No. 8: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (A.K.A. The Idso Family)
Meet the 12 loudest members of the chorus claiming that global warming is a joke and that CO2 emissions are actually good for you.
The Idso clan is the von Trapp family of climate change denial. In 1980, paterfamilias Sherwood Idso, a self-described "bio-climatologist," published a paper in Science concluding that doubling the world's carbon dioxide concentration wouldn't change the planet's temperature all that much. In years that followed, Idso and his colleagues at Arizona State University's Office of Climatology received more than $1 million in research funding from oil, coal, and utility interests. In 1990, he coauthored a paper funded by a coal mining company, titled "Greenhouse Cooling."
In 1998, Idso's son Craig founded the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and began publishing CO2 Science, an online digest of climate change skepticism. He subsequently earned his PhD in geography from ASU under the tutelage of climate skeptic Robert Balling, then the director of its climatology program. In the early 2000s, Idso was director of environmental science at Peabody Energy, the world's largest privately owned coal company. After Peabody laid him off, he began aggressively fundraising for the center, whose budget increased from just north of $30,000 in 2004 to more than $1 million last year. Since 2006, the center has mounted a spirited defense of carbon dioxide using everything from ancient tree-ring data to elementary-school science experiments. "[S]cience tells us that putting more CO2 in the air would actually be good for the planet," its website says. "Therefore, in invoking the precautionary principle one last time, our advice to policy makers who may be tempted to embrace Kyoto-type programs is simply this: Don't mess with success!"