To: Charles R. Alcock, Director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Harvard-Smithsonian: Drop Koch-Funded Climate Denier Wei-Hock Soon
End your association with climate denier Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon, financed by Koch, Exxon, and Southern Company, and stop accepting funding from the fossil-fuel industry.
Why is this important?
The fossil fuel industry's campaign to promote climate denial, led by the Koch brothers, has corrupted Harvard University and the Smithsonian, two of the most trusted scientific institutions in the world.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a joint program of the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University, is harboring a polluter-funded climate denier. Documents uncovered by Greenpeace reveal that Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon has taken money from the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, coal giant Southern Company, and others to produce "deliverables" that push the long-debunked claim that solar activity, not fossil fuel pollution, drives global warming.
The New York Times reports:
"He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work."
Coal giant Southern Company was one of Soon's biggest funders:
"The newly disclosed documents, plus additional documents compiled by Greenpeace over the last four years, show that at least $409,000 of Dr. Soon’s funding in the past decade came from Southern Company Services, a subsidiary of the Southern Company, based in Atlanta. Southern is one of the largest utility holding companies in the country, with huge investments in coal-burning power plants."
Smithsonian-Harvard's contract with Southern Company forbade disclosure of Willie Soon's funding, a clear violation of scientific integrity and ethics.
The Guardian reports:
"ExxonMobil gave $335,000 but stopped funding Soon in 2010, according to the documents. The astrophysicist reportedly received $274,000 from the main oil lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, and $230,000 from the Charles G Koch Foundation. He received an additional $324,000 in anonymous donations through a trust used by the Kochs and other conservative donors, the documents showed."
Some of the Exxon Mobil money was used to directly fund Harvard-Smithsonian general expenses.
Harvard-Smithsonian has no funding-disclosure requirements, nor does it have a conflict-of-interest policy that prevents funding from fossil-fuel companies of climate science research.
Is Harvard-Smithsonian a scientific institution or a fossil-fuel climate-denial public-relations firm?
To restore public trust in the institution, Harvard-Smithsonian director Charles Alcock must:
1) sever his institution's ties with Dr. Wei-Hock Soon
2) end all financial relationships with the fossil fuel industry
3) establish strong financial public disclosure rules for all institute scientists that prevent anonymous or secret funding of research
Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution are two of the most prominent and trusted scientific institutions in the world. They are taking money from Koch and Exxon to promote climate denial. This must end today.
"Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher," The New York Times, February 21, 2015 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html
"Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry", The Guardian, February 21, 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/21/climate-change-denier-willie-soon-funded-energy-industry
"Documents Reveal Fossil Fuel Fingerprints on Contrarian Climate Research",
Inside Climate News, February 21, 2015 http://insideclimatenews.org/news/21022015/documents-reveal-fossil-fuel-fingerprints-contrarian-climate-research-willie-soon-harvard-smithsonian-koch-exxon-southern-company