Politicians fighting climate-change legislation often cite the work of the scientist Wei-Hock Soon, who is employed by the Smithsonian Institution on a part-time basis, according to The New York Times. Newly released documents show Soon has received at least $1.2 million from fossil-fuel companies while omitting that connection in the majority of his scientific papers over the past decade. Since 2008, he failed to disclose conflicts of interest in at least 11 studies — a violation of the guidelines of the journals that released them. The documents, acquired by Greenpeace through the Freedom of Information Act, also show that Soon referred to his papers as “deliverables” in communication with his funders.
The whole doubt-mongering strategy relies on creating the impression of scientific debate. Willie Soon is playing a role in a certain kind of political theater.
Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard University, told The New York Times
Politicians who repeatedly cite Soon’s work include Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahama, who in a Senate debate in January pointed to photos of scientists who doubt climate change. One of them was Soon. Congress continues to delay regulations designed to curb climate change proposed by the Obama administration.