the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Would you believe?

Posted by Jeff Id on January 6, 2010

Phil Jones was granted an average of $120,000 USD per month for 15 years.

This email may have been overlooked in the climategate context. Consider the pressure one would be under from the boss when millions of pounds are on the line. I’m just a blogger, but consider the implications of someone writing these words. This email is from Keith Briffa, as pointed out by a reader below and illustrates the pressures climate scientists have to get money.

From: Keith Briffa <>
Subject: Re: PAGES Open Science Meeting publication
Date: Fri Sep 18 12:57:16 1998

this is simply to say tha I will get my paper to you as soon as I can. Frank knows that I am currently involved with writing a bid on behalf of the earth science community to try to extract 8 million pounds for a 5 year project from NERC to support Palaeo/Modelling validatin work. I was not allowed to say no to this request and it is involving me in a lot of meetings and associated crap. I am now redrafting the proposal. Also I must write my application to NERC for a fellowship – if this fails Sarah and I are unemployed after December as things stand. God knows there is little chance of success but the application must be in be the end of September and I have not started it yet. This is a big deal for me and I am putting you down as my primary suggested scientific referee. The PAGES paper can only be done in mid October and I really need your and Frank’s understanding on this. I had to do the Thematic bid proposal as Nick Shackleton asked me to , and I want to put him down as my primary Personal reference! In early October I have to attend a NERC Earth Science Board meeting to defend the Thematic bid; a meeting of PEP3 in Belgium;a UK CLIVAR meeting in London; an EC meeting to present our ADVANCE-10K results in Vienna. This is not bullshit. I will do the PAGES meetin paper as fast as I can and you must please allow me the leeway . Sorry – but this will not really hold the publication up . If I could sort out some funding I could afford to drop some of these things but with the EC future also up in the air at the moment , I have to try to juggle these things. Sorry again Ray

This email discussing his possible ‘unemployment’ for the Hider of the decline (it was keith Briffa’s data with Phil Jones help using the trick to hide the decline). Leads to a second interesting point, first noticed by Lubos Motl. The spreadsheet linked shows Dr. Phillip Climategate Jones didn’t earn the vast majority of his 22 million in grants until after this email. Line 10 in the linked Lubos sheet shows Phil Jones only earned a paultry 104,230 pounds from NERC. or $167,000 dollars at a 1.6 conversion which is applicable in 1998 dollars. Anyone here mind receiving $167,000? IT WAS NOTHING!!

What happened since then?

You can see that even the great Phil was going to be fired for raising a mere, 2.5 milion USD in the six years prior to 1998. Imagine what your job would be like if you were forced to raise four times your salary in raw after tax profit, just to keep your gojob. Dr. Phil had no qualms about it and was eventually successful. We should have no doubt that a non-leftist, non-advocate person would fail miserably in the same position.

Phil Jones grants averaged 122,000 US dollars per month between 1991 and 2006


35 Responses to “Would you believe?”

  1. Squidly said

    Wow, that’s one hell of a hockey stick he had going on there. Amazing! And exactly how aren’t these people influenced to the point of corruption? I would like someone to very carefully explain this to me.

    Thanks for posting Jeff!

  2. vdb said

    The email you quoted is written by Keith Briffa, not Phil Jones? Surely Briffa is not the “hider of the decline”, etc.

  3. Gordon said

    Can you say “Publish or Perish?”

  4. tarpon said

    Bribes for lies …

  5. Jeff Id said

    #2, I made some change to the text to tie it together better. It was too late to blog last night but the emial caught my interest.

  6. vjones said

    The breakdown of the funding was interesting too:

    The two largest grants apparently inlcuded ‘structural money’ to set up a new institute (ICER) and maintain the Tyndall centre as part of it.

    I am told too that it is not unusual for UK universities to set targets for grant income per year – for one university in England I have heard two to three times annual salary for an ordinary lecturer.

  7. Gary said

    Grant-funded science is a highly competitive business. Only the most skilled at it (and is not to say the most capable scientifically) survive for long. This email helps explain the animosity toward an applecart-upsetter like McIntyre.

  8. Lady in Red said

    I don’t know if England has anything comparable to the False Claims Act referenced here, but if someone could follow the money wasted by government in the US, the financial pot is considerable. (Personally, I’d give some of my take to Briffa.)

    When one thinks about the NSF money, DoE money, NASA and NOAA money. Office of Naval Research, NSIDC…. all wasted on phoney research, whew! All we need is someone with a conscience in the US.

  9. Frank K. said

    I think you touched on one of the main reasons we have seen an exponential rise in the number of CAGW-related scientific “press releases” (and thus related stories in the MSM). When people PAY you big money to scream “global warming is going to kill us all,” it is easy to deliver the results your funders desire…

  10. bob said

    It is very interesting how the Follow-The-Money principle will show the way through the BS. Money is a powerful motivator, and science should not be held hostage to grant hogs.

  11. Antonio San said

    Imagine what ordinary people would do to eachothers for an extra hour of electricity under ecofascist rule…

    OT: Jeff are you planning a 2010 extreme predictions contest?

  12. RB said

    “Phil Jones grants averaged 122,000 US dollars per month between 1991 and 2006”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you are insinuating that Phil Jones single-handedly created this hoax because grants for others seem to be more modest. Snippet from Real-climate with comments from Gavin Schmidt:

    634. On item I found particularly interesting was the spreadsheet with funding. In the interest of full disclosure it might be interesting to note the funding for other AGW proponents from the NSF (only one source):
    Gavin Schmidt $820,000
    Michael Mann $1,500,000
    Raymond Bradley $3,500,000
    Malcolm Hughes $2,300,000
    My point is only that “Climate Research” is a lucrative little business that is fully funded by the government and dependent on the continued belief in a man made crisis.
    Obviously this money doesn’t go the the researchers only, but it funds their “business” and for that business to continue, the must support AGW. That is what interested me about the spreadsheet.
    Gavin, I’m sure you’ll cut this, but I respect your efforts to defend RC and don’t question your motives. I am sure you are sincere in your belief in AGW.
    [Response: For reference, that is $820,000 over 8 years (3 grants I think), and funded 4 graduate students, my salary and a couple of research associates. And note that 50% goes right off the top as overhead. Work out how big the lap of luxury it is that I was sitting in. – gavin]
    Comment by gt4 — 21 November 2009 @ 4:39 PM

  13. RB said

    For reference, BTW in my grad school in the U.S., 65% went to the school.

  14. RB said

    Another snippet for the “defenders of science from being held hostage” who might think that without AGW, scientists would be out of jobs:

    483. What is so painfully clear from this is how the science of AGW has long since been replaced by the NEED for AGW. You can see it here with Gavin, his responses, can see it all over the community. They need AGW. It is their life. It is their reason of existing. For it to not be what they have claimed means they are not what they claim. It would personally devalue them. What these emails have proven is what many of us have known for some time. These scientists aren’t really scientists. Science requires objectivity and that has been replaced with necessity a long time ago. When you read the cheering of measurements or the frustrations at not getting expected results, it’s a sad statement of where this is. What a sad cast of characters you all are. So sad.
    [Response: What rot. No-ones needs AGW. Personally, I was very happy doing paleo-modelling work that had very little to do with AGW. The study of the dynamic Earth system is complex, challenging, mysterious and rewarding with or without a substantial human component to recent warming. That of course drives more interest from the outside world, but we would still be studying climate and weather even if CO2 levels had been steady for the last hundred years. – gavin]
    Comment by Doug — 21 November 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  15. Mark T said

    Gee, wow, then I guess he’s vindicated.

    You just don’t get it, RB.


  16. Sleeper said

    Wonder how big his grants would be without AGW?

  17. Jeff Id said

    #16, exactly. In my experience, these are some of the biggest grant numbers I’ve seen for a professor. Certainly people do better, but in engineering we were happy when 40K came through.

  18. RB said

    #17, I suspect your familiarity is with non-experimental work.

  19. mrpkw said

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you are insinuating that Phil Jones single-handedly created this hoax because grants for others seem to be more modest. Snippet from Real-climate with comments from Gavin Schmidt:”

    Not at all but Mr. Jones et al certainly are profiting from their self promotion of AGW. Like Jeff said “Big oil my ass”

    As far as taking Gavin’s word………………..

  20. mrpkw said

    “[Response: For reference, that is $820,000 over 8 years (3 grants I think), and funded 4 graduate students, my salary and a couple of research associates. And note that 50% goes right off the top as overhead. Work out how big the lap of luxury it is that I was sitting in. – gavin]
    Comment by gt4 — 21 November 2009 @ 4:39 PM”

    Chuckle !!

    Any chance we an audit the books !!!!

  21. hswiseman said

    Universities are not much different than the mob (or any other business for that matter!). If you are a good earner, you move up the ladder. If you don’t earn, you get whacked.

  22. IanH said

    No, not a million years, well okay not until 2011

  23. j ferguson said

    #20 what Gavin is quoted as saying sounds about right. In the ’60s, I was a research assistant whose salary was funded by a contract/grant with Gov. and although the grant amount looked huge, there were a lot of mouths fed with it. The big hit is overhead and the squirrely part is what your institution provides for their 50% – or more.

    I can see the innocents aren’t all abroad. some of them are here. too bad. Need to keep focussed on the stuff that is assuredly dubious, not misunderstood housekeeping issues.

    Jeff, you run a company. Certainly you know the difference between employee cost and what he/she gets in their payroll check.

  24. alf said

    “And note that 50% goes right off the top as overhead” that leaves 410,000 to be split between at least 7 people over 8 years???

  25. mrpkw said

    # 23
    It’s sarcasm.

    If gavin et al do their accounting like they do their “research”, it may put Enron to shame.

  26. […] The nature of the political press, Who would you trust?, Hot weather headlines, cold weather obituaries, Arctic blast to deepen, Garret trapped in a paper bag, Global warming – global profit – how to make money out of climate science! […]

  27. mrpkw said

    # 24
    And, do grad students and do research assistants make much more then minimum wage??? (I don’t know).

    Nobody is making the claim that these guys are getting rich, but they are doing rather well for them selves.

    And back to the irony of us septics being in the pockets of big oil !!!!!!!!

  28. RB said

    #24, I agree that “scientific skeptics” are better off making strong arguments on the basis of science. Serious people should be looking at things such as these – such as this one providing CO2 sensitivity to 95% confidence which incidentally turns out to be entirely consistent to within 0.1C sensitivity with other evaluations based on 420 million years of evidence . Arguments which are essentially based on the impossibility of science itself are not scepticism, but instead more akin to denialism. Just another front in the culture wars, I suppose.

  29. RB said

    Directed to #23, sorry.

  30. […] Would you believe? […]

  31. Jeff Id said

    #23 Gavin’s amount is substantially less than Jones, but it’s not insignificant. Don’t forget, Gavin already works for a fully funded agency. I don’t really have a problem with grant money but consider how hard it would be to get funding from the UN for a non-warming project. Also, consider how the money Gavin and Phil receive give them prestige in their organizations. The amounts Phil Jones has his name on are pretty large.

  32. Mark T said

    Academics are paid anyway – I don’t believe there is much direct income derived from grants. And that’s still not the point.

    The point is that the alarmist idiots constantly berate all of us that have skeptical views (as any scientist should, oddly enough) for being in the employ of big oil, yet there is clearly more money being tossed towards the likes of Phil Jones and Michael Mann than any of the rest of us. The hypocrisy is just mind-boggling.


  33. Frank K. said

    Jeff Id said
    January 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    “Gavin’s amount is substantially less than Jones, but it’s not insignificant. Don’t forget, Gavin already works for a fully funded agency.”

    Thanks for making that point, Jeff. The grant money is only part of GS’s income, which I’m sure derives from many sources. Not to mention the very expensive NYC location of his office at the GISS (along with boss JH). And, hey, he get’s to blog on the public’s dime to boot!

  34. Lady in Red said

    This from Delingpole at the London Telegraph on Michael Mann’s problem this week with the US False Claims Act notice all of Mann’s colleagues received on Monday:

    And this on sites and people following the money to the IPCC’s Pachauri:

    And from Christopher Booker, a piece on the idiocy of the Met Office’s prediction of a mild English winter:

    Lots of good, new blog reading sites identified in the above articles. Enjoy! ……Lady in Red

  35. Notice also that big money grants go to researchers whose work essentially implies the sky will fall unless we restructure the whole planet. This is “science by nightmare scenario.”

    I point this out because, in another area, so-called epidemics, the same strategy is used: ominous overblown predictions about what will happen to the human race unless we stem the tide of West Nile, SARS, bird flu, an imminent smallpox terrorist attack, Swine Flu. Of course, none of those predictions were even close to reality. All these “outbreaks” were duds.

    But money flowed to the researchers.

    In a crowded, competing science-research landscape, it has become standard to hype gigantic catastrophes that will overtake us unless…the money for more research pours in.

    And this doesn’t even to begin to describe who will make out, big-time, on the back end with profits.

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