What if scientists one day concluded that climate was influenced mostly by natural factors and that man had little impact? What would be the result? For one, lots of people would find themselves in the unemployment line. And for many, their companies and operations would have to close shop. Hat-tip: Reader DirkH.
One person who likely would be negatively impacted is Katherine Hayhoe, who is not only an atmospheric scientist with expertise in climate modelling, regional climate impacts and science-policy interface at Texas Tech, but also happens to be CEO of ATMOS Research and Consulting, a Lubbock-based company “providing detailed reports, maps, and other graphics that vividly illustrate changes that have already been observed, as well as highlighting the possible future impacts of climate change over the coming century“.
The bold print in layman terms: climate fortune-telling services.
Climate consulting is surely a business that derives much benefit from the notion that climate change is now happening rapidly and that a catastrophe is imminent. A lot folks want to know what to do in order to prepare, and Katherine takes big money for telling them. I really don’t see how it is possible for people like Ms Hayhoe to avoid conflicts of interest here. Is it possible to remain objective in a science when you run a business whose very success depends on the output of that science? God knows that consulting fees are exorbitant. Tempting to say the least.
Should we be surprised that Hayhoe, as the CEO and top beneficiary of the climate consulting company, is a big proponent of climate catastrophe scenarios? Seems it would certainly help the ATMOS bottom line.
And how much of the services rendered by ATMOS are actually sourced from the tax-payer funded university where Hayhoe is a professor? As a professor at a state university, is she using research money and all the number-crunching facilities there to supply reports that ATMOS Consulting in turn sells at a high price to clients (after a little cut and paste editing)? I’d like to know what part of them high-priced consulting reports were actually generated by ATMOS resources alone, and what part was actually generated by her employer Texas Tech (taxpayer). Would Hayhoe confirm it’s 100%/0%?
ATMOS is an ideal set-up as a real money-making machine: scare the bejesus out of clients on one side, and sell them lucrative consulting services on the other. Though legal, there seems to be some ethical issues here.
And who are her clients? What proportion are private and what proportion are taxpayer funded government agencies, who just happen to love scary reports that sway public opinion? It all seems dubious to me and the potential for conflicts of interest is simply too high.
Crystal ball services: possible 100-year scenarios
The ATMOS website does not provide any information about the quality of its products, especially its climate forecast-related scenarios. Do they come with a guarantee? We get the sense that they don’t and that it’s mostly speculation dressed up to look scientific. Indeed if there is no guarantee, then it would be safe to say that ATMOS is actually selling high-priced crystal ball fortune-telling services. The ATMOS website writes that they “provide possible impacts of climate change over the coming century.”
Read the fine print – no money back!