There’s Big Money in Global Warming Alarmism
A sociologist with no training in the physical sciences is puzzled why most Americans think the world is not doomed by global warming. So flummoxed is Yale’s Justin Farrell that he decided to study the question in the most scientific way possible. And he managed to publish his results, “Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change,” in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
What do you think his conclusions were? Perhaps that thirty years of failed temperature predictions boosted Americans’ skepticism? Or that the obvious eagerness of politicians to leverage exaggerated fears have left many skittish? Or maybe it’s the dearth of severe storms, despite the many promises that floods and droughts would drown and parch us all?
No, none of that. Farrell discovered that private groups spent their own money to say that things were not as bad as alarmists claimed. He told TheWashington Post that these “contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust.” Indeed, I, myself a climate scientist, no longer trust anything non-scientists like Farrell tell me about global warming (which he incorrectly calls “climate change”).
Farrell is right about one thing: Global warming alarmism is big business. On one side you have Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, The Climate Project and dozens upon dozens of other non-governmental organizations who solicit hundreds of millions from private donors and from government, and who in turn award lucrative grants to further their agenda.
You also have the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, both Houses of Congress and many more government agencies, spraying global warming money at anything that moves and at staggering rates — billions of dollars.
And then you also have every major and minor university — with contributions from every department, from Critical Literature Theory to Women’s Studies — all with their hands out and eager to provide the support Greenpeace, the government and others desire. Add to that another two or three dozen think tanks which are also sniffing for grants or which support government intervention to do the impossible and stop the earth’s climate from changing.
Every scientific organization which is dependent on grant money has released a statement saying “something must be done” about global warming. They’re supported, fawned over and feted by just about every news and media agency. And don’t forget the leadership of most major organized religions have their own statements — and their hands out.
We’re not done: we still have to add the dozens of Solyndra-type companies eager to sell the government products, to get “green” subsidies or to support its global-warming agenda. Included in that list are oil companies. Oil companies?
Yes. Oil giants aren’t foolish. They want to benefit — and also don’t want to suffer from — the mania that surrounds all things climate change. Their activities are often mercenary: Oil companies will and do fund research that casts a bad light on coal, its main competitor, in hopes of lessening competition but also in expectation of securing peace with activist groups.
For instance, ExxonMobil recently pledged to give Stanford University “up to $100 million in grant money over 10 years to support climate and energy research.” As reported by the website No Tricks Zone:
Four big international companies, including the oil giant ExxonMobil, said yesterday that they would give Stanford University $225 million over 10 years for research on ways to meet growing energy needs without worsening global warming … In 2000, Ford and Exxon Mobil’s global rival, BP, gave $20 million to Princeton to start a similar climate and energy research program …
Shell Oil since 1999 handed out $8.5 million in environmental grants. Like ExxonMobil, many grants flowed to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but $1.2 million went to the Nature Conservancy; the remainder was spread to several different environmentally-minded groups.
According to The Washington Times British Petroleum regularly gave to several environmental groups, such as “Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, various branches of the Audubon Society, the Wildlife Habitat Council.” It’s important to understand that these groups accepted the money BP gave them. The Washington Post confirms the Nature Conservancy pocketed over “$10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations.”
Joanne Nova has documented the massive amount of money pouring from government into the pockets of individuals and groups associated with the environment. “The U.S. government has provided over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, foreign aid, and tax breaks.” $79 billion.
And Farrell, our stalwart sociologist, nabbed $126,000 from the EPA between 2012 and 2014, and another $18,500 from the National Science Foundation to study the environment and society. Doubtless he will be similarly rewarded in the future. Funny he never mentioned his funding, nor the funding of all those pushing scenarios of the world’s end.
All that is on one side. And on the other? Well, there’s a handful of privately funded think tanks, a smattering of generous individuals and businesses, a journalist here and there, and (ahem) a few skeptical scientists scratching what living they can, all trying vainly to tell the world that the sky isn’t falling and that government intervention isn’t needed.
In the interest of full disclosure, the total amount of any consideration I have ever received from any oil company, or any oil company affiliate, is, rounded to the nearest dollar, $0. But it was in cash. Skepticism of environmental apocalypse does not pay.