The Smithsonian Institution said it is launching an investigation into a climate scientist, just a day after a New York Times piece revealed the man had accepted large payments from oil companies.
Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon has repeatedly denied that climate change is caused by humans. But on Saturday The New York Times reported that he had accepted more than $1.2 million from the fossil-fuel industry during the past decade, yet never disclosed that information in his published papers.
Now the Smithsonian, America’s largest museum and research organization, said it will look at whether Mr. Soon violated ethics laws during his work at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts.
The organization is asking its internal investigator, the Inspector General, to launch “a full review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research to ensure they meet the highest standards.”
“The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research,” a statement from the organization said.
Dr. Soon did not return calls to The New York Times, but has said in the past that his funding sources do not affect his research.
In October, the Smithsonian released a statement saying that it’s roughly 500 scientists worldwide have seen drastic impacts from climate change.
“Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities,” the statement said.
This week, the organization said that it “does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change.”