In a Washington Times op-ed, Steve Milloy responds to the National Research Council's warnings about the threat of climate change by offering false and misleading talking points to potential Republican presidential candidates.
Milloy Cherry-Picks Data To Claim That CO2 Does Not Affect The Climate
Milloy Cites Temperatures "Since The Mid-1990s" To Claim Greenhouse Gases Don't Have A "Detectable" Effect On Climate. From Milloy's op-ed, titled "2012 GOP guide to the climate debate: Candidates need to be ready to blow away the arguments":
We don't agree, however, that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are having either detectable or predictable effects on climate - and we have at least two key means of establishing this point.
First, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by about 8 percent or so since the mid-1990s. According to climate alarmists, this should have caused measurable global warming. But none has been observed, a fact that finally was admitted by climate alarmists in the wake of the Climategate scandal. [Washington Times, 5/17/11]
Scientists Stress The Need To Look At Longer Time Scale To Distinguish Warming Trend From Natural Variation
Climate Scientists: Skeptics Are Cherry-Picking Numbers To Obscure Long-Term Warming Trend. From a paper by David R. Easterling of NOAA And Michael F. Wehner of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:
It is true that if we fit a linear trend line to the annual global land-ocean surface air temperature (Smith et al. 2005) shown in Figure 1 for the period 1998 to 2008 there is no real trend, even though global temperatures remain well above the long-term average. The unusually strong 1997-1998 El Niño contributed to unusual warmth in the global temperature for 1998 at the start of this period resulting in only a small, statistically insignificant positive trend. However, if we fit a trend line to the same annual global land-ocean temperatures for the 1977-1985 period or the 1981-1989 period we also get no trend, even though these periods are embedded in the 1975-2008 period showing a substantial overall warming. Furthermore, if we drop 1998 and fit the trend to the period 1999-2008 we indeed get a strong, statistically significant positive trend. It is easy to "cherry pick" a period to reinforce a point of view, but this notion begs the question, what would happen to the current concerns about climate change if we do have a sustained period where the climate appears to be cooling even when, in the end, the longer term trend is warming?
The reality of the climate system is that, due to natural climate variability, it is entirely possible to have a period as long as a decade or two of "cooling" superimposed on the longer-term warming trend due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing. Climate scientists pay little attention to these short-term fluctuations as the short term "cooling trends" mentioned above are statistically insignificant and fitting trends to such short periods is not very meaningful in the context of long-term climate change. On the other hand, segments of the general public do pay attention to these fluctuations and some critics cite the most recent period as evidence against anthropogenic-forced climate change. Here we analyze both the observed record and a series of climate model simulations for the occurrence of both positive and negative decadal trends in the globally averaged surface air temperature to show that it is possible, and indeed likely to have a period of as long as a decade or two with no trend in an anthropogenically forced climate. [Geophysical Research Letters, 4/25/09; full text via NOAA]
Statisticians Reject Technique Of "Cherry-Pick[ing] A Micro-Trend Within A Bigger Trend." In light of claims that the world had entered a period of "global cooling," the Associated Press asked statisticians to evaluate temperature data. AP reported:
In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.
"If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.
Statisticians say that in sizing up climate change, it's important to look at moving averages of about 10 years. They compare the average of 1999-2008 to the average of 2000-2009. In all data sets, 10-year moving averages have been higher in the last five years than in any previous years.
"To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous," said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.
Ben Santer, a climate scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Lab, called it "a concerted strategy to obfuscate and generate confusion in the minds of the public and policymakers" ahead of international climate talks in December in Copenhagen. [Associated Press, 10/25/09]
NASA: "Global Warming Theory Does Not Posit A Linear, Year-To-Year Increase In Temperatures." From a February 2010 article on NASA's GISS website:
Even as man-made greenhouse gases exert a consistent pressure on the climate, trapping more heat close to the surface of our planet, surface temperatures from year to year will fluctuate depending on the naturally variable forces at work around the globe. In the early 1990s, the mass of sulfates blasted into the atmosphere by the eruption of the Mt. Pinatubo volcano reflected sunlight and counteracted much of the man-made warming effect for several years. In 1998 El Niño combined with the man-made effect to give us one of the warmest years ever.
Allowing for this variability, global warming theory does not posit a linear, year-to-year increase in temperatures. Nor does it say that harsh winter weather will simply end. What it does say is that increasing concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, with unchecked growth, will contribute a greater and greater warming influence on the world's climate. [NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2/23/10]
Scientist Mojib Latif: Media Mistakenly Think Of Global Warming As A Process In Which "Each Year Is Warmer Than The Preceding Year." During an August 2009 presentation at the U.N. World Climate Conference, climate scientist Mojib Latif said it's important to address the issue of "decadal prediction" because "There is almost no day in the year when I'm not called by some media person, OK. And so, they basically think about global warming as a kind of slowly evolving process and a monotonic process, OK -- so each year is warmer than the preceding year." He added: "However, we all know there is variability." Latif also stated that "if you look at short lead times, right, then you see that the internal variability is really the dominating uncertainty in the climate change forecasts or, slash, projections. And especially on interannual and decadal timescales, this is true." Internal variability is defined as "climate variability not forced by external agents." [U.N. World Climate Conference -- 3, 8/31/09]
Met Office: Climate Naturally Varies From "Decade To Decade" On Top Of "Underlying Trend Of Warming." The Met Office, the United Kingdom's National Weather Service, stated in 2009: "In 1998 the world experienced the warmest year since records began. In the decade since, however, this high point has not been surpassed. Some have seized on this as evidence that global warming has stopped, or even that we have entered a period of 'global cooling'. This is far from the truth and climate scientists have, in fact, recognised that a temporary slowdown in warming is possible even under increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions." The Met Office further notes:
After three decades of warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, why would there suddenly be a period of relative temperature stability -- despite more greenhouse gases being emitted than ever before? This is because of what is known as internal climate variability. In the same way that our weather can be warm and sunny one day, cool and wet the next, so our climate naturally varies from year to year, and decade to decade.
Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.
In the twentieth century we have had continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages. This is what we observed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Now we have seen a decade of little change in the average global temperature -- but that doesn't mean climate change has stopped, it's just another part of natural variability. [Met Office, accessed 9/22/09]
Numerous Agencies Confirm 2000-2009 Was By Far Warmest Decade On Record. In a January 2010 article on its GISS website, NASA reported that its analysis of global surface temperature showed that "January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Throughout the last three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade." [NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 1/21/10]
- NOAA: "The 2000-2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.54 °C (0.96 °F) above the 20th Century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.36 °C (0.65 °F)." [National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, December 2009]
- Met Office: "The first decade of this century has been, by far, the warmest decade on the instrumental record. New figures released today in Copenhagen show that -- despite 1998 being the warmest individual year -- the last ten years have clearly been the warmest period in the 160-year record of global surface temperature, maintained jointly by the Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia." From the report:[Met Office, 12/8/09]
Indicators Other Than Temperature Also Show CO2 Effects
CO2 Emissions Are Changing The Chemistry Of The Ocean. The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory explains:
When carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by seawater, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals. These chemical reactions are termed "ocean acidification" or "OA" for short. Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms. In areas where most life now congregates in the ocean, the seawater is supersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate minerals. This means there are abundant building blocks for calcifying organisms to build their skeletons and shells. However, continued ocean acidification is causing many parts of the ocean to become undersaturated with these minerals, which is likely to affect the ability of some organisms to produce and maintain their shells.
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by 0.1 pH units. Since the pH scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic, this change represents approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity. Future predictions indicate that the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and become even more acidic. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on business as usual emission scenarios, indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150 percent more acidic, resulting in a pH that the oceans haven't experienced for more than 20 million years. [NOAA, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, accessed 5/23/11]
NRC: Ecosystem Changes "Could Threaten Coral Reefs, Fisheries, Protected Species And Other Natural Resources." From the National Research Council:
Studies on a number of marine organisms have shown that lowering seawater pH with CO2 affects biological processes, such as photosynthesis, nutrient acquisition, growth, reproduction, and individual survival depending upon the amount of acidification and the species tested, the committee found. For example, some of the strongest evidence of the potential effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems comes from experiments on organisms with calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. The results showed decreases in shell and skeletal growth in a range of marine organisms, including reef-building corals, commercially important mollusks such as oysters and mussels, and several types of plankton at the base of marine food webs.
The ability of various marine organisms to acclimate or adapt to ocean acidification is unknown, but existing data suggest that there will be ecological winners and losers, leading to shifts in the composition and functioning of many marine ecosystems, the committee said. Such ecosystem changes could threaten coral reefs, fisheries, protected species, and other natural resources. [The National Academies, 4/22/10]
Milloy Suggests NRC Conclusions Don't Reflect Opinion of "Prestigious" Scientists
Milloy: NRC Panel "Has Nothing To Do With The Prestigious Individual Scientists" Of NAS. From Milloy's op-ed:
If you're thinking of becoming a Republican presidential candidate - and who isn't these days - you can plan on being pressed on the climate issue. In the wake of last week's new report from a panel of the National Research Council (NRC) reiterating its old talking points on climate, The Washington Post editorialized that all (read "Republican") candidates for political office should be quizzed about whether they agree with the "scientific consensus of America's premier scientific advisory group."
While it is true that the NRC operates under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences, the NRC panel that authored the report has nothing to do with the prestigious individual scientists who make up the National Academy of Sciences membership. NRC panels are highly politicized and often stacked, and no climate skeptics were included in the panel that wrote last week's report. [Washington Times, 5/17/11]
In Fact, The NRC Panel Included Members of NAS And NAE
NRC Committee Included Members of NAS and NAE. The following members of the NRC committee that created the report are also members of the National Academy of Sciences or of the National Academy of Engineering:
- Albert Carnesale of UCLA (Chair of the panel)
- William Chameides, of Duke University (Vice Chair of the panel)
- Charles O. Holliday, Jr., former CEO of DuPont
- Pamela Matson of Stanford University
- Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden
- Susan Solomon of NOAA
[The National Academies, 5/12/11]
NAS And NAS Members Have Repeatedly Urged Action On Climate Change
255 Members Of NAS: "Taking No Action Poses A Dangerous Risk For Our Planet." In a May 2010 letter published in Science, 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences stated:
We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything. When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action. For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet.
[T]here is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change:
(i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
(ii) Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
(iii) Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth's climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
(iv) Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
(v) The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.
Much more can be, and has been, said by the world's scientific societies, national academies, and individuals, but these conclusions should be enough to indicate why scientists are concerned about what future generations will face from business- as-usual practices. We urge our policymakers and the public to move forward immediately to address the causes of climate change, including the unrestrained burning of fossil fuels. [Science, 5/7/10]
NAS In 2005: "The Scientific Understanding Of Climate Change Is Now Sufficiently Clear To Justify Nations Taking Prompt Action." In a June 2005 statement, 11 national science academies from around the world, including the United States' National Academy of Sciences, said:
The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.
Action taken now to reduce significantly the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lessen the magnitude and rate of climate change. As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises, a lack of full scientific certainty about some aspects of climate change is not a reason for delaying an immediate response that will, at a reasonable cost, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. [NationalAcademies.org, 6/7/05]
NAS In 2009: "The Need For Urgent Action To Address Climate Change Is Now Indisputable." In a June 2009 joint statement with 12 other nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences stated:
The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable. For example, limiting global warming to 2°C would require a very rapid worldwide implementation of all currently available low carbon technologies. The G8+5 should lead the transition to an energy efficient and low carbon world economy, and foster innovation and research and development for both mitigation and adaptation technologies. [NationalAcademies.org, May 2009]
Surveys Show That Scientists Who Know Most About The Climate Agree Humans Are Contributing To Climate Change
Survey: 97% Of 77 Active Climate Scientists Said "Human Activity Is A Significant Contributing Factor" In Changing Global Temperatures. A survey conducted by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman of the University of Illinois asked Earth scientists:
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%. This is a typical response rate for Web-based surveys.
Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered "risen" to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions. In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered "risen" to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2. [Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 1/20/09, emphasis added]
Study: 97-98% Of The Most Active Climate Researchers Support Tenets Of Human-Caused Climate Change. From a study led by William Anderegg of Stanford University published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers. [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 6/21/10, emphasis added]
Milloy Attempts To Discredit Inquiries Clearing "Climategate" Scientists Of "Faulty Science"
Milloy Claims "No Input From Skeptics" Was Included In "Climategate" Investigations. From Milloy's op-ed:
One last science point is the Climategate scandal. Alarmists claim that numerous subsequent investigations of the matter by independent groups have failed to uncover wrongdoing or faulty science, but none of these whitewashes were truly independent or anything more than superficial. No input from skeptics, even those mentioned in the emails, was included. [Washington Times, 5/17/11]
But Milloy Previously Acknowledged The Input Of A Climate Skeptic
Milloy Himself Previously Noted That Skeptic Was Consulted by Penn State. As engineer and climate writer Brian Angliss noted, Milloy wrote in July 2010 that skeptic Richard Lindzen was interviewed by Pennsylvania State University, which investigated scientists Michael Mann's involvement in the "Climate-gate" controversy and concluded that he had not "seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities." [Scholars & Rogues, 5/20/11]
House Of Commons Committee Took Written Submissions From Climate Skeptics. An inquiry conducted by the UK House of Common's Science and Technology Committee concluded that "insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty ... we consider that there is not case to answer. Within our limited inquiry and the evidence we took, the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact." The committee accepted written memoranda from climate skeptics including Richard S. Courtney, Steve McIntyre, Roger Helmer, Eric Rasmusen, Godfrey Bloom, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Ross McKitrick, Andrew Montford, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Douglas J. Keenan, and others. [UK House of Commons, Science and Technology Memoranda, accessed 5/23/11]
Independent Climate Change Email Review Also Accepted Submissions From Skeptics. After a six-month investigation, an inquiry led by Sir Muir Russell concluded that CRU scientists "fail[ed] to display the proper degree of openness," but said that "their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt" and "we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments." The inquiry accepted submissions from climate skeptics including Ross McKitrick, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, Stephen McIntyre, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Andrew Montford and others. [The Independent Climate Change Emails Review, July 2010]
Milloy Contradicts Supreme Court In Claiming CO2 Is Not A "Pollutant"
Milloy: "Carbon Dioxide Should Not Be Referred To As A 'Pollutant.'" Milloy wrote in his op-ed: "Carbon dioxide should not be referred to as a 'pollutant.' It is colorless, odorless and tasteless and is an essential nutrient for plants and, therefore, humans. Alarmists call it 'carbon pollution'; the rest of us call it 'life.'" [Washington Times, 5/17/11]
Supreme Court In 2007: "Greenhouse Gases Fit Well Within The Clean Air Act's Capacious Definition Of 'Air Pollutant.'" In Massachusetts vs. EPA, 12 states, four local governments, and 13 private organizations sued the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that are emitted by motor vehicles, citing their role in climate change. The Bush administration's EPA argued that it lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate those gases. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion authored by then-Justice John Paul Stevens, stated on April 2, 2007: "Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act's capacious definition of 'air pollutant,' we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles." The opinion further stated that "EPA never identifies any action remotely suggesting that Congress meant to curtail its power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants":
On the merits, the first question is whether §202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles in the event that it forms a "judgment" that such emissions contribute to climate change. We have little trouble concluding that it does. In relevant part, §202(a)(1) provides that EPA "shall by regulation prescribe ... standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in [the Administrator's] judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." 42 U. S. C. §7521(a)(1). Because EPA believes that Congress did not intend it to regulate substances that contribute to climate change, the agency maintains that carbon dioxide is not an "air pollutant" within the meaning of the provision.
The statutory text forecloses EPA's reading. The Clean Air Act's sweeping definition of "air pollutant" includes "any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical ... substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air ... ." §7602(g) (emphasis added). On its face, the definition embraces all airborne compounds of whatever stripe, and underscores that intent through the repeated use of the word "any." Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons are without a doubt "physical [and] chemical ... substance[s] which [are] emitted into ... the ambient air." The statute is unambiguous.
Rather than relying on statutory text, EPA invokes postenactment congressional actions and deliberations it views as tantamount to a congressional command to refrain from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Even if such postenactment legislative history could shed light on the meaning of an otherwise-unambiguous statute, EPA never identifies any action remotely suggesting that Congress meant to curtail its power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants. [Massachusetts v. EPA, 4/2/07, in-text citations deleted for clarity, emphasis added]
Bush-Era Endangerment Finding Defined Greenhouse Gases As A Pollutant In 2007. In 2009, EPA released a proposed endangerment finding created in 2007 but kept hidden under the Bush Administration. The document stated:
For purposes of the endangerment finding and this rulemaking, the Administrator has determined that the "air pollution" is the elevated combined or mixed atmospheric concentration of six GHGs: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
a. Why elevated concentrations of these GHGs are the air pollution
Greenhouse gases trap in the Earth's heat that would otherwise escape to space. The additional heating effect caused by the buildup of GHGs in the atmosphere enhances the Earth's natural greenhouse effect and causes global temperatures to increase, with associated climatic changes (e.g., change in precipitation patterns, rise in sea levels, change in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events). It is the elevation in concentration and the resulting impact on climate and climate-sensitive systems that is the cause for concern.
These six GHGs can remain in the atmosphere for decades to centuries. Therefore, these GHGs once emitted, become well mixed in the global atmosphere regardless of their emission origin, such that their concentrations over the U.S. are, for all practical purposes, the same as the global average. This also means that current GHG concentrations are the cumulative result of both historic and current emissions, and that future concentrations will be the cumulative result of historic, current and future emissions.
As discussed further below, current atmospheric concentrations of all of these GHGs are significantly higher than pre-industrial (~1750) levels as a result of human activities. Future projections show that, for most scenarios assuming no additional GHG emission reduction policies, atmospheric concentrations of these GHGs are expected to continue climbing for most if not all of the remainder of this century. [Greenwire, 10/13/09; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 12/4/07]
EPA's 2009 Endangerment Finding Defines The "Pollutant" As The "Aggregate Group" Of Six Greenhouse Gases. The 2009 EPA endangerment finding identifies the pollutant as "the aggregate group" of six greenhouse gases:
[T]he Administrator is defining the air pollutant as the aggregate group of the same six long-lived and directly emitted greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. As noted above, this definition of a single air pollutant made up of these well-mixed greenhouse gases is similar to definitions of other air pollutants that are comprised of substances that share common attributes with similar effects on public health or welfare (e.g., particulate matter and volatile organic compounds). [EPA, 12/15/09]
Milloy Hired By American Petroleum Institute To Downplay Global Warming. In a feature on fellow climate change skeptic Marc Morano, Esquire reported that in 1998, "the American Petroleum Institute hired a conservative PR expert named Steve Milloy to develop a 'Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan.' They had to tell a better story and tell it fast. They had to change the narrative. Milloy ran a Web site called Junk Science, joined in time by Climate Audit and Ice Cap and a thousand others, all hammering the same message -- ignore global warming." [Esquire, 3/30/10]
Milloy's Groups Have Been Funded By ExxonMobil. Chris Mooney reported in a May 2005 Mother Jones article:
In its giving report, ExxonMobil says it supports public policy groups that are "dedicated to researching free market solutions to policy problems." What the company doesn't say is that beyond merely challenging the Kyoto Protocol or the McCain-lieberman Climate Stewardship Act on economic grounds, many of these groups explicitly dispute the science of climate change. Generally eschewing peer-reviewed journals, these groups make their challenges in far less stringent arenas, such as the media and public forums.
Pressed on this point, spokeswoman Lauren Kerr says that "ExxonMobil has been quite transparent and vocal regarding the fact that we, as do multiple organizations and respected institutions and researchers, believe that the scientific evidence on greenhouse gas emissions remains inconclusive and that studies must continue." She also hastens to point out that ExxonMobil generously supports university research programs-for example, the company plans to donate $100 million to Stanford University's Global Climate and Energy Project. It even funds the hallowed National Academy of Sciences.
Consider attacks by friends of ExxonMobil on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). A landmark international study that combined the work of some 300 scientists, the ACIA, released last November, had been four years in the making. Commissioned by the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that includes the United States, the study warned that the Arctic is warming "at almost twice the rate as that of the rest of the world," and that early impacts of climate change, such as melting sea ice and glaciers, are already apparent and "will drastically shrink marine habitat for polar bears, ice-inhabiting seals, and some seabirds, pushing some species toward extinction." Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) was so troubled by the report that he called for a Senate hearing.
Industry defenders shelled the study, and, with a dearth of science to marshal to their side, used opinion pieces and press releases instead. "Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice," blared FoxNews.com columnist Steven Milloy, an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute ($75,000 from ExxonMobil) who also publishes the website JunkScience.com. Two days later the conservative Washington Times published the same column. Neither outlet disclosed that Milloy, who debunks global warming concerns regularly, runs two organizations that receive money from ExxonMobil. Between 2000 and 2003, the company gave $40,000 to the Advancement of Sound Science Center, which is registered to Milloy's home address in Potomac, Maryland, according to IRS documents. ExxonMobil gave another $50,000 to the Free Enterprise Action Institute-also registered to Milloy's residence. Under the auspices of the intriguingly like-named Free Enterprise Education Institute, Milloy publishes CSRWatch.com, a site that attacks the corporate social responsibility movement. [Mother Jones, May 2005, accessed via Nexis]
Milloy Denied Health Risks Of Secondhand Smoke While Taking Money From Tobacco Industry. From a February 2006 report by Paul Thacker in The New Republic:
Milloy has been affiliated with FoxNews.com since July 2000. On March 9, 2001, he wrote a column for the website headlined "secondhand smokescreen." The piece attacked a study by researcher Stephen Hecht, who found that women living with smokers had higher levels of chemicals associated with risk of lung cancer. "If spin were science, Hecht would win a Nobel Prize," Milloy wrote. For good measure, he heaped scorn on a 1993 Environmental Protection Agency report that also linked health risks and secondhand smoke. Later that spring, he authored another smoking-related piece for FoxNews.com. In that one, he cast aside two decades of research on the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke and concluded, "Secondhand smoke is annoying to many nonsmokers. That is the essence of the controversy and where the debate should lie--the rights of smokers to smoke in public places versus the rights of nonsmokers to be free of tobacco smoke." You might chalk it up to Milloy's contrarian nature. Or to his libertarian tendencies. Except, all the while, he was on the payroll of big tobacco. According to Lisa Gonzalez, manager of external communications for Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, Milloy was under contract there through the end of last year. "In 2000 and 2001, some of the work he did was to monitor studies, and then we would distribute this information within to our different companies," Gonzalez said. Although she couldn't comment on fees paid to Milloy, a January 2001 Philip Morris budget report lists Milloy as a consultant and shows that he was budgeted for $92,500 in fees and expenses in both 2000 and 2001. Asked about Milloy's tobacco ties, Paul Schur, director of media relations for Fox News, said, "Fox News is unaware of Milloy's connection with Philip Morris. Any affiliation he had should have been disclosed." Milloy could not be reached for comment.
Yet it's all in the public record. The University of California at San Francisco maintains a database of seven million tobacco industry documents made public as part of the 1998 settlement between tobacco companies and state attorneys general. According to those documents, Milloy's relationship to big tobacco goes back at least to March 1997, when he took over as executive director of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), a front group established in 1993 by Philip Morris and PR firm APCO Associates "to expand and assist Philip Morris in its efforts with issues in targeted states." (Fumento was on the organization's advisory board.) Under Milloy, TASSC sought to debunk a range of scientific theories that ran counter to the conservative viewpoint, from the dangers of breast implants to the need for stricter clean air standards. Philip Morris remained heavily invested in these efforts. A 1997 Philip Morris budget report includes a line item granting TASSC $200,000. As executive director, Milloy also reached out to other allies within the industry. For instance, in September 1997, he sent a letter to Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation soliciting $50,000: "The grant will be used to further TASSC's efforts to educate the public, media and policymakers on priorities in public health," he wrote.
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition is now defunct. But one of Milloy's nonprofits has the same acronym and a remarkably similar name: The Advancement of Sound Science Center. His Free Enterprise Action Institute also has tobacco links, with Thomas Borelli--a longtime Philip Morris executive--serving as its secretary. [The New Republic, 2/6/06, accessed via Nexis]
Milloy's JunkScience.com Targets CEOs Who Have Pushed For Government Action On Climate Change. Congressional Quarterly reported in October 2009:
During the G-20 summit of major industrialized countries last month in Pittsburgh, JunkScience.com protestors wore sandwich boards featuring a wanted poster of Klaus Kleinfeld, chief executive of aluminum company Alcoa Inc., calling him a "carbon villain" for participating in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a lobbying group set up by major companies to push for climate change legislation that would include a cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon emissions. The conservative activists contend that such a system would devastate the economy.
Junkscience.com has run advertisements on the Drudge Report Web site featuring similar wanted posters of other CEOs, including John Rowe of Exelon and Jim Rogers of Duke Energy Corp., whose companies are in the Climate Action Partnership. [Congressional Quarterly, 10/17/09, accessed via Nexis]
Milloy Founded Mutual Fund That Fought Against Corporate Responsibility Efforts. Daniel Gross reported in 2006 on Milloy's Free Enterprise Action Fund:
Since opening for business in March 2005, the fund has bought very small stakes in nearly 400 different companies and used these tiny holdings to take their fight to the business establishment. The fund has zinged the Business Roundtable for insufficient vigilance in "defending capitalism and free enterprise against efforts in Congress to confiscate business earnings and shareholder assets." Last December, it challenged Microsoft to "reverse its recently announced plan to stop using PVC plastic as a packaging material." (Here's Microsoft's announcement.) In March it told General Electric that while the fund is all for GE's "Ecomagination" initiative, the company shouldn't put itself on the record in favor of government regulations of emissions. In March, Milloy, Borelli, and a colleague made a spectacle at the annual meeting of Goldman Sachs. (They're angered that CEO Henry Paulson is a tree-hugger, and that Goldman had given land in Chile to a conservancy group.)
The 2005 annual report notes that the fund filed resolutions asking Johnson & Johnson, among others, to report on the impact "of the flat tax as discussed in 'Flat Tax Revolution: Using a Postcard to Abolish the IRS' by Steve Forbes." It also initiated action on "an effort by the New York Times to investigate the adoption of children by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts." Huh? Your guess is as good as mine. After agreeing to an interview with me, Milloy didn't return several messages. [Slate, 5/4/06]