A global warming research center at the London School of Economics got millions of dollars from UK taxpayers by taking credit for research it didn’t perform, an investigation by The Daily Mail revealed. The UK government gave $11 million dollars to the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) in exchange for research that the organization reportedly never actually did. Many papers CCCEP claimed to have published to get government money weren’t about global warming, were written before the organization was even founded, or were written by researchers unaffiliated with CCCEP. The government never checked CCCEP’s supposed publication lists, saying they were “taken on trust,” according to the report. “It is serious misconduct to claim credit for a paper you haven’t supported, and it’s fraud to use that in a bid to renew a grant,” Professor Richard Tol, a climate economics expert from Sussex University whose research was reportedly stolen by CCCEP, told The Daily Mail. “I’ve never come across anything like it before. It stinks.” Researchers whose work was misrepresented were furious. One professor said CCEP’s actions were “a clear case of fraud – using deception for financial gain.”
CCCEP tried to falsely claim credit for research it never did while attempting to get another $5.4 million of government cash. That money would have covered its operations until 2018. “Our paper had no relationship to the CCCEP,” Tol said. “At the time, the CCCEP did not exist, and it only came into existence after the paper was published. Fraud means deception for financial gain. That is what this is.” Government and private grants have made CCCEP one of the most lavishly funded institutions of its kind in the world, as it has raised and spent about $37 million since 2008. Studies that receive financial support from the public sector don’t have to disclose it as an ethical conflict of interest, even when that support is in the millions of dollars. Recent studies in the U.S. — which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to support the scientific case for its Clean Power Plan — saw the agency give $31.2 million, $9.5 million, and $3.65 million in public funds to lead authors, according to EPA public disclosures. The author who received $3.65 million, Charles Driscoll, even admitted to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the result of his study was predetermined, saying “in doing this study we wanted to bring attention to the additional benefits from carbon controls.” Universities typically received about 50 percent of the money their researchers get in public funds if their investigations find positive results, making them deeply dependent upon federal funding and likely to encourage studies that will come to conclusions the government wants.