(NEW YORK, N.Y.) -- The New York Times says for years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have attempted to boost the credibility of their arguments by pointing to the work "of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity."
And one of the names most pointed to by climate change deniers is Wei-Hock Soon (known as as Willie), a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
He's often appeared on right wing news programs, has testified before Congress and in state capitals, and has been a featured speaker at conferences centered around people who deny the risks of global warming.
Wei-Hock Soon claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming.
But newly released documents show the extent, "To which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests," according to a new Times report which shows he has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers.
The report says "at least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work."
Furthermore the report adds:
~ The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money.
~ Dr. Soon did not respond to questions about the documents.
~ The documents were obtained by Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act. Greenpeace and an allied group, the Climate Investigations Center, shared them with several news organizations.
~ Corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of "creating the appearance of scientific doubt, usually with the help of ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding," but the mechanics of their activities remained largely hidden.
~ The report quotes Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard University and co-author of “Merchants of Doubt,” a book about such corporate interest campaigns as saying, “The whole doubt-mongering strategy relies on creating the impression of scientific debate. Willie Soon is playing a role in a certain kind of political theater.”
The majority of scientific experts have concluded that it's greenhouse gas emissions, mostly contributed by human created activities that pose serious long-term risks to civilization.
The Times report, found here quotes Charles R. Alcock, director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center as saying that Dr. Soon had violated the disclosure standards of some journals, that Dr. Alcock finds it "inappropriate behavior" and a personnel matter that will need to be handled with Dr. Soon.
Dr. Soon is employed by the Smithsonian Institution, which jointly sponsors the astrophysics center with Harvard.