New Hope Environmental Services

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New Hope Environmental Services describes itself as "an advocacy science consulting firm". The firm was founded in 1994 by global warming skeptic, Patrick J. Michaels, who is the editor of the firm's blog, World Climate Report.[1]. In an affidavit in a Vermont court case, Michaels described the "mission" of the firm as being to "publicize findings on climate change and scientific and social perspectives that may not otherwise appear in the popular literature or media. This entails both response research and public commentary."[2] In effect, New Hope Environmental Services is a PR firm.

Activities

On its website, New Hope Environmental Services states that it "produces cutting-edge research and informed commentary on the nature of climate, including patterns of climate change, U.S. and international environmental policy, seasonal and long-range forecasting targeted to user needs, and the relation between the earth's atmosphere and biology. The company also consults on legal matters related to weather and climate. Since 1994, New Hope's international team of research scientists, data analysts, editors, and web publishers have devised, conducted, prepared, and published important research for both the public good and for private clients."[1]

It also states that "New Hope's scientists are accomplished public speakers who present testimony before Congress on many occasions and provide keynote food for thought at conferences and annual meetings around the world. They are also popular interview subjects, appearing on such television shows as the Brit Hume Show, Lou Dobbs, and BBC's Newsnight, and in print in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune, and many others."[1]

Secrecy About Funders

In 2007 Michaels was retained by Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep, Green Mountain Ford Mercury, Joe Tornabene's GMC, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the DaimlerChyrsler Corporation and General Motors Corporation as an "expert witness" in a case where the auto manufacturers and dealers were suing George Crombie, the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and others in a bid to prevent the state regulating greenhouse gases. In the process of the discovery of documents and during his deposition Michaels provided details of "New Hope's funding sources and the amount of their funding." However, this information was not publicly available but treated as confidential information. However, in late 2006 Greenpeace filed a motion seeking access to the details of details of the funders of Michaels firm.[2]

In an affidavit Michaels stated that "as the case moved closer to trial, I learned in conversations with plaintiff's counsel that New Hope's confidential information might not remain confidential if I testified at trial. Consequently, on or around April 7, 2007, I informed plaintiffs counsel that I would not testify at trial. My sole reason in doing so was concern that my trial testimony would result in the loss of confidentiality for the New Hope information."[2]

Michaels affidavit stated that "large companies are understandably adverse to negative publicity. Thus, the global warming controversy has created an environment in which companies who wish to support New Hope's research and advocacy about global warming science are increasingly willing to do so only if their support remains confidential."[2]

Michaels complained that "public disclosure of a company's funding of New Hope and its employees has already caused considerable financial loss to New Hope. For example, in 2006 Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc., an electric utility, had requested that its support of $50,000 to New Hope be held confidential. After this support was inadvertently made public by another New Hope client, Tri-State informed me that it would no longer support New Hope because of adverse publicity. Also, in 2006, when a $100,000 contract between New Hope and electric utility Intermountain Rural Electric Association to synthesize and research new findings on global warming became public knowledge, a public campaign was initiated to change the composition of the board of directors so that there would be no additional funding. That campaign was successful, as Intermountain has not provided further funding."[2]

Michaels argued that the Greenpeace motion seeking disclosure should be rejected as it would "result in New Hope losing clients. I am doubtful that New Hope will continue to stay in business as an effective consultancy ... This is precisely why I did not testify at trial. Although this resulted in a short-term loss of income to me, it assured the long-term viability of New Hope. Besides modest speaking fees, New Hope is my sole source of income beyond a negotiated retirement package from the University of Virginia. Thus, the Greenpeace motion, if granted, would imnperil my livelihood. Hew Hope also employs the services of other scientists who receive all or a substantial part of their incomes from New Hope. Their livelihoods are also threatened by the Greenpeace motion."[2]

Personnel

On its website, New Hope Environmental Services does not list its staff. However, the World Climate Report blog lists its staff, as of March 2005, [3] as:

Contact Details

New Hope Environmental Services, Inc.
536 Pantops Center, #402
Charlottesville, VA 22911 USA
Telephone: (520) 742-1018
Facsimile: (520) 742-1018
Email: info AT nhes.com
Website: http://www.nhes.com/

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "New Hope Environmental Services", New Hope Environmental Services website, accessed May 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, "Affidavit of Dr. Patrick J. Michaels", United States District Court for the District of Vermont, Green Mountain Chrysler et al. v. Crombie et al., Docket No. 02:05-CV-302, July 6, 2007.(Pdf)
  3. "Staff", World Climate Report (blog), March 15, 2005.

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