The Connolley Problem, pt 7: Cancerous Greenpeace / Desmogblog / Gelbspan Stuff

In my prior post linking to my 4/22 American Thinker article about the very current efforts to use racketeering laws to prosecute Exxon for misinforming people about the certainty of man-caused global warming, I spoke of finding the ‘usual suspects’ behind the accusation. One of those names is seen again in this post. Basically, Dave Rado’s 2007 complaint over the UK Channel Four Television Corporation video “The Great Global Warming Swindle” is plagued with exactly the same fatal fault as any other past or present narrative about the certainty of catastrophic man-caused global warming: its authors offer little more than science claims contradicting material expressed by skeptic climate scientists, and they abysmally fail to provide evidence that those skeptics knowingly lie about their positions under a monetary arrangement with industry people. Worse, the Ofcom complaint’s reliance on highly suspect sources to make the latter insinuation only undermines the overall intent of the complaint. Today, an examination of those sources for the accusation.

Do the math on the page count within Rado’s 176 page complaint, and you see its ‘full transcript tear-down’ runs from page 13 to 113, or about 100 pages. Arguably, the most effective way to discredit what the skeptic scientists said within the transcript would be to first and foremost provide devastating material discrediting what they said. However, Rado and his two co-lead authors veer straight into a pair of massive problems within just the first two pages:

1) They make a questionable assertion on page 1 about climate science in a manner which flies directly in the face of the ‘you-can’t-speak-with-authority-on-the-topic-because-you-aren’t-a-climate-scientist’ standard widely endorsed by global warming believers. What climate science authority do Rado, Jackson and Rive have to assert there is an “overwhelming majority of those professionally qualified to judge” the veracity of the video’s opening captions? For Rado, zero. He admits that in no uncertain terms. The late Brian Jackson is described as a physicist with no more than an amateur interest in the topic. Rive? Well, he’s just not a climate scientist.

2) They (or maybe just Rado, since he projected this at William Connolley’s blog days before viewing the video) can’t get further than 47 words into the transcript without veering into the premise that associations with fossil fuel funding taints anything said by the scientists.

While Rado and his co-lead authors seem to break the cardinal rule of presenting contradictory science viewpoints that would drive people to say ‘Come back and tell us what you know when you really know what you’re talking about‘, they mitigate this problem by continually referring readers to “Appendix C” and/or “Appendix D” in various places within their transcript dissection. What’s referred to in Appendix C? Fossil fuel industry funding, as in this example for Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. What’s referred to in Appendix D? Wall-to-wall fossil fuel industry funding. Ten of its thirteen pages mention ExxonMobil at least once.

Are Rado, Jackson and Rive expert researchers on that narrow topic? No they aren’t, but the giveaway to where they most likely gleaned all their industry funding information is seen via three particular names in page 12 of their Ofcom complaint, where they acknowledge Kevin Grandia from Desmogblog (often mentioned in my posts here, particularly for what’s said within the first 18 seconds here), and Kert Davies of “Greenpeace USA neé Ozone Action” – Davies being at the place I call the epicenter of the smear of skeptic climate scientists when it got its first major media traction. “Independent analyst” Brendan DeMelle, at the time of the compilation of Rado’s Ofcom complaint, was doing research work for enviro-activist Laurie David. How much of a coincidence was it that Ms David cited Ross Gelbspan a year earlier as a source for an accusation about skeptic climate scientist Dr Richard Lindzen charging fossil fuel companies $2500 per day for consulting services? And how much of a coincidence was it that DeMelle ended up blogging at Desmogblog,  the organization Gelbspan co-founded, just two years after being consulted for this complaint?

DeMelle, Grandia, and Davies are thanked for “their contributions” to the Ofcom complaint. But in addition to that, there is the Appendix J’s “Backgrounds of the Peer Reviewers of this Complaint” featuring “Cindy Baxter”, where you can’t miss her direct association with Kert Davies. In light of the time frame problem I detailed in pt 3 regarding the feat of getting a 176 page paper out in just 95 days (perhaps closer to 70 or less), just how likely is it that DeMelle, Grandia, and Davies were mere contributors of information, or that Ms Baxter merely reviewed the complaint?

Then there’s Dave Rado’s own enslavement to the same solitary-source talking point about skeptic climate scientist Dr Richard Lindzen charging fossil fuel companies $2500 per day for consulting services. Who is that? Ross Gelbspan. As I noted in my November 13, 2014 blog post, surely Dr Lindzen would have adjusted his fee upward to accommodate economic inflation – the figure was already more than ten years out of date by the time Rado filed his Ofcom complaint.

Not to be outdone by that problem, Rado takes a pair of shots in his Appendix C at skeptic climate scientist Dr S Fred Singer which offer no usable evidence proving Dr Singer was paid industry money under an arrangement where he was instructed to fabricate false viewpoints. The first shot relies on a lawsuit deposition regarding a specific set of oil companies,

Dr. Singer admitted to conducting climate change research on behalf of oil companies, such as Exxon, Texaco, Arco, Shell and the American Gas Association.

As readers of this particular blog series may recall from part 5, I devoted the entire post to describing how the deposition never mentioned Texaco, and how Rado’s Ofcom complaint seemingly inflated its citation sources by including one to Ross Gelbspan for that set of oil company names …. in which Gelbspan did not mention Texaco. And the transcript clearly says Dr Singer conducted oil pricing research, not climate change research.

The second shot Rado took at Dr Singer involves an odd thing to do. In order question Dr Singer’s assertion that he denied “receiving any oil company money”, Rado provides a shortened web link to a copy of Dr Singer’s brief 2/12/01 Washington Post letter to the editor. Did Rado’s link go to the then- and still-readily available direct copy of the letter at Dr Singer’s Science and Public Policy site, where Dr Singer says parenthetically that the letter was “published in severely edited form.” No. Rado’s shortened link in 2007 (screencapture here) opened up to Ross Gelbspan’s web site copy, as it still does today.

Who does Rado’s Ofcom complaint cite for the source of the “$63,000” corruption of skeptic climate scientist Dr Patrick Michaels? Ross Gelbspan, and I detailed the specific problem with the $63,000 figure in my October 22, 2014 blog post here.

Not only does this become repetitive in Dave Rado’s Ofcom complaint, it becomes repetitive across the collective narrative history of the notion that skeptic climate scientists are paid to lie on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. What Rado offered as a comment at the RealClimate site back in 2007 just days after the broadcast of “The Great Global Warming Swindle”….

The issue is time. The tobacco industry managed to fudge the issue of smoking and cancer for nearly 30 years before finally being forced to admit there was a link. We can’t afford to wait 30 before acting on global warming.

…. could easily have been spoken by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just a few weeks ago (he let Al Gore make an eerily similar statement instead), in a situation besieged with the same problems Dave Rado is plagued with, along with the biggest fatal problem of all: the comparison of skeptic climate scientists to tobacco industry shill ‘experts’ is baseless, and ultimately always spirals back to Ross Gelbspan and the people surrounding him at the time when the accusation got its first major media traction.

In researching all the background for this blog post series, the irony of this compliment directed at Rado was worthy of drawing attention to:

The OFCOM complaint you produced is a benchmark on how to tackle dishonesty in the media and a tribute to all who contributed to it.

No, it wasn’t. It is yet another case study of how a collection of accusations – which sound quite damaging when accepted without question – falls apart under hard scrutiny while also opening a window into the origins of the smear of skeptic climate scientists. And considering just how easy it is to find major narrative derailments within it, it serves as a case study of how the media can potentially turn the tables against those skeptics’ accusers.