A New List of Climate Quibblers: Paid Deniers, Dead Guys and Ill-informed Fellow Travellers

Fri, 2009-01-02 11:58Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

A New List of Climate Quibblers: Paid Deniers, Dead Guys and Ill-informed Fellow Travellers

The latest list of “650 International Scientists (who) Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming” seems to be more of the same: dead guys (Fred Seitz, Marcel Leroux, Reid Bryson …), paid deniers (Fred Singer, Tim Ball, Sallie Baliunas …), and a much larger group of weather forecasters and “experts” from unrelated fields, many of whom (eg., Edward Wegman) don’t even disagree with the scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change.

The apparent author of this list, Swiftboater Marc Morano, even included the names of Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, an historian and an anthropologist who have made themselves famous by advocating for renewed and more vigorous policy action against the threat of climate change.

It’s possible that some of the people included in this list sincerely doubt that human activity is promoting potentially catastrophic climate change. For example, the 79-year-old Nobel laureate (Physics, 1973) Ivar Giaever may, legitimately, have fallen behind in his reading. For that matter, it’s possible, perhaps evening likely, that Giaever has never taken any direct interest in atmospheric science.

Still, Morano deserves some credit for guile in the way he presented this list: The short sheet he passed out at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland last month didn’t include a single name that was recognizable as being among the “usual suspects” - the deniers for hire with whom Morano and his ex-boss, the Republican Senator for Oil and Gas James Inhofe, generally spend their time.

But if you look past the first dozen or so anonymous quibblers, you soon get to experts like James Peden, a web designer who still advertises himself as an “atmospheric physicist” regardless that he has long since abandoned the field. Peden can no more call himself a scientist than I can claim to be a big city newspaper reporter (last newspaper reporting job, 1980) or, for that matter, an expert practitioner of high-pressure water blasting (Algoma Steel, 1975).

The question we keep asking is this: if Morano and company truly believe that they have science on their side, why continue to consort with people like Fred Singer, who has taken money in his colorful career to deny everything from the health effects of smoking (Philip Morris) to the truth of global warming (Exxon Mobil)?

One answer is that Fred Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project is listed as principal sponsor of this most recent disinformation flyer.

There is an old adage that if you tell a lie often enough, people will start to regard it as the truth. But an old lie is still a lie. And people who are careless (or crafty) enough to hang around with old liars deserve to have their own credibility judged accordingly.

Comments

Hecklers, as if we were at any show or gathering, a heckler ruins it for others, diverts attention and must be dealt with directly, quickly and then we move on. The ratio of effort to attention is very small - and so very efficient for this type of heckler also.    I have no intention of adding to their infamy by remembering their name.  But this is a great article, and good to know someone is tracking them.

I’ve been building up a list of names of some real climate scientists, including the full 619 contributing authors to IPCC’s AR4 wg1, as well as many others (but still just a fraction of the whole field). I include a link to their academic or government research site homepage, some stats on their publication record, and links to do a search on their name as author at Google Scholar. This way, readers can look for themselves at their published work.

I have one version of the list just covering AR4 wg1, then a longer list currently nearing 1400 (and growing). In this longer list I’ve included a small number of prominent “skeptics” as well, just to put them in context. I even include Tim Ball (currently 10th from the end of those I’ve completed the citation stats.)

There’s no way I’ll ever repeat this labour on the whole, heavily padded Inhofe 650 603, but I am currently working on a small select subset that have actually got some published track record. I’ll need to post another batch update soon to catch some key names I didn’t get on the first pass, notably Roger Pielke Sr.

My site is http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate

I also link to some other lists I haven’t even begun to look through yet, notably the 1700-name open letter put forward recently by the Union of Concerned Scientists at  http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/big_picture_solutions/scientists-and-economists.html

JUST AS A MATTER OF INTEREST,COULD YOU LIST YOUR SCIENTIFIC /CLIMATE SCIENCE CREDENTIALS AND CV , ALONGSIDE THOSE OF FRED SINGER. I’VE READ A LOT OF FRED’S PAPERS, WHICH ARE ALL WELL WRITTEN SCIENCE PAPERS THAT STAND OR FALL ON THE SCIENCE PRESENTED IN THOSE PAPERS, NOT ON THEBELIEFSOF THE AUTHOR.                   HAVE YOU ACTUALLY READ ANY OF HIS PAPERS IN ENTIRETY

And Fred Singer is not a scientist. He was once, but now he’s pretty much a full time public relations guy and a fabulously dishonest one at that.

Singer takes money from companies like Philip Morris and Exxon, and then denies it. He posts fictional glacier-melting studies on his website and then blames his wife. He underwrites projects like this in which a political snake like Morano gathers up a vast list of people who are out of their depth, out of their minds or (physically) out of this world and uses that list to deceive the public about the current state of climate science.

As you could see from clicking on my bio on this site, I have no academic credentials in science. And you will never see me picking apart a dusty Fred Singer paper that was appropriately peer-reviewed in the first place (except maybe the paper he “co-authored” with Roger Revelle, which is a travesty).

We’re here to talk about irresponsible abuses of PR techniques and on that count, Fred Singer is an industry leader.

 

Your determination to get at the business dollars behind the climate voices is commendable. I recently followed a money trail from a large builder of nuclear plants…

http://www.gepower.com/prod_serv/products/nuclear_energy/en/index.htm

until I came to some information from an entrepreneurial website which listed one on the investors in that same multinational energy company…

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/117/features-gore-an-inconvenient-po...

It seems the investment fund based in London, GIM, has $5 billion in funds…some say almost $6b…

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/11/business/gore.php

A director has started spending $300 million to promote a line on climate change…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/30/AR2008033001880_pf.ht

And while it reportedly invests in GE, GIM is apparently fussier about who it accepts money from…

“Anybody who is expecting a monthly report on how their stocks are doing isn’t for us” David Blood, one of the fellow-directors is quoted as saying in Fast Company, Issue 117, July 2007, at

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/117/features-gore.html?page=0%2C3

Richard, these climate entrepreneurs with the big dollars are obviously ripe for the illuminative searchlight of your investigative gaze. I can’t wait.

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“in the business world, particularly at a time when things are moving so swiftly, if you can see it early, you can make a business opportunity out of it.”
~ A director of Generation Investment Management, as reported in Fast Company Issue 117, July 2007 at: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/117/features-gore.html?page=0%2C1

“Forethought we may have, undoubtedly, but not foresight.”
~ Napoléon Bonaparte (born: 1769-08-05 died: 1821-05-05 at age: 51)

 

Thank you for all these quotes, though most of them don’t work, still I found some valuable posts with SE using your comments to links.

Annie from @ prince herself

Hello! I do not see a condition of use of the information. Whether it is possible to copy the text written by you on the site if to put the link to this page?

my email 47shveden@gmail.com

“It’s possible that some of the people included in this list sincerely doubt that human activity is promoting potentially catastrophic climate change.”

I’d say things we’re doing as humans are definitely making change.