Some of the bastards responsible for subverting public understanding of climate change
BY MICHAEL RODDY & IAN MURPHY
THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IS PRETTY BASIC: humans dig up fossilized carbon to fuel power plants and internal combustion machines, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. Result: greenhouse effect global heating. Around 50% of all the species on the planet are predicted to become extinct by 2100 in the CO2-as-usual model. Our own species will face drought, famine, rising tides, soaring temperatures, calamity and chaos. Hundreds of millions will become climate refugees. Billions may die from starvation, genocide and war. We have precious little time to mitigate this looming global catastrophe.
Those of us still denying the depressing facts are either tragically stupid or profoundly corrupt or both. If there’s anyone alive to write the history of corporate funded climate science denial, the following list of 14 Heinous Climate Villains will, by the sheer magnitude of death their lies wrought, make the infamous dictatorial monsters of the 20th century seem like incompetent children. Enjoy!
Misdeeds: According to the EPA, Massey’s mountaintop removal coal operation is filthier than a Tiger Woods text. When a West Virginia Circuit Court fined the energy giant $50 million, it wasn’t a problem for Blankenship, because he owns the West Virginia Supreme Court. A few years earlier, he’d polluted the airwaves with $3 million in accusations that an incumbent State Supreme Court justice released sexual deviants, so that his man Brent Benjamin could be elected. The Massey-friendly court promptly heard the case and reversed the lower court’s ruling. A few months later, Blankenship was caught partying in Monte Carlo with two bimbos and Ted Maynard, another sympathetic justice. Last summer, Don held a nightmarish pro-coal rally on a leveled mountaintop with fellow retards Sean Hannity and Ted “Suck my machine gun, Obama” Nugent.
Corporate teat: Massey Energy is the fourth largest coal company in the US.
Most egregious lie: “The Greeniacs are taking over the world.”
Comeuppance: The Greeniacs do take over the world, and use Blankenship to fertilize a rooftop garden.
2) George Will, Columnist
Misdeeds: The errors Will has committed to print over the years are both more numerous and irresponsible than his bow tie collection, for which he also feels no remorse. He claimed in a February 2009 Washington Post column that “According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.” The Center responded: “We do not know where George Will is getting his information… global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979.”
Corporate teats: The Republican Party, a catchall for corporate polluters, his wife, rapacious swine in general, and anyone who cites Ronald Reagan to justify his massive carbon footprint.
Most egregious lie: “So the column accurately reported what the Center had reported.” Incredibly, the Post backed him up.
Comeuppance: Locked in a large freezer, strapped to a chair directly under a ten-foot icicle and made to write a column. The room’s climate is controlled by a computer program, which checks his column for scientific veracity. The temperature goes down when Will’s right and up when he’s wrong. He either freezes to death or the icicle falls and splits his head open. It’s up to him.
3) James Inhofe, Senator from Oklahoma
Misdeeds: Inhofe thinks that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind,” yet somehow served as the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee from ’03 to ’07. Once called Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton to testify as a key witness. Believes that “scientific consensus” on climate change is a conspiracy perpetrated by greedy scientists to score grant money. Went to Copenhagen as the leader of the Climate Truth Squad, earning big laughs from overseas reporters. Lifetime recipient of Twelve Dumbest Members of Congress award.
Corporate teats: Seven figures from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips and anyone willing to pay for his “campaign expenses.”
Most egregious lie: “You know, God’s still up there. We’re now going through a cooling spell.”
Comeuppance: Locked in an outhouse and set on fire.
Misdeeds: Founder of the aptly named junkscience.com and featured “junk science expert” on Fox News, Milloy believes science favoring tobacco or oil companies is “sound science,” and the peer-reviewed stuff coming from nerds in lab coats is “junk science.” Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts and a law degree; you almost have to admire his chutzpah.
Corporate teats: Fox News, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Phillip Morris, Exxon Mobil and Monsanto.
Most egregious lie: “It’s time for sound science and common sense to be heard.”
Comeuppance: Forced to smoke 100 petroleum-dipped cigarettes by his mommy.
5) Fred Singer, University of Virginia
Misdeeds: For the last 60 years, Singer’s pimped his PhD credentials to any and every industry in need of phony science. He’s slithered seamlessly from denying that smoking causes cancer to saying that DDT is harmless to “raising questions about and undercutting the ‘prevailing scientific wisdom’” of climate change. Glacier data he later attributed to his wife was denounced as “complete bullshit” by the Glacier Monitoring Service.
Corporate teats: Exxon Mobil, Shell, Sun Oil, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute and the Heartland Institute.
Most egregious lie: “55% of glaciers have gained mass in the last 30 years.”
Comeuppance: While addressing yet another denier conference in 2012, the pressure created by an undetected tumor in Singer’s brain triggers an anomalous episode of schizophasia, causing his entire speech to spew forth as an incoherent word salad. Instead of the audience stopping Singer and urging him to seek the immediate medical attention he so obviously needs, they offer him a thunderous standing ovation and an invitation to speak again next year.
6) Myron Ebell, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Misdeeds: As head of CEI, Myron admits using the money his organization solicited from the DDT, cigarette and coal industries to conduct intentionally biased research that suits their bullshit PR goals.
Corporate teats: Exxon Mobil, BP, Massey, Chevron and Southern.
Most egregious lie: “CO2 increases will lead to more plant growth and prosperity. Everyone will be more comfortable, including humans.”
Comeuppance: Forced to live in a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert to prepare for a warming world. The Chieftain assigns Ebell to be the wife of his favorite camel. The camel defiles him, kicks in his teeth, spits in his face and then seeks an annulment.
7) Patrick Michaels, Cato
Misdeeds: As a Senior Fellow at The Cato Institute and the Chief Editor of World Climate Report (an industry PR rag created by the evil coal trade group Western Fuels Association), Michaels is often touted as a climate expert in the mainstream media, though he has done no scientific research in 20 years. He lies about the wonders of “clean coal” so that the coal “families” can survive — you know, if black lung hasn’t killed them already.
Corporate teats: Cato, Western Fuels Association and the Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Science.
Most egregious lie: “It has been known since 1872 that as we emit more and more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, each increment results in less and less warming.” (He apparently forgot about feedback loops.)
Comeuppance: Admits on hidden camera that there is no such thing as “clean coal” when we secretly replace his maid’s cleaning supplies with coal; contracts black lung disease.
Misdeeds: As an astrophysicist and ruthless GOP housewife lookalike, Baliunas lends both credibility and aesthetic reassurance to the denier movement. Claimed in a 2003 paper that “The Medieval Warming Period was hotter than today.” (Actually, it’s hotter today than it’s been for 130,000 years.) Her article in Climate Research was so riddled with errors, and so subverted the peer review process, the editor and half of the journal’s editorial board resigned. This led to celebrity status in the denier world, where if research is published that makes top scientists throw up, it must be accurate.
Corporate teats: George C. Marshall Institute, Exxon, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute and any far right group that needs a convention speaker who isn’t senile and doesn’t spit while talking.
Most egregious lie: “If scientists and researchers were coming out releasing reports that global warming has little to do with man, and more to do with just how the planet works, there wouldn’t be as much money to study it.”
Comeuppance: Made to “Wango Tango” with Ted Nugent for life.
9) Stephen McIntyre, Mathematician
Misdeeds: Despite having no training or field experience in climate science, McIntyre runs the blog ClimateAudit.org, whose mission is to use arcane statistical analyses to break the “hockey stick” reconstruction of historical climate patterns. He recently claimed victory over the Briffa tree ring data controversy, but failed to note that there are at least 15 studies that don’t need tree ring data to show the identical late 20th century hockey stick shape of rising temperatures and CO2 concentrations.
Corporate teats: McIntyre lives in tar sands besotted Canada as a “semiretired minerals consultant,” and served as President of Northwest Exploration Co Ltd before they became CGX Energy, Inc. His funding sources are hidden, since the Canadian government is legally somewhere between Texas and Saudi Arabia, and transparency is not required.
Most egregious lie: “I constructed a variation on the CRU data set, removing the 12 selected cores and replacing them with the 34 cores from the Schweingruber Yamal sample….” The echo chamber goes wild, but neither they nor McIntyre himself have any idea what he’s talking about, since Climate Audit is all about masturbating to numbers. Even Briffa’s tree ring work was later vindicated by something McIntyre never considered: further scientific research.
Comeuppance: Sent to the Maldives, given cement shoes and used to mark the rising tide.
10) Marc Morano, Professional Douchebag
Misdeeds: Morano is possibly the most embarrassing wingnut in all of Denierdom—a dishonor earned as an Inhofe staffer and producer for the Rush Limbaugh Show. Reporting for Cybercast News Service, he was the first source of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lies about John Kerry in 2004 and John Murtha in 2006. It’s no surprise that his blog (climatedepot.com) is primarily a vehicle for lies, smears and character assassination aimed at credible climate scientists.
Corporate teats: Oil and coal companies, usually laundered through think tanks such as Cato, CEI, etc.
Most egregious lie: “We can’t afford action against climate change. It would damage our economy.”
Comeuppance: Sent to terraform Mars—without sufficient tools, food or oxygen.
11) Professor Roy Spencer, University of Alabama at Huntsville
Misdeeds: Professor Spencer is skeptical of widely accepted Paleoclimate data, like the kind provided by 800,000 year old ice cores, because he believes God created the earth and sculpted man out of clay approximately 6,000 years ago. Even you can do better, Alabama.
Corporate teats: Heartland Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, Republican Party, numerous lobbying firms and NASA. (Really? This idiot works at NASA? We’re fucking doomed.)
Most egregious lie: Spencer coauthored a roundly debunked scientific paper with fellow denier John Christie that “proved” the troposphere (the lowest part of the atmosphere) was cooling, despite satellite data to the contrary. Spencer apologized for the error, but the incident added to his legendary status among deniers.
Comeuppance: The magical harp that Jesus gives him during the Rapture only plays “Wango Tango.”
Misdeeds: The professor’s predilection for citing bad data to try to refute widely accepted climate science is a black eye for the state of Massachusetts and research institutes everywhere. Lindzen thinks global warming is basically a “political” issue, and yet has not provided compelling scientific evidence for his contrarian views. When not writing comedy for his peers or the Wall Street Journal, Lindzen plays keynote speaker for any loony tune denial fest that will have him. Claims that water vapor is the main cause of global warming.
Corporate teats: Heartland Institute, Cato Institute and the Annapolis Center, a think tank funded by ExxonMobil.
Most egregious lie: “Global warming has been merely a device for implementing broader agendas.”
Comeuppance: Locked in a very hot sauna with a running automobile.
13) Bjørn Lomborg, Economist
Misdeeds: A serial liar, whose books have spawned a cottage industry for scientists who debunk them, Lomborg reluctantly admits that the earth is getting hotter, but insists that we’ll like the warmer weather. He has opinions about many scientific issues, but is trained only in economics and game theory. His love of numbers and arguments does not extend to facts.
Corporate teats: Denier conference speaking fees, book sales and Lord Monckton knows what else.
Most egregious lie: “The Kangerlussuaq glacier is inconveniently growing.” (Actually, this glacier lost 55 billion tons of ice from 2000 to 2006 alone, and loses several gigatons of ice annually.)
Comeuppance: Dropped into the Sahara to do penance among climate refugees. Lomborg’s Danish skin can’t take the sun, so he’s buried entirely in sand, save for a mouth hole. Incoherent shit streams continuously from the hole, so the natives assume it’s a latrine.
Misdeeds: Admired by Glenn Beck. His Lordship’s hysterical condescension and anger flashes are classic examples of dangerous Royal inbreeding. Can be found at all the big denier fests, including Blankenship’s nightmarish blasted mountaintop jamboree. Habitually confabulates his autobiography and fabricates scientific facts. Monckton recently called a gathering of activists in Copenhagen “Hitler Youth.”
Corporate teats: Heartland Institute, SPPI and Frontiers of Freedom—all recipients of oil money.
Most egregious lie: “The right response to the non-problem of global warming is to have the courage to do nothing.”
Comeuppance: Climate refugees storm his castle in 2030 and pillage everything but Monckton’s prized medieval pear of anguish, which he cleverly hides up his own ass. Unable to remove the excruciating device by himself, The Lord checks into the hospital. The doctors are brave enough to do nothing.
CORRECTIONS: This article previously read that Stephen McIntyre lives in Alberta, and that the earth is hotter now than it has been for 400,000 years. McIntyre actually lives in Ontario, and the earth is hotter now than it has been for 130,000 years — give or take. This article was originally titled The 15 Most Heinous Climate Villains, and included Roger Pielke Jr., who was taken off the list, because Murphy’s an idiot. Pielke’s definitely a “Climate Villain,” but we think this fact deserves greater attention than just throwing him back on this list, which no one has read in a while. Seriously, we’re working on it.
Michael Roddy graduated with honors from Berkeley, and has written numerous magazine articles and Congressional testimonies on environmental and construction issues. He currently owns and operates a small hotel energy management company, with offices in Seattle, Napa, and Yucca Valley, California. Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustrations by Ian Murphy