Pacific Institute hands out Climate B.S. of the Year Awards; Koch brothers finish fourth

Al Gore made headlines when he called B.S. on climate change deniers in Aspen over the summer, and now the Pacific Institute is following suit. Only this time B.S. stands for “bad science.”

Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, announced the second annual Climate B.S. of the Year Awards on Huffington Post and Forbes blogs Thursday to make examples of bad climate science that was produced, cited, or used in 2011 to try to influence or confuse the public.

Scores of conservative lawmakers and Fox News personalities amplified their pro-greenhouse-gas mantra last year, even as extreme weather, record-breaking temperatures and billion-dollar catastrophes dominated the planet.

Charles and David Koch

First place went to all of the Republican candidates running for president, none of whom sided with the science accepted by 97-98 percent of all climate scientists and every national academy of sciences in the world. Second place went to Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation “because of its regular misrepresentation of climate science and anti-climate science reporting among the different Murdoch outlets in the UK, the U.S., and Australia,” the Pacific Institute announced.

Third place went to Roy Spencer and William Braswell “for a debunked research paper on climate sensitivity, and John Christy, for an astounding piece of misleading testimony at a Congressional climate change hearing,” Gleick wrote.

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who own Colorado property and bankroll lawmakers like Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton, slide into the fourth spot of the bad-science list. The Pacific Institute makes note of the Koch brothers’ well-funded network of anti-climate science groups and highlights a quote from the president of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-supported super-PAC.

“If you look at where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there’s been a dramatic turnaround. Most of these candidates have figured out that the science has become political. We’ve made great headway,” Americans for Prosperity’s Tim Phillips “brags outright,” Pacific Institute reports.

For a detailed report on how the Koch brothers influence environmental politics, click here.

Colorado’s conservative congressional delegation is championing the Kochs’ cause. Gardner, Tipton, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman all have taken the No Climate Tax Pledge and repeatedly voted to weaken protections for land, air and water. Calling out Gardner specifically, a recent report found Congress averaged more than one anti-environment vote every day it was in session.

Fifth place went to anti-climate-science blogger Anthony Watts, “who said he would accept the results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature … even if it proved him wrong.” The Koch brothers actually funded the study but it backfired and, like many studies before it, confirmed the Earth’s surface is warming and doing so at an accelerating rate. In the end, Watts attacked the study.

The Pacific Institute’s runners-up for its 2011 Climate B.S. of the Year Awards were Harrison Schmitt and the Heartland Institute “for ‘Arcticgate’ (documented errors in denying disappearance of Arctic sea ice); Rush Limbaugh for his consistent falsehoods about climate science; and Steve McIntyre for his smear of climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University.”

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About the Author

Troy Hooper

Troy Hooper covers environmental policy for the American Independent News Network. His work has been published in The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Huffington Post, San Francisco Weekly, Playboy, New York Post, People and dozens of other publications. Hooper has covered the Winter Olympics in Italy, an extreme ski camp in South America and gone behind the scenes with Hunter S. Thompson on election night in 2004. Born and raised in Boulder, Hooper has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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