Fred Singer


Fred Singer : biography

September 27, 1924 –

In August 2007 Newsweek reported that in April 1998 a dozen people from what it called "the denial machine" met at the American Petroleum Institute’s Washington headquarters. The meeting included Singer’s group, the George C. Marshall Institute, and ExxonMobil. Newsweek said that, according to an eight-page memo that was leaked, the meeting proposed a $5-million campaign to convince the public that the science of global warming was controversial and uncertain. The plan was leaked to the press and never implemented.Begley, Sharon. , Newsweek, August 13, 2007. The week after the story, Newsweek published a contrary view from Robert Samuelson, one of its columnists, who said the story of an industry-funded denial machine was contrived and fundamentally misleading.Samuelson, Robert. , Newsweek, August 20–27, 2007. ABC News reported in March 2008 that Singer said he is not on the payroll of the energy industry, but he acknowledged that SEPP had received one unsolicited charitable donation of $10,000 from ExxonMobil, and that it was one percent of all donations received. Singer said that his connection to Exxon was more like being on their mailing list than holding a paid position.Harris, Dan et al. , ABC News, March 23, 2008; Singer, S. Fred. , Science & Environmental Policy Project, March 28, 2008, accessed May 16, 2010. The relationships have discredited Singer’s research among members of the scientific community, according to Scheuering. Congresswoman Lynn Rivers questioned Singer’s credibility during a congressional hearing in 1995, saying he had not been able to publish anything in a peer-reviewed scientific journal for the previous 15 years, except for one technical comment.

Criticism of the IPCC

In 1995 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report reflecting the scientific consensus that the balance of evidence suggests there is a discernible human influence on global climate. Singer responded with a letter to Science saying the IPCC report had presented material selectively. He wrote: "the Summary does not even mention the existence of 18 years of weather satellite data that show a slight global cooling trend, contradicting all theoretical models of climate warming."Singer, Fred. , Science & Environmental Policy Project, July 3, 1996, accessed October 30, 2010. on October 30, 2010. Scheuering writes that Singer acknowledges the surface thermometers from weather stations show warming, but he argues that the satellites provide better data because their measurements cover pole to pole. According to Edward Parson and Andrew Dessler, the satellite data did not show surface temperatures directly, but had to be adjusted using models. When adjustment was made for transient events the data showed a slight warming, and research suggested that the discrepancy between surface and satellite data was largely accounted for by problems such as instrument differences between satellites.Parson, Edward A., and Dessler, Andrew E. . Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 35–37.

Singer wrote the "Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change in the U.S." in 1995, updating it in 1997 to rebut the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was the result of an international convention held in Kyoto, Japan, during which several industrialized nations agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Singer’s declaration read: "Energy is essential for economic growth … We understand the motivation to eliminate what are perceived to be the driving forces behind a potential climate change; but we believe the Kyoto Protocol—to curtail carbon dioxide emissions from only a part of the world community—is dangerously simplistic, quite ineffective, and economically destructive to jobs and standards-of-living."

Scheuering writes that Singer circulated this in the United States and Europe and gathered 100 signatories, though she says some of the signatories’ credentials were questioned. At least 20 were television weather reporters, some did not have science degrees, and 14 were listed as professors without specifying a field. According to Scheuering, some of them later said they believed they were signing a document in favour of action against climate change.