U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is launching an investigation into fossil fuel funding of climate research after the New York Times reported that climate denialist Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon accepted $1.2 million from the industry over the last decade.
“For years, fossil fuel interests and front groups have attacked climate scientists and legislation to cut carbon pollution using junk science and debunked arguments,” Markey said in a statement. “I will be launching this investigation to see how widespread this denial-for-hire scheme stretches within the anti-climate action cabal.”
Documents obtained by Greenpeace under access to information laws show that Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, received $335,000 from ExxonMobil, $274,000 from the American Petroleum Institute, $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and another $324,000 from anonymous donors through a Koch trust fund, The Guardian reports.
“The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as ‘deliverables’ that he completed in exchange for their money,” The Times notes. Soon “has long stated that his corporate funding has not influenced his scientific findings.”
Markey “will send letters to fossil fuel companies, trade organizations, and others with a stake in carbon fuels, aiming to reveal other climate-change-skeptical scientists whose work has been subsidized by those parties,” The Globe writes.