Panelists Expose Attacks on Scientists and Corruption of Science

Published July 10, 2015

A panel discussion titled “Attacks on Scientists and the Corruption of Science” at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change featured former director of the Australian Office for the Ocean Drilling Program, Robert M. Carter; statistical consultant William M. Briggs; former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, Timothy Ball; and Lord Christopher Monckton, a chief policy advisor for the Science and Public Policy Institute.

Calls for Science Audits

Carter says there has been a complete politicization of scientific academies worldwide, which has corrupted climate policy.

            There is “only one answer” to address this corruption, Carter said: to audit and test research.

            “There is … a need for scientific audit agencies,” Carter said. “Australia used to have one called Aztec, and its job was to advise government independently on major scientific and environmental issues.” 

‘Global Warming of Doom’

Briggs discussed those who believe in the “global warming of doom,” saying they argue “anything that has or will go wrong is or will be caused or exacerbated by global warming, and that global warming itself is caused by mankind.”

            Believers in the global warming of doom offer a solution: “Government, preferably world government, should eliminate unfettered capitalism and all activities should be monitored for their influence on the environment and subsequently banned or heavily regulated,” Briggs said.

            If their preferred solution isn’t implemented soon, they argue, the “climate will pass a tipping point and the world will end in fire,” Briggs said.

Hiding the Qualifiers

Ball says the key deceit in the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change’s (IPCC) climate reports is it acknowledges many limitations of data and the science in its reports but removes references to these limitations in research it publicizes or materials the press or general public can easily access.

            IPCC knows few would read and even fewer would understand its large technical reports, but if challenged on something reported in the media, IPCC can say the limitations were acknowledged in the report.

            Ball argues attacks on so-called “climate change deniers” in the United States are increasing because climate change is central to President Barack Obama’s domestic and foreign policies. Ball highlighted two polls from the United Nations and the Pew Research Center showing global warming is the least of the general public’s concerns. 

A Tale of Two Scientists

Monckton compares the treatment of scientists Joel Schwartz and Willie Soon to bring attention to biased reporting against skeptics and in favor of alarmists.

            Schwartz, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard University who received $31 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in funding, wrote a paper praising EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which will shutter many coal-fired power plants. Schwartz acts as if the funding from EPA for a report praising the agency’s findings did not imply a conflict of interest. No news stories raised claims of conflicts of interests regarding Schwartz’s paper.

            By comparison, when Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, coauthored a paper published in the Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences showing a simple climate model better predicts actual temperature trends than the complex IPCC models, he was attacked by the mainstream media over claims of conflicts of interest because Soon’s project had received $1.2 million from Harvard-Smithsonian over a period of about 10 years from oil and electric utility interests.

            Instead of defending Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian conducted an investigation, claiming in a press release Soon might not have disclosed conflicts of interest in his research, even though Soon had properly identified his association with Harvard-Smithsonian as required by Smithsonian policies.

            Monckton said, “A previous director of the Harvard-Smithsonian had given instructions that was how everybody was to disclose their affiliation, and that instruction had not been rescinded. And Willie, for 25 years, had blamelessly been using that as his affiliation.”

            Monckton and Soon’s other coauthors investigated the matter, issuing a 10-page report 500 eminent scientists signed documenting Smithsonian had entered into a contract forbidding disclosing donor identities. They found Soon had complied with the terms of the contract and the Smithsonian had not.

            “I want to make it clear with all of you just how outrageous the treatment of [Soon] has been,” Monckton said of Soon.

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.