AEI Offering Cash for IPCC Criticism

The American Enterprise Institute offered British and American scientists cash for critique of the just-released IPCC report, according to UK's Guardian newspaper.

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.- Source

Given that these letters appear to have been distributed widely, there must be a copy out there. Anyone?

According to the article, AEI confirmed the letters.

The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.

"Right now, the whole debate is polarised," he said. "One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don't think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy."

Note that he's talking about the debate, not the science. Green's statement doesn't say much, but sometimes that's his style. In op-eds published widely, he skillfully mixes conservative economic theory with straw men and false dichotomies to drive his point home. However, he is not without credentials nor experience -- he is well educated and his resume includes work as an expert reviewer to the IPCC in 1995.

According to the Australian Green is downplaying the Guardian story in "Incentives to attack warming study denied":

Kenneth Green, from the American Enterprise Institute, said reports in Britain's The Guardian newspaper that he had offered $US10,000 ($12,900) to scientists willing to denounce the report were inaccurate.

Mr Green, an environment and energy policy adviser, told The Weekend Australian that the institute was offering $US10,000 to economists and policy analysts for work done on a project that would question the report's findings and look for alternative ways of talking about climate change.

"We would look at what the IPCC had under-represented ... something that might shed light on better policy options," he said.

The money would compensate scientists for their time.

It should be noted that in his "Clouds of Global-Warming Hysteria: Finally Starting to Lift?" Green dismissed "the high-end horror-story estimates coming out from politicized groups like the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Source You can read more of his thinking on climate change here. His chief arguments seem to be that we don't know everything and thus can't move ahead, energy efficiency would cripple the U.S. economy, and adaptation will be cheaper and more convenient.

Searching for "what the IPCC under-represented" is a euphemism for exploding minute uncertainties to confuse the public and distort the understanding. That approach to muddying climate science is getting old. Just like OJ isn't going to find the killer, Kenneth Green and AEI aren't going to find some other cause of climate change.

In the meantime, let's see a copy of that letter.

Update: The Washington Post caught on to the story today: "AEI Critiques of Warming Questioned: Think Tank Defends Money Offers to Challenge Climate Report"

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