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« Self-criticism | Main | The same old story »

Happer days

Greenpeace are getting very excited about some of their latest "undercover" reporting. It seems that some of their staff posed as representatives of a coal-mining company and asked Will Happer to write them a report. Happer seems to have said yes, but said that the proceeds should go to his sceptic organisation, the CO2 Alliance.

I think their case is that Happer doesn't actually believe any of the things he says, but that in return for large quantities of money he is willing to say anything required. I'm not sure this is going to fly.

There is also a fairly feeble attempt to involve GWPF in the story, insinuating that Indur Goklany's report was reviewed only by people internal to GWPF. Benny Peiser has said in no uncertain terms that this is not true.


Professor Happer made his scientific views clear from the outset, including the need to address pollution problems arising from fossil fuel consumption. Any insinuation against his integrity as a scientist is outrageous and is clearly refuted by the correspondence.

Nor did Professor Happer offer to put a report "commissioned by a fossil fuel company" through the GWPF peer review process. This is a sheer fabrication by Greenpeace. 

The GWPF does not undertake externally-commissioned research and does not accept support of any kind from fossil fuel companies or anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. The correspondence shows that Professor  Happer explained to the undercover "journalist" that there were several different forms of peer review and that the peer review process used by the GWPF is as rigorous as that for most journals. 

Greenpeace claims with no supporting evidence that the report by Dr Indur Goklany was reviewed exclusively by 25 scientists who are members of the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council (AAC). This is false. Dr Goklany's report, like most of our reports, was also reviewed by outside experts who are not scientific advisers to the GWPF.

The quality of Dr Goklany's report is self-evident to any open-minded reader. As Professor Freeman Dyson said in the foreword, "To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage."

Professor Colin Prentice of the Grantham Institute concurred even while claiming to be dismayed by the report's publication: "Much of it is quite correct and moreover, well-established in the scientific literature...the various benefits of rising CO2 are actually well established in the scientific literature, even if sometime ignored. They are indeed 'good news'."

The cack-handed attempt by Greenpeace to manufacture a scandal around Dr Goklany's report, and to smear Professor Happer's reputation, only points to the need for the Global Warming Policy Foundation to redouble its efforts to bring balanced, rigorous and apolitical research on climate and energy policy issues to the public's attention, as counter to the misleading noise and activist rhetoric from groups like Greenpeace.





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Reader Comments (103)

"I think their case is that Happer doesn't actually believe any of the things he says, but that in return for large quantities of money he is willing to say anything required. I'm not sure this is going to fly."

That's not what we think - that's a straw man argument sorry.

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterLawrence

Professor Colin Prentice of the Grantham Institute concurred even while claiming to be dismayed by the report's publication:
Isn't there some sort of ethics commitee somewhere that can be brought into this?
Here we have someone rejoicing in the title of "professor" (though I'm not very sure what that means these days) apparently saying -- and I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong -- "yes, this is right; it's well established that CO2 is beneficial; it's good news; but we'd rather you didn't go around saying so."

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I thought the main point was that people who claim not to be funded by the fossil fuel industry, such as members of the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council, are.

Or, was it that yet again, the false accusations made by deniers against genuine scientists suddenly become true when directed against fossil-fuel shills.

Or, perhaps it was to show how the far right (Ted Cruz in this case), climate deniers like Happer and the fossil fuel industry are virtually indistinguishable.

Or was it just an excuse to laugh at Viscount Ridley's idea of 'peer review'?

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergubulgaria

I tried reading the greenpeace article and found it utterly confusing. It just seemed like a green Dave Spart rant from Private Eye.

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Lawrence, If that's not what Greenpeace think - why did they write that article?.

The whole article reveals that respected academics are paid for writing papers. But that is not an exposé. That's like discovering that racing car drivers are paid to race cars and road sweepers are paid to sweep roads.

The headline is "Exposed: Academics-for-hire agree not to disclose fossil fuel funding".
Where's the exposure if the science is agreed by Greenpeace to be sincere and sound?

If you have any influence with Greenpeace you may want to get your article retracted if it doesn't mean what it seems to mean.

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

If Happer intended that the proceeds from writing the report were to go to a sceptic group then neither Happer nor the fossil fuel industry were going to benefit, where is the problem??

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:33 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Greenpiss, found lying again & attempting to smear a professional's reputation? Surely, that's most unlike Greenpiss! Sarc off!

It seems very clear to me that they are prepared to tell bare faced lies in public & to the public, about people they disagree with, & they really just don't care who gets to know about it! What a bunch, no shame, no honour, no dignity, just lies & more lies!

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Roy Spencer reports that the same dishonest bunch of dishonest Greenpeace tricksters tried him too:

Unsurprisingly the BBC's Greenpeace propaganda correspondent is enthusiastically promoting the story.

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:44 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The reality is that green 'research' only gets published because of 'pal review ', so they just assume everyone else is doing the same thing .

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Cardinal Harrabin of the so-called BBC is as bad as Greenpeace. No lie is too big for them. Patrick Moore has said all you ever need to know about Greenpeace.

Dec 8, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I agree with Doc Spencer:
"If there is another energy technology as cheap and reliable and large-scale, I’m all for it."

Do we really want to find out who is right by counting bodies? Should we not develop these energy alternatives before we get rid of the current ones?

I'm truly amazed that such huge pessimism about mans effect on the environment sits so easily with such great optimism that coal and oil can be replaced so easily. Hey all we do is put the price up and the free market will provide solutions. They seem to believe in the free market far more than the most fervent neo-liberal.

Or do they really just want to reduce population and any excuse will do? Or maybe they just like to protest about multinationals; it used to be globalisation - what next?

Dec 8, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Re: gubulgaria

Graham, since you are a press officer for Greenpeace should we take your comment as an official response from Greenpeace?

Dec 8, 2015 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

...I think their case is that Happer doesn't actually believe any of the things he says, but that in return for large quantities of money he is willing to say anything required. I'm not sure this is going to fly....

Since they didn't actually GET anyone to write a set of lies for money, it seems that they failed in their primary aim, and are just trying to salvage what they can from a failed sting operation...

Dec 8, 2015 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

They don't believe or disbelieve in the free market. They simply don't know what the free market is, still less how it works.
If you try explaining to them (I have!) that in most cases encouraging the free market will get a result probably sooner and cheaper than having guvmint dictate what and how but that you might not get quite the result you expected, they ask what is the point of the free market if it can't do what they tell it to?
When you then try to define the word "free" for them they look blank.
Essentially they are economic infants: "But I want it." "Well you can't have it." "But I want it." Stamps foot.
I remember Harold Wilson trying a similar trick (and he should have known better). He wasn't having the "Gnomes of Zurich" deciding what the pound was worth! Aye, right.

Dec 8, 2015 at 4:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

What is Greenpeace? A corporation for well-heeled hooligans with pretensions? They should not include intellectual rigour amongst them, as this little fiasco demonstrates. They are not in the same league as the GWPF. Not by a long shot.

Dec 8, 2015 at 4:30 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Someone needs to remind the reporter of Greenpeace's report in IPCC report 4 (?) on the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2032. Was they peer reviewed or just grey literature?

Dec 8, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

More from Roy Spencer - actually from Patrick Moore:
Greenpeace Founder Reports It to the FBI Under RICO and Wire-Fraud Statutes

Also at Climate Depot

I wonder if Cardinal Harrabin will be reporting this.

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

It's amazing what individuals (plural) will write, if their salary depends upon it. Part of the job description:

"As one of our press officers, you will focus on gaining coverage for our campaign work and identifying opportunities for Greenpeace to make strategic interventions that help us win. You will also lead investigations into our targets and ensure the results get huge publicity, furthering our campaigns. Greenpeace's press officers are on the frontline of the political battle to protect our environment."

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Greenpeace terrorists in the house, desperate times for them as nobody likes them anymore...

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Dodgy Geezer,

sounds like the Peter Gleick affair all over again where he tried to sting the Heartland Institute but found allegedly wrote a fake document himself!

Unbelievably it didn't do him any career harm (wasn't he Head of Ethics!) so the message has gone out that there's not a lot to lose with such nefarious long as you're on the "right" side.

It's been asked before but are there any reputable, admirable people on the warmist side of the debate? Who would be say the top 3?

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

Coal and peat a major part of the Irish 1990 energy balance. (coal and peat burned directly in homes and moneypoint station had just come on Line)
Not so much now.
Over half of the tax take is not repent in the state.
These usury taxes drives up the cost of goods
To escape costs people get in a car to travel to a German discount store or a holiday in Spain.

Guess what....Co2 emissions slightly higher today.
Adding costs merely adds to distribution costs.
It's a classic finance capital tactic to create economic friction and thus aid financial concentration
The data is pretty conclusive.

The latest Seai ( Irish neo liberal think Tank) is scratching it's head on this.
Major rises in private car, aviation and road freight is overpowering declines in residential as people, farmers and business not so slowly go bankrupt.

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

CRU cosying up with Shell to promote carbon trading

Mick Kelly Shell

SHELL INTERNATIONAL Mick Kelly and Aeree Kim (CRU, ENV) met with Robert Kleiburg (Shell International’s climate change team) on July 4th primarily to discuss access to Shell information as part of Aeree’s PhD study (our initiative) and broader collaboration through postgrad. student project placements (their initiative), but Robert was also interested in plans for the Tyndall Centre (TC). What ensued was necessarily a rather speculative discussion with the following points emerging.

1. Shell International would give serious consideration to what I referred to in the meeting as a ‘strategic partnership’ with the TC, broadly equivalent to a ‘flagship alliance’ in the TC proposal. A strategic partnership would involve not only the provision of funding but some (limited but genuine) role in setting the research agenda etc.

2. Shell’s interest is not in basic science. Any work they support must have a clear and immediate relevance to ‘real-world’ activities. They are particularly interested in emissions trading and CDM.

3. Robert seemed to be more interested in supporting overseas (developing world) than home/EU studentships, presumably because of the credit abroad and their involvement in CDM. (It is just possible this impression was partially due to the focus on Aeree’s work in the overall discussion but I doubt it.) It seems likely that any support for studentships would be on a case by case basis according to the particular project in question.

4. Finally, we agreed that we would propose a topic to this year’s MSc intake as a placement with Shell and see if any student expressed interest. If this comes off we can run it under the TC banner if it would help.

I would suggest that Robert and his boss are invited to the TC launch at the very least (assuming it will be an invite type affair). Question is how can we and who should take this a step further. Maybe a meeting at Shell with business liaison person, Mike H if time and myself if time? I’d like to/am happy to stay involved through the next stage but then will probably have to back off.

We didn’t cover the new renewable energy foundation.

Mick Kelly
11 September 2000


Dec 8, 2015 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

It's been asked before but are there any reputable, admirable people on the warmist side of the debate? Who would be say the top 3?

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

Bjorn Lomborg has always said that he accepts it completely (or at least the IPCC view, if I understand him correctly).

But he has had to endure vilification and some awful political attacks on his career for saying that the popularly proposed solutions are a huge waste of money. He has taken it all with great dignity.

At the moment I'm struggling to think of two other people for your list, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.

Dec 8, 2015 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Anthony Watts has a whole lot of screen shots of letters / emails between the CRU and big oil.

This gets to the heart of the matter. Energy savings would allow big oil to sell the billions of carbon credits they got for nothing.

From: Mike Hulme <>
To: barker,vira
Subject: Fwd: BP funding
Date: Sat Nov 4 16:45:25 2000

Any idea who at Cambridge has been benefitting from this BP money?

From: "Simon J Shackley" <>
Organization: umist
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 14:44:09 GMT
Subject: BP funding
Priority: normal
X-mailer: Pegasus Mail for Win32 (v3.12a)
dear TC colleagues looks like BP have their cheque books out! How can TC benefit from
this largesse? I wonder who has received this money within Cambridge University?
Cheers, Simon
October 26, 2000

Internet: [1]
LONDON -- BP Amoco Plc, the world's No. 3 publicly traded oil
company, and Ford Motor Co. said they will give Princeton
University $20 million over 10 years to study ways to reduce
carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. BP said it will give
$15 million. Ford, the world's second-biggest automaker, is
donating $5 million.

The gift is part of a partnership between the
companies aimed at addressing concerns about climate change.
Carbon dioxide is the most common of the greenhouse gases believed
to contribute to global warming.

London-based BP said it plans to give $85 million in the next
decade to universities in the U.S. and U.K. to study environmental
and energy issues. In the past two years, the company has pledged
$40 million to Cambridge University, $20 million to the University
of California at Berkeley and $10 million to the University of
Colorado at Boulder.

Dec 8, 2015 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Given the alleged certainty of their position and science it's a strange circumstance where Greenpeace feel a need to induce entrapment. Poor stuff from them and poor from a mainstream journo' like Harrabin to go with it, too.

Dec 8, 2015 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

8pm tonight Ted Cruz US presidential candidate holds investigation
Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate

with witness: Judith Curry, Mark Steyn, Dr. John Christy, Dr. William Happer, Dr. David Titley (Rear Admiral, USN (ret.))

should be available live on this site

Dec 8, 2015 at 6:28 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Cheshire, you expect better from Harrabin? Seriously? Note also that Harrabin went with 'Climate #sceptic academics for hire?'. That question mark is revealing as to the merit of this story in Harrabin's eyes, so for the moment he's just going with a half-arsed twitter smear.

Dec 8, 2015 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlabicyclette

Greenpeace don't seem very good at hunting and entrapment.They should stick to green vegetables, but run the risk of being outwitted.

Dec 8, 2015 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


pretty lame stuff there pal - considering :

• Where *your* funding comes from
• The quantities involved
• The amount of unequivocal lies GP spout
• The profligate fashion OPM gets spent by GP

blinkers ? - not the half of it - just because you keep repeating this bilge does not make it less dishonest or more true.

Dec 8, 2015 at 7:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Popcorn please

Dec 8, 2015 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

"Happer also disclosed that Peabody Energy paid $8,000 in return for his testimony in a crucial Minnesota state hearing on the impacts of carbon dioxide. This fee was also paid to the CO2 Coalition."

Dec 8, 2015 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Just been watching Channel Four News

Impartial news. Anchor ( without the W ) John Snow getting Emotional about Donald Trump latest outburst.
Then onto Cumbria flooding and Tom Clark only slightly non committal on blaming it on Climate Change more of that later.
Mirrors the whole debate about blaming ISIS on Climate Change.

Then JOhn Snow had an interview with Caroline Lucas who was more happier talking about the impact of Climate Change rather than her decision to resign from the Stop The War Calition .

Dec 8, 2015 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid


Dec 8, 2015 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

When asked to ensure that the commissioning of the report could not be traced back to the Middle East oil and gas company, Professor Happer contacted his fellow CO2 Coalition board member, Bill O’Keefe, explaining: “I am trying get [sic] another mysterious client to donate funds to the CO2 Coalition instead of compensating me for my writing something for them.”

O’Keefe, a former Exxon lobbyist, suggested channelling it through the Donors Trust, a controversial organisation that has previously been called the “Dark Money ATM” of the US conservative movement.

Dec 8, 2015 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

WUWT: Patrick Moore has reported Greenpeace to the FBI over this

Dec 8, 2015 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterGavin

So what?
Are anonymous donations illegal or something? Is "the Donor trust" a front for the maffia or something? What is your point exactly? We can read the articles for ourselves. We don't need you to quote the whole thing.
Just enjoy your popcorn.

If you read the actual email chain (link on the greenpiss website) it sounds a lot less nefarious by the way.
Funny how including the phrases "controversial" and "dark money atm" make it sound nasty all of a sudden.

Dec 8, 2015 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand


Dec 8, 2015 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

lol. You took the word right out of mouth. I suspect Eli thinks that others abuse charities laws as much as greenpeace. The treacherous are ever mistrustful.

Dec 8, 2015 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Eli Rabett
Whose bank account did the money end up in? Not Prof Happer's from what you say, so how does he profit? Would you be complaining if it had gone to GP or FOE?

Dec 8, 2015 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

From Greenpeace's annual report:

"We are also extremely thankful
for the gifts of two donors who wish to remain anonymous; one who gave $250,000 for our work to
protect oceans and the other who gave $250,000 for our efforts to avert the worst impacts of global

I wonder what sort of correspondence passed back and forth regarding that anonymity.

Maybe Eli can find out for us.

Dec 8, 2015 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Considering that Big Green uses the same techniques that money launderers use to filter billionaire donations down to the "grass roots", I don't think it should be taking the high road here.

Dec 8, 2015 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

John M, do we know how Greenpeace used the money to "protect oceans"? Hopefully they didn't spend the money on air fares or other hypocritical activities.

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

When throwing shit it is was remembering that is not the quality of shit that matters , but amount you can get to stick on the person your are throwing against.
In this instance Greenpeace know full well all they have is a worthless joke, but they also know that thanks to 'friends in the media ' some of it will stick anyway , while the news moves on so the initial claims is front page and the actual rejects of the claim is page 10 under a story about a dog in a hat .

It is a smear job, sadly thanks to lazy and friendly media it is an 'effective ' smear job and the CAGW true believers, has show in the Guardians environmental section , will lap it up without a single thought or question.

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

John M: Perhaps gubulgaria (aka Graham Thompson, greenpi$$ press officer) is in a better position than Eli to explain the origin of these $500K of donations, and the legal justifications as to why they are permitted to be anonymous?

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:24 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Could Greenpeace be persuaded to reveal the amount of money they extort from businesses as Climate Protection money in exchange for not creating bad publicity?

Greenpeace (Bad) Press Officers would be vulnerable to a sting operation.

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

John M maybe gubulgaria or ATTP cn tell us all about those donors. LMFAO

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes


I'm sure anonymous donations are legal, but Greenpeace's attitude seems to be "for me but not for thee".

Of course, when you're on a mission from Gaia...

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

@SimonW, Dec 8, 2015 at 5:40 PM

It's been asked before but are there any reputable, admirable people on the warmist side of the debate? Who would be say the top 3?

Nigel Lawson, Peter Hitchens, Matt Ridley are three of millions

They are not "warmists" per se, however like me, they believe in "Climate change" - climate has always changed over history of Earth even before man existed.

Their view and mine is we should exploit any changes to increase wealth to give the world and its population better living conditions and use that increased wealth to better adapt to any changes whether they are warming or cooling. Trying to prevent the climate changing is as futile as trying to prevent the tide coming in and a waste of resources and wealth.

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

How did Gubulgaria get unmasked?


Dec 8, 2015 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermailman

@Jamspid, Dec 8, 2015 at 7:47 PM

Just been watching Channel Four News

Impartial news. Anchor ( without the W ) John Snow getting Emotional about Donald Trump latest outburst

What angered me most, although not surprised, was that Snow, C4 and ITN continue to portray Trump's statement on muslims supporting 9/11 attack as untrue when it is true.

Trump’s “thousands” of American Muslims cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center Vindicated

Dec 8, 2015 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar
Dec 8, 2015 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

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