Climate Change Deniers Should be Held Responsible*

by S. Tom Bond on September 27, 2015

* — See Also Comments Below.

Respond to Corporations -- DIVEST

Letter To:  President Obama, Attorney General Lynch and OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy) Director Holdren

RE: Climate change deniers should be investigated under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

As you know, an overwhelming majority of climate scientists are convinced about the potentially serious adverse effects of human-induced climate change on human health, agriculture, and biodiversity. We applaud your efforts to regulate emissions and the other steps you are taking. Nonetheless, as climate scientists we are exceedingly concerned that America’s response to climate change – indeed, the world’s response to climate change – is insufficient.

The risks posed by climate change, including increasing extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increasing ocean acidity – and potential strategies for addressing them – are detailed in the Third National Climate Assessment (2014), Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The stability of the Earth’s climate over the past ten thousand years contributed to the growth of agriculture and therefore, a thriving human civilization. We are now at high risk of seriously destabilizing the Earth’s climate and irreparably harming people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.

We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.

The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peer-reviewed academic research (Brulle, 2013) and in recent books including: Doubt is their Product (Michaels, 2008), Climate Cover-Up (Hoggan & Littlemore, 2009), Merchants of Doubt (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), The Climate War (Pooley, 2010), and in The Climate Deception Dossiers (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.

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. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.

Sincerely yours,

Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Edward Maibach, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Paul Dirmeyer, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Barry Klinger, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
David Straus, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Edward Sarachik, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Michael Wallace, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
William Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
T.N. Krishnamurti, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Vasu Misra, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Ben Kirtman, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Robert Dickinson, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Michela Biasutti, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY
Mark Cane, Columbia University, New York, NY
Lisa Goddard, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY
Alan Betts, Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, VT

Supporting Evidence

>>> Everyone from Judith Curry, who makes a career of misunderstanding climate change, see here,  to the rankest, least sophisticated, “common sense” denier (Google “RICO Act Investigations Against Climate Change Deniers”) is in convulsions. All the standards of extreme negative comparison, are invoked as though magically they would transform the reality. The fact is that it certainly was a conspiracy, a pretty big one, cannot be denied. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t say whether the law is written so that it covers this gross offence or not. But, the facts are clear.

Morally it is an open and shut case. see these two videos:

>>> The Climate Deception Dossiers: Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Disinformation, 1 minute and 30 seconds.

>>> Scientist Ed Garvey on Exxon and Climate Change , 1 minute and 12 seconds.


“Exxon Doubled Down on Climate Denial and Deceit”

Michael Mann,, September 21, 2015

Thanks to a months-long investigation by the Pulitzer-prize winning InsideClimate News, we learned last week that ExxonMobil’s own scientists had secretly confirmed the science behind human-caused climate change as early as the late 1970s.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

NEWS UPDATE: 9/20/15 September 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Update: Scientist leading effort to prosecute climate skeptics under RICO ‘paid himself & his wife $1.5 million from govt climate grants for part-time work’

By: Marc Morano - Climate Depot, September 20, 2015

Leader of 20 scientist effort to prosecute climate skeptics under RICO revealed as ‘Climate Profiteer’! ‘From 2012-2014, the Leader of RICO 20 climate scientists paid himself and his wife $1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work.

George Mason University Professor Jagadish Shukla, a Lead Author with the UN IPCC, reportedly made lavish profits off the global warming industry while accusing climate skeptics of deceiving the public. Shukla is leader of 20 scientists who are demanding RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) charges be used against skeptics for disagreeing with their view on climate change. 

Shukla reportedly moved his government grants through a ‘non-profit’. The group “pays Shukla and wife Anne $500,000 per year for part-time work,” Prof. Roger Pielke Jr. revealed.

“The $350,000-$400,000 per year paid leader of the RICO20 from his ‘non-profit’ was presumably on top of his $250,000 per year academic salary,” Pielke wrote. “That totals to $750,000 per year to the leader of the RICO20 from public money for climate work and going after skeptics. Good work if you can get it,” Pielke Jr. added. 

Climate Depot Special Report — The letter by global warming scientists calling on President Obama to look into prosecuting climate skeptics has prompted international outcry.

See: Debate no more! Jailed for scientific dissent?! Twenty climate scientists, including Top UN scientist, call for RICO investigation of climate skeptics in letter to Obama

Also see: Mike Shellenberger takes down the ‘The Exxon Climate Denial Myth’ – Exxon in ‘many cases advocated for climate policy!’


Read more:


S. Thomas Bond September 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Obviously, what Professor Jagadish Shukla did with government money was
immoral, and hopefully illegal. There are lots of people “on the take” from the government, both progressive and conservative. It may even be ”The Great American Game.”

That has little to do with climate change, however. Climate change is an undeniable fact, unless you want to make money from fossil fuels or working for the fossil fuel extraction industry. If you understand basic science and keep up with what is available, then you cannot deny the great mass of facts you will have discovered.

Consider the source of this article: Marc Morano (a former Republican political aide who founded and runs the climate skeptic website Climate ClimateDepot is a project of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that advocates for free-market solutions to environmental issues.) You have to see to believe – total contrarian.

I like to point out science is not a hierarchy, like an army with a supreme commander at the top, but a social group with diverse opinions. The accepted view of the most informed is the criterion of truth and action. When you get to 97%, that is about as near to perfect as possible.

The reason that a RICO suit might be brought is that the fossil fuel industry deliberately organized a campaign to disparage what it itself knew to be the truth for reasons not based on science – the desire to continue selling damage causing products, just like the tobacco industry did and does.


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