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Roseau Electric Cooperative passes along coal industry propaganda

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Roseau Electric Cooperative management reached a new low this month when they opted to republish a Jan. 27, 2012, Wall Street Journal article which has been thoroughly and widely debunked as blatant fossil-fuel industry propaganda.

The reprint of the WSJ article appeared in the February issue of Volts & Views.

The WSJ climate change denying article was signed by “16 scientists” -- and as it turns out, few of them have ever worked in the climate science field, and at least half of these scientists are on the payroll of fossil fuel giants, such as Exxonmobil, and others.

Some of the 16 scientists are both -- that is, they have no climate science background,and are taking cash from the fossil fuel industry in exchange for producing slanted information on climate change.

Here is Part 1 of my rundown of the now infamous “Wall Street Journal 16,” starting with those who are paid for their junk science views by cash-heavy fossil fuel polluters:

Roger Cohen, Ph.D. -- Retired from being a long-time employee of the Exxonmobil Corporation. He began working for Exxon in 1978. As early as 1980, Exxon began to worry that talk of global warming would affect its profits and business model, so they put Cohen -- whose field is physics and not climate science -- to work at casting doubt on global warming theories. He has never published a scientific paper on climate change in a peer-reviewed journal, but did co-author a paper that was published in a journal funded by the energy industry.

Edward David, Ph.D -- Also a long-time employee of Exxonmobil for whom he worked from 1977 to 1985. He is an electrical engineer by trade and has never done work or published a peer-reviewed paper in climate science. A far right conservative, he was science adviser to President Richard Nixon.

William Happer, Ph.D. -- Has no scientific experience in climate science. His field is optics and spectroscopy. He has strong ties to Exxonmobil, however. Happer is on the board and director of the George C. Marshall Institute which receives large cash donations from Exxonmobil. His group also receives $250,000 a year from the Scaife oil fortune.

William Kininmonth -- Has an undergraduate degree in meteorology. He wrote a global warming denial book funded by mining and nuclear energy interests. Kininmonth is a member of the Lavoisier Group, which is made up of "about 90 old men" who had long careers in the coal industry. The Lavoisier Group was condemned in the Australian Financial Review in 2001 by economist John Quiggin who wrote that,"the Lavoisier Group is devoted to the proposition that basic principles of physics...cease to apply when they come into conflict with the interests of the Australian coal industry."

Richard Lindzen Ph.D. -- At last, a real climate scientist! Lindzen is a MIT professor of atmospheric science -- the problem is, Lindzen is on the payroll of the fossil fuel Industry. He charges his clients in the coal and oil industry $2,500 a day for consulting services. In 1991, he was paid a healthy sum of money by Western Fuels to testify on climate issues before a U.S. Senate committee. He is also paid by Western Fuels to write climate change denial papers.

James McGrath, Ph.D. -- Has never worked in climate science. McGrath’s field is chemistry, and specifically, he works in plastics, which are made from petroleum. He is a member of the “Plastics Hall of Fame.” Industrial plastics made with petroleum products are his life’s work. He is a professor of chemistry at Virginia Technical University.

Dr. Rodney Nichols -- A Harvard graduate with a degree in physics (not climate science), Nichols lists on his biography that he has worked as a consultant for GTE and Shell Technology ventures, among many other professional activities. He is President Emeritus of the New York Academy of Sciences. Although a man of many accomplishments, none of them is a contribution to climate science. Most of his work is for large corporate interests, including those in the fossil fuel industry, such as Shell.

Harrison Schmitt -- A hero to many because he was an Apollo 17 Astronaut. Since retiring from NASA, Schmitt served in the U.S. Senate as a conservative Republican. He was voted out of office after just one term by the people of New Mexico, however. He now serves as head of New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. His primary job in this position is to review regulations on the oil industry for his oil company friendly boss, Republican Governor Susana Martinez.

A policy adviser with the New Energy Economy said the governor (and Schmitt) are “definitely in bed with the oil and gas industry.” Schmitt has also voiced his beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories which state that global warming advocates were created when the Soviet Union fell, which in turn, Schmitt says, caused former Communists to become environmental advocates in the United States.

Schmitt recently stated in a radio interview that he believes that President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren “is a Communist.” Read more about Schmitt’s highly strange beliefs here: Nutty

In my next installment I will finish with the list of the WSJ 16 scientists who proclaim that CO2 is not a problem -- and you will see that all of these scientists have severe problems and even shady backgrounds.

The WSJ article itself also contains numerous factual errors, which have been widely discussed in the media -- yet the Roseau Electric Cooperative saw fit to present this disinformation to the those of us who are co-op members, and who rely on the management of Roseau Electric to tell us the truth.

More in Part 2 …

See more of Ken's environmental stories here: MINNESOTA GREEN

Please send Ken an email: ken.korczak@gmail.com

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