The Great Green 'TARP'

By the end of 2009, the US taxpayer will have subsidized the American global warming  industry to the tune of $79 billion — with trillions more to come. According to a new report, the figures reveal that the US Government has established a near-monopsony that is hugely distorting climate science in favor of “self-serving alarmism”.

Climate Money, published by the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) in July, is the first report to compile the cost to the US taxpayer of national climate-related policies gleaned from the governments own documents. Report author Joanne Nova points to a “well funded highly organized climate monopoly” that she cites as wasting billions of dollars through the lack of any proper science “audit”. That audit, she maintains, is instead being conducted by “unpaid volunteers” who have exposed the climate industry’s “major errors time and again”.  

Most scathing is the accusation that the massive public expenditure has “created a powerful alliance of self-serving vested interests” drawn by the prospect of lucrative profits soon to be garnered from carbon trading.  

In the name of “climate”

Climate Money states that the US Government has “poured in $32 billion for climate research — and another $36 billion for development of climate-related technologies” over the last 20 years. Yet, “after spending $30 billion on pure science research no one is able to point to a single piece of empirical evidence that man-made carbon dioxide has a significant effect on the global climate.” The report makes the telling point that a burgeoning industry employing thousands and receiving billions in free government handouts simply has no “real incentive to ‘announce’ the discovery of the insignificance of carbon’s role.”

Nova also perceives a “ratchet effect”, whereby pro-AGW (anthropogenic — man-made — global warming) theory is “reported, repeated, trumpeted and asserted” while anti-AGW findings, often the work of unfunded, retired scientists, “lie unstudied, ignored and delayed”.

The SPPI report shows how it is largely left to unfunded bloggers and scientists to expose major errors like that perpetrated by Michael Mann’s now infamous and discredited Hockey Stick Graph.  The report also cites how, once again, it was left to “unfunded volunteers” to expose how 89 percent of the NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) temperature sensors, showed that the national statistics were being collated from sites polluted by being too near to heating and air conditioning outlets, car parks and other artificial sources of heat.  A bizarrely basic error, yet these are the sites upon which the NOAA relies for its ‘reliable readings’.

The Culture of ad hominen attacks

Next up, Climate Money rounds on the global warming movement’s consistent use of demonizing ad hominen attacks aimed at those who question alarmist orthodoxy. In particular, the report highlights the vilification of “Big Oil” and, in particular, the “Exxon Blame-Game”.   Nova’s report reveals that while Exxon Mobil gave a mere $23 million, spread over ten years, to climate sceptics climate alarmism was funded to the tune of $2 billion by the US Government. Yet as stark as the funding difference is, it is Exxon that has, and still is, been attacked mercilessly for allegedly “distorting the debate”.

Nova, however, draws the ironic conclusion that those who attack Exxon “are inadvertently drawing attention away from the real power play and acting as unpaid agents for giant trading houses and large banks”. Something she notes “could sit a little uncomfortably with greenies and environmentalists.” As Nova says, “The side show of blaming Big Oil hides the truth: that the real issue is whether there is any evidence, and that the sceptics are a grassroots movement that consists of well respected scientists and a growing group of unpaid volunteers.”

Describing the culture of ad hominem attacks as a “form of censorship”, the SPPI report identifies that: “Not many fields of science have dedicated smear sites for scientists. Money talks.”  So it seems. And the point is underlined when we learn that scientist-smearing Desmog is a funded wing of the PR group Hoggan and Associates, which acts on behalf of groups with a vested climate interest. ExxonSecrets turns out to be funded by Greenpeace, an organization that “lives off donations to ‘save the planet’“.

Greens and Greenbacks: An Unholy Alliance

Citing the World Bank, the report notes that turnover of carbon trading has doubled from $63 billion in 2007 to $126 billion in 2008. “Not surprisingly,” comments the report’s author, “banks are doing what banks should do: they’re following the promise of profits, and hence urging government to adopt carbon trading.”  Bart Chilton of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is quoted as predicting carbon trading will become a $2 trillion market and the “largest commodity market in the world”. Richard Sandor, chairman and CEO of Climate Exchange plc, predicts the market will eventually “total $10 trillion a year”.

No wonder this “entirely new fiat currency has banks and financial institutions ‘wholly in bed’ with a scientific theory.” Nova believes that climate science itself has become critically important to the new “self-sanctioning circle of vested interests”.  She continues, “The stealthy mass entry of bankers and traders into the background of the scientific ‘debate’ poses grave threats to the scientific process” which increasingly “hinges on finding that human emissions of carbon dioxide have a significant role in the climate”. Unwittingly, green planet-saving eco-warriors will find themselves in an unholy alliance making the case that will boost the coffers of global bankers and financiers who, on another day, they would likely “throw rocks at”.

The SPPI report concludes with a plea to recognize that “the process of science can be distorted (like any human endeavour) by a massive one-sided input of money.” It’s a plea for science to be released from the “vice like grip of politics and finance” allowing “more attention to be paid to empirical evidence”.  It demands we “get serious about auditing science” and deplores our failure to grasp that “monopolistic funding tests the fabric of the way we do science”. While report author Nova believes, “the truth will come out in the end” she begs one final and crucial question: “How much damage will accrue while we wait for volunteers to audit the claims of the financially well-fed?”  

Follow the money

Climate Money is the first audit report on the US Climate Industry and it succeeds in sending up a major warning flare to the US taxpayer. I would like to have seen a section in it covering the lamentable performance of the US mass media which, while having access to all the same figures, has failed lamentably to do its job and ask of the climate industry and government the right hard questions.

But above all, the report highlights a growing national scandal. It does so first by revealing how an industry backed by $79 billion in public funds has singularly failed to make out even a baseline case for the carbon-climate link — the industry’s whole raison d’etre.  Second, it does so by revealing how government is backing a wholly biased scientific ‘horse’, promoting the very antithesis of how scientific enquiry works best.  

Climate Money (The Climate Industry: $79 billion so far — trillions to come) by Joanne Nova was published by Science and Public Policy Institute on 21 July, 2009