Disclosure Standards for All, Not Some

The recent controversy caused by Greenpeace’s release of documents about Willie Soon is another example of Red Queen justice—verdict first, trial later—and the witch-hunt tactics of the climate establishment. In the 1690s, witches were burned at the stake. Today, the accused witches are destroyed by journalistic recklessness.

The best response to Greenpeace and the media that played gotcha is to quote Joseph Welch’s comment to Senator McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency?” Greenpeace has demonstrated rogue tendencies for most of its history. It has little respect for either individual or property rights. To it, the end justifies the means.

Dr. Soon has subsequently issued a statement that he met the disclosure requirements of the journals publishing his work and that donations were to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center and not with him.

After the New York Times story, which can best be described as yellow journalism because the writer did not bother to confirm his facts, three senators and Representative Grijaiva sent letters to 100 organizations and 7 universities requesting funding and related information. This has produced a backlash in the media and from professional organizations and it is well deserved.

What is interesting about this affair is that it is only focused on climate skeptics and not those who assert that consumption of fossil fuels is causing damaging climate change. Assuming that those receive funds from private companies, foundations, or associations prostitute their values, scientific credentials and ethics while those who receive public and environmentalist funding are above reproach and influence shows how ideology perverts clear thinking.

In 2005, the George C Marshall Institute published Funding Flows For Climate Change Research and Related Activities. It concluded that “private foundations spend $35-$50 million on climate change and related projects” while the federal government spends “in the range of $1.5-$2 billion on climate change activities…”. That’s almost two orders of magnitude greater. If a serious inquiry into climate funding is needed, why hasn’t the Times or members of Congress looked it and the relationship to the views on climate by its recipients?

In 1994, Vice President Gore attempted to use Nightline to discredit and slander scientists who challenged the prevailing orthodoxy on what then was called climate change. At the end of the program, he was admonished by host Ted Koppel who said, ”… (these) issues (climate change and ozone depletion) have to be debated and settled on scientific grounds, not politics. There is nothing new about major institutions seeking to influence science to their own ends. The church did it, ruling families have done it, the communists did it, and so have others, in the name of anti-communism. But it has always been a corrupting influence, and it always will be. The measure of good science is neither the politics of the scientist nor the people with whom the scientist associates. It is the immersion of hypotheses into the acid bath of truth. That’s the hard way to do it, but it’s the only way that works.”

The politicization of science runs the risk of grave damage to our future. Science has produced innovations and technology that have made us healthier and wealthier as a society. Once the public concludes that the science establishment cannot be trusted, future progress could be jeopardized.

 

This article appeared on the National Journal Energy Insiders weblog at http://www.nationaljournal.com/policy/insiders/energy/what-should-climate-scientists-disclose-20150303

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