The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Keiller MacDuff
Phone: 202 679 2236

Dr Willie Soon: A Career Fueled by Big Oil and Coal

New research shows big oil and coal’s funding, Koch links for prominent climate denier

Greenpeace is today launching a follow-up case study to their work on the Koch brothers' climate denial machine, this time focusing on scientist Dr Willie Soon.

Key findings include:

  • A Freedom of Information Act response from Smithsonian Institution reveals that in the last decade more than $1million of Dr Soon's funding has come from oil and coal interests. Every grant he has received since 2002 has been from the fossil fuels industry.
  • Koch Funding: A newly discovered 2010 grant to Dr. Soon from the Charles G. Koch Foundation of $65,000 shows up in the same FOIA responses. A previous grant from the Kochs of $110,000 is also detailed.
  • One of the largest coal burning electric utilities in the world, Southern Company, gave Dr Soon two previously unrevealed grants totaling $230,000.
  • Attack on IPCC report: Correspondence uncovered in our investigation reveals Soon coordinating a plan in 2003 to undermine the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Assessment Report (AR4) Working Group 1 report (on science) - years before the report was written.
  • Dr Soon successfully duped the Wall Street Journal editorial board in June 2011 into describing him as "a natural scientist at Harvard, an expert on mercury and public health issues," despite no record of such public health expertise, and a clear attempt to mislead regarding his employment at Harvard.

The report, Dr Willie Soon: a career fueled by Big Oil and Coal, is available here:

Dr Soon is speaking this week at the annual climate denier conference hosted by the Heartland Institute in Washington DC.

Greenpeace Head of Research, Kert Davies, is available for comment.

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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