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Tue, 2013-06-18 21:14Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

Heartland Institute - the Keystone Cops Of Climate Science Denial - Strike Again

THERE’S a section on the Heartland Institute’s website pointing readers to “Stuff We Wish We Wrote”.

After events over the last year or so, the chaps at the fossil fuel-funded “think tank” might want to add a new section with the title “Stuff We Wish We Hadn’t Wrote”.

The Heartland Institute, for those who don’t know, is a Chicago-based group promoting any view or position that argues we shouldn’t do anything about human-caused climate change. They run campaigns, hold conferences, write op-eds in the media and pay contrarian scientists.

Right there on the think-tank’s homepage, the group proudly displays a quote from The Economist magazine describing Heartland as “The world's most prominent think-tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change.”

Yet as is the case with most things Heartland says about climate change, things are not always as they seem. Heartland’s boastful quote is taken out of context and comes from this article in The Economist, documenting a spectacular own goal by Heartland.

Heartland, The Economist wrote, had lost an estimated $825,000 in funding after running a billboard campaign that equated acceptance of human-caused global warming to the values of serial killer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski.

So when The Economist was describing Heartland as a prominent think-tank promoting climate science denial, it wasn’t doing it in a good way. No wonder then that Heartland didn’t hyperlink the quote.

This brings us to Heartland’s most recent example of self-aggrandizing – implying the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) thinks they’re awesome because it translated two of Heartland’s reports, only to be told by aforementioned academy to apologise for misrepresenting what they had actually done. Here are the nuts and bolts of the story. On June 11, Heartland released a statement detailing how CAS had translated two volumes of its NIPCC reports  – Climate Change Reconsidered.

Thu, 2013-06-06 05:00Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

The Campaigns That Tried To Break The Climate Science Consensus

So just in case anyone wasn’t sure, a major study of almost 12,000 scientific papers on global warming between 1991 and 2011 finds less than one per cent disagree that humans are the main cause.

Published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study led by John Cook, the Australia-based founder of Skeptical Science, confirms the debate about the causes of global warming had all but vanished in the scientific literature by the early 1990s. Almost all the research says it’s mostly caused by humans.

For any followers of climate science in journals (the place where it actually matters) the finding wasn’t really news at all.

Yet survey after survey finds the public still thinks scientists are arguing over the causes of global warming and the media continues to attempt to resuscitate long-dead ideas.

Does it matter that people have a clear understanding of the main thrust of the science? A 2012 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that people were more likely to accept human-caused global warming if they were informed that scientists were in broad agreement (which we know they are).

For decades, fossil fuel-funded groups, free market think tanks (some of which also qualify as fossil fuel funded groups) and the fossil fuel industry itself have known the importance of the public’s understanding of the state of climate science. A public that understands the state of the science is more likely to want something done about climate change. Doing something, means using a lot less fossil fuel.

But who wanted to tell the public that a consensus didn’t exist? Here are just some of the campaigns run over the years showing how breaking the consensus in the eyes of the public was a key strategy.

Judith Curry

Judith Curry

 Credentials

  • PhD, Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago (1982).
  • B.S., Geography, Northern Illinois University (1974).
Source: [1]
 

 Background

Read more: Judith Curry

Gerrit Cornelis van Kooten

Gerrit Cornelis van Kooten

 Credentials

  • Ph.D. Agricultural and Resource Economics, Oregon State University (1982) 
  • M.A.(Economics), University of Alberta (1974)
  • B.Sc. (with distinction), Geophysics, University of Alberta (1972) — Thesis Topic: “The Canadian Coal Industry”

Source: [1], [2]

Lewis Page

Lewis Page

 Credentials

  • Cambridge University (Engineering degree 1988-91, St John's College) Islington Green Comprehensive. 
  • Royal Navy Officer 1993 - 2004. 
Source: [1]
 
Read more: Lewis Page

Bo Nordell

Bo Anders Nordell

 Credentials

  • Professor, Water Resources Eng. (LTU) 2001
  • Docent, Water Resources Eng (LTU) 1997
  • Doctor of Technology, Water Resources Eng. (LTU) 1994
  • Senior High School (House Construction Eng) 1964-67
  • Licentiate of Technology, Water Resources Eng. (LTU) 1986
  • Mining Engineering (LTU) 1974-79
Read more: Bo Nordell

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