The mere mention of the words “Koch brothers” is enough to send the media into a paroxysm of angst.
The University of Delaware’s David Legates, a geography professor and former (Delaware) state climatologist, “is entangled in a widening controversy over possible undisclosed industry support for attacks on reports about human-caused global warming.”
Democratic Representative Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona sent a letter to U. of Delaware President Patrick Harker requesting info on the sources of Legates’ funding.
The representative noted that Harvard professor Willie Soon, another global warming skeptic, “had received funding from the conservative Koch Foundation that was not disclosed when he testified before a House science committee …”
In his letter to Harker, Grijalva wrote: “I am hopeful that disclosure of a few key pieces of information will establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations published in your institution’s name and assist me and my colleagues in making better law.”
In June 2014, Legates testified at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about droughts and agriculture.
“My overall conclusion is that droughts in the United States are more frequent and more intense during colder periods. Thus, the historical record does not warrant a claim that global warming is likely to negatively impact agricultural activities,” he testified.
He went on to tell the committee about efforts to silence climate change dissenters.
Legates and the University of Delaware aren’t the only faculty or institutions under scrutiny.
Letters also were sent to the presidents of MIT, Georgia Tech, Pepperdine, Arizona State and universities of Alabama and Colorado. All of the schools have had a researcher appear before Congress.
A spokesperson for UD said that its (financial) disclosure forms “are not public.”
In 2007, Legates was chastised by former Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner and told “to stop using his state climatologist title in statements challenging climate change science.”
“Your views, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my administration,” Minner had told Legates.
The News Journal notes that some of Legates’ work has “had ties to organizations supported by Koch and oil industry interests.”