Shocker? Psychotic Billionaires Fund Climate Denial

January 28, 2013

Greg Laden in Daily Kos:

To state, with a straight face, that the jury is still out, or that we can’t separate natural variation from human caused changes, or that the earth has stopped warming for the last decade, or any of the other things we constantly hear from climate change denialists is exactly the same thing as standing there with a big sign that reads “I am a moron.”

-

Most times, though, the science-denialism comes from a handful of very active blogs, from those charismatic lecture circuit denizens such as “Lord” Christopher Monkton, and a very large number of commenters and their probable sock puppets who show up at every on line newspaper and blog to spew the same exact lines again and again even though every single remark they make … without exception … has long ago been discredited with science and reason.

It turns out that there is a fairly straight forward explanation for this continued craziness. $500,000,000 dollars.

According to Steve Conner at The Independent,

A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate “counter movement” to undermine the science of global warming…

The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.

Conner documents a link between billionaire Charles Koch and Donors, via another organization called the “Knowledge and Progress Fund,” which is a Koch Family run non-profit. This organization gave $1.25 million each in 2007 and 2008, $2 million in 2012 to Donors, and appears to have made no other donations to anyone or any thing. According to Conner,

The Donors Trust is a “donor advised fund”, meaning that it has special status under the US tax system. People who give money receive generous tax relief and can retain greater anonymity than if they had used their own charitable foundations because, technically, they do not control how Donors spends the cash.

This is a general pattern among Big Oil, but the Koch Brothers seem to have been competing with the more traditional players for the role of Big Daddy to the climate science deniers.

During the period from 2005 to 2008, inclusively, ExonMObil supplied the science denying community with just under 9 million dollars, while the Koch Brothers kicked in something closer to 25 million dollars to the effort to discredit climate science and climate scientist. One of these well funded efforts is known to most people as “Climate Gate,” a bought and paid for attempt to defame Professor Michael Mann of Pennsylvania University, and climate science in general, by Watergating a large number of emails and cherry picking them to make it appear, falsely, that climate scientist were up to no good. (source)

According to Drexel University sociologist, Robert Brulle,

… approximately $500m has been donated to groups dedicated to casting doubt on the science of climate change, with a large proportion of this money arriving via third party organisations. … “We really have anonymous giving and unaccountable power being exercised here in the creation of the climate counter-movement. There is no attribution, no responsibility for the actions of these foundations to the public.”

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60 Responses to “Shocker? Psychotic Billionaires Fund Climate Denial”

  1. James Smith Says:

    @greenman3610
    thanks for the links.
    I went to (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/#Climate_data_processed) and downloaded (v2.max.Z) but couldn’t open the file. I then searched for the file using google and found this (http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/ghcn-just-more-government-crap/). If you know how to open the (v2.max.Z) file please feel free to explain it to me. Or is it true that the raw data files do not exist?

  2. Brian G Valentine Says:

    … all of which do not believe the Greenhouse effect is bogus?

    Organizations that fear getting slimed by Greenie groups if they don’t spit out the party line.

    And rightfully so, Greenie groups can be pretty effective at sliming.

    In the 1960′s, through the 1970′s, the number of people who endorsed AGW as opposed to those who opposed it was inverted to the number of people today (of those qualified to judge it based on the merit of it).

    It became chi-chi to support it when other ambitious environmental goals were thwarted (based on sanity)

    Like eliminating chlorine from the periodic table. Remember that one?

  3. Brian G Valentine Says:

    I don’t care what any of them believe, I have myself only to convince.

    I’ll put it as simply as I can, then leave it alone.

    If some CO2 is added to a furnace containing combustion gases, the temperature will rise. If the walls of the furnace conduct to the surroundings, the temperature achieved in the furnace will be lower, but a higher temperature than without CO2 present.

    If on the other hand CO2 had the effect of increasing the temperature inside the furnace and simultaneously lowering the temperature of the surroundings, then the CO2 would have no influence on the original temperature inside the furnace (assuming the influence of cooling was proportional to the amount of CO2 added).

    This is not possible with a furnace, but is exactly what is claimed to be the Greenhouse effect, as the temperature of the stratosphere must be reduced as a result of radiation to space emanating from higher altitudes to maintain equilibrium with outer space.

    The usual argument against this is, “heat conduction through the tropopause is negligible.” Unfortunately, it is the same magnitude claimed to be the “atmospheric Greenhouse effect.”

    The careful reading of R W Wood indicates to me, that Wood understood this.

    All this assumes that some “average planetary temperature” has meaning, in actual fact, it does not.

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      Brian,you cannot “convince yourself” of anything if you will not allow any factual information in that doesn’t agree with your current conviction.This is called confirmation bias,and is probably being driven by some ideology that is motivating your reasoning.
      Good luck my friend,you are in for a hard ride in life.


      • Obviously he has no clue on what he is talking about. to start with and no clue of the context of knowledge at this time period. So let lay out the context first. The first weather balloons by Léon Teisserenc de Bort was in 1896 and over years with Richard Assmanncredited as co-discoverer of the stratosphere in 1902 as well as the tropopause. In short very little is known to woods about the atmosphere of the tropopause and stratosphere during this time
        http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14786440708636670
        and http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/wood_rw.1909.html

        XXIV. Note on the Theory of the Greenhouse
        By Professor R. W. Wood (Communicated by the Author)
        THERE appears to be a widespread belief that the comparatively high temperature produced within a closed space covered with glass, and exposed to solar radiation, results from a transformation of wave-length, that is, that the heat waves from the sun, which are able to penetrate the glass, fall upon the walls of the enclosure and raise its temperature: the heat energy is re-emitted by the walls in the form of much longer waves, which are unable to penetrate the glass, the greenhouse acting as a radiation trap.
        I have always felt some doubt as to whether this action played any very large part in the elevation of temperature. It appeared much more probable that the part played by the glass was the prevention of the escape of the warm air heated by the ground within the enclosure. If we open the doors of a greenhouse on a cold and windy day, the trapping of radiation appears to lose much of its efficacy. As a matter of fact I am of the opinion that a greenhouse made of a glass transparent to waves of every possible length would show a temperature nearly, if not quite, as high as that observed in a glass house. The transparent screen allows the solar radiation to warm the ground, and the ground in turn warms the air, but only the limited amount within the enclosure. In the “open,” the ground is continually brought into contact with cold air by convection currents.
        To test the matter I constructed two enclosures of dead black cardboard, one covered with a glass plate, the other with a plate of rock-salt of equal thickness. The bulb of a themometer was inserted in each enclosure and the whole packed in cotton, with the exception of the transparent plates which were exposed. When exposed to sunlight the temperature rose gradually to 65 oC., the enclosure covered with the salt plate keeping a little ahead of the other, owing to the fact that it transmitted the longer waves from the sun, which were stopped by the glass. In order to eliminate this action the sunlight was first passed through a glass plate.
        There was now scarcely a difference of one degree between the temperatures of the two enclosures. The maximum temperature reached was about 55 oC. From what we know about the distribution of energy in the spectrum of the radiation emitted by a body at 55 o, it is clear that the rock-salt plate is capable of transmitting practically all of it, while the glass plate stops it entirely. This shows us that the loss of temperature of the ground by radiation is very small in comparison to the loss by convection, in other words that we gain very little from the circumstance that the radiation is trapped.
        Is it therefore necessary to pay attention to trapped radiation in deducing the temperature of a planet as affected by its atmosphere? The solar rays penetrate the atmosphere, warm the ground which in turn warms the atmosphere by contact and by convection currents. The heat received is thus stored up in the atmosphere, remaining there on account of the very low radiating power of a gas. It seems to me very doubtful if the atmosphere is warmed to any great extent by absorbing the radiation from the ground, even under the most favourable conditions.
        I do not pretent to have gone very deeply into the matter, and publish this note merely to draw attention to the fact that trapped radiation appears to play but a very small part in the actual cases with which we are familiar.

        He wrote many articles on spectroscopy, phosphorescence and diffraction. At no point in any of his work does he disprove the re-radiation properties of what we call greenhouse gasses.

        His main problem was the fact that his assertion about “the very low radiating power of a gas”, the troposphere is largely opaque to infra-red radiation, which is why convection is so important in moving heat up from the surface. Only in the higher (colder) atmosphere where there is less water vapour is the atmosphere simultaneously somewhat, but not totally, transparent to infra-red and thus permits radiation to play a part.

        • Brian G Valentine Says:

          Your tone makes my teeth ache, but I can work through it. I suppose “deniers” give you a similar ill feeling.

          I see nothing in what you have said that contradicts anything I have said, nor anything that lends support to the possibility of a “greenhouse atmosphere.”


          • You should be. You are confused. They are two topics being discussed. First what we are calling the greenhouse effect of gasses to absorb and re-emit infrared radiation, due to the vibration frequency of the molecular bond of a triatomic molecule. The other topic is the convection of heat in an actual Greenhouse environment. You are not able distinguish the two concepts.

            At no point is Woods saying that the absorption and re-emit of infrared radiation doesn’t exist. You are mixing the two topics and drawing a false conclusion.

            More likely you are just getting your cognitive bias from a side like http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/06/greenhouse-theory-disproven-in-1909.html who are as clueless about basic physics as the flat earthers are.

            I suggest you take some physics classes and one being on thermodynamic. it would do you a lot of good.

    • Martin Lack Says:

      ‘All this assumes that some “average planetary temperature” has meaning, in actual fact, it does not.’ – Brian G Valentine

      With the greatest of respect, Brian, the only average planetary temperature that really matters (since altering it will alter sea levels) is that which has persisted since the last Ice Age (circa 10k years ago).

      Taking a slightly longer-term view, all life on Earth today is adapted to the way things are today. Therefore, turning the clock back 65 million years, ten times faster than any previous (natural) change, is not a good idea.

      Since we first realised we are doing this (i.e. about 50 years ago now) we should have started planning how to stop doing it. Sadly, those with a vested interest in the continuance of ‘business as usual’ did exactly the opposite – and started to dispute the science (just as did the tobacco industry). Even worse, we are now chasing after fossil fuels that have only become accessible because of the changes we have already caused.

      I am tempted to say we must be truly insane but, if I did, you would probably accuse me of being misanthropic, anti-progress, anti-Western, or anti-Capitalist. In reality, however, I am none of these things; I am just pro-science.

  4. Brian G Valentine Says:

    There is nothing I can do to make the “science” behind AGW secure, it is a contrivance put together to make something happen that isn’t there.

    All scientists put their theories before others with the intention of having them destroyed or validated. Unfortunately there is no validation of AGW excepting attempt to destroy the critic of it

  5. daryan12 Says:

    Brian G Valentine.

    Taking on board the comments above (i.e. you appear to have not even read the paper or understood it) the very fact you are trying to use some flimsy argument from a 1909 publication to refute the tens of thousands of other publications since then that disprove you’re hypothesis should clearly indicate you’ve slipped well past the point of rational argument.

    I mean I told off a student the other day for over relying on a paper from 2002!

    While for sure its important to know where scientific concepts come from (I traced the science behind my PhD all the way back to the 1890′s). But you have to quote more up to date data when defending a position. Taking data from some obscure paper and ignoring literally a library worth of evidence to the contrary is what’s called “cherry picking”

    Stop and listen to yourself for a minute “I don’t care what any of them believe, I have myself only to convince”…of course if you’ve already convinced yourself its not happening then no amount of evidence, no matter how compelling can ever convience you.

    • Brian G Valentine Says:

      Smash the argument, not the one presenting it.

      I have never written a thing on the internet that did not carry my authentic name. Don’t you have enough pride not to use a pseudonym?

  6. Brian G Valentine Says:

    On a personal note, I certainly have nothing to gain as a “climate denier.”

    I work in the Renewable Energy sector at US DOE and I teach Renewable Energy (among other things) to Mechanical Engineering seniors at the University of Maryland. (These statements can be verified)

    I am all for the use of renewable energy (which needs a lot more R&D to really be sustainable) – but I am not for the promotion of it for the wrong reasons.

    I don’t believe there is anything to fear from Global Warming, but I do fear undue emphasis on “mitigating” what I consider to be a non problem – at the expense of giving attention to other more pressing and less considered matters – such as the absorption of undocumented foreigners into our society, and the care of the elderly, especially those without family or resources.

    So I have said about all I can say about where I am coming from, but it is not self promotion or material gain

    Thanks to blog owner for allowing dissenting opinion, this is not common with similar web logs

    • greenman3610 Says:

      Brian – I especially allow and encourage postings that clarify and affirm what I’ve always said about climate denial reasoning – and we’ve had some doozies lately – but you are in the running for best ever.

  7. Brian G Valentine Says:

    The existence of your blog suggests that “climate deniers” must have a little bit more going for them than pure insanity,

    I don’t know of any “Newton’s Second Law of Motion Denier of the Week” blogs, or even “Moon Landing Denier Crock of the Week” blog

    If this issue were as “settled” as you would have it, there would be very little to argue (or you would be as insane as they are)

    • daryan12 Says:

      “moon landing denial”
      Actually, Greenman published an interesting wee article on this recently, worth a read/watch.

      http://climatecrocks.com/2013/01/25/the-weekend-wonk-how-climate-deniers-are-like-moon-landing-deniers/

      Ultimately one can draw a parallel between AGW deniers and Moon Landing deniers. They both rely on the urban legends, often which run contrary to basic scientific principles.

      But when the denier is faced with such rebuttals, rather than accepting the science, no instead he begins to create elaborate conspiracy theories, where NASA have invented technologies that would have cost more to develop than an Appollo rocket. Or where all of the world’s top scientists are in a consipracy to dupe the public on AGW…of course all of the world’s leaders would have to be in on that too (past and present, & btw Reagan and both Bush’s would have to have been “in on it” also)…all for some ill defined reason.


    • “”climate deniers” must have a little bit more going for them than pure insanity”
      Yes
      It is called ignorance of the topic. That’s why we call them denier they have deny reality in order to support the beliefs. They deny evolution not because of evidence but on their belief by ignoring reality when evidence is produced to them.

      You are an example of denial of Greenhouse effect on gasses. The real question is why?

      • skeptictmac57 Says:

        Or more darkly, some of them DO fully understand both the theory,and consequences,but are sociopaths that only care about their personal wealth and power.

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      Brian,there are blogs(also podcasts and print magazines) run by real skeptics that have to tackle all sorts of nonsense,misinformation and myths,all over the internet.I know,because I read them everyday.
      These skeptics debunk anit-vaxers,homeopathy,psychics,cryptozoology claims,moon landing hoaxes,crop circles,UFO’s,evolution denial,medical quackery,conspiracy theories,and any other kind of pseudo-science that you can think of. AGW is the most important of these,because the stakes are so high,and the financial motivation on the AGW denial side is so powerful.


  8. “The solar rays penetrate the atmosphere, warm the ground which in turn warms the atmosphere by contact and by convection currents. The heat received is thus stored up in the atmosphere,remaining there on account of the very low radiating power of a gas. It seems to me very doubtful if the atmosphere is warmed to any great extent by absorbing the radiation from the ground, even under the most favourable conditions.

    - Wood, Phil Mag, 1909, reproduced 1914′

    Here is where your confusion lies, Brian. The above quote does not address the Greenhouse Theory!

    The Greenhouse Theory is not about the warming of the atmosphere. It is about the warming of the planet underneath the atmosphere. Heat from the sun warms the Earth, which then radiates some of this heat back toward space through the atmosphere. If unimpeded by greenhouse gases, this heat would continue out into space, but greenhouse gases RE-reflect some of it back down to the Earth. This re-reflected heat is the greenhouse effect – a small positive incremental addition of heat that would normally be lost back into deep space.

    And it is very easily experimentally proven. We have satellites in orbit which precisely measure the initial incoming energy of the sun. They also measure the heat which approached the satellite from the other direction – from the Earth. They measure that (escaping) heat as well. And what you see is that there is less heat radiating back into deep space than there would be if there were zero greenhouse gases. Some of the heat has been re-radiated back to Earth. The overall energy balance is predicted by the Greenhouse Theory. And those predictions are what we see experimentally using satellites.
    QED.

    Brian, if the greenhouse effect is not true, as you believe, than how do you explain the following? The Earth and the Moon are essentially precisely the same exact distance from the Sun. But the Earth is hundreds of degrees warmer, on average than the Moon, which has no atmosphere. How could that be? Why are the temperature changes between night and day on the moon so enormously extreme compared to night and day on Earth?

    Surely you must see that the atmosphere has an insulative effect? What else might the Greenhouse effect be, then, if not an insulative effect?

  9. Martin Lack Says:

    Dear Brian G Valentine and others: The myth that Wood’s 1909 experiment falsified the physical basis for concern over atmospheric CO2 is one of the many fallacies repeated by Rev Philip Foster in his multi-faceted handbook of denial – While the Earth Endures, which I reviewed here:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RNHPCADS6P2P1/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#RNHPCADS6P2P1

    A greenhouse warms up by preventing convection. Thinking of CO2 as a blanket on a bed is a much better analogy; but this does not falsify the science.

  10. Brian G Valentine Says:

    This re-reflected heat is the greenhouse effect – a small positive incremental addition of heat that would normally be lost back into deep space.

    That is subsequently lost anyway at longer wavelengths.

    Unfortunately there is no description of the “greenhouse effect” that does not end up in a contradiction – Gerlich and Tscheuschner summarize many of them.

    Anyway progress comes only from a critical view, if people want to call AGW their “religion” I certainly won’t criticize it

    - but if they want to label it as “science” then I am entitled to smash it by reason and physical observation that contradicts it


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