It is with a heavy heart that we at CFACT share sad news with you today.
Dr. S. Fred Singer, a giant in the field of science and a good CFACT friend, passed away quietly yesterday at the age of 95.
His loss will be deeply felt not just by myself and those of us at CFACT, but by all of our friends and allies engaged in the cause of promoting sound science and liberty.
Dr. Singer’s accomplishments are truly legendary, but his life wasn’t always easy. Born to a Jewish family in Austria in 1924, Fred had to escape with his life as a young boy to England when Adolf Hitler invaded the country in 1938. During the war, he immigrated to the U.S. where he assisted the U.S. Navy, later obtaining a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1947. From there his years were to be marked by a number of high achievements.
Among these would include serving in the U.S. Embassy in London as a scientific liaison officer (1950-53), serving as one of 12 members of the American Astronautical Society of the nation’s top 300 scientists (1954-56), director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Maryland (1953–62); first director of the National Weather Satellite Service (1962–64); founding dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences, University of Miami (1964–67); deputy assistant secretary for water quality and research, U.S. Department of the Interior (1967– 70); deputy assistant administrator for policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1970–71); vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Oceans and Atmosphere (NACOA) (1981–86); and chief scientist, U.S. Department of Transportation (1987– 89).
Dr. Singer was also published over 200 times in leading scientific journals, and even received a White House Special Commendation award by President Eisenhower in 1954 for his work.
Yes, he was a remarkable man. But he was also a humble man.
When David Rothbard and I met him in the late 1980’s, Fred was already becoming controversial for his outspoken criticism of many far-Left Green crusades. I recall sharing the podium with him at a “food irradiation” press briefing in Washington in 1988. He and I were on the same side, naturally, supporting the technology (though to this day it has not actually been realized). After that briefing, David and I got together with him and began to get to know him better through infrequent lunches and meetings that took place near his office in Fairfax, Virginia.
During those get-togethers, Fred would often express his concern that “junk science” in the name of environmentalism was infiltrating his field of science. This was a great concern for him – as it was for us. A bond was formed. For the remainder of his life, Fred would commit himself to fighting back to protect his cherished profession from those who would soil it for political purposes. He invited us to take part in his campaign.
Like two hobbits commissioned by Gandalf, we eagerly accepted the quest.
1n 1990, Fred established the Science and Environmental Energy Project (SEPP). This was to become his baby to push back against climate alarmism. We at CFACT worked closely with SEPP many times through the years, sharing many adventures.
- In 2001, Fred helped us organize a student protest against the Kyoto treaty right in Bonn, Germany at COP 3. This event, which brought 50 students from around the nation together, garnered huge media and led to the creation of CFACT’s Collegians program on American campuses.
- In 2003, Fred helped us organize another briefing, this time in the Austrian parliament to challenge climate alarmism. He also took us around his hometown and showed us the sites!
- In 2009, Fred worked with CFACT to conduct a series of briefings in Germany, Denmark and the EU parliament to try and convince European leaders to avoid recrafting a Kyoto II agreement. Again, a big media hit.
- In 2015, Fred flew over to attend the “red carpet” premier of Climate Hustle in Paris, France — an event that also received much media attention and was even protested by climate activists.
Our last joint project of sorts was when Marc Morano and I presented Dr. Singer with CFACT’s “Dauntless Purveyor of Climate Truth” lifetime achievement award in 2018. Despite all his accomplishments, he seemed actually touched by this humble acknowledgement on our part to try and say “thank you” for all he has done. When we saw him at his 95th birthday party this past October, he still had it placed near his bed at his care center in Maryland. We were touched.
So how can one sum up our deep respect and feelings toward this man who was an incredible inspiration and kind friend? Not easily. He was a person that almost defies words. We could say that he was warm, good humored, kind, and spunky … but he was also deeply intelligent and wise. He would no doubt want us to carry on his fight, and that we intend to do.
Thank you, Fred, for the leadership, inspiration and courage you’ve given our freedom movement. But thank you even more for the memories we’ve shared and the adventures we’ve had through the years working together.
Rest in peace, dear Gandalf.