Industry Promotes Skeptical View Of Global Warming
Coxnews.com, June 2, 2003
WASHINGTON -- Nonprofit organizations with ties to energy interests are promoting a controversial climate study as proof that prevailing views of global warming are wrong.
The scientists who authored the new study contend that the global warming of recent decades is not without precedent during the past 1,000 years, as other scientists have claimed. In fact, they say the Earth was even warmer during what is known as the "medieval warm period" between 900 and 1300 A.D.
The paper has touched off a worldwide storm of e-mail among climate scientists, some of whom have proposed organizing a research boycott of two journals that published the study.
The links among authors of the new study, the nonprofit groups and the energy interests illustrate a three-way intersection of money, science and policy. Energy interests underwrote the study and help finance the groups that are promoting it.
The study also illustrates a strategy adopted by some energy companies in the late 1980s to attack the credibility of climate science, said John Topping, president of the Climate Institute.
"They saw early on that what they had to do was keep the science at issue," said Topping, a former Republican congressional staffer who founded the institute in 1987.
By relying on the news media's inclination to include both sides of a story, the industries were able to create the impression that scientists were deeply divided over climate change, Topping said.
"It was all very shrewdly done," he added.