White House Involved in Warmist Smear Campaign

Remember when Governor Rick Perry burst into the presidential race?  Arguably one of the things that made him quickly rise to the top was the answer he gave to a question about global warming at an August 17th event: "I think we're seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change."

Just a day later, the Washington Post described what Perry's campaign sent them as proof to back his statement:

... a link to something called the [Oregon] Petition Project, which claims to have collected the signatures of 31,487 "American scientists" on a petition that says there is "no convincing scientific evidence" that human release of greenhouse gasses will "cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate".

Now imagine, for a moment, news of such a petition being so inconvenient to the Obama administration in light of the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa that they made efforts to marginalize it via a prominently placed op-ed saying that the petition had fake names in it.

Imagine that these efforts involved a relatively unknown scientist who coordinated his efforts to write the anti-skeptic op-ed with the White House Office of Science and Technology (headed by Obama Science Czar John Holdren), and with an enviro-activist group famous for slamming skeptic scientists -- like Greenpeace, for example.

Then again, there's no need to imagine -- all this apparently did happen, and John Holdren was involved, but it didn't take place just recently.  It was aimed at the U.N. climate conference in Buenos Aires in 1998 during the Clinton/Gore administration, and was in response to a favorable article written by the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby about the then-17,000 signers of the petition and how the news of so many skeptics might derail the conference's efforts to "to put teeth into the treaty that came out of Kyoto" just a year earlier.  And the enviro-activist group was Ozone Action, which was later merged into Greenpeace USA in 2000.

Back on August 26, 2010, I wrote a piece about the unhelpful appearance of Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, current head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), being tied to Ozone Action's initial 1998 efforts to marginalize the petition.  On October 4, 2010, I wrote another article which went into much greater detail about the highly questionable efforts of Ozone Action to portray the petition as tainted by "fake" names.

I was unaware of the direct White House involvement until I ran across page 2 of this scan.  Scientist George Woodwell is appealing for help from John Holdren, who was on Clinton's President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST):

The Globe does not wish to publish it, at least over my name alone. (Who is he?) The thought is that you would lend legitimacy and tip the scales in favor of publishing, especially if you cite (or allow others to cite) your PSAC connection. I would, of course, be delighted to have you as an author, even the author, if you are willing. ...

The issue has become urgent in that the Jacoby distortion is being circulated in Buenos Aires to stop any action at all. I am dealing with John Passaccantando of Ozone Action and Ann Kenzig, now in the White House on this project.

Woodwell misspells Ann Kinzig's last name.  Kinzig was "an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in the Office of Science and Technology Policy" (OSTP), coincidentally at the same time when Jane Lubchenco was the chair of AAAS.

Additional evidence of Ozone Action's ties to the White House comes in the form of a March 1998 e-mail alert to them from the OSTP's Rosina Bierbaum regarding a Small Business Survival Committee (SBSC) press release describing faults in the IPCC:

Despite White House claims that the debate over global warming is in fact over, an examination of their substantiation of '2,000 scientists' reveals experts in Chinese medicines as well as 'urban studies', hotel administrators, 'masters of arts' psychiatrists...

In case anybody has missed the news of it, these sorts of crippling problems in the IPCC are substantiated in intricate detail within Donna Laframboise's brand-new book, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert.

One more reason Ms. Bierbaum specifically alerts Ozone Action: the SBSC press release also notes climate scientist skeptics who signed the Leipzig Declaration, an effort put together by atmospheric scientist (and AT contributor) Dr. S. Fred Singer.  Dr Singer was a harsh critic of Ozone Action back when that group focused purely on how chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) supposedly were a driver of ozone depletion, and he became one of the primary targets of that group and anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan.  Those are the same enviro-activists I cover in my writings about how the fossil-fuel-industry-funding-corruption accusation against skeptics appears to be completely unsupportable.

Apparently, with White House assistance and Holdren's co-authorship, Woodwell got an op-ed in at the NY Times/International Herald Tribune, which, as I reported in my October 4, 2010 article, mimicked prior recent pieces by Ozone Action personnel about fake names being seen in the Oregon Petition Project.  Not helping this narrative are confessions from SourceWatch (" ... environmental activists successfully added the names of several fictional characters and celebrities to the list ... "), and DesmogBlog ("According to the May 1998 Associated Press article, the Oregon petition included names that were intentionally placed to prove the invalid methodology ... ").  Problem is, I noted in another of my articles how SourceWatch's Sheldon Rampton had close ties to Ross Gelbspan, and the narrative in the short version of the AP article DeSmog links to is different from the long version, switching from "[s]everal environmental groups" questioning the names in the petition to simply Ozone Action questioning them.

Compare this to other like-minded tactics: the credibility of assertions about Tea Party people hurling Nazi epithets apparently had to be "helped along" at one rally via a planted sign orchestrated to be seen by a photographer associated with a "progressive" website, as Michelle Malkin summarized in her April 12, 2010 blog post.  CBS news anchorman Dan Rather and whatever dislike he had for George W. Bush apparently had to be "helped along" with the use of forged National Guard documents.  Then there were the efforts to portray Rush Limbaugh as a racist, which seemed to require the use of planted quotes Limbaugh never said.

Same tactic in the petition smear.  Don't meet your critics in a head-to-head debate; instead, marginalize what they say, ridicule their efforts, and plant evidence if their efforts don't look ridiculous enough to tilt public opinion in your favor.

If there is one example of how far-left ideology can't defend itself, it is the entire idea of man-caused global warming.  Just look at what its promoters must do to keep it alive in the face of withering criticism.  The disturbing thing about it is how long they've kept up this juvenile tactic, thanks to a complicit mainstream media.

Russell Cook's collection of writings on this issue can be seen at "The '96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists," and you can follow him on Twitter at QuestionAGW.