A. – somewhat lacking in – I. “Exposing the Influence: Skeptic Climate Scientists and Fossil Fuel Funding”

As I’ve said many times here at GelbspanFiles, no matter where you go in the angles of narratives from prominent people about ‘liars-for-hire scientists on the payroll of Big Coal & Oil’ you’ll see the accusations are only separated by three degrees or less from Ross Gelbspan’s beloved accusation which launched his second career. Add “Artificial Intelligence” to that list of prominent accusers. At the end of this post, I’ll point out a bigger problem with this development.

I’ve been aware of the trendy topic of Artificial Intelligence for a few years, it has entertainment value in generating increasingly realistic fake imagery, but what I’ve seen in a few random instances about its ‘information answers’ (e.g. if it knows what a professional baseball team is or not), it appears A.I. is not all that smart. When it comes to answering questions, my educated guess is that the “Chat GPT” A.I. system might be hardly more than an mildly sophisticated aggregator of info from Google search engine results – and from Google corporation being reported as politically biased, I’d expect a ‘garbage in = garbage out’ situation when Chat GPT is tasked with writing an essay on the climate issue topic. I hadn’t had a chance to experiment with my guess because the computer I had was obsolete enough that it could not have a web browser current enough to interact with Chat GPT. Now that I’ve have a newer used computer (made possible by a very generous donation!), I had an opportunity to give “AI” a shot just two days ago. In just two brief experiments, here’s what I coaxed out of the somewhat lacking in intelligence Chat GPT system.

I was thinking my first effort might prompt the system to regurgitate ye olde “reposition global warming” leaked memo phrase, but perhaps I tasked the system with a bit-too-generic request, the phrase was not directly mentioned. I saved it verbatim for posterity anyway, in this PDF file – predictably enough, the allegedly ‘intelligent’ Chat GPT A.I. system saw fit to say the “Merchants of Doubt” 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway was evidence of industry funding tainting the work of skeptic climate scientists when the book contains no such evidence at all (she casts aspersions on their political beliefs). The system dutifully regurgitated the notion several times that a ‘scientific consensus’ validates science conclusions, despite how that notion is a classic logical fallacy. Let’s not forget that while Naomi Oreskes’ initial fame came from her quantification of a 100% science consensus for the idea of man-caused global warming, all of her subsequent “Merchants of Doubt” fame stems from her false claims about industry-led disinformation campaigns.

Piling on regarding the above ChatGPT essay, the “Cook et a. 2013” citation I highlight in that PDF first effort is not me, Russell Cook, but is instead John Cook, the person I showed in this blog post as owing his PhD Doctor of Philosophy thesis premise and ultimately his current career to …. wait for it …. Naomi Oreskes whose own second career ‘exposing industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientistsbegan with the worthless, never-implemented memo which Oreskes claimed to be archived in a location in which it never was. Meanwhile, “Cook et a. 2013” supposedly solidifies the consensus down to just 97%, while operating on the false premise that consensus opinion has anything to do with science. Wait for it, you no doubt see this coming ……. John Cook’s 2013 paper not only mentioned Oreskes nine times, he also worked in the #9 citation to be her other 2010 publication for his regurgitation of the “reposition global warming” memo phrase – namely her obscure book chapter contribution containing both that memo phrase and the never-implemented suggestions for the public relations campaign audiences that the memo directive is falsely attributed to.

So, Chat GPT A.I. may initially look intelligent to folks who might not know any better, but the moment they start to do hard digging into it, the system starts to look rather unwise in its choice of sources.

Now, what happens when you ask it more directly to write an essay on how scientists are exposed as working to “reposition global warming”? Here y’go:


In recent years, investigative reporters have uncovered instances of skeptic climate scientists receiving funding from fossil fuel industries with the intent to “reposition global warming as theory.” These revelations have raised concerns about the credibility and independence of scientists challenging the consensus on climate change. This essay delves into specific instances where skeptic scientists have been exposed for accepting fossil fuel money and the implications of such financial ties.

Hidden Ties to Fossil Fuel Industries

Several high-profile cases have come to light where skeptic climate scientists were found to have undisclosed financial ties to fossil fuel industries. One such instance involves Dr. Willie Soon, a prominent climate change skeptic, who was exposed for receiving substantial funding from oil and coal companies without disclosing these ties in his research papers. Greenpeace investigations revealed that Soon had received over $1.2 million in funding from fossil fuel interests, including Southern Company and the Charles G. Koch Foundation (Goldenberg, 2015).

The lack of transparency in disclosing these financial connections undermines the integrity of the scientific process and raises questions about the independence of Dr. Soon’s research. The exposure of such hidden ties serves as a warning about the potential influence of industry funding on the conclusions drawn by skeptic climate scientists.

Leaked Documents and Industry Strategies

In some instances, investigative journalists have uncovered internal documents revealing orchestrated efforts by fossil fuel industries to fund skeptic scientists as part of a broader strategy to cast doubt on climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists obtained and publicized internal memos from the Western Fuels Association, outlining a deliberate plan to fund scientists who would challenge the scientific consensus on global warming (UCS, 2015).

These leaked documents shed light on the industry’s concerted efforts to shape public perception by supporting scientists who would downplay the significance of human activities in climate change. The exposure of such strategies reinforces concerns about the objectivity of skeptic scientists who are part of these orchestrated campaigns.

Journalistic Investigations and Public Accountability

Reporters have played a crucial role in uncovering the financial ties between skeptic climate scientists and fossil fuel industries. Investigations by The Guardian and InsideClimate News have exposed instances where researchers received funding from organizations with clear interests in promoting climate skepticism. The Guardian’s investigative series, “The Climate Papers,” revealed how prominent climate skeptics, including Dr. Richard Lindzen, received funding from groups linked to ExxonMobil (Goldenberg, 2015).

These journalistic endeavors not only brought hidden financial ties to light but also emphasized the importance of transparency in scientific research. By holding skeptic scientists accountable for their funding sources, reporters contribute to a more informed public discourse on climate change.


The exposure of skeptic climate scientists receiving fossil fuel money to “reposition global warming as theory” highlights the challenges posed by undisclosed financial ties in the scientific community. Cases like that of Dr. Willie Soon and the leaked industry documents underscore the need for transparency and accountability in climate research. Investigative journalism plays a vital role in uncovering these hidden connections, allowing the public to critically assess the credibility and independence of scientists challenging the consensus on climate change. As we confront the urgent reality of global warming, it is essential to recognize and address the potential influences that industry funding may have on shaping scientific discourse.

How many things are incorrect there? In order of appearance above for the bits I red-highlighted, let me count the ways:

  1. No. Just no. The driving reason why I got involved in this issue in 2009 came from my efforts to see if what ex-Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Robert McClure was true about Ross Gelbspan being the first of many journalists to expose the industry corruption of skeptic climate scientists. I have yet to find a single journalist do anything more than dutifully regurgitate variations of the accusation which acquired its sustainable major media traction courtesy of the unmistakably non-journalism Ozone Action group circa 1996. And Gelbspan was not a working journalist at the time he was involved in that effort. Same applies to the prior bit of publicity the “reposition global warming memos” got back in the early summer of 1991 under the genuine New York Times reporter Matt Wald who got the memos from the Sierra Club (that Sierra Club) and then basically never checked the veracity of them beyond getting a response than an alternative name falsely attributed to the public relations campaign was unsolicited.
  2. Dr Willie Soon properly disclosed that his funding came from his employer. Period.
  3. Greenpeace investigations revealed no such thing, nor did anyone at Greenpeace have climate science expertise to prove that the finding his employer received resulted in any bogus research results coming from Dr Soon. “Goldenberg, 2015” is apparently Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent at the UK Guardian newspaper where her Feb 21, 2015 article (part of a wave of suspiciously similar simultaneous ones that weekend) contains the four references to Greenpeace / the money amount / Dr Soon / Southern & Kochs. Greenpeace, meaning Kert Davies. Formerly of Ozone Action.
  4. No investigative journalists have uncovered any internal fossil fuel industry documents revealing deliberate orchestrated efforts to falsify science reports. The “reposition global warming memos” are literally the best the collective enviro-activist side has in their arsenal for that accusation, from the 1990s to five weeks ago.
  5. The Union of Concerned Scientists obtained no such ‘internal memos’ from the Western Fuels Association. Their “Climate Deception Dossier #5” was literally a direct copy of Greenpeace USA’s lousy photocopies, partly of some genuine WFA “Information Council for the Environment” public relations campaign of 1991 along with the rejected subset with the “reposition global warming” memo page directive. UCS’ 49-page ‘dossier’ collection simply – and arguably deceptively – left out the Ozone Action cover page from Greenpeace’s 50-page collection. More on that credibility-killing situation here.
  6. The Guardian’s investigative series, ‘The Climate Papers’” — the question arising out of that assertion is whether that UK newspaper or any other publication actually has such a series; I can’t find it at the present time, nor can I locate any Suzanne Goldenberg article accusing Dr Richard Lindzen of receiving ExxonMobil money. He forcefully declares otherwise. I’ll update this entry later if I can force ChatGPT to give a more precise citation.
  7. Give credit to ChatGPT for being able to work the “reposition global warming: phrase more articulately into a sentence than others I’ve seen. However, there are no cases “like that of Dr. Willie Soon and the leaked industry documents.”

The whole essay would be persuasive to anybody having essentially no knowledge of the climate issue, but the entire thing crashes & burns because the core premise of it – reposition global warming – never happened.

What I found particularly disturbing in both of these essay-generating exercises was just how quickly they were written — each in 5 to 6 seconds. The question now is, how many students are increasingly using this kind of thing to write essays so revered by professors and teachers that they get promoted online while failing abysmally to understand the importance of verifying the information within such easily regurgitated efforts? One of the startling things I found in a simple Google search on how to use A.I. to write essays was a suggestion on how to hide that these essays are essentially forms of cheating. Give Harvard University some credit back in Sept 2023 for one of the results I found being a discussion of both the advantages and pitfalls of ChatGPT as an essay writer, noting that it dances with the plagiarism problem and can produce striking amounts of misinformation. Today, the irony is of course Harvard’s downplay of plagiarism allegations lodged against its former president. No doubt the university would defend their beloved professor Naomi Oreskes against allegations that her second career is built on non-stop misinformation, even after that potentially fatal problem might blow up in their faces.

But that’s all just in the college arena. The bigger question these days is, how many reporters are using the various forms of ‘artificial sub-intelligence’ to write their reports on the ‘settled science’ vis-à-vis ‘skeptic disinfo’ aspects of the climate issue without checking the veracity of any of it or the main players behind it?