Last week Cleveland State University professor Kimberly A. Neuendorf, Ph.D., published a bombshell rebuttal to a Harvard report that alleged Exxon had misled the public on climate change. Now one of the Harvard report’s authors has lashed out in the media, dismissing Neuendorf’s critiques and attacking her for writing the rebuttal at ExxonMobil’s request.
“Neuendorf wrote the book that laid out the methods that the Harvard researchers cited,” The Hill reported last week, and University of Texas journalism professor Tom Johnson told the Daily Caller that “Neuendorf is one of the preeminent scholars in the field of document analysis…I would put her among the top three trusted sources on this topic.”
And yet Geoffrey Supran, the lead author of the original Harvard paper and a self-professed “climate activist” in the fossil fuel divestment campaign, believes that Neuendorf doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Supran’s paper lists Neuendorf as a key citation, as it was her method of content analysis that Supran claimed to have used.
In an interview with Law360, Supran called Neuendorf’s rebuttal “expert-for-hire doubt mongering” because it was conducted at the request of ExxonMobil. Supran did not discuss that his report was funded by the Rockefeller Family Fund, one of the groups bankrolling the years-long campaign against ExxonMobil.
Supran’s co-author and advisor at Harvard, Naomi Oreskes, is the recipient of even more Rockefeller funding. Oreskes has co-authored at least two climate attribution studies that attempt to assign damages to energy producers, both of which were funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Oreskes is the co-founder of the Climate Accountability Institute, which has received no less than $147,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund since 2014. Oreskes is also the organizer of the infamous 2012 La Jolla conference, which was funded by several anti-fossil fuel foundations including the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation and the Grantham Foundation.
Supran says he fully stands by his conclusions and is working on a rebuttal to Neuendorf’s rebuttal. But Supran has thus far failed to answer or account for any of the criticism laid out by Neuendorf and others. His comments and forthcoming paper are just a distraction while questions about the academic integrity of his work remain unanswered.