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Bonner Cohen


Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:08:47 +0000

Modern anti-science was created by the tobacco industry in the 1950s and then used against climate science, often by the same well-experienced think tanks and individuals.  Tobacco anti-science is strangely entangled with climate anti-science, as the attached report shows in detail involving Fred Singer's SEPP, Joseph Bast's Heartland, and more. (Fakery 2  10/25/12 updates this post with more data.) S. Fred Singer is President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), but has done almost all the work himself for 20 years., including help for tobacco in the early 1990s. Research for Weird Science sent me on a  trek through his and other IRS Form 990s, which unearthed many curiosities of strange governance, fakery and funny finances, all tax-free. Singer claimed Frederick Seitz as Chairman for two years after his demise and 20 years after a Philip Morris staffer had written in 1989: “Dr. Seitz is quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice.” SEPP’s finances were curious.  SEPP paid no salaries, even for Singer’s 60-hour workweeks.  Money flowed oddly.  Asset trades often exceeded normal income and they accumulated to $1.5M, tax-free.   Then one money trail led to Heartland. Heartland Institute’s Joseph Bast staunchly defended “Joe Camel,” the infamous campaign to addict younger children.  Heartland got tobacco funding for many years, along with a Philip Morris Board member. Whitney Ball’s DONORS TRUST funded a major expansion of Heartland climate anti-science.  Singer collected old associates to help write “NonGovernmental International Panel on Climate Change“ (NIPCC) reports, filled with unsupported claims and long-refuted anti-science. He was helped by Craig Idso, of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CDCDGC), whose money flows also seem unusual.  Robert Ferguson’s Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) was a website and a  PO Box in a UPS store and he was actually a CSCDGC employee. Under Jay Lehr and James Taylor, anti-science permeated Heartland’s Environment and Climate News (E&CN) sent mostly to elected officials.  Heartland incessantly touted its access and influence with such officials, but its tax forms claimed no lobbying.  It ran “fake science” conferences, paying for government staff attendance.  It sent money to foreign non-charity advocacy groups, sent anti-science handbooks to school boards and urged parents to complain.  It has been criticized in Nature and Science. Free speech allows people to express opinions, even lie about facts, but tax-free operation is a revocable privilege.  Spreading factual untruths and confusion about smoking or climate science is neither research nor education in the public interest. Read the report, at least the first 21 pages, backed by nearly 200 of detailed backup. This report was scheduled to be published in a few days,  and by astonishing coincidence, just today we see Heartland Institute Exposed.  The report was done entirely from public sources, but today's new information is quite consistent and fills some holes.  However, the unnamed large Anonymous donor is now seen to be someone hiding behind DONORS TRUST, and some of the smaller ones dedicating funds appear in pp.57-59, with red itemizations. We also see some of the actual payments I had to infer. 03/11/12 CORRECTION:  p.58 omitted a DONORS CAPITAL item for 2008: “For media materials $100,000”, which should be added to various subtotals, making them consistent with the $4,610,000 reported on p.57, Fig. H.1.4.  H/T to Michael Fisher. 10/25/12 UPDATE: A major revision has been posted, with much more information on Barre Seid, DONORS TRUST and other funding issues. AttachmentSize fake.pdf4.99 MB Tags: SEPPSPPIheartlandidsothink tanksfakeryfakexpertsSingerBastCSCDGCFerguson[...]

Fifth Estate Slams the "Denial Machine"

Thu, 16 Nov 2006 19:19:13 +0000


CBC's news magazine show the fifth estate slammed Dr. S. Fred Singer and company out of the park last evening with the “Denial Machine”, a 40-minute documentary that gave context to the current climate change debate. Reporter Bob McKeown walked the well-trodden path connecting big tobacco to a group of unsavory scientists and fake grassroots organizations that the cigarette companies hired to deny the link between tobacco and cancer.

Now those organizations and scientists - and Singer is a perfect poster boy - have turned to taking money from ExxonMobil and other energy companies in return for denying the human causes or likely effects of climate change.

Much of the show goes over ground that will be familiar to frequent DeSmog readers, but it was particularly interesting watching a smirking Singer talk about the utter contentedness with which he cashed the last big cheque from ExxonMobil - even as he claimed ignorance of some of the other income he has enjoyed as a denier for hire. (“I don't remember.”) If anyone still believed the man had conscience (anyone else, I mean), that bit of television pretty much removed all doubt.

Follow the link. You can watch it on line.

Smoking and asbestos okay for you, climate change doesn't exist. Ask around!

Mon, 25 Sep 2006 17:40:13 +0000

(image) Australian Labour Party MP, Tony Burke, pens a great piece today in the  Daily Telegraph castigating “… a handful of sceptics willing to rail against the weight of scientfic opinion,” on issues ranging from climate change to tobacco to asbestos.

As MP Burke rightly states: “We should remember, when those with something to lose ignored the information about the dangers of smoking and asbestos, some very real victims emerged.”

Well said, and as regular DeSmog readers know full well, many of the same people who told us not to worry about tobacco smoke and asbestos are now telling us not to worry about climate change.

Here are a few examples:

Dr. S. Fred Singer
On Asbestos
“The US has spent billions of dollars removing asbestos from schools, and for no good health reason.” (link)

On Climate Change
“So, the global climate doesn't seem to be warming, causing considerable embararassment to scientists.” (link)

Bonner Cohen
On Second-hand Tobacco Smoke
“The Science [on tobacco smoke], of which the EPA avails itself, is that which happens to fit the political agenda of the moment… the one certainty following the EPA's report, is that the available science is inconclusive.” (link)

On Climate Change
“Your granchildren would best be served, when considering climate change that we not allow ourselves to be driven by idle speculation.” (link)

(image) Steve Milloy

On Tobacco Smoke
“Some of the more famous unprovable cancer risks are dioxin, electromagnetis fields, hazardous waste sites, environmental tobacco smoke…” (link)

On climate change
“The notion that humans are contributing to a rise in global temperature lacks scientific credibility.” (link)

Sabre-rattling Amy Assails ThinkProgress

Thu, 10 Aug 2006 14:17:13 +0000

National Centre for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) president Amy Ridenour is in high dudgeon, accusing ThinkProgress of libel for posting the Bonner Cohen clip that the deSmogBlog noticed yesterday. Ridenour says it is “false and defamatory” for ThinkProgress to have suggested that the NCPPR or its associates are under the paid influence of the fossil fuel industry, from which Ridenour reports “total donations to us: less than one percent of our revenues, and for most of our history, zero percent.”

So now we're clear: Ridenour is happy to accept donations arranged by a corrupt influence peddlar (Jack Abramoff), and to pass those funds along to the corrupt politician Tom DeLay “for educational purposes” - but “no one here (at the NCPPR) has ever been instructed to 'distort the facts' about any issue, global warming or otherwise, not by management and not by outsiders.”

Of course, the whole point of people like Amy's old college buddy Jack is that they are insiders, but we're sure that doesn't pertain here.

Tobacco hack turned climate change flak

Wed, 09 Aug 2006 21:19:46 +0000

Posted first by, check this spin-job by the literally unbelievable Bonner Cohen. Like many other former tobacco industry apologists, Cohen has reshaped himself as an expert on the science behind climate change. Here's the whole interview, and below is a good example of Bonner's spin, and a comparison to his old arguments on second-hand tobacco smoke:  Caller: “I do believe in global warming… how do you foresee the future if we keep going with the pedal to metal so to speak?”Bonner: “Your grandchildren would be best served, when considering climate change that we not allow ourselves to be driven by idle speculation, not by computer models. Simply look at the scientific data and see if in fact we are experiencing anything out of the ordinary.”“…. what i think is vitally important is that for everyone, that we make the decisions that we make with respect to our environmental and energy policies based on the best available scientific data that we have. We cannot afford to do that based on speculation alone.” Speculation? What is speculative about the science academies of every G8 nation agreeing that climate change is happening and is caused by humans burning fossil fuels? But what do you expect from a guy who, on the issue of second-hand smoke, claimed:“The science [on tobacco smoke], of which the EPA avails itself, is that which happens to fit the political agenda of the moment …. the one certainty following the EPA's report on tobacco smoke, is that the available science is inconclusive.”Surpisingly, Bonner does admit that the “think” tank he works for, the National Centre for Public Policy Research, recieves funding from the fossil fuel industry. To quote:Host: “Our guest also serves as a Senior Fellow at the NCPPR, which is…”Bonner: “A think tank here in town…”Host: “How are you funded?”Bonner: “Mostly through individual donations….”Host: “Energy industry at all?”Bonner: “Yes, some”Host: “Which forms?”Bonner: “It would, ahh, it would, ahh, from… from the, ahh, fossil fuel industry.”Big surprise.It is clear that on the issue of climate change, as it was on the issue of second-hand smoke, that our granchildren would be best served by tuning out the Bonner Cohens - people who will take money from, ahh, just about anybody and then bend the truth to whatever extent is necessary to defend their case.Tags: national centre for public policy researchNCPPRC-SPANthe green wave[...]