Copendenier Fred Singer on holes in the ozone, toxins in our food and the misunderstood cigarette

Sun, 2009-12-13 00:53Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Copendenier Fred Singer on holes in the ozone, toxins in our food and the misunderstood cigarette

Last week at the Copenhagen climate summit, we saw Christopher Monckton, the head of the delegation for the oil industry-friendly Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), accuse young climate change activists of being “Nazis” and the “Hitler youth.”

Another member of Monckton’s Copendenier delegation is a gentleman by the name of S. Fred Singer, who is well known to us here at the DeSmogBlog.

In fact, we once received a letter from Singer’s lawyer threatening to sue us after we reported that Singer once did work for the cigarette lobby. We never heard back from Singer after we sent along all the research behind our claim.

Like Monkcton, Singer has an “expert” opinion on many subjects. Not coincidentally, many of these expert opinions greatly assist the work of various industries looking to avoid being saddled with expensive health and environmental regulations.

Our research team recently came across a 1996 Washington Times article by Singer, titled Anthology of 1995’s Environmental Myths [pdf]. In the article, Singer outlines “five topics that demonstrate distortion or misuse of science in shaping policies.”

The five are: global warming, the hole in the ozone, second-hand tobacco smoke, the “Radon scare” and toxic substances in our food.

Take a read of Singer’s article and ask yourself this: what would our planet and people be like today if we had listened to Singer’s advice 13 years ago? Then ask yourself: why would anyone in their right mind trust his supposedly “expert” opinion - or the opinions of those in his delegation - here at the Copenhagen climate talks?

Singer and Monckton have every right to be here at the summit, but we don’t have to listen to what they have to say. And based on their past judgments, I would say that’s some pretty darn good advice. But then again, I’m no expert.

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Previous Comments

The transparency of Singer’s dishonesty and the enthusiasm with which the Denialists embrace him are equally revealing…

In his heart of hearts, I suspect that Singer thinks that the “issues of the day” are just jokes and he’s delighted that someone is actually paying him to “play”. The argument is more important than the subject, so to speak.

He’s like a bored used car salesman trying to convince a customer to buy a particularly unsuitable car so he can win a private bet with another salesman. What could be more satisfying to a narcissistic sociopath?

Too bad reality is inconveniently out of alignment with his play debating.

that somebody pays him and arranges his jetsetting and media attention to spout this malacious malarkey.
This is my planet, and I have grandchildren. As far as I know, Singer has no descendants. Or conscience. Have fun and wreck the planet.

“Have fun and Wreck the Planet” You know I automatically think of Copenhagen when you use that phrase… the 140 private jets, the limos, the exotic foods flown in from everywhere, the huge carbon foot print, the biggest and greatest party of the year.

But what is even bigger than all that is that the climate crowd thinks the whole supercarbonburn 2009 pallooza amounts to good optics or something.

hint: nope

Yes, good point! That must be like, 0.00000001% of the problem. Just think, if they weren’t there trying to solve the problem, we wouldn’t have to worry about that 0.00000001%. The rotters. We could have used those extra credits to host a Dish Sponge convention in Bismark or maybe a golf match somewhere. Or maybe they should have just asked a genius like this to do it from his armchair, and then that crucial 0.00000001% would be back, and the planet would be saved.

optics count man. They could ditch the whole thing. We have a magic thing called the internet now. It has communication technology built right in.

Flying 140 private jets from all over the globe for a party based on the need to stop frivolous burning of fossil fuels. nutty.

The take home lesson is: party on, carbon is someone else’s problem.

And your argument is that internet communications are taking care of it. Uh… right.

Anyway, great, if only it will get that very important 0.00000001% back for us!

Actually, to save even more money, they could just drop all support for “Science” and adopt “Make-Crap-Up”. That is a discipline in which you think, hmmm, what kind of sciency thing might cause this or that, and then Bingo, that’s the answer! The money and carbon expenditure saved would be enormous. No more labs, no more arctic studies, no more conference persentations, no more fancy magazines. There are some great ideas out there. Hmmm, how about the sun! No need to actually measure.


Rick James Says:
Ever heard of the Sun?? that big ball of fire in the sky??? I got some bad news for you, it is not a consistent source of heat and light as you would get with a light bulb. In fact it is quite unstable. Just ask the Vikings who had the glaciers come back and wipe out their farming settlements in what was actually a Greenland for about 100 years. I am all for stopping toxic pollution, over consumption and stopping the clear cutting of forests and jungles but if you not going to factor in the cycles of solar flares on the Sun your equations your just not using rational or scientific thought to come to these conclusions that Co2 drives global warming…..

For anyone wondering about F. Singer’s previous conclusions, or essential lack of them, the sidestream smoke is “interesting” reading, hilarious, actually, if you can ignore the potential damage done.
Singer, S.F. and K. Jeffreys (Alexis de Tocqueville Institution). The EPA and the science of Environmental Tobacco Smoke.

It is hard to find a point in the arguments. It is short, lacks substance, and makes no claims or conclusions that are based on anything substantial. The few specific complaints he makes about the EPA analysis of data would have students in the most basic statistics classes smirking at the pretentious malarkey and misuse of terminology, and leave physicians and physiologists in shock (or more probably, rolling their eyes).

The authors say

“Furthermore, the EPA does not utilize the appropriate ‘two-tailed’ analysis of where ETA causes lung cancer. In a two-tailed test, a specific assumption is made, for example, that ETS has an effect on human health. (The two ‘tails’ refer to the fact that the hypothesized effect may be harmful or beneficial: the evidence may point in either direction.) In addition, if ETS were found to have no measurable effect either way, that would be called the ‘null hypothesis.’ In its examination of ETS, however, the EPA utilizes a ‘one-tailed’ test. That is, the EPA makes the assumption that ETS cannot stimulate the human immune response and thereby produce lower rates of lung cancer than would exits in the absence of exposure.”

Good grief. I would be unhappy if my company had actually paid consultants for that report.

At several points he hints that there is no evidence that even active smoking has any relationship to lung cancer risk, but dances around making any actual claims:

“The EPA claims to discern an ‘apparent non-threshold nature of the dose-response relationship between active smoking and lung cancer.’ Even if this were true for active smoking (and, as questionable as that statement is, it is beyond the scope of this paper), it is not automatically valid”… etc. etc. >>>

I read the EPA review of the lung cancer/passive smoking research done by dozens of scientists. It was vetted by a review of 16 scientists at places like Berkeley.
I read the attack by Singer on it. Singer had no background in biology. Then Singer wrote a letter to the NYTimes attacking passive smoking research, by then amounting to hundreds of articles by people in multiple fields. He called it “junk science”. Why did NYT published the junk letter?

I would still be having sinus headaches brought on by people in public smoking.

Of course if the Arctic ice would have listened to Singer in his book it would have stopped melting, as he assured us it would.


By the 1950s, smoking's cause of disease had risen to strong scientific consensus, but Big Tobacco needed an illusion of scientific controversy to keep the public in doubt. As seen in the new film Merchants of Doubt,  they developed superb marketing tactics copied by others, including the fossil fuel industry and allies.

The scientific consensus on human causation of climate change is just as strong as that on smoking, so the same tactics are used against it, plus Internet-amplified harassment of...

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