Heartland Institute

Peabody's Outlier Gang Couldn't Shoot Straight In Minnesota Carbon Case, Judge Rebuffs Happer, Lindzen, Spencer, Mendelsohn, Bezdek

Peabody's Outlier Gang Couldn't Shoot Straight In Minnesota Carbon Case, Judge Rebuffs Happer, Lindzen, Spencer, Mendelsohn, Bezdek

Overview
On 04/13/15, Peabody Energy followed other major coal companies into bankruptcy, and days later lost a battle in a landmark legal war on Minnesota's Social Cost of Carbon (SCC).  The “best” gang1 of climate denial outliers they could hire tried to confuse the court with absurd claims in both science and economics. The Judge was not fooled, and ruled unambiguously, as reported by Bloomberg BNAUniversity of Minnesota Consortium on Law and Values and MPRNEWS:
Updated climate change costs make coal-fired power less attractive:

Will Happer Rebrands George C. Marshall Institute As CO2 Coalition

The George C. Marshall Institute (GMI) was a leader in climate denial from 1990 onward, but disbanded in 2015. Its chairman Will Happer and CEO WIlliam O'Keefe rebranded its climate denial effort as the CO2 Coalition, more accurately a CoalOILition.

Of its 18 people, 15 signed Happer's “300 scientists” (sic) letter to help Lamar Smith(R-TX) waste more taxpayer money harassing NOAA. Early analysis of the signers list makes it look even sillier than Happer's 2009 petition to the American Physical Society, as will be seen in a forthcoming detailed post. Oil and coal industry people are well-represented.


Inspired by DeSmog UK's recent exposure of Patrick Moore's work for European coal, this post summarizes known connections of those involved in the CO2 CoalOILition. People were tagged Coal and/or OIL, explained below.1  For example, of 18, five worked directly for Exxon, Shell or the American Petroleum Institute.  Also, 14 have been involved with Heartland ICCC meetings.

Willie Soon A Heartland Institute Star Since 2003: Was He Paid? If So, When And With Whose Money?

Willie Soon has gained a global spotlight from many recent news articles (New York Times, Boston Globe, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc).  This was lit by documents obtained from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), whose former director had said of Soon that “no one pays any attention to him.”  An impassioned defense was published, not by the CfA, but by the Heartland Institute, for whom he seems vastly more important, a tireless star.  Heartland has even purchased Google AdWords, so the first hit for Willie Soon is this:

Heartland buys Google AdWords for Willie Soon

Soon's frequent efforts for Heartland started no later than 2003.  They raise questions about potential unreported Conflict of Interest  even if unpaid. But did Heartland pay him? If so, how much, when, for what and with whose money? Heartland is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose climate anti-science tactics were preceded by a long history of paid efforts for tobacco companies, as per Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free Of Tax.

Readers unfamiliar wiith Soon might start with DeSmogBlog's profile. and follow by reading  story of a personal encounter. The history and other details motivate some questions, summarized next, then explained in detail.

Anti-Science Associations: Rand Paul, Jane Orient, Art Robinson, Willie Soon And Friends

Anti-science and strange associations

In “Rand Paul Is Linked to Doctors' Group That Supports Vaccination Challenges,” the New York Times documented his long involvement (~1990-2010) with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), but only scratched the surface of the strangeness. AAPS Executive Director Jane Orient and her associates run a tightly-coupled group of 501(c)(3) public charities. They seem to reject much modern science and focus efforts to promote political views, perhaps beyond the 501(c) rules. Enough has been learned since this earlier post to motivate this update and some following posts, especially given the recent prominence of DDP's favorite outside speaker, Willie Soon. [Willie Soon's fossil fuel funding, and failures to disclose, are hot in the news right now, see New York Times, The Guardian, Inside Climate News, and DeSmogBlog.]

Of course, organization membership does not imply acceptance of all positions, but Rand Paul's long-time association raises questions. Which of their views on science does he accept? Which of their policies does he support? Rand Paul is still featured at AAPS About Us, often using “we” regarding its actions.
(click for larger image)

Organizational graph

Heartland's Jay Lehr calls EPA "Fraudulent," Despite Defrauding EPA and Going to Jail

Crossposted from PolluterWatch blog on Jay Lehr.

If you're John Stossel and you want to host a segment to rail against the US Environmental Protection Agency, who ought you call?

It turns out, a man who was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding the EPA!

Stossel's guest last night, Jay Lehr, was sentenced to six months–serving three–in a minimum security federal prison back in 1991, and his organization at the time was fined $200,000. So Jay Lehr knows about EPA corruption better than anyone: he was the guy caught “falsifying employee time sheets on a government contract” for EPA, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Ohio Clean Energy Still in Koch & ALEC Crosshairs

Crossposted from Greenpeace’s blog: The Witness.

Ohio is currently fighting this year's final battle in a nationally-coordinated attack on clean energy standard laws, implemented by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other groups belonging to the secretive corporate front group umbrella known as the State Policy Network (SPN).

VIDEO: Heartland CEO Confronted Over Barre Seid's Funding of IPCC Attacks

Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation hosted The Heartland Institute's CEO Joseph Bast, along with two of Heartland's contracted climate denial scientists (Willie Soon and Bob Carter), to present their new report that denies the seriousness of global warming. Greenpeace was there to ask Heartland about the report's funders, including billionaire Barre Seid, and to challenge Heartland's assertion that their work has any scientific validity (it doesn't). See the video for yourself.

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:

Latest Pro-Keystone XL Website Backed by GOP Special Interest Group

Phil Kerpen

This morning, the latest in pro-tar sands spin went live. KeystoneXLNow.com takes aim at President Obama for failing to approve the Keystone XL project (even though the White House just announced approval of the southern leg today), calling it “an affront to millions of Americans out of work and an outrage to millions more who are paying higher energy costs as a result of this administration's policies.”

KeystoneXLNow.com invites users to send a message directly to the State Department to counterbalance “the crazy lefties [who] are already pouring in comments to give Obama an excuse to kill the pipeline.” The site calls on users to “push back by filling the official State Department docket with comments demanding they stop stalling and approve the Keystone XL pipeline now!”

Not only is KeystoneXLnow.com rife with faulty facts, but its backers and secret funders make an oil trail back to the GOP and oil-backed right wing think tanks. 

How To Divide And Conquer The Free Market Climate Change Denial Movement

Much has been made lately of the Heartland’s Institute’s implosion over it extreme position on climate change. In February there was the revelation of internal strategy documents that included a plan to promote climate change scepticism in schools. In early May they unveiled a billboard equating those who believe in global warming with the Unabomber.

In the resulting uproar, nearly 50% of the Heartland Institute’s projected corporate donors for 2012 have pulled out. The funding drop has been so dire that at Heartland’s latest climate change sceptics conference in Chicago last month, Heartland president Joe Bast was reduced to asking the audience to find a ‘rich uncle’ to fund future conferences. 

But the most telling outcome may prove to be the defection of Heartland’s entire Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate division. As team leader Eli Lehrer told the Guardian 

“As somebody who deals mostly with insurance I believe all risks have to be taken seriously and there certainly are some important climate and global warming related risks that must be taken account of in the insurance market. Trivialising them is not consistent with free-market thought. Suggesting they are only thought about by people who are crazy is not good for the free market.”

Now coming out and agreeing with every major national science academy in the world may not sound so revolutionary. But it is for a number of reasons.

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