The Willie Soon Story broke on Saturday night, having cloned off the front page of the Sunday New York Times into a few secondary sources. But we all saw it coming. Since then there has been quite a bit more written and there will be quite a bit more.
The main thing I want to add to the discussion is this. It is clear that Willie Soon was taking piles of Big Fossil money for his climate research. It is clear that his research was widely discredited in the mainstream scientific community. It should have been easy to check to see if he was using the money properly (mainly, with respect to disclosure on publication) and to discover that he was not. So, why did it take an article in the New York Times to alert the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics of a problem going on under their roof for over a decade? Was the administration of HSCA compliant? Ignorant? In short, what did they know and when did they know it? And, will there be any effort by the Smithsonian, or Harvard for that matter, to address this?
Worth thinking about.
The image in the above meme is Senator Jim Inhofe referring to a list of some 58 "climate scientists" who oppose the global warming consensus. One of them is Soon. Many of the others are not climate scientists, or even scientists. Many are well known deniers. This list was provided by the discredited Heartland Institute. Expect new scrutiny into each of those individuals over the next few days, to see if there are any other Willie Soons on the list.
Anyway, here are a few more items of interest that came across my desk this morning.
The venerable journal Nature has weighed in on #WillieSoonGate: Documents spur investigation of climate sceptic: Questions raised about conflict-of-interest disclosures by Willie Soon.
Davies drew attention to Soon’s funding disclosures last month after Soon and three colleagues published a paper in the Chinese journal Science Bulletin2 that presented results from a simple climate model to argue that burning all recoverable fossil fuel reserves would result in little more than 2.2°C warming. By comparison, models assessed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on average project around 4° of warming with unabated fossil fuel use by 2100 and further warming beyond that time. The paper was appended with the statement: “The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.” Davies wrote to the journal insisting that Soon’s past funding sources do constitute a conflict of interest that should have been reported.
Science Bulletin’s conflict of interest policy states that authors must disclose “all relationships or interests that could influence or bias the work,” including “professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.” The policy also gives a series of example disclosures. The first reads, “Author A has received research grants from Company A.”
The Willie Soon-Ken Cuccinelli Link: Blue Virginia has Cooch Cited Fossil-Fuel-Funded Climate Science Denier Willie Soon in Witchhunt vs. Michael Mann
...as it turns out, our old pal Ken Cuccinelli, when he was (appallingly) Attorney General of Virginia and waging a witch-hunt against climate science (and specifically against leading climate scientist Michael Mann), was busy citing some of those fossil-fuel-funded climate science deniers. That includes, as you can see below (from Cooch's "Civil Investigative Demand" against the University of Virginia, none other than...that's right, Willie Soon, who was falsely smearing the meticulous research of Michael Mann and many other scientists on the famous "hockey stick" graph. Not that Cuccinelli acting like this comes as a big surprise, but still, it's yet more evidence of how "in bed" with fossil fuel interests Cuccinelli was when he was Attorney General of Virginia. Now, can someone please explain to me why THAT is legal, even as Bob and Maureen McDonnell face possible jail time for their corrupt (but arguably, FAR less severe and damaging than Cooch's) behavior?
The Daily Climate points out the high frequency with which climate deniers denounce the funding of climate science by legitimate means, and contrasts those staw arguments to what appears to be Willie Soon's prostitution to Big Fossil: At last, proof of a climate scientist getting rich pedaling science.
Inside Climate News has "A Guide To Willie Soon's Climate Research Funded by Fossil Fuel Companies"
A watchdog group called the Climate Investigations Center alerted nine scientific journals Monday that studies they published most likely breached conflict-of-interest protocols. The studies in question were co-authored by Willlie Soon, a prominent climate-change skeptic whose work was funded by fossil fuel interests.
The letters grew out of the release Saturday of public records showing that Soon failed to disclose industry funding in 11 studies published by those journals.
More of that here.
Eli Rabett has two items on the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:
"...Much of the commentary on the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics hi-jinks has concerned how one of Dr Willie Soon's sponsors the Southern Company had the right to examine and review any manuscripts that Dr. Willie Soon submitted for publication..."
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Hi-Jinks2
"...Amanda Preston was hip deep in the financials of Willie Soon's support network. As the Advancement and External Affairs Officer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics she negotiated the terms for his support from Exxon Mobile among other things. Today she has moved on to be Executive Director of the Origins of Life Initiative at Harvard University, where, amongst other things she works works with faculty to squeeze out more dimes. ..."
In short, what did they know and when did they know it? And, will there be any effort by the Smithsonian, or Harvard for that matter, to address this?
Seems pretty straightforward, either they knew and were compliant or they were totally incompetent in regards to their administrative responsibilities. In either case they should be removed from any position of authority.
"Now the Smithsonian, America’s largest museum and research organization, said it will look at whether Mr. Soon violated ethics laws during his work at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts.
The organization is asking its internal investigator, the Inspector General, to launch “a full review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research to ensure they meet the highest standards.”
“The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research,” a statement from the organization said."
The Washington Times, but whatever.
Now, I want to see the actual full Smithsonian statement, from the source, the Smithsonian itself.