Sallie Baliunas is an astrophysicist who arges that sun spots cause global warming rather than greenhouse gas emissions. She has previously played an active role in downplaying the problem of ozone depletion. In her 1994 book The Ozone Crisis, which she wrote for the George Marshall Institute when she was chair of their Scientific Advisory Board, she stated:
Reference: Kert Davies, 'Revealed: Exxon Secret Funding of Global Warming Junk Scientists', ExxonSecrets, 25 May 2009.
Scientific findings do not support an immediate ban on CFCs. Both global and Arctic measurements point to natural factors as the main cause of recent ozone fluctuations. Ozone levels change primarily as a result of natural factors such as ultraviolet output of the sun, oscillation of upper stratosphere winds and El Nino conditions. It appears that ozone levels in the Arctic experienced wide variations before the buildup of CFCs in the atmosphere.
Willie Soon is also an astrophysicist who argues that global warming is caused by solar variation.
In 2002 Soon and Baliunas published an article in a small journal, Climate Research. The article, which argued that the climate in the 20th century was not the warmest in the last ten centuries, was the outcome of a study that had received US$53,000 from the American Petroleum Institute. Soon and Baliunas were also being paid at the time as senior scientists with the ExxonMobil-funded George T. Marshall Institute. The article itself was promoted widely by the many corporate funded front groups and think tanks.
After the article was published 13 of the scientists cited in it claimed that their work had been misinterpreted by Soon and Baliunas. Subsequently half of the journal’s editorial board resigned to protest the peer review process that had allowed such a flawed article to be published.
Baliunas has worked with many climate change denying front groups, including the Global Climate Coaliton, the Greening Earth Society, the American Council on Science and Health and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, as well as a variety of corporate-funded think tanks, most especially the George Marshall Institute where she is not only chair of their Science advisory committee but also was a member of the board. (see table below and diagram). She has been a contributing editor for the denial journal, World Climate Report, originally funded by Western Fuels Association and now published by Patrick Michael's firm New Hope Environmental Services.
Soon has also been a scientific advisor to several of the think tanks and front groups funded by the fossil fuel industry (see table below and diagram), including the Greening Earth Society, The Cooler Heads Coalition, the Centre for Science and Public Policy – a project of the ExxonMobil-funded right-wing think tank, the Frontiers of Freedom, and the Science and Public Policy Institute, which has the same president and address ans the Centre for Science and Public Policy. He has also been a contributing editor for World Climate Report.
|Affiliation With ExxonMobil-Funded Organizations||Title/Role|
|Annapolis Center for Science Based Public Policy||Science and Economic Advisory Council Member|
|Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow||Scientific Advisory Board Member|
|Competitive Enterprise Institute||Report Author|
|George C. Marshall Institute||Senior Scientist and Chair of Science Advisory Board|
|Hoover Institution||Robert Wesson Endowment Fund Fellow (1993-4)|
|Tech Central Station||Science Round Table Member|
|Fraser Institute||Featured Expert|
|Frontiers of Freedom||Chief Scientific Researcher, Center for Science and Public Policy|
|George C. Marshall Institute||Senior Scientist|
|Tech Central Station||former Science Director, Science Round Table Member|
These associations and funding sources don’t mean that Baliunas and Soon are wrong. However, more independent scientists dismiss solar variation and sunspots as a factor in global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which draws on the expertise of 2500 climate scientists, has examined the data on solar variation and sun spots and taken it into account when concluding that humans are having a discernable impact on the climate likely to cause “widespread economic, social and environmental dislocation over the next century.”
The ExxonMobil 2008 World Giving Report shows that ExxonMobil donated $76,106 that year to the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory where Baliunas and Soon work. Many of the groups they are associated with receive corporate funds (the ExxonMobil-funded groups are noted in the table above). Their book Lessons and Limits of Climate Change, published by the George Marshall Institute, was based on a study funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API).
Similarly Soon and Baliunas co-authored, with other climate deniers, a 2007 article concluding that polar bears were not suffereing from global warming that was funded by Exxon Mobil, Charlles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the API. This article was widely distributed and cited by corporate-funded groups. Brad Miller, Chair of the US House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight legitimately asked why ExxonMobil funded an astrophysicist like Soon to write about the impacts of global warming on polar bears:
The Congress and the Public have a right to know why ExxonMobil is funding a scientist whose writing is outside his area of expertise to create the impression that expert scientists have conducted vigorous, peer reviewed work that says the problems with polar bears [and climate change] are unproven or unserious.