By Michael Bastasch
November 3, 2017 - A Stanford University professor filed a $10 million lawsuit against a team of researchers critical of his study purporting to show the U.S. could run on 100 percent green energy.
Reports surfaced in July that Stanford professor Mark Jacobson was mulling legal action against a team of 21 researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Christopher Clack.
Now, the disgruntled Stanford professor is suing his critics for claiming he made a “modelling error.”
The pro-nuclear group Environmental Progress (EP) published Jacobson’s lawsuit online. EP president Mike Shellenberger criticized the lawsuit, and called on the D.C. court to throw it out.
“Jacobson’s lawsuit is an appalling attack on free speech and scientific inquiry and we urge the courts to reject it as grossly unethical and without legal merit,” Shellenberger wrote on EP’s website.
“What Jacobson has done is unprecedented,” Shellenberger wrote.”Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.”
Clack and colleagues published a major study in June, calling into question Jacobson’s 2015 study. Clack’s team said Jacobson’s paper had erred in concluding the U.S. could run on wind, solar and hydropower.
Jacobson’s “work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions,” wrote the team of researchers in their rebuttal to Jacobson’s 2015 study.
Clack’s study found the U.S. could get 80 percent of its energy from sources that emit no carbon dioxide, but that goes beyond solar, wind and hydro power. The study said nuclear energy, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage systems for biomass would also be needed.
Jacobson lashed out against Clack’s study when it was initially published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jacobson’s 2015 study was touted by environmentalists as proof green policies would work.
For example, Greenpeace cited Jacobson’s work as “the answer to alarming climate science” and will “eliminate most all air pollution and global warming, create jobs, and provide energy stability and energy price stability.”
The study was even featured in the anti-fracking film “Gasland II” and attracted the attention of celebrities, like Mark Ruffalo.
Jacobson’s paper also spawned the creation of the “Solutions Project” — a non-profit dedicated to “moving all of us to clean, renewable energy powered by the wind, water, and sun.” Ruffalo sits on its board, along with Jacobson.
A group of left-leaning nonprofit foundations, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the Rockefeller Family Fund, back the Solutions Project.
“Scientists and energy analysts should not be intimidated,” Shellenberger said. “We must stand up to bullies. We urge all lovers of nature and science to join us in denouncing this unprecedented and appalling attack on free inquiry.”
Jacobson did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.