February 2, 2007

Climate Change: the Dash for Cash

Hatched by Dafydd

A new charge is roiling the scientific community; it was leveled today by the ultra-leftist Guardian, formerly the Manchester Guardian, out of the U.K.:

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This is, of course, yet another attempt to marginalize and silence any opposition to the First Church of Fundamentalist Climate Change: the purpose is to taint all Globaloney skeptics with the stench of corruption... they're all bought and paid for! Don't listen to them! They're just mercenaries!

"Shut up," he explained.

The Guardian never does explain the "lobby group" remark (yet another libel). A lobbyist is typically hired by a particular company to individually lobby legislators or the executive (federal or state) to procure public funding via earmarks or other special-interest tax funding.

The AEI is a non-profit public advocacy group that accepts no government money; they do not engage in "lobbying," at least by the normal dictionary-definition accepted by everybody but leftists. They are no more a "lobby group" than is the MacArthur Foundation -- and less so than the left-leaning Brookings Institution, which actually does get much of its funding from taxpayer money.

This slur against the AEI tells you everything you need to know about the globaloney mobsters.

The Guardian attack exemplifies a perennial bugaboo with the Left: they like to believe that where one gets funding absolutely determines what one says... that everyone is a scientific soldier of fortune who will do or say anything to get the cash. (I assume this belief is psychological projection on the part of leftists.) The Guardian makes the connection explicit at the end of the article in a throw-away libel they quote from some Greenpiece dolt. It serves as a synecdoche, not just of the globaloneyists, but of the Left in general:

Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: "The AEI is more than just a thinktank, it functions as the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they've got left is a suitcase full of cash."

This is about as despicable a slime as one can imagine... and it's one reason why I believe the Guardian has not fully shed its old Marxian thuggishness. But let's roll up our sleeves and get our feet wet...

Before dealing with the true risibility of the Guardian's charge -- its blind spot about its own side -- let's first get the silly elements out of the way:

The long arm of ExxonMobile

The American Enterprise Institute is "an ExxonMobil-funded [lobby group] with close links to the Bush administration;" thus, one presumes, the AEI simply does the bidding of its evil, corporate, Capitalist masters, without regard to the suffering people of the world (Haliburton!)

The Guardian backs up this attack with a single pair of statistics:

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration.

What they don't mention is that the AEI has an operating budget of more than $30 million, all of which comes from grants by private corporations, private foundations, groups, and individuals, mostly by conservative foundations (J.M Olin, JM Foundation), rich conservatives like Richard Melon Scaife, and companies like Coors (run by the right-wing Coors family), though they also get significant funding from Microsoft (run by left-liberal Bill Gates). The AEI is a free-market think tank; who do you expect funds it?

Who funds Brookings? Liberals (duh). Their major contributers are the MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Carnegie. (Unlike the AEI, Brookings does get much of its funding from governments: Japan, the U.K., and the United States.)

That's the way think tanks work: conservative ones are funded by conservatives; liberals ones by liberals. This should not be a shock, not even to the Guardian. But their charge was more specific: they clearly want readers to believe that the AEI is a wholly owned subsidiary of ExxonMobile, and the AEI is simply Big Oil's puppet.

What the Guardian fails to mention is that grants from ExxonMobile account for only 5% of the AEI's annual budget. If they had mentioned that, readers would likely be scratching their heads over why this is supposed to be determinative. Besides, more than likely, ExxonMobile gives grants to the AEI because the AEI is free-market on energy issues -- not the other way around. The AEI has been around, with the same philosophy, since 1943.

ExxonMobile did not even exist until 1999, when Exxon merged with Mobile. Exxon did not exist until 1973, when it changed its name from Esso. Esso did not exist until 1941, just two years before the AEI was founded (probably not with any money from Esso); Esso was a brand name for gasoline sold by Standard Oil of New Jersey, one of the "baby Standards" created when Standard Oil was busted up by imperial decree in 1911. ExxonMobile (or even Exxon) would thus have begun funding the American Enterprise Institute long after the latter was in existence and promoting free-market economics.

The protocols of the learned elders of the Bush administration

"...more than 20 of [the AEI's] staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration."

Give us a break. The American Enterprise Institute is free-market and socially center-right. George W. Bush is free-market and socially center-right. Where do you think he'll get his consultants -- from the Sierra Club, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and George Soros?

This "point" is an absurdity. Bill Clinton, a center-left president, got most of his consultants from center-left or hard-left groups like the Economic Policy Institute, Brookings, and of course the major civil-rights and environmentalist organizations. Presidents pick advisors; the advisors don't pick -- or control -- the president.

Polluting our precious bodily fluids

The AEI is paying scientists $10,000 to write lies about global climate change.

In fact, the AEI is buying articles for publication and hiring speakers for some presentation. Does the Left really expect people -- scientists or anyone else -- to donate their services for free? (The Left doesn't!)

These are not publications in a peer-reviewed science journal; these are popularizations of decades of a scientist's research. Carl Sagan was paid very big bucks to put his scientific opinions in popular form on the TV show Cosmos, and in numerous books he wrote during his lifetime. That doesn't mean that Sagan was corrupt; it means he did not donate his talents for free.

For that matter, the MacArthur Foundation hands out $500,000 "genius grants" to about 400 deserving leftists every year. What is the difference?

The difference is that $10,000 is nowhere near enough to tempt a scientist to write something opposite to what he actually believes, based upon his own research and that of others found in peer-reviewed journals: Nobody would throw away a stellar reputation for a mere $10,000.

Those scientists contributing papers to the AEI publication or speaking at an AEI event are doing so because they sincerely believe, based upon scientific evidence, that the global climate-change hysteria is wildly overblown.

But at long last, we come to the real point... which the Guardian, like a drunk fumbling around for his own door back door, manages to miss throughout its entire article:

Who funds proponents of anthropogenic climate-change theory?

Science is expensive. Ideas cost money, and somebody has to pay for it.

The money comes in the form of grants; grants come from several sources:

  • Universities;
  • Public science foundations, such as the National Science Foundation;
  • Private foundations, such as the AMA or Burroughs Wellcome;
  • Private corporations, from defense contractors to technology startups to environmental law firms;
  • Private individuals (philanthropists).

A typical grant for scientific research can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars -- often in the millions. Important scientists frequently transform into grant empire builders, piling up grant upon grant, hiring dozens or hundreds of researchers, until they come to resemble CEOs rather than working scientists. (Oft times, they are so busy administering the labyrinth of grants they control that they have no time left to do real science.)

So who is funding globaloney?

Let's start with the IPCC, the clearinghouse for anthropogenic climate-change hysteria. The IPCC is primarily funded by three sources:

  • The United Nations Environment Programme -- in 1988 they named Jimmy Carter a member of the "Global 500 Roll of Honor," and in 2006 named Mikhail Gorbachev a "Champion of the Earth."
  • The (United Nations) World Meteorological Organization -- this is not a scientific body; its members are countries, and it's a division of the UN.
  • The IPCC Trust Fund -- according to the UNEP's website, "UNEP and WMO established the IPCC in 1988 and have created an IPCC Trust Fund where governments make contributions for carrying out climate change assessments."

All of the money for the IPCC (which employs thousands of people... including former scientists turned professional globaloney advocates) comes from taxpayers in various countries; probably most of it comes from the United States government. (Say... if a former scientist is a professional, paid advocate of anthropogenic global climate-change theory trying to get Congress to appropriate money to fight it -- and also to fund the very organization for which the former scientist advocates -- doesn't that make the former scientist a lobbyist?)

If the Guardian believes that money from the AEI, which gets 5% of its funding from ExxonMobile, automatically taints any recipient and causes him to corruptly lie to oppose globaloney... then what black magic causes massive infusions of cash for professional advocates, cash that comes from taxpayer money controlled by various countries (many of whom directly benefit from climate-change spending by the U.N.), not to offer such temptation to corruptly lie to support globaloney?

This is another leftist fantasy: that private money corrupts, but public funding sanctifies.

The IPCC is not a scientific body; it doesn't even claim to be. It doesn't do the basic science; it scavanges it from papers published in peer-reviewed journals... but it has no requirement to be an equal-opportunity scrounger: although many articles have been published in respectable, peer-reviewed journals casting doubt on many aspects of globaloney, I don't recall the IPCC ever using such "contrarian" papers as the basis for policy change.

The papers they use are published either by working scientists, or often by former scientists with emeritus positions. Those (current or former) scientists are funded, as above by grants. And those grants are invariably larger than $10,000.

Riddle me this: Suppose the World Wildlife Foundation or the Sierra Club funds a scientist (via grant) who has previously published papers supporting the anthropogenic climate-change model. Now suppose his new research causes him to change his mind, and he publishes a new paper debunking much of the IPCC vision.

How much can he expect for his next grant from that issue-advocacy organization? Try a good round figure: bubkis. The Sierra Club is not in the business of funding its ideological enemies... which descriges anyone who does not full-throatedly endorse globaloney, in all its inglory and ignobility. Doesn't this constitute a six- or seven-figure motivation to continue to champion the IPCC vision?

A hand over one eye

That is the real blind spot of the Guardian, Dr. Heidi Cullen, and other mouth-foamers on the IPCC side: they can easily behold (or even fabricate) the mote of potential corruption in the eyes of opponents of global climate hysteria... but they beholdest not the I-beam of potential corruption in their allies eyes.

Just bear that in mind the next time some liberal falls down in a seizure, screaming about the fact that anti-globaloney scientists get money. What do we imagine pro-globaloney grants are paid in... peanut brittle?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 2, 2007, at the time of 5:55 PM

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The following hissed in response by: jgr

Dafydd, you skewer these pretensions well. The English Left is really not worth the effort, however, I think.

The Brit Left will forever deliberately not understand the nature of American culture, our government, or our people. As you might say, 'it's beneath them.' So let them rot in their chosen peculiar intellectual slime. The weird stories coming out of the 'new Britain' are quite enough to worry the average intelligent person. Perhaps the English Leftists are reduced to compensatory escapism and foisting their problems on US.

The above hissed in response by: jgr [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2007 8:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Steelhand

Oh Dafydd, this was classic. Hypocricy, roasted and served with a side order of misinterpreted facts on a bed of PC rich white American human bashing is reviewed and found eminently distasteful. (Sorry for the extended metaphor; I was inspired.)

But more condemning are the meager claims that globaloney purveyors are trying to stifle: we don't know how much global warming there is, and how much of that is due to the effects of human activity. So, before we wreck the economies of the western world by stringent measures, shouldn't we try to figure that out?

Imagine a doctor telling a patient: "I think you have cancer. I have no tests that will conclusively confirm it. And the treatment I proscribe will shorten your life by 30 years. But if I don't treat you now, you'll die, i know it. You have to believe me, and if you ask for a second opinion you're a fool wasting time. Besides that any doctor who would give a contradicting second opinion is only in it for your money. So think it over, do what I say, and pay on your way out."

The above hissed in response by: Steelhand [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 3, 2007 3:49 AM

The following hissed in response by: Navyvet

Some 33 years ago, the "growing consensus" -- approaching "near certainty" -- was that we were facing global cooling, heralding the death of the planet. Now it's the other end of the spectrum and the argument has now become a "certainty" (the modifier "near" no longer deemed necessary).

Considering the amount of greenhouse gases occurring normally (seawater evaporation, decaying vegetation, volcanic eruptions, and even cow flatulence [!]) that make up over 90% of the source such gases in the atmosphere, it is the height of hubris to believe that man, regardless of numbers, in his puny SUVs, can even begin to influence global climate change in any meaningful way. (My apologies for the length of that sentence.)

But the Church of Global Warming shall not be deterred by facts. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

The above hissed in response by: Navyvet [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 3, 2007 6:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

"Anatomy of a Conquered Nation"

We recently had a chance to stop the decades of sliding into Socialism/Communism, but blew it. Now:

France Tells U.S. to Sign Climate Pacts or Face Tax

If that tax seems bad, then wait until the Islamists get done with Europe and us...

The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 3, 2007 10:13 AM

The following hissed in response by: Navyvet

Chirac is an idiot.

Since he doesn't understand capitalism 101, let's break it down for him:

1) EU imposes "carbon tax" on U.S. imports to Europe.

2) U.S. manufacturers increase the price of their goods to offset the cost of the tax.

3) Prices to Europeans for U.S.-made goods go up.

So French citizens paying more for U.S. products punishes who, exactly?

The above hissed in response by: Navyvet [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 3, 2007 10:29 AM

The following hissed in response by: jgr

And so the Warmies will start a trade war; where does it go from there? (France says sign or else.)

We should debate what tax the US needs to impose upon French and EU goods.. perhaps equal to the carbon tax! If France demands to police OUR emissions, we should likewise police theirs. Now, let's see what industries in Paris or Marseilles will have to be shut down.. Perhaps a ban upon automobile traffic.. this will be fun. Get the gendarmes out. I promise the French will not take our policing without loads of riots!
Jacques might reconsider his ultimatum.

The above hissed in response by: jgr [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 3, 2007 4:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

I think trying to convince the Warmies (good name, like Moonies or Loonies, only more deranged) is hopeless. We have to concentrate on preventing them from convincing anyone else, or, more accurately, infecting anyone else with their virulent lunacy. The Warmies are in the process of adopting the latest translation of their Bible-- the IPCC climate report-- while completely ignoring its internal contradictions. It states very clearly that humans are "most likely" causing global warming (which might be true), and then says that global warming will continue for hundreds of years /regardless/ of what we do! Al Gore says we must act now! I say George Bush was right; let's figure out how to live with it. The experts are telling us we can't stop it, and we always listen to our experts, right?

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2007 7:50 AM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

The IPCC is a conclusion looking for evidence.
We are being conned by the global warming promoters completely. Chirac is giving the game away: It is all about tax. The climate panic being cynically created is all about money.
Read how the IPCC is going about gathering evidence, from their own document:

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2007 8:11 PM

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