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December 09, 2015

Greenpeace Sting Tests Funding Disclosure in Climate Science

The environmental activist group Greenpeace conducted an undercover operation in which its employees posed as representatives of energy firms seeking to secretly fund research touting the benefits of coal and carbon emissions, reports The New York Times. Two scientists accepted the ostensible offer, which came with a condition that the source of funding not be identified.

Undisclosed financial support for climate research has become an issue in the global-warming debate, with green groups alleging fuel-industry ties to climate-change denial. Lawrence Carter, one of the Greenpeace workers involved in the sting, said it "shows a way that fossil-fuel money can get into funding these climate-skeptic campaign groups."

Professors at Princeton and Pennsylvania State universities agreed to write papers at the apparent behest of foreign coal and oil companies, according to email exchanges Greenpeace released Tuesday. Both acknowledged accepting the offers but denied any impropriety. Frank Clemente, the former head of an environmental-policy center at Penn State, said he stood behind his research and support for clean-coal technologies.