Marc Morano Promotes Climate Denial Hoax Against Fourth Grader [Updated]

Climate Depot: 4th-grad climate skepticMarc Morano and other climate conspiracy theorists are promoting a cruel hoax against a fourth-grade child, the Wonk Room has learned. Morano, the former Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) aide and Rush Limbaugh producer who promoted the Swift Boat slanders, is pushing the story that a “4th-grade climate skeptic wins junior division of National Science Fair,” originally published by the Bee-Picayune in Beeville, TX:

R.A. Hall Elementary School fourth-grader Julisa Castillo has been named junior division champion for the 2010 National Science Fair. Her project, “Disproving Global Warming,” beat more than 50,000 other projects submitted by students from all over the U.S.

Castillo’s project, which wasn’t even a top project within her school science fair six months ago, looked at the historical temperature record in Beeville and extrapolated the results to the entire globe to derive the “creative” conclusion that there is “not enough evidence to prove global warming is occurring.”

As scientist and climate blogger Michael Tobis reported yesterday, Castillo “received a package containing the trophy, medal and plaque, along with a letter” that purported to be from Linda Slakey, the National Science Foundation’s Executive Director of Education & Human Resources, saying that Castillo was named the “Jr. Grand Champion of the NSF’s “2010 National Science Fair” and had won an “all-expenses paid trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.”

The letter was a complete fabrication, according to the NSF, which has referred the incident to their Office of Inspector General. The Wonk Room contacted the NSF for this email interview with public affairs official Maria Zacharias:

NSF hoax letter
Q: Did you send the attached letter?

NSF: No.

Q: Does the National Science Foundation run something called the “2010 National Science Fair”?

NSF: No.

A: Is there a Junior Division of the NSF’s 2010 National Science Fair for 9 to 11 year olds?

NSF: No.

Q: Was Julisa Castillo named the Junior Grand Champion of the NSF’s 2010 National Science Fair?

NSF: No.

This was a cruel hoax played on a fourth grader, furthered by irresponsible journalists who failed to identify the implausibility that “panel of judges” with “former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, 14 recipients of the President’s National Medal of Science, and four former astronauts” would honor a child’s work of flawed pseudoscience, and propagandists like Morano.


After the hoax was exposed, Morano posted a link to Michael Tobis’ debunking, writing “Update: 4th-Grade Skeptical Climate Science ‘winner’ revealed as hoax!”

His site is now only 99.9% (approximately) false.

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