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Monday, May 28, 2012

Money has no Impact on Climate Change Science - Really!

Timothy Birdnow

Anyone who has argued with Climate Change Alarmists knows the accusation that is inevitably to come; Climate Change skepticism is funded by Exxon-Mobil and "Big Oil" and so any science that contradicts the "consensus" by the IPCC is somehow biased. We used to be told ad-naseam that filthy polluters were buying pet scientists like Patrick Michaels or Roy Spencer or S. Fred Singer, paying them to lie about research in order to prevent "sensible" controls on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. For a long time that line of argument worked, too, until the vastly superior amounts of money coming from environmentalists groups, liberal think tanks, liberal corporations, and most of all governments came to light. Now the argument has shifted, as the public understands who really has the funding for propaganda and false or shoddy science - and why scientists will be eager to endorse and promote the conventional wisdom.

And the Warmists are losing the argument, leading some of them to swing about wildly. Take this, for example.

John Timmer makes the argument that there has been no real increase in funding of Climate Change alarmism, and that it does not matter anyway.

Timmer devotes time to claiming that money spent on research has no strings, essentially, and that it's just aimed at ascertaining the truth.
Well, if that's the case, why did the Nazis fund Eugenics research? Why was Eugenics a major science in the first half of the twentieth century? OF COURSE money matters. It matters at the Universities where Deans push their researchers to come up with spectacular apocalyptic papers to get attention and keep the tap flowing. It certainly mattered to James Hansen who made over a million dollars promoting Global Warming theory (a poorly paid civil servant It makes a difference to the editors of journals who were being strong-armed by boycotts of their publications for publishing "denier" papers by the Hockey Team (and thus hurting their financial outlook, forcing the editors to toe the line.) It makes a difference to men like Timothy Ball, who was sued for slander to shut his mouth and who needs money to exercise his right to free speech. It matters to young researchers looking to attain tenure. It matters to researchers who cannot afford to lose their positions.

He who pays is the boss.

How does Timmer think budgets get handed out by government? How do grants get awarded? It's not the guys who say "nothing to see here, folks" but the people who shout "doom". And if that doomsaying can be used to promote more government, more taxes, more control, well, what does Timmer think is going to happen? OF COURSE scientists are going to buckle, or at least find marginal evidence far more convincing.

Timmer seems to hold a very different standard where money going to "deniers" is concerned. He had this to say about the Heartland Institute when documents were allegedly leaked to Desmog Blog (and were actually forged):

"The documents include a detailed financial statement, which lists all the sources of income. The Heartland is generally antiregulatory (issues its tackled in the past include everything from smoking laws to telecom regulations), and its list of small donors reflects that. Time Warner Cable and AT&T both show up, as does Microsoft. Pharmaceutical and insurance companies also make appearances, along with the Koch brothers and GM. Combined, these large donors ($10,000 or more) provided about three-quarters of the Heartland's $4.5 million budget last year. A single anonymous donor provided about another $1 million.

A glance through the documents (their authenticity has yet to be confirmed; see below), however, quickly reveals that this broad range of donors isn't involved in the Heartland's climate activities. The NIPCC reports, for example, consume about $300,000 a year, but all of that comes from two donors. Half of the cost of Watts' new website (which is rather pricey, at $88,000) comes from a single donor. Another donor has pledged $100,000 towards the school curriculum project."


"Wojick isn't the only individual who will be paid well for his role in contesting climate science. Craig Idso, a former coal lobbyist who now helps manage the NIPCC, is getting $11,600 per month for doing so. Fred Singer, a former scientist who often writes editorials that contest the scientific consensus, gets $5,000 a month. A number of others, some still in academia, receive smaller amounts."

End excerpts.

He seems to believe that money spent on advocacy or direct funding of research is bad, but government funding for research is unbiased.

And that money is staggering. Jo Nova has documented the titanic funding of the Climate Change Alarmism industry. yet Timmer dismisses this with a simple wave of the hand, because he does not believe that the science is being skewed by it.

But he is quick to believe science that opposes his view is skewed by the money, as his diatribe against Heartland surely attests.

What does Timmer think the vast sums of money the U.S. has used to support the IPCC went toward? The U.S. paid out $31.1 million, or half of the IPCC's annual budget. The IPCC was in the business of doing science, or so they claimed; what did the government expect to get for the money? What did the IPCC produce, for that matter? We know they included the work of grad students and environmental activists, as well as made ridiculous predictions such as the Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035. If money doesn't affect the science being done, then why did we give so much of it to a doddering U.N. institution?

Timmer doesn't argue that the money is there, just how it is spent and its effects. The centerpiece of his argument is a graph showing rising expenditures on Global Warming, and his claim that most of this money goes to satellites, research stations and the like. Physicist Lubos Motl destroys this argument:

"But Timmer ultimately admits that the funding for the research is still about $2 billion a year these days but, he emphasizes, it hasn't grown too much since the early 1990s. But note that the previous sentence contains the words "since the early 1990s" and that's the very main point in this discussion.

In the scientific community, the corruption began exactly in 1988±1. It began with James Hansen's notorious 1988 testimony in the U.S. Congress in which he predicted a 3-times-faster warming for the following 25 years (take e.g. the 1985-2012 jump in the scenario A – which was followed because the CO2 emissions continued to rise exponentially – by 1.2 °C) than what was actually observed later (0.4 °C in the 27-year window).

You may see that as early as in 1989, the funding for the climate change research stood at around $200 million a year; the 1989 budget hasn't reflected Hansen's testimony yet. It grew discontinuously and it grew purely because of the politicization of the discipline. The funding got tripled within a year, quadrupled within two years, and grew by an order of magnitude within 2 decades. The climate change hysteria continued to grow exponentially between the early 1990s and late 2000s (a few years ago) but it was mostly a growth in the media; the scientific community got already bribed and reshaped in the late 1980s and very early 1990s."

End excerpt.

This piece by Timmer is a measure of the desperation that those of the Gang Green, the radical environmentalists, are feeling. They are flailing about, trying to find some way to break out of the trap they've fallen into. It's just not working, and they are sounding increasingly shrill and dense.

But they aren't going down without a fight; too much time, money, and hope was invested in this generation long War of the Worlds scare. They are growing increasingly unpleasant in their death-throes.

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