Three Full-Page Whoppers from the Heartland Institute (Part Two)

Wed, 2009-06-17 01:49Mitchell Anderson
Mitchell Anderson's picture

Three Full-Page Whoppers from the Heartland Institute (Part Two)

The Heartland Institute has reared its hoary head again, this time fronting three full-page color ads in the Washington Post targeting lawmakers now debating the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) on Capitol Hill.

As I mentioned in my last post, it is not often the denial machine resorts to something as clumsy as buying media exposure. This indicates just how desperate their oily funders are to avoid meaningful regulation of filthy fuels.

That they have managed to dodge this bullet for so long, illustrates just how brilliant Big Oil has been at precluding pesky laws for their dangerous product.

I promised in my last post to pull apart some of the knee-slappers and nose-stretchers in these full-page propaganda pieces and I will try not to disappoint. There is plenty to work with…

The first ad hilariously complains that that the denial machine has been shut out of the media and political process. 

I thought I should stretch before I allowed myself to laugh at the thought, for fear I might break a rib.

That oil-funded deniers maintain they have not excelled at inserting their vested interests into the politics or the media, fully a decade after the scientific community ceased to seriously debate this issue, is truly the height of false modesty.

So-called climate skeptics and their shadowy backers may well represent the largest, most sinister and successful PR campaign in public relations history. Truly gentlemen, you are good at your job – as heinous as that job might be.

Numerous academic studies have documented how the media routinely pairs baseless claims of climate deniers beside the overwhelming consensus of scientific community.

This is ostensibly in the interests of journalistic “balance”, though the result is a public that remains shockingly badly informed on the greatest long-term threat to the United States, the planet and the global economy.

Likewise the public remains remarkably ill-informed on the well-documented benefits of shifting to a low-carbon economy.

The odious PR practice of fielding phony experts was famously pioneered by the tobacco industry decades ago. No doubt many thousands of people perished of cancer due to the resultant delay in tobacco regulation.smoking doctor

That Big Oil is now claiming that this ruse hasn’t worked for them, and they are somehow victims, truly exceeds my capacity for disgust.

The second ad accuses the entire scientific community of unethical behavior, implying that the public should instead throw their trust behind the Heartland Institute.

Desmog Blog readers will recall a recent demonstration of the ethical prowess of this $5.2 million organization that continues to conceal their corporate funders.

The Heartland leadership boldly proclaimed last year that 500 scientists agreed that climate change was a bunch of hooey.

The problem was that many of those researchers had no idea their research and reputations were being dragged through the mud by an industry front group.

That is, until we contacted them

Here is a small sampling of the outrage expressed by practicing climate researchers towards the Heartland Institute when they learned of this ruse:

“I am horrified to find my name on such a list. I have spent the last 20 years arguing the opposite.”- Dr. David Sugden. Professor of Geography, University of Edinburgh

“I have NO doubts ..the recent changes in global climate ARE man-induced. I insist that you immediately remove my name from this list since I did not give you permission to put it there.” - Dr. Gregory Cutter, Professor, Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University

“I don’t believe any of my work can be used to support any of the statements listed in the article.” - Dr. Robert Whittaker, Professor of Biogeography, University of Oxford

“Please remove my name. What you have done is totally unethical!!” - Dr. Svante Bjorck, Geo Biosphere Science Centre, Lund University

I’m outraged that they’ve included me as an “author” of this report. I do not share the views expressed in the summary.” - Dr. John Clague, Shrum Research Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University

You get the idea…

The Heartland list also included several dead people who were clearly no longer in a position to defend their reputations. Heartland neither retracted the offending article nor issued an apology, although many of the scientists threatened legal action.

It is therefore rich that the Heartland Institute is now hectoring the world’s scientists for their lack of ethics and their shoddy research.

Heartland Ad #3Their last ad maintains that politicians and the media are ignoring the good work the Heartland Institute is doing.

They whine that: “politicians…and the media routinely ignore and silence the scientists, economists and other experts who say global warming isn’t a crisis.”

That’s strange – that’s not what the Heartland Institute is telling their funders.

In their latest annual report, their President Joseph Bast brags:

Our primary audiences are the nation’s 8,300 state and national elected officials and approximately 8,400 local government officials… 85 percent of state legislators and 63 percent of municipal officials report reading at least one Heartland publication. Nearly half of state elected officials say a Heartland publication influenced their opinions or led to a change in public policy.”

As for their penetration in the media, their annual report also shows that Heartland shelled out $1.48 million in 2007 on public relations efforts, that “produces a steady stream of news alerts, opinion-editorials, and letters to the editor; organizes events for its key audiences; schedules speaking engagements for Heartland’s senior fellows; and engages in joint projects with allies and other civic and business groups.”

They also produce five of their own monthly periodicals aimed at sitting politicians. In their own words:

The Heartland Institute has discovered a way to get the attention of busy elected officials. We package research and commentary on public policy issues as news, in the form of monthly public policy newspapers. These 20-page tabloid-sized publications are colorful, easy to read, arrive in the mail frequently, and feature short articles. They are far more likely to be read than policy studies, books, or media kits.

This lobbying onslaught adds up to 2.5 million policy newspapers pubished annually, targeted specifically at elected officials throughout the nation. Their on-line efforts also reached 18 million page views in 2007.

According to the Christian Lobby group Culturewatch: “If the name of the game is influencing public policy and shaping the political debate, then The Heartland Institute has created a perfect vehicle for accomplishing these goals.”

Clearly this strategy has worked for their clients - whoever they are. Since 1999, Heartland’s budget has ballooned from $1.1 million to $5.2 million – an increase of 370% in nine years.

So it is strange that Heartland is now moaning in full-page ads in the Washington Post that they are being shut out of the media and the political process.

If the Heartland Institute is by their own admission now so ineffective, perhaps their clients should take their business elsewhere.

Or maybe they just aren’t telling the truth…

The last knee-slapper in their quarter million dollar ad campaign is that moving to a low carbon economy will be a disaster for business, consumers and taxpayers.

Wow. What a load.

Perhaps they did not see the recent open letter from G20 Task Force on Low-Carbon Economic Prosperity that includes many of the world’s leading corporations. This blue ribbon panel concluded that: “one thing is crystal clear: to ensure our future prosperity, we need a high-growth and low-carbon economy.”

And then there’s the recent study by the Consumer Federation of America showing that strong renewable energy standards would save U.S. consumers $200 billion a year in differed energy costs by 2030.

Another recent report revealed the green energy sector was already growing 250% faster than the rest of the economy, even before the massive infusion of public money towards conservation and renewables.

Trade unions and environmental groups also released a report predicting stricter requirements for clean energy will produce 850,000 manufacturing jobs by 2025.

California has already reaped a massive economic windfall from its ambitious mandatory requirements for clean energy, with 10,209 new businesses and 125,390 jobs created in 2007 alone. Green venture capital investments in the Golden State totaled $6.6 billion from 2006 to 2008.

Another study from economists at Berkeley showed even stronger clean energy requirements would further boost economic growth in California, generating 500,000 jobs and $100 billion in cumulative payrolls over the next 40 years.

The tired media machine that is the climate denial lobby has clearly run out of steam, allies and credibility. These latest ads are enough to make the Heartland Institute and their clients a laughingstock.

Comments

680 N Logsdon Parkway, #1B
Radcliff, KY 40160
270-351-8772
14 May 2011

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

I was appalled to see Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi sitting on a couch discussing the “need” to do Cap and Trade as a cooperative project.

I am a retired Ph.D. physicist, with years of political activism behind me. I understand the occasional need to work across the aisle, for the benefit of the country. For example, although I support the Tea Party policies, I was sad to see my friend Senator Bob Bennett defeated in the Utah primary process for 2010, because he was a very intelligent, realistic senator, really a statesman.

If we get a GOP senate in 2012, there is a chance that divisiveness will just cause a stalemate. So I understand Newt’s motive, but I think he made a huge mistake in choosing his battle. He jumped on the wrong ship. His bid for 2012 now seems to have no chance, for reasons I explain in the attached letters, one to John Crisp and one to Bracken Hendricks.

If it were desirable, Cap and Trade would be the worst way to do it! (See last paragraph of letter to Hendricks.)

Sincerely,

Steve Barrowes

27 April 2011
Dear Mr. Crisp,

I would like to comment about global warming, but not about videogames or birthers. I realize you are an English professor, meaning I cannot expect you to have decided about global warming except by acclamation.

Does global warming occur? Certainly, and the CO2 content of the air is up from 285 ppm to about 380. But are they causally related? The Vikings that settled Greenland had as much warming, but without the CO2 increase. What caused that? So the proper question is “How much of the global warming is man-caused, and how much is caused by something else, like variations in solar output?” (See footnotes on the letter.)

This proper question hasn’t been discussed much, because of the obvious suspect, CO2. And because it has become a politicized question. Nevertheless, we must take care lest we hang the wrong suspect. Your scientific colleagues might like some jury duty on this.

Sincerely,

Steven C. Barrowes
680 N Logsdon Parkway, #1B
Radcliff, KY 40160
270-351-8772
11 November 2010
Bracken Hendricks,
Center for American Progress
1333 H St Ste 1000W
Washington, DC 2005
Re: Thank the Vikings
Dear Bracken Hendricks,
I just read your article on why fighting global warming should be a conservative cause, and agree with your analysis IF the scientific consensus has a good chance of being correct. As a Ph.D. physicist, I have stood on both sides of this issue
The atmospheric CO2 is up from 285 to about 380 ppm due to industry, which ought to produce some greenhouse warming, but H2O vapor and clouds complicate the question. So I appeal to historical evidences, a major one being from Greenland, which the Vikings saw as green, especially along the coasts. But they settled there about 1000 AD, in a period of naturally caused global warming and were unable to survive much past 1424 AD. By then they had lost the knowledge and skills to sail back to their homeland, and died out.
The Viking warming (or Medieval Warm Period) became at least as warm as ours is currently, 0.3 degrees C, so it raises the question of whether our warming might be as naturally caused as theirs was. So what could be such a cause?
It is known that when sunspots are prevalent the sun’s output is 0.1% higher than average,* which is correlated with a 22-year drought cycle as sunspots go through two 11-year cycles. Sunspots have been monitored since 1609 AD and went through the Maunder Minimum of almost no sunspots at all from 1645 to 1715.* This corresponded roughly to the little ice age felt in Europe from about 1440 to 1740.
Global temperatures over the last 2,000 years show clearly the grand maximum of the Viking period and the minimum of the Little Ice Age.** The temperature data are combined from 18 different non-tree-ring studies.
It may be noted that the Maunder minimum came at the last part of the temperature minimum, suggesting that processes deep inside the sun are the cause, followed by sunspots as a surface symptom.
Shall we then try to control these deep solar processes? Even if we might spend many trillions every year, the sun would only laugh at us, so to speak. Over the last 11 years no global warming has been measured, thus it may be that the sun is cooling already. So our best bet is to balance the federal budget and enjoy the sunshine we have.
If we feel we must reduce atmospheric CO2 and/or our dependence on foreign oil, a tariff on foreign oil (or a simple revenue-neutral carbon tax) would be far, far better than Cap and Trade. Still, our best bet to reduce CO2 (and air pollution) would be to expand nuclear power, a goal I have voluntarily worked toward for a decade.

Sincerely,

Steven C. Barrowes

*Sky and Telescope, Robert Zimmerman, August 2009, p. 26.
**Energy and E nvironment, Craig Loehle, 18, no. 7 & 8, p. 1949; Energy and Environment, Craig Loehle & J. Huston McCulloch, 19, No. 1, 2008, p. 92.

680 N Logsdon Parkway, #1B
Radcliff, KY 40160
270-351-8772
14 May 2011

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

I was appalled to see Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi sitting on a couch discussing the “need” to do Cap and Trade as a cooperative project.

I am a retired Ph.D. physicist, with years of political activism behind me. I understand the occasional need to work across the aisle, for the benefit of the country. For example, although I support the Tea Party policies, I was sad to see my friend Senator Bob Bennett defeated in the Utah primary process for 2010, because he was a very intelligent, realistic senator, really a statesman.

If we get a GOP senate in 2012, there is a chance that divisiveness will just cause a stalemate. So I understand Newt’s motive, but I think he made a huge mistake in choosing his battle. He jumped on the wrong ship. His bid for 2012 now seems to have no chance, for reasons I explain in the attached letters, one to John Crisp and one to Bracken Hendricks.

If it were desirable, Cap and Trade would be the worst way to do it! (See last paragraph of letter to Hendricks.)

Sincerely,

Steve Barrowes

27 April 2011
Dear Mr. Crisp,

I would like to comment about global warming, but not about videogames or birthers. I realize you are an English professor, meaning I cannot expect you to have decided about global warming except by acclamation.

Does global warming occur? Certainly, and the CO2 content of the air is up from 285 ppm to about 380. But are they causally related? The Vikings that settled Greenland had as much warming, but without the CO2 increase. What caused that? So the proper question is “How much of the global warming is man-caused, and how much is caused by something else, like variations in solar output?” (See footnotes on the letter.)

This proper question hasn’t been discussed much, because of the obvious suspect, CO2. And because it has become a politicized question. Nevertheless, we must take care lest we hang the wrong suspect. Your scientific colleagues might like some jury duty on this.

Sincerely,

Steven C. Barrowes
680 N Logsdon Parkway, #1B
Radcliff, KY 40160
270-351-8772
11 November 2010
Bracken Hendricks,
Center for American Progress
1333 H St Ste 1000W
Washington, DC 2005
Re: Thank the Vikings
Dear Bracken Hendricks,
I just read your article on why fighting global warming should be a conservative cause, and agree with your analysis IF the scientific consensus has a good chance of being correct. As a Ph.D. physicist, I have stood on both sides of this issue
The atmospheric CO2 is up from 285 to about 380 ppm due to industry, which ought to produce some greenhouse warming, but H2O vapor and clouds complicate the question. So I appeal to historical evidences, a major one being from Greenland, which the Vikings saw as green, especially along the coasts. But they settled there about 1000 AD, in a period of naturally caused global warming and were unable to survive much past 1424 AD. By then they had lost the knowledge and skills to sail back to their homeland, and died out.
The Viking warming (or Medieval Warm Period) became at least as warm as ours is currently, 0.3 degrees C, so it raises the question of whether our warming might be as naturally caused as theirs was. So what could be such a cause?
It is known that when sunspots are prevalent the sun’s output is 0.1% higher than average,* which is correlated with a 22-year drought cycle as sunspots go through two 11-year cycles. Sunspots have been monitored since 1609 AD and went through the Maunder Minimum of almost no sunspots at all from 1645 to 1715.* This corresponded roughly to the little ice age felt in Europe from about 1440 to 1740.
Global temperatures over the last 2,000 years show clearly the grand maximum of the Viking period and the minimum of the Little Ice Age.** The temperature data are combined from 18 different non-tree-ring studies.
It may be noted that the Maunder minimum came at the last part of the temperature minimum, suggesting that processes deep inside the sun are the cause, followed by sunspots as a surface symptom.
Shall we then try to control these deep solar processes? Even if we might spend many trillions every year, the sun would only laugh at us, so to speak. Over the last 11 years no global warming has been measured, thus it may be that the sun is cooling already. So our best bet is to balance the federal budget and enjoy the sunshine we have.
If we feel we must reduce atmospheric CO2 and/or our dependence on foreign oil, a tariff on foreign oil (or a simple revenue-neutral carbon tax) would be far, far better than Cap and Trade. Still, our best bet to reduce CO2 (and air pollution) would be to expand nuclear power, a goal I have voluntarily worked toward for a decade.

Sincerely,

Steven C. Barrowes

*Sky and Telescope, Robert Zimmerman, August 2009, p. 26.
**Energy and E nvironment, Craig Loehle, 18, no. 7 & 8, p. 1949; Energy and Environment, Craig Loehle & J. Huston McCulloch, 19, No. 1, 2008, p. 92.

680 N Logsdon Parkway, #1B
Radcliff, KY 40160
270-351-8772
14 May 2011

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

I was appalled to see Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi sitting on a couch discussing the “need” to do Cap and Trade as a cooperative project.

I am a retired Ph.D. physicist, with years of political activism behind me. I understand the occasional need to work across the aisle, for the benefit of the country. For example, although I support the Tea Party policies, I was sad to see my friend Senator Bob Bennett defeated in the Utah primary process for 2010, because he was a very intelligent, realistic senator, really a statesman.

If we get a GOP senate in 2012, there is a chance that divisiveness will just cause a stalemate. So I understand Newt’s motive, but I think he made a huge mistake in choosing his battle. He jumped on the wrong ship. His bid for 2012 now seems to have no chance, for reasons I explain in the attached letters, one to John Crisp and one to Bracken Hendricks.

If it were desirable, Cap and Trade would be the worst way to do it! (See last paragraph of letter to Hendricks.)

Sincerely,

Steve Barrowes

27 April 2011
Dear Mr. Crisp,

I would like to comment about global warming, but not about videogames or birthers. I realize you are an English professor, meaning I cannot expect you to have decided about global warming except by acclamation.

Does global warming occur? Certainly, and the CO2 content of the air is up from 285 ppm to about 380. But are they causally related? The Vikings that settled Greenland had as much warming, but without the CO2 increase. What caused that? So the proper question is “How much of the global warming is man-caused, and how much is caused by something else, like variations in solar output?” (See footnotes on the letter.)

This proper question hasn’t been discussed much, because of the obvious suspect, CO2. And because it has become a politicized question. Nevertheless, we must take care lest we hang the wrong suspect. Your scientific colleagues might like some jury duty on this.

Sincerely,

Steven C. Barrowes
680 N Logsdon Parkway, #1B
Radcliff, KY 40160
270-351-8772
11 November 2010
Bracken Hendricks,
Center for American Progress
1333 H St Ste 1000W
Washington, DC 2005
Re: Thank the Vikings
Dear Bracken Hendricks,
I just read your article on why fighting global warming should be a conservative cause, and agree with your analysis IF the scientific consensus has a good chance of being correct. As a Ph.D. physicist, I have stood on both sides of this issue
The atmospheric CO2 is up from 285 to about 380 ppm due to industry, which ought to produce some greenhouse warming, but H2O vapor and clouds complicate the question. So I appeal to historical evidences, a major one being from Greenland, which the Vikings saw as green, especially along the coasts. But they settled there about 1000 AD, in a period of naturally caused global warming and were unable to survive much past 1424 AD. By then they had lost the knowledge and skills to sail back to their homeland, and died out.
The Viking warming (or Medieval Warm Period) became at least as warm as ours is currently, 0.3 degrees C, so it raises the question of whether our warming might be as naturally caused as theirs was. So what could be such a cause?
It is known that when sunspots are prevalent the sun’s output is 0.1% higher than average,* which is correlated with a 22-year drought cycle as sunspots go through two 11-year cycles. Sunspots have been monitored since 1609 AD and went through the Maunder Minimum of almost no sunspots at all from 1645 to 1715.* This corresponded roughly to the little ice age felt in Europe from about 1440 to 1740.
Global temperatures over the last 2,000 years show clearly the grand maximum of the Viking period and the minimum of the Little Ice Age.** The temperature data are combined from 18 different non-tree-ring studies.
It may be noted that the Maunder minimum came at the last part of the temperature minimum, suggesting that processes deep inside the sun are the cause, followed by sunspots as a surface symptom.
Shall we then try to control these deep solar processes? Even if we might spend many trillions every year, the sun would only laugh at us, so to speak. Over the last 11 years no global warming has been measured, thus it may be that the sun is cooling already. So our best bet is to balance the federal budget and enjoy the sunshine we have.
If we feel we must reduce atmospheric CO2 and/or our dependence on foreign oil, a tariff on foreign oil (or a simple revenue-neutral carbon tax) would be far, far better than Cap and Trade. Still, our best bet to reduce CO2 (and air pollution) would be to expand nuclear power, a goal I have voluntarily worked toward for a decade.

Sincerely,

Steven C. Barrowes

*Sky and Telescope, Robert Zimmerman, August 2009, p. 26.
**Energy and E nvironment, Craig Loehle, 18, no. 7 & 8, p. 1949; Energy and Environment, Craig Loehle & J. Huston McCulloch, 19, No. 1, 2008, p. 92.

[x]
Heartland Unabomber Billboard

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

The Heartland Institute’s recent International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas illustrates climate change deniers’ desperate confusion. As Bloomberg News noted, “Heartland’s strategy seemed to be to throw many theories at the wall and see what stuck.” A who’s who of fossil fuel industry supporters and anti-science shills...

read more