_d1d956a18c_k


Here are their sponsors…


Here are their partners…


Here is a full listing of sponsors:

  1. Climateworks  Foundation
  2. The Energy Foundation
  3. Greenpeace
  4. Avaaz
  5. DECC UK
  6. Planet Heritage Foundation
  8. WWF
  9. EDF
  10. Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
  11. ECF
  12. Kudos
  13. NRDC
  14. Germanwatch
  15. Stiftung Mercator
  16. Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  17. Shell Foundation
  18. Zennstrom Philanthropies
  19. The Climate Group
  20. Norden
  21. Climate Strategies
  22. Arcadia
  23. Barrow Cadbury Trust
  24. RAP
  25. The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
  26. Ecofin Research Foundation
  27. IDDRI
  28. Doris Duke Foundation
  29. The Greens in the European Parliament
  30. Trust For London
  31. Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK
  32. Oak Foundation
  33. ADB
  34. Climate and Development Knowledge Network
  35. The European Commission

The mind reels at contemplating how Tom Burke of E3G could think anyone to be dwelling in ivory-towers. E3G produces no goods, provides no services and lives on donations – academics do much, much better.

Don’t underestimate E3G though – it has housed or churned out a steady stream of climate activists who are adept in applying pressure on individuals and countries. In their colourful brochures they take credit for everything from the Kyoto Protocol to banning coal-plants in the UK.

There you have it – 2C in a nutshell – people living ivory towers and rooftop champagne-party bubbles, fighting with each other to impose costs on the rest of the world.

Uncertainty Monster or Climate Monster?



Judith Curry has written about her recent (but not new) presentation about ‘climate science and the uncertainty monster’. My sense is the analogy is pushed to the limit. No one knows what the monster is, and there are too many heads, tails and monster body parts flying around.

Curry says the monster concept is for examining the ‘response of the scientific community to uncertainties at the climate science-policy interface’.

The skeptic asks: what is this ‘climate science-policy interface’? Why should there be such an interface at all?

If you go back in time to Stephen Schneider, child of Malthus, you will encounter among his (many) books, ‘The Genesis Strategy’In the preface Schneider tells us he warns the world about ‘the dangers ahead’, and he is compelled to point out ‘the uncertain state of scientific knowledge’ … ‘does not imply there are no problems’. The ‘iceberg in the distance’ for the world-as-Titanic was ‘climate change and related misfortunes’.

The world was a different place as were circumstances. But the ‘terrible problems’ confronting it were the same as today: famine, climate change, global pollution—arranged in different configurations—along with yesteryear’s favorite bogeyman – population growth.

A significant chapter is devoted to the effect of human energy sources on the climate.

However, if global energy consumption expands greatly in the next few decades and this proves to be climatically dangerous, a great dilemma will befall the world

Sounds bad. It is. In fact, Schneider tells us, it’s so bad

… widespread climatic disruption from increased energy production could also occur as soon as the year 2000;

Sounds terrifying, but how would this happen?

Schneider lays down the case for the disruption occurring due to … heat released by power plants and urban heat islands. That’s right — not CO2 but the direct heat from coal plants and nuclear stations.

Over a span of several pages, with ‘uncertainty’ in tow, Schneider allows this industrial heat to be amplified by climate ‘feedback mechanisms’ just as with CO2 and ‘force changes in atmospheric motions that might be global’. At one point he has ‘large quantities of head added to the Gulf Stream from power parks’ finding ‘their way into the climatic system…in the subpolar part of the North Atlantic’ ready to melt Greenland ice,The Day After Tomorrow -style. In the next page, he wonders if thermal pollution from power parks could unleash tornadoes.

With climate, Schneider has no clue what will happen next. Ozone, CO2, aerosols, natural variability, supersonic transport, ‘thermal pollution’ all make their appearance in the book and they could all wreak havoc on the “steady-state”. But it doesn’t matter, there is ‘change’. ‘Change’ would cause famines in the populous third world whose citizens would consume the world’s food. There is a whole chapter on ‘The North American Grain Drain’.


Through it all Schneider wrings his hands:  there has to be ‘decision-making with uncertain inputs’, but ‘the degree of uncertainty …should not delay consideration of actions to prevent..plausible catastrophes.’ He feels compelled to warn ‘some wolves will attack long before we are certain enough of their existence’. He even advocates ‘no-fault climate disaster insurance’, just like Curry.

Looks like he’s grappling with a monster, doesn’t it?

This monster is clearly unaffected by ‘the science’ — change of unknown kind, cooling and warming all have the same causes, produce the same effect and require the same people to be christened ‘experts’ and handed the keys to the kingdom. The monster, it now appears, is a reflection of individual activists and scientists who promote their discipline by positioning it as close to policy as possible, and insisting there is an interface. It is a reflection of pious science’s impulse and success in exploiting authority to stoke fears.

In close to 40 years since the book was published many of the problems scientists like Schneider threatened the world about have disappeared or dissipated. But climate science employs the same paradigm about ‘uncertainty’, the same bogeyman of ‘global change’ to imply the same catastrophe and demands a seat at the power table.

In the 1970s, when famine-struck India would request food supplies from other countries, donors ‘inquired about the progress of the family-planning program that India instituted’. Today, the World Bank system refuses aid to African countries for building coal plants. The Malthusian-ism and ‘lifeboat ethics’ which held sway and spawned the ‘monster’ — the will-to-power disguised as scientific probability — still reigns.

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.

Peter Sinclair: ManBearChicken Crock



Video-making Climate Crocker Peter Sinclair is appalled Fred Singer would say ‘smoking is fine for your baby’. That is literally how he perceives Singer’s view that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is not an effective carcinogen. Sinclair got so mad that Singer—having been maligned as a baby-killing second-hand smoke promoter for long—is contemplating legal action, he succumbed to a moment of weakness and wrote:

So have at it, guys. Let’s open this discussion up.  I’m all ears on that crazy, alarmist, second hand smoke thing.

Except this wont make it through for discussion on his website:
crock of sinclair

Koomey and Romm: the mote and the beam

A team of climate researchers and activists fail to disclose federal funding and scold climate sceptic Willie Soon for not disclosing funding

Willie Soon has been under fire from climate activists for a long time. The latest round has turned ugly, ensnaring collateral targets like Roger Pielke Jr, Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen among others in questions of funding.

On his blog Pielke Jr remarked how undisclosed conflicts were ‘endemic’, and pointed to a paper† by Jonathan Koomey, Joe Romm and co-authors, published in Environmental Research Letters as an example. He quoted the instructions to authors from the journal:

“… All sources of financial support for the project must also be disclosed in the acknowledgments section. The name of the funding agency and the grant number should be given, for example: “This work was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a National Cancer Institute grant R21CA141833.”

Koomey and Romm appeared on the Huffington Post with an article co-signed by scientists who are among the 53 authors of the paper. They declare no disclosure of funding was needed because they used no financial support (emphasis mine):

The reason why there was no statement of conflict of interest is because: 1) there were no “sources of financial support for the project” (it was a labor of love to honor a giant in the energy field) […]

They point to the acknowledgements section of the paper for the assistance received

no acknowledgement

They repeat the assertion

Again, our article had no funding source …

Via Google Scholar one can find other versions of the paper. One is from SciTech Connect, a US federal public-access research database run by the Department of Energy (DOE). The entry for Koomey et al reads as follows:

Scitech Connect

A pdf draft of the paper available from the page. Note the highlighted item against the field ‘DOE Contract Number’.

Interestingly, the acknowledgment section here states the work was supported by a US Department of Energy contract:


The blue box is from text being added separately using a pdf editor. Acrobat tells the extra text about US federal funding was added by a ‘JAWolslegel’ on the 10th of June 2009.

‘DE-AC02-05CH11231’ is a DOE ‘Prime’ federal contract with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) where Koomey worked. It is easy to find that a Jean Wolslegel works as ‘report coordinator’checking to see scientific documents published by the lab ‘comply with DOE and LBNL requirements’ and submits them to ‘DOE’s  Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI)’.

OSTI runs Scitech Connect—is how Koomey et al 2010 ends up there, with reporting of funding ‘in compliance with the DOE’. The paper was originally submitted to the journal in March 2009. The authors sent the paper to the journal without declaring funding but the same paper was submitted to a DOE data agency as product of federally-funded research.

Conclusion? Either Koomey et al worked on their own time, published the paper and falsely declared the work as DOE-funded to a US government agency. Or, Koomey and co-authors’ work was federally funded and reported to authorities appropriately but they failed to declare funding in Environmental Research Letters. It has to be one or the other, and either constitutes a lapse.

They irony is Koomey and Romm’s actions are like Soon’s: failure to disclose funding to journal. Only in Soon’s case the funding agency stipulated non-disclosure in some instances and in others the journal had no policy or requirement for disclosure. Not only do Koomey and Romm fail to disclose funding, they expressly state the opposite trying to morally berate a fellow scientist.

† Defining a standard metric for electricity savings. Koomey J, Akbari H, Blumstein C et al Environ. Res. Lett. 5 (Jan-Mar 2010) 014017)  10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/014017

Lubos the Adjuster


Physicist Lubos Motl, long-running commentator on all things climate, declared recently he agreed with BEST’s Steven Mosher readers were ‘anti-science nut jobs’.

I agree with Mosher: these “principled” critics of all adjustments are surely throwing the baby out with the bath water. And by the way, I do agree with the description of those who get crazy whenever somebody mentions the word “adjustment” as anti-science nut jobs, and yes, I do think that a large number of such people exists among the WUWT regular readers

Except Mosher said no such thing.

Mosher did call WUWT readers anti-science nut jobs but at a different time. Trying to convince people not to use the word ‘denier’, he said even such loony nut jobs as WUWT readers refrained from using ‘SS’ for Skepticalscience:

anti science nut job

I pointed this out [#1]:

lubos beg

Lubos claimed he hadn’t mixed anything up


I gave him the link to Mosher’s comment – the ‘evidence’. Lubos disappeared it [#2]:

lubos4 link

I waited for about an hour and asked, ‘hey, could you look, a comment (with evidence) disappeared:

lubos look


What I got in return:

This is the part where the tricks start. After a while, Lubos allows the second of my comments – the disappeared one – to appear. Along with a long reply.

rant lub

Lubos was not only tweaking comment timings, he was going the extra mile agreeing with Mosher—it was now ‘infantile’ to be using such acronyms as SS, and a sign of ‘demagoguery’.

Something must have clicked. He was infantile not too long ago himself:

Dear Shub, I haven’t mentioned the funny exchange whether the acronym of Skeptical Science is “SS” at all if I have to say it now, then indeed, the right acronym of the website is “SS” :-)

So this is what Lubos does:  he goes back to his own comment where he made the “SS” joke (marked ) and adds a sentence. He adds the bolded portion to make his words fit better:

Dear Shub, I haven’t mentioned the funny exchange whether the acronym of Skeptical Science is “SS” at all – if I have to say it now, then indeed, the right acronym of the website is “SS” :-) even though I may avoid this acronym because John Cook is too small a crackpot to hijack such a formidable trademark

before after-01


Ironic? A physicist supporting adjustments to past records, adjusting the record of his own comments?

How does one trust anything Lubos’ has written or said?

The dishonesty in this brief interaction repeats like a fractal in the climate debate. Everything from the desirability of adjustments to skeptics ‘demanding’ them and their impact is spin and PR.


Temperature adjustments: Dodds, Mosher and Venema cannot be happy

As always, the climate orthodoxy possesses little understanding of how the internet works. They struggle to understand how ‘small, inconsequential issues’ seem to get magnified and blow up in their faces. There is undeniable shock at the Booker articles on temperature adjustments in the Telegraph which have over 35,000 comments and 100,000 social media ‘shares’. Here’s one old explanation (from yours truly):

…deficiencies and uncertainties in climate science are not allowed to become part of everyday discussion…

It is for this reason primarily that Trenberth’s Travesty, Mike’s Nature Trick and Jones’ Hide the Decline are all memes of the post-Climategate age. They carry memetic value because their opposites are pushed relentlessly as part the dominant paradigm, even as scientists apparently discuss doubts in private.

The current episode was set off by relentless ‘hottest year ever’ oversell perpetrated by such sources as AP’s Seth Borenstein. It led Paul Homewood to look at hot areas in the global average starting with Paraguay.

‘…if you want to properly understand an argument or debate you need to look at the primary sources’ reminds Kevin Marshall at manicbeancounter, just as Steven Mosher and a clueless Lubos have not done. Marshall traces the evolution of the story:

With the Booker story exploding, a clutch of scientists and enthusiasts decided they needed to spread their own memes. They picked up a rash of ad hoc excuses to fight the mighty Booker.

Excuse #1 – the adjustments produce no change, by Mosher with BEST data.


Messing with temperature trends strikes anyone as a problem. It did climate consensus supporter Andrew Dodds:


Dodds is everyman – he has the questions anyone would have. Going by Mosher – if an adjusted and unadjusted record are roughly the same, there’re no problems. Which means, if an adjusted record is not the same as its unadjusted progenitor, and actually its opposite in trend, there is a problem.


Numerous stations show change in sign, shape, gaps, everything … by way of adjustment. Many of them end up with a warm trend. Accordingly, there is skepticism. Which brings us to Excuse #2.

#2 – we make cooling adjustments too! – by Victor Venema and others.

To prove the adjustments don’t just warm records all over the place, Venema whips out this graph of sea temperatures, where he says ‘scientists’ cooled a steep warming (grey dashed line) to a more gentle one. Hurray!

ocean raw adj1-01

What about the Dodds criterion? The adjustments change the shape of the trend dramatically. Surely, this is a case for natural extreme skepticism.

Dodds may not know this but the global record is subject to such large-scale trend-altering adjustments at several points. With every adjustment, a piece of the climate orthodox narrative fits better with the instrumental temperature record.

Venema’s graph shows a 1910-1940 adjustment. Here’s an adjustment Phil Jones proposed for 1940-1960:


Here is the result of an adjustment Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way propose 1997 onward:



Global temperatures are not derived hands-off, they are beaten into shape. They are malleable and they accommodate everything from 19th century proxy records to sulphate aerosols to the ‘pause’. As Steven Goddard notes, ‘the fact that they can provide theoretical justifications for data tampering, tells us absolutely nothing about the correctness of what they are actually doing’.

All Booker and Delingpole have demonstrated is this. In the global warming narrative, if you adjust something, something else breaks: Dodds, Mosher and Venema cannot all be happy at the same time.


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