Follow the money for answers

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Regarding Steve Singleton’s critique of my May 15 column on global warming, I think I set a higher standard for my sources than he apparently sets for his. I suggest the public follow the money before deciding who is “gullible” or “financially-motivated.”

The report he cites, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was intended to refute an International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Note, scientists contributing to IPCC reports do so without pay.

In contrast, the sponsors and authors of the NIPCC report have a history of being heavily funded by the petroleum and coal industries. Furthermore, the authors of these reports have checkered pasts, often having credentials far less than their self-promotions claim.

NIPCC was a product of the advocacy organization the Heartland Institute that specializes in fostering doubt of scientific findings that expose risks associated with the products of large corporations.

Before taking on climate change, Heartland collaborated with tobacco company Philip Morris to undermine public confidence in findings linking secondhand smoke and health risks. In addition to receiving direct donations from petroleum giant ExxonMobil, Heartland acknowledges the Illinois coal lobby sponsored its May 2012 climate conference.

NIPCC co-author Craig Idso is former director of Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal company in the world. He is also founder of another sham organization that has received funding from ExxonMobil, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

Co-author S. Fred Singer routinely butts heads with mainstream science having opposed efforts to reduce acid rain, questioned the link between CFC’s and the ozone hole, denied health effects from secondhand smoke and now CO2 and global warming.

He was instrumental in setting up the Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) to serve as an instrument of his attacks. He is further closely associated with the George C. Marshall Institute (GMI).

As an example of the influence large oil companies have on these organizations, former executive director of GMI, Matthew B. Crawford, left after only five months stating they were “fonder of some facts than others,” that there were conflicts of interest in funding, and that, “...the trappings of scholarship were used to put a scientific cover on positions arrived at otherwise. These positions served various interests, ideological or material.”

Finally, Singleton’s suggestion that reports show no global warming for 15-20 years has been debunked repeatedly, but it is part of the mantra of the deniers.

Steven Luckstead

Walla Walla

Comments

PearlY 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Scientists' bias is always relevant to their credibility when their findings or analysis is at issue, but they first have to be put at issue by a controverting scientific critique. Otherwise you've simply engaged in an ad hominem attack, a logical fallacy. Do you have a link to a scientific critique of the NIPCC report, or is possible bias all you've got?

And I think you're being a little naive about human motivation if you think direct monetary payments are the only possible basis for bias. Professional advancement, promotions, peer recognition and admiration, political agendas, and indirect monetary benefit such as grants, royalties, pay increases, awards, free travel, even impressing the opposite sex with one's importance to the world, are all motivators. I doubt the IPCC contributors were all motivated by nothing but altruism.

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