Heard the one about the 900 papers that dispute global warming? It’s been the big new meme in the Global Denial-o-sphere this year. Well, The Carbon Brief did a little analysis of all those papers and guess what they found? The heavy hand of Exxon:

[A] preliminary data analysis by the Carbon Brief has revealed that nine of the ten most prolific authors cited have links to organisations funded by ExxonMobil, and the tenth has co-authored several papers with Exxon-funded contributors.[…]

The top ten include Willie Soon, a senior scientist at the Exxon funded George C Marshall institute, and John R Christy, also a Marshall Institute expert.

Ross McKitrick is a senior fellow at the Exxon funded Fraser institute and on the academic advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation – funders unknown.

Dr Indur M Goklany is affiliated with the Exxon Funded thinktank the International Policy Network (US). Sallie L Baliunas is listed by the Union of Concerned Scientists as being affiliated with nine different organisations who have all received funding from ExxonMobil, including the George C Marshall Institute.

Richard Lindzen, a climate scientist and prominent sceptic who notably has a degree of credibility in the scientific community, is a member of the ‘Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy’, which has also received Exxon funding.

The final name in the top 10 contributors – David H Douglass – has written several papers with Singer, Christie and Michaels – six of the fifteen papers he authored on the list were written with Michaels, Singer or Christie.

These ten individuals were responsible for 186 of the 938 “papers” cited as disputing climate change. That’s roughly 20% of the total claimed by the people who reported this list, a climate denial organization, The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The list was compiled by the bloggers at Popular Technology.not. The people who write for that blog are named as:

Andrew (Computer Analyst)

Contributing Editors
Doug (Computer Engineer)
Karl (Computer Scientist)
Mike (Electrical Engineer)

But what is even more devious is that of the list of over 900 papers quite a few of them had nothing to do with human related climate change and many others that were included had been inappropriately labeled as refuting climate change:

[O]ur analysis also shows that many of the papers do not focus on human-induced climate change – and so have little relevance to the theme of the list.

Furthermore, some of the authors featured on the list surprised us, so we contacted a selection to see whether they supported this interpretation of their work – the responses confirmed their work is being misappropriated by inclusion in lists such as this. […]

Indeed, quite a few of the papers included studied the effects of non-human factors as if that alone refuted human related causes of climate change. In fact, often those papers only highlighted the small role played by non-human factors:

A paper by Meehl et al, also placed on the list, discussed how the 11-year solar cycle has an amplified effect on climate signals in the tropical Pacific. The author of the paper, Gerald Meehl, of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), said:

“It’s odd that our 2009 paper is on a site about global warming. Our paper addressed specifically the climate system response to the 11-year solar cycle. Thus it is about decadal timescale climate variability.

“It said nothing about long-term warming trends, and in fact, in the last sentence of the paper, we state, ‘This response also cannot be used to explain recent global warming because the 11-year solar cycle has not shown a measurable trend over the past 30 years.'”


The authors of the list … appear to believe that studying the effect of non-human effects on the climate provides evidence to undermine the theory of man-made climate change.

In fact, it is precisely such work which shows that the man-made changes to our planet are unprecedented.

Shorter version: The “900 peer reviewed papers that dispute global warming” list is a lie. However, the fact that Exxon is funding or affiliated with the top ten most prolific climate change deniers is true. Can anyone say “vested interest?”