Malaysian in US climate change scandal

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NEW YORK: A Malaysian-born astrophysicist has been accused of accepting more than US1 million (RM3.64 million) from corporate interests to undermine arguments on the risks of global warming, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Dr Willie Soon Wei-Hock allegedly received more than US$1.2 million in funding from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade to debunk the argument that greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change.

Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, authored many scientific papers for his corporate funders, which he described as “deliverables”, in exchange for the funding.

At least eight out of 11 papers published since 2008 violated the ethical guidelines of the journals that published his research when he failed to disclose the conflict of interest.

Among his funders were the Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation (whose fortune derives partly from oil refining), Exxon Mobil (US$335,000) and the American Petroleum Institute (US$274,000), the NYT reported.

Soon’s papers mainly argued that the sun is responsible for most of the recent global warming and not human activities.

The theory is widely supported by those, also known as “climate change deniers”, who are trying to block climate action. — The Malaysian Insider


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 24, 2015.