Greenpeace operation tested climate research funding and found that some climate scientists would agree to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change for money.
The sting operation is highly controversial. While it exposes a shadowed truth, opponents of the environmental research and activist group believe the only purpose of Greenpeace was to discredit their opponents.
For several months, two members of the international organization Greenpeace took the role of foreign energy companies representatives. In this role they approached several prominent figures in the climate change debate. They asked if they are willing to write papers benefitting fossil fuels based industries. The main catch: payments would not be disclosed.
Willing to conceal funding sources, two professors agreed to the offer they received. Frank Clemente, professor of sociology with Pennsylvania State University and William Harper, professor of physics at Princeton University agreed to the offers made by the two Greenpeace members.
Funding sources for scientific research are a sore point of discussion in the scientific community. Particularly when the topic is as sensitive as climate change. When it comes to published scientific research on climate change, full disclosure of funding sources should be the golden rule. However, the Greenpeace sting operation shows that this is not the case. Industry ties are often swept under the rug when climate change denial is at stake.
Greenpeace operation tested climate research funding and found this to be the blatant case. Professor Frank Clemente had agreed to a paper on coal. The scientific paper would have benefited a fictitious coal mining company from Indonesia. Professor William Harper had agreed to write a paper benefiting an oil and gas company from the Middle East. In both cases, the agreement was to conceal funding sources.
Asked to comment on the disclosure following the Greenpeace sting operation, both professors acknowledged the arrangements made with the two Greenpeace members. However, both professor also maintain that nothing in the process was improper.
Professor Frank Clemente has previously occupied the position of director with an environmental policy center of the Pennsylvania State University. According to the New York Times, his email response stated that he strongly believes in all the statements he made while talking to the undercover Greenpeace employee.
He strongly believes that a clean environment and reducing the gap in energy sources globally is tied to clean coal technologies. Therefore he agreed to pen down the paper benefiting the fictitious coal mining company in Indonesia.
Photo Credits: geograph.org.uk