The Heartland Institute is in the news lately. Specifically the political agenda of this "objective" Climate Change skeptics organization, that is now being questioned and exposed, by one of its renown (and now banished) skeptical members:
Peter Gleick Admits to Deception in Obtaining Heartland Climate Files
by Andrew C. Revkin, NYTimes -- Feb 20, 2012
[...]The Origin of the Heartland Documents
Since the release in mid-February of a series of documents related to the internal strategy of the Heartland Institute to cast doubt on climate science, there has been extensive speculation about the origin of the documents and intense discussion about what they reveal. Given the need for reliance on facts in the public climate debate, I am issuing the following statement.
At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute’s apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. [...]
Since much of this was "news to me," I decided to research the Heartland Institute a bit further myself. They sound like a "major player" holding up progress in addressing Climate Change, all under the guise of "Science." To say the least, I find that disturbing.
I quickly found out, I was not alone on that front. And that my concerns regarding the motives of this non-profit group are indeed warranted.
Heartland Institute launches a 'closed' climate change wiki
by Leo Hickman, guardian.co.uk -- 19 July 2011
But then a warning flag went up:ClimateWiki is moderated and edited by The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank with offices in Chicago and Washington, DC. Interested in becoming a contributor? Contact us.It probably doesn't need spelling out to most observers that the Heartland Institute is an organisation well known for promoting climate scepticism. It hosts an annual conference for sceptics and, some claim, plays a major role, particularly in the US, in disseminating inaccuracies about climate science.
OK, so these people clearly don't like Mann or his hockey stick. We get it. But the beauty of wikis is that anyone gets the chance to suggest a change or, perhaps, even make an edit themselves. (Mann's own Real Climate website runs a climate wiki which invites people to "dive in and make changes".) This is particularly crucial in this case because, as Heartland says itself, this wiki is being aimed at "everyone from high school students to scientists working in the field".
So, I looked around the site for a log in. No joy. The only place where users are invited to log in is limited to pre-registered users. And the only way to become a registered user is to first be vetted by the Heartland Institute. Suddenly, this wiki didn't feel very open.
The Heartland wiki-site that is "open" to public discussion, but apparently just imaginary public discussions according to this journalist. What else is the Heartland Institute trying selling the public, as "open and factual", I immediately began to wonder ...
After a bit of reading on Heartland Institute's ClimateWiki page, I soon discovered how thin their facade of Science really is. Rather than delving into disturbing facts about Climate Change, this site seems more concerned with slandering Climate Change as a science -- rather than presenting their opposing evidence.
From ClimateWiki [a closed Heartland Institute site]
Why the Media Get it Wrong
Most of us learn about climate change by reading about it in newspapers and magazines or seeing it on television. But most media coverage of this issue is biased in an alarmist direction. Little wonder, then, that so many people are confused and misinformed.
Surveys of editors and journalists invariably show that very few have backgrounds in science or economics that would enable them to cover the climate change debate accurately. Upwards of 80 percent self-identify as liberal or Democrats, and since climate warming is a political cause promoted almost exclusively by Democrats, most newspaper articles simply repeat that political party’s talking points on the issue.
Media bias extends beyond newspapers and television to some scientific journals, such as Scientific American, New Scientist, and even respected journals such as Nature and Science. It also appears in online outlets such as Wikipedia and of course left-wing blogs such as The Huffington Post. Thankfully, there is a growing number of Web sites devoted to global warming realism that attempt to set the record straight.
Scares and Hoaxes
Global warming is not the first case of a widespread fear based on incomplete knowledge turned out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated. Global warming has many of the characteristics of a popular delusion, an irrational fear or cause that is embraced by millions of people because, well, it is believed by millions of people! Charles Mackay described dozens of similar scares and hoaxes in 1841 in a still-influential book titled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Other popular delusions that resemble the global warming delusion include astrology, eugenics, and witchcraft. Recent scares concerning the environment that turned out to be exaggerated or at least questionable include asbestos, dioxin, lead, mercury, pesticides, PCBs, chlorine, and endocrine disrupters. Recalling these past scares and hoaxes helps to put the fear of global warming in perspective.
So Global Warming is only a Hoax, according to Heartland. Those are some serious charges. Serious claims require serious evidence, as any reputable scientist knows.
So I searched their ClimateWiki site for "the evidence" of this Hoax. I got a grand total of 3 hits backing up Heartland's slanderous charges:
1) This Forbes columnist is certainly a qualified detector of all things "Hoaxy" ...
From ClimateWiki [a closed Heartland Institute site]
-- Larry Bell, Ph.D., endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston, a columnist at Forbes.com, and author of Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax.
2) If this next reference that uses the word "Hoax" sounds rational, it could be because ClimateWiki is quoting Wikipedia:
From ClimateWiki [a closed Heartland Institute site]
As defined by Wikipedia -- The Free Encyclopedia
Many commentators quoted one email referring to "Mike's Nature trick" which Jones used in a 1999 graph for the World Meteorological Organization, to deal with the well-discussed tree ring divergence problem "to hide the decline" that a particular proxy showed for modern temperatures after 1950, when measured temperatures were rising. These two phrases from the emails were also taken out of context by climate change sceptics including US Senator Jim Inhofe and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as though they referred to a decline in measured global temperatures, even though they were written when temperatures were at a record high. John Tierney, writing in the New York Times in November 2009, said that the claims by skeptics of "hoax" or "fraud" were incorrect, but the graph on the cover of a report for policy makers and journalists did not show these non-experts where proxy measurements changed to measured temperatures. The final analyses from various subsequent inquiries concluded that the so-called 'trick' was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion, and while the WMO graph would have been clearer with separate colours for the change in measurement, the 2001 IPCC report discussed this issue and the graphs in IPCC reports clearly showed a separate line for the instrumental temperature record.
United States Senator Jim Inhofe, who had previously stated that global warming was "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," also planned to demand an inquiry.
3) Ok, here's is the primary hook upon which Heartland is hanging their skeptical hat ... it's the Oil Industry's favorite spokesperson, Jim Inhofe's expert analysis of the Science of Skepticism ...
From ClimateWiki [a closed Heartland Institute site]
Senator Inhofe: “There’s No Global Warming Consensus”
Since 2003 when he spoke on the Senate floor, Senator James Inhofe has publicly denied the validity of global warming. "I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax,” said Inhofe. “That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation's top climate scientists."
The scientists to whom he was referring include John Christy, Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas.
With the support of those individual scientists, Inhofe continues to argue, “much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science.”
OK, that's is a list of skeptical "Scientists" -- perhaps ClimateWiki will present their studies, and their "evidence" proving Climate Change is a Hoax?
Then again, perhaps not.
John R. Christy is a vocal global warming opponent and a climate scientist at the University of Alabama. Though recognizing some warming of the Earth's temperature, Christy advocates that is not produced by man-made action nor is the increase cause for concern. Rather, Christy claims that warming will result in economic and even some environmental benefits.
Dr. Fred Singer is an American physicist and professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia. Dr. Singer is a public opponent of global warming. He founded the Science and Environmental Policy Project in 1990 which further argues this position.
Singer claims no evidence exists proving that man-made action has created a global temperature increase.
He has been labeled a "Climate Change Expert" by institutions such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
A vocal climate change opponent, Dr. Richard Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist. He is also a Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lindzen believes climate change alarmism is stimulated and continued by political pressures on climate scientists to adhere to the concept: "I think it's [concern about global warming] mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves."
Dr. Willie Soon is an astrophysicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Soon believes, and has testified before Congress, that most global warming is caused by solar variation.
Labeled a "darling of the anti-climate movement," Sallie Baliunas, in personal and professional work, has discredited the global warming theory.
Sallie Baliunas is currently an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She recieved her Master's and PhD degrees from Harvard University.
Baliunas joined the fight against global warming in 2000.
Along with Willie Soon, Balinuas argues that solar variability is more strongly responsible for variations in air temperature than carbon dioxide levels.
Therefore, Baliunas strongly discourages the belief that CO2 levels are responsible for climate change.
Kind of sounds like a nice "cottage industry" doesn't it? Just say NO to Climate Change!
Well, what's the backstory and mission of The Heartland Institute itself, beside the hush-hush agenda of casting doubt on Climate Change science, as the current Peter Gleick document dump clearly exposes?
About The Heartland Institute (according to the Heartland Institute website)
The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit research organization dedicated to finding and promoting ideas that empower people.
Founded: Heartland was founded in Chicago in 1984.
Mission: Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.
Staff: A full-time staff of 40, including 25 working out of the Chicago office and five in the Washington DC office. Joseph Bast directs the Chicago office, Eli Lehrer directs the Washington DC office. Herbert Walberg is chairman of the board.
Government Relations: Our government relations staff made more than one million contacts with elected officials in 2010, 14,715 of those contacts were one-on-one either in person, by phone, or by one-to-one emails.
Survey Results: A telephone survey of randomly selected state and local elected officials conducted in 2011 found 79% of state legislators and 63% of local elected officials read at least one of our publications. 45% of state legislators say a Heartland publication changed their mind or led to a change in public policy.
Funding: Approximately 1,800 supporters support an annual budget of $6 million. Heartland does not accept government funding. Contributions are tax-deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Well, it would be interesting to find out precisely HOW this non-profit is funded to promote their "anti-science" political agenda, and influence politicians to implement their "free market solutions."
Perhaps, Source Watch has already done the homework on this money trail situation. Thankfully they have. It kind of reads like a Who's Who List of denial drones ...
The Heartland Institute is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2010-2011.
* Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $1,037,977
* Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $648,000
* Exxon Mobil $531,500
* Walton Family Foundation $400,000
* Sarah Scaife Foundation $325,000
* Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust $190,500
* Jaquelin Hume Foundation $166,000
* Rodney Fund $135,000
* JM Foundation $82,000
* Castle Rock Foundation $70,000
* Roe Foundation $41,500
* John M. Olin Foundation $40,000
* Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $40,000
* Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $37,578
* Armstrong Foundation $30,000
* Hickory Foundation $13,000
* Carthage Foundation $10,000
Exxon contributions include:
* $30,000 in 1998;
* $115,000 in 2000;
* $90,000 in 2001;
* $15,000 in 2002;
* $85,000 for General Operating Support and $7,500 for their 19th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in 2003;
* $85,000 for General Operating Support and $15,000 for Climate Change Efforts in 2004; and
* $119,000 in 2005; and
* $115,000 in 2006.
Daily Kos' A Siegel has noted the serious irony of this reverse Heartland-Gate situation, and the disturbing consequences of letting agenda-driven front groups like Heartland promote anti-science and anti-environmentalism -- which far too often simply ends up as anti-journalism in the National discourse:
[...]Heartland Republicans: Investigate HeartlandHeartland's moral outrage about leaked documents this past week was glaringly absent following the 2009 release of hacked climate scientists' e-mails that was dubbed "climategate." In fact, it fully participated in a media campaign that misrepresented the e-mails and raised unfounded questions about scientists' integrity.[...]
This is far from the first time that these Republicans have spoken out against efforts to deceive their fellow Americans and the need for reality-based policy discussions. Sadly, theirs is a voice that is ever more lost in the wilderness that is threatened by Republican anti-science syndrome suffering anti-environmentalism. We should hope for a return to a time when such thinking and voices are a serious element in the political discussions and policy constructs of one of the major American political parties.
As it comes to the heartless Heartland documents, these Republicans call on Heartland to prove their assertions about the documents and that, in the absence of such proof, journalists give serious attention to scrutinizing them with appropriate reporting.
by A Siegel -- Feb 18, 2012
Controversy should not be a substitute for solid reporting, especially in an "evidence-based society." But in today's age of "Money is Speech," and "All Opinions are as valid as another" -- the currency of realm far too often ends up being simply "confusion" ... which last time I checked is the antithesis of Science, not its complement.
That's how another Climate Denial cookie crumbles, folks. Not that it'll make the 6:00 News, any time soon. Afterall, the Heartland Institute's funders have a right to have their well-funded opinions heard ... be they agenda-driven or not.
Big Oil money IS Free Speech, in today's apolitical "objective" corporate world. Just hear them laughing, the next time you "fill-er up" ... the next time another record-setting block of ice, calves off somewhere in the world. Unnoticed. Unreported. Hear the Big Oil money, talking then. If the sound of crashing ice can rise above all the indignant Heartland-gate clatter, that is.