The “well funded” climate business – follow the money

The “well funded” climate business – follow the money” (2012-05-19). Anthony Watts tries to re-stir a cold pot: See how climate scientists are eagerly shoveling mistresses into the Ferrari’s they bought with their free gubmint money?

Joanne Nova (Australian holder of a Graduate Certificate in Science Communications and Rothschild obsessive) pulled out her sharpest crayons three years ago and laid it all out for the boffins at the Science and Public Policy Institute. Anthony remembered just now.

According to Jo-No the US government is giving seven billion dollars a year to those smug climate scientists! No wonder they’re all so happy to lie about global warming.

Wait, you mean they don’t get to stuff the cash into their pockets? It all goes to actual research costs? Surely all that gear just pops up from the ground. The scientists keep none of it? Oh.

What’s that you say? Most of the money on that chart is really for biofuel subsidies, solar power costs and the like? Actual energy? Oh.

Still, I bet plenty goes to campaigning against the rich. (Eat them, they’re delicious.) If the Heartland Institute and the Heritage Foundation spend all their money on partisan warfare then surely scientists do too. Oh.

Also, leading Senate intellectual Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe is fightin’ back against President Obama’s “war on affordable energy”. What’s putting our troops at risk? Not having big enough gas tanks.

The banner ads suggest that Google’s figured out what Anthony and his readers need. It’s hard to argue with ’em.
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11 thoughts on “The “well funded” climate business – follow the money

  1. Here’s the article, which I believe Ben’s post is based on.

    “Accusations that climate science is money-driven reveal ignorance of how science is done” – Ars Technica

    And a brief quote

    “funding has been essentially flat since the early 1990s. (Funding has gone up slightly in recent years, but is still in the neighborhood of $2 billion annually.) A lot of that money doesn’t actually go to scientists, either, as it pays to support everything from some of NASA’s Earth-monitoring satellites to land and ocean temperature monitoring.

    There has never been any sudden boom in government funding for climate research that is luring people onto the research track, much less inducing them to support the consensus view. If anything, many years of flat funding would provide an incentive for people to look to getting out of the field. The graph, held up as evidence that climate scientists are being led around by money, actually shows the exact opposite.”

  2. Here’s the article that I believe Ben’s post is based on.

    “Accusations that climate science is money-driven reveal ignorance of how science is done”

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/05/accusations-that-climate-science-is-money-driven-reveal-ignorance-of-how-science-is-done/

    And a brief excerpt

    “…….funding has been essentially flat since the early 1990s. (Funding has gone up slightly in recent years, but is still in the neighborhood of $2 billion annually.) A lot of that money doesn’t actually go to scientists, either, as it pays to support everything from some of NASA’s Earth-monitoring satellites to land and ocean temperature monitoring.

    There has never been any sudden boom in government funding for climate research that is luring people onto the research track, much less inducing them to support the consensus view. If anything, many years of flat funding would provide an incentive for people to look to getting out of the field. The graph, held up as evidence that climate scientists are being led around by money, actually shows the exact opposite.”

  3. Remarks by some scientists on this subject.

    “The problem with this argument is that climate scientists aren’t asking you to give them more money. They are asking you to fix the problem. Climate scientists simply do not have the expertise and training to develop nuclear fusion, the next generation of solar panels, or other forms of alternative energy. If we develop those technologies then money would go to people who have nothing to do with climate research. Climatologists also aren’t in the position to benefit from carbon taxes. So this argument has some serious flaws.”

    “There is not really a lot of money in science. To paint scientists as greedy and self interested is absurd. “Money and perks! Hahahaha. How in the world did I miss out on those when I was a lead author for the Third Assessment report? ”
    “Working on IPCC is a major drain on ones’ time, and probably detracts from getting out papers that would help to get grants (not that we make money off of grants either, since those of us at national labs and universities are not paid salary out of grants for the most part.) We do it because it’s work that has to be done. It’s grueling and demanding, and not that much fun, and I can assure everybody that there is no remuneration involved…”
    -RayPierre Ph.D.

    “One of the many absurd arguments against global warming is that scientists are only in it for the money…. The idea that there are vast wealth and perks to be made from climate science is wrong, and would raise a laugh (albeit a rather bitter one) from anyone ‘inside’.”
    – William Connolley Ph.D.

    “Scientists are competitive. It doesn’t pay to jump on bandwagons.
    Each individual scientist must compete for funding. The best way to advance your career within the scientific community is to prove everyone else wrong. It is their job to poke holes in each others arguments. The fact that nobody can come up with a legitimate theory that debunks the consensus on climate change speaks volumes about the strength of the evidence.”
    – Skeptical Science

    “As commenter Houston so elegantly put it in a response on one of my posts, evidence leads to consensus. Scientists like nothing more than to disprove established theories and upset the status quo. The idea that scientists may be in possession of knowledge that would bring about the biggest scientific upset of recent history, and yet would simply sit on their hands because of peer pressure or grant funding is, quite frankly, ludicrous beyond belief to anyone who knows anything about the scientific establishment.”
    Sami Grover at Treehugger

  4. While I agree that it’s absurd to think scientists are in it for the money, except for those working for government entities, it’s not true that they don’t get to keep any money from their funding sources. In the academic world, most are paid a teaching salary, which they can “supplement” with grant money. However, most funding agencies or academic institutions (often both) set limits on the amount of your salary that can be paid by grants- typically the equivalent of 2 months of your teaching salary. I put the word supplement in quotes above because in reality, the salary from grants is a replacement for your normal teaching salary rather than an addition to it since you’re expected to take time off from teaching to produce research (which typically takes far more than the 2 months you’re payed for).

    Most of the money from grants goes to paying other people’s salaries and overhead, meaning it goes straight to the home institution and you never see it. As an example, my most recent grant proposal (in marine ecology) has the following breakdown- 38% straight to the university, 28% for other people’s salaries, 23% for supplies and travel (the study is local and doesn’t require much equipment, so this is cheap), 11% for my salary. In all likelihood, during the review process I will be asked to reduce my budget and my salary will be the first thing that gets cut.

    • I’m not sure this is correct, certainly not here in Australia. If you apply for an ARC grant you can include salaried positions and postgraduate scholarships in the dollar amount applied for, but none of this money goes towards the salaries of the scientists applying for the grant.

  5. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, May 27, 2012 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  6. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, May 27, 2012 « Random Information

  7. I think it was Jeffery Sachs who said that doing science would not even make it into the list of the 1,000 easiest ways to make money.

    [And yet Anthony remains convinced its the nexus of financial corruption. People see what they want to see, eh? – Ben]

  8. It is clear, “Heartless Institute of Climate Denial Propaganda for profit”, is operating in damage control mode. The last climate denial conference in Chicago, was a complete shambles and a dismal failure PR wise, courtesy of the “Billboard of Shame”.

    So, just the same old, same old, recycled crap!

    How tiresome, it is though the climate denialati, all worship the false idol of lies, to avoid facing “An Inconvenient Truth”, ignorance will not prevail, in the age of science and reason.

    Who would have thought the climate denialati, megaphone of ignorance, were such great recyclers of long debunked lies and anti-science propaganda horse hockey?

    “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
    Winston Churchill

  9. Anthony’s team of amatuer researchers have missed out on an important figure. The chart shows $7 billion going to climate scientists. But how many climate scientists are out there? A rough calculation of the number of contributors to the last IPCC report (all 3 sections) shows about 1,200 climate scientists. That’s $5.8 million per scientist! And most of those scientists aren’t even Americans! Is this kind of money going non-US scientists? I thought that payoffs of that level only went to 3rd world dictators (particuarly if they have oil to sell). Hopefully, US scientists get a bigger share!

    I gotta get in on this racket. So let’s see, I’ll spend 5 years getting a Ph.D. That will cost me upwards of $300,000 at a top-level US university. I would think I’d have no trouble getting a bank to lend me that kind of money with the knowledge that I’ll be bringing in millions just as soon as I’m published. When is Anthony going to figure out how this racket works?

    • Dennis

      Your story doesn’t jibe with the following.

      “Climate Scientists Defend IPCC Peer Review as Most Rigorous in History”
      by Stacy Feldman at Inside Climate News – Feb 26th, 2010

      “Nicholls, a professor at Monash University in Victoria, Australia, said the IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment report was subjected to several rigorous tiers of review. The study cites over 10,000 papers from the scientific literature, “most of which have already been through the peer-review process to get into the scientific literature.”

      The report went through four separate reviews and received 90,000 comments from 2,500 reviewers, all of which are publicly available, along with the responses of the authors, Nicholls said.”

      I think your 1,200 number really refers to reviewers of research for the IPCC. And the quote above is double your number.

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there are tens of thousands of scientists from about a dozen fields of science, working on climate research.

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