Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Do Joe Romm and Fellow Climate Scientists Think Sexual Misconduct is OK?

Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women get a free pass.

a passage from former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri’s 2010 book
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Yesterday the left-leaning US website,, ran this headline: Museums’ Ties To The Koch Brothers Are Not OK, Scientists Say. The story is written by Joe Romm, a gent who tosses around the phrase ‘anti-science’ so frequently he long ago deprived it of all meaning.

We’re told about an open letter signed by Romm and 53 other “Leading climate scientists and museum experts.” These people say they’re

deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.

The letter singles out a particular person, David Koch. The fact that this wealthy individual chooses to donate his money and time to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History is a scandal, apparently. According to the letter:

We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests

When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.

the only ethical way forward for our museums is to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry… [bold added]

Ah, yes. Integrity. Public confidence. Ethics. These are all important ideas. Too bad activist scientists such as Romm are so selective about where and when they think such ideas apply. I’ve recently written about a senior Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official by the name of Jean-Pascal van Ypersel who has worked for and taken money from Greenpeace.

Where is the open letter from 54 leading climate scientists pointing out that the IPCC’s integrity is irretrievably compromised by such a link? Why aren’t these same scientists declaring loudly that there’s no quicker way to undermine public confidence in a purportedly scientific entity than for its officials to get into bed with agenda-driven, green multinationals?

And if ordinary, everyday ethics are the issue where, oh where, are the open letters making it clear there’s no place in climate science for the sort of egregious sexual harassment of which Rajendra Pachauri, the former chairman of the IPCC, now stands accused?

Why hasn’t anyone at ThinkProgress even bothered to mention Pachauri’s resignation? Hello, it happened more than a month ago – on February 24th. Why isn’t anyone on that website talking about the highly embarrassing fact that Pachauri’s resignation letter tells us he’s on a religious crusade to save the planet? Surely a statement such as that shockingly undermines everyone’s confidence in the IPCC’s scientific neutrality.

When a public figure steps down due to allegations of sexual misconduct that’s big news. Why isn’t ThinkProgress reporting this news? At what moment in history would it be more relevant for the public to know that a top climate official finds himself in this kind of trouble? I mean, there’s only a major climate summit scheduled for later this year.

Search for ‘Pachauri’ at ThinkProgress and you’ll get 163 hits, or 17 pages of results. There’s

  • an interview with Pachauri from May 2007
  • a 2009 story about Pachauri endorsing the activist’s campaign
  • a 2010 defense of Pachauri after he is criticized by Roger Pielke Jr. in the New York Times
  • a 2011 article that refers to Pachauri – an economist and industrial engineer – as the “U.N.’s top climate scientist”

But the mentions of this public figure stop dead on November 2, 2014. Apparently not a single newsworthy event involving the U.N.’s [former] top climate scientist has occurred since then.

Let us speak frankly: Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women – and who stand accused of long term, outrageous sexual harassment – get a totally free pass.


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