Heartland Institute Lures Legislators with Free Hotels for Climate Skeptics Conference

Tue, 2008-02-19 15:31Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Heartland Institute Lures Legislators with Free Hotels for Climate Skeptics Conference

If there is a sweeter deal for Republican Senator “global warming is hoax” Inhofe I don't know what it would be.

DeSmogBlog has received the details of an invitation that has apparently gone out to elected officials promising them “lodging and pay for up to two (2) nights of accommodation,” in New York if they would like to attend the Heartland Institute's “International Climate Change Conference.”

And if that isn't enough, elected officials who are a member of the Heartland's “Legislative Forum,” will also receive an extra bonus of $300 to cover travel expenses.

Ka-ching! Membership has its privileges - free trip to New York, free hotel room, I guess political life isn't as bad as everyone says it is.

The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based “think” tank with a cozy relationship with the energy sector describes the conference as, “… the first major international conference to focus on issues and questions not answered by advocates of the theory of man-made global warming.”

At the bottom of this post is the text of the email invite to elected officials and attached is an RSVP form with the details of the junket.

Our friends at RealClimate.org describe the impressive sounding conference in not-so glowing terms:

Normal scientific conferences have the goal of discussing ideas and data in order to advance scientific understanding. Not this one. The organisers are surprisingly open about this in their invitation letter to prospective speakers, which states:

'The purpose of the conference is to generate international media attention to the fact that many scientists believe forecasts of rapid warming and catastrophic events are not supported by sound science, and that expensive campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or cost-effective.'

So this conference is not aimed at understanding, it is a PR event aimed at generating media reports.”

So who do you think is most likely to take the Heartland up on the offer?

My top 4 guesses:

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

Kentucky State Rep. Jim Gooch (D-Providence)

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

Kansas State Rep. Melvin Neufeld (R-Ingalls)

Here's the email transcript of the Heartland invite for elected officials:

From: xxx

Sent: Mon 2/18/2008 3:04 PM

To: “Undisclosed-Recipient:;”@domain.invalid

Subject: Climate Change Conference for legislators/lodging free

Attached is an application on a conference on Climate Change that would be from the perspective that scientifically there is much evidence that humans do not cause any climate change. I think in light of the Governor's Climate Change Commission it might be good for some to go.

For elected officials, there is no registration fee for this event and The Heartland Institute will arrange for your lodging and pay for up to two (2) nights of your accommodations. If you are a member in good standing of The Legislative Forum at The Heartland Institute, you will also receive up to $300.00 of your travel expenses reimbursed after the conference.

LegislatorReplyForm.pdf12.86 KB

Previous Comments

Hmmm. I wonder how much oil and coal money is covering these expenses?

“Hmmm. I wonder how much oil and coal money is covering these expenses?”

Gee? Who knows? Maybe they’re coming up with the entire THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS?

I mean, that’s a lot of money – being a whole THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS, and all.


$300 to cover expenses???

Up to two free nights lodging???


Is it even humanly possible to turn down such inducements???

It will be telling when we find out who doesn’t turn down those inducements.

OK, I’ll bite Steve.

What will it tell??

I suspect this is obvious to most. For you it might not be obvious, but I think I’ll wait to answer you until you answer the questions I’ve posed to you (see thread on Oreskes).

How good is their conference if they have to buy the support for it?

How much do you think the 10000 delegates of the IPCC conference in Bali had to pay from their own pocket for their flight, hotel and daily expenses? Not a penny.
The problem with climate skeptics is that they are considered mavericks who have problems getting funding from universities (after all they are advocates of pseudo-science ….). Many of them are retired scientists (maybe that explains why they dare speak out against the politically corrrect AGW gospel: they don’t have to be afraid for their career or risk research grants) and rely on the small incentives that those conservative think tanks are willing to give them. In my academic days the university and the Dutch Science Foundation (ZWO) were quite generous towards me. Now, being retired, I can’t afford to attend the Heartland conference even with the incentives they’re offering.
Otherwise I would certainly have attended the conference. Wouldn’t it be great if Exxon Mobile were willing to pay for my attendance? No such luck.

“the politically corrrect AGW gospel”

Yeah, it’s always surpising how some tiny little secret cabal of nefarious environazis managed to make AGW the “politically correct” orthodoxy _all_ _over_ _the_ _world_, isn’t it?

“The problem with climate skeptics is that they are considered mavericks who have problems getting funding from universities”

No, the problem is that denialists keep trying to paint themselves as “mavericks”.

“(after all they are advocates of pseudo-science ….).”

Now _this_ is the real problem. Confusing degrees with radians; confusing model variances with observation variances… Milloy and friends like to call this “Sound Science”, but I call it by its real name: crap science.

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

Your use of the word deniers rings a familiar bell:

I copied this from:


The Modern Science Method:

1. Form clique of friends
2. Announce new “ground-breaking paper” to the press. Announce “result” in soundbite form.
3. Get papers published peer reviewed by friends
4. Go to United Nations and declare “the science is settled”
5. Denigrate other scientists who disagree with you as “Deniers” and in league with [insert scary corporation here]
6. Praise other “independent” scientific papers written by your friends which miraculously support your hypothesis.
7. Repeat the above two processes so that you and your friends get lions share of grant money while your opponents are starved of funding and attention.
8. Hide data/methodology so as to prevent replication. Make sure only copy of data is on a floppy disk and never, ever backed up like normal people.
9. Start weblog.
10. When cornered, declare that “science has moved on”

Quite funny (or sad), don’t you think so?

“Starved of funding” indeed, that is the reason why Heartland is so kind to offer some financial incentives which dwarfs government fundings for scientists who attend conferences.

There is no shortage of money for PR by folks like this. Look up some names of ‘scientists’ attending the conference. Now search how many op-eds they’ve published in the MSM, how many laypublic speaking engagements they’ve given, and how many think tanks they belong to. They seem to be able to get plenty of money for this kind of thing. The Heartland Institute is not filling any void there. There are millions of dollars going toward this kind of crap, er, non-science. Look up the names of the people publishing in the peer-reviewed literature. Compare the dearth of op-eds, laypublic presentations, etc. A simple comparison in Canada is Andrew Weaver (U Vic) vs Tim Ball (formerly U Winnipeg). Ball claims he doesn’t even know who’s paying for all of his speaking engagements (please try to argue that he’s underfunded wrt science). You almost never hear of Weaver.

There are millions to be had from Exxon, Heartland, API, Koch Foundation, etc, etc, etc. How much of it goes toward science? If the research you claim is so badly underfunded, why doesn’t this money fill some of that void? Answer: It doesn’t because such science lacks merit. It would be like paying someone to do independent studies on health harms of cigarettes or Minamata disease – the corporations that used to do it hid the results of the research and then shut down the research programs. There are more examples of this. Some might cite weapons inspectors as another. The money that could go toward independent science instead goes to garbage PR. That is an investment decision made by slimy groups like Heartland.

Good post, Steve.
The red herring about anti-AGW scientists being unable to get research funding is extremely irritating. As if any of them actually do any research (at least, in the last two decades!).

Fern Mackenzie

Yes, Steve L wins! :)

And I’m amused that Chris responded to my point about methodological problems with the denialists’ “science” by cutting-and-pasting a totally irrelevant blog post which is devoid of facts.

This is the kind of “science” and “logic” we should be giving “equal time” to, I suppose.

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

In the actual invitation, $300 goes to “member in good standing of The Legislative Forum at The Heartland Institute”, so I looked it up:


Worth reading.

You’ve really cracked the case this time! This could be bigger than Enron scandal and the UN oil-for-food scam combined! Golly! $300! I can’t even count that high!

BTW, I wonder how much one night’s stay in a Bali resort costs?

I don’t know. Is the UNFCCC a private think-tank funded by private corporations?

More cutting-edge denialist “logic”, I see.

Frank Bi, http://zompower.tk/

Skeptics are right. Their worries are logical. Spending money on calculating and mitigating CO2 is waste of money and time. None of the kyoto commitments by the countries have been met. They incresed GHG %25 percentfrom 1990 levels. They rely on the land of developing countries to reduce emissions by afforestation (which is disaster to the poor countries, since their land is occupied not by the foreign military troops but by the kyoto mechanisms.


The phrase “clean coal” has about as much merit as saying “sanitary sewage,” but that hasn’t stopped the industry and pro-coal talking heads from repeating that phrase ad nauseum to the American public.

The Orwellian industry buzzphrase was so successful that the Obama administration, as part of the 2009 stimulus package, pledged more than $1 billion to create the largest carbon-capturing system known as FutureGen 2.0. The...

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