So Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon (PhD, Southern Cal, Aerospace Engineering) is revealed as a fraud. Soon, who has the same climatologist credentials as you and WC, has for some years spouted climate trutherism to anyone that would listen. It’s not very good science. But he’s been trundled out at committee hearings and conferences by anti-science Congressmen to “prove” anthropogenic climate change is a hoax, a vast conspiracy. The New York Times has revealed he is a fraud, a shill for the fossil fuels industry. He provided fraudulent “studies” – he called them “deliverables” – to the Kochtopus, the Southern Company, the American Enterprise Institute, and other climate science deniers for more than a million dollars in fees. Which he didn’t disclose to the science journals who accepted Soon’s claims that his work was legitimate.
It’s an old and well-trod path. The tobacco industry used it, delaying for decades Congressional regulation of their death industry. Buy some scientists, buy a lot of public relations strategists and immense amounts of advertising. Demand “balanced reporting” based on your fake science. The gasoline industry used it, fighting the removal of lead as a fuel additive, even though the lead in “leaded” gasoline was pumping megatons of the neurotoxin into the atmosphere each year. The pesticide industry did it, fighting restrictions on the use of DDT. As was the case with tobacco, leaded gasoline and DDT, the profits in Big Oil and fossil fuels are so immense that it’s easily cost-effective. There’s even a book about it, Merchants of Doubt, as WC described earlier. By clouding the debate with pseudo-science to support the industry of his masters, Dr. Soon has helped delay timely and responsible treatment of the biggest problem facing the planet. He has helped obfuscate a critical debate with fake science. He has helped place entire nations and millions of people at great risk.
Dr. Soon’s mother must be very proud.
We only found about Dr. Soon’s scam because a part of his credibility turns on his slight association with The Smithsonian. That made his financial disclosures public records, available under a Freedom of Information Request. A progressive group made the ask and, eventually, the facts came out.
You may have seen the poster, trundled out by Senator Jim Inhofe (R, Exxon) for The Heartland Institute, with the
mugshots photos of “58 Experts who Don’t Believe Global Warming is a Crisis.” Yes, Dr. Soon is on it. So are 16 political pundits with no science credentials at all, 11 meteorologists, six conservative economists and, wait for it . . . exactly three persons with any credentials in climatology. At least one of the three actual atmospheric scientists was already revealed as an oil industry shill, getting some 40% of his funding from the fossil fuel industry. But while their science credentials may be sketchy or non-existent, they’ve been effective in blocking legislation that might address the crisis. A majority of Americans don’t believe anthropogenic climate change is real. A very noisy, extremely well-funded tiny minority has clouded an issue on which there is no scientific debate.
Between 1991 and 2012, some 13,950 peer-reviewed scientific articles were published of climate change. All but 24 of those articles support man-caused climate change. That’s about 0.0017% that dispute the existence of anthropogenic climate change. The fossil fuel shills in Congress demand equal time for their masters with only the faintest, teeniest, tiniest bit of legitimate science to support them. And they have succeeded. We are still having a debate about the reality of climate change, not about what to be done. Because of greedy, unprincipled opportunists like Dr. Soon who are willing to prostitute themselves to the fossil fuel industry.
Senator Inhofe claims there is a conspiracy among the climatologists to create a crisis. He’s just running a scam. But there is a real conspiracy: a multi-billion dollar effort to lie, deceive and distort so that the fossil fuel industry can make a few more billion dollars before we deal with the real time crisis.
Why isn’t Senator Inhofe outraged about the real conspiracy? Oh, right.