Researcher helps sow climate-change doubt

Willie Soon’s work is funded by energy industry grants.
Willie Soon’s work is funded by energy industry grants.PETE MAROVICH FOR BOSTON GLOBE

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WASHINGTON — The setting was not unusual for a scholarly conference: bland ballroom in a Houston hotel, an audience of doctors and academics. But Willie Soon’s presentation certainly was. As PowerPoint slides flashed on a screen, his remarks crescendoed into a full-throated denunciation. “Those people are so out of their minds!’’ exclaimed Soon, a solar researcher at the prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge. Across a number of climate-related subjects, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center astrophysicist has established himself as a front-line combatant — part scientist, part activist — working in close coordination with conservative groups to debunk the established scientific view of global warming

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