This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Science & Environmental Policy Project
(SEPP) A climate-denial organisation set up by Gerhard Stohrer, S Fred Singer and Singer's wife Candace Crandall. It was initially funded by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (with help from the tobacco and other industries and the Moonies) to produce propaganda against ozone depletion and global warming.
SEPP promotes a world view which is closely aligned with the core principles of the conservative movement in the USA. It emphasises:
SEPP became a cornerstone in this neo-conservative philosophy when it was established a reputation as the leading climate-denial and anti-activist organisation in the USA — partly due to the dedicated work of its full-time publicist, Candace Crandall. It was set up by the conservative scientists S Fred Singer and Gerhard Stohrer under the auspices of the Alexis de Toqueville Institution in office space provided by the Moonie's Unitarian Church.
- the importance of religion
- the benefits of capitalism as an engine of prosperity
- the righteousness of US military actions and the country's Manifest Destiny
- skepticism about environmentalism and anti-corporate activism
Behind the scenes the organisation of SEPP and the promotion of Singer as a credible spokesman for the do-nothing-about-climate faction was funded through APCO & Associates, a PR firm controlled at that time by Philip Morris. This appears to have been Philip Morris's contribution to a general coalition of corporations which supported each other over product liability, chemical pollution and environmental backlash activities,
For some time SEPP existed virtually as a re-branded subsidiary of a Moonie's controlled think-tank called the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy which the Moonie's had created to buy some credibility and influence in corporate and far right-wing Republican circles. Later it split off, and established a reputation in its own right.
Singer as scientist It should be remembered that Fred Singer was a legitimate climate scientist at the time he started SEPP, albeit with a narrow but highly-specialised focus (and a good scientific reputation) on satellite weather systems. His background and knowledge of the early climate problems (initially ozone depletion) was at least the equal of — and often superior to — the individual scientists on the other side of the debate in the early 1990s. However he appears to have put too much trust in some of the satellite data, and then arrogance and obstinacy kicked in when his pronouncements proved to be wrong.
He lost his reputation in the following decade and became increasing isolated from the mainstream of climate science. His refusal to recognise the important role played by some other components of climate science, and his failure as a scientist to respond to new facts as they emerged were probably (at least partially) due to his personal political zealotry and his birds-of-a-feather association with corporate funders (mining companies mainly - and Patrick Michaels) and like-minded fanatics like Frederick Seitz.
The more isolated he became, the more dependent he and SEPP were on the grants and donations from large corporations.
Time has destroyed the reputation of the man and his machine, but the most interesting facet of Singer and SEPP today is to understand when and why he slipped from being just a maverick scientist engaged in a legitimate scientific dispute, to the role he later played as scientific lobbyist for some of the worst poisoners and polluters on the globe.
Climate Science as Junk-science The initial aim of SEPP was to attack the proliferation of so-called 'junk science' which was being used (so its supporters claimed) in doomsday scenarios of ozone depletion and global warming ... and in promoting exaggerated claims of the health impacts of pesticides and passive smoking (ETS)..
This was actually a component of the strategic 'junk-science' program which was then being run by a coalition of international corporations involved initially in trying to reduce public liability in health and environmental matters. It was an offshoot of the corporate-funded tort reform movement.
Heidelberg Appeal Among many activities, SEPP provided the organissation and administration for a conference held in Heidelberg, Germany at which the Heidelberg Appeal (petition) first emerged. This was a carefully crafted 'motherhood statement' about the importance of good science being used in policy formation.
The appeal was drafted by a SEPP fellow, Michel Salomon and then signed by a number of gullible scientists at the Heidelberg conference, and then circulated to other scientists for signing. As a request for more science being applied to policy formation, it was totally legitimate — but in the way it was used as part of the climate-denial campaign, this document gave their application a false air of legitimacy.
Although it made no mention of climate science, it was then flourished at a media briefing during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit as if it were evidence that a majority of the world's top scientists were opposed to the proposed global plans to limit CFCs, CO2 and other air pollutants.
The document was actually a scam, funded and directed by the asbestos and tobacco industries, and part of a program aimed at discrediting environmentalist claims and deflecting political action on air pollution.
Climate-denial A think-tank known as the Global Climate Coalition (GCC was specially created for the Rio Conference and planning to attack the conference was being discussed in Washington's corporate affairs offices and at the Business Roundtable for well over a year before it eventuated. SEPP and the GCC worked together at Rio. Singer's wife Candace Crandall was, in fact, the publicitist/spokeswoman for the GCC at the conference.
Unfortunately the Heidelberg Appeal and the claim that it was directed at climate-denial was taken at face value by the most of the world's media. Many journalists present at Rio simply accepted the GCC/SEPP claims that a majority of knowledgeable scientists believed ozone and global-warming hypotheses were ridiculous (although there were far more skeptical scientist then than there are now), and so by selective quotings and devious misinformation, the document helped set back global action aimed at reducing carbon emissions by about half a decade.
The whole anti-Rio project had been heavily funded by various poisoning & polluting industries with a lot of their efforts channeled through the National Association of Manufacturers. The Global Climate Coalition itself was virtually a subsidiary of the George C Marshall Institute (a pro-nuclear, pro-star-wars think-tank) run by William O'Keefe (ex-President of the American Petroleum Institute) and Fred Seitz. O'Keefe became President of the GCC while Seitz became the front and spokesman. He was also a long-term consultant to RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and a director of SEPP.
Following Rio's Heidelberg Appeal success, the various industry groups expanded their coalition and funded SEPP to create the International Center for Scientific Ecology (ICSE) based in Paris. This pseudo-scientific organisation had a board consisting of asbestos, pharmacuetical, chemical and tobacco representatives and the operation was run by Michel Salomon - they author of the Heidelberg Appeal.
Ex Army officer and mercenary Salomon was also a member of SEPP's 'Board of Scientific Advisors' and spent considerable time working with Singer in the USA, and Singer, of course, was also a board member of ICSE. This organisation didn't make much impact: it ran a couple of scientific conferences (one entirely funded by the tobacco industry) aiming at changing the basic rules of the regulatory agencies in dealing with toxic substancs, but then appears to have petered out.
Credibility today Singer continues to run SEPP, although it is now well exposed as a corporate front. However it can still generate stories and Singer makes appearances on far right-wing radio and TV programs which keeps the faithful onside. And today, despite his undoubted credentials in space and atmospheric science, his personal role in the climate change debate has been discredited by revelations that he has been generously funded by ExxonMobile and other large corporations over the years.
Many later SEPP activities were joint ventures with the American Petroleum Institute and he is associated with various other contrarian and neo-con political groups. His focus is now set on an ephemeral group of scientists he calls the Nongovernment International Panel on Climate Change.
His old SEPP co-founder, Gerhard Stohrer runs the Risk Analysis Project out of his home in New York which is just SEPP under a different name.
According to a recent statement by the Harvard University Center for the Environment, SEPP
"is primarily an outlet for the views of S. Fred Singer, Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University. It provides access to Singer's congressional testimony, articles, and reprints of related newspaper stories."
The abbreviation SEPP in the tobacco documents can also refer to:
• Cecilia Sepp of the US Chambers of Commerce a
• Pete Sepp (National Taxpayers Union)
And also to the Australian:
• State Environmental Protection Policy.
|Evolving views on climate |
Despite the disingenuous denials appearing recently in the media, for most of the 1980s the consensus of scientific opinion on climate was that the globe was cooling and the world was slipping slowly into another Ice Age. Since this is almost inevitable in the long-term, it was considered to be a highly credible short-term prediction — at the time. The climate expert were wrong.
It is important to realise that there were (and probably still are) very legitimate objections to the 'consensus' views about some of the claims associated with global warming — even if the overall temperature rise is accepted. The balance of the science is undoubtedly pointing to dangerous levels of global warming, but sub-sets of these claims are still subject to legitimate scientific debate.
1990: the annual report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had noted that 'enhansed human-induced global warming' has not yet been reliably detected. "The inherent variability of the climate system appears to be sufficient to obscure any enhanced greenhouse signal to date."
1991 Aug: (c) Singer says SEPP sent:
"survey forms to more than 120 US atmospheric scientists. Most of these scientists had contributed to or reviewed the IPCC report. Of over 50 scientists who responded, 23 agreed that the summary [of the report] did not represent the report fairly and would be misleading to non-scientists. An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that there was no clear evidence in the climate record of the last 100 years for enhanced greenhous warming due to human activities. Nearly all respondents experessed skepticism about the adequacy of the global climate models used to predict future climate warming."
1991: Late: Singer says SEPP circulated an appeal to be signed by scientists at a number of major institutions (MIT, Yale, Woods Hole, Uni of Virginia) It began:
"As independent scientists researching atmospheric and climate problems, we are concerned by the agenda for UNCED, the UN Conference on Environment and Development, being developed by environmental activist groups and cerain political leaders [which] aims to impose a system of global environmental regulations, including onerous taxes on energy fuels. Such policy initiatives derive from highly uncertain scientific theories [and] unsupported assumptions ...
We are concerned that activists, anxious to stop energy and economic growth, are pushing ahead with drastic policies without taking notice of recent changes in the underlying science [which] will have catastrophic impacts on the world economy, on jobs, standards or living, and health care, with most severe consequences falling upon developing countries and the poor,"
1992 Feb 19: A Wall Street Journal Editorial on the forthcoming Rio Earth Summit by Fred Singer attacks the whole idea of global warming. The United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED), the organiser of the Rio conference, is characterised as nothing more than a:
"scheme of transferring money from the poor in rich countries to the rich in poor countries."
Third World kleptocrats now view UNCED as the vehicle to reconstitute this scheme under the guise of ecology."
1992 Apr 27: Singer's syndicated article on Congressional acceptance of ozone depletion attacks the Senators as being "stampeded" into passing an amendement calling for an accelerated phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons. He also berates the Bush White House for ordering a full phase out of CFCs by 1995. Criticism is also directed against the NASA for discovering high levels of chlorine in the northern stratosphere. He says that ozone depletion is not confirmed by the science.
1992 Nov 1: In another newspaper column, Singer at SEPP is reported as saying that the US environment is improving, and that the problems found in various parts of the world "are mostly local in nature". He also attacked the Union of Concerned Scientists for "trying to offset the Heidelberg Appeal, signed by 1,800 scientists last year,,, [He says the Appeal was, in fact,] a revolt by scientists tired of seeing science constantly politicized, used and mistreated."
1993 March 2: APCO are recruiting people who allow their name to be used as the author of articles and newspaper editorials on indoor air quality and passive smoking. This is a Confidential Memorandum, from Philip Morris files. One potential fake-writer identified by APCO is:
Candace Crandall — Executive Vice President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). She has published extensively on junk science issues in the past. Crandall was the Director of Communications for the Center for Strategic and International Studies [a gung-ho conservative stronghold] before joining, SEPP.
The primary focus of SEPP is too document the use of scientific data in the development of federal environmental policy. SEPP is an independent, non-profi research group that relies on private fiunding. It will co-sponsor a conference with George Mason Univcrsity in May on scientific integrity in the political process, [secretly financed and organised by Philip Morris]
Crandall has arranged for a number of prominent scientists to br partieipants, including Dr. Bernard Davis of Harvard University and Sir William Mitchell of' Oxford University. Crandall is Dr Fred Singer's wife.
Other associates of Singer are also on the list, as is Candace's brother Robert Crandall.
1993 May 20: /E Covington & Burling's regular Calendar of Scientific Meetings (to be attended by observers), lists the GMU-ICSE conference saying that Mayada Logue will attend. It also points out that the tobacco scientific "friends", Michael Gough, Kenneth Schneider, and John D Graham are on the program.
The Calendar also hand-lists the May 10 ICSE conference in Paris (obviously a last minute addition) pointing out that tobacco friends, Bruce Ames, Fred Singer and Bernard (not Bonner) Cohen had been speaking. This suggests that C&B hadn't been informed that Philip Morris were funding and organising the show via SEPP.
1993 May 24-25: The "Semi-Final Agenda" brochure being prepared for the ICSE Washington Conference lists Singer and a whole menagerie of academic scientists as speakers, most of who worked regularly for the tobacco industry. The sponsors of the conference are given as The International Institute of George Mason University (a Koch funded operation) and SEPP.
There is no mention of Philip Morris, despite the company paying for the whole operation. At this time SEPP had shifted to shared premises in Fairfield VA, with the Institute of Human Studies, The Locke Institute, The Atlas Foundation (UK linked to IEA and Adam Smith Institute) and a couple of Koch think-tanks.
1993 May: Jim Tozzi , a top administration lobbyist who operates through Multinational Business Services (MBS) is time-charging Philip Morris (as part of his $40,000 - monthly fee) for:
Attended conference on cancer risk assessment by International Center for a Scientific Ecology in Paris Provided comments to ICSE regarding preparation of consensus statement following above conference .Attended GMU-SEPP conference on Scientific Integrity in the Regulatory Process.
1994 Mar 25: Fred Singer (as a member of the Board of the International Center for Scientific Ecology) has been discussing with APCO & Associates (Philip Morris's private PR company) the possibility of expanding the Heidelberg Appeal organization "into a more 'formal movement' internationally." The tobacco company is riding on the success it has had with The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC - created by APCO), and they are planning a European version.
[This later became the European Science & Environment Forum (ESEF), which was run for the tobacco industry by Roger Bate from Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) in London]
1994: S. Fred Singer was credited with being the 'Senior Reviewer' on a junk science report cobbled together by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI). It was called Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examination. At this time the AdTI was being heavily funded by Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute, as was SEPP itself.
1995: Singer, appearing as a witness during a Congressional ozone depletion hearing, claimed to have published several peer-reviewed papers on his theories about the huge ozone hole over the South Pole. But when Congressional staff checked his references they found that Singer's only published work on ozone depletion during the past 20 years had been one letter to the editor of SCIENCE magazine and two articles in magazines that are not peer reviewed
1995 Jan: SEPP physically moved to Fairfax, joining Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Institute for Humane Studies, The Locke Institute, and the Center for Market Processes at "4084 University Drive" near to George Mason University. Atlas provided a grant to IPPS to facilitate the move and help fund the organization during its first year in Fairfax." 
1994: (early) the Center on Regulation and Economic Growth, a division of Alexis de Toqueville Institution, has sent a draft of Fred Singer's "The EPA and the Science of Environmental Tobacco Smoke" report to the Tobacco Institute and copies to the major tobacco companies. The full report is "scheduled to be completed in mid June, when it will be entitled "Science and Environmentalism." It emerged August 11 1995
In the draft (but not in the final document which was called "Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examination") Singer is given the lead credit with the title of Senior Fellow, while coauthor Kent Jeffreys has the title Adjunct Scholar.
[In the final Jeffreys is the author, while Singer is just the Principle Reviewer along with 8 Senior Staff and Contributing Associates and a long list of Board of Advisors. See
In support of its 'ETS is harmless' position the report quotes the so-called scientific research or expert opinions of: W Kip Viscusi of Yale; Bruce N Ames of Berkeley Uni; Michael Gough of Cato Institute; Lois S Gold of Berkeley Uni; Michael Fumento of Investor's Business Daily; Jane G Gravelle of Congressional Research Service; Gary L Huber of Kentucky Uni Tobacco Research Foundation; HG Stockwell; Ross C Brownson of the Missouri Dept of Health; Roger Bate of the CEI, IEA and ESEF (Euro-TASSC); Gary Robertson, of Healthy Buildings International; and Robert D Tollison of George Mason University.
With the exception of Stockwell and Brownson (both quoted in the negative) every other scientist treated as an expert is either well-discredited as a industry lobbyist or known to be a long-term contractor to the tobacco industry.
The report concludes by saying: "The Environmental Protection Agency's ETS stance has an Alice-in-Wonderland quality of "sentence first — verdict afterwards ." While Congress may eventually decide to ban smoking in public buildings it cannot do so under the pretense of sound science or economics." [In fact Singer's report is more like Alice Through the Looking Glass]
One of the more revealing mistakes is that Singer's discussion on the Stockwell Study (which the tobacco industry said found no evidence of passive smoking problems" talks about Heather Sockwell as a HE, saying that the researchers reported "we found no statistically significant increase in risk associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at work or during social activities." This is a quote taken out of context which Singer would have known if he had actually read the report.
Heather Stockwell and her coauthors actually state unequivocally:
"... in conclusion, the results described here suggest that long term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in women who are nonsmokers. Risks appeared most elevated for non-adenocarcinoma lung cancers . High levels of exposure during youth and adulthood may each play a role in increasing lung cancer risk."
1994: In this year SEPP moves from the Washington Institute premises to offices shared with the Atlas Foundation think-tank networks, at George Mason University. It now comes under the direct influence of one of Atlas's major academic operations, and Singer is given the title of Distinguished Research Professor, Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
1995 Nov:: SEPP organised a conference in Leipzig, Germany, where the Leipzig Declaration (written by Fred Singer) was presented and signed. It is promoted in the USA by having TV weathermen and other celebrities publicly sign it at a White House ceremony. A large number of climate-denier with names like "Elvis Presley" and "Donald Duck" added their signature later.
1996 Jan 9: press release from FR Corp Communications (fax dated 22) is labled "Top Five Environmental Policy "Myths" of 1995 (by SEPP) to be released Jan 10.
It says that the "Examples of "myths" on the list included policies on ozone depletion, radon and second-hand smoke." Special attention is given to the CRS report on ETS (by Granville and zimmerman) which takes a strong pro-industry line.
Steve Feldman is given as the SEPP contact. SEPP now claims to have "an advisory committee of over 300 scientists from around the world" [However, in 2009 the number of advisors is given as nine — Singer, Salomon, Chauncey (+ Staff), including Bruce Ames and Henry Linden]
S Fred Singer is President, and the Board of Directors consists of Frederick Seitz, Charles Galvan, David L Hill.
1996 Jan 12: This memo page relates to a one-week "media tour" that Singer did from Chicago, to Los Angeles, to Texas, Florida, etc. from 11th to 18th January, with organised interviews with TV stations. [Only possible if you have a large, well-paid PR company to do the organisation\
1996 Jan 12: Joe Helewicz of B&W Corporate Communications advises his Executive Committee: "Mick asked that I brief you on our most recent effort to publicize the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report which was critical of the EPA's findings on environmental tobacco smoke."
He list: SEPP's publication of its "Top Five Environmental Policy Myths" which endorsed the CRS report saying:
"SEPP reviewed the CRS report on the recommendation of our public relations agency, Shandwich, which served as intermediary for B&W. SEPP initially was reluctant to publicly take the lead on a tobacco issue, so Shandwick recommended the concept of creating a "myth list." Although the CRS report would be the focal point of publicity activities, SEPP packaged four other issues — global warming, radon, "zero risk" and stratospheric ozone."
The publicity plan was launched January 10 with a national press release. Dr S Fred Singer, SEPP president, agreed to an aggressive media interview schedule arranged by Shandwick.  Dr Singer has agreed to additional news media interviews and will incorporate the CRS messages into future speeches. Dr Singer also plans to write articles for editorial papers. The Shandwick public Relations agency will continue to coordinate."
1996 Feb 2: SEPP and Singer being used to promote the CRS report by Granville and Redhead. He made claims that meta-analysis is a suspect technique.
1996 Feb 2: Keith Gretton, of the "Smoking Issues Department of BAT in the UK puts out a memo to all executives involved in S&H issues. The main interest in this document is that it illustrates, just how tightly the "need to know" rule was adhered to in the late 1990s when the companies were getting sensitive to leaks.
In this memo, Gretton treats the CRS ETS study seriously, and says it is a highly respected and independent body that advises US Congressmen on economic and scientific issues. [Which is generally, but not universally correct]
He then quotes the "Investors Business Daily" [Michael Fumento] as an authority on the CRS report, and reports that "an independent think-tank based in the USA announced ETS in its "Top Five Environmental Policy Myths of 1995" [refering to SEPP, which he knows to be working for the tobacco industry from the previous memo, at the very least.]
His memo claims the CRS report "was the result of two-years research into the science" [it was entirely economic, and a quick and dirty study only, with many faults] He also calls the writers "scientists" when, in the document itself, they profess to having no scientific expertise.
1996 Feb 22: Amit Chaudhery, PR for the Tobacco Institute of India writes to BAT asking for the SEPP press releases. He wants it ASAP since he is "facing problems from the media".
1996 Apr 26: Singer writes:
". . . at least two-thirds of the warming in this century occurred before 1940, i.e., before most of the increase in greenhouse gases. The period, 1940-1975, showed a cooling. More important perhaps, the highly accurate global temperature data from weather satellites show no warming whatsoever in the last 18 years, while the climate models predict a warming of 0.4 to 0.6 C. Clearly, the theoretical models have not been validated by actual observations. Why then should we trust them to predict a future warming?" http://www.glowpay.com/ipcccont/wirth.htm
1997 Feb 17: Rolston Showalter & Associates, helped by Stephen Milloy of TASSC, were setting up a junk-science conference for Philip Morris in Arizona. Their agenda had workshop sections headed Established Public Policy Based on Junk Science and Manipulations of Statistics for Public Policy. "We want the conference to show the connection between junk science and public policy." they write.
One of two identified proposed speakers at the conference was Fred Singer, the head of the Science and Environmental Policy Project of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution.
1997 Sep 2: Singer writes:
"The possibility that global temperatures could rise because of an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a concern that needs to be monitored. But there has been no indication in the last century that we've seen anything other than natural climate fluctuations. Both greenhouse theory and computer models predict that global warming should be more rapid in the polar regions than anywhere else, but in July the Antarctic experienced the coldest weather on record." http://www.glowpay.com/pressrel/goreglac.html
1997 Nov 1: International Enterprises Institute, one of the Atlas "family" of institutes (promoting the privatisation of local government services, etc.) held a conference in Athens, Greece. Mr and Mrs Singer of SEPP were key guests.
The Atlas Foundation and the Atlas Group of think-tanks are based at the George Mason University ner Washington DC. They are actually controlled by a Thatcherite group in the UK, closely associated with the Institute for Economic Studies in London, and with FOREST the UK Smoker's Rights group.
1998: ExxonMobil Corporate gave SEPP $10,000 (quite apart from Singer's personal donations)
Source: Exxon Education Foundation Dimensions 1998 report
2000: ExxonMobil Corporate gave SEPP $10,000 (quite apart from Singer's personal donations)
Source: Exxon Foundation 2000 IRS 990
2008: Board of Directors and Advisory Board of SEPP
2003: There is nothing to be gained from duplicating the material which is already widely distributed across the Internet. See: