Professor S. Fred Singer is a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and one of the world’s most widely quoted climate change sceptics. Rolling Stone magazine has called Singer “the granddaddy of fake ‘science’ designed to debunk global warming.”
According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Singer has worked for at least 11 ExxonMobil funded thinktanks including The George C. Marshall Institute, The Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation. His organisation, SEPP, has received funding from Exxon. The website Climate Progress has called him an “unstoppable industry gun-for-hire.”
Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their 2010 book Merchants of Doubt claims Singer is one of a loose-knit group of scientists which, motivated by the ideology of the free market, have contributed to disinformation campaigns about the science behind different issues including the ozone hole, global warming, DDT and acid rain.
Singer was trained as an atmospheric physicist and received a PhD from Princeton University in 1948. He has designed weapons for the US military, was a pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology and received numerous awards. He became professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia in 1971. After his retirement in 1994 he became a professor at the Institute of Humane Studies at Mason University and focused much of his energy on opposing the scientific consensus on climate change.
Singer set up the ‘Science and Environmental Policy Project‘ (SEPP) in 1990. SEPP concentrates on arguing against the existence of climate change and against measures intended to tackle climate change.
Singer has taken up positions contrary to mainstream thinking on many different issues. He still argues today that there is no link between CFCs and the depletion of the ozone layer. In 1994 he was one of the authors of a report published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution which questioned the links between passive smoking and cancer.
Documents available on the web show that the Institution asked for $20,000 from the Tobacco Institute for writing such a paper. In 2006 Singer told an American CBC documentary that he stood by the position that the EPA had “cooked the data” to show that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer.