E-mails obtained from EPA through the Freedom of Information Act show that Harvard University, Syracuse University and two researchers falsely claimed a study supporting EPA’s upcoming global warming rules was conducted ‘independent’ of the agency.
As we reported on May 5, undisclosed financial conflict of interest questions swirled around a new article in the journal Nature Climate Change supporting EPA’s claim that its carbon dioxide rule would save thousands of lives per year. Here’s the New York Times headline:
Notwithstanding that the study authors,
received or were involved in $45 million worth of research grants from EPA, they were simply and innocuously described by the media as:
- “researchers at Syracuse and Harvard Universities” (New York Times);
- “scientists from Harvard and Syracuse universities and four other institutions” (Washington Post)
- “from Harvard and Syracuse University” (Associated Press).
These representations were fueled by at least three claims and protestations of independence from EPA.
First, a Harvard School of Public Health media release described the researchers as “independent”:
Here is similar the Syracuse University media release:
Second, study co-author Driscoll told the Buffalo News that he had “no dog in the fight”:
Driscoll also told the New York Times that it was a “coincidence” that a study model closely resembled the EPA proposal:
Third, study co-author Jonathan Buonocore told U.S. News and World Report:
But e-mails obtained from EPA by JunkScience.com now show these claims to be false.
Below is a July 8, 2014 e-mail from study author Kathy Lambert to EPA staffers Bryan Hubbell and Linda Chappell (the EPA contact person for the cost-benefit analysis of the Clean Power Plan) asking for EPA help on the study. Note the recipients of the e-mail include study authors Charles Driscoll and Jonathan Buonocore. Remember Bounocore later told U.S. News & World Report that EPA did not “participate or interact” with the study authors.
Here is a follow-up July 8, 2014 e-mail from EPA asking that the lead EPA staffer for the Clean Power Plan cost-benefit analysis, Amanda Brown, be included in the communications. Note Driscoll and Buonocore are included on this e-mail, too.
Below is an e-mail from Driscoll to EPA staffer Ellen Kurlansky discussing the study and even hinting at some quid pro quo — i.e., Isn’t our study wonderful, EPA? So can you help us fundraise?
Below is an e-mail that shows study author Joel Schwartz was looped in to the collaboration with EPA.
Below is a November 7, 2014 e-mail from study author Kathy Lambert to EPA staffers Rob Pinder and Jeffrey Herrick, and then-EPA post doc Shannon Capps asking for EPA’s views and involvement in the study.
Absent some unimagined explanation, these e-mails flatly contradict the claims made in the Harvard and Syracuse media releases and in statements to media by Driscoll and Buonocore.