Energy

Climate Scientists Asking Obama To Prosecute Skeptics Got Millions From US Taxpayers

The organization responsible for circulating a letter asking President Obama to prosecute those skeptical of man-made global warming is almost entirely funded by U.S. taxpayers.

A letter circulated and signed by scientists with the Institute of Global Environment and Society calls for global warming skeptics to be prosecuted, but what’s been left out of media reports on the letter is that IGES gets millions of dollars from taxpayers every year. On top of that, the organization’s lead scientist gets paid a six-figure salary for part-time work, according to tax documents published online.

Last week, a group of scientists and academics led by Jagadish Shukla, a science professor at George Mason University and a lead author of the United Nation’s 2007 climate report, signed a letter asking Obama and other White House officials to conduct a “RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

IGES, a Maryland-based non-profit established to “improve understanding and prediction of the variations of the Earth’s climate through scientific research on climate variability and climate predictability, and to share both the fruits of this research and the tools necessary to carry out this research with society as a whole.” Scientists involved with the group are now calling for RICO to be used against those that disagree with them on global warming.

“If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done,” Shukla and his colleagues wrote to Obama.

Interestingly enough, IGES gets virtually all of its funding from U.S. taxpayers, according to the organization’s tax filings. IGES’s website states the group gets funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

In 2014, IGES got some $3.8 million from taxpayers, according to tax filings. But what’s interesting is that Shukla, the group’s president, makes more than $333,000 in compensation only working for IGES part-time — 28 hours per week, according to documents. His wife, Anne Shukla, makes another $166,000 per year working at IGES, and tax filings say she works full-time.

Shukla and his colleagues letter to the White House calling for a RICO investigation into groups opposing regulations aimed at tackling global warming made waves in the news last week. The letter comes after repeated calls by a Democratic senator to use RICO against skeptics, and after Democratic lawmakers launched an investigation into scientists and groups that questioned the White House’s approach to global warming.

“In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies … alleging that the companies ‘engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,'” Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wrote in The Washington Post in May, first endorsing prosecution of global warming skeptics.

But now critics are undercutting calls by scientists for a antiskeptic RICO case by pointing out that these researchers are benefitting off taxpayer largesse. Below is a tweet sent out by Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., a former climate researcher who left the field after being intimidated by Democratic lawmakers earlier this year.

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