Climate Change Denial Research Funded By Big Oil


Would it matter to you if you found out your doctor, who had been prescribing you medications, was accepting money from the pharmaceutical company who made your medications all along? Would you wonder about the doctor’s motives for prescribing those drugs? Would you wonder if the doctor really had your best interest at heart?

Let’s say you found out a scientist who makes very clear pronouncements on the state of climate change was being paid substantial amounts of money from Big Oil, the very industry whose products are accused of contributing the most to climate change. Would you wonder about that person’s motives? Would you wonder if that person really had your — or the planet’s — best interests at heart?

This is the question raised today by revelations that Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a very vocal denier of climate change, has been given over $1,000,000 for research grants over the last ten years from the very companies who stand to benefit from society maintaining the climate status quo.  His benefactors include ExxonMobil, the Charles G. Koch foundation, the American Petroleum Institute and other sources, all of whom have an interest in debunking theories that humans have caused climate change through the use of the very products these organizations represent.

Certainly, to an ethical researcher, funding is funding is funding — or at least, it should be. The source of the funding should not matter one whit to any research outcomes. However, it also stands to reason that if the researcher were to arrive at findings the fund granter did not agree with, he wouldn’t receive funding from similar sources anymore. And yet, Soon has continued to receive funding from Big Oil and Big Coal — despite, or perhaps because, his research is contradictory to the findings of almost all other researchers.

Does Big Oil like to give Soon funding because he says what they want to hear, thus giving them ammunition to fight climate-change initiatives? Or are Big Oil and Big Coal simply giving him funding because they truly want to fund climate change research?

I’ll leave that up to you.


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Photo Credit: akeg on Flickr.


Scott M.
Its wonderful e.4 years ago

I dont understand why the Government is continuing to fund climate research. If it is proven then what more research is required. The billions spent each year on climate research seems wasted to me if it is settled?

Carole R.
Carole R.5 years ago

I am not at all surprised. Seems like a no-brainer.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago


Margie Bonn
Past Member 5 years ago

Are we surprised?
And BTW doctors do get kick backs from drug companies to promote their products!

Janine Hofmann
Janine H.5 years ago

Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Anastasia F.
Anastasia F.5 years ago

No surprise there!

Jeanie Johnson
Jeanie Johnson5 years ago

No surprise. Follow the really big money right to the Koch Boys, the DeVos, and all the rest. Big Oil, Big Chemical, Big Pharma, Big Everything = "oooo, climate change is a hoax folks!" And really why bother - we need to make adjustments in our culture to what is coming - Peak Oil, Climate Change, Economic disruptions.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.5 years ago

No surprise here.

Alberta Gentleman

I knew it!

David C.
David Connally5 years ago

@Robert O "the funding to convince us that man-made climate change is real and 'the science is settled' is coming from parties who are making billions of dollars from it."

Robert, How would Gore & Goldman Sachs make a penny out of carbon credits. Aren't these traded via governments? Like the very successful sulphur dioxide program? Wasn't the cooling projection based on particulate emissions which have been much reduced in the developed world. We know Krakatoa gave a couple of very bad years

The massive resources are behind deniers. Exxon alone made $30+ billion net profit in 2010. And how about Saudi Arabia. The pro-denier group resources dwarf warming advocates.