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.
In February, a spokeswoman for the newly formed pro-Inslee super PAC, Act Now On Climate, said Steyer “would be our first call” to ask for donations if Inslee entered the race. He announced his candidacy March 1. But the money never arrived...On Tuesday, Steyer scrapped any idea he’d rescue Inslee’s struggling campaign, saying he’s running for the Democratic nomination after all — and will spend $100 million on his own candidacy.
Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democrats, criticized Steyer’s announcement on Twitter, urging him to reconsider how he’d spend his money. She compared his candidacy to the presidential aspirations of another billionaire, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.“$100M would give SUCH a boost to every State Party in the country, allowing us to win up & down the ballot & invest in our organizers and volunteers. Invest in OUR people and THEIR power … not this bid. Please don’t Schultz it up!,” Podlodowski wrote on Twitter.
Time Magazine ‘Hero of the Environment’ Michael Shellenberger on Tom Styer: "Head of Sierra Club calls billionaire fossil fuel magnate turned megalomaniacal Democratic presidential candidate 'another climate champ.' Not the Onion, sadly.
NYT: Over the past 15 years, Mr. Steyer’s fund, Farallon Capital Management, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China, records and interviews show. The expected life span of those facilities, some of which may run through 2030, could cloud Mr. Steyer’s image as an environmental savior and the credibility of his clean-energy message, which has won him access to the highest levels of American government. Together, those mines have increased their annual production by about 70 million tons since they received money from the hedge fund, according to corporate records, government data and interviews with industry experts...
That is more than the amount of coal consumed annually by Britain. “I am disappointed, I have to say,” said Dale Jamieson, a professor of environmental studies at New York University, who said he admired Mr. Steyer’s campaign to curb climate change. When it comes to large-scale investments in coal, Professor Jamieson said, “you can’t undo what you’ve done in the past.”