Monckton ridicules allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ against Dr. Willie Soon
Special to Climate Depot
Dr Zhang Li, Editor, Science Bulletin
29 January 2015
Dear Dr Zhang Li,
I have had your letter asking about Dr Soon’s alleged “conflict of interest”. I had already written to Rui An.
Dr Soon, like all eminent scientists, has in the past received various grants from several governmental and non-governmental agencies. The rule at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, as it is at most other such institutions, is that every grant received must be for a specific purpose – usually a named research project. Furthermore, every grant received must be not only disclosed to the institution but also approved by it, and the purpose for which it is to be used must also be approved.
Dr Soon is traveling at present, but he has told me that every grant received by him, and every project for which that grant was given and to which it was applied, was approved by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr Soon did not receive any grant or other payment for the researching and writing of our paper, which, like all of us, he researched and wrote in his own time.
As for Dr Legates, he is paid a salary to study hydroclimatology and other geographical matters at the University of Delaware, and this interest is by custom declared simply by identifying him as a member of the University, which we did. He, too, received no grant or other payment of any kind for the researching or writing of our paper, and did the work in his own time. As for Matt Briggs, he is a statistician in private practice. He, too, received no grant or other payment of any kind for the researching or writing of our paper and did the work in his own time. As for me, I am long retired on grounds of ill health and nobody pays me anything for any of my work on climate change. I have received no grant or payment of any kind for the researching or writing of our paper, which I did in my own time.
The only sum we received – and only then after the paper had been published – was to meet the costly open-access fee. We declared that we had received assistance with that fee at the earliest possible moment – namely, in the draft press release we sent to you.
The organization at whose instigation you received the letter of complaint about Dr Soon is a Greenpeace front group. Several of the scientists who contributed to the IPCC’s Assessment Reports were paid by Greenpeace. None of them, as far as we can discover, declared these payments. In at least four countries – Canada, Russia, India and Peru – Greenpeace has been censured or acted against by the public authorities for causing environmental damage, for financial irregularities, or for undisclosed or questionable funding of its once charitable but now rankly political activities.
As you may know, there is a very large and well-funded politico-environmental movement in the West, of which Greenpeace is a part. I dined with the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, in Melbourne late last year. He told me Greenpeace is now no longer pursuing an environmental but a political agenda, and an unpleasant and dangerous one. He is no longer involved with Greenpeace. The intention of those who complained to you is to discourage you from accepting further papers either from us or from any who question whether the effect of Man on the climate will be as severe as the environmental extremists wish us to believe. I know you will resist that improper pressure and continue – as you did this time – to consider submitted papers on their merits.
With all good wishes,
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley