A new website boasts "900+ peer-reviewed papers" that deny climate science. Problem is lots of those papers were paid for by Big Oil.
If you spend any time at all browsing comments on articles about climate change (and bless you if you've managed to avoid it), you've likely read the same handful of long-debunked arguments against the reality of anthropogenic global warming (or "man-made" global warming). Recently, you've also almost definitely seen links to this website—"900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm"—created by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
The problem is, of the top ten contributors of articles to that list, nine are financially linked to Exxon Mobil. Carbon Brief, which examined the list in detail, explains:
Once you crunch the numbers, however, you find a good proportion of this new list is made up of a small network of individuals who co-author papers and share funding ties to the oil industry. There are numerous other names on the list with links to oil-industry funded climate sceptic think-tanks, including more from the International Policy Network (IPN) and the Marshall Institute.
Compiling these lists is dramatically different to the process of producing IPCC reports, which reference thousands of scientific papers. The reports are thoroughly reviewed to make sure that the scientific work included is relevant and diverse.\n
It's well worth reading the rest of the Carbon Brief analysis. According to the GWPF, the purpose of the post is to "provide a resource for peer-reviewed papers that support skepticism of AGW or AGW Alarm and to prove that these papers exist contrary to widely held beliefs." It's true that supporters of real climate science too often trot out the "peer-review" argument. While an essential cornerstone of science, peer-review "is not foolproof," as the founders of Real Climate explained a long while back.
Unfortunately, exposes like this one don't seem to matter much. Nearly four years ago, Newsweek ran a bombshell of a feature (the image above is from the issue's cover) that broke down exactly how fossil fuel companies—and specifically Exxon Mobil—were funding the climate denial machine. A couple years ago, Climate Cover Up gave a much deeper, book-length look at exactly that. Last year, Naomi Oreskes and and Erik Conway released Merchants of Doubt, that looks at how the very same tactics (and in some cases, the very same scientists) are being used in the anti-climate science field now as were used by those who denied the health risks of cigarettes half a century ago.
Anyone paying close attention knows that Exxon Mobil and others who profit from selling fossil fuels are underwriting "science" that calls the reality of climate change into question. But the money shapes the messaging that pollutes the minds of those who aren't paying quite as close attention. dd