Monday, July 4, 2011

Slurred by a coral whisperer

Coral Whisperer Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg currently has a post on his Climate Shifts blog that slurs the reputation of Prof. Willie Soon, an Astrophysicist Harvard University's Center for Astrophysics. In comments Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg attempts to slur my reputation as well. For the record here's a copy of the conversation from Climate Shifts.

  • MarcH says:
    Ove, Care to comment on this tweet from George Monbiot?
    GeorgeMonbiot GeorgeMonbiot
    I got something wrong abt Willie Soon. I suggested he’d never declared his fossil fuel funding. Unlike many, it turns out he has. Apologies.
    Ove, How much funding do you receive from Greenpeace?
    • OveHG says:
      Well, I have publically declared that I have worked for Greenpeace, Rio Tinto and many others. Mostly being paid to provide peer reviewed science which was paid to the University and not to me. And all peer reviewed pieces of work. Question is whether you and the research group you are associated with have declared all your potential conflicts Marc. Isn’t there a little coal money you should tell us about Marc?

  • Marc Hendrickx says:
    Perhaps you could clarify your relationship with fossil fuel giant Rio Tinto who are involved in the The Future Reef partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation through their subsidiary Rio Tinto Aluminium. According to the publicity this is a unique example of industry and science working together on an area of mutual and national concern. Comalco has committed more than A$1 million over four years to two Reef research programmes that will be overseen by the Foundation. Comalco of course are now Rio Tinto Aluminium.
    In 2008 Rio Tinto produced over 150 Mt of coal.
    Please don’t tell me you are the recipient of funds linked to the fossil fuel industry? Given your post on Willie Soon will you now return the funds, or will you accept that you are a hypocrite?
    It appears that you are in receipt of over $1.4 MILLION dollars from this arrangement. This is more than Willie Soon has received.

  • Coal money for me, I wish? What are you implying Ove? Please be clear so my lawyers don’t misquote you.
    Are you saying or implying:
    A). I am being directly paid by the coal industry as part of some conspiracy to draw attention to your questionable record on climate science?
    B). I am indirectly paid by the coal industry via superannuation or small share ownership in a resources company (BHP).
    Clearly you are a misguided conspiracy theorist who believes anyone who dares question the great Oz is in someone’s pocket.
    • OveHG says:
      You are a member of Dr Steven Fityus’s research group at the University of Newcastle, right? He receives funding for his group from the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP). About $500k most recently. Interesting observation in the light of accusations of bias by you aimed at me with respect to my work for Greenpeace in the 1990s.
      With respect to your question regarding Rio Tinto – a company that recognizes the challenge of climate change and wants to move rapidly on the solutions (like all responsible businesses) – there is nothing to ponder too deeply about with respect to my groups involvement. In this case, we undertook research on the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef organisms, and helped run a highly successful employee program. The later was designed to help employees understand the problems of climate change and the urgency of moving toward solutions. A worthy program which had some great outcomes.
      As long as the science is evidence-based and is not interfered with (which it hasn’t been – otherwise I would exited the project immediately), I have worked on science based projects with a wide range of organizations (as I have repeatedly stated). We must get the best answers to the important questions that lie at the heart of this massive problem. Involving all players makes perfect sense.
      By the way, Marc, I see that you are systematically contacting my research colleagues and students with respect to my professionalism. Could you please tell what your intention or hopes are with respect to this? Is it all for the ABC News Watch cause? I note that you have already slurred me on that site. I am not sure that there is much to be gained from engaging in further discussion with you.
      • Your comment is awaiting moderation. 
        You appear to be in forever need of correction. Prof Fityus is my supervisor, however my project which involves looking at historical rockfalls around Sydney, is not externally funded. The project is being done part time and currently relies on minor funding from the within the department. So you are completely in error on this point and an apology for the smear to both myself and Stephen would be appropriate, (that is if you have any honour).
        As to your contention that I am contacting your research colleagues and students with respect to my professionalism. This is again a falsehood. For the public record I requested Oren Levy a co-author with Ove to explain Ove’s contribution to a paper published in Science. Here is my email to Oren, copied to Ove and Bruce Alberts – Chief editor of Science:
        Dear Dr Levy,
        I am seeking clarification on the authorship of one of your papers. Can you please clarify the contribution made by Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg to your paper “Complex Diel Cycles of Gene Expression in Coral-Algal Symbiosis” Science 14 January 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6014 p. 175 DOI: 10.1126/science.1196419
        I ask this as Science Journal’s authorship policy states:
        Science’s policy is specifically designed to support the authorship requirements presented in On Being a Scientist: Third Edition, published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.† That report emphasizes the importance of an intellectual contribution for authorship and states that “Just providing the laboratory space for a project or furnishing a sample used in the research is not sufficient to be included as an author.”
        Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg has recently intimated his position as last author on papers he claims is due to his position as head of the department and recognises the funding, experience, and infrastructure that invariably goes into a project.
        For publication – Was the credit to Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg in the paper due to his provision for funding and laboratory space, or due to his scientific contribution?
        Marc Hendrickx
        Despite the fact that I made it clear that any response to this email would be for publication both Ove and Oren have requested that their numerous replies be kept private. A request I will respect. Perhaps Ove can take the time to clear the air on this matter on his own blog.
        Thanks by the way for the plug for ABC NEWS WATCH, I recommend visitors start with the Missing News page. They will also find a copy of the comments above and this reply on that site. In regard to so called “slurring”, coming from you in light of your post above and others on Climate Shifts, that would be a case of pot-kettle black.

  • That was the extent of the systematic contact. You will note the final comment is still in moderation. We will update when and if the great Oz replies. To the question posed concerning authorship we still await a concise response. Perhaps a mainstream journalist can take up where I left off? A job for ABC Environmental reporter activist Sara Phillips perhaps?

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