S. Fred Singer

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Siegfried Frederick Singer (S. Fred Singer), born September 1924 (age 99), a former space scientist and government scientific administrator, runs the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)[1] This phantom organisation publicizes his own views on various topics, primarily climate change, ozone depletion, risks of chemical pollution (from DDT and others), nuclear power, and space policy.

SEPP was set up by APCO & Associates (the PR firm controlled by Philip Morris) at the same time they set up another junk-science operation for the tobacco industry, Steven J Milloy's The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). These were two arms of the same strategy to denigrate science itself -- and enlist other industries like oil, energy, coal, chemicals, etc behind the tort-reform and anti-regulatory stance necessary for the cigarette business to survive at the same high profit level.

Singer was the front of the organisation, but it also involved his wife Candace Crandall and her brother Robert Crandall (Brookings Institution).

Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.

Fred Singer as a "Merchant of Doubt," Threatening Director of "Merchants of Doubt" (2015)

On March 6, 2015, Fred Singer sent a letter to Robert Kenner, the director of the documentary film, "Merchants of Doubt," threatening potential legal action against the film, which is based on a book by the same name, according to Stanton Glantz of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education.[2]

The film and the book focus on the small number of climate change deniers who have sought in various ways to stop efforts to address the causes of climate changes that are underway according to the overwhelming majority of scientists across the globe. In the letter, Singer noted that he previously sued Justin Lancaster for libel in a "costly" suit (which was settled by Lancaster, who recently stated that settling with Singer is one of his greatest regrets and that "Fred Singer is the most unethical scientist, in my opinion, that I have ever met."[3] Lancaster said his family felt terrorized by Singer's suit, despite the evidence and sworn statements Lancaster had in his defense.

According to a detailed story in ClimateWire by Evan Lehman about Singer's more recent threats: "Before the release this Friday of the documentary "Merchants of Doubt," S. Fred Singer sought the advice of nearly 30 climate skeptics about their chances of halting the movie and whether he should sue Naomi Oreskes, who co-authored the book on which it's based. "Has she finally gone too far?" asked Singer. "The discussion is outlined in a chain of emails initiated last fall by the 90-year-old physicist, who is featured in the film for his work questioning the amount of influence people have on rising temperatures. His request reached a mix of academics and others who have been mostly antagonistic toward mainstream climate findings."

Lehman spoke with the film's director about the threat: "I think there's a pattern," Kenner said of Singer's letter in an interview. "It's to come after and try to silence critics and to intimidate. And when [Singer] implies litigation is very expensive, I think it's an attempt to be intimidating."[4]

The email chain has been provided by a source to the Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch and this document can be accessed and downloaded here: https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/File:S_Fred_Singer_emails_about_attacking_Merchants_of_Doubt_March_2015.pdf

This email chain references climate change deniers and potential allies who were part of an email chain initiated by S. Fred Singer to help assail the documentary "Merchants of Doubt," including:

Monckton, Enstrom, and Morano replied to Singer's request, as documented in the PDF.

Morano's reply is detailed here: http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/03/10/merchants-doubt-debut-fred-singer-deniers-lawsuit

The film, Merchants of Doubt, was shown at film festivals in late 2014 and in March 2015 began showing in wider release. It documents how the tobacco playbook of peddling doubt about the deadly effects of cigarette smoking has been redeployed to sow doubts about the fact of climate changes underway, their causes, and solutions.[12]

Ties to Koch Operations

{This section is not yet complete.} More information about the funding for Singer's SEPP is available below and also from Exxon Secrets[13]. In recent years, SEPP has received a substantial portion of its funding from investments in publicly traded stock, although the corporations it holds stock in are not required to be disclosed in SEPP's non-profit tax filings. It also receives some grants, and although it discloses that at least two staffers, including Singer, work a total of 90 hours per week it says that SEPP does not pay their salaries. It is not clear what, if any, sources, compensate Singer or others for SEPP-related activities advancing climate change denial.

Documents & Timeline

1924 Sep 27: Singer was born September 27, 1924, in Vienna, Austria.

1943: Singer received a B.E.E. from Ohio State University in 1943

1948 Singer got his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1948.[14]

1985 Oct-Nov: Singer was an ACSH Advisor and keynote speaker at Elizabeth Whelan's American Council of Science and Health seminar "Environmental Risks: Priorities for the Eighties" (The ACSH was an American Chemical Council lobby). Singer was then a visiting professor at George Mason University - and had tenure as a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.

[He] assessed the current understanding and limitations of our knowledge about this issue. He also examined the downside risks of moving toward regulation before needed information is available and questioned the necessity of a billion dollar solution to a million dollar problem.[5]

Two seminars were held in Washington DC (Oct 16) and New York (Nov 13) both funded by the John M Olin Foundation.

In the early 1990s, Singer's then wife, Candace Carolyn Crandall, was Executive Vice President of SEPP and is currently a Research Associate of SEPP.[15]

1993: Singer is listed as a Member of the board of the International Center for a Scientific Ecology. The ICSE was established as an offshoot of TASSC in Paris by Michel Salomon, specifically to act as a front for the circulation of the Heidelberg Appeal

1994 He is listed as a Distinguished Research Professor, Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. This libertarian think-tank was the key focus of the Atlas Group network.

1994 Aug A Alexis de Tocqueville report "The EPA and the Science of ETS" has been funded by the Tobacco Institute. The author was Adjunct Scholar Kent Jeffreys, and the senior reviewer was S. Fred Singer, a Professor of Environmental Science (on leave from the University of Virginia) and a Senior Fellow at the Institute. The final report was scheduled to be complete mid-June and it would be entitled "Science and Environmentalism".

A confidential memo by the president of the Tobacco Institute, Samuel D. Chilcote, Jr., described how this secret tobacco-funded report was being used in legislative lobbying:

This morning Reps. Peter Geren (D-TX) and John Mica (R-FL) held a press conference announcing the release of a study by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution that evaluates the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) scientific principles used to justify policy decisions. Geren and Mica were joined by Cesar Conda, executive director of the de Tocqueville Institution and coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Kent Jeffreys." [6]

"Press coverage included States News Service, Stephens Publishing and Cable Congress. Several congressional staffers also attended, copies of the Geren/Mica "Dear Colleague" letter, press release and the study are enclosed."


This report is part of a larger coordinated effort to blindside the EPA. A "panel of experts" was assembled to "peer-review" the report. Naturally the majority were people with identified links to tobacco-funded institutes and think tanks, and some who share the same small set of funders.

Academic Advisory Board:

Senior Staff and Contributing Associates
Rachael Applegate,   Bruce Bartlett,   Merrick Carey,   Cesar Conda,   Gregory Fossedal,   Dave Juday,   Felix Rouse,   Aaron Stevens

Ten of the 19 names of the Academic Advisory Board are members of the Cash for Comments Economists Network. At this time S. Fred Singer was a Senior Fellow at the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, but they chose not to credit him with such close links.

These attempt to link the tobacco industry's problems to arguments about climate change were part funded by the Olin Foundation, Koch Family Foundations and Scaife Foundations.

  • 20 page Draft document sent to the Tobacco Institute [8]
  • The release about the final report (August 11 1994) It is now an attack on "environmental regulation" -- ETS, radon, pesticides and agricultural regulation, and the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program ... and based, supposedly, on the quality of the science used by the EPA. [9]
  • The final report was called Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examination.' It had the approval of the Cash for Comments Economists Network. [10]

1989 Singer's Science and Environmental Policy Project, was, incorporated in 1992, "to advance environment and health policies through sound science." SEPP is a non-profit, education organization.

1992 Singer became the Director and President, Science and Environmental Policy Project, a foundation-funded, independent research group, incorporated in 1992, to advance environment and health policies through sound science. SEPP is a non-profit, education organization.

2007=2009 The Competitive Enterprise Institute listed Singer as "expert" on their website until September 2007.[16] He was subsequently listed on their website as someone who can be booked as a speaker.[17]

Contact information

Singer's current address for the Science and Environmental Policy Project is:
1600 S Eads St.
Suite 712-S
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 703-920-2744
Web: http://www.sepp.org/

Here are some of SEPP's prior addresses, including space provided by Koch-connected enterprises:

2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1003
Arlington, VA 22201
(This is the same building address as the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and an array of Koch-funded groups that operate out of offices in that building.)

Prior to that address, SEPP was located at:
4084 University Drive
Fairfax, VA (near George Mason University)
(This space was shared with other Koch-funded operations such as the Atlas, the Institute for Humane Studies, The Locke Institute, and the Center for Market Processes.)


It should be noted that, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, October 26, 2006[19]

Climate Change "Expert"

In the early 1990s, while officially "on leave" from the University of Virginia, Singer set up the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy with the help of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution and with funding support from the Unification Church (also known as "Moonies," followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church).

This organization worked closely with Elizabeth Whelan and Frederick Stare's American Council on Science and Health in countering climate activism as it related to the chemical industry.[21] Later Singer's organisation changed into the Science and Environmental Policy Project with funding from the coal and oil industries and some support from PR firm APCO & Associates.

SEPP, in turn, sloughed off a European branch named International Center for a Scientific Ecology (ICSE), in Paris, which was run by science journalist and SEPP associate Michel Salomon [22] Along with Steve Milloy at The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) and Roger Bate at the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) (a sort of European version of TASSC) these organisations all pushed the climate-denier and "junk science" lines on behalf of large corporate interest groups.

Salomon was a member of the Board of Science Advisors of SEPP [23] and with Singer, he organised the Heidelberg conference which resulted in the infamous Heidelberg Appeal document. The legitimate scientists who signed this appeal intended it to be a request for governments to heed the opinion of scientists before engaging in the wholesale removal of asbestos fibers from schools and other buildings, since in many cases it was safer to leave it in situ with resin bonding. However it was drafted by Salomon and Singer in very general terms.

In these general terms, it appeared to be an attack on climate activism. It was later used in a conference of climate-deniers at the George Mason University near Washington, D.C. to promote U.S. support. The ICSE, SEPP, TASSC and ESEF also promoted the Heidelberg Appeal at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit as evidence of worldwide scientific opposition to the conference's consensus decision that governments needed to take urgent action on climate change.[24]

The Heidelberg Appeal document was funded, circulated and promoted by the asbestos industry and the tobacco industry, but the ICSE organisation was also supported by the vinyl and chemical industries.[25]

The National Center for Public Policy Research lists Singer as someone that journalists can interview on climate change policy.[26]

Professor Ian Enting records a contradiction in Singer's stance: "Singer’s book (with John Avery), Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years proposes a natural 1500 year cycle for global temperature. I find this unconvincing, with no evidence provided for the claim that Imperial Roman times were as cold as the Little Ice Age 1500 years later. I am also puzzled as to how a man who claims we are in a natural warming cycle until about 2300 could be part of the Heartland Institute group. which convinced Senator Steve Fielding that the Earth is cooling."[27]

In 2012, Singer began to criticize certain specific categories of deniers of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), writing that they were "giving us skeptics a bad name". In particular, Singer strongly criticized those who have claimed that (a) the greenhouse effect violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, (b) that rising carbon dioxide levels do not cause temperatures to rise, (c) that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is too small to have an effect, (d) that natural variations in carbon dioxide dwarf human contributions, and (e) that the observed rise in carbon dioxide is due to volcanic eruptions.[28] Singer continues to question whether AGW has actually occurred, but he has apparently lost patience with many AGW deniers.

Tobacco Industry Contractor

In 1993, Singer collaborated with Tom Hockaday of Apco Associates to draft an article on "junk science" intended for publication. Apco Associates was the PR firm hired to organize and direct The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition for Philip Morris. Hockaday reported on his work with Singer to Ellen Merlo, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris.[29]

In 1994, Singer was Chief Reviewer of the report Science, economics, and environmental policy: a critical examination published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI). This was all part of an attack on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded by the Tobacco Institute over a risk assessment on environmental tobacco smoke. [30] At that time, Mr. Singer was a Senior Fellow with AdTI.[31]

"The report's principal reviewer, Dr. Fred Singer, was involved with the International Center for a Scientific Ecology, a group that was considered important in Philip Morris' plans to create a group in Europe similar to The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), as discussed by Ong and Glantz. He was also on a tobacco industry list of people who could write op-ed pieces on "junk science," defending the industry's views.39" [32]

In 1995, as President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (a think tank based in Fairfax, Virginia) S. Fred Singer was involved in launching a publicity campaign about "The Top Five Environmental Myths of 1995," a list that included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's conclusion that secondhand tobacco smoke is a human carcinogen. Shandwick, a public relations agency working for British American Tobacco, pitched the "Top Five Myths" list idea to Singer to minimize the appearance of tobacco industry involvement in orchestrating criticism of the EPA. The "Top Five Environmental Myths" list packaged EPA's secondhand smoke ruling with other topics like global warming and radon gas, to help minimize the appearance of tobacco industry involvement in the effort. According to a 1996 BAT memo describing the arrangement, Singer agreed to an "aggressive media interview schedule" organized by Shandwick to help publicize his criticism of EPA's conclusions.[33]

Oil Industry Contractor

In a September 24, 1993, sworn affidavit, Dr. Singer stated that he had two meetings with Robert Balling in Pheonix for which his expenses were re-imbursed. Singer believed the the funding, which he received from Balling, originated from the Western Fuels Association.[34] Singer also admitted to working as a consultant on approximately half a dozen occasions for the Global Climate Coalition and that payments to him came either from the firm of John Shlaes, the coalition's director or the PR firm, E. Bruce Harrison, which worked for the coalition.[35] He also stated that he had undertaken consulting work on "perhaps a dozen or so" energy companies. This included work on behalf of oil companies, such as Exxon, Texaco, Arco, Shell, Sun, Unocal, the Electric Power Research Institute, Florida Power and the American Gas Association.[36]

In February 2001, Ronald Collins from the Center for Science in the Public Interest chided a Washington Post for citing Singer but not disclosing his consulting work. "Although The Post's readers were told of some of Mr. Singer's more impressive credentials, they were not informed that he has served as a consultant to Exxon, Shell, Unocal, Sun Oil, ARCO, Ford and GM. All of those companies, of course, have vested interests in fighting off reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. At a time when industry is buying greater influence in the scientific community, it is essential for the press to provide full disclosure," Collins wrote.[37]

However, on February 12, 2001, Singer wrote a letter to The Washington Post in which he denied receiving any oil company money in the previous 20 years when he had consulted for the oil industry. " As for full disclosure: My resume clearly states that I consulted for several oil companies on the subject of oil pricing, some 20 years ago, after publishing a monograph on the subject. My connection to oil during the past decade is as a Wesson Fellow at the Hoover Institution; the Wesson money derives from salad oil."[38]

Singer Profiled in Rolling Stone Magazine

In the January 2010 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, journalist Tim Dickinson profiled the top 17 United States "polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming". Below is an excerpt from the article titled "Climate Killers" about Fred Singer.[39]

A former mouthpiece for the tobacco industry, the 85-year-old Singer is the granddaddy of fake "science" designed to debunk global warming. The retired physicist — who also tried to downplay the danger of the hole in the ozone layer — is still wheeled out as an authority by big polluters determined to kill climate legislation. For years, Singer steadfastly denied that the world is heating up: Citing satellite data that has since been discredited, he even made the unhinged claim that "the climate has been cooling just slightly."

Last year, Singer served as a lead author of "Climate Change Reconsidered" — an 880-page report by the right-wing Heartland Institute that was laughably presented as a counterweight to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's scientific authority on global warming. Singer concludes that the unchecked growth of climate-cooking pollution is "unequivocally good news." Why? Because "rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests." Small wonder that Heartland's climate work has long been funded by the likes of Exxon and reactionary energy barons like Charles Koch and Richard Mellon Scaife.[39]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Science & Environmental Policy Project along with his wife Candace Crandwall. Web site, About the Project, accessed April 8, 2009
  2. http://tobacco.ucsf.edu/climate-denier-fred-singer-complains-about-merchants-doubt (March 8, 2015)
  3. http://rabett.blogspot.fi/2014/09/a-note-about-roger-revelle-julian.html
  4. Evan Lehman, ClimateWire, Environment and Energy Publishing, "'Merchants of Doubt' emails spark fiery debate about strategies of climate skeptics" (Mar. 9, 2015) [1].
  5. http://www.desmogblog.com/joseph-d-aleo
  6. https://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/06/11590/trained-koch-daily-caller-claims-fake-rebuttal-cmd-alec-role-promoting-stand-your
  7. https://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/08/12207/side-climate-change-denial-your-coffee-alec-dishes-some-hard-swallow-spin-heartla
  8. http://www.desmogblog.com/timothy-f-ball-tim-ball
  9. http://www.desmogblog.com/william-happer
  10. https://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/05/12485/heartland-institute-climate-change-denier-james-taylor-pwnd-tv
  11. http://www.desmogblog.com/ken-haapala
  12. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/movies/review-merchants-of-doubt-separating-science-from-spin.html
  13. http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=65
  14. Bill Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewUnstoppable skeptic, October 20, 2007
  15. untitled, Philip Morris, March 1991. Bates No. 2025528294/8299
  16. "S. Fred Singer", Competitive Enterprise Institute, archived from September 27, 2007.
  17. "S. Fred Singer", Competitive Enterprise Institute, accessed April 2009.
  18. "[2]"
  19. "Global Warming Skeptics: A Primer: Guess who's funding the global warming doubt shops?", Environmental Defense Fund website, December 19, 2006.
  20. Environmental Defense Fund Web site [http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?ContentID=4870 Global Warming Skeptics: A Primer Guess who's funding the global warming doubt shops?] Posted on December 19, 2006; updated on August 28, 2007. Accessed April 8, 2009
  21. B. Cohen, T.A. Deweese, E.A. McCusker, American Policy Center EPA Watch - Volume 1 Number 1 - White House, Congress clash over indoor air legislation Newsletter, February 21, 1992. Philip Morris Bates No.2046323544/3547
  22. N. Salomon, International Center for a Scientific Ecology Seminar of 930510 on the Linear Relationship Letter. March 31, 1993. 3 pp. Bates No. 2028443741/3743
  23. SEPP Web site SEPP Board of Directors, accessed April 8, 2009
  24. N. Salomon, Projections From Heidelberg to Rio Itinerary of an approach Publication. 1992. Bates No. 2025477480/7483
  25. Gerard Wirz, Philip Morris The Heidelberg Appeal Memorandum. March 23, 1993. Bates No. 2025498346
  26. Web site of the National Center for Public Policy Research, page titled Kyoto Interview Locator
  27. "[3]"
  28. [4]
  29. Hockaday, T. Opinion Editorials on Indoor Air Quality and Junk Science Memorandum, March 8, 1993. Philip Morris Bates No. 2021178205
  30. Derek Yach, Stella Aguinaga Bialous, American Journal of Public Health Junking Science to Promote Tobacco November 2001, Vol 91, No. 11 pp.1745-1748
  31. P. Gerin, J. Mica, House of Congress Briefing on Sound Science and Environmental Policy Letter. 1 pp. 2nd to last paragraph), August 2, 1994. Philip Morris Bates No.2040165575
  32. Derek Yach, World Health Organization, Stella A. Bialous, University of California San Francisco Junking Science to Promote Tobacco American Journal of Public Health, November 2001, Vol 91, No. 11, Tobacco, Lawyers and Public Health, pp. 1745-1748
  33. Joe S. Helewicz Note from JS Helewicz regarding Congressional Research Service Memorandum. January 12, 1996. British American Tobacco Bates No. 700588382
  34. "In the Matter of S. Fred Singer vs Justin Lancaster", September 24, 2003, page 57.
  35. "In the Matter of S. Fred Singer vs Justin Lancaster", September 24, 2003, page 58.
  36. "In the Matter of S. Fred Singer vs Justin Lancaster", September 24, 2003, page 59.
  37. Ronald Collins, "Full Disclosure on Global Warming", Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, February 6, 2001.
  38. S. Fred Singer, "My Salad Days", Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, February 12, 2001, page A20.
  39. 39.0 39.1 "The Climate Killers" Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone Magazine, January 2010.

External articles


Published Works by S. Fred Singer

Articles & Commentary

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