USA TODAY became the latest mainstream newspaper to incorrectly “balance” the views of the hundreds of scientists behind a major climate report with the the Heartland Institute, a fossil-fuel-funded organization that once compared those who accept climate science to the “Unabomber.” In an op-ed published by the newspaper Tuesday, the head of the organization portrayed outright falsehoods as simply “opinion” in order to dismiss the United Nations panel behind the report as a “discredited oracle.”
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), which convenes hundreds of top climate experts from around the world to assess the scientific understanding of climate change, stated in its most recent report that scientists are 95 percent certain that the majority of recent warming is manmade, or about as certain as they are that cigarettes kill.
Yet the head of the Heartland Institute, Joseph Bast, counterfactually suggested in USA TODAY that “we are no more certain about the impact of man-made greenhouse gases than we were in 1990, or even in 1979.”
Heartland Institute’s background is relevant, as much of the “evidence” that Bast cites in his op-ed came from his own organization — from non-climate scientists associated with Heartland, to a report published by the organization that includes authors that have been directly funded by the fossil fuel industry.
USA TODAY science reporter Dan Vergano suggested in a live chat about a climate change series that the newspaper would not cite organizations such as the Heartland Institute, stating it was mainly those who “know less about climate [who] still indulge in false balance.” Perhaps USA TODAY’s editorial page editors should meet with its own experts before doing just that.
The Heartland Institute is also the organization that had the ill-fated and mind-numbingly stupid campaign where they compared climate change proponents with killer Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber.
The Washington Post and Bloomberg News included quotes from Bast and the New York Times quoted a report backed by the Heartland Institute. None of these papers made it clear that Heartland was funded by the Charles Koch Foundation which gets money from oil production.
Heartland Institute’s bias towards the fossil fuel industry should be a huge red flag to anyone who wants to publish what they have to say about climate change in the science pages of their publication.
The LA Times has refused such editorials.
There is simply NOTHING doubtful about global warming and the cause of it as being man-made. The science is solid. Anyone who propagandizes the opposite view is a denier. The facts are facts. Shame on the media for letting this absurdity from the Heartland Institute continue. Honestly, this calls for ridicule at this point. It’s so contrived and ideologically driven.
Tip: Brian Brown