Anti-science agenda revealed: Heartland Institute out to warp ideas about climate change (Updated: Who is responsible for the info)

Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science

Libertarian thinktank keeps prominent sceptics on its payroll and relies on millions in funding from carbon industry, papers suggest

The inner workings of a libertarian thinktank working to discredit the established science on climate change have been exposed by a leak of confidential documents detailing its strategy and fundraising networks.

DeSmogBlog, which broke the story, said it had received the confidential documents from an “insider” at the Heartland Institute, which is based in Chicago. The blog monitors industry efforts to discredit climate science.

The scheme includes spending $100,000 on commissioning an alternative curriculum for schoolchildren that will cast doubt on global warming.

The papers indicate that discrediting established climate science remains a core mission of the organisation, which has received support from a network of wealthy individuals – including the Koch oil billionaires as well as corporations such as Microsoft and RJR Tobacco.

The documents confirm what environmental groups such as Greenpeace have long suspected: that Heartland itself is a major source of funding to a network of experts and bloggers who have been prominent in the campaign to discredit established science.

Source: The Guardian

Ah, shades of big tobacco who did the same thing, pushed propaganda in scientific journals, conferences and in the media to counter the solid science. It’s a shame they used the term “sceptics” since that gives critical thinkers a bad name. The only thing the supporters of the Heartland Institute think about is their profits. I am surprised at the mention of Microsoft but not the oil industry, of course.

There are many “institutes” that are blatantly anti-science. This sort of fiddling with marketing and especially targeting schools is why we need strong support for science education, like the new initiative for NCSE regarding climate change.

For more, see Merchants of Doubt.
Also, Phil Plait has the ironic compairson to the Climategate exposure.

Something tells me, though, that while Climategate did not dent the science (which was valid) but did damage the public view of climate change, this story will turn out to be damaging AND validate the anti-science deception efforts of climate change deniers.

UPDATE: Heartland trying damage control. Failing. “…it mistakenly emailed its board materials to an anonymous third party – confirming the source of the documents.”

Internal Heartland Institute Email Blasts “Lamestream Media” for Climate Leak:

It’s worth noting that Heartland didn’t seem to mind when emails between climate scientists that were stolen from a server, made public, and lied about on the internet—either the firstor second time it happened. It’s only now that that type of behavior is “just despicable,” a “violation of journalistic ethics,” and a criminal offense.

Now Heartland is using the incident to fundraise…

UPDATE (21-Feb-2012) Peter Gleick admits how he obtained the documents and causes an ethical conundrum. The Origin of the Heartland Documents

  15 comments for “Anti-science agenda revealed: Heartland Institute out to warp ideas about climate change (Updated: Who is responsible for the info)

  1. Mike S
    February 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I’d love to hear their explanation about how forcing a fake science curriculum onto school children is “libertarian.”

  2. klem
    February 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    These documents show clearly that the constant claims of ‘well funded climate denialism’ were never true. Alarmists simply made them up. This denier funding is peanuts.

    As a skeptic myself, I never really knew if deniers were well funded or not. Now I know they never were well funded. Its the greenies who have been well funded all along.

    Thank you Desmogblog. Nice work

  3. Drewski
    February 16, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Well Klem,
    You are certainly getting around the blogosphere. Did you get a call at 4am by someone anonymous and were told to start hitting the keyboard?

  4. February 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Well said Klem

    – It is really harming the Skeptical movement when normally rational people like DoubtfulNews, Novella etc. are trapped in some kind of bubble when it comes to global warming, climate change etc. and jump to produce writing strong on emotion, bullying, name calling & low on scientific evidence. A pattern of behaviour which they would normally point out is the sign of irrational true-believer behaviour common to pseudoscience like anti-vax, creationism, homeopathy etc.

    – Have you have ever been to another country and the reality is different from what you imagined ?
    I urge DoubtfulNews etc. to consider the same for the future. Will it be the same place as you imagine or is it possible you are living in a bubble ?
    – Given that CO2 has increased 20% in the last 12 years is today’s climate what you would have imagined 12 years ago ?

    – We are yet to see any evidence opposing institutes funding is even 1% of the global multinational eco-lobby groups like Greenpeace, FOE, WWF etc.
    e.g. The Sierra Club secretly accepted of $26 million in donations from Chesapeake Energy between 2007 and 2010.

    e.g. – Earthhour is actually a company owned by Australian newpaper company Fairfax and eco-charities WWF etc. with the directors paid AUD$165K/yr taxfree

  5. idoubtit
    February 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Low on scientific evidence?

    I will not argue about global warming. That’s like arguing that cigarettes don’t cause cancer.

    You are SORELY out of touch with what it means to apply scientific skepticism if you are not going to consider the scientific consensus on big issues.

    You can go spout your propaganda somewhere else, Stew.

  6. February 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    You know what critical thinking is about :

    ” That’s like arguing that cigarettes don’t cause cancer.” – false analogy

    “SORELY” – emotion when logic will do
    “consider the scientific consensus” – argument of authority’s the facts not the speaker that counts .. (ever background checked DeSmogBlog ?)

    “propaganda” – weasel words (a loaded word used to close down a debate)..what I said was an OPINION, we are entitled to express opinions

    – I’m not interested in propaganda just science, which is what happens when theories can be applied to make models which when tested independently produce predictions which coincide with reality

  7. idoubtit
    February 19, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    If you are interested in expressing your opinion. Do you own damn blog. You are being a troll and providing no worthwhile argument here.

  8. klem
    February 19, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Nope,I learned about it on the web like everyone else.


  9. klem
    February 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Earthour is owned by Fairfax and the WWF? What?

    I did not know that and I’ll wager neither did the greenies on this blog. Thanks Stew.

  10. klem
    February 19, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Uh oh Steve, I think you’ve gotten under Idoubtit’s skin and I think she’s going to ban you. Banning dissenting opinions is a common response, I see this behavior on alot of greenie blogs.

  11. idoubtit
    February 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    It’s called moderation. It keeps things civil. I appreciate dissenting opinions with solid backing but deliberately trolling is unhelpful and will not be tolerated here.

  12. snoma
    February 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Actually, Stew, in this case, that is a perfectly acceptable analogy.

    You’re not going to find a serious climate scientist who denies global warming.
    Like in many other areas of scientific research, there are nuances to how scientists interpret and analyze data.
    That’s why they debate the issue.
    But they are NOT debating whether global warming is happening or not.

  13. Drewski
    February 19, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Well, there are a couple scientists who deny that man contributes to global warming. They happen to be on the Heartland payroll. There is Bob “There hasn’t been any global warming since 1947” Carter and there is Fred “Haven’t produced a paper in 4 decades” Linzen. Do they count?

  14. klem
    February 21, 2012 at 8:08 AM


    Peter Gleick (AKA Mr. Climate Crock of the Week, AKA Mr. Integrity in Science) confesses to stealing the doc’s. Law suits on the way.

    See you in jail Pete.

    Wow, wow, wow!

    It is so great being a climate denier. This is fun!

  15. February 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Sorry, I agree wholeheartedly with the principles of this blog : showing doubt, patience, not takinge any news at face value & people actively thinking scientifically for themselves instead of just picking a side & sticking to it . As per your request I don’t expect to make any comments after today.
    – Although off-the-shelf dogmatic belief “ism” systems might seem to provide quick & easy answers it’s better everyone has lifelong scientific education & applies the principles of critical thinking including : being open minded, looking at every angle, context, perspective, respect & empathy, checking evidence & checking sources, to every story .
    …. These days news is dominated by cut & paste from press releases prepared by PR agencies without critical analysis so you have to apply your own.

    – I don’t believe people should be told what to think they should have the tools to think for themselves.


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