At the center of the corruption of climate science discussed here a highly technical scenario of the future (called Representation Concentration Pathway 8.5 or RCP8.5). Over the past decade this particular scenario has moved from an extreme outlier to the center of climate policy discussions.
According to the New York Times, in November 2012, one month after stepping down from the hedge fund he led, Steyer gathered environmental leaders and Democratic party leaders around the kitchen table at his ranch in Pescadero, California. Among those in attendance were Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, and John Podesta, who had founded the Center for American Progress (CAP) in 2003 to promote progressive causes.
Each of Steyer, Bloomberg and Paulson contributed $500,000 to the initial project, which was focused on “making the climate threat feel real, immediate and potentially devastating to the business world.”
For instance, soon after the initial Risky Business report was released in 2014 the Steyer-Bloomberg-Paulson funded work was the basis for 11 talks at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, which is the largest annual gathering of climate researchers. The next step was to get the analyses of the project published in the scientific literature where they could influence subsequent research and serve as the basis for authoritative scientific reviews, such as the U.S. National Climate Assessment. For instance, a 2016 paper published in the prestigious journal Science from the Risky Business project introduced the erroneous notion of moving from one RCP scenario to another via policy, comparing “business as usual” (RCP 8.5) and “strongest emissions mitigation” (RCP 2.6). That paper has subsequently been cited 294 times in other academic studies, according to Google Scholar. Despite the obvious methodological flaw, the paper passed peer review and has received little or no criticism.
Let me be clear about what is going on here. There is no hidden conspiracy, all of this is taking place in plain sight and in public. In fact, what is going on here is absolutely genius. We have a well-funded effort to fundamentally change how climate science is characterized in the academic literature, how that science is reported in the media, and ultimately how political discussions and policy options are shaped.
The corruption of climate science has occurred because some of our most important institutions have let us down. The scientific peer-review process has failed to catch obvious methodological errors in research papers. Leading scientific assessments have ignored conflicts of interest and adopted flawed methods. The media has been selectively incurious as to the impact of big money on climate advocacy.
Under the spending deal approved shortly before Congress took its holiday break, the investment tax credit, which reimburses 30 percent of the cost of new solar systems, will begin winding down next month, dropping to 10 percent for most companies by 2022. The energy production tax credit, which gives wind power generators roughly two cent per kilowatt boost, will follow in 2021, decreasing steadily until eventually hitting zero in 2025. In the short term, analysts forecast that both technologies will see surges in installations, as residents and developers seek to take advantage of the tax credits while they can. In 2017, wind and solar developers received $11.6 billion in credits, according to the independent Congressional Research Service. But once the credits hit their designated ends, that growth is expected to slow.
Last week, the state of Alaska struck back. Specifically, it struck back against Goldman Sachs and the green ideology that is galloping through America’s boardrooms and now, apparently, its investment banks. Goldman Sachs had announced that it would no longer underwrite Arctic drilling operations. “We will decline any financing transaction that directly supports new upstream Arctic oil exploration or development,” the firm said in a statement. “This includes but is not limited to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”In return, Alaska’s Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, announced the state had removed Goldman from one contract to pay oil and gas drillers, and that he would re-examine the state’s willingness to do business with the investment bank at all.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering issuing an executive order that would make it easier for everyone to access publicly funded research. According to E&E News, the White House is considering mandating, via executive order, that all federally funded research be immediately available to the public upon publication. Currently, a lot of federally funded research is kept behind a paywall for one year before it becomes public. The executive order would reportedly mandate eliminating that paywall period...
But if what’s reported is broadly true, this could be a big win for a movement known as Open Science, which has complained that for too long, taxpayer-funded research has been locked behind expensive paywalls, keeping it out of reach for the people who paid for it...
Publishers, however, are not pleased. On Wednesday, more than 125 scientific publishers of scientific journals (including the behemoth Elsevier, as well as Wiley) and large scientific organizations (like the Association for Psychological Science and the American Geophysical Union, which also publish journals) co-signed a letter condemning the potential executive order. Other notable signatories include the American Heart Association and the publisher of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the letter, they write that the executive order would “would jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals” and that the move would “effectively nationalize the valuable American intellectual property that we produce and force us to give it away to the rest of the world for free.”
UN: Mothers Out Front combines the fierce determination of mothers fighting for their children’s future with the discipline of a proven organizing framework developed over decades of social movement-building, taught at the Harvard Kennedy School by veteran organizer Marshall Ganz. Mothers Out Front empowers mothers of all backgrounds to step into leadership roles by providing the structure, training and tools they need to come together in community-based teams, build power and win campaigns.