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.
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.”
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