Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Change Researcher
New documents obtained by Greenpeace via freedom of information filings show that a leading climate change denier, Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, allegedly accepted $1.2 million over the past 14 years from energy companies and additionally failed to report conflicts of interest in his own research.
Soon is a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (but not actually employed by Harvard at all) who has long claimed that variations in the sun’s energy is the primary reason behind global warming. Sadly, Soon’s close relationship with energy companies isn’t exactly new information.
In 2011, Soon faced accusations regarding his funding but claimed the money didn’t impact his research saying he would have even accepted money from Greenpeace had they been offering, according to Reuters.
Now, more documents show that was supposedly a lie. At least 11 papers published since 2008 neglected to mention any ties to energy companies and violated the policies of the publishing journals. The New York Times says that Soon described the papers as “deliverables,” which he completed in exchange for money.
Willie Soon’s reputation as a “scientist” has been under fire for years, but who knows if this new info will finally be the suture that shuts the mouth of one of climate change’s biggest opponents. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center will be internally investigating the issue, but this is really my favorite part of NYT’s wordy takedown:
Though he has little formal training in climatology, Dr. Soon has for years published papers trying to show that variations in the sun’s energy can explain most recent global warming. His thesis is that human activity has played a relatively small role in causing climate change.
Many experts in the field say that Dr. Soon uses out-of-date data, publishes spurious correlations between solar output and climate indicators, and does not take account of the evidence implicating emissions from human behavior in climate change.
Gavin A. Schmidt, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, a NASA division that studies climate change, said that the sun had probably accounted for no more than 10 percent of recent global warming and that greenhouse gases produced by human activity explained most of it.
“The science that Willie Soon does is almost pointless,” Dr. Schmidt said.
Damn, Dr. Schmidt isn’t pulling any punches.
So maybe scientists aren’t easily fooled, but there’s a lot of dumb people out there and research like Soon’s creates the illusion of a scientific debate where there really isn’t one.
Thing that annoys the hell out of me is that it doesn’t require a massive lifestyle change. It really doesn’t. Bin your garbage appropriately for recycling. Don’t drive, just walk some places.
Take public transit when possible. Turn off a few lights in the house when you’re not using them. Get freaking better insulation for your house. (I’m a big fan of the last one, a well insulated house suits my desires nicely, I like the temperature between 68F and 74F. I was impressed that our gas bill during hard winters has been well below $100/payment on average.)
People act like you’re asking them to surrender their first-born child to be flayed alive to the alter of “sacrifice” when all your really asking is a bit of practical common sense before wasting energy and fuel.
Alternative energy can’t arrive fast enough. I want fusion power, Solar and wind with electric cars. Its a shame Nikola Tesla couldn’t leave us a functional example of what he thought he could achieve with his technologies.
Edison should be cursed into the bowels of hell. I hope when they renovate for the museum they discover a hidden trove of Tesla’s knowledge and designs – if only so we can answer once and for all if his ideas were feasible and practical.
But the point is, small changes will keep it from happening “faster” not necessarily reverse the effects. And that’s the time we need to mitigate the worst of the potential damage.
Climate change isn’t lethal when its happening as a part of a natural cycle. Its the rate of climate change versus the rate of natural adaptation to that change that can lead to extinction events.
That’s what I’m concerned about. We’re already going to have to write off vast swaths of land as impractical for habitation or farming. I just don’t want to start having to see people arguing about which few “million” get to live out of billions if there is a catastrophic extinction event.
Cause the war that will spring up from that will make sure that only a few thousand survive. And maybe not even that much.