A power plant in Robards, Ky., in May. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
What Was Said
“The reality is that a lot of these scientists are driven by the money that they receive. And, of course, they don’t receive money from corporations and Exxon and the like.”
— Rick Santorum, the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, in remarks on CNN on Sunday
“The report is nothing more than a rehash of age-old 10- to 20-year assumptions made by scientists that get paid to further the politics of global warming.”
— Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas who was the former House majority leader, in remarks on CNN on Monday
This lacks evidence.
The federal government’s most recent climate change report, released last week, warned that global warming could cause substantial damage to the American economy, human health and the environment. The report has prompted some critics to dismiss climate scientists as corrupted by money, a common but baseless attack.
“We were paid zero dollars to produce the national assessment,” Katharine Hayhoe, an author of the report, said in an interview. “In fact, there was a reverse financial motive.”
Researchers working in climate change do not receive atypically large paychecks, nor do they strike it rich from grants. The claim also ignores that internal research from oil companies affirms the scientific consensus on climate change.
Professors at public universities who teach earth sciences and environmental studies generally earn more than their peers in humanities and social sciences, but less than faculty in the economics, business and law departments, according to data from the Association of American Universities.
For example, at Pennsylvania State University, professors in the earth and mineral sciences department made an average salary of $157,773, which was below the universitywide average of $166,731. Professors in earth and environmental sciences earned $98,567 on average at Iowa State University, compared with the average salary of $134,039.
In the 2017 fiscal year, the federal government spent about $13.2 billion in climate change funding, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. The bulk, about $9 billion, funded clean energy technology, while science funding accounted for $2.8 billion. Climate…