Willie Soon Scandal: Markey, Whitehouse, Boxer Letter to 100 Companies, Industry Groups

Tesla-Model-S-INSANE-button.pngThe new Telsa (electric car) has an acceleration setting called INSANE MODE...literally. 

The car goes from 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds...

That's what three Senators just did to accelerate the Willie Soon scandal.



Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder (Markey) 202-224-2742

Mary Kerr/Kate Gilman (Boxer) 202-224-8832

Seth Larson (Whitehouse) 202-228-6291


Markey, Boxer, Whitehouse Query Fossil Fuel Companies,

Climate Denial Organizations on Science Funding

100 letters sent to unearth extent of climate denial-for-hire programs

WASHINGTON (February 25, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today sent letters to 100 fossil fuel companies, trade groups, and other organizations to determine whether they are funding scientific studies designed to confuse the public and avoid taking action to cut carbon pollution, and whether the funded scientists fail to disclose the sources of their funding in scientific publications or in testimony to legislators.

This investigation follows the revelations regarding one of the chief climate denial researchers, Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, from documents released by Greenpeace showing that Soon received more than $1 million from ExxonMobil, Southern Company, and others to produce what he termed “deliverables” to push back on climate science or carbon-cutting policies in papers or Congressional testimony. Soon did not disclose this funding to peer-reviewed scientific journals that require such disclosure.

The letters from Senators Markey, Boxer and Whitehouse ask the companies and other organizations about any funded research efforts related to climate change and the wide range of related issues over the last ten years. The letters also ask for the names of researchers, whether restrictions or terms were put on the requests, and results from the agreements including any publications or other materials.

“For years we’ve known that fossil fuel interests have sought to block action on climate change and have denied the science. This investigation will help to determine who is funding these denial-for-hire operations and whether those who are funded by these fossil fuel interests are keeping their funders’ identities secret from the public and legislators,” said Senator Markey, Ranking Member of the Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Corporate special interests shouldn’t be able to secretly peddle the best junk science money can buy.”

“We’ve known for many years that the tobacco industry supported phony science claiming that smoking does not cause cancer. Now it’s time for the fossil fuel industry to come clean about funding climate change deniers,” said Senator Boxer, Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

“The news about Willie Soon is further confirmation that the fossil fuel industry has taken a page out of the tobacco playbook by bankrolling scientists to cast false doubt on the existence of climate change,” said Senator Whitehouse, Ranking Member of the Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The American people deserve to know more about this self-serving effort to distort the facts and prevent action on this issue, and I hope these letters will help.”

An example of one of the 100 letters sent is available HERE and a full list of recipients is included below.

‎The three Senators ask for answers to be given by April 3, 2015.

Full list of recipients:

ACCCE (American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity)

Alliance Resource Operating Partners LP

Alliance to Save Energy

Alpha Natural Resources LLC


American Coal Foundation

American Electric

American Energy Alliance

American Enterprise Institute

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers

American Gas Association

American Legislative Exchange Council

Americans for Prosperity Foundation

America's Natural Gas Alliance: ANGA

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Apache Corporation

API (American Petroleum Institute)

Arch Coal Inc.

Armstrong Energy Inc.

Atlas Network (previously Atlas Economic Research Foundation)

Boich Group LLC

Bowie Resource Holdings LLC


Cato Institute

Chamber of Commerce of the USA

Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation

Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Chevron Corporation

Cloud Peak Energy

CNOOC (Nexen Petroleum U.S.A. Inc.)

Competitive Enterprise Institute


CONSOL Energy Inc.

Consolidated Edison

Continental Resources Inc.

Denbury Resources, Inc.

Devon Energy Corporation

Dominion Resources

Donors Capital

Donors Trust

DTE Energy

Duke Energy

Ecopetrol America Inc

Edison Electric Institute

Edison International

Energy Future Holdings Corp

Eni U.S. Operating Co.


EOG Resources, Inc.



Exxon Mobil Corporation


George C Marshall Institute

Hallador Energy Co

Hess Corporation

Hoover Institution

Hudson Institute

Independent Petroleum Association of America

Institute for Energy Research (IER)

John Locke Foundation

John Williams Pope Foundation

Koch Industries

Linn Energy, LLC

Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Marathon Oil Corporation

Murphy Oil Corporation

Murray Energy Corp

NACCO Industries Inc.

National Association of Manufacturers

National Mining Association

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA)

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

NextEra Energy

Noble Energy Inc.

NRG Energy

Occidental Petroleum Corporation


Patriot Coal Corp

Peabody Energy Corp

Peter Kiewit Sons Inc.

Petrobras America Inc.


Pioneer Natural Resources Company


PSEG Public Service Enterprise

Rio Tinto Group

Searle Freedom Trust


Southern Company


The Heartland Institute

The Heritage Foundation

Valero Energy

Walter Energy Inc.

Western Fuels Association Inc.

Westmoreland Coal Co

Wisconsin Energy

Xcel Energy 

# # #

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Willie Soon Scandal: Topics for Smithsonian Inspector General

First, we have an idea for coming clean, a remedy...the illustrious Smithsonian Institution should sponsor free screenings nationwide of the upcoming theatrical film Merchants of Doubt, pay for school kids everywhere to go see it.  Maybe half a million dollars worth of screenings (see How Much Did Smithsonian Get below)

Here we update the plot...(with research by Cindy Baxter)

In the wake of this past weekend's release of documents from our investigation and media attention around climate denier Dr. Willie Soon’s $1.25 million in payments from the fossil fuel industry, his employers, the Smithsonian Institution, launched an investigation by their Inspector General on Monday.  

Remember, Willie Soon works at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA as they call it) on the Smithsonian side of the building called the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. It helps to have that data when looking through the documents.

The documents we got from Smithsonian during our 5 year investigation definitely don't contain the full record of correspondence between Soon, the Smithsonian and the corporate funders, but what we do have paints a very clear picture. Every time Dr. Soon made a proposal and then got a grant from the Koch Foundation, from ExxonMobil or Southern Company, CfA Director Alcock and his grants department staff were deeply involved in making it happen, crafting budgets, sending email, signing contracts and letters of thanks.

Willie Soon, the Smithsonian says in its announcement of the IG investigation, was “hired to conduct research on stellar and solar variability. The Smithsonian does not fund Dr. Soon; he pursues external grants to fund his research”

They continued “The Smithsonian does not support Dr Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based on many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.”

The statement from the Smithsonian raises a number of questions that we hope the Inspector General will look into during his investigation.

From the documents we have received from the Smithsonian during the investigation, it is very clear that the Institute has worked hard to help him get his grants and benefitted from those grants through funding for overhead and staff time other than Dr. Soon. 

Let’s start with the ExxonMobil grants.

In 2008, Soon writes to his colleagues at the Smithsonian, asking for help to “stretch” the proposal to ExxonMobil for $60,000.

“Any way you can help me stretch this proposal to maximize my work at SAO would be appreciated,” he wrote.

Two years later, in 2010, the Smithsonian’s “Advancement and External Affairs” officer, Amanda Preston, wrote to colleagues about the $76,106 ExxonMobil grant, of which Soon hadn’t managed to use all of for his project. 

Preston talks about the $22,181 that was left over.

“On instruction from [CfA head] Charles Alcock, I asked ExxonMobil to allow us to reclassify that amount as an unrestricted contribution,” she writes.  They wanted to allow the money to be used for "general support" instead of what it was meant for, Willie Soon's work.

Exxon eventually agrees the documents show.  This was Dr. Soon's last grant from Exxon, so they probably could have cared less. In 2010, Exxon unceremoniously dropped Soon, telling him that budget priorities had changed.  But in a possible indication of how important the ExxonMobil grant was, and perhaps the naiveté of Ms. Preston, the letter is sent to ExxonMobil thanking them for permission to shift the money and then makes a final pitch to Exxon to support the CfA's fine telescope program and its research goals including studying star and planet formation and the physics of dark matter.  

Little did she know that Exxon is only interested in planets with oil in them and one kind of dark matter..."oil that is, black gold, Texas tea..." (sorry, the Beverley Hillbillies theme song came into my head...back to questions for the Smithsonian)

The Charles Koch grants

Alcock was also heavily involved in sealing Soon’s grant from the Charles G Koch Foundation in 2009, with the $65,000 check sent by the Koch Foundation to Alcock himself on 21 September, referring to a previous conversation and agreement between them.

The letter is addressed to Dr. Alcock and signed by Richard Fink himself, who some describe and Charles Koch's right hand man.

These are just a couple of examples.

The Southern Company grants

This one is ongoing, and Dr Alcock has acknowledged to reporters that the clause that appears to stipulate a covert relationship is a problem.  Nature's Jeff Tollefson writes:

The documents also illuminate the CfA’s role in the funding arrangements: in a contract signed in 2008 with Southern Company, a utility in Atlanta, Georgia, the CfA agreed to notify the company before disclosing it as the source of the funding. Alcock calls that “a mistake” and says that the CfA “would not do that again”.

We want to know if anyone at CfA has flagged that potential conflict of interest problem over the years?

We wonder if Smithsonian will query Southern Company officials about their understanding of the relationship and "deliverables"?

And finally the Donors Trust grants

These are also apparently a semi-covert deal.  Donors Trust is not acknowledged as a supporter in any published work of Dr. Soon's. Yet he reports to them "deliverables" including published studies, similar to the ones he reports to Southern Company.  

More problematic is the language in the letter from Whitney Ball of Donors Trust, (again, addressed to Charles Alcock) stipulating that the identity of the actual donor shall not be known by Dr. Soon or Harvard Smithsonian.

We ask, how can Willie Soon declare there is no conflict of interest in his published work when he doesn't know what interests his anonymous donor indeed has?

How much did Smithsonian get out of the deal?

Willie Soon has remained quiet this week in the wake of all the publicity about him.  We know, from the Boston Globe’s attempts to talk with him in 2013, that the Smithsonian has banned him from doing interviews on the Harvard campus. 

But he did speak to one person: his friend and climate denying blogger, James Delingpole, who mentioned his chat with Willie on Breitbart.com.  

“I spoke to Soon last night. He told me that of course he receives private funding for his research: he has to because it’s his only way of making ends meet, especially since the Alarmist establishment launched its vendetta against him when, from 2009 onwards, he became more outspoken in his critiques of global warming theory.

“Harvard-Smithsonian strove to make his life harder and harder, first by banning him from working on anything even remotely connected with issues like climate change or CO2, then by moving his office away from the astrophysics department to a remote area Soon calls Siberia. What the faculty couldn’t quite do was actually sack Soon because it had no cause: he was producing too many quality papers, and he was also bringing in too much money (40 per cent of which goes straight into the faculty coffers)."

While we need to take Soon’s comments to Delingpole with a grain of salt, second hand and paraphrased as they are, but if the Smithsonian did pocket 40 percent from his grants that Soon claims, that would mean the Institute has managed to get $500,000 from the fossil fuel industry – through Willie Soon’s grants - to help run its operations over the past 14 years or so.  We wonder how much research money other astronomers bring in at Harvard-Smithsonian.

So while they have distanced itself from Soon’s climate denial, the Smithsonian has clearly been very happy to take big chunks of the money the fossil fuel industry funds him to do it, through their institution, and has bent over backwards to help him get those grants.

The API grants

We have questions about this relationship which goes quite a ways back to 1994 but ended in 2007.  We did not get all the data on those grants from Smithsonian. Sallie Baliunas, who was Soon's mentor at CfA, a fellow climate denier and ozone hole denier before that, acknowledged grants from Electric Power Research Institute, American Petroleum Institute, Mobil Foundation, Texaco Foundation in a December 1996 paper published in the Astrophysical Journal.  Proud transparency.  The dollar figures and terms of those contracts may never surface, but if the Smithsonian wanted to, I bet they could release the records they have of Baliunas' funders too and come clean.

The Smithsonian takes a lot of corporate money. There is the Koch Hall of Origins anthropology exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  They renamed the Air and Space museum theater, Lockheed Martin theater, erasing the name Langley, an daviation pioneer. The museums newly renovated Hall of Oceans might have been called the American Petroleum Institute Hall of Oceans if not for the intervention of Sen. Leahy of Vermont and another corporate philanthropist, Roger Sant, then chair of the Smithsonian board and an energy industry millionaire.

But this funding to Soon (and Baliunas before him) is different still.

Another question...what is the total amount of fossil fuel funding that has come to Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics over the years for climate change denial?

What is the total from API from 1994-2007...a long stretch of support?

Soon’s use of the Harvard-Smithsonian affiliation to advance climate denial

We have still more questions that we hope the Inspector General can ask - about Soon’s use of his affiliation with Harvard and Smithsonian. 

While he now prefaces most of his denier presentations with a caveat about how he is presenting in his personal capacity, that’s not the case when it comes to his “scientific” papers that have nothing to do with astrophysics, or the sun’s connection with climate change, nor anything else the Smithsonian says he works on while at the CfA.  

If you want to get credibility for your pseudo-scientific, climate-denying papers, using the moniker of an institution that has the words “Harvard” and “Smithsonian” is a very good way to do it.  It’s this affiliation that has gained Soon so much credibility in denier circles, for so many years.

The most recent example was his co-authorship of the flawed paper published in Science Bulletin last month that questioned IPCC models. This paper has no acknowledgement of any of Soon’s fossil fuel industry funding, but it does have Soon’s Harvard-Smithsonian CfA affiliation next to his name on the paper.  Meanwhile, co-author Monckton can't stop saying that none of the authors got paid for the study, essentially doing it on their own time.  Then shouldn't it say, Willie Soon, citizen of Boston?  That would work.

If the CfA is really trying to distance itself from Soon’s climate denial, and if Soon really does write these papers in his own time, what on earth is the CfA’s name doing next to Soon’s in all these papers? 

In an op-ed at the Wall St. Journal from 2011, written with Paul Driessen, another climate denier and not a scientist, Willie Soon's byline is listed: Mr. Soon, a natural scientist at Harvard, is an expert on mercury and public health issues. Clearly that is inaccurate, yet Harvard has taken no apparent action to correct this.  Has Smithsonian?

Has there been any communication of concern between Harvard and Smithsonian about Soon through the years?

Soon has used the Institution’s name on a number of other papers that have nothing to do with sun climate connections: from his 2003 paper supposedly debunking the Hockey Stick, to the 2007 polar bear paper, to one published last year that supposedly “debunks” the groundbreaking study by Cook et al that showed a 97% consensus amongst climate scientists that humans are causing the climate to change.

None of these papers are written based on Soon’s qualifications as an aerospace engineer (as Justin Gillis points out in the New York Times: Soon is not a climate scientist). They are way outside of his area of expertise. He is not a polar bear biologist, not a mercury expert.  

Does Harvard or Smithsonian routinely let their scientists wander like this?  Could a marine biologist pen an article about ancient Egypt and sign as a "Smithsonian scientist"?  Could a Harvard Chinese history professor write about Obamacare and sign the article "Harvard healthcare expert"?  Surely there are rules...

Hopefully the Inspector General can answer these and more questions 






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Willie Soon Harvard Smithsonian Documents Reveal Southern Company Scandal

 All the Willie Soon documents are organized and attached below.


This post will be updated as this investigation proceeds...

Just wanted to get something up tonight...and since the stories were supposed to be embargoed for midnight...alas...(btw, it is amazing how many folks are jamming on the web on a Saturday...not a bad news day after all.)

Here is the first wave of press:

New York Times, Justin Gillis, John Schwartz, "Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher" Feb 21, 2015

Boston Globe, Sylvan Lane, "Senator Edward Markey to investigate energy companies" Feb 21, 2015

The Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg, "Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry" Feb 21, 2015

Inside Climate News, David Hasemyer, "Documents Reveal Fossil Fuel Fingerprints on Contrarian Climate Research" Feb 21, 2015


The new Willie Soon documents:  These documents are the latest returns on the December 2009 Greenpeace records request to Smithsonian Institution. This file is exactly as the documents were sent to Greenpeace - 131 pages with a Document Cloud index on the right column to the beginning of each separate document.

Here I have rearranged the new documents in chronological order by corporate funder:

Southern Company related documents:

Smithsonian shall not identify Southern Company 

Letter from Alcock to Southern Company, January 2008 "per your request" 

Proposal to Southern Company, January 2008 

Contract btw Smithsonian and Southern Co., Feb 2008 

"Year 1 Report" to Southern Company, January 2009

Proposal to Southern Company, March 2010 

Budget for Southern Company Proposal, March 2010 

Agreement between Smithsonian and Southern Company, July 2010

Final Report for Southern Company, May 2011 

Proposal to Southern Company, September 2011 

Agreement between Smithsonian and Southern Company, October 2011 

Final Report to Southern Company, November 2012 

ExxonMobil related documents:

Proposal to ExxonMobil, February 2008

Smithsonian reroutes Exxon's Grant to Unrestricted Contribution 

Thank you from CfA to Exxon for "general operating support" 

Exxon Grant letter to Smithsonian, March 2009

Charles G. Koch Foundation related documents:

Proposal to Charles G. Koch Foundation, July 2008 

Letter from Charles G. Koch Foundation confirming grant to Smithsonian, September 2009

Charles G Koch Foundation grant to Smithsonian, November 2010 

Donors Trust related documents:

DonorsTrust letter confirming grant to Smithsonian, November 2010

Final Report to Donors Trust, January 2012

DonorsTrust grant to Smithsonian, February 2012 


Other key resources:

Greenpeace letter to IRS, Feb. 20, 2015 

Greenpeace letter to House Science Committee on Exxon, Feb. 20, 2015

Greenpeace letter to House Science Committee on transparency, Feb. 20, 2015 (142 pages)


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Willie Soon Fails Conflict of Interest Test in Science Bulletin Article


Dr. Willie Soon, an astrophysicist, is an employee of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (which has little to do with Harvard except it's location, but that's another story...)  

Dr. Soon raises money for his research, like many scientists, through grants from foundations, government and corporations.  However Soon's "research", which has mostly focused on debunking the consensus on climate change over the past decade or so has been supported almost entirely by corporate grants from fossil-fuel interests like the Charles Koch Foundation, ExxonMobil and Southern Company - well over $1.2 million dollars in total according to the Greenpeace Research Department which has investigated Soon's corporate funding via FOIA requests to the Smithsonian Institute over the past few years.

The larger question is what these corporate funders hoped would be achieved by funding Dr. Soon over the years.  Maybe they hoped he would prove the global science consensus was dead wrong?  Or maybe they knew it wouldn't but thought his efforts might provide a decent smokescreen, delaying policy action for a bit?

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Big Oil Paid Edelman and FleishmanHillard Over $400 Million Since 2008

Screen_Shot_2015-01-15_at_7.27.40_AM.pngThe Center for Public Integrity has just released a report compiling spending by industry trade associations on public relations over the past decade or so.  The report, titled Who needs lobbyists?  See what big business spends to win American minds, by Erin Quin and Chris Young, was published this morning.  They also have an article on Huffington Post, currently on the front page.

The biggest spender was the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the biggest recipient in the PR industry was Edelman PR.  Edelman got $327.4 million between 2008 and 2012. (2008 was the first year such reporting was required by the IRS of trade association non-profits.)  API paid Edelman an additional $33 million in 2013.  The 2013 990s are still trickling out and were not included in the CPI analysis.  We obtained 2013 API 990 to extend CPI's fascinating inquiry.

FleishmanHillard was another big winner, raking in $5 to $24 million in annual fees from API between 2011 and 2013 for a total of $51.6 million.

In total, API paid these two PR firms $411 million 2008-2013.  ($355 million 2008-2012)

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Edelman fired by TransCanada After Leaked Energy East Plan


Edelman's Statement is a little bit different from TransCanada's...

Edelman NewsWire press release


Edelman and TransCanada agree to end collaboration on the Energy East Pipeline project

TORONTO, Nov. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Over the last week, attention has moved away from the merits of TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline project.  As a result, and in the best interests of the project, Edelman and TransCanada have mutually agreed not to extend Edelman's contract beyond its current term.  The contract concludes at the end of December, but Edelman will support the transition of work.

The communications strategy for the Energy East Pipeline is "to drive an active public discussion that gives Canadians reason to affirmatively support the project."

We stand by our strategy. It was both ethical and moral, and any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.

Unfortunately, the conversation about our efforts has become so loud in certain areas that it is impossible to have an open and honest conversation about the Pipeline project.  The project is too important and a thoughtful, deliberative conversation is needed more than ever.  For that reason we feel that selection of a new partner for the project is necessary at this time so a new conversation on the merits of the project can begin.

SOURCE Edelman Public Relations Worldwide

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Leaked Documents: Secret Edelman PR Plan for TransCanada Pipeline Revealed

The gig is up...someone spilled the beans on Edelman's work for Transcanada on the Energy East pipeline.  Documents leaked to Greenpeace and revealed today by the New York Times, Vice Motherboard, Huffington Post, Guardian and others. 

It is rare to see so much detail about an ongoing P.R. battle plan.  Have a look for yourself...there are about one hundred pages to ponder. Here is a taste that shows this work is nothing new for Edelman or Big Oil.


Here are all the links to the documents, key articles, articles about Edelman and the CIC Climate Survey:

News Articles on Leaked Documents

Huffington Post, Nov. 17, 2014, "Here's What Big Oil Has In The Pipes If Keystone Fails"

New York Times, Nov. 7, 2014, "P.R. Firm Urges TransCanada to Target Opponents of Its Energy East Pipeline"

Globe and Mail, Nov. 17, 2014, "Greenpeace sees 'dirty tricks' in PR Firm's TransCanada Plan"

Canadian Broadcasting Company, Nov. 17, 2014, "Energy East Pipeline 'advocates' Targeted in TransCanada PR Move"


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Energy Poverty and Coal "All Talk No Action" Australia Institute Report

AE4L.png   Ahead of the G-20 meeting in Australia later this week, a new report by an Australian think-tank convincingly punctures coal industry claims that coal is an essential part of the solution to lack of access of electricity in the developing world.

   Zeroing in on Peabody Energy's "Advanced Energy for Life" global public relations campaign, which contends coal-fired power is a cheap, effective way to provide power to the large impoverished areas of India, Pakistan and elsewhere that now have none, the new study by the Australia Institute states that, "Peabody’s only contribution to energy poverty is maintaining a website and social media page which promotes coal as the solution to the problem."

   Examining Advanced Energy for Life's claims one by one, the report concludes that while the issue is a serious one, "what Peabody says and what it does about energy poverty are very different."

   "Although the company contributes to many charitable causes, it does not donate money, staff time, expertise or discounted fuel to any project that directly alleviates energy poverty," according to the study, entitled, "All Talk and No Action: The Coal Industry and Energy Poverty," which was released last week.

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Five Questions on Climate Change for Lisa Nelson, ALEC CEO

Five questions reporters might ask Lisa Nelson, ALEC CEO on climate change and energy:


Ms. Nelson stated recently, “I don’t know the science" of climate change.

Q: What is your plan to further inform yourself on climate change?  

Q: What sources of information will you be seeking and what questions about the science of climate change are you seeking to answer first?

Note: Nelson answered to National Journal “I don't know the science on that" when asked specifically whether human emissions are the primary driver of climate change.



Q: Will you be seeking advise and counsel from ALEC’s Board of Directors, Private Enterprise Advisory Council, Board of Scholars or Private Sector Members to clarify ALEC’s position on climate change in the wake of Google and other recent corporate departures? 

Notes: ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling was recently quoted saying ALEC doesn't have a position on climate science anymore than a policy “jelly beans”, a strange analogy for a crucial issue of our times.

Lisa Nelson said on Diane Rehm: “To be clear: ALEC has no policy on climate change, and does not take positions without underlying model policy. "  

Yet the organization's September 24th letter to Google stated ALEC “Recognizes that climate change is an important issue...”  

However, the ALEC website is more direct, yet equivocal, on the scientific evidence for pollution-induced climate change.  We would clearly categorize this stance as climate denial

Global Climate Change is Inevitable. Climate change is a historical phenomenon and the debate will continue on the significance of natural and anthropogenic contributions.” 

Q: Which one is it?



There are many events (luncheons, workshops, etc.) held during ALEC conferences.

Q: How much control do sponsors have over session topics and speaker selection?  Have the Heartland Institute or CFACT indeed paid ALEC to hold sessions about climate change during your meetings?  Or did ALEC request that they hold these briefings?



ALEC stated in its September 24th Letter to Google that it “just hosted a roundtable conversation for a variety of companies—including Google—on this very issue.” 

Q: Will you provide evidence of this “roundtable” and what companies were present?  

Note: There was a Presentation by Michael Terrell of Google on the IT sector's renewable energy goals within the meeting Energy Subcommittee (of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force) on July 30, 2014 at the ALEC annual meeting.  This Google presentation was specifically titled "How Technology Companies Use Energy to Power Data Centers" and covered Google's (and other IT companies') renewable energy goals and business plans, not the subject of climate change.

Here is a snapshot of the Energy Subcommittee Agenda:




ALEC maintains positions against government mandates and subsidies which backstop the organizations opposition to renewable energy targets.  

Q: Given ALEC’s emphasis on free markets and subsidies, does the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force plan to pass model legislation limiting fossil fuel and nuclear energy subsidies and corporate welfare?




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Flacking Cancer, Flacking Coal - The Public Relations Industry, Tobacco and Climate Change

smokestack_cigarette.jpgby Dan Zegart, author of Civil Warriors

I remember when it was tobacco that desperately needed an emergency public relations rescue, the way fossil fuels do now.  

There are certain kinds of companies you don't want to get caught representing, as illustrated by the flap over Edelman Worldwide's tortured responses to the Climate Investigations Center's survey about whether it acknowledges the threat of climate change or would represent companies that deny climate change.

Unfortunately, the client's need for public relations increases in direct proportion to its public toxicity. And the greater the need, the more they'll pay.  And PR firms are the beneficiaries.

All of which is why, of the twenty-five largest PR firms that received the Climate Investigations Center's questionnaire, sixteen - and every one of the top ten firms - worked for Big Tobacco at one time or another. (see Tobacco Roots below with list of companies)

A trip through documents unearthed during lawsuits by the state attorneys general against the cigarette makers demonstrates the immense range of Big PR's involvement with the tobacco industry, from handling publicity for the cigarette-funded Virginia Slims Tennis Tournament to creating front organizations to pass laws making it harder for sick smokers to sue the industry. 

I don't remember that I ever asked the PR firms representing tobacco whether they believed it hadn't been proven cigarette smoking was addictive and caused cancer, but that was Big Tobacco's position when I started covering them in 1994.  By 2000, when I published my book on the "cigarette wars" between the industry and its various antagonists - particularly plaintiff's lawyers - they had finally admitted the truth.

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