"WASHINGTON — In a new chapter in Congress’s battle over climate change and how to address it, senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee are dueling over scientific conflicts of interest and academic freedom.
Since Feb. 25, the Democratic minority and Republican majority on the committee have each sent a barrage of 100 letters to prominent American energy companies and political institutions. Democrats asked organizations with financial or political interests in fossil fuels to reveal any academic studies about climate change that they have funded. Republicans, in response, insisted that the recipients of Democratic letters shouldn’t feel pressured to appease them.
The skirmishing began last month when a fresh batch of public records added new illumination to the financial relationships between Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researcher Willie Soon and fossil fuel companies. Soon, who has received more than $1.2 million in grants from such companies and their political allies, was previously accused of violating a Chinese science journal’s conflict of interest policy by not disclosing his corporate funding. \"