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Independent Koch up

The Independent has wheeled out the tired old "sceptics funded by big oil" story. Bob Ward is predictably impressed.

And they have both made complete fools of themselves.

The story is this:

  • the Koch brothers control The Knowledge and Progress Fund
  • The Knowledge and Progress Fund gave money to The Donors Trust
  • The Donors Trust gave money to the American Enterprise Institute.

However, if you look at the AEI's climate change pages, you will see that their involvement in the area is thin to say the least.

And the first article on the page is entitled "Weather Change: Temperatures are Increasing and Humans are Playing a Role".

The article was written by Steve Connor, the Independent's science bod.

Science ain't what it used to be.

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Reader Comments (19)

Ah, another Steve Connor "Exclusive:"

The one I recall said "for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year." That was in 2008.

Jan 24, 2013 at 10:58 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Interesting to see on that AEI page a lot of the stories seem quite AGW friendly. That together with the Koch funding of BEST would tend to make Ward seem to be missing the "big picture" ;)

Also I think I notice a mistake in that Independent story:

The trust has given money to the American Enterprise Institute which is currently being sued for defamation by Professor Michael Mann of Pennsylvania University, an eminent climatologist, whose affidavit claims that he was accused of scientific fraud and compared to a convicted child molester.

Isn't it the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) not American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that Mann is suing?

Jan 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I can't help wondering where the $500 million in a decade figure has come from. Given that the Koch's are supposedly handing over one or two million a year then who is providing the other $48 million a year?

Also I can't help wondering where the cash has gone - $50 million a year for a decade should be visible ......if it ever actually existed

Jan 24, 2013 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Steve Connor has slipped under the climate radar for way too long. Perhaps it's because he writes for the Indy which nobody reads - therefore his omission is understandable.

He writes the most biased, scaremongering AGW bilge. Check his back-catalogue if you dare, everything is 'worse than previously thought', 'scientists say', 'according to a new study' etc.

Jan 24, 2013 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

I think we can understand why Steve Connor has such difficulty with science by quoting from his discussion with Freeman Dyson

"The trouble for non-scientists is that we have to rely on professional scientists to tell us what they are finding out."

With articles like his, is it surprising the Independent has such a low circulation?

Jan 24, 2013 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

This bloke deserves more views. His other videos cut through the crap.

Jan 25, 2013 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Go to the AEI's climate change page, and the first thing you see is a picture of hurricane destruction with the caption:

Weather Change
Temperatures are increasing and humans are playing a role

Those evil denialist Koch brothers!

Jan 25, 2013 at 2:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurt

International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

The biggest lobbying group at Copenhagen was the International Emissions Trading Association which was created to promote carbon trading more than ten years ago.

Its members include :-

BP, Conoco Philips, Shell, E.ON (coal power stations owner), EDF (one of the largest participants in the global coal market), Gazprom (Russian oil and gas), Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley..

Jan 25, 2013 at 2:53 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Airlines 'made billions in windfall profits' from EU carbon tax

Report states carriers earned up to €1.36bn last year, despite claims that charge would impose crippling costs on industry

Airlines made windfall profits of up to £1.2bn ($1.81bn) last year from a EU carbon tax they claimed would impose crippling costs on industry, according to a report into the measure's impact on the industry.
The EU backed off on plans to charge airlines for their carbon pollution after ferocious opposition from American, Chinese, Russian and other airlines, which argued the charge would cost the industry billions.
Congress passed a law last November shielding US carriers from paying the tax. The lobby group, Airlines for America, claimed at the time that the EU law would cost more than $3bn by the end of the decade.

Jan 25, 2013 at 3:12 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

FWIW I've tweeted Connor about his AEI CEI Mann lawsuit mix-up.

Jan 25, 2013 at 5:53 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I wonder whether the ubiquitous Ward knows that Shell were major contributors to the founding of the CRU at the UEA?

H.H. Lamb - Climate History And The Modern World


"My debt to Shell International, to the Nuffield and Wolfson Foundations, and to the University Of East Anglia, must be acknowledged for making possible the setting up of the Climate Research Unit at the university in Norwich in 1972 and ensuring its survival through the very difficult good years"

Jan 25, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Who the hell are the Koch Brothers, and where's my funding..?

Jan 25, 2013 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

There are two mistakes in that short paragraph; the second is that Michael Mann is not from Pennsylvania University (otherwise known as Penn, one of the Ivy League institutions), but rather from Pennsylvania State, a fine land grand university, whose reputation unfortunately has been severely tarnished due to the aforementioned child molestation scandal and subsequent (unsuccessful) whitewash by the administration (the same administration that "cleared" Dr Mann of any ethical improprieties).

Jan 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Daddis

The post at the Independent has now been changed to say that the money has been given to the CEI, instead of the AEI stated in the original post. There is no mention that the original article was in error.

Jan 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurt

@Jan 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Curt

There is no mention that the original article was in error.

Yeah pretty shonky of them. The Graun has a better system for indicating corrections. It seems the Indy hopes for a less attentive readership!

Also I noticed Connor tweeting that the Mail had picked up his story, I tweeted back to point out the Mail have also picked up his original error too :)

Jan 25, 2013 at 6:50 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Thank you Confusedphoton for this one.....

Freeman Dyson has it exactly right in his reasoned responses to Connor's pseudo-scientific orthodoxy.

Jan 25, 2013 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

...I'm still waiting for my funding....

Jan 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

After seeing the Bish's tweet to Bob Ward today, quoting a Ben Goldacre retort to him, I was prompted to follow the backstory on the Bad Science site (very amusing too) and I came across another amusing assessment Goldacre had a part in making about our man Steve Connor :)

Your science journalist Steve Connor is furious that we are holding a small public meeting in a pub to discuss the problem that science journalists are often lazy and inaccurate. He gets the date wrong, claiming the meeting has already happened (it has not). He says we are three medics (only one of us is). He then invokes some stereotypes about arrogant doctors, which we hope are becoming outdated.

Jan 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Did Connor happen to mention that alarmism is funded by big government, and that big government has a massive vested interest in fomenting alarmism ? And that it outspends all non-alarmist funding put together, by four or more orders of magnitude?

Jan 27, 2013 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomcat

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