Read Rockefeller – Controlling the Game Online

Authors: Jacob Nordangård

Tags: #Samhällsvetenskap

Rockefeller – Controlling the Game (7 page)

BOOK: Rockefeller – Controlling the Game
7.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

One of the leading voices of the
was Hungarian physicist Edward Teller, also working at the University of Chicago Institute for Nuclear Studies. In 1948, he joined in the advocacy for a World Government to handle the threat of a thermonuclear war – before going on to develop the hydrogen bomb in 1952.

In 1947, the
began using the symbolic Doomsday Clock to illustrate how close world was to a nuclear holocaust. The clock was initially set to seven minutes to midnight.

In 1949, when the Soviet Union
its first atomic bomb testing programme, the clock was set to four minutes to midnight. Its arms have since been adjusted backwards and forwards depending on the geopolitical status of the world. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, the clock was set back to 17 minutes to midnight. In 2007, climate change was added as a threat and the hands of the Doomsday Clock have since been moved ever closer to midnight.

The strategies for increasing global warming awareness were developed in close collaboration between the
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
and the Rockefeller family institutions. Besides the journal’s conception at the Rockefeller-founded University of Chicago, the
got direct financial support from the Rockefellers. Its Board of Sponsors included Detlev Bronk and his successor at Rockefeller University and National Academy of Sciences, Frederick Seitz.

The issue of global warming would however, not gain political traction until several decades later. First, the elite had to be persuaded – at institutions such as Aspen Institute – and then it needed to become popularised and brought down to the grass roots level.


If it becomes possible to interfere actively in the big processes with the atmosphere, the results are likely to transcend national boundaries. The problems that will then arise must be handled on an international basis. They may well be insoluble if the development leading up to weather control has been carried out by uncorrelated national efforts. (Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Prospect for America – The Rockefeller Panel Reports)


he theory of anthropogenic global warming was
in the late 1800s, when the Swedish chemist and physicist Svante Arrhenius (1859–1927) presented his hypothesis that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere would lead to a global increase in temperature of 5–6 degrees Celsius.

Unlike leading advocates of later decades, however, Arrhenius felt that this warming would be a good thing as it would help avoid a
new Ice Age, and benefit vegetation and crop yield. At this time, there was very little interest in carbon dioxide emissions within the scientific community.

In 1938, the British engineer and inventor G. S. Callendar expanded on Arrhenius’ ideas and
that the human burning of fossil fuels might have caused the observed warming since 1880. His findings were initially met with skepticism.

In 1941, during World War II, German meteorologist Hermann Flohn (1912–1997) picked up Callendar’s theory and developed it further in his article “Die Tätigkeit des Menschen als Klimafaktor”, while serving in the Luftwaffe High Command and participating in the planning of Operation Barbarossa. After the war, Flohn (later dubbed “one of the world greatest climatologists"), became head of the Institute of Meteorology of Bonn University and would in the 1970s be teaching the
the United Nations’ newly
Environmental Programme, UNEP, about man’s impact on the

The Military Origins of Climate Science

In the U.S., the CO
theory at first had no impact whatsoever on the scientific community. After 1945, however, when the U.S. military sought a deeper understanding of the forces of weather, there was a marked increase in research grants, making funds available for studies and the development of climate modelling tools. Callendar's claims could now be tested properly.

The threats of nuclear war and climate change were closely linked, with the
former leading to the latter. Research into the possible effects of nuclear weapons on
climate became a priority for both the military and for the Rockefeller Foundation.

In 1946, U.S. President Henry S. Truman (1884–1972) founded the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), both of which became leading organisations in the financing of studies on carbon dioxide impact on climate during the 1950s, following the recommendations in the report
Science – The Endless Frontier
(1945) by the President’s Science Advisor, mathematician Vannevar Bush.
The report advocated a deeper involvement and funding from the Government, resulting also in the founding of the National Science Foundation five years later.

ONR had close connections to the Rockefeller family.
, who was involved in the
, had developed a calculating machine called Rockefeller Differential Analyzer with
from the Rockefeller Foundation.
It was used by the military and a precursor to the emerging microcomputer revolution which, during the 1950s, would enable calculations and prognoses on man’s impact on the climate.

ONR’s first Scientific Advisory Group, led by Warren Weaver (director of the science department at Rockefeller Foundation) included ten prominent scientists, businessman Lewis Strauss (financial advisor to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund 1950–1953), and Detlev Bronk (principal of Johns Hopkins University – which had close associations with U.S. military on various projects).
Both Strauss and Bronk were also members of the Atomic Energy Commission, Strauss as chairman 1953–1958 and Bronk as member of its Advisory Committee.

Detlev Bronk

Through his positions in
institutions, Detlev Bronk would have a significant influence in the world of academia. 1950–1962 he was chairman of National Academy of Sciences (NAS), member (and 1952 chairman) of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), chairman of the executive committee of National Science Foundation (NSF), and member of the President’s Science Advisory Board (under presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy).

Bronk’s extensive network in the scientific community made him indispensable to the Rockefeller family.
NAS, for example, was part of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) which played a key role in giving the climate issue international attention.

In 1951, Bronk was invited to become a board member of both Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Two years later, he left his presidency at Johns Hopkins to become principal of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (later Rockefeller University), on recommendation from its chairman, David Rockefeller.

Significant decisions on the direction of climate research were also made at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (founded by Rockefeller Foundation in 1930) where Bronk was a board member 1950–69 and Laurance Rockefeller a life-long board member from 1957. Such key positions gave Bronk and the Rockefeller brothers a unique insight into, and influence over, the institutions which laid the foundation for the emerging interest in the theory of carbon dioxide’s impact on climate.

Bronk shared the Rockefeller family’s views on future challenges, including the constantly looming threat of overpopulation. He had been instrumental in the founding of John D. Rockefeller III’s Population Council.

Roger Revelle

At the population conference which resulted in the founding of Population Council, one of the attendees was Roger Revelle from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He shared the same concerns for overpopulation and became a key figure in the establishment of the carbon dioxide theory during the 1950s.

Revelle faithfully served on many of the committees initiated by Bronk as chairman of NAS. Revelle later described his relation to Bronk with the words, “I was kind of a pet of Det Bronk’s."

Revelle had a highly successful career and was deeply involved in international research at both ICSU and UNESCO. As a young oceanographer he had been crucial in the development of the
of Geophysics at the Office for Naval Research.
In 1951, Revelle became head of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography which, during the 1950s, was largely funded by Office of Naval Research and Rockefeller Foundation.

Carl-Gustaf Rossby

Roger Revelle established a contact with Sweden through friend, Swedish meteorologist Carl-Gustaf Rossby. The two pioneers had met in 1936 and their work in the field were groundbreaking.

Rossby became a well-connected institution builder, and was supervisor of a number of doctoral students who would pass on his legacy.
He also had a direct link to the originator of the CO
theory, Svante Arrhenius, who had been his mentor.

Through Rossby Sweden after World War II became the United States' most important ally in studying human impact on the climate. A
fter earning his licentiate degree in mathematical physics at the Stockholms University in
, Rossby
moved overseas to work for the
U.S. Weather Bureau
With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rossby had a stellar career.

Two years later, he established the
Meteorological Programme, where he stayed until 1939. In 1940, Rossby organised and became head of the newly established Department of Meteorology at the University of Chicago, where the Chicago School of Meteorology would be developed.

Already in 1931, he had become a research fellow at the newly founded Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and came to be a crucial member of the research group.

Rossby soon advanced to become one of the superstars of meteorology. In 1943, he became a member of National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

During and after the Second World War, Rossby, who had become an American citizen, was also involved with the U.S. Department of Defence at Pentagon and their interest in weather modification. He was, among other things, advisor to the U.S. Secretary of War, and part of the Joint Research and Development Board (where Vannevar Bush was chairman).

In 1946, Rossby was persuaded back to Sweden to found the Meteorological Institution at Stockholm University (MISU). Support for this initiative was given by the University of Chicago and the U.S. Weather Bureau (where Rossby’s former graduate student from MIT, Harry Wexler, was Research Director). Funding came from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) and there was also support from the Swedish Government, through the Minister of Education (later Prime Minister), Tage Erlander.

Rossby established a link between the two nations and laid the foundation for the close ties which would remain and be further deepened in the field of climate research. The joint project also included the U.S. military who had military staff were posted for advanced training in Stockholm until the mid-1950s.

Other international links were also created by Rossby. The pioneer Hermann Flohn, who became head of the West German Weather Service in 1958, and who later came to play a prominent role in the emerging climate agenda, was invited to Stockholm by Rossby.
Stockholm became, in effect, a U.S. base in Europe, and the nexus of a growing international network.

MISU, however, did not engage in field studies but based its research mainly on theories of atmospheric dynamics. Rossby became known for not having made a single observation throughout his career.

In 1949, Rossby started the scientific journal
, for the Swedish Geo-physical Society in Stockholm, which would grow in importance over the next decade. Stockholm was established as a centre for atmospheric research. The carbon dioxide theory became an early priority.

In 1954, the year after physicist
Gilbert Plass
(1920–1924) from
Johns Hopkins University
had said in
Time Magazine
that increasing carbon dioxide levels could lead to rising global temperature, it was decided at a conference in Stockholm that trace gases in the atmosphere should be researched more thoroughly, and that a worldwide network of monitoring stations for carbon dioxide was to be established.
All as preparation for the International Geophysical Year 1957–58.

In 1955, Rossby founded the International Meteorological Institute (IMI) to facilitate international collaboration in meteorology. Rossby wanted the IMI to be recognised by UNESCO and sought financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation for its formation. Through his good relations with former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Richard Sandler, and Prime Minister Tage Erlander, the institute had direct support from the Swedish Government. Sandler became chairman.

The close connections between the Government and the institute continued and was further deepened over the years. The political dimension was interwoven from the start. This also resulted in a close collaboration with Rossby’s earlier doctoral student, Jule Charney (1917–1981), and John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study. Rossby was offered a position there but declined.

Institute for Advanced Study

Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) had been founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner (member of Council on Foreign Relations and brother of Simon Flexner).

There were other close ties between the IAS and the Rockefeller family. Lewis Strauss (RBF’s financial advisor and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission) was a board member of IAS. Walter W. Stewart (chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation 1941–45) was also affiliated with the institute.

The plans for the institute had been drawn up by Tom Jones from the British Round Table Group. It was intended as an American equivalent of All Souls College in Oxford.

BOOK: Rockefeller – Controlling the Game
7.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Gold Medal Murder by Franklin W. Dixon
The Locker by Adrian Magson
Angel After Dark by Kahlen Aymes
Death by the Book by Lenny Bartulin
The Rogues by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris
The Night by Heaton, Felicity
Up With the Larks by Tessa Hainsworth