Heartland Institute

Tue, 2013-09-17 14:42Brendan DeMelle
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International Climate Science Coalition Lacks Credibility, Launches Heartland Institute Anti-Science Report

The self-proclaimed experts at the International Climate Science Coalition have today launched another fanciful flight into the realm of climate denialism and United Nations conspiracy theories.

The ICSC, headed by Tom Harris, a former Canadian energy company public relations consultant, is trying to grab media attention with a new report written by the who's who of the climate denier conspiracy bunch. The report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, is part of a series published by a Chicago-based front group for the oil and tobacco industries called the Heartland Institute

I really hope mainstream media does not fall for their trickery again. After all, it is pretty well known by now that Fred Singer, the lead author on the International Climate Science Coalition's report, was an apologist for the tobacco industry long before he got into the business of denying the basic science of climate change. The other authors of the report, Bob Carter and Craig Idsohave equally shaky backgrounds when it comes to the science of climate change

To give you an idea of just how shaky, look no further than Craig Idso. DeSmog discovered last year that Idso was getting paid a whopping $11,600 a month by the Heartland Institute - not exactly the most reputable source of information when it comes to a globally important issue like climate change.

Interestingly, the press release put out today by the ICSC makes no mention at all of the Heartland Institute's role in funding and publishing the report. Perhaps because of that nasty Unabomber billboard, even ICSC is afraid to be associated publicly with Heartland?  

This report goes so far as to actually make the absurd claim that, “CO2 is 'the gas of life'. The more CO2, the more life.” Yes, and water is also vital to life until you find yourself drowning in it. 

In an effort to dupe reporters into trusting these “climate experts,” this anti-science outfit even named itself the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), mirroring the official science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This is the same small group of people who claim a grand conspiracy by the United Nations to take over the world. This echo chamber of climate denial attempts to prop up non-experts in the hopes of grabbing a few headlines before journalists figure out they have been fooled by conmen. 

The only story to be found in this latest salvo by the International Climate Science Coalition and the Heartland Institute is whether anyone in the press will actually fall for this nonsense again. 

Tue, 2013-09-17 10:53Connor Gibson
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Two Tweets and a Lie! Greenpeace Responds to Heartland Institute

From left: Heartland Institute president Joseph Bast, lawyer James Taylor and contracted pseudo-scientist Craig Idso.

From left: Heartland Institute president Joseph Bast, lawyer James Taylor and contracted pseudo-scientist Craig Idso. Crossposted from PolluterWatch.org

As we've told the Heartland Institute directly through Twitter, their response to our new report on climate change denial, Dealing in Doubt, contains a series of lies that are tellingly consistent with the lies we document in the report itself. Here are some, but not all, of the silliest claims Heartland made in their response to us:

Tue, 2013-07-09 12:55Graham Readfearn
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Australian University Dumps Bob Carter, Advisor To Multiple Global Climate Science Denial Groups

Dr Robert Carter

CLIMATE science denialist radio host Chris Smith - of the shock-jock variety - got a little upset recently at a decision made quietly more than six months ago by James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

“What a bunch of weak pu**ies - James Cook, your management is an absolute disgrace,” screamed an apoplectic Smith on his top-rating 2GB afternoon Sydney show, after directing his listeners to pick up the phone and call the university to complain.

What had the folks at JCU done to attract such an aggressive response?

As I reported two weeks ago, JCU had decided not to extend the unpaid adjunct professorial status of Dr Robert Carter, who Smith had ready on the line for an interview. Dr Carter (pictured) is a globe-trotting geologist who advises at least ten climate sceptic organisations and “think tanks” from the UK and Germany to the US and Australia.

Dr Carter's “official status” with JCU - where he had held an unpaid adjunct position since 2002 after retiring - had ended on 1 January 2013, the university told me. Before his retirement, he had worked as a Professor at the University from 1989.

This belated news of Dr Carter's “non status” had also infuriated climate sceptic blogger JoNova. Both JoNova and Smith claimed that Dr Carter had been booted out because of his fringe-dwelling views on climate change. The Townsville Bulletin declared Dr Carter had been “dumped” because of his “outspoken views”.

Dr Carter dismisses the role of burning fossil fuels in changing the climate, a position at odds with about 97 per cent of peer-reviewed climate change research and every major science academy in the world. Some of the world's highest profile groups spreading unfounded doubt about the risks and causes of climate change, not to mention a number of high-profile media outlets, turn to Dr Carter for comment, advice and sometimes paid consultancy and provide a forum for his views.

Dr Carter is, for example, the Science Policy Advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, the chief science advisor to the Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, a director at the Australian Environment Foundation, a member of the academic advisory council of the UK's Global Warming Policy Foundation, an adviser to the Australia-based Galileo Movement, science adviser to the US-group Science and Public Policy Institute, a patron of the UK's anti-climate legislation group Repeal The Act, an advisor to the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), an advisor to the Australian Climate Science Coalition and an inaugural founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

Internal documents from climate science denying “think tank” the Heartland Institute, which has accepted millions of dollars from vested interests over the years,  also showed the group was planning to pay Dr Carter $1667 a month for his work on its Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change project.

Tue, 2013-06-18 21:14Graham Readfearn
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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
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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.

Fri, 2013-05-03 10:04Ben Jervey
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Koch Brothers, ALEC Attack Maine Renewable Energy Standards

Maine’s clean energy legislation has spurred more than $2 billion in local investment and created at least 2,500 jobs in the Pine Tree State. That isn’t stopping some state lawmakers from trying to weaken and kill these laws, as the local political puppets do the will of their fossil fuel masters, the Koch brothers.

A quick reminder: there’s a coordinated national campaign to dismantle renewable portfolio standards (RPS) at the state level. Behind the campaign is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who we’ve covered quite a bit before. Behind ALEC is the Heartland Institute and the Koch brothers.

It’s a scene playing out in State capitols around the country – from Kansas to Missouri to Michigan to North Carolina. And now in Maine. State legislators, who typically receive hearty contributions from the Heartland Institute, Big Fossils, and local front groups who are wholly funded by the former, introduce legislation that was drafted by ALEC (a “corporate bill mill”) with the help of Heartland and the Big Fossils. The state legislators then present biased studies created by compromised think tanks that are funded by Heartland and the big fossils to support this boilerplate legislation. The legislation, of course, written to benefit Big Fossils – and the Koch brothers – and not the people of the respective states, where renewable portfolio standards are having great positive economic and environmental impact.

(For a good overview of ALEC’s work to bully state legislators into weakening these laws that undeniably help the economies and environments of the states in which they’re passed, check out this NRDC Action Fund post.)

Up in Maine, some local groups are asking, “Why do two rich men from Kansas want to dismantle Maine's renewable energy policy?” A new report just published by the Maine People’s Alliance, Maine’s Majority Education Fund, and the Maine Conservation Alliance (PDF) seeks to answer that question for Mainers.

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]

Wed, 2013-03-20 15:38Graham Readfearn
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Research Reveals Almost All Climate Science Denial Books Linked To Conservative Think Tanks

IF you haven't seen them on the television or come across their interviews on the radio or in newspapers and magazines, then you've almost certainly seen their work as your eyes scan the climate change section in your local book store or library.

They are the authors of books claiming to reveal the “real truth” about global warming and climate change - that it's either all a hoax, that it's overblown bad science from green ideologues or an elaborate illusion and wrongheaded nonsense.

You might have been intrigued by titles like “An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look At Global Warming”, “The Climate Caper” or the subtle sledgehammer that was “Global Warming and Other Bollocks”.

But new research into the origins and authors of more than 100 of these climate science denial books finds almost all of them - about four out of five - are largely the products of conservative-leaning think tanks.

The research finds the books avoid traditional academic peer-review and are often written by non-experts. Dr Riley Dunlap, of Oklahoma State University, and Peter Jacques, of the University of Central Florida, have published their research - Climate Change Denial Books and Conservative Think Tanks: Exploring the Connection - in the journal American Behavioural Scientist.

Mon, 2013-03-11 17:49Guest
Guest's picture

Onslaught of Kochtopus Groups Threaten Kansas Clean Energy

By Connor Gibson, crossposted with permission from Greenpeace USA.

A recent flood of Koch-supported think tanks, junk scientists and astroturf groups from inside and outside of Kansas are awaiting the outcome of a bill this week that could stall progress on the growth of clean energy in Kansas.

States around the country, including Texas, Ohio, Missouri and North Carolina are poised to cut back on government support for clean energy jobs using model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, which brings companies together with state lawmakers to forge a wish list of corporate state laws behind closed doors, is coordinating this year's assault on state laws that require a gradual increase of electricity generated by clean energy sources.

ALEC and a hoard of other Koch-funded interests operating under the umbrella of the State Policy Network have hit Kansas legislators hard with junk economic studies, junk science and a junk vision of more polluting energy in Kansas' future. Koch Industries lobbyist Jonathan Small has added direct pressure on Kansas lawmakers to rollback support for clean energy.

Sun, 2013-02-17 22:15Graham Readfearn
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How To Spot A Fake Grassroots Movement

PERHAPS somebody should write a pocket guide book with the title: “How to spot you've been suckered by a fake grassroots movement”.

Once it's written, these guide books could be distributed free of charge to crowds at anti-carbon tax rallies, US Tea Party marches and pretty much any gathering of a “movement” telling you that you're freedom is being put at risk by big governments, nanny states, new world orders or communists disguised as climate scientists or public health professionals.

But why the sudden need for the guide?

There's now emerging evidence that if these really are “grassroots” movements, then many of the seeds and the fertilisers are being supplied by major corporations and “libertarian” billionaires. It turns out that the US Tea Party movement and its calls for “freedom” from government intervention wasn't some organic uprising of community concern after all.

A new academic study documents how the Tea Party was envisioned and planned by tobacco company executives in concert with Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group established by oil billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

As reported on DeSmogBlog, the study “‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party” shows how the industry wanted to hide their profit motive and fear of the government regulating their deadly products behind a “movement to change the way that people think”, as R.J Reynolds Tobacco's head of national field operations Tim Hyde described it.

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