The AEI is more than just a think tank, it functions as the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they've got left is a suitcase full of cash.--Ben Stewart of Greenpeace, quoted in The Guardian (London), "Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study", Feb 2nd, 2007
The Italian definition of Cosa Nostra (a.k.a. Mafia) is a group of associations governed by a code of silence and being in control of business activities that benefit the administration of Sicily. One big business activity in the Bush administration surrounds big oil companies incentives in the discredit of evidence in the February 2nd Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global climate change. The authors of the report suggest there is a 90% chance humans have contributed to Global Warming over the past 50 years.
The IPCC study gets its data from ice cores. Scientists drill ice in the form of a rod and examine the layers for atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide which is measured parts of carbon dioxide per million water molecules (PPM). The study shows that the ppm has ranged from 180 to 300 over the period of 650,000 years and in 2005 was 379ppm increasing at a rate of 1.9ppm per year for the past ten years, a drastic change from 1.4ppm per year since 1960.
From this data the report concludes "Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750..."
But on the day that this report was due to be published, selected scientists and economists had been offered $10,000 each to suggest otherwise by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
In the beginning of "Some Like it Hot", Chris Mooney writes "Forty public policy groups have this in common: They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat. And they all get money from ExxonMobil."
Among those public policy groups is the AEI, a neoconservative think tank that has provided capitalistic support by putting it's supporters in influential governmental positions since 1943. 20 staff of AEI have consulted with the Bush Administration; Lee Raymond, former CEO of ExxonMobil is now vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees; Dick Cheney is an alumni of AEI and his wife Lynne Cheney is now a senior fellow.
At the time "Some Like it Hot" was published, AEI was cited as receiving a private donation of $960,000 from ExxonMobil in 2005, a 60% increase over the previous 7 years according to $1.6 million in donations since 1998 surveyed by Union of Concerned Scientists.
In a letter to scientists and economists on July 5th of 2006 Kenneth Green of AEI awards $10,000 for any essay or article that "emphasise [sic] the shortcomings" of the IPCC report. And the tone of the letter is biased as to suggest probable fault with the report: "As with any large-scale 'consensus' process, the IPCC is susceptible to self-selection bias in its personnel, resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent, and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work of the complete... reports."
The letter from AEI to scientists and economists was obtained by environmental group Greenpeace and the February 2nd issue of the London's Guardian was the first news source to publish the findings.
More recent news stories such as February 9th's "Global Warming Smear" in the Wall Street Journal are denying any suspicion of bribery by recollecting AEI's action, quoting a more subtle toned portion of the letter that asks scientists to evaluate a "range of policy prescriptions that should be considered for climate change of uncertain dimension." Reportedly, Exxon is seeking a retraction of any suspicion of bribery from the reports.
Main sources:"Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study", Feb. 2nd, 2007, London's Guardian: http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2004397,00.html
Climate Change 2007, Vol. 1: www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf
"Global Warming Smear", February 9th, Wall Street Journal, Section A, Pg. 10.