Reckless Misinformation from Barry Klinger and the RICO 20

barry_klinger

The RICO-20 gang of climate academics commenced its supposed campaign against misinformation with false information about skeptic reactions to the Cuccinelli investigation. Barry Klinger, one of Shukla’s hangers-on at George Mason University,  stated:

However, I don’t recall climate contrarians coming to the defense of Michael Mann when he was subject to ideologically-based legal harrassment from then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as well as from Republicans in Congress.

Klinger’s statement is completely untrue, as he could have discovered with a moment’s investigation. I, Ross McKitrick, Tom Fuller, Chip Knappenberger, Pielke Jr and John Christy, among others, all forcefully criticized the Cuccinelli investigation. In today’s post, I’ll rebut Klinger’s false information.

To be clear – and this nuance was not recognized by all readers – I did not challenge Cuccinelli’s right to investigate financial impropriety; my argument was against what I saw as an abuse of administrative authority – a topic on which I had strong opinions long before I had ever heard of climate.   Had Mann’s name emerged from financial warning-flags, I would have taken a different position.  Had there been evidence that Mann had, for example, funnelled NSF grants through a personal corporation and that Mann had double-dipped by paying himself and his wife through the personal corporation as well as his university salary, I would have had a different attitude.  As many readers are aware, Roger Pielke Jr has identified apparent evidence of this sort of double-dipping by the leader of the RICO-20, Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University.

In a follow-up post, I’ll review this evidence. In today’s post, I will limit myself to refuting Klinger’s false claim.

When I learned of Cuccinelli’s attempted use of Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA),  I immediately (May 2, 2010) spoke out against it as an abuse of process.   In fact, I spoke out against it even before the Union of Concerned Scientists (May 7) or any of the critics credited in Mann’s book.  Here’s what I said:

This is a repugnant piece of over-zealousness by the Virginia Attorney General, that I condemn.

Obviously, I think that Mannian effusions have negligible scientific value. However, the people in the field think otherwise and organizations like NSF seem ready and willing to lavishly fund analysis that seems to me to be little more than paleo-phrenology. Cuccinelli’s complaint lies with NSF rather than Mann.   To the extent that Virginia citizens are concerned about public money being misappropriated, Cuccinelli’s own expenditures on this adventure should be under equal scrutiny. There will be no value for dollar in this enterprise.

To the extent that there are issues with Mann or Jones or any of these guys, they are at most academic misconduct and should be dealt with under those regimes. It is unfortunate that the inquiries at Penn State and UEA have not been even minimally diligent, but complaints on that account rest with the universities or their supervising institutions and the substitution of inappropriate investigations by zealots like Cuccinelli are not an alternative.

In a presentation at Heartland on May 16, 2010 a couple of weeks later, I re-iterated this objection to Cuccinelli (receiving a tepid response to such moderation, as several observers noted at the time):

Despite the failures of the inquiries to do their job, I strongly disagree with Cuccinelli’s recent investigation of potential financial abuse. Regardless of what one may think of the quality of Mann’s work, he has published diligently. In my opinion, Cuccinelli’s actions are an abuse of administrative prerogative that on the one hand is unfair to Mann and on the other provides an easy out for people to avoid dealing with the real issues.

On May 2, Tom Fuller published an open letter to Cuccinelli:

As co-author of a book (Climategate: The CRUtape Letters) that was harshly critical of the performance of Michael Mann and his colleagues, I write in criticism of your decision to investigate Mr. Mann for potential violations of state laws on fraudulent payment of claims.

Mr. Mann has been extensively investigated regarding his work product, and although I consider his actions to be often unprofessional and politically oriented, neither I nor any of the people interviewed for our book have any doubt whatsoever that Mann performed the scientific work he has been commissioned to do, or that he engaged in any fraudulent actions.

No matter what has prompted your investigation, there is no doubt that it will be interpreted as a witch hunt. If you are in fact investigating a credentialed scientist for results that do not suit your political opinion, that interpretation is correct. Unless you can reveal to the public prima facie evidence that shows cause for this investigation, I beg you to reconsider. There are ample avenues of professional and academic recourse for people like me who think he has done something wrong. But being wrong is not a crime, and intimidating scientists not a path that this country, including I presume Virginians, should ever pursue. You may consult with colleagues in Salem to determine how long it takes to live this type of thing down.

On May 7, 2010, Chip Knappenberg spoke out strongly (published by Andy Revkin), including the following:

I am not alone in thinking Mr. Cuccinelli’s investigation of Dr. Mann is unacceptable.  His actions are being widely condemned across the blogosphere, including by some of Dr. Mann’s harshest critics (and no doubt the very people whose work has inspired Mr. Cuccinelli’s ill-advised actions).

See, for example, the reactions of Steve McIntyre and Thomas Fuller.

They agree that this is not the correct way for Mr. Cuccinelli to handle his discontent. The potential harm to Science, with a capital “S”, greatly exceeds any potential gain. There are many arenas where science can be properly debated. The courtroom is not one of them.

Pielke Jr wrote several posts on the matter, including the following critique of Cuccinelli:

Cucinnelli has not, in my inexpert opinion, established a “prima facie case of reasonable cause” — far from it. Cuccinelli argues that his lack of proof is what justifies the investigation. Good luck getting that bizzaro logic and misleading application of case law past a judge!  What more do you need to know to see that this is pure and simple a fishing expedition?

The opposition to Cuccinelli by Mann’s opponents was widely acknowledged at the time, even by anti-skeptics e.g. here:

McIntyre, by contrast, doesn’t let in even a bit of  “Mann got what he deserved.”  He appears to be following a principle–a principle that stands athwart politics-as-usual and leads him to a temporary alliance with a man he otherwise batters vigorously.  He has even surprised some among his blog’s community, who complained about being “confused” by the “cognitive dissonance” he was showing in his defense of Mann. Several even make a sort of inverse Golden Rule argument:

“I’m sure that if the situation was reversed, and you were under investigation for the actions you took in order to expose the fraud of Mann et al, Michael Mann would encourage such an investigation and complain that it is not harsh enough. So let’s all wait and see what comes out of this and then comment based on facts not speculation (“Gad Levin“)”

To which McIntyre replies:

“I’ve taken a consistent position that the ends don’t justify the means. I don’t agree that you can justify withholding adverse verification r2 because you think that your cause is righteous or that you should exercise executive power capriciously or vindictively because you think that your cause is righteous. Both are slippery slopes. This is bedrock in our civil society.”

In a story on the affair in the New York Times, John Rudolf Collins reported, cited myself, McKitrick, Fuller and John Christy:

One might expect that his [Cuccinelli’s] efforts would find support among climate-change contrarians…

But in reporting the story, I found the opposite to be true: as it turns out, even many of Dr. Mann’s chief scientific foes are strongly opposed to Mr. Cuccinelli’s fraud investigation.

Even Treehugger recognized the pushback against Cuccinelli from “skeptics”:

The only thing Cuccinelli could accomplish here is kick-starting another political witch-hunt — at the expense of the scientific process.  I don’t often offer kudos to climate skeptics, but in this case I’ll make an exception — thank you for honorably drawing a line in the sand to prevent this foolish, reckless piece of political theater from gaining traction.

As I explained to readers at the time of the eventual decision on the Cuccinelli CID, concern about abuse of administrative law is part of my family history – something that long precedes any interest in climate.   I certainly thought that there were issues that warranted examination by a Penn State academic misconduct committee and have consistently taken the position that the Penn State committee failed to do its job, but that did not justify Cuccinelli abusing his authority. I tried to explain this nuance as follows:

I have a long-standing though passing interest in the topic of abuse of administrative law. My grandfather McRuer was a prominent judge in Canada and led a major Royal Commission that pointed to accretion of administrative authority without avenues for citizens to appeal. His commission led to measures in Ontario against abuse of administrative authority. My objection to Cuccinnelli’s CID was as an apparent abuse of administrative authority. I did not doubt his jurisdiction over the University of Virginia and other public agencies and, if Mann’s name had popped up on a short list using financial criteria under the Act, I would not opposed his CID. I thought that there were (and are) valid reasons why the University of Virginia should have carried out a misconduct investigation; indeed, Ross and I filed a formal complaint with the University of Virginia in 2005 which they refused to investigate. I spoke out against Cuccinnelli’s CID because he had provided inadequate evidence of an offence under FATA to justify the demand.

The above excerpts and links convincingly show that the Cuccinelli investigation was unequivocally opposed by Mann’s opponents as an abuse of administrative authority, precisely the sort of abuse that Klinger is now advocating. Klinger’s tit-for-tat rationalization is completely bogus.   While Klinger may not now “recall” these widely publicized oppositions, the opposition would have been readily identified with a moment’s research. It appears that Klinger made these allegations without any due diligence to verify whether the allegations were true and that Klinger’s false allegations were made recklessly.

Ironically, Cuccinelli’s authority to investigate financial abuse was not contested if there was evidence of such abuse.  Pielke’s revelations about Shukla’s double-dipping have taken this topic in a very different direction (more on this in a forthcoming post) and it will be interesting to see if Klinger and the RICO-20 will support a thorough investigation by George Mason University and NSF of Shukla’s handling of federal funds.


68 Comments

  1. stan
    Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    What was the harassment from Congress? Asking him to produce his data and code?

  2. Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    The Pielke link is broken.

  3. Chip Knappenberger
    Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Great coverage, Steve.

    When the Cuccinelli story first broke, as you mentioned, I was quick to condemn it. In addition to my remarks that Andy Revkin carried in the NYTimes, I commented to a local Charlottesville news magazine when they first published the story in late April of 2010 (see Comments as well):

    http://www.readthehook.com/67811/oh-mann-cuccinelli-targets-uva-papers-climategate-salvo

    Being near ground zero of the Pat Michaels investigations, I had a very bad taste in my mouth about political-led “investigations” of scientists.

    The RICO20 affair is more of the same poorly thought out behavior.

    -Chip

  4. Ron Graf
    Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Here is an article with the Pielke tweets and links to the open letter to Obama asking for Justice Dept. RICA investigation and to the Washington Post article. Amazing.

  5. mpainter
    Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Very interesting. Roger Pielke, Jr. has documented that Shukla has paid himself and his wife $1.5 million in government funds in 2012-14. The Institute of Global Environment and Society, Inc. is the vehicle for these payments with Jagadish Shukla listed as President and one Anastasia Shukla as business manager of that most profitable non-profit org.

    Steve has raised the issue of COLA, a related non-profit set that he has named himself as President, one Anastasia Shukla as business manager, and one Sonia Shukla as asset. to the President Nd

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

      To finish, one Sonia Shukla as Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Business Manager.

      Could this be a fairy tale? A prince turns himself into a frog?

      • Ron Graf
        Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

        Sonia is their daughter and third family member on the payroll.

      • Ron Graf
        Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

        The heart of the RICO20 alarm is the “merchants of doubt” concept whereby evil capitalist barons, who make their money by exploiting natural resources, polluting with impunity, prevent interference by secretly funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to “front men” to confuse the public on the issue of climate change. And, this is all done with all involved having no regard for the truth.

        This is the thesis of the many books sighted in the RICO20 letter and of one peer reviewed paper published in Climate Change, “Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations,” Dr. Robert J. Brulle 2013. Here is an article summary with a link to the paper.

        Brulle writes: In response to a survey question in the fall of
        2012:1 Do scientists believe that earth is getting warmer because of human activity? 43 %
        replied no, and another 12 % didn’t know. Only 45 % of the U.S. public accurately reported
        the near unanimity of the scientific community about anthropogenic climate change. This
        result reflects a broad misunderstanding of climate science by the general public.

        The last sentence reflects the peer reviewed Aristotelian logic for his case. Brulle further accounts for 900 million dollars to organizations that support the counter cause, although Brulle notes “not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.”

        The author of this comment declares no competing financial interests.

  6. Neville
    Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    There seems to be a kind of incestuous quality? to so much of this CAGW industry. A number of examples seem to crop up that shows that these people like to keep handy jobs within the family.
    But will Steve and others receive an apology?

  7. mpainter
    Posted Sep 25, 2015 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    It seems that Klinger, an Associate Professor at George Mason University and a colleague of Shunkla there, has assumed the role of apologist for the RICO 20. It will be interesting to see he expands his role as apologist to defend the pocketing by Shunkla and his wife of $2 million in public funds this past four years (assuming 2015 brought the same rewards).

    Likewise it will be interesting to hear Trenberth’s reaction as well the reactions of the other signatories. Some might feel that they were suckered into dragging a gigantic red herring across Shunkla’s trail.

    Steve: Shukla family got a lot more than that during this period.

  8. Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    He starts with “I don’t recall” so it could be a case of faulty memory, or more likely a lack of awareness of anything outside his ivory tower of groupthink.

    Steve: I had noted that he said that he didn’t “recall”, but, in my opinion, as an academic, he had an obligation to do at least some minimal research/due diligence before spouting off untruths. Any minimal checking would have shown him what had actually happened.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

      Klinger, as apologist, soft-peddles the import of the Shukla et al letter, trying his best to obscure it’s implications, so it is a doubtful that Klinger has dedicated his apology to truth and accuracy.
      The letter calls on Obama to initiate a Justice Dept. “investigation of corporations and __organizations__ that have deceived American people about climate change..”, my emphasis. Note “organizations”, which is the operative word because it gives the widest possible scope to any investigation carried out on the premise of the letter. The investigation would be conducted by the FBI, of course. So that none should miss the point, this blog is registered as ClimateAudit.org. It is conceivable that any participant on this blog could be interviewed by the FBI for expressing views that supported the intention to “deceive the American people about climate change”, not that I believe that there is the faintest chance that Shukla et al will get their wish granted. It does, however, illustrate very well the secret hopes of some of those in the other camp. Who has spoken out against this letter, other than skeptics?

    • Michael Jankowski
      Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      You could find a cure for cancer, Steve, and those blinded by their hatred for you would still be unable to utter your name with any recognition whatsoever. They’d probably just write nasty comments and articles about how you put all sorts of medical researchers out of work and how the increase in lifespan and quality of life is going to result in more GHG emissions.

    • Joshua
      Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

      ==> ” I had noted that he said that he didn’t “recall””

      Yet you said that what he said was “completely untrue.”

      When a “skeptic” and a scientist such as Judith Curry offers an opinion, I’m told that I’m ankle-biting if I ask her for empirical evidence to back up her opinion. But here we see that offering an opinion for which there is some degree of conflicting evidence merits a post, and even more a pronouncement of “complete untruth?” All that much more ironic since Steve has no scientific way of determining what Klinger does or doesn’t recall.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

        It wasn’t that his lack of recall was completely untrue, it was his accusations. Even if he didn’t recall, it was easy to check that SM and others condemned the inquiry of Mann. THAT was unprofessional.

        • Joshua
          Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

          I agree that is is unprofessional, in a sense, for scientists to offer opinions without due diligence with regard to evidence. My point, however, is that the standard should be applied consistently.

        • Joshua
          Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

          And BTW –

          Steve said this: “Klinger’s statement is completely untrue,…”

          The statement that preceded that was:

          “However, I don’t recall climate contrarians coming to the defense of Michael Mann when he was subject to ideologically-based legal harrassment from then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as well as from Republicans in Congress.”

          The statement was about what Klinger recalled. Steve could have just said that Klinger’s opinion was not consistent with all of the evidence (notice that Steve didn’t elaborate on the widespread support for Cuccinelli’s actions among “skeptics” – an incomplete treatment of the relevant and available evidence)… but he didn’t. Instead, he said that Klinger’s statement (about what he recalled) was “completely untrue.” His use of “untrue” was a choice. And, of course, his use of “completely” is questionable (given, as I said, the widespread support for Cuccinelli that can be seen in the “skeptic” community).

          Steve: Puh-leeze. You’re being ridiculous. My post clearly stated: “While Klinger may not now “recall” these widely publicized oppositions, the opposition would have been readily identified with a moment’s research. It appears that Klinger made these allegations without any due diligence to verify whether the allegations were true and that Klinger’s false allegations were made recklessly”. It was clear to any reader that my criticism was about Klinger’s false claim about no “skeptics” criticizing Cuccinelli, rather than Klinger’s throat-clearing “don’t recall”. Klinger’s point was about reaction to Cuccinelli. If he didn’t “recall” the exchanges at the time of the incident, he should have done due diligence. His erroneous claim was made recklessly, as I observed in the post.

        • Joshua
          Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

          ==> “Steve: Puh-leeze… It appears that Klinger made these allegations without any due diligence to verify whether the allegations were true and that Klinger’s false allegations were made recklessly”.

          Klinger did not say that “no ‘skeptics'” criticized Cuccinelli. In such a case, it might be appropriate to say that his statement was “completely untrue.” In such a case, the implication would have been that he investigated the matter and was making a statement of fact. By he clearly delineated his “allegations,” as opinion based on recall.

          It seems entirely appropriate to view his comment in context, as a indication that he believes that the predominating reaction among “skeptics” was in support of Cuccinelli – and as such, that is also an opinion that is worthy of evaluating the veracity.

          The discussion of interest here, it seems to me, is not to selectively cull a few counterexamples. What is more interesting is to assess whether or not many, or some, or any “outraged” “skeptics” are drama-queening and exploiting the RICO initiative in ways that display a double-standard w/r/t any free speech implications. If the implication of hypocrisy among “skeptics” is counter to the evidence, bring it on as a way of elevating the discussion.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

        Klinger now has no basis for statement, as Steve McIntyre has refuted his insinuations.
        Klinger now has the obligation to amend his statement so that it reflects the truth of the matter. Or do you disagree?

        • Joshua
          Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

          Obligated? No. Just as Judith wouldn’t be “obligated” to correct the opinions she expresses to account for conflicting evidence.

          The discussion might be well-served if Klinger amended his statement to account for the evidence that Steve offers, just as the discussion might be advanced if Steve amended his post to include discussion of the widespread support for Cuccinelli among the “skeptic” community. So the question is whether people’s goal is to advance discussion or to advocate for a position/deligitimize alternative viewpoints.

          Of course, any amendments by either of them wouldn’t alter the course of discussion about climate change to any meaningful degree.

  9. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    In the mid-1980s I was in my early 40s in a position where I was lucky enough to be heard (sometimes) if I made a proposal on national interest in Australia. In 1986 I took the Minister for Environment through to the Full Bench of our High Court. We argued overreach by the Commonwealth regarding its new-found Treaty Powers, leading to our detriment through denial of legitimate expectations and acquisition of property on other than just terms. (In brief, we had mineral leases on which we had discovered enough uranium to indicate the likelihood of a new and possibly World class mine. While our leases required us to do work, the Treaty Power was used to create a World Heritage area over the top, including a later clause that was added during hearings when we looked like winning the case, to make it illegal for us to explore or mine and thus to win.)
    At that age, when one sees a cherished personal principle taken away for the foreseeable future, one feels regret. Today, if I raised the case in public, few would think we had been hard done by. They would think that all mining was bad, uranium was super bad, the area had World Heritage values and protection of the environment was paramount. But, such onlookers would probably not argue that there was administrative overreach, that this was bad, because they might not have encountered it in their lifetimes. Populism takes over from principles these days? Principles are easy to forget?
    Steve, I can clearly understand the positions you have taken in this account re A/G Cuccinelli. The meaning of “provides an easy out for people to avoid dealing with the real issues” is understood from experience.
    But there is still a problem, which is that less deep principled objections now seem to be the way to do things, without addressing the fundamental problem components. There has been so much administrative overreach that people now days seem to regard it as normal and focus on the “easy outs”, high among which is the side track of “environmental protection”. The nanny state has evolved a lot since that High Court matter.
    To my deep regret, and I suspect, yours also.

  10. mpainter
    Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

    Shukla et al letter disappeared?

    Klinger’s link to the Shukla et al letter at his apology (see Steve’s link in his post above) does not work, nor does the IDES.org link to that letter work.

    It appears that some authority in that org. has had second thoughts about associating that org. with that letter. We may see some more re-thinking in this affair.:-)

    Steve: See http://web.archive.org/web/20150920110942/http://www.iges.org/letter/LetterPresidentAG.pdf

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

      It gets better and better. Delingpole has opined that Shukla’s use of the IGES organization to promote the Shukla et al letter is a violation of that organization’s stated legal charter.

  11. Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Other news outlets have covered Pielke’s tweetsand the commenters on those site have also found that Shukla’s IGES donated $100,000 in 2014 to another non-profit, “Institute for Global Education, Equality of Opportunity, and Prosperity (IGEP)”. That organization happens to share an address with Dr. Shukla (and with other family related businesses).

    The website for IGES has a section dedicated to IGEP. The latter was established to collect donations in support of Gandhi College in Mirdha, India which is Dr. Shukla’s hometown. He and his wife established the college in memory of their son who was lost in a tragic motorcycle accident several years ago. A website for IGEP can be found on IGES’s website.

    The site tells us that “IGEP was established specifically for supporting Gandhi College to provide education and training to poor, rural students, especially women.” From that site we also learn that Dr. Shukla’s brother Shriram is the “manager of the college.”

    Some links…

    http://www.iges.org/gandhicollege/home.html
    http://www.iges.org/gandhicollege/igep.html

    Other folks have noted that in 2014 IGES made a grant to IGEP in the amount of $100,000. IGEP in turn made a donation to Gandhi College in the same year for the same amount.

    http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/550/550610012/550610012_201412_990.pdf

    IGEP has raised funds from other donors and they should be congratulated on their support of education in rural India. In light of the accusations against the outgoing IPCC chair regarding his treatment of female employees it is especially good to hear that Dr. Shukla is investing in the education of women. It will be interesting to read other news about Dr. Shukla’s foundations in Steve’s forthcoming post.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

      Thousands of people support private schools in India, nothing special. I do find it sad that (MIT)Sukhla´s girls college only teaches BA courses; the single MA course is in Home Science, a good preparation for house wives with increased dowry value.
      http://gandhimahavidyalaya.com/courses.aspx

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

        Here’s an article in New York Times about Gandhi College, which was said to have been started with $50,000 of Shukla’s “own money” and $50,000 that he raised. http://www.iges.org/people/shukla_NYT.pdf It seems very meritorious to me. It’s too bad that Shukla later dipped into climate grants to fund it.

        • Ron Graf
          Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          From NYT article:

          Even Professor Shukla provokes such suspicions, said Mr. Singh: “People do talk – Why is he spending the money? Where is he getting from it? What are his interests?”

          Shukla points out the biggest obstacle to his philanthropic projects is that such motive is foreign to the native culture, and therefore it invokes undo suspicion. Perhaps it is ironic that his own troubles appear to be due to inability to imagine people outside of his clique having honest philanthropic motive.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

          “honest philanthropic motive”

          The motives of the good professor are on the dissection table.

        • JD Ohio
          Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

          Although I agree that the school appears to be meritorious, It does seem as though the professor has a serious issue with cognitive dissonance. The village he came from suffers greatly from a lack of power and energy that could be supplied by fossil fuels. how he could advocate for the restriction of fossil fuels after coming from a place that desperately needs them is beyond my understanding.

          JD

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

          @JD
          Spot on. Here from a NYT article about him: “There, a room specially built for his visits waited, as did a generator rented so fans could cool him in the Indian heat — his family’s modest effort to provide the comforts of his Bethesda, Md., home in this rural village.” http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/17/international/asia/17INDI.html
          Basically they found out that solar panels without big storage only work in day time; nights there can be very hot in summer and cold in the winter. Your point about lack of grid power is also highlighted.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

          The Sukhlas own donations to “their” Indian woman´s college look minuscule after seeing their family members huge US dollar incomes from various sources over the years. The phrase “token assistance” comes to mind.

  12. Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    I posted this a bit earlier but it appears to be hung up due to the number of links. I’ll break it up to see if that helps…

    Other news outlets have covered Pielke’s tweets and the commenters on those sites have shown that Shukla’s IGES donated $100,000 in 2014 to another non-profit, “Institute for Global Education, Equality of Opportunity, and Prosperity (IGEP)”. That organization happens to share an address with Dr. Shukla (and with other family related businesses).

    The website for IGES has a section dedicated to IGEP. The latter was established to collect donations in support of Gandhi College in Mirdha, India which is Dr. Shukla’s hometown. He and his wife established the college in memory of their son who was lost in a tragic motorcycle accident several years ago. A website for IGEP can be found on IGES’s website.

    The site tells us that “IGEP was established specifically for supporting Gandhi College to provide education and training to poor, rural students, especially women.” From that site we also learn that Dr. Shukla’s brother Shriram is the “manager of the college.”

    http://www.iges.org/gandhicollege/home.html

    The About page with its embedded links explains a great deal about the various institutions.

    • Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

      As I mentioned others have noted that in 2014 IGES made a grant to IGEP in the amount of $100,000. IGEP in turn made a donation to Gandhi College in the same year for the same amount.

      http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/550/550610012/550610012_201412_990.pdf

      IGEP has raised funds from other donors and they should be congratulated on their support of education in rural India. In light of the accusations against the outgoing IPCC chair regarding his treatment of female employees it is especially good to hear that Dr. Shukla is investing in the education of women. It will be interesting to read other news about Dr. Shukla’s foundations in Steve’s forthcoming post.

  13. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Interestingly, Klinger refers to a paper Shukla co-authored and says:

    “…The paper does not challenge the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but it does demonstrate that Shukla and his colleagues can and do publish work that goes against the idea that global warming is completely due to humans. Contrary to perceptions in some circles, there is a large middle ground between “warmists” and “deniers”, because skepticism is a central feature of the culture of science and scientific understanding is usually more complicated than the political debate makes it out to be…”

    Ok. So who exactly are the “denier” folks outside of this middle-ground who should be RICO’d? And if Shukla is in agreement that a significant portion of “global warming” is not man-made, then RICO can be applied to “warmists” as well? Why didn’t Shukla call for those folks to be RICO’d?

    It’s hard to determine when these folks are being ignorant vs plain stupid.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

      Note that the date of the last three portions of Klinger’s apology is 9/22, two days after Roger Pielke, Jr. tweeted about Shukla’s double dipping. I think that Klinger is trying to put some spin on the affair by claiming that Shunkla belongs to the “broad middle ground” that he shares with skeptics. This bears chameleon aspects of protective coloration, etc.In other words, these people are scrambling for an out. The whole of Klinger’s apology should be read as a guy who thinks that he is a very sly spinmaster.

      • Michael Jankowski
        Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

        Agree 100%.

    • Ron Graf
      Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

      “Ok. So who exactly are the “denier” folks outside of this middle-ground who should be RICO’d?”

      In reading Brulle(2013) the answer is Exon-Mobile and the Koch Foundation. Brulle finds that although both of those organizations have severely curtailed or ceased their open funding for climate research it appears the support now flows as “dark money.” Brulle defines the environmental justice movement as being a grass roots citizens movement that challenges the smoke-filled room of the status quo. He believes a few powerful corporate barons have created a “counter climate change movement” CCCM and spends the paper outlining the conservative foundations with alarming allegations that they talk to one another and even have cross-donors. Brulle concludes his paper as follows:

      Just as in a theatrical show, there are stars in the spotlight. In the drama of climate
      change, these are often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians, such as
      Senator James Inhofe. However, they are only the most visible and transparent parts of a larger
      production. Supporting this effort are directors, script writers, and, most importantly, a series of
      producers, in the form of conservative foundations. Clarifying the institutional dynamics of the
      CCCM can aid our understanding of how anthropogenic climate change has been turned into a
      controversy rather than a scientific fact in the U.S.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

        Try one more time:

        My take on Klinger’s apology:

        Klinger, as apologist, soft-peddles the import of the Shukla et al letter, trying his best to obscure it’s implications, so it is a doubtful that Klinger has dedicated his apology to truth and accuracy.
        The letter calls on Ob*m* to initiate a Justice Dept. “investigation of corporations and __organizations__ that have deceived American people about climate change..”, my emphasis. Note “organizations”, which is the operative word because it gives the broadest possible scope to any investigation carried out on the premise of the letter. The investigation would be conducted by the FBI, of course.

        So that none should miss the point, this blog is registered as ClimateAudit.org. It is conceivable that any participant on this blog could be interviewed by the FBI for expressing views that supported the intention to “deceive the American people about climate change”, not that I believe that there is the faintest chance that Shukla et al will get their wish granted. It does, however, illustrate the secret hopes of some of those in the other camp. Who has spoken out against this letter, other than skeptics?

      • Michael Jankowski
        Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

        Exxon-Mobile has also funded and sponsored research in the “warmist” category.

        So that leaves the usual boogeyman…Koch. Well RICO Greenpeace, WWF, etc, too since they’re on the opposite side of the spectrum and far from that middle-ground.

        • EdeF
          Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

          Koch seems to be in the crosshairs:

          http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/climate-deniers/koch-industries/

          Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine

          Dr. Willie Soon appears to be their lead denier.

        • Mooloo
          Posted Sep 29, 2015 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

          You have to admire an organisation that makes $75 million a year just in its international division, complaining that the Kock brothers allegedly spending that over 20 years having an undue effect on the public!

  14. Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    A question for Klinger and the rest of the RICO 20.

    How many of you spoke out in defense of the Grijalva 7?

    Michael Mann certainly did not as he took great joy in Roger Pielke, jr being investigated.

  15. Ron Graf
    Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    The AP has changed it stylebook to replace the term “climate skeptic.”

    Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics — who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry — complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” That group prefers the phrase “climate change deniers” for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory. But those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.

    • admkoz
      Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

      Right. Only those who are skeptical of approved topics may be annointed with the holy name of ‘skeptic’. Kinda fundamentally lacking in self-awareness there, I’d say.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

        The zealots have realized that the term “skeptic” connotes too much credibility, despite their efforts to tarnish that term. Now the tactic is to deprive skeptics of this all too creditable term and replace it with something more doubtful, as in “doubter”. It won’t work, but it is the measure of their futility that they should attempt it.

    • Posted Sep 30, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

      My previous comment seems to be in permanent moderation (22 hrs), so I’ll try a condensation:
      The AP Stylebook did “replace” anything. It did not previously mention either the “D” or “S” words. The change to the Stylebook was the addition of two sentences that suggest alternatives to those words. I believe the change was made, in part, due to pressure from some skeptic bloggers looking for “authoritative” admonition against use of the “D” word. IMO, what they got was worse than nothing.

      • Posted Sep 30, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

        Sorry, should be “did NOT ‘replace’ anything.”

  16. Posted Sep 26, 2015 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    I published the comment Steve has above as an open letter to Cuccinelli on Examiner.com and asked in comments at various websites for people to lend their name. It was my intention to send the names on to Cuccinelli’s staff. Although people like Steve, Jeff Id and a few commenters at Examiner volunteered, no one on the consensus side stepped forward.

    Mike Tobis among others opined that this was a denier ruse of some sort. Later he somewhat lethargically wrote that he didn’t think it would do any good.

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.tw/2010/05/coochie-and-witch-hunt.html

    After I sent the letter I tried to arrange an interview with Cuccinelli. At first his staff was excited and happy. Then I guess they did a little research and stopped taking my calls.

  17. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    From Shukla´s institutions: “Climate Prediction Accuracy on the Rise, As Is The Sea Level” https://newsdesk.gmu.edu/2015/04/climate-prediction-accuracy-on-the-rise-as-is-the-sea-level/

    Enthusiastically I checked a main IGES link: “COLA and IRI Researchers Issue Indian Monsoon Forecast in Real Time” and what do I get: a prediction for 2013 only http://www.iges.org/res/dtn_monsoon_forecast2013.pdf stating that it will be below average.
    Next I check what actually happened in 2013 at the Indian Meteorological department site http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/monsoon_report_2013.pdf and read that it was above normal (109%).
    So much for their accuracy and real time stuff.

  18. mpainter
    Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    It’s a matter of whether there is any applicable code of behavior that addresses such questions. The impression received is that this grant business has been culpably lax in such matters.

    Does anyone have any light to shed on all of this?

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

      Answer:

      Each federal agency has an Office of Inspector General (OIG) that provides independent oversight of the agency’s programs and operations. The office is responsible for promoting efficiency and effectiveness in agency programs and for preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse. By statute, the NSF OIG is independent from the agency, with the IG reporting directly to the National Science Board and the Congress. We consult NSF in developing our plans and obtain agency feedback on reports before they are issued. Semiannually, the OIG submits a summary report of its activities to the Congress, National Science Board, and NSF.

      To promote efficiency and effectiveness, we assess internal controls, financial management, information technology, and other systems that affect the operation of NSF programs. By identifying individuals who attempt to abuse the public trust or defraud government programs, the OIG also enforces integrity in agency operations. Our office is staffed with auditors, investigators, attorneys, scientists, and other specialists. Close working relationships with NSF and its awardees help us focus our efforts on priority areas and facilitate our proactive educational efforts.

      These are the people responsible for examining the Shukla affair.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

        Forgot: the above from the website of US NSF.

  19. Craig Loehle
    Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    Honest participation in intellectual inquiry must admit that others can come to different conclusions or be honestly incorrect. In a war of ideology, however, it is too tempting to paint one’s opponents as evil. If they are evil, then what they are doing is evil and therefore criminal. This does not pass the test of either ethics or logic, but is the conclusion the emotional mind comes to. Letting emotions run wild can lead to mob rule and lynchings. History has shown this repeatedly. Attempting to criminalize either side of any debate is simply bullying. The tobacco companies should never have been prosecuted either–everyone knew their products were bad for you since 100 years ago.

  20. Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    I agree with Craig that this is a very troubling trend. The very powerful green political machine and their allies in the science community are starting a fire that may burn them when the wind shifts. But of course given what happened in the Hockey Stick wars, we should not be surprised.

  21. JD Ohio
    Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    The combination of malevolence and ignorance that is shown by the Shukla letter is unbelievable. Maybe climate scientists (who are fundamentally ignorant about the legal and practical non-climate effects of extensive CO2 controls) believe that CO2 controls are necessary.

    However, there are many other valid perspectives. For instance, I believe that, with the advances in science that will occur in the future, that by the time that CO2 might cause significant problems, it will be a trivial exercise to geoengineer the problem away.

    Shukla advocates stifling my opinion in an Orwellian manner, and it is almost certain that he has never considered the positive effects of advancing science on any potential negative effects of warming. That such narrow-minded junk thought arises out of people employed by universities, is good reason to engage in the root and branch reform of universities as they exist in the US.

    JD

    • mrmethane
      Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

      and Canada

  22. Posted Sep 27, 2015 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    Steve: “The RICO-20 gang of climate scientists … ”

    I think that a useful distinction should be made between climatologists and climate scientists. Climatologists are people who get paid to study the climate. Whether what they do constitutes science depends on how they do it. Whether, for example, they seek out good data and test their hypotheses with valid statistics.

    Clearly the RICO-20 gang are climatologists, but there is no point automatically elevating them to climate scientists.

    Steve: acknowledged. changed to “climate academics”.

    • Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

      “Clearly the RICO-20 gang are climatologists…”
      Not the second signer, Ed Maibach, who according to his own website is essentially a salesman: “His research currently focuses exclusively on how to mobilize populations to adopt behaviors and support public policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions…”. So it’s a mystery why his name is on a letter that says “as climate scientists we…”

  23. Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    While I agree with this post, I have to say I disagree very strongly with its titled. The post reasonably begins:

    The RICO-20 gang of climate scientists commenced its supposed campaign against misinformation with false information about skeptic reactions to the Cuccinelli investigation.

    But the title makes a different argument:

    Disinformation from Barry Klinger and the RICO 20

    Misinformation and disinformation are not the same thing. Misinformation is spreading inaccurate information. Disinformation is spreading information you know to be inaccurate. The former is just making a mistake, perhaps even a severe one like that discussed in this post. The latter is something different. It is far worse. It is intentionally deceiving people.

    I’ve had this argument with Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science when he claimed there is a conspiracy to create a disinformation campaign. I’ve had it with Richard Tol when he accused Judith Curry of spreading disinformation for publishing a post about a paper he disliked. It’s no different here. No matter how obvious you think a point may be, unless you’re completely willing to accuse a person of lying, you shouldn’t accuse them of spreading disinformation.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

      Brandon says:

      Misinformation and disinformation are not the same thing. Misinformation is spreading inaccurate information. Disinformation is spreading information you know to be inaccurate. The former is just making a mistake, perhaps even a severe one like that discussed in this post. The latter is something different. It is far worse. It is intentionally deceiving people.

      Hmmm. the distinction that you suggest is not one that I had intentionally made.

      In tort law – which is a profound guide to fine distinctions in human conduct – there is an important and obvious distinction between doing something deliberately and making a mistake. However, within mistake making, one can distinguish negligent and non-negligent mistakes and within negligent mistakes, mistakes that rise to recklessness.

      I suggested that, as an academic, Klinger had an obligation not to expound recklessly and to do at least some research. I made it very clear in the text that I believed that Klinger had spouted off recklessly and certainly didn’t accuse him of deliberately spreading false information, as opposed to doing so recklessly.

      To avoid any cavil, I’ll edit the title though I’m not as sold on linguistic point as you are.

    • AndyL
      Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

      Brandon,
      The idea that Klinger is not aware of this post or similar comments is not credible, so even in your terms the current wording of his post has moved from misinformation to wilful disinformation.

      What climate scientists fail to understand is that their refusal to correct minor points such as these, or (in their mind) to concede any ground to critics actually fuels suspicion of their honesty on the more significant points related to the science.

  24. mpainter
    Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    From the Shukla et al letter:

    “We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouses’s call for a RICO investigation”
    ###

    But Whitehouse did not explicitly call for a RICO investigation. He drew parallels between the tobacco industry and the oil industry, but he did not call for an investigation. One could infer intention from his op ed, but see the disclaimer that Whitehouse appended to the article:

    “To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.”

    Yes, an awful lot of smoke, Senator. Same as the Senate chamber, on occasions.

  25. stevefitzpatrick
    Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    I rather suspect the RICO20 live in an insular world where there are few voices opposed to the dominant meme: “People reject draconian public actions to reduce GHG emissions because they are being misled by organized ‘contrarian’ groups, especially energy companies.”

    I hear this meme parroted so often that I have to think those parroting it actually believe it. If the RICO20 (and a host of other alarmed ‘climate scientists’ and organizations) had to accept that opposition to draconian public action is grass-roots, informed, reasoned, and has nothing to do with organized ‘contrarian’ groups spreading ‘false information’, then they would be at the same time acknowledging they have not made a convincing case for the draconian actions they desire.

    The RICO20 letter strikes me as a combination of comical naivete and utter disconnection from reality. If pressed about the prudence of the RICO20 letter, the signatories (including Barry Klinger) would likely want to change the subject to the quality of the scientific evidence for draconian action. They really just don’t have a clue of what they are suggesting with regard to RICO actions….. I see more stupidity than malice.

    On the other hand, the double dipping by Dr. Shukla and his family seems at best of very doubtful morality, and at worst, of very doubtful legality. Dr. Shukla would seem a more suitable target for a RICO investigation than the ‘contrarian organizations’ the letter talks about.

  26. Posted Sep 28, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I’d like to note that Naomi Oreskes caused a minor stir by proposing “RICO-style prosecutions” over a year ago:

    http://notrickszone.com/2014/02/23/alarmist-desperation-reaches-new-high-naomi-oreskes-says-rico-style-prosecution-could-be-significant-to-shut-down-skeptics/

  27. mpainter
    Posted Sep 30, 2015 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

    Klinger’s has issued a correction and update of his apology, dated 9/29/. He amends his statements and vaguely softens his stance somewhat, but does not repudiate his signature to that letter and ignores the Shukla double dipping. It is more spin and he seems to be half conciliatory and half condemnatory of views adverse to the alarmists.

    He does not address the fact that the letter calls for RICO to be applied against “organizations”. He needs to repudiate his signature if he expects to gain any credibility in this affair.

  28. Posted Oct 9, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog.

7 Trackbacks

  1. […] https://climateaudit.org/2015/09/25/disinformation-from-barry-klinger-and-the-rico-20/#more-21423 […]

  2. By Typhoon posting | The Lukewarmer's Way on Sep 28, 2015 at 4:44 AM

    […] seems like the past never dies–it never even really is the past. Steve McIntyre is discussing Cuccinelli again, an event I played a small role in. Cuccinelli famously tried to go after Michael Mann for […]

  3. By My Fox News op-ed on RICO | Climate Etc. on Sep 28, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    […] Note:  Steve McIntyre has a new post taking Klinger to task regarding the defense of Mann by climate ‘contrarians’ [link]. […]

  4. […] Reckless Misinformation from Barry Klinger and the RICO 20 […]

  5. […] Reckless Misinformation from Barry Klinger and the RICO 20 […]

  6. By RICO Ructions Round-up | The IPCC Report on Sep 30, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    […] he did not recall any climate contrarians criticising Cuccinelli’s investigation of Mann. As pointed out by McIntyre, several did, and Klinger had absolutely no excuse for being unaware of this since the fact was […]

  7. […] Reckless Misinformation from Barry Klinger and the RICO 20 (Climate Audit) […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,633 other followers

%d bloggers like this: