Council on Foreign Relations is duped by Inhofe, labels denial rehash an “Essential Document” and a “primary source”

UPDATE: Please Digg the original post here, so people looking to debunk the Inhofe nonsense will know about a link to send people.

[I am asking all Climate Progress readers to start an email campaign to Richard Haas, President, Council on Foreign Relations, E-mail: Please feel free to post your emails as comments.]

I was worried the media would be duped by Inhofe’s repackaged disinformation. Turns out the first to bite was the Council on Foreign Relations, widely (though it would seem, incorrectly) viewed as an uber-credible, centrist organization.

They have a list of what they claim are “ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS: Vital primary sources underpinning the foreign policy debate.” Yes, you guessed it, the latest addition is U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008.

It is grotesque enough that CFR calls this an essential document. But it is absurd to call this a “primary source” when it is nothing more than a rehash of denier talking points and a retread collection of quotes by other people, many of whom aren’t scientists and/or don’t even question human-cause global warming (see more on the laughable, padded Inhofe list). It is especially annoying for CFR to repeat the whole name of the report so that anyone looking at their “Essential Documents” page for any reason would have this disinformation shoved down their throat.

The President of CFR is Richard Haas, a former Bush State Department appointee who I actually thought was a reasonable “Colin Powell” guy.

You can let Haas know what you think of this inanity — and how it undermines the credibility of the once distinguished Council he was entrusted to lead — by emailing him at

19 Responses to Council on Foreign Relations is duped by Inhofe, labels denial rehash an “Essential Document” and a “primary source”

  1. paulm says:

    Its probably all a setup with insiders.

  2. paulm says:

    These people need to be taken to court.

  3. Gail Zawacki says:

    Here is my email to CFR:

    Dear Mr. Haas,

    I am so very very tired of the same denials about global warming. I live in western New Jersey and I can assure you that I can see the damage with my own eyes. I don’t need a forester to tell me that every tree in this region has entered senescence – the period of decline that leads inevitably to death. Since every species here, coniferous and deciduous, is in the same predicament, it cannot be an isolated fungus, disease, or pest. All the trees are dying here because it is warmer and particularly important, drier. It’s even worse in the winter, where we haven’t had consistent snow cover in years, which should blanket the ground and slowly saturate the soil.

    I suppose most people will continue to just refuse to recognize this terrible catastrophe – until a tree falls on their roof, the roads are blocked by limbs, the power lines are down for extended periods of time, the landscape looks hideous, and every creature, whether bird or squirrel or racoon, deer, fox or bear, as well as every type of flora that thrived in the understory, is extinct. And that doesn’t even count the wildfires, and the loss of wood products.

    Following this of course will be the feedback loop effect which will make our world even hotter and even drier. I am greatly concerned about the social instability that will no doubt result from water scarcity.

    Planning to arrest the increase of CO2 by 2050 is laughable. We are already experiencing the terrible consequences of our refusal to conserve and embrace clean energy technology.

    Please do your job and address the real problems we must confront instead of playing the wasteful political games.

    And I would also direct your attention to this article, which has been largely ignored in the US:

    I would ask the question, will it not be until men are quite literally impotent that they recognize the folly of polluting the earth?


    Gail Zawacki
    Oldwick, NJ

  4. jon wott says:

    if possible for you you might like try reach senator kerry who I’m told is set to chair the CFR senate committee – driving the global climate change bus, so to speak. He’s strong for P-E BO so I’d imagine a strong firm ally to close-out this latest outrage.. have him talk to Haas etc..

    it could be useful to enzed, too, whose new rightie government has me-firsters in confidence-and-supply coalition and they are undoubtedly among the denial crowd in setting forth a government review of the IPCC science.. chances are that those advocates here are drawing direct support from this CFR intention for ‘due authority’ etc..

  5. jorleh says:

    You have very interesting people there in the brave new world. Of course we have Lomborg, I beg your pardon, but real idiots are rather rare however with us.

  6. Anne says:

    Dear Mr. Hass,

    I am writing at the suggestion of Joe Romm of Climate Progress, but if I had clued into the fact that the Council on Foreign Relations gave credence to Sen. Inhofe’s insane and malicious foolishness I would have written you myself anyway, and encouraged my colleagues in the climate change science and policy community to do the same.

    Please, Mr. Haas, let’s not regurgitate what should have been discarded in the first place. The CFR has clout, and influence, and therefore a responsibility to be credible and accurate. Please do your homework, and stop cow-towing to these denialist shenanigans.

    Our President-elect has spoken: Delay is no longer an option; denial is no longer an acceptable response.

    Thank you,

    Anne Polansky
    Sr. Associate
    Climate Science Watch
    Government Accountability Project

  7. Linda S says:

    Dear Mr. Haas,

    I am writing in reference to the rather bizarre inclusion of the document “More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk ‘Consensus’ in 2008” in your list of “Essential Documents: Vital primary sources underpinning the foreign policy debate.”

    For starters, the document is not a primary source but a list of quotations, many of which are taken out of context, by people whose scientific ‘creditials’ may be nothing more than a BS degree in economics. Secondly, the benchmarks of true science have everything to do with the careful examination of evidence, the rigorous checks and balances of peer review, and the continuous testing of theory. True science is not a collection of opinions and media bites. Surely, being a well-educated and intelligent man, you would know and understand this.

    The American public is in for hard times to come. Our economy is in a shambles. Our reliance on dwindling supplies of fossil fuels has left us vulnerable to cataclysmic shortages in the foreseeable future. And worst of all, we are pumping tons of greenhouse gases into an already overheated atmosphere. We desperately need those who are in positions of power and authority to recognize disinformation for what it is and to deal with the real problems we face with wisdom and courage.

    Linda Siska
    Pensacola, Florida

  8. DavidONE says:

    Dear Mr Haas,

    I note that your website lists under ‘Essential Documents’ a report from James Inhofe / Marc Morano –

    I am horrified that a respectable and serious publication, such as yours, has been fooled by this blatant repetition of lies and propaganda from Inhofe / Morano. They were exposed some time ago when they published a list of ‘400 scientists’.


    This ‘new’ list is simply regurgitation of the same lies with a few more added:


    There are many other sources which debunk this nonsense, available with a few seconds searching online.

    I trust you will remove this publication from your website now that the reality of it has been exposed. I also hope that there will be more careful vetting of content before publication in future.

    Your sincerely,

  9. Well, sadly, this is an example of the well-meaning amateur journalistic ethos of the blogosphere at work. I’m the executive editor of the Council’s website. We have many editorial franchises – we’re quite uniquely objective in the think tank world. Among those franchises is somethign we call “Essential Documents,” which are merely key public documents – treaties, speeches, laws, conventions. Inhofe’s speech was included as an example of the genus, climate change denier. A better sense of institutional thinking on this can be found in our recent Task Force on the topic, or this multimedia crisis guide.
    Of course, a professional journalist would have called us before pointing the finger, but I’ve stopped expecting such niceties.


  10. DavidONE says:

    > …a professional journalist would have called us before pointing the finger…

    A competent executive editor of the Council on Foreign Relations would not have allowed publication of such a paper on the site, under the heading ‘Essential Document’, or would have clearly labelled it as misleading propaganda.

    Don’t blame others for your own failings.

  11. Bob Wallace says:

    Thank you DavidONE,

    Michael Moran and his fellow editors failed.


    Michael Moran,

    Get your stuff together. Clean up this mess.

    Or vacate your desk and let someone do the job correctly.

  12. max says:

    My email to Haas:

    Dear Mr. Haas:

    As a scientist and a citizen, I am extremely concerned about the threat of climate change and the lack of forceful action by the United States in the face of this crisis. So I was extremely disappointed to learn that the Council on Foreign Relations would list as an “Essential Document” on its website the recent report: “US Senate Minority Report: More than 650 International Scientists Dissent over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk Consensus in 2008”. The Council on Foreign Relations describes essential documents as “vital primary sources underpinning the foreign policy debate.” It is clear, however, that the US Senate Minority Report is none of the above. Instead it is part of an orchestrated anti-scientific disinformation propaganda campaign meant to justify inaction in the face of an urgent global threat. I urge you to consider the consequences for the good name of the Council on Foreign Relations for promoting this document on your website as an “essential document.” As President-elect Barack Obama has said: “the time for denial is over.”



  13. Brooks B says:

    Michael Moran: You had me going for a few minutes. Then I went to your site and then wrote this email to Mr. Hass:

    Subject: Please stop lending credibility to Inhofe’s totally discredited global warming denial document

    To: Richard Haas, President, Council on Foreign Relations

    I just went to your web site and found it impressive, including the climate change section.

    Then I went to the “Essential Documents” section. The heading for this section is:

    “Vital primary sources underpinning the foreign policy debate.”

    Here I see Inhofe’s More Than 650 International Scientists…” which has been shown to be riddled with distortions and inaccuracies

    Inhofe’s document is “vital”, “primary”? It is “underpinning the foreign policy debate”?

    Putting Inhofe’s document in this area without clearly stating that it is primarily fiction lends it a dangerous credibility. Better to delete it immediately.

    Brooks Bridges

  14. (abridged letter to Haas): Your posting of the purported “essential reading” gleaned from Imhofe was, you say, not meant to indicate CFR support. Nonsense. It was equivalent to posting a sermon in favor creationism, and had no more credibility than posting a fairy tale about leprechauns. All it did was reveal CFR’s ideological bias. Wisely, I no longer subscribe to CFR.

  15. Anna Haynes says:

    Subject: Qs, for understanding the decision to post the “650 debunk consensus” report

    Greetings Mr. Moran –

    I’m one of the well-meaning amateur journalists of the blogosphere, and I’m hoping you can clear up some confusion I have about CFR’s posting this document without comment.

    1. Could you tell me please – have you posted other such climate communiques from Inhofe’s group on the CFR site, and if not, what led you to post this one?

    2. How did you run across this document? And were you involved in any communication about it, before posting it?

    3. Do you believe that anyone reading the CFR site might find Inhofe’s speech credible, and believe that CFR’s filing it under ““Essential Documents” grants it further credibility? If so, is that a problem, and for whom?

    Thanks if you can help us understand –
    Anna Haynes

  16. Randall Semrau says:

    I see plenty of Ad Hom attacks here on Morano, Inhofe, the qualifications of the individuals comprising the group of 650 etc, but where is your evidence that the IPCC’s 2500 are any better qualified?

    All I see is an incredibly desparate, threatened group of people.

  17. DavidONE says:


    Like many people, you are confused about the meaning of ‘ad hominem’ –

    If you said “1 + 2 = 2” and I replied “Randall smells and cheats when playing Monopoly, therefore he is wrong about 1 + 2” – that would be ad hominem. If I demonstrated mathematically why 1 + 2 = 3 and then called you an idiot, it would not be ad hominem.

    There is compelling evidence that Inhofe / Morano have lied, e.g. Because there is evidence of dishonesty, the are called ‘liars’. They have little or no credibility because of this.

    > All I see is an incredibly desparate [sic], threatened group of people.

    Have you not seen the news recently? The world’s climate scientists and the world’s leaders are unequivocal in their recognition of ACC, and yet you think those who accept the science are ‘desperate’ and ‘threatened’? I think you might be projecting.

  18. Kathy N. says:

    This was my E-mail Dear Sir,

    Do you have children or even grandchildren? I DO! To label anything that Imhof submits about Climate Change/Global Warming as an Essential Document is to show your own lack of knowledge about this subject. Let me help you out with where to look for creditable information on this subject. !)NASA 2) NOAA
    3) US Department of Ecology 4) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 4) US Global Change Research 5)
    Stanford University 6) National Center for Environmental Research 7) NERC 8) National Academy of Sciences 9) U of East Anglia 10) Skripps Institution These are just a few to get you started. Knowing that you have read the report from the IPCC WG II right?? Here are a few Documentary Films you might want to watch. Some times a visual cue is more informative then the dry page. 1) Baked Alaska 2) China from the Inside 3)The 11th Hour 4) Emperors of the Ice 5) Rising Waters: Global Warming 6) Life Running out of Control I & II 7) Earth, Wind and Fire 8) Sun Cookers Again these are just some to get you started on the journey of truth about a subject you need to study much more closely before you make any future determinations about what is a Essential Document on this subject.

  19. Anna says:

    Six months later (better late than never) –

    I’d emailed Qs to Michael Moran as detailed in my comment above (link), and he replied to my emailed Qs thoroughly and promptly (and then I regrettably did nothing with his reponses, having gotten wrapped up in another project – big apologies.)

    Here were MM’s answers to my questions:

    Q: Could you tell me please – have you posted other such climate communiques from Inhofe’s group on the CFR site, and if not, what led you to post this one?

    MM: No. We post materials which help explain the state of the debate – in essence, we hyperlink references and use Essential Documents like footnotes. The communique merely contextualizes the fact that in the United States legislature no significant progress has been made toward climate change legislation over the past eight years. Whatever one thinks of the views of Inhofe and his allies, they have been very effective in preventing alternate views from making headway legislatively. Posting it implies absolutely no sanction. It merely says, “this is relevant to this topic.” CFR is nonpartisan. We’re not pushing any particular political angle. We’re just leaving breadcrumbs to help people understand arguments being made by all sides .

    Q. How did you run across this document? And were you involved in any communication about it, before posting it?

    MM: No. Our library scans the web daily for public documents that add context to the issues we concentrate on. First I knew of its appearance was from the misguided accusations of the ClimateProgress blogger.

    Q. Do you believe that anyone reading the CFR site might find Inhofe’s speech credible, and believe that CFR’s filing it under “Essential Documents” grants it further credibility? If so, is that a problem, and for whom?

    MM: Look at the Essential Documents queue.
    It is listing of public documents without any political filter applied. Again, CFR is a nonpartisan organization. I think if you read down you’ll see that the 650 document hardly represents any kind of trend in our choice of Essential Documents.
    You can see this for yourself by sorting the Essential Documents by Issue (Climate Change):

    And, again, our decision to include it confers no sanction or credibility. We also have, among the thousands of documents included, the recently agreed SOFA in Iraq, a communique between India and China after a recent summit, Obama’s speech when announcing ihs new National Security team, his acceptance speech in Denver, Palin’s speech in August on Energy Issues, and … for that matter, the US Constitution, the Balfour Declaration, the SALT II Treaty, and speeches by presidents, kings and dictators, the content of which is relevant to the understanding of how things do or don’t get done on this planet, but not sanctioned in any sense by CFR.

    The entire conversation here is based on a mistaken assumption by a blogger that we give any credence to these things. In the end, as I said, they are akin to footnotes – just ways to let a reader explore any particular issue in greater depth.