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Willie Soon

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Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

Dr. Willie Wei-Hock Soon (who is most commonly referred to as Willie Soon) is a global warming skeptic. He is a physicist at the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and, since 1992[1], has been an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory,[2], where climate denier and Marshall Institute co-founder Robert Jastrow was Director[3] from 1992-2003.[4]

"U.S. oil and coal companies, including ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, Koch Industries, and the world’s largest coal-burning utility, Southern Company, have contributed more than $1 million over the past decade to his research. According to Greenpeace, every grant Dr. Soon has received since 2002 has been from oil or coal interests."[5]


Biographical notes

A biographical note formerly on the website of DCI Group-run Tech Central Station, where Soon was listed as "Science Director" between approximately September 2003[6] and May 2007, listed his "areas of Expertise" as "Global warming", "Mercury", "Solar Variability" and the "Arctic".[7] His bio note on TCS stated that "Dr. Willie Soon's views expressed are not necessarily those of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics."[7]

A biographical note from 2000 stated that he was "a contributing editor to World Climate Report and member of the American Astrophysical Society, American Geophysical Union, and International Astronomical Union."[8] Two years later, another biographical note stated that he was a former contributing editor to World Climate Report but added that he was then an "Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies of the University of Putra, Malaysia." It also stated that "for years, he has researched the topic of the orbital theory of climate change, the Milankovic theory for glacial and interglacial changes."[9]

Global Warming Skeptic ties

Soon has long been associated with various U.S. and Canadian think tanks disputing human-induced global warming. Many of the papers he has published on the topic have been co-authored with Sallie L. Baliunas and sometimes with her and other co-authors.

Between December 1998[10] and September 2001[11] he was listed as a "Scientific Adviser" to the Greening Earth Society, a group that was funded and controlled by the Western Fuels Association (WFA), an association of coal-burning utility companies. WFA founded the group in 1997, according to an archived version of its website, "as a vehicle for advocacy on climate change, the environmental impact of CO2, and fossil fuel use."[12] While Soon remains listed on the websites of various think tanks noted for disputing global warming -- such as the Fraser Institute in Canada and the George C. Marshall Institute in the U.S. -- Soon has not written for them for a long time. (For example, the last paper by Soon published on the website of the Fraser Institute dates back to January 2003[13] and for the Marshall Institute the last published paper was in May 2003[14]) (Baliunas was one of the other "scientific advisers").

As of early 2009, Soon's current biographical note states that he "is chief science adviser for the Science and Public Policy Institute".[15] Prior to Bob Ferguson founding SPPI in mid 2007, Soon worked with him from mid-2003 at the Center for Science and Public Policy, a project of Frontiers of Freedom (FOF)[16] funded, at least in part, by Exxon.[17]


Soon received his Ph.D. in 1991 in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California (USC). Both his undergraduate and Masters of Science degrees are also from USC.[18]

Soon received in 2004 the Petr Beckmann Award from Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP) for "outstanding contributions to the defense of scientific truth".[19][20]DDP is closely associated with Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Sallie L. Baliunas received the same award in 1997 and other global warming skeptics have been recipients in subsequent years.)


Willie Soon has received over $1 million in funding from Big Oil and coal industry sponsors over the past decade, according to a Greenpeace report[3] based on FOIA requests. Since 2002, every grant Dr. Soon received originated with fossil fuel interests, he has has received at least $175,000 from Koch Family Foundations .[3]


  • between Dec 1998 and September 2001 he was a "Scientific Advisor" to Greening Earth Society[21]
  • appropriately 2002: Professor of the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies of the University of Putra, Malaysia [9]
  • senior scientist at the George C. Marshall Institute between approximately November 1997 and May 2003[2]; some of these articles were republished by the Fraser Institute.[1]
  • September 2003 - May 2007 science director for Tech Central Station (TCS)[6][7]; Greenpeace writes that "Over the four years that he wrote for Tech Central, Dr. Soon wrote on a wide range of issues entirely unrelated to astrophysics - his area of expertise - such as the impact of wind farms on agriculture, regulations on mercury and attacks on various US states for their efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions."[3]


See Willie Soon - communications for a list of his speaking engagements, interviews and articles. He does not appear to have a website providing this information.


Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Willie Soon: Physicist, The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics", Fraser Institute website, accessed March 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Willie Soon", George C. Marshall Institute website, accessed March 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "CASE STUDY: Dr. Willie Soon, a Career Fueled by Big Oil and Coal" released 2011-06-28, accessed 2011-12-23
  4. Marshall Institute, Remembering Robert Jastrow, 2008-02-11, accessed 2011-12-23
  5. David Suzuki (2011-07-13). Investigation hits at climate change denier’s 'science'. Canoe.ca. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Dr. Willie Soon", TCS Tech Central Station, archived from September 3, 2003.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Willie Soon", TCS Daily, archived from May 20, 2007.
  8. "Scientific Advisers", Greening Earth Society, website archived from May 2000.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, "Speakers 20th Annual Meeting of DDP Colorado Springs, CO, July 27-28, 2002", Doctors for Disaster Preparedness website, archived from August 2002.
  10. "Scientific Advisers", Greening Earth Society, website archived from December 1998.
  11. Greening Earth Society, "Scientific Advisers", Greening Earth Society, website archived from September 2001.
  12. "Join GES", Greening Earth Society website, archived from March 2005.
  13. See Fraser
  14. See Marshall
  15. Willie Soon and Paul Driessen, "Eco-colonialism degrades Africa", WEBCommentary, February 18, 2009.
  16. Willie Soon & Robert Ferguson, "Is EPA ignoring the Science on Mercury?", Media Release, Center for Science and Public Policy, April 18, 2003.
  17. Exxon, "Public Information and Policy Research", Exxon website, 2002, page 3.(Pdf)
  18. "Scientific Advisors", Greening Earth website, archived from April 2000.
  19. "DDP Meeting Notes", Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, July 2004, VOL. XXI, NO.4.
  20. Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, "Climate History and the Sun", Marshall Institute, June 5, 2001.
  21. "Join GES", Greening Earth Society website, archived from March 2005.

External Articles

  • Soon's Smithsonian website
  • I was unable to find a CV for Dr. Soon.
  • Extensive ExxonSecrets profile of Soon
  • "Dr. Willie Soon," Tech Central Station (DCI Group), accessed March 2009; This page has a biographical note on Soon and an archive of article published on the site between January 2001 to December 2004;
  • "Willie Soon," Wikipedia
  • Marshall Institute articles by Soon
  • Willie Soon and Paul Driessen, "The Myth of Killer Mercury", Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2011.
  • Chris Mooney, "Earth Last: James Inhofe proves "flat Earth" doesn't refer to Oklahoma", The American Prospect, April 13, 2004.
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