5 May 2015
Ms. Marge Dwyer, Harvard T.P. Chan School of Public Health
mhdwyer “at” hsph.harvard.edu
Dear Ms Dwyer:
Research-related fraud at Harvard institutions
A series of connected frauds surrounding research into climate change and related questions at Harvard has come to light because an environmental advocacy group had falsely accused Lord Monckton’s distinguished research colleague Dr Willie Wei-Hock Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics of having failed to disclose a funding conflict in a paper in the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr Soon, like all his co-authors, had received no funding for his research into climate sensitivity modeling. That did not stop Dr Charles Alcock, the Center’s director, from allowing it to issue a statement alleging Dr Soon had failed to disclose a conflict of interest and claiming that it proposed to “investigate” him, when in fact it had itself negotiated a contract with Dr Soon’s funder for solar research that forbade it or Dr Soon to disclose the funder’s identity. Dr Soon had played no part in those negotiations. The Center alone was responsible. Dr Alcock also falsely told a journalist that the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics had no legal existence and alleged that, therefore, Dr Soon ought not to have described his affiliation as “Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics”, falsely implying that Dr Soon had improperly inflated his credentials.
Your name appears as the contact for a press release at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/clean-power-plan-health-benefits-hinge-on-policy-decisions/, entitled Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions. The press release constitutes a gushing encomium of a commentary entitled US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change: doi:10.1038/nclimate2598.
Two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance.
The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million.
Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”?
Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary?
Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate skeptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not in fact possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist, when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?
Would the School please tell His Lordship, who has standing as Dr Soon’s lead author, how to lodge a complaint of research misconduct in respect of the massive, direct and undisclosed conflict of interest on the part of its researcher Mr Schwartz, and of the School’s misrepresentation of the commentary as “independent”?
Clerk to Lord Monckton