Deniers: Willie Soon

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Research Physicist, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.<br /> Chief Science Adviser at the Frontiers of Freedom's Center for Science and Public Policy which was set up after a $100,000 ExxonMobil grant in 2002. Former Science Director, Tech Central Station. Former Senior Scientist, George C. Marshall Institute.<br />

Dr. Soon is a leading climate change skeptic and has published multiple climate-related studies with fellow George Marshall and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist Sallie Baliunas. Soon contends that climate change has been greatly exaggerated, and is not caused by human activity, and that any changes in global temperature are natural. One of his primary arguments is that solar activity causes climate temperature fluctuations.<br />

Willie Soon is a physicist at the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He is an independent research scientist in the Harvard Department of Astronomy, and an astrophysicist at the Mount Wilson Observatory.

Key Quotes

December 2003

<blockquote>"In my opinion, the only way to reduce [climate change] alarmism is to yield to facts and evidence that may belie any extreme assertions. On the topic of carbon dioxide and global warming, there have been too many opinions but little internally consistent facts. For example, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report... is really a political document promoting a particular brand of belief: that the climatic impact of man-made greenhouse gases will be profoundly negative and that remedial action is urgent. The science itself is secondary.<br />

...<br />

We may be dangerously moving away from science-by-evidence to science-by public appeals; and that is bad not only for science, but also for the public, who will be left swimming in a pool of ignorance." </blockquote> Source: , "Q & A with Willie Soon", in the Competitive Enterprise Institute's publication The Monthly Planet, December 2003 edition (pdf, pp. 6-7)

Key Deeds

April 17, 2001<br />

Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas published a short article in Capitalism Magazine entitled "Recent Warming is Not Historically Unique". The article begins with "Recent news coverage portrays the twentieth century as the meanest, baddest, hottest century of the last 1,000 years--all because of a human-induced rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. But is it so?" Various examples throughout history of warming and cooling; the authors conclude the article with "The twentieth century is not the least bit climatically unusual. So why the recent media hysteria that the twentieth century is the warmest of the last 1,000 years?"<br /> Source: Capitalism Magazine, "Recent Warming is Not Historically Unique", 4/17/2001.<br />

June 5, 2001<br />

Soon and Baliunas published a report for the George C. Marshall Institute, "Climate History and the Sun". The report concludes with "The absence of atmospheric warming proves that the warming of the earth’s surface observed in the last 100 years cannot be due to an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by human activities. The recent global warming must be the result of natural factors in climate change."<br /> Source: George C. Marshall Institute, "Climate History and the Sun", 6/5/2001<br ?

January 2003<br />

Together with Sallie Baliunas, Soon published an article in the Fraser Institute's Fraser Forum, entitled "The Varying Sun and Climate Change", saying that the Earth's "surface warming... may be largely natural and result from the varying total energy output of the sun...".<br /> Source: "The Politics, Science, and Economics of Kyoto", Fraser Forum, pp. 11-13, 1/2003.<br />

January 2003<br />

Published, with fellow sceptic Sallie Baliunas, an article in the journal Climate Research, which reviewed the work of a number of climate scientists. The review concluded that: <blockquote>... the 20th century is neither the warmest century nor the century with the most extreme weather of the past 1000 years. The review also confirmed that the Medieval Warm Period of 800 to 1300 A.D. and the Little Ice Age of 1300 to 1900 A.D. were worldwide phenomena not limited to the European and North American continents. While 20th century temperatures are much higher than in the Little Ice Age period, many parts of the world show the medieval warmth to be greater than that of the 20th century.</blockquote>

The article, partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute, caused the resignation of three of the journal's editors, in protest at the peer review process. The peer review process was conducted by New Zealand sceptic scientist Chris de Freitas. The Soon/Baliunas article was widely picked up by Exxon-funded groups and led to a Senate hearing chaired by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)<br />

The study was also published in Energy and Environment.<br />


January 2004<br />

Willie Soon and Steven H. Yaskell published a book entitled The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection. The book claims that there is a "...continuing failure to identify root causes driving earth's climatic changes..." and proposes that solar activity causes the "natural" changes in climatic temperature.<br /> Source: World Scientific Books website<br />

1 January 2005<br />

Soon and Baliunas published an article in Environment News arguing that "[e]fforts to force a consensus [among scientists on climate change] are pernicious to science" and that there is "tremendous uncertainty" regarding climate change and its causes; a consensus on climate change cannot be reached until all the evidence is in.<br /> Source: "Consensus Can Be Bad for Climate Science", Environment News, via The Heartland Institute.<br />

Key Events

16 May 2003<br />

The Cooler Heads Coalition and the George C. Marshall Institute held a Congressional Staff and Media Briefing, "Was the 20th-Century Climate Unusual?".<br /> The relationship of Willie Soon to the event: Speaker (he discussed the Marshall Institute report of the same title, co-authored by Saliunas and him)<br />

29 July 2003<br />

Senate Environment and Public Works committee hearing on the science of climate change, chaired by climate science skeptic Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).<br /> The relationship of Willie Soon to the hearing: Witness (click here for his statement).<br />

11-12 September 2006<br />

Climate skeptics conference in Stockholm, Sweden called "Global Warming - Scientific Controversies in Climate Variability". Soon's presentation was entitled "Solar Variability and Arctic Change".<br /> Relationship of Willie Soon to the event: Speaker (conference website's list of speakers).


George C. Marshall Institute<br /> Source: George Marshall Institute website<br />

American Petroleum Institute<br /> Source: "Earth Last," The American Prospect, 5/7/04<br />

Fraser Institute<br /> Source: Fraser Institute website<br />

Tech Central Science Foundation or Tech Central Station<br /> Source: Tech Central Station Bio - Soon<br />

World Climate Report<br /> Source: World Climate Report website<br />

United for Jobs<br /> Source: "Mercury Matters", via<br />

Heartland Institute<br /> Source: Heartland Institute Website, Soon and Baliunas article.<br />

Cooler Heads Coalition<br /> Source: CEI Advertisement<br />

Climate Research Journal<br /> Source: "Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years", pdf<br />

Frontiers of Freedom (Center for Science and Public Policy)<br /> Source: "Eat More Fish!," Wall Street Journal editorial on the health benefits of mercury, 15 August 2005. His general FoF page is here.<br />

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