Prominent climate skeptic funded by oil, coal companies

June 30, 2011

One of the most prominent scientists to reject the scientific community's consensus on climate change has admitted that every research grant he has received over the past decade -- in sum, more than $1 million -- has come from either U.S. oil and coal companies. As The Guardian reports:

    Dr Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, is known for his view that global warming and the melting of the arctic sea ice is caused by solar variation rather than human-caused CO2 emissions, and that polar bears are not primarily threatened by climate change.

    But according to a Greenpeace US investigation, he has been heavily funded by coal and oil industry interests since 2001, receiving money from ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Insitute and Koch Industries along with Southern, one of the world's largest coal-burning utility companies. Since 2002, it is alleged, every new grant he has received has been from either oil or coal interests.

    In addition, freedom of information documents suggest that Soon corresponded in 2003 with other prominent climate sceptics to try to weaken a major assessment of global warming being conducted by the UN's leading climate science body, the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Soon, who had previously disclosed corporate funding he received in the 1990s, was today reportely unapologetic, telling Reuters that he agreed that he had received money from all of the groups and companies named in the report but denied that any group would have influenced his studies.

    "I have never been motivated by financial reward in any of my scientific research," he said. "I would have accepted money from Greenpeace if they had offered it to do my research." He did not respond to a request from the Guardian to comment.

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#1 gray1 on Sunday July 03, 2011 at 4:30pm

Naughty naughty?  But does does that negate the science being pondered here?  But fairness begs us to consider also the other side of the equation.  Is this the same UN we speak of which hopes to obtain control of a world-wide carbon tax/credit monopoly worth (gosh, who knows?) in revenues to swap around and/or sell however it pleases? Can we remember how the same organization handled the food for oil deals with Iraq?  And is this the same Nobel committee who awarded our own President Obama basically for simply making a visit to the Saudis and an outreach to the Muslim world his first official act as President?

I should think the primary question is whether any researcher’s findings are accurate rather criticizing it simply on the basis of whomever it is that’s doing the funding.  Everyone’s assumptions seem to be that the other side is always the one full of crooks and liars.  That’s the real shame.

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