Healthy skepticism, it is said, is the prerequisite of an open mind. Ill-informed opinion can lead to premature and distorted viewpoints. Not only should we expect some scientists to disagree with the bulk of their fellows over the issue of global warming, but we must acknowledge that such disagreement is important to the final analysis.
However, when scientists start offering large sums of money to their colleagues, in exchange for finding flaws and loopholes in the work of others, we must view the cause with suspicion. It is hardly a scientific approach.
Take this gentleman, for example:
His name is Kenneth Green.
He is presently listed as “a visiting scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute, an ExxonMobil-funded lobby group closely allied to the Bush administration.
According to the British Guardian newspaper, Kenneth Green has sent out letters to scientists and economists offering $10,000 to anyone undermining the latest IPCC report that was published last Friday.
Of course, as “a visiting scholar”, Kenneth Green may have no connection with the oil industry, or big business in general. A glimpse into his background says otherwise.
According to AEI’s own website, from 1994 – 2002, Green was Chief Scientist, Director of Environmental Program, at the Reason Foundation. That institution describes itself as “…….a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization completely supported by voluntary contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and the sale of our publications.”
A major “voluntary contributer” to the Reason Foundation was ExxonMobil. While at the Reason Foundation, Green was a signatory to this letter written in 2002 to George W Bush, in which representatives of right-wing organizations praise Bush’s decision not to ratify the Kyoto agreement and note his “……principled opposition to Kyoto has come at considerable political cost, and we admire your resolution in the face of continuing environmental alarmism.”
After calling the Clinton-Gore Administration’s “Climate Action Report 2002” a “…….compilation and summary of junk science produced by the Clinton-Gore Administration in order to support their Kyoto agenda.” the letter finishes with the following request:
“……..pursuing your global warming and energy policies effectively will not be possible as long as key members of your administration do not fully support your policies. We therefore also urge you to dismiss or re-assign all administration employees who are not pursuing your agenda, just as you have done in several similar instances.”
After his stint at Reason, or at least, the establishment of that name, Green moved to a position as Director of the Centre for Studies in Risk, Regulation, and Environment, at the Fraser Institute, another “charitable” institution, this time in Canada.
The Fraser Institute is yet another right-wing establishment conveniently and of course “voluntarily” funded by big business. The drug mammoth, Pfizer, has a stake, as do the big oil and gas companies. No doubt the name ExxonMobil is not too far away.
Bringing us up-to-date on Mister Kenneth Green, we find that he left the Fraser Institute in 2005 to become Executive Director of the Environmental Literacy Council. The Council is, according to their website, “……dedicated to helping citizens, especially young people, participate wisely in this arena. An independent, non-profit organization, the Council gives teachers the tools to help students develop environmental literacy: a fundamental understanding of the systems of the world, both living and non-living, along with the analytical skills needed to weigh scientific evidence and policy choices”.
Well, what could be nicer! But, an “independent, non-profit organization”? Where have we heard that before?
According to “Media Transparency”, the ELC gets the bulk of its funding from the Sarah Scaife Foundation – a bi-product of the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune (The Gulf Oil Company, to be precise) and the Earhart Foundation, started by Harry B. Earhart in 1929 with the fortune he made with White Star Oil Company. White Star was eventually bought out, and much later became part of – would you believe? – ExxonMobil. It’s all HERE, if you care to thrash through it.
Oh, and surprise! Surprise! – the Earhart Foundation is a major contributer to none other than – the American Enterprise Institute.
The wheel spins full circle.
Interestingly, when researching all these so-called “think-tanks”, apart from their links to the oil industry, one other common denominator surfaces. They are the domains of rich, Libertarian right-wingers who have no time for government and worship their version of the “free market”. Except, there is little “free” about their markets. Price gouging and price fixing are the order of the day. People like Kenneth Green may be relatively small pawns in this powerful political machine, but the aggregation of wealth and its attendant power are their sole ambitions.
Their aim is the disillusion of government, or distilling it to such a degree it becomes a puppet to their demands. George W Bush’s illogical stand against global warming; his refusal to frame legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions, is evidence of their success.
Kenneth Green and his like want to rule the planet, and it seems they won’t allow anything to stand in their way.
Not even the planet itself.
Filed under: Height of arrogance