The global warming community has stepped up its call for the prosecution of sceptics. The latest: 20 US scientists wrote this month to President Obama calling for prosecutions of sceptics under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), previously used against the mafia and the tobacco industry (for suppressing evidence of dangers of smoking).
This letter has become an own-goal for two of the signatories, who have been double-dipping big-dollar salaries from their government-funded climate foundation, additional to their salaries as professors.
Noted climate scientist Judith Curry[i] responded to the letter:
“What you have done is the worst kind of irresponsible advocacy, which is to attempt to silence scientists that disagree with you by invoking RICO.”
She wrote that the 20 scientists damage not only their own reputations, but also the public perception of scientists as trustworthy sources of information: “Most seriously, the coercion of scientists implied by this letter will discourage objectivity in scientific research and will discourage scientists from entering/staying in the field of climate research.”
The science is sufficiently uncertain, she added, to allow several rational narratives for what has caused 20th century warming and how the 21st century climate will evolve.
The RICO20 letter says,
We are now at high risk of seriously destabilizing the Earth’s climate and irreparably harming people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.” So what’s needed is “a RICO investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.
The letter finishes:
If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.
The lead signatory is Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University. He was a lead IPCC author in 2007, and in 2010 was even cited as a possible next chair of the IPCC, succeeding alleged sex-harasser Rajendra Pachauri.[i]. Shukla was outed last week for paying himself and wife Anne $US1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work over the three years 2012-14.
Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado said that the Shukla couple’s handsome stipend is additional to Jagadish Shukla’s $US250,000 annual professorial salary. “That totals to $US750,000 per year to the leader of the RICO20 from public money for climate work and going after sceptics. Good work if you can get it!” Pielke Jr. observed. Shukla runs his government grants through the ‘non-profit’ Institute of Global Environment & Society Inc. of which he is President and CEO. The couple’s half-million annual draw includes $US166,000 payment for Anne Shukla’s work as “business manager”.
Who decides the salaries of the non-profit’s executives? The answer, according to a Pielke tweet: “Grad school chum & 2 family friends. Cannot make this up.” He has further noted that the Shuklas’ two daughters were also on the payroll – one, a Sonia Shukla, shows up as “assistant to the president“. Pielke’s suggestion to the mainstream media, “investigative reporters, you are welcome,” has so far prompted no interest.
Another signatory, Paul Dirmeyer, gets his full-time professor’s salary at Paul Mason University, presumably comparable with Shukla’s $US250,000. Dirmeyer’s CV shows he has been with the “Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies” (COLA) as senior research scientist from 2011 (and from 2001-10 as associate research scientist). COLA turns out to be an entity of Shukla’s foundation. Research scientists at COLA pick up pay of around $US125,000-130,000, according to the foundation’s tax filings. As blogger-sleuth Paul Homewood concludes, “Dirmeyer has clearly profited greatly from the public purse over the years. Little surprise then that he is so keen for sceptics to be silenced.”
The Shukla institute’s purpose is “to provide society with weather and climate information.” It has received more than $US16 million in government funding over just the past four years.
Let’s take a look at some other RICO20 signatories:
Signatory Ed Maibach, like Shukla, is a George Mason professor, and director of the Center for Climate Change Communication. Far from being a “climate scientist”, he’s a PhD in communication research, in George Mason’s largely government-funded Center for Climate Change Communication. He enjoys several government grants for “how public engagement in climate change can be expanded and enhanced.”
Limiting climate change…will require significant public engagement in the issue so that difficult decisions can be made by members of the public and policy makers. Our center was created to conduct unbiased social science research that will facilitate such public engagement.
The centre has an extraordinarily large staff for what is, essentially, a warmist PR operation. Of the top sixteen positions, fifteen are at professor or assistant-professor level, and none appears to have climate science qualifications. Attached to the centre are another thirteen high-level external affiliates and, below them, a further team of PhD students. Blogger Paul Homewood writes:
It could hardly be a more incestuous relationship. NASA pumps funding into the Center in order to persuade the public of the terrors of global warming, which in turn will help to maintain their own funding, which can then be used to further ramp up the scare. It is no wonder Mr Maibach is so keen to sign the letter, and silence sceptics.
Keep in mind that this lavish US centre, dedicated solely to climate-alarm propaganda, is but one of a myriad taxpayer-funded climate-research and climate-PR operations. Yet one of the RICO20 letter signatories, Lisa Goddard, a couple of years ago was chiding President Obama for “not supplying adequate funding for climate research.”
RICO20 signatory Kevin Trenberth became a household-word name thanks to his Climategate email of 12 October, 2009 (emphasis added):
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data … shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Meanwhile, the global warming halt has extended to 18 years and 8 months.
RICO20 signatory, Alan Robock, of Rutgers University, was an honoured guest of dictator Fidel Castro in 2010. Robock rhapsodised of his Castro-financed suite at Havana’s “nicest” hotel and chauffeured black Mercedes. “Everyone was so nice to me… Fidelito [Fidel’s son] left me a present with his card. And Fidel was very polite and friendly, with a great sense of humor.”
RICO20 signatory Barry Klinger had the shame only last week to write, “No one is trying to throw anyone in jail”. He doesn’t want sceptics physically suppressed “even if they disagree with me and even if they disagree with most scientists in the field” – a noble sentiment. He says he just wants fossil fuel companies to be put in the dock for fraudulently selling CO2 emitting and planet-harming products, such as, presumably, petrol and coal-fired electricity.
The RICO20 letter as its evidence for sceptic villainy cites one study by a sociologist, Robert Brulle, and half-a-dozen polemical books, such as Naomi Oreske’s risible “Merchants of Doubt” about supposed tobacco/skeptic parallels.[ii] Brulle’s revelation was that sceptics are funded by hundreds of millions of dollars of anonymous “dark money”. (Al Gore, personally worth $US200 million, tweeted encouragement to Brulle).
Maybe the 91 conservative groups Brulle checked did have $US900m a year income. But his study also said, ‘Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.’ For perspective, a leading US conservative think-tank, Heartland Foundation, spent about $US1.5 million (that’s not a typo!) on climate scepticism in 2011. Its current annual revenue in total is about $US7m. This compares with US federal funding of the warmist community of about $US31 billion annually. Government $US16m funding for the Shukla family’s institute alone, for one-sixth of its existence since 1991, contrasts markedly with top sceptic bloggers funded by tip jars.
One estimate is that, in current dollars, Shukla’s foundation has collected about $US100m in total.
German climate scientist Sebastian Luening, whose speciality is the climate influence of sunspot cycles, writes (translated by Pierre Gosselin):
Rather than criminal lawsuits, we urgently need an objective ‘scientific court’ where arguments of both IPCC and skeptic sides are technically and open-mindedly discussed. It is undemocratic and unprofessional to silence scientists by legally threatening them if they do not subscribe to the official interpretation / party line. There are many historic examples where science pioneers such as Galileo Galilee or Alfred Wegener [1912 originator of continental drift theory] would have ended up in prison.
US meteorologist Joe Bastardi, Chief Forecaster WeatherBell Analytics, whose business lives or dies by the accuracy of its weather forecasts, concludes,
I fail to see how any of these signees can be objective, given all they have to lose if they are indeed proven wrong by nature itself. That they actually would do such a thing speaks volumes as to their character, which is no different than a bully on the playground, except their playground is other peoples lives and their protected towers from which they seek to dictate their agenda.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)
[i] .[i] Pachauri is currently fighting police charges of sex predation, involving a young female employee at his research institute TERI.
[ii] Oreskes is an enthusiast for prosecutions of skeptics. She told a seminar, ‘I think a RICO style of prosecution [is suitable] if a smart lawyer thought there was some aspect of the law that had been broken’