As climate data continues its stubborn refusal to conform to doomsday models, global-warming activists have focused much of their effort on attempting to discredit critics, apparently in the belief that “science” means suppressing inconvenient information to make hypotheses look better. A major theme running through these efforts is the supposed financial “conflicts of interest” facing scientists whose work is not funded by ideologically pure supporters of catastrophic man-made climate change theories. To put it bluntly, the warmists insist that anyone who disagrees with them is a dishonest puppet of reckless and greedy fossil fuel companies.
Skeptical scientists, facing demands from witch-hunting enforcers of climate-change orthodoxy to total up their lunch receipts for the last decade or two, pointed out that global-warming true believers are hardly free of their own conflicts of interest.
There is actually far more money behind the Church of Global Warming than any of its skeptics. The difference is that global-warming cabbage is not portrayed as unclean or suspected of influencing the outcome of scientific studies, because it comes from media-approved “good guy” organizations presumed 100 percent selfless and altruistic.
The biggest media-beloved, honorable, compassionate organization is, of course, the government.
The government has an obvious conflict of interest when it comes to pushing climate-change theories, because they provide a pretext for seizing enormous amounts of economic and political power. It is no coincidence that the politicians most eager to tax and regulate industries to their knees are politicians who weren’t all that fond of capitalism to begin with.
Most of them know less about science than the average kid building a papier-mache volcano in his kitchen for the upcoming science fair. They do, however, have a keen appreciation for the value of authority for the accumulation of power. “Do what I want, or cities will drown in melted polar ice” is a splendid example of invoking authority to compel obedience.
JunkScience.com brings us a very clear illustration of the double standard applied to climate money. Cash just doesn’t count when it comes from a power-hungry bureacracy!
Earlier this week, the Nature Climate Change journal wrote about a study that supposedly validates the Environmental Protection Agency’s claims that its new rules on carbon dioxide will save thousands of lives every year. As always with news useful to climate change and/or Big Government, this story was immediately picked up and reported far and wide by the media, with very little criticism… and a universal consensus that the study’s authors had no competing financial interests whatsoever.
That’s only true if you accept – as all of the media does, and absolutely no one should – that government money doesn’t count. As it turns out, most of the report’s authors have been given enormous amounts of money by the EPA, far beyond the sums routinely depicted as creating unacceptable conflicts of interest when climate-change skeptics produce work for private organizations. The total grants add up to some $45 million. That, in turn, is a mere fraction of the money riding on these new EPA regulations.
This is a study expressly intended to support a power grab by the EPA. As JunkScience points out, one of the authors admitted his team had its conclusion in mind before the study even began, admitting that “we wanted to bring attention to the additional benefits of carbon controls.”
Also keenly interested in bringing attention to the benefits of carbon controls: the bureaucrats who enforce them. In this case, those bureaucrats gave a great deal of money to the scientists who conducted a study supporting the agenda of the agency, and those scientists have every reason to expect more financial support in the future… provided the global-warming gravy train keeps rumbling along. If it comes off the rails, and the public demands an end to the confiscation of their money and capital… why, that wouldn’t be good for anyone who benefits from the current arrangement, now would it?
Do these financial and political interests invalidate the study that claimed to find thousands of lives per year at stake, absent the new EPA regulations? No, although JunkScience does a fine job of challenging the study in a separate post. The issue is that far less significant financial ties are routinely cited to discredit skeptical scientists whose work holds up very nicely to academic scrutiny… and those ties are never, ever left unmentioned by the media, if they deign to cover skeptical scientists at all.
Dr. Willie Soon responded to conflict-of-interest allegations leveled against him by calling for equal disclosure standards on all sides of the climate-change debate: “If the standards for disclosure are to change, then let them change evenly. If a journal that has peer-reviewed and published my work concludes that additional disclosures are appropriate, I am happy to comply. I would ask only that other authors – on all sides of the debate – are also required to make similar disclosures. And I call on the media outlets that have so quickly repeated my attackers’ accusations to similarly look into the motivations of and disclosures that may or may not have been made by their preferred, IPCC-linked scientists.”
In truth, the Solomonic disinterested wisdom assigned by friendly media to climate-change believers would be difficult for anyone to achieve, with issues this large, and the necessary studies so expensive to conduct. Furthermore, Dr. Soon’s advice would be well-taken in nearly every public policy debate. The contestants should be presumed neither angelic nor demonic, and their work should be able to stand on its own… as the theories of the climate-change movement have so spectacularly failed to do, for years on end.