Infamous Climate Change Denial Report Deceives the Public
The Report in Question
Steve Rayner’s credentials are impressive. He has a PH.D in political anthropology and holds two distinguished positions at Oxford University’s Said Business School and the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society. Also, he was recognized for his contribution to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when the group was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
For a man who was once voted by Wired Magazine as “one of the 15 people the President should listen to (Rayner, 2011),” Rayner’s knowledge in policies pertaining to global warming – as well as his belief in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) – could not be ignored.
So how did he find himself listed in a U.S senate report naming him as one of the many “top international scientists” who didn’t believe global warming was caused by human actions? It’s a question he’d like to know.
The report in question, entitled More than 1000 International Scientists Dissent over Man-Made Global Warming Claims, was written by Marc Morano and championed by Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma). Updated annually since 2007 and published publicly on Morano’s website, ClimateDepot.Com, it claims to list numerous scientists who disagree with the IPCC’s publication and policies confirming that human activity is causing global warming.
Despite Rayner’s support for IPCC’s findings, he criticized the Kyoto Protocol. This was enough to get him on the list. Still, as Sourcewatch.org reported, he considered his inclusion in the report as being “quite outrageous.” And, he had asked to be removed from the list; something that has yet to happen.
Rayner’s story is merely one of many concerning this document. While the 321-page document appears to be scholarly (in format), and has generated an impressive list to support its cause, a closer scrutiny of those included on the list – as well as the intent of its author - raises some questions about its authenticity and purpose.
Every year, the updated version of the report is presented to the public via the Internet, or to an annual UN Climate Change Conference. As the document grows, so does the list of scientists and the so-called evidence used to back its overall theme that there is no consensus among scientists on the topic of AGW.
In 2007 – when the first report was delivered - it claimed to have a list of 400 scientists (later revised to 700). By 2010, it grew to 1000.
While the volume of scientist appears to be impressive, a closer look at those on the list reveal something startling; there’s a pattern and classification of scientists with questionable backgrounds and credentials. They are as follow:
•The Company-owned scientist: he or she is employed by an oil and gas company or works in a lab supported by these businesses.
•Think-tank employees: they were hired by a libertarian or conservative think-tank.
• Ice-agers: A group of climatologist (mostly paleo-climatologists) who believe the world is headed toward a new ice age. Often they don’t account for a weather phenomenon like El Nino or La Nina in the Pacific Ocean while collecting their data (as a note, Inhofe has expressed his belief in this).
•The reluctant ones: Scientists whose names appear on the list but don’t support the report's ultimate goal. Like Rayner, many have asked to have their names removed.
The last group is the most surprising. One person, in particular, is Chris Allen, a TV weatherman at a FOX-affiliated station in Bowling Green, Kentucky. According to the blog, Encyclopedia of American Loons, Allen does not have a degree, despite being singled out for his exceptional “scientific writing” by Inhofe (Loon, 2010).
His argument against global warming is equally astounding. According to his blog, he believes that AGW “completely takes God out of the picture." In other words, only divine intervention can cause global warming.
The first few pages center on defaming the IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Much of it is also reserved for the so-called Climategate scandal and the fallout it created among former and current IPCC members.
The Report’s Other Focus
The naming of scientists against AGW is only part of the report. The first few pages center on defaming the IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Much of it is also reserved for the so-called Climategate scandal and the fallout it created among former and current IPCC members.
Climategate was the result of a hacking incident in which a series of e-mails between two climatologists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were leaked to the media. Although the subject of the hacked e-mails had more to do with two scientists frustrated by climate deniers, they were quickly picked up by climate skeptic blogs and reported as being a sign of scientists attempting to manipulate data to favor AGW as well as suppressing their critics.
The Authors of the Document
It comes as no surprise that Al Gore and the IPCC have been targeted in this report. Inhofe and Morano are ideologically opposed to both of them.
According to SourchWatch.Org, Morano is a conservative writer with a long history of defaming those he doesn’t agree with. He was a former journalist for the conservative Cybercast News Service of the Media Research Center. While employed with them, he became a key contributor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that helped to destroy John Kerry’s bid for the 2004 presidential election. Also, he was involved in a smear campaign against Senator and Vietnam War veteran, John Murtha after making remarks criticizing the 2nd Iraq War.
He wrote and worked closely with another noted conservative. Morano was a reporter and producer for the Rush Limbaugh Television Show. He was known then as Limbaugh’s “Man in Washington.”
Morano was also working under Senator Inhofe, a majority chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works until 2007 - when he became a minority ranking member.
He wrote the report as well as some of Inhofe’s speeches on the subject. As a result, Morano would later be employed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a conservative environmental think-tank. He’d later launch ClimateDepot.com for them – a site dedicated to promote skepticism of climate change.
While Morano was the brains, Inhofe was the face. The senator continues to promote the report to anyone who’d listen. Inhofe has been noted in the past to be against the UN and its policies, and believes the US should pull out of the organization.
The Report’s Influence
Although dismissed by many in the scientific community, the report has become extremely influential among climate deniers, ultra-conservative groups, and politicians. Some of the rhetoric found in the document was even echoed in comments made by 2012 presidential hopeful and Texas Governor, Rick Perry. Perry stated in 2011 that he believed there was no consensus among scientists on global warming, and that it was nothing more than a hoax.
Contrary to the report, the claim that global warming is being accelerated by human activity is not seen as a theory in the scientific community. More than 97% of the world’s scientists – including climatologist - believe that AGW is a fact.
The report attempted to cast doubt on the subject. However, much of the information, including the list, is suspicious or misleading at best. While the report fails to expose AGW as a hoax, it has helped to create division and doubt among the public. As a result, the warning of global warming is falling on deaf ears.
Unfortunately, people like Rayner who believe in AGW will possibly be mistaken for a denier, thanks in no small part to the report.
So what’s with up the title? It seemed every year the senate report in question changed its lengthy name with every republication. First it was 700 scientists, then it became 1000.For three years and counting (as of this writing), the title has stayed as "more than 1000."
It’s possible that the pool of ideal scientists for this report have dwindled. Also, there's the probability that the creators of it have moved on from it. Still, the report, More than 1000 International Scientists Dissent over Man-Made Global Warming Claims, has been floating around the Internet since its inception. Numerous climate denial individuals, groups and think tanks still use the report as "proof" that the scientific consensus that human activity contributed to climate change is not a consensus,
It's been three years since I investigated and wrote about this report. And in that time, the report has remained popular despite its glaring flaws. Its strength, however, is its ability to affirm one's belief. Despite the content, those who harbor denial about AGW will blindly embrace it.
I first became aware of the report when a conservative writer wrote a glowing review of it. He treated it as it was the most definitive report to expose climate change as a hoax. Also he believed it exposed a conspiracy in which scientists were complicit creating the climate change "scare" for reasons that are too bizarre to comprehend.
Lately, science has had its say, unfortunately. Increasingly, the concept of AGW climate change has been converting many doubters within the scientific, political, and public circles. In effect, it has nullified many talking points. However, it has opened the public to the real possibility that climate change may have serious consequences to everyone's lives.
© 2015 Dean Traylor