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Ad Hominem against MasterResource: Climate Alarmism at Wit’s End?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 11, 2014

 “The Master Resource people are whores of the fossil fuel industry. (Yes, that certainly includes you.)”

– David Appell (@davidappell) | March 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |

Judith Curry at Climate, Etc. posted about a new analysis by Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok, “A sensitive matter:  How the IPCC buried evidence showing good news about global warming” (Global Warming Policy Foundation: press release here; short version here), for which she wrote an introduction (see Appendix B below).

Several hundred comments followed. A critical, emotive thread of comments toward Lewis/Crok, and by implication Curry, was coming from David Appell, a highly credentialed journalist with a widely read blog, Quark Soup, that focuses on climate issues from an alarmist perspective.

I noticed this comment from Dr. Appell in response to pokerguy (aka al neipris) | March 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm who argued that at lower climate sensitivity, the external effects would “more likely … be overwhelmingly positive in its effect.”

I commented: Rob Bradley | March 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Reply

David Appell: There is mainstream climate economics that concludes that CO2 emissions are a positive externality on net to about a break-even point of 2C (world). See here.  Robert Mendelsohn of Yale is probably the most respected single person in his field of cost/benefit analysis with all aspects of CO2 (agriculture, recreation, etc.). One of his findings is that freer, wealthier countries adapt better to climate change, which warns against government carbon rationing programs.

Appell immediately responded: | March 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |

Rob: The Master Resource people are whores of the fossil fuel industry. (Yes, that certainly includes you.) Are there no legitimate papers you can cite?

and (David Appell (@davidappell) | March 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm | )

How about a full list of IER’s funders, Rob, with amounts for each. Let’s start there, OK?

and David Appell (@davidappell) | March 6, 2014 at 12:27 am |

Let’s be sure to note how Rob Bradley will decline to even discuss who funds him, because that’s the one big bad topic they can’t dare be honest about. And we all know why.

To which I responded: Rob Bradley | March 6, 2014 at 10:41 am |

Wow! I did not expect that! Ad hominem on steroids. You just destroyed your credibility with me and a lot of others. You are clearly at wit’s end with a failing worldview of climate/energy alarmism. First, Robert Mendelsohn has so many peer reviewed books and articles in the top journals that you need to look for yourself. He is a chair professor at Yale University, for gosh sakes…. But maybe he is part of the fossil-fuel-funded conspiracy….!

Second, as far as I go. I was the #1 opponent of Enron’s climate alarmism & renewable-energy cronyism. Please visit http://www.politicalcapitalism.org to read all of the memos in this regard: http://www.politicalcapitalism.org/enron/. I would let your emotions cool –stuff like the above puts you in the Joe Romm fringe. Not good for an ‘amateur’ trying to use the argument from authority to be an authority.

I also responded to another ad hominem who wrote in the Bradley-Appell thread: Rob Bradley | March 6, 2014 at 11:00 am | Reply To WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | March 6, 2014 at 12:20 am |

You wrote: (@WHUT) | March 6, 2014 at 12:20 am | “Incorrect, the MasterResource people are actually better classified as the pimps of the fossil fuel industry — since they are lead by a former executive of Enron. They know how to get their underlings and followers to do the dirty work.”

I was director of public policy analysis at Enron, and I fought so hard against the company’s naked cronyism (Enron has seven profit centers tied to priced CO2) that the alarmists/rent-seekers wanted to get me fired. All of the memos are here, my friend. I might add that my views were not popular within Enron and it cost me hard cash come bonus time (I have my performance review if you want to see that…). Sorry, but some of us are intellectuals and honest and reject climate alarmism/forced energy alarmism as the ‘Enronization’ of science. See this post for more on this theme:

IER Funding I did not respond to Appell’s repeated calls for me to talk about IER’s funding sources. At an exchange at MasterResource two weeks ago, I responded to the American Wind Energy Association’s Michael Goggin statement:

Robert, this matter can be settled very easily with a simple yes or no question. Does IER/AEA receive funding from organizations or individuals in the fossil fuel industry? I know you won’t answer, though we already know the answer is yes.

as follows:

Michael: The only purpose for asking a question when you say ‘though we already know the answer’ is to bring the argument to ad hominem.

Our donations are voluntary and private. Our free market positions, furthermore, cut across firms and industries so as to make our ‘friends’ and ‘foes’ change per issue and over time. The key question is: does the individual or firm benefit from a pro-consumer, pro-taxpayer perspective. If so, I’d say they ‘support us.’ If they are cronies, dependent on special government favor, I’d say they are less likely to ‘support us.’ Does this help?

Here is a simple yes or no for you: do you believe that Kent [Hawkins] or me hold our position on wind power because of our donors, or that we hold our position because we believe it to be true initially? I should remind you that your organization, AWEA, is supported by the likes of me (and other MasterResource bloggers) because I am (we are) a taxpayer(s), whereas you do not support IER involuntarily. (We would be delighted to add you to our donor list as a private citizen! You can proudly tell folks–we will not per our policy.)

I will also inform you that AWEA worked with Enron Wind Corp. to try to get me fired from Enron back in the late 1990s–a reason that would make a lot of folks very upset. (See here)

Mr. Goggin has ‘left the scene’ as in no response …. He is what they call a hit-and-run-driver in the public-policy world.


I have welcomed Mr. Appell’s comments at MasterResource and have always read his opinions with respect. Then came the above in response to a comment I made that was quite civil and scholarly. As such, Appell is just another example of how true believers in a failing, falsified cause are dodging reality with invective and smear, even hate. He has not been the only one. Witness, for example, Michael Mann calling Judith Curry’s recent Congressional testimony “anti science,” to which Curry has challenged Mann to prove it or desist. Mann appears to have disappeared, to have left the scene of the accident, another case of moral hit-and-run driving.

Appell’s Quark Soup can only be good for the soul with respect for one’s adversaries rather than emotive smear, if for no other reason that it turns off the open- and fair-minded. Advantage skeptics of climate alarmism and government-forced energy transformation.

Appendix A: David Appell Biography (per website)

“I’m a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon, specializing in the physical sciences, technology, and the environment. My work has appeared in Scientific American, Physics World, Audubon, New Scientist, Wired, Salon, Popular Science, Nature, Discover, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Physical Review Focus, Discovery Channel Online, Science, and many other publications, and on the syndicated radio program The Weather Notebook . I’m a Regular Contributor to the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. I have a B.S. in mathematics and physics from the University of New Mexico, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. I’ve also done graduate work in the creative writing department at Arizona State University.  In other incarnations I’ve been a systems engineer at AT&T Bell Laboratories and MCI Communications, a business partner/software developer/whatever-it-took at a startup telecommunications software company, Gold Systems, in Boulder, Colorado, and an assistant editor of technology at Laser Focus World magazine. I’ve also gone through a fiction writing phase or two — my short stories have appeared in The Seattle Review, Sycamore Review, Hawaii Review, and other publications.”

Appendix B: Judith Curry on Climate Sensitivity (excerpts from introduction)

“The sensitivity of our climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is at the heart of the scientific debate on anthropogenic climate change, and also the public debate on the appropriate policy response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon. The complexity and nuances of the issue of climate sensitivity to increasing carbon dioxide are not easily discerned from reading the Summary for Policy Makers of the Assessment Reports undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Further, the more detailed discussion of climate sensitivity in the text of the full Working Group I Reports lacks context or an explanation that is easily understood by anyone not actively reading the published literature. This report by Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok addresses this gap between the IPCC assessments and the primary scientific literature by providing an overview of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a historical perspective on IPCC’s assessments of climate sensitivity. …

This report emphasizes the point that evidence for low climate sensitivity is piling up. I find this report to be a useful contribution to scientific debate on this topic, as well as an important contribution to the public dialogue and debate on the subject of climate change policy. I agreed to review this report and write this Foreword since I hold both authors of this report in high regard. I have followed with interest Nic Lewis’ emergence as an independent climate scientist and his success in publishing papers in major peer reviewed journals on the topic of climate sensitivity, and I have endeavored to support and publicize his research.…

– Judith Curry Atlanta, GA, USA February 2014

Judith Curry is Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union.


  1. Ad Hominem against MasterResource: Climate Alarmism at Wit’s End? » coalitionoffreedom.com  

    […] rbradley  “The Master Resource people are whores of the fossil fuel industry. (Yes, that certainly […]


  2. Kent Hawkins  

    I am thoroughly disappointed by Appell’s comments. Sadly though, I am not surprised by the nature of such opposition to what is published at MasterResource, as indicated by the following type of disclosure I have felt necessary to be included in my posts from time to time.

    “In the interests of full disclosure, I have not owned (to the best of my recollection and possibly through mutual funds at some distant time), do not now own, or plan to own, investment instruments in the energy sector. My only investments, outside of Canadian government guaranteed cash equivalent securities, is a small holding in gold stocks. I subscribe to an energy investment newsletter as another “window” on energy considerations. I have not received one cent [or any other amount] for these posts from anyone, and I am not beholden to anyone who might benefit from them, except to the society in which I live, which I want to protect for the benefit of my grandchildren and their descendants.”


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