Michael Bastasch on September 29, 2015
There must have been some major blowback against the scientists and researchers who recently sent a letter asking President Barack Obama to prosecute global warming skeptics, because the group’s letter to Obama has been quietly removed from their website.
Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise posted on her blog NoFrakkingConsensus.com that the Institute of Global Environment and Society has taken down its letter signed by twenty scientists and researchers. “There’s no explanation, no apology – just open space where this anti-free-speech document used to reside,” Laframboise wrote.
IGES’s removal of its letter urging skeptics be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act comes after huge backlash from skeptics and reports of the millions in government funding the letter’s lead signatory has gotten over the years.
Now when the public goes to view the letter claiming that various organizations “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change” all they will see is a blank page with a note that the URL “was not found on this server.”
Nearly two weeks ago, IGES published a letter, signed by twenty academics, echoing the calls of Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse for global warming skeptics to be prosecuted under RICO, using the same strategy the government used to take down the tobacco industry.
“We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation,” the scientists wrote to Obama. “The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking.”
The letter gained a lot of media attention and was derided by those skeptical of man-made global warming. Constitutional law expert Walter Olson argued that prosecuting groups for scientific disagreements would harm free speech.
“If the government takes up this kind of thing as its own cause, the government can apply a lot of pressure against its adversary in litigation,” Olson toldVermont Watchdog. “It can threaten to cut off government contracts, and it can threaten unrelated litigation… But if you give the government the means to blow people up for lobbying or advocacy that it considers to be one-sided or misleading, then you’ve given the government power to determine who’s taking part in public debate.”
What gained more attention, however, was the fact that the letter’s lead signatory, IGES president Jagadish Shukla, was getting a six figure salary for doing part-time work at the science non-profit. University of Colorado researcher Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote IGES pays Shulka “and wife $500,000 per year for part-time work.”
Pielke’s claims backed by blogger Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit who found that “the numbers are even worse than Pielke thought.”
“Pielke had quoted Shukla’s 2013 university salary, but his university salary had increased more than 25% between 2013 and 2014: from $250,816 in 2013 to $314,000 in 2014,” McIntyre found. “In addition, the ‘non-profit’ organization had also employed one of Shukla’s children”
“IGES transferred $100,000 from its climate grants to a second corporation controlled by the Shukla family (the Institute for Global Education Equality of Opportunity and Prosperity, Inc.), which in turn transferred $100,000 to an educational charity in Shukla’s home town in India, doubtless a worthy charity, but one that Shukla could have supported from his own already generous stipend,” McIntyre added. “Over a million dollars in total in 2014 alone.”
Shukla did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on why the letter was taken off IGES’s website.