Sen. Markey to investigate industry funding of climate studies

Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday The Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Mass.) wants oil and coal companies to reveal the extent to which they have funded research questioning the causes of climate change.

He said he will soon write to various companies, trade organizations and others involved in fossil fuels in an attempt to find whether they are paying for skeptical climate research.

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Markey’s comments came after The New York Times reported that Willie Soon, a prolific scientist questioning the human role in climate change, received more than $1.2 million from the industry and did not consistently report that funding when publishing his research.

Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institute, which employs Soon, has asked its inspector general to review the allegation that Soon failed to disclose his funding sources.

“For years, fossil fuel interests and front groups have attacked climate scientists and legislation to cut carbon pollution using junk science and debunked arguments,” Markey told the Boston Globe.

“The American public deserve an honest debate that isn’t polluted by the best junk science fossil fuel interests can buy,” he said. “That’s why I will be launching this investigation to see how widespread this denial-for-hire scheme stretches within the anti-climate action cabal.”

Markey staff reviewed the same documents on which the Times reported, obtained by activist group Greenpeace through public-records requests.

They show that various companies and other groups paid Soon to write research, reports and congressional testimony saying that greenhouse gases from human activity have little effect on the climate. Instead, Soon said changes in the sun are the cause of fluctuations in the climate.

In addition to seeking an investigation of its own, the Smithsonian distanced itself from Soon in a Monday statement.

Soon is a “part-time researcher” whose salary is paid entirely with external grants, and the Smithsonian does not agree with his findings on climate change, the institute said.