Exxon Funded Think-Tank Chair Will Happer to Testify in Congress on Climate

Exxon Funded Think-Tank Chair Will Happer to Testify in Congress on Climate
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Will Happer, as chair of the George C. Marshall Institute, will testify Thursday before Rep. Ed Markey's Select committee as the sole GOP witness arguing against the global warming consensus. Even though Happer, a physicist, has published exactly one paper that discusses climate change, he is apparently the top choice of the GOP to discuss "the ability to present data and information that can guide global warming solutions in a sometimes fierce political landscape."

Professor Will Happer augments his Princeton duties with high-profile climate denial. Ever since he and Fred Singer claimed that ozone depletion was not happening, Happer has been willing to let his Princeton position and American Physical Union title serve the whims of ExxonMobil's policy goals.

Happer proudly says "I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind."

He even falsely told a congressional committee: “We evolved as a species when CO2 concentrations were three or four times what they are now”. Actually, you need to go back hundreds of millions of years to find CO2 levels this high. Sorry Mr. Happer, your facts might be a bit muddled, but your motivations are clear.

Happer has been on the board of the George C. Marshall Institute since at least 2002, and is currently its director. The institute receives a sizable portion of its funding from ExxonMobil. Out of an operating budget of about $800,000, an average of $91,428 per year from 2001-07 comes directly from ExxonMobil. They also receive $250,000 per year from the Scaife oil fortune, and we see almost half of the Institute is funded by oil money.

Global warming policy is the institute's largest advocacy program, spending over $200,000 in 2007 and over $300,000 in 2006 on the program. That program employs former registered Exxon lobbyist William O'Keefe, who previously served as CEO fo the American Petroleum Institute. Also on the team, Sallie Baliunas who co-authored a paper on climate change with Willie Soon which was sponsored directly by the API, and then refuted by 13 of the authors she cited.

As the chair for the organization Happer has stepped into a central role in the global warming denialosphere. While some organizations like Competitive Enterprise Institute have renounced funding from ExxonMobil, GMI has been unabashed in its acceptance of oil money. Consequently, Exxon connections form a tight circle around GMI and Happer. See this map of connections.

Will this week's climate tesimony be as hilarious as previous weeks? I doubt Happer will match the absurdity of Hitler-Youth-Monckton at the previous congressional hearing earlier this month, but it will be interesting to see if he makes up more on CO2 levels or pretends to be baffled as to how a mere gas can effect the climate. Stay tuned.

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