Hall of shame
Hall of shame
Keeping track of the journalists and academics who promote their careers by denying climate change.
One would think that no one could continue to seriously deny our addiction to fossil fuels is damaging the world's climate systems. Who could be arrogant enough to ignore the consensus of 2,000 climate scientists and all the world's scientific institutions; blind enough to miss the melting permafrost, the shrinking glaciers, the regular freak weather?
Yet, as always, there is a small group of people happy to distort the truth to promote themselves and build their careers. Some are directly funded by the fossil fuel industries. Some are self promoting egotists seeking attention. Some just want to be controversial and fill a newspaper column.
Their arguments also differ. A declining number claim that there is no climate change at all. Some accept climate change but say that it will be beneficial. Most say that there may be some small change, but that it has been exagerated for political reasons. The claim that the causes are still unknown and that it is probably a natural cycle.
All of the deniers- we refuse to grace them with their chosen name, "skeptics"- are dangerous for they create a false debate around the existence of climate change and divert attention from the real debate: "What are we going to do about climate change?".
On this page Rising Tide keeps a regularly undated record of these deniers. We believe they must be made accountable for the damage they cause.
This page is work in progress. We welcome more information or clarifications. More information on the international climate deniers can be found on the site www.heatisonline.org
UK CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS
Stott, a gifted self-publicist, is grooming himself to be Britain's leading climate change denier. Trading on his academic credentials as a professor of geography at the University of London, Stott appears regularly on radio and television programmes citing carefully selected contradictory data and studies to undermine the IPCC consensus.
Unwin is a Professor of Environmental Science at Birbeck College. He has been quoted in the media claiming that the uncertainties are too huge to draw firm conclusions and that the IPCC is obsessed with reducing CO2. He regards adaptation as a better strategy.
Despite his credentials as past president of the Royal Astronomical Society, Sir Fred Hoyle is not above promoting himself with some pure conjecture. In April 2001 he co-authored a report in Astrophysics and Space Science Journal that claimed that human induced global warming is vital to counter another ice age. His co-author, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of the University of Cardiff, was quoted as saying: "Perhaps we should be stepping up rather than decreasing our greenhouse gas emissions".
Corbyn is director of Weather Action, which claims to provide long term weather forecasts to British industry. He also claims to lectures at the South Bank University in London. Corbyn has been actively promoting himself and his organisation with claims that global warming is largely a product of "natural" changes in solar radiation and magnetic fields. Like many deniers, he claims that there is a vested interest by the IPCC scientists to play up the problem to obtain research grants.
A right wing controversialist, Phillips titled her 15th April 2001 "Comment" column in the Sunday Times "the myth of global warming endangers the planet". She claimed that "there is no conclusive evidence to support the global warming theory". Apparently "thousands of scientists are dismayed by the falsehoods of Kyoto", though she only names arch denier Richard Lindzen (see below). The report of the IPCC she says is "more akin to a religious icon than a piece of scientific reasoning". The "myth" of climate change has been created by "those who wanted a stick to beat western capitalism, America and globalisation". The article was reprinted in the International Herald Tribune.
Peter Hitchens, like Melanie Phillips a provocative right wing journalist, is keen to promote denial arguments. In his column in the Mail on Sunday he clained that there is still "no evidence" to support global warming. In a reply to a complaint about this article he reiterated that all the existing scientific data are "suppositions, allegations, predictions. Numbers prove nothing"
Champkin wrote an article of December 6th 2000, in the Daily Mail titled "Whatever Happened to Global Warming". The double page article showed photos of floods claiming them as proof that the scientists who, it said, had predicted hot dry weather, had been wrong all along. No scientific opinion was sought in the article.
MARK ADAMS-SCIENTIFIC ALLIANCE
Mark Adams is a former Private Secretary to John Major and Tony Blair who left to set up a career as a lobbyist, public relations consultant and denier of climate change. In 2000 Adams set up a web site (http://www,scientific-alliance.com) to "use scientific fact to counter scare-mongering by the so-called green lobby". The site quotes the usual tiny handful of deniers and links to the US right-wing anti-environmental think tanks (Cato Institute, George C Marshall Institute described as having a "rigorous unbiased analysis"). The organisation purporting to be behind the website, the SCIENTIFIC ALLIANCE, does not involve any scientists or indeed exist in any formal sense. It is a public relations vehicle modeled on the US think tanks based out of Adam's Westminster office and created by Robert Durward, the director of the anti-environmentalist lobby group, the British Aggregates Association.
Lomberg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" has received endless coverage in the right-wing media, and Lomberg has built a lucrative career as a public speaker. Like most deniers, Lomberg plays on his academic credentials, as an Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, and makes constant reference to his former membership of Greenpeace. Lomberg's usual strategy is to claim that he takes a reasonable middle ground- yes, there is a problem but it is nothing like as bad as is claimed. So he accepts that there is climate change, but claims, with no evidence, that it "will not decrease food production; nor is it likely to increase storminess, the frequency of hurricanes, the impact of malaria, or cause more deaths". He says that we should do nothing directly about CO2 emissions- that it will cost $1 trillion (a figure with no justification) to implement the Kyoto protocol and that it is cheaper to maintain business as usual and invest in renewable energy. There is a web site dedicated to dismantling Lomberg's arguments at www.anti-lomborg.com
EUROPEAN SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT FORUM
The Forum is a talkshop for climate deniers created by the George C Marshall Institute to undermine the IPCC in Europe. The Forum consists of the usual small band of deniers and right wing zealots among them JOHN SCHLESINGER, former head of the CIA, RICHARD LINDZEN, RICHARD COURTNEY and PHILIP STOTT. A report published February 2002, "Climate Science and Policy: Making the Connection" contains many of the Institute's main arguments- that the science is too uncertain, that the IPCC findings "have become politicized" and do "not demonstrate any genuine human influence on global climate."
The group was created by Hugh Morgan, managing director of a mining company WMC. Morgan believes that environmentalists "threaten our survival" and has supported several other influential Australian right-wing groups. The group argues that there is no evidence of global warming, and that the Kyoto protocol will undermine Australian sovereignty which it compares to the planned invasion of Australia by Japan. It uses similar language to oppose even carbon trading, calling federal government discussion papers proposing carbon trading Nazi propaganda, "Mein Kampf Declarations".
Larry Mounser, lecturer in Mass Media at the University of New South Wales, wrote a typical denial article for the Canberra Times in December 2000, claiming that global warming was a "creed" not science, that extreme weather events are natural, but manipulated to look like climate change by the media in search of a scare story.
BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY
Dr John Zillman served as the director of meteorology for 25 years, retiring in 2003. Senior scientists at the bureau engaged in self-cencorship because they knew Zillman was a climate change sceptic.*
Most of the denialist claims made by right-wing commentators in the Australian media such as Michael Duffy, Alan Wood and Andrew Bolt, can be traced to literature emanating from the United States, and particularly to organisations that have received funding from ExxonMobil. They use the language of the 'junk science' of the IPCC,
contrasting it with the 'sound science' of the denialists. They portray environmentalism as a religion and a 'panic industry'. As of late 2006 The Australian was one of the only newspapers in the world to still regularly express climate change scepticism.*
* From Clive Hamilton. 2007. Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change.
As a Professor of Meteorology at the credible Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lindzen is the most reputable academic among the US climate deniers. Lindzen trades on his qualifications constantly to gain access to top level discussion in the US government or scientific institutions. His arguments, though, are identical to the other deniers. In an article in the Wall Street Journal (June 11 2001) he claims that "there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends or what casues them" and "we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future". Lindzen works closely with other deniers, such as Fred Singer and the George C Marshall Institute.
Like Richard Lindzen, Singer is a leading denier who trades on his academic credentials as a Professor in the University of Virginia and a former director of the US Weather Satellite Service. Despite this he has not had a single article accepted for any peer-reviewed scientific journal for 15 years. Singer's main line of argument is that satellite temperature measurements show no increase in global temperatures. He shows no interest in accepting recent explanations for this discrepancy. He admits to having received direct funding from Exxon, Shell, Unocal and ARCO. Exxon is also among the funders ($10,000 in 1998 alone) of his academic sounding front organisation the "The Science and Environment Policy Project". Singer also has close links with the Rev Moon (leader of the Moonie cult) and his rabid right wing newspaper the Washington Times in which his articles regularly appear. He also writes for the far-right climate denying Hoover Institute, and the New American, journal for the extremist John Birch Society.
Dr. Michaels is a Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute's Environment and Natural Resources Program. His research has received direct funding from, among others, Western Fuels ($63,000) German Coal Mining Association ($49,000), Edison Electric Institute ($15,000), and Cyprus Minerals (440,000), a major funder of anti-environmental campaigns. Tom Wigley, one of the leading IPCC scientists, describes Michaels work as "a catalog of misrepresentation and misinterpretation". Michaels produces a newsletter "World Climate Report" sent free to every member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Dr. Balling published an influential denial book "The Heated Debate" in 1992 which was translated into Arabic and distributed to the heads of OPEC. Between 1991 and 1995 he (and his accomplice Dr Sherwood Idso, see below) received $300,000 in funding from coal and oil organisations, amongst them the British Coal Corporation ($75,000), the German Coal Mining Association ($80,000) and the Kuwaiti Foundation for the Advancement of Science ($48,000)
Dr Mendelsohn is an economist at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies who has built a public profile from arguing that in the US and globally the costs of climate change will be outweighed by the benefits. In his book "Global Warming and the American Economy" he argues that global warming will be good thing for the US economy. Agricultural yields will increase from longer growing seasons and increased CO2. He admits there will be costs, especially for poor people in the tropics, but, like Bjorn Lomberg, he argues that the best strategy is business as usual and using economic growth to pay for any costs.
WASHINGTON TIMES- although happy to be confused with the venerable Washington Post newspaper, the Washington Times is an aggressively right wing tabloid and soap box for the most rabid anti-environmentalists. The editorial line of the Times is that climate change does not exist and is the invention of people who want to subvert capitalism and the American way of life. The Times is funded by "Reverend Moon" founder of the Moonie cult.
US INDUSTRY GROUPS
GLOBAL CLIMATE COALITION
The GCC was founded by fossil fuel producers and car manufacturers to lobby against any international initiatives that would impact its members profits. By March 2000, though, its refusal to recognise the legitimacy of the scientific consensus (and a feisty campaign in the US) forced the resignation of British Petroleum, Shell, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Texaco, and General Motors. In February 2002 the GCC was formally disbanded having achieved its primary goal of pulling the US out off the Kyoto Protocol. http://www.globalclimate.org
WESTERN FUELS ASSOCIATION
The WFA is an association of $400 million of US coal producing interests. The WFA is one of the most powerful forces in the US actively denying the basic science of climate change. One of its greenwash offshoots is the Greening Earth Society- on the board of which is Dr Patrick Michaels.
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE
The API, whose members include all the major oil companies (including BP), has consistently tried to prevent the US ratifying the Kyoto Protoocol. The API works closely with Fred Singer and Frederick Seitz, both of whom worked with the API 1998 for a $5 million advertising campaign denying the climate science.
In addition to its involvement in many of the lobby groups and think tanks mentioned above, Exxon Mobil has frequently gone it alone in its crusade to deny climate change. In 2000 it funded an ad undermining the IPCC's consensus titled "Unsettled Science" which appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The ad's key evidence was taken, without permission, from the work into ocean currents by Lloyd Keigwin, a legitimate scientist. Keigwin publicly said he was annoyed with the advert, and distanced himself from its findings.
US THINK TANKS AND CONSULTANTS
GEORGE C MARSHALL INSTITUTE
The Institute, led by Frederick Seitz, is a very well funded far right think tank which maintains that climate change is a liberal plot to undermine the US economy. The Institute specialises in creating a veneer of scientific credibility for its views, constantly pointing out that Seitz was once president of the US National Academy of Sciences. In March 1998 the Institute went one step further with a typical report attacking the international climate negotiations as intellectually and scientifically flawed. The format of the report was nearly identical to that used for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy issued a statement discrediting the report and distancing itself from its conclusions.
Another far right think tank- similar in its views to the George C Marshall Insititute.
FRONTIERS OF FREEDOM INSTITUTE
Another far right think tank, funded by Exxon Mobil amonst others. Fred Singer is on the staff.
This website is an offshoot of American Enterprise Institute, It is hosted by JAMES GLASSMAN, a professional climate denier who is frequently published in the US, and KEN HOLME. Holme was Director of Arms Control in the Reagan administration In an article in May 2001, Holme claims that unnamed "top scientists" believe that the evidence of climate change is insufficient to take any action. He compares the "liberal" Kyoto Protocol with the lack of science in the "liberal" campaign for breast feeding- which he voted against whilst in the UN. See http://www.techcentralstation.com
CHRISTOPHER C HORNER
Attorney for the COOLER HEADS COALITION- yet another right wing think tank. A regular contributor to the Washington Times. In an aggressive and facile article in April 2001 he debunks the science, demanding to know "did my Land Rover chase the dinosaurs to oblivion?"
SHERWOOD, CRAIG AND KEITH IDSO
The Idsos all work through their front organisation, the academic sounding Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. In their publications, such as "Carbon Dioxide: Friend or Foe" they argue that increased atmospheric CO2 will produce net benefits and improve agricultural output. Their video, "the Greening of Planet Earth", which claims that global warming is a net benefit for the world, received $250,000 in funds from the Western Fuels Association and was used intensively to lobby congress.
Lamb edits World Concerns, a magazine for SOVEREIGNTY INTERNATIONAL, an anti-United Nations think tank. He claims that freedom is a "gift from the Creator". Cheap and plentiful energy is a "friend of freedom" which is threatened by the Kyoto Protocol. The answer, he says, is to remove all legally binding requirements from the protocol. www.freedom21.org.
President of the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce. Hammond has been mobilising Texan businesses to lobby the government, claiming that implementation of Kyoto would shutdown 25% of US power plants leading to "a crisis of energy shortages and skyrocketing prices".