The letter below from Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona speaks to the worst sort of witch hunt tactics that we’ve seen yet. I suspect that pulling on these threads will backfire on Grijalva, as this will motivate a lot of people to join the fight against this sort of “climate McCarthyism” The letter is reproduced in full below, with the original PDF also available. It’s like he’s got Mann’s #kochmachine
Feb. 24, 2015
L. Rafael Reif
President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Dear President Reif:
As Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I have a constitutional duty to protect the public lands, waters and resources of the United States and ensure that taxpayers are able to enjoy them. I write today because of concerns raised in a recent New York Times report and documents I have received that highlight potential conflicts of interest and failure to disclose corporate funding sources in academic climate research. Understanding climate change and its impacts on federal property is an important part of the Committee’s oversight plan.
As you may have heard, the Koch Foundation appears to have funded climate research by Dr. Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, some of which formed the basis of testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the Kansas State Legislature’s House Energy and Environment Committee — funding that was not disclosed at the time. Exxon Mobil, in response to an inquiry from the House Science Committee, may have provided false or misleading information on its funding for Dr. Soon’s work. Southern Services Company funded Dr. Soon’s authorship of several published climate studies; Dr. Soon did not disclose this funding to many of those journals’ publishers or editors.
If true, these may not be isolated incidents. Professor Richard Lindzen at your Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences has testified to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on climate change.(1) He has described the scientific community’s concerns as “mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves.”(2). In 2009 he spoke at a conference held by the Heartland Institute,(3) a group funded in part by Altria and by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation that proposed to teach children that climate change is a hoax.(4)
I am hopeful that disclosure of a few key pieces of information will establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations published in your institution’s name and assist me and my colleagues in making better law. Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science. These conflicts should be clear to stakeholders, including policymakers who use scientific information to make decisions.
My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships. Please respond to the following questions and requests for documents. Please ensure your response is in a searchable electronic format and that your reply quotes each question or request followed by the appropriate response. These inquiries refer to activities conducted between Jan. 1,2007, and Jan. 31, 2015.
1. What is MIT’s policy on employee financial disclosure? Please provide a full copy of all applicable policies, including but not limited to those applying to Prof. Lindzen.
2. For those instances already mentioned and others that apply, please provide:
a. all drafts of Prof. Lindzen’s testimony before any government body or agency or that which, to your knowledge, he helped prepare for others;
b. communications regarding testimony preparation.
3. Please provide information on Prof. Lindzen’s sources of external funding. “External funding” refers to consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies given to Prof. Lindzen that did not originate from the institution itself Please include:
a. The source of funding;
b. The amount of funding;
c. The reason for receiving the funding;
d. For grants, a description of the research proposal and copy of the funded grant;
e. Communications regarding the funding.
4. Please provide all financial disclosure forms filed by Prof Lindzen in which MIT is listed as his professional affiliation, even if it is only stated for purposes of identification.
5. Please provide Prof Lindzen’s total annual compensation for each year covered here. Thank you for your attention to this issue. Please provide a full response no later than March 16, 2015. Direct questions to Vic Edgerton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 225-6065.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Ranking Member
House Committee on Natural Resources
The original pdf is here: Grijalva-Richard Lindzen MIT_0