Transparency, it does a scientific body good.
Cornell University Professor Anthony Ingraffea, who has co-authored journal papers on wellbore integrity and methane emissions, was the guest last week on the Center of the American West’s FrackingSENSE series.
According to Energy in Depth, Ingraffea gave a full confession of lacing his research with advocacy words and phrasing against the “acceleration of the development of oil and gas in shale formations.”
While Ingraffea insists that it’s not about fracking, he has gone so far as to have taken the “Pledge to Resist Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado,” which states that public officials in Colorado “need to acknowledge the body of evidence and public outcry to the contrary and ban hydraulic fracturing …”
Here’s some of what Ingraffea had to say:
“I’d be lying if I said that I don’t… that I haven’t entered any of the studies that I have participated in in the last five years that led to my being able to publically speak or publish in peer-review papers… I’d be lying if I told you I went into every one of those with an entirely objective, blank opinion. I didn’t know. I didn’t care. Whatever happened when the numbers were done, I’d be [inaudible]. I’d be lying if I said that. I’m sorry. [cross talk] It would be untrue.”
We would be lying if we said we were surprised by Ingraffea’s admission. We strongly suspect we would also be lying if we said this was probably an isolated case. And if we said the admission prompted Democrats in Congress to investigate the source of funding in anti-shale research, we most assuredly would be lying.
Ingraffea also let loose with some juicy tidbits on how he spins his advocacy research into celebrity causes with the likes of mega greenies such as Mark Ruffalo (see what we did there?).
“But the principal megaphone has been celebrities. People whose names you know better than [inaudible] celebrity follower, but Mark Ruffalo has a couple million twitter followers. I’ve never issued a tweet in my life and never will. So, every once in a while Mark emails me or calls me and says ‘What have you got?’ And I give him 144 characters and he tweets it. He is my megaphone. Doesn’t cost me anything, doesn’t cost him anything. We don’t have anything – he doesn’t have the money, I don’t have the money. Well, he’s got more money than I do, but we can’t go on national TV at the drop of a hat, in-between segments of the national news. We don’t have that opportunity. This is unsymmetric warfare, if I could use that phrase. What the industry can do with its PR and advertising arm is infinite, compared to what you or I could do. So, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Mark Ruffalo and a few others, they’re my megaphones.”
So there you have it. Initiate a study, litter it with bias and advocacy, and then toss it overboard to the bottom-feeding celebrities to regurgitate to the masses.
Not exactly science’s finest hour.