Dr Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a prominent sceptical climate scientist, was virtually mugged on 22 February last year but he’s only just given his first public account of it. I am publishing this account and a transcription of his address because it cries out for justice.
Greenpeace was the contemptible mastermind, warping the perfect truth into a sham of misconduct and leading numerous ‘news’ organs uncritically to swallow their lies. Leading off with Greenpeace’s criminal libel was the once-venerable New York Times. With the NYT on the ramparts, sundry lickspittle warmists fell over themselves to mindlessly echo what they saw as Greenpeace’s juicy accusations and thunder their outrage at Dr Soon in articles and blog posts around the world.
They included the Washington Post, the Guardian, lots of little climate troublemakers, do-gooders, troughers, would-be despots, and big-money recipients, all too keen to signal their climate virtue and advance their lucrative stake in the climate change fraud to stop and think.
In attacking this honest scientist, Greenpeace didn’t question his methods or conclusions. You might think that surprising, since attacking a scientist has no other target than his science. You find fault with it, so you question it. But they couldn’t, as they hadn’t found errors in his science, because he didn’t make any errors. So all they could do was to claim that he had failed to declare his funding properly, usually a serious blunder for any publishing scientist. But the blunder turned out, monumentally, to be Greenpeace’s, because Willie made no mistakes there, either.
Ironically, cast-iron proof of Willie’s innocence was in the very documents obtained by Greenpeace under FOI requests and intended to impeach him. Because those funding contracts don’t mention Willie Soon, as they are between the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics and the funding body.
On their website, Greenpeace strongly criticises Willie for describing the research reports he provided for these contracts as “deliverables”, as though there was something wrong with that:
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. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress.
But a minute spent examining the contracts shows that’s simply what the Smithsonian refers to. The term ‘deliverables’ has become a perfectly neutral term to describe any output of work.
Willie would talk to ExxonMobil, or Southern Company or Donors Trust or whomever for an amount of funding for a specific project, the Smithsonian would approve the sum and its purpose then itself apply to the funding body for a grant. If approved, the Smithsonian received the funds and passed a portion to Willie for the research. Their contract with Willie required him to declare to the journals that the Smithsonian was the source of the funds, which of course turned it into a legal obligation—Willie was legally constrained from saying anything else.
Greenpeace accused him of accepting:
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.
But it was a bald-faced lie. They held the proof of that lie in their hands even as they issued their poisonous press release.
First, the Smithsonian kept about half of the $1.2 million. Second, accepting funding from oil companies is quite legal. Third, oil and gas make human civilisation healthy, educated and long-lived. Fourth, there was no conflict of interest. Fifth, the Smithsonian itself contractually prohibited Willie from naming the donor.
Indeed, what conflict could there be? Why should Willie be more likely to falsify the results of a study of (say) the sun according to the preferences of an oil company client than another researcher might cast results according to his client Greenpeace’s beliefs? Why does the NYT not challenge Greenpeace researchers on the same grounds of conflict of interest? After all, they openly declare it, saying “Greenpeace funded my research” yet Greenpeace trumpets the results: “A victory for science,” they proclaim.
What flimsy thunder
And this: if Greenpeace and the New York Times truly believe that Willie deliberately skewed his results for his clients, where is their evidence? It should be easy to produce it. Just compare similar studies between researchers funded by different donors and compare the conclusions to judge the influence, if any, of the donor’s beliefs and preferences. How long would it take? Yet, manifestly, they omit this step — what hollow umbrage, what flimsy thunder.
But, of course, the entire show was malevolent innuendo, which doesn’t need evidence. In peddling lies, Greenpeace hoped to destroy Willie’s reputation in a devastating, multi-national campaign that might have broken a lesser man.
The mainstream media were stupid, quite neglecting to check their sources. There were swift rebuttals and defences by sceptics, with some outstanding expressions of support. An essay by Kip Hansen at WUWT caught my eye for the most ferocious brevity under perhaps the longest title I’ve ever seen (an upside-down essay?). Regrettably, none of these made their way onto prime news or into major newspapers — let us again give thanks for the internet.
Willie has since concentrated on his career, but now, for the first time, he gives his account of those unsavoury events, includes hidden details and reveals his inner warrior. Beneath the natural humility of a true scientist his heart is brimming with a cheerful courage.
There’s a summary of these events by Lord Monckton at Watts Up With That and a wonderful, encyclopaedic account by the Heartland Institute with a rich collection of links to videos, articles and papers.
This post was prompted when I found out that Willie Soon appeared a few weeks ago at a conference sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and The Heritage Foundation, on December 8, 2016, in Washington, DC. It brought together national policymakers, leading energy experts and the field’s “most innovative minds” to explore the impact of the national elections on energy and climate policy.
Willie addressed the conference and described the attacks against him. The conference video is available at YouTube, where he comes on precisely one hour (1:00:00) in (if you click this image, that’s where it starts). You can download the transcript here. I recommend you dip in to the Willie Soon portion of the video, as it’s an amusing, moving and spirited account of his troubles.
What does he say? Numbers indicate run-time on the video.
1:00:00 – He’s speaking about these attacks for the first time and he hopes it will be the last, because it’s so uncomfortable. He’s lived under a cloud of intimidation and attempted censorship since 1992.
1:02:16 – He shows a photo just for Greenpeace of an amazing gold-plated toilet, saying this is where “all the secret money” Greenpeace claims he’s been receiving all these years went. Everyone laughs.
1:02:37 – Willie says he will describe three instances of intimidation against him by professional bodies.
First, about his 2003 publication in Climate Research of Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years, he will tell how it caused five editors to resign, how he was hounded to cite certain papers and why he now describes that paper as a “hoax”. (Its science wasn’t a hoax, but its references bypassed attempted coercion.)
Second, how scientific sessions he planned for an AGU conference in 2009 were shut down at the last minute without explanation.
Third, how the PNAS complained in 2015 that Willie had failed to reveal the funding behind a letter he published, insisting it had been funded by oil interests, though it had not been funded by anyone—the letter had been written in a few hours of his own time.
Willie finishes his address with a serious error he and David Legates found in Michael Mann’s work on the hockey stick. In the space of a year, Mann’s graph of global temperature shows a rise of between 10°C and 25°C per century. Material released in ClimateGate helps prove Mann’s culpability in this.
It may well be that the information given here is already in the public domain, but Willie’s account is unique and worth watching. To be fair, and with the greatest respect, his facility with English can be described as patchy. At times beautifully lucid, as he becomes more passionate his syntax tends to break down and it can be difficult to discern his meaning. To clarify those points which remain obscure, we must wait for someone close to these events to describe them for us—and if such a description is already available, please let me know.
Throughout his address, I am impressed with Willie’s honesty, humility and courage, and I publish his story without hesitation. His persecution by these so-called professionals stands condemned by its self-evident stupidity; it is motivated not by a desire for truth, but by perfectly contemptible malice from a bunch of single-minded zealots.
Beside whom, Willie is a wonderfully level-headed unbeliever.