what she has been up to) but Jules of the Klimaat Blog who has been tip toeing through the Legacy Tobacco Archives where he has discovered the source of all astroturf.
Of course, that is the tobacco industry, but in light of what has come to light in the last weeks it is eerily like the tip of today's iceberg, except that Jules has explored the underwater bulk, not completely, but enough to explain the current push back.
This is a long story, the short version that Jules has published takes fifteen pages with more to come, and there is supplementary material. Oh my, there is supplementary material, but let us simply look at the summary
The recent case showing how climate skeptic Wei-Hook 'Willie' Soon was heavily funded by the fossil-fuel industry has once again drawn attention to the 'tobacco strategy' of casting pseudoscientific doubt on a scientific topic.Details at the Klimaat Blog
The tobacco industry used a series of scientists in so-called 'truth squads' to deny the harmfulness of second-hand smoking.
Lesser known is how the industry handed out well over 1 million dollars to a secret network of over 100 American economics professors, known as the "economists network".
The aim of the network was preventing the government imposing higher excise taxes on tobacco to cover social costs related to smoking. The economists were hired to spread economic doubt on the effectiveness of social cost related actions by the government.
The network, lead by George Mason University professor Robert D. Tollison and tobacco consultant James Savarese, engaged in different activities.
This paper will prove how the economists were:
-Targetting the media in well organized op-ed campaigns.
All op-eds had to be cleared by the tobacco industry's lawyers before publication The economists earned up to $3,000 per op-ed they managed to get published in newspapers
Testifying at political hearings
The economists earned up to $10.000 per hearing Some economists defended arguments they knew were flawed
Producing 'scientific' papers that were approved by the tobacco industry.
The economists earned up to $40.000 per scientific paper they published Some economists "authored" reports actually written by the tobacco industry Every single scientific paper was cleared - corrected by the tobacco industry's lawyers
Producing pro-tobacco books
Robert D. Tollison and Richard E. Wagner wrote/edited at least 5 pro-tobacco books
The books were promoted in well organized media-tours funded by the industry all over the USA, the authors receiving media training organized by the tobacco lobby on how to deal with tricky questions Positive book review were sent to newspapers by other members of the network
The economists consistently forgot to mention they were paid by the Tobacco Institute.
A member of the US Congress, Rep. Raul Grijalva sent letters to a number of universities asking for information on Prof Utonium
Prof. Utonium being one of David Legates at UDel, John Christy at UAlabama Huntsville, Judith Curry at Georgia Tech, Richard Lindzen at MIT, Robert Balling at ASU, Roger Pielke Jr. at UColorado Boulder and Steven Hayward at Pepperdine.
In light of this it is perhaps, well really clear instead of perhaps, why Rep. Raul Grijalva thought there might be fire under the smoke that some have covered his committee with. Many, including the AMS and AGU and some who comment at Rabett Run have had problems with these letters as being intrusive and discouraging free interchange amongst scientists and between scientists and the public.
Eli submits that given the history of these folk, remembering that Heartland at the core of the opposition to climate change legislation was one of the public relations operations that the Tobacco Lobby used to oppose regulation of tobacco and, of course that Heartland did budget to fund at least one Utonium, Prof. Balling perhaps, Rep. Grijalva was not operating right off the wall.
The letters inquired, not too politely about
1. What is your university's policy on employee financial disclosure? Please provide a full copy of all applicable policies, including but not limited to those applying to Prof.Utonium.The letter was sent to the president's of the universities and this information is public. however, Grijlava went too far, as he himself now admits, when he asked for
2. For those instances already mentioned and others that apply, please provide:However, in light of what we know about the tobacco and other industrial astroturf operations it certainly was reasonable to ask for
a. all drafts of Utonium's testimony before any government body or agency or that which, to your knowledge, he helped prepare for others;
b. communications regarding testimony preparation.
3. Please provide information on Prof. Utonium’s sources of external funding. “External funding” refers to consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies given to Prof. Utonium that did not originate from the institution itself Please include:
a. The source of funding;
b. The amount of funding;
c. The reason for receiving the funding;
d. For grants, a description of the research proposal and copy of the funded grant;
e. Communications regarding the funding.
4. Please provide all financial disclosure forms filed by Prof Utonium in which MIT is listed as his professional affiliation, even if it is only stated for purposes of identification.
5. Please provide Prof Utonium’s total annual compensation for each year covered here.and these are all documents that are in the possession of the University.
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