The Smearing of Willie Soon

A blockbuster peer-reviewed paper in the Science Bulletin, authored by Christopher Monckton, Matt Briggs, David Legates and Wei-Hock (“Willie”) Soon, is roiling the global warming Left. The paper identifies flaws in the computer models that predict major global warming–which shouldn’t be a surprise, since the models’ predictions have flopped. It concludes that due to mathematical errors, the models overstate the impact of CO2 on the climate by a factor of three times.

So far, global warming Leftists haven’t been able to find any technical flaws in the Science Bulletin paper, which you can download here. So, naturally, they have resorted to smearing its authors. Greenpeace focused on Dr. Soon, an astrophysicist who works part time for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Greenpeace served a Freedom of Information Act request on the Smithsonian, a public entity, for documents relating to funding of Dr. Soon’s projects. Greenpeace claims that these documents show that Dr. Soon’s projects received funding from Southern Company Services that was not disclosed in certain papers that Dr. Soon published.

The New York Times, having been fed the documents by Greenpeace, eagerly took up the cudgels for global warming Leftists, publishing a supposed expose under the headline, “Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher.” The Times and its fellows on the Left argue that Dr. Soon should have disclosed certain corporate funding with respect to past projects–not, however, the recent paper that the Left seeks to discredit.

You can read about the controversy here and here, and draw your own conclusions. I am not able to sort out whether Dr. Soon should have made additional disclosures with regard to the funding of projects completed years ago; in any event, that has nothing to do with the current paper on the defects in the alarmists’ models.

This is the point I really want to make: the New York Times and other pro-government sources assume that government funding of research is lily-white, while corporate funding is inherently suspect. This is ridiculous. Put aside, for a moment, the fact that the American environmental movement is funded by Russia’s state-controlled oil company.

That isn’t the real scandal. The real scandal is that the overwhelming majority of money spent on climate research comes from governments. Governments, most notably ours, fund climate hysteria to the tune of billions of dollars per year. Why? Because the whole point of global warming alarmism is to persuade voters to cede more control over Western economies to government. (No one actually cares about CO2 emissions from India or China, which together vastly exceed ours.)

Governments fund climate research–but only climate research that feeds alarmism–because they are the main parties in interest in the climate debate. Governments stand to gain trillions of dollars in revenue and unprecedented power if voters in the U.S. and other Western countries can be stampeded into ceding more power to them, based on transparently bad science.

The New York Times and other left-wing news sources assume that government funding is no problem, but private funding is a scandal. I think the opposite is true. It is a scandal that our government spends billions of dollars, enriching many compliant climate scientists–Michael Mann is just one of many examples–to promote its own power. Thank goodness that there is a tiny amount of independent funding that supports objective research and contributes to a debate that is being won, hands down, by climate realists like Dr. Soon.

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