The Pile of Contradictions

Despite the mainstream media portraying the global warming issue as a settled science problem caused by human activity, the issue is essentially besieged with contradictions showing it to be anything but settled. The unexplained disappearance of the global cooling craze of the ’70s; the Arctic predicted to be ice-free, then utterly failing failing to do so; a blanket of CO2 holding all the heat in which apparently is not doing any such thing lately; global warming creates bigger and smaller lobsters at the same time; on and on. But that’s just the science end of the issue, which I leave to the skeptic climate scientists to point out. Since I’ve become something of an expert on how the ‘industry-corrupted skeptic scientists’ accusation falls apart, I figured it might be time to compile the contradictions found within that accusation in one spot using can’t-miss photo links. Keep an eye on this blog post, I’ll be periodically adding to the list.

These are in no particular order, beyond the….

  1. …. primary contradiction, namely the core of the accusation being about skeptic climate scientists receiving illicit money in exchange for offering viewpoints on the issue that they know to be lies – of which nobody has offered physical evidence to prove.
  2. The main bit of so-called evidence is portrayed to be part of a ‘sinister‘ top-down industry-approved memo directive, but when the only set of those memos are perused, it becomes beyond obvious that the memos were for a PR campaign that practically nobody ever saw, of which officials outside of a select few coal industry people were totally unaware of.
  3. Al Gore said Ross Gelbspan was a discoverer of this industry plot – but Gelbspan’s first mention of details about leaked industry memos was in late 1995, while other reporters quoted them earlier, around the time when Gore himself was quoting from them.
  4. One of those reporters prior to Gelbspan stated unequivocally that the leaked industry memos came to his newspaper courtesy of the Sierra Club – but despite how famous and widespread one particular phrase out of those memos is among published books and internet sites, I have yet to find a single claim of responsibility for the leaked memos by the Sierra Club.
  5. Gore, and uncountable numbers of others, say Gelbspan won a Pulitzer Prize – the bio page he himself distributed around ’96-’97 said as much – when the final arbiter of that designation, the Pulitzer organization, says he is not a winner of its prize.
  6. Gelbspan said that, prior to 1995, he knew nothing about global warming, but the last article he wrote before retiring from the Boston Globe was all about the issue, with even more specifics about it in his sidebar piece within that article.
  7. Gelbspan said he first became angered about skeptic climate scientists’ ‘industry corruption’ in the spring of 1995, but Greenpeace’s Jeremy Leggett said that Gelbspan had been working on this situation over a year earlier.
  8. Leggett said he first met Gelbspan in April 1997. Gelbspan said he met with Leggett in March 1996.
  9. The skeptic climate scientists Gelbspan was angry about in 1997 were Robert Balling, Pat Michaels, and S. Fred Singer. In his 1998 paperback, his anger changed to Robert Balling, Pat Michaels, and Sherwood Idso, without a solitary word of explanation for the swap.
  10. Gelbspan unequivocally says on several occasions that a particular coal industry annual report stated an intention to attack mainstream science, but no such wording is found in that report or any others from that time period.
  11. Throughout the accusation about skeptic climate scientists being industry shills, that accusation is used as a reason why such skeptics should not be given unfair media balance. In the case of the PBS NewsHour media outlet, it is demonstrable that no such attention has been given to those skeptics at all, going back to 1996.
  12. Gelbspan, along with so many repeating his accusation, created an enemy out of the Western Fuels Association, routinely calling it a “a $400-million coal consortium”, while consistently failing to disclose that WFA is a not-for-profit cooperative.
  13. [12/1/14 Author’s note, piling on now] The exposé of ‘industry-corrupted’ skeptic scientists usually describes it as coming initially from ‘journalist and author Ross Gelbspan.’ During his alleged ‘discovery’ of this situation, he describes himself as “the only reporter in the room” However, I have yet to find any evidence that he was a working reporter in the strict sense of the definition at that time; all I’ve found points to him being retired from reporter, having only participated once after his retirement as an op-ed co-author months before his ‘discovery’.
  14. There’s various examples of people saying (e.g. this one) Gelbspan wasn’t the only person to document the corruption of skeptic climate scientists. I have yet to find a person who documents the ‘corruption’ in any fashion; book authors and reporters who quoted the Western Fuels leaked memos before Gelbspan (Rowell, Moore/Miller, Gore, Wald, O’Driscoll) did no better than Gelbspan with their no-full-context quotes, and all from 1995 afterward trace back to Gelbspan.
  15. Gelbspan was described in more than one instance as an ‘expert on global warming’, when he has no science expertise whatsoever.
  16. Gelbspan said IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri was “not a scientist” in order to make a point about fossil fuel industry influence in 2002, but said Pachauri was one of many ‘leading scientists’ in 2007, when he needed to make a point about the dire global warming predictions of the IPCC.
  17. [7/21/15 author’s note, piling on more] Greenpeace, knowing that their old otherwise unseen archive scans showed an ICE campaign print ad having the name of the campaign as “Informed Citizens for the Environment”, cut off those words in one of their much more recent “QuitCoal” web pages while almost correctly labeling the organization as the “Information Council on the Environment”. The completely correct name is “Information Council for the Environment”.
  18. Naomi Oreskes said the Western Fuels documents were in American Meteorological Society archives in Washington D.C., noting that “Scholars wishing to consult these materials should contact the AMS.” Make no mistake about that, the documents she refers to included the one with the “reposition global warming” phrase on it. However, as Ron Arnold details here, “AMS is actually headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts It maintains a small Washington, DC office for government affairs, but it has no archives. The AMS archivist in Boston verified no such documents ever existed in the society’s archives.
  19. The Western Fuels ICE campaign is routinely described as costing $510,000 (or an even half million, for those preferring round figures) A person with seemingly closer ties than most to Gelbspan, Mark Hertsgaard, says this same campaign cost millions.
  20. [4/13/16 author’s note, two more] Gelbspan claims skeptic climate scientists working in the ICE campaign were sent “around the country” and further claimed the chief administrator said the campaign provoked a dramatic turnaround in public opinion, yet only the portion of the public living in three large towns would have ever witnessed the campaign.
  21. The entire narrative surrounding the Western Fuels ICE PR campaign asserts that the “reposition global warming” / “older, less educated males…” / “younger, lower-income women” phrases were a goal and targeting strategies directly incorporated into the campaign. Washington Examiner writer Ron Arnold, acting on my tip, interviewed former Western Fuels, Edison Electric, and Cambridge Reports people, and they confirm the memo subset containing those phrases was a rejected proposal that was never implemented into the Western Fuels PR campaign work.
  22. [4/3/17 author’s note, one more] Naomi Oreskes, a target of attack after her December 2004 Science paper came out, has told and retold the story of how she  ‘discovered’ one of her ‘climate scientist attackers’ had a tobacco industry / fossil fuel industry connection. Her ‘discovery’ was the outgrowth of an alert from a person she had met at a specific science conference. Except the conference occurred 5 months before her paper came out.

When most any other situation suffers from less than adequate efforts to describe it, the worthiness of the situation nevertheless becomes obvious when its facts are clearly stated. This ‘corrupt skeptics’ accusation, however, worsens anytime anyone carefully examines it. Stay tuned, the above 12 items at this time of writing are the ones I’ve found and remembered. I’ve probably forgotten other contradictions in my mega-notes, and there are likely more that I haven’t yet found.