Heartland Institute

Tue, 2009-06-16 18:32Mitchell Anderson
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Three Full-Page Whoppers from the Heartland Institute (Part One)

You can often judge progress by the reaction of those opposed to it. If that’s true, we may finally be getting somewhere.

The notoriously unethical Heartland Institute is blowing a bundle of cash in an all-out effort to derail climate change legislation moving through Congress. The Heartland folks have never been overly encumbered by either ethics or accuracy and their latest effort is no exception.

Heartland is fronting three full-page ads in the Washington Post, transparently targeted at lawmakers now horse-trading over the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES).

So what does that kind of action cost? According the Washington Post website, close to $250,000. But that is pocket change for Big Oil and Big Coal, who stand to lose big if US climate policy moves into the 21st century.

The ads deadpan three hilariously audacious whoppers:

I’ll deal with the content of the full-page propaganda effort in a separate post but the first thing to note is the desperation of the tactics.

These are sophisticated players and such ham-handed lobbying techniques are typically a last resort in the public relations toolkit. This latest move illustrates just how isolated vested oil and coal interests have become in the climate change debate.

Mon, 2009-06-01 14:36Jeremy Jacquot
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Denier Conference Readies for Round Three

Among the many conservative think tanks faithfully pushing the skeptic message in Washington, D.C., few are as prominent—or, should I say, infamous—as the Heartland Institute. The “independent” research and non-profit group has the dubious distinction of having organized the first major denier-palooza, the “International Conference on Climate Change,” last year. Despite a less than stellar showing, and an even more lukewarm follow-up in March, it’s hoping that the third time will be the charm.

The likes of Senator James Inhofe, Lord Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts will be descending on the Washington Court Hotel this week to discuss the “widespread dissent to the asserted “consensus” on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change.” Its ostensible purpose will be to “expose Congressional staff and journalists to leading scientists and economists in the nation’s capital” and demonstrate that “global warming is not a crisis and that immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary”—which it calls the emerging consensus view of (the handful of) scientists outside the IPCC.

Mon, 2009-03-30 12:20Mitchell Anderson
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The Heartland Institute's Skeptic Handbook - Get Out the Shovel...

Most climate denial material is all over the map so it is a pleasant change to have a nice clear target.

I am talking about the “Skeptic’s Handbook” that the notorious Heartland Institute is helpfully printing 150,000 copies of for distribution across the US including 850 journalists, 26,000 schools, “19,000 leaders and politicians”.

The mass printing of this climate propaganda piece is being funded by an “anonymous donor”. It is odd that “someone” feels strongly enough to shell out that kind of money but also wants their identity concealed. We do know that the Heartland Institute has been bankrolled to the tune of $676,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. Nuff said.

It is also interesting that this latest product of the denial machine is washing over the nation less than a month after the US government released their Climate Change Literacy brochure – cosigned by 13 federal agencies and 24 educational and scientific partners.

Membership in the supposed climate change conspiracy now includes such well known eco-freaks as the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior and the US Forest Service.

The handbook itself is hilariously illogical. It coaches “skeptics” to avoid talking about the evidence of changing climate - for obvious reasons presumably. According to them, something may be heating things up, its just not carbon dioxide. Independent thinkers are instead counseled to follow these four cookbook points:

  • The greenhouse signature is missing
  • Ice Cores do not support carbon as a driver of climate change
  • Temperatures are not rising
  • Carbon dioxide is doing almost all the warming it can do.

All of these points are either entirely wrong or grossly misleading. Lets get out the shovel and start unloading this pile of manure.

Thu, 2009-03-12 19:14Mitchell Anderson
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Paris Hilton and the End of the World

Britney Spears is a great artist. Paris Hilton is very talented.

It seems the yawning gulf between perception and reality has never been greater.

Truer still for how the public perceives climate science. A new poll shows that 41% of Americans now believe concerns around global warming are exaggerated -the highest level of skepticism in over a decade. 

This is a shocking figure given the latest scientific findings being reveled, even as we speak, at a gathering of 2,500 of the world’s leading researchers on climate change.

This chasm of opinion between the scientific community and the public shows how criminally irresponsible many in the mainstream media have been about portraying climate science, and how effective the misinformation campaign by the fossil fuel lobby has been in deceiving the average American.

Does public opinion even matter? In a voting (and shopping) society like ours, it is about the hottest commodity going. Right or wrong, any politician goes against it at their peril.

Perhaps Mark Twain said it best: “Its name is public opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.”

Wed, 2009-03-11 19:29Mitchell Anderson
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More Blather From the National Post

The National Post is on a roll. After three stunningly stupid articles on climate change by Lorne Gunter and Peter Foster, they have published a fourth.

This latest dispatch by Foster “reporting” from the climate deniers gathering in New York further undermines the Post as a legitimate media outlet. So one-sided and erroneous is their editorial position on climate science that it is best described as journalistic malpractice.

While the Post felt it important to send Foster to cover the Heartland denier’s conference, they of course neglected to send any reporters to cover the UN climate conference last year in Poland, or the current gathering of 2,000 leading climate scientists in Denmark.

I suppose it is simpler to avoid mixing ideology with any actual information.

Speaking of which, there is plenty of newsworthy material being revealed at the real climate conference in Copenhagen – all of it very topical (and terrifying).

The projected rise in sea level by 2100 has doubled since the latest IPCC assessment only two years ago to one meter “or more”. That would put at risk more than 600 million people currently living in low lying areas around the globe.

“The seas are undergoing much greater changes than those described in the IPCC report…Two or three years ago, those making this type of statement were seen as extremists,” said Eric Rignot of the University of California.

Tue, 2009-03-10 12:57Mitchell Anderson
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Truth or Consequences

As the masquerade ball of phony scientists talks to itself (and of course the assembled media) in New York this week, a very different conference is happening on the other side of the Atlantic.

Two thousand of the world’s leading climate researchers are gathering at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen to discuss the latest findings about our warming world. Early dispatches are not encouraging regarding how much time we have to get serious about this crisis.

“The sea-level rise may well exceed one metre (3.28 feet) by 2100 if we continue on our path of increasing emissions,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Even for a low emission scenario, the best estimate is about one metre.” (Hear that Bjorn Lomborg?)

That is almost double what the IPCC estimated only two years ago.

“This means that if the emissions of greenhouse gases is not reduced quickly and substantially even the best-case scenario will hit low-lying coastal areas housing one-tenth of humans on the planet hard,” the organizers warned in a statement.

The vast increase in potential sea level rise is partly due to ballooning emissions and partly due to improved understanding of the emerging science – even in the last two years.

Mon, 2009-03-09 21:47Kevin Grandia
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PR Watch on the Heartland Conference: The Monkeys and Their Organ Grinders

Bob Burton at Sourcewatch has substantial piece up on the Heartland Institute’s climate change conference in New York.

Choice quote:

“Many global warming skeptics directly or indirectly receive funding from the oil, coal or other industries with a stake in the dangerous status quo. Of course, revelations of such funding torpedo the skeptics’ credibility. Perhaps that’s why Heartland, in describing its skeptics conference, insists that “no corporate sponsorships or dollars earmarked for the event were solicited or accepted.” The claim may sound reassuring, but we should take it with a grain of salt, especially since Heartland is not disclosing which foundations are funding the conference.”

Here’s the entire article: Monkeys and their Organ Grinders

Mon, 2009-03-09 15:13Mitchell Anderson
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National Post Disgraces Itself Again

Poland is a long way from New York, and the distance illustrates the vast gulf between truth and rhetoric in how many in the mainstream media continue to cover climate science.

Last year, not a single English language Canadian news reporter was sent to cover the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poznan in Poland (except Richard Littlemore of DeSmog Blog).

Yet even as they teeter of the edge of bankruptcy, the National Post felt it important to have a reporter covering the climate denier’s conference held this week at the swank Marriott Marquis in New York and sponsored by the notoriously unethical Heartland Institute.

The UN Conference featured actual scientists and had the potential to generate real news on how the world might come to grips with climate change.

The Heartland Conference is instead a retread of last year’s denialpoloza, featuring the same washed up hacks on the oil industry payroll.

Sun, 2009-03-08 10:10Kevin Grandia
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Heartland Institute trying to make the old new

I’m here again at the Heartland Institute’s climate change conference in New York - or as I like to call in DenialPalooza Take 2 - and what really strikes me so far is that it’s the same people attending and talking about the same things they did last year.

I’ve been to a lot of different conferences over the years and there’s always excitement in the sharing of new studies published and hearing the lastest discoveries. After all that’s what conferences are about, a time to share and advance knowledge. You wouldn’t go to a mainstream conference one year and then go the next just to be presented the same information by the same people you heard last year.

That is, unless there’s really nothing new to share. And that appears to be the case with this year’s climate chage DenialPalooza. The schedule of speakers and the panel topics are almost a carbon copy of last year.

Take a look at the 2008 schedule and compare it to the 2009 one - same people, same topics, nothing really new.

So what’s this conference about?

Thu, 2008-11-27 19:36Mitchell Anderson
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The Heartland Institute touts a long list of global warming "experts"

Feeling bored?

Here’s a fun activity for the afternoon. Have a look at this list of 129 supposed “experts” on climate change on the website of the notorious Heartland Institute.

Now go to our global warming denier research database the Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets and see how many of the names affiliations follow all the way back to the fossil fuel industry.

It doesn’t work for everyone, but it seems about half of the names on the list are entwined in some way with the giant network of groups like the Heartland Institute that receive funding from ExxonMobil and their ilk to downplay the dangers of climate change. 

Now why would the oil industry do that?

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