All eyes are on the IPCC. Although some of it is ugly, and some sceptics – in our view, at least – are making less dignified arguments than they ought to be, this has been a long time coming. The IPCC, by virtue of the argument that ‘climate change is the most important issue facing mankind’, has become perhaps the ‘most important political institution’, at least by implication. For a while, the putative ‘crisis’ that we face has allowed the IPCC to avoid scrutiny. After all, who could argue with an institution that was established to ‘save the planet’? It seems that some of this invincibility has worn off, perhaps because there were simply too many hoping that some of its Nobel-prize-winning-planet-saving-credentials would rub off on them.
Donna Laframboise, of the No Frakking “Scientific Consensus” on Global Warming blog, has done a quick survey of citations of the WWF in the last IPCC assessment report (AR4).
For example, a WWF report is cited twice on this page as the only supporting proof of IPCC statements about coastal developments in Latin America. A WWF report is referenced twice by the IPCC’s Working Group II in its concluding statements. There, the IPCC depends on the WWF to define what the global average per capita “ecological footprint” is compared to the ecological footprint of central and Eastern Europe.
This is one of those ‘why didn’t we think of that’ moments.
Before the scanning of IPCC reports begins, we’d like to return to a subject we began to look at right when this blog started. The issue of funding.
According to alarmist mythology, sceptics/deniers have been the beneficiaries or obedient slaves of a “well-funded denial machine” that has distorted the debate. Evidence for this came in the form of a site from Greenpeace, called ‘ExxonSecrets’. The site explains itself:
ExxonSecrets is a Greenpeace research project highlighting the more than a decade-long campaign by Exxon-funded front groups – and the scientists they work with – to deny the urgency of the scientific consensus on global warming and delay action to fix the problem.
Greenpeace are particularly proud of one of their efforts:
After consistent campaigning by Greenpeace through ExxonSecrets, ExxonMobil was forced, in 2006, to drop funding to some of its key allies in the campaign to deny climate science and delay policy action The Competitive Enterprise Institute was the key group dropped – it had received $2.2 million from ExxonMobil since 1998, more than any other thinktank. But the relationship continues as CEI’s climate operatives continue to work closely with the other think tanks funded by Exxon.
$2.2 million, over the course of the decade following 1998, amounts to $220,000 a year. Not a hill of beans.
As we reported in May 2008, it’s even less of a hill of beans when it is seen in contrast to the budgets of the big Green, NGOs. WWF, for example, took this much money in recent years:
Year Income ($US)
According to WWF’s latest financial report, 2008 was not quite such a good year for them. They’ve switched their accounting to Euros, rather than dollars, and say that in 2007, they took €508,137,000, and in 2008, they took €447,251,000. Poor WWF. Still, we make that to be roughly $584,000,000 – over half a billion dollars, bringing their total income since 2003 to just over $3.1 billion, not including 2009.
Of interest to some of our readers is the fact that WWF took €73,938,000 ($104,320,000) in 2007 and €76,930,000 ($108,856,000) in 2008 from ‘Governments and Aid Agencies’.
‘Why are you banging on about how much money WWF have, again?’ you may well be asking.
The point is first to demonstrate again that, in purely cash terms, the alarmist cause is considerably better funded. This must also be seen in the context of the rhetoric produced by the likes of Greenpeace, who, as we’ve pointed out before, don’t do so badly themselves. They say that ‘deniers’ have intended ‘to deny the urgency of the scientific consensus on global warming and delay action’, yet as the events that are unfolding reveal, it is much more organisations such as the WWF who have influenced the debate with misinformation. http://www.climate-resistance.org/2008/01/well-funded-well-funded-denial-machine.html
We thought it might be time to tot up Greenpeace’s accounts to date…
Year Income (US$) Income (Euros)
1994 137,358,000 —————-
1995 152,805,000 —————-
1996 139,895,000 —————-
1997 125,648,000 —————-
1998 —————- 110,833,000
1999 —————- 126,023,000
2000 —————- 143,646,000
2001 —————- 157,730,000
2005 —————- 173,464,000
2006 —————- 171,367,000
2007 —————- 204,982,000
2008 —————- 196,620,000
TOTAL 555,706,000 1,284,665,000
To put these crudely into the same terms, we make that $2,373,506,970 ($2.37 billion) at today’s euro to US dollar exchange rate.
Most of this money comes from people who think that they are giving to save the rhino, panda, or the whale, because that’s how Greenpeace and the WWF sell themselves. They hire companies to accost people in the street on their behalf and to phone people, harassing them into signing agreements to pay monthly amounts, deducted automatically from their bank accounts. Yet these organisations don’t simply save whales and rhinos, they use their not inconsiderable financial clout to influence the political agenda throughout the world, in a way that the ‘deniers’ simply have not been able to. This obviously includes preparing ‘research’ that finds its way into IPCC Assessment Reports.
There may be nothing wrong with this, as such. We can’t really complain that such-and-such an organisation gets money from old ladies, and uses it to look into things. But the rise of the NGO has coincided with the decline in other forms of political engagement. Thus, politicians turn increasingly to organisations like the IPCC and the WWF for their moral authority. This process isn’t healthy.
Whether or not this new scrutiny of the IPCC will be conclusive remains to be seen, but this was somewhat inevitable. Too much speculation about the climate story caused a bubble. World leaders, politicians, activists have sought to define themselves by this organisation and the stories it produces. Now the bubble, while not yet burst, is getting a damn good poke. Our view is that the IPCC and the climate agenda will no longer serve as a cloak of ‘ethical’ invisibility, to conceal quite so many of the cracks in today’s politics. No more fig-leaves for politicians such as Ed Miliband to hide his shame behind. (h/t Mark H).