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Skeptic climate scientists and their associated organizations are accused of receiving fossil fuel industry money in exchange for lying about the issue, in a manner supposedly no different than “big tobacco’s expert shills” who lied to the public about the risks of smoking. But is there any truth to the accusation?

When I asked this in late 2009 of a Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) board member, he said numerous journalists had documented the accusation. But the only journalist he could name was Ross Gelbspan, and indeed, virtually every instance of the accusation appearing in print or online seems, one way or another, to be traceable to this man. The more I studied the matter, the more problems and contradictions I found:

  • Although he is often referred to as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, the Pulitzer organization does not recognize Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner.
  • The “secret memos” that Gelbspan began citing in 1995 are not a “smoking gun” at all, but merely interoffice guidelines for conducting a pilot ad campaign. There is no evidence that a particular subsection in the campaign memos which Gelbspan often refers to was ever implemented into the campaign or that this subsection was any kind of central industry directive given to skeptic climate scientists”.
  • Al Gore wrote about the “secret memos” some four years before Ross Gelbspan first mentioned them, but later said Gelbspan had discovered them, which suggests a critical need to nail down the real source of the memos and the motivations for the subsequent spin about it
  • Gelbspan is cited thousands of times by reporters, activists, politicians, sociologists, and others as proof that skeptic climate scientists are basically stooges of the fossil fuel industry … but none of them has tried to confirm or independently corroborate Gelbspan’s claims.
  • There is simply no evidence that skeptical scientists were ever paid by any industry to lie about the causes or consequences of global warming.

These points and more are made in numerous of articles I’ve written on the subject since 2009. I’ve got enough material on hand that I could probably write another 500 blog pieces here. In no particular order, I will examine as many aspects of this controversy as I can.

Follow along and feel free to see if you can contradict my work. For alerts to the latest blog pieces here, follow me on Twitter @GelbspanFiles, and follow me @questionAGW and at my corresponding Facebook page for my other closely related items.

New posts will appear regularly below this essay on the homepage of this site. My previous writing can be found by going to my archives tab. Here are brief descriptions and links to three recent articles you may find intriguing:

  • Were Supreme Court/Appellate-level global warming nuisance lawsuits devoid of the accusation against skeptic scientists? No, they had highly questionable ties to Gelbspan in one way or another: “Global Warming Nuisance Lawsuits Are Based on a Fatal Flaw”.
  • Was the February 2012 ‘Fakegate’ incident involving Dr. Peter Gleick an isolated situation with no association to Gelbspan in any way? No, it arguably leads people to the heart of the accusation:  “Fakegate Opens a Door”.
  • Are current Obama administration members free from ties to Gelbspan and his mid-90’s associates? Afraid not:  “White House Involved in Warmist Smear Campaign”.