The Greenhouse Industry?

John Daly often refers to the `Greenhouse Industry' in an effort to suggest that scientists and policy-makers involved in climate change gain a benefit from over-emphasising the probable effects of anthropogenic global warming (see for example). Here is an example of one particular claim made by a contrarian, Richard Courtney, who was a Founder Member of the European Science and Environment Forum (which was formed primarily to lobby against the conventional view on climate change). On 27 February 2003, Richard Courtney sent the following email to John Daly within the Yahoo group climatesceptics (posting number 8603):

Dear John Daly:

Thankyou for getting John Hunter to admit that he obtains funds from Greenpeace.

In 1991 Greenpeace International published a letter in CoalTrans International (the journal of the world's international coal trading industry). That letter included the following assertion about me that was attributed to Hunter.

"Courtney clearly understands nothing about physics or climate or, at least, he pretends not to understand."

At the time I was the Senior Material Scientist of the National Coal Board (a.k.a. British Coal) based at the Coal Research Establishment (CRE). I had Hunter's above assertion printed in large letters and framed, then I mounted it on the wall of my office at CRE. It provided amusement for many until I left that job in 1997.

This year, Hunter has impugned my integrity, my veracity, my scientific credentials, and my scientific competence. This caused me some distress until I learned that Hunter still gets funds from Greenpeace. "He who pays the piper calls the tune". Clearly, the recent attacks on me indicate that I must have been effective of late.

Again, thankyou.

All the best


(John Hunter is the primary author of What's Wrong With Still Waiting For Greenhouse?. In August, 2002, Greenpeace provided travel support for John Hunter, as an employee of the University of Tasmania, to present a paper on sea level rise to the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji. This is the only funding ever provided by Greenpeace in support of John Hunter's work. He had no contact with Greenpeace prior to May 2002.)

In the above email, Richard Courtney quite clearly implied that John Hunter had received payment from Greenpeace since 1991, and that this payment had influenced his work ('he who pays the piper calls the tune'). The email was followed by another (6 March 2003) to Hunter and to a number of members of climatesceptics, which contained the following elucidation:

In 1990 two senior officials of GreenPeace published an article about 'global warming' in CoalTrans International. It was suggested that I reply to that and I did. My (long) letter provided referenced scientific information that refuted each assertion in the Greenpeace article, and it was published as an article in CoalTrans International. Following this, the Editor of CoalTrans International asked me to become Contributing Technical Editor of that journal. I accepted the post and took responsibility for all matters of science and technology in that journal. Greenpeace wrote to say they would research answers to my article and would respond in due course. In 1991 Greenpeace wrote a letter to CoalTrans International saying they had researched the matter by asking for comments on my article from climate scientists. I published that letter in full (two-thirds of a page) with my response beneath it. My answer began;

"I enjoyed reading this response from Greenpeace. It pleases me that after more than a year of research they have failed to state a single error in anything I wrote. Instead, they cite personal insults against me for writing it"

The Greenpeace letter said one of those insults was from you, Hunter.

Is this the Greenhouse Industry at work? Well, firstly, Courtney's claims cannot be true, for the following reasons:

Secondly, let's look at the published evidence:

It is left to the reader to decide whether the above supports John Daly's claim of a `Greenhouse Industry', or whether Courtney's claims are instead a complete fabrication. Since Courtney has been informed several times of the above information and yet has never retracted his original claims, it would certainly appear to be a good example of contrarianism: holding to a particular view in the absence of any supporting evidence and/or in the face of totally contrary evidence.

(Copies of the original emails, and a scanned copy of the article Climate change debate: Greenpeace replies may be obtained by phoning 0427 098 831 or +61 427 098 831.)

22 August 2013