Evaluation shows "Faked" Heartland Climate Strategy Memo is Authentic

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A line-by-line evaluation of the Climate Strategy memo, which the Heartland Institute has repeatedly denounced as a “fake” shows no “obvious and gross misstatements of fact,” as Heartland has alleged. On the contrary, the Climate Strategy document is corroborated by Heartland’s own material and/or by its allies and employees.

It also uses phrases, language and, in many cases, whole sentences that were taken directly from Heartland’s own material. Only someone who had previous access to all of that material could have prepared the Climate Strategy in its current form.

In all the circumstances – taking into account Peter Gleick’s explanation of the origin of the Heartland documents, and in direct contradiction of Heartland’s stated position – DeSmogBlog has concluded that the Climate Strategy memo is authentic. 

Judge for yourself:

January 2012

Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy

Given the increasingly important role the Heartland Institute is playing in leading the fight to prevent the implementation of dangerous policy actions to address the supposed risks of global warming, it is useful to set priorities for our efforts in 2012.

DeSmogBlog:  Heartland has in fact played an increasingly important role in attacking the science of global warming.  After the UK Royal Society publicly attacked Exxon for its financial support of the leading climate-change-denying think tanks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute stepped back as the most prominent and public policy house. That opened ground for the Heartland Institute, which launched its International Conference on Climate Change series (the “Denial-a-palooza”) in 2008. 

Heartland material about climate change also regularly employs terminology such as “dangerous policy actions” and “supposed risks of global warming”.  One of Heartland’s long-standing arguments is that addressing global warming will have catastrophic consequences for the economy.

This document offers such a set of priorities.

DeSmogBlog:  It is entirely logical that Heartland’s Board would want to consider setting priorities for its anti-global warming activities at its first meeting of the calendar and fiscal year.

I propose that at this point it be kept confidential and only be distributed to a subset of Institute Board and senior staff.

DeSmogBlog:  Peter Gleick’s explanation that he received this memo in hard copy form by anonymous mail is consistent with it not having formed part of the complete package given to the Board.  It appears that Gleick must have scanned the printed document to create the electronic version that he could distribute with the later material he obtained from Heartland.

If the document had been given to all Institute Board members and formed an element of the complete package, Gleick would presumably have received it twice – the second time when he requested and was sent the Board documents. 

Assuming the Climate Strategy memo was not shared with the Institute’s entire Board, it would be extremely embarrassing for the memo’s author and inner circle recipients to admit they had withheld it from other Board members.  This would create a powerful incentive for the author to deny this document’s authenticity: the implied insult to Board members that Heartland treats as second-class could be more damaging to Heartland than the public embarrassment of its inflammatory subject matter.

More details can be found in our 2012 Proposed Budget document and 2012 Fundraising Strategy memo. In 2012 our efforts will focus in the following areas:

DeSmogBlog:  Peter Gleick now confirms that he received these documents by email directly from Heartland. 

Yet the Institute has refused to acknowledge their authenticity, even going so far as to accuse the DeSmogBlog and other sources of publishing “stolen” documents without admitting their origin. Given the overlap between these documents and the Climate Strategy, it will be hard for Heartland to continue to disavow the latter as “a fake” now that the main tranche of documents has been authenticated.  

Increased climate project fundraising

Our climate work is attractive to funders, especially our key Anonymous Donor (whose contribution dropped from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011 - about 20% of our total 2011 revenue).

DeSmogBlog:  Various documents confirm there is an “Anonymous Donor.”  The contribution figures in brackets are confirmed in the Heartland Budget document and corroborated in Table 5 at page 21 of the 2012 Fundraising Plan document.  Table 5 shows that in 2010, $964.150 received from the Anonymous Donor was allocated to “Global Warming Projects.”  In 2009, the sum of $1,732,180 was allocated to Global Warming Projects and in 2008, the sum of $3,300,000.

The general financial downturn in 2008 may well explain the subsequent year-over-year decline in donations from the Anonymous Donor. (The other conclusion would be that the Anonymous Donor thought Heartland was not effective.)

He has promised an increase in 2012 - see the 2011 Fourth Quarter Financial Report.

DeSmogBlog:  This statement is corroborated by the 2012 Fundraising Plan which states at page 20 under the heading “4. Anonymous Donor”:

Because the Anonymous Donor has given a large percentage of the Heartland’s budget in past years, it is useful to single out his expected gift at the beginning of the year.

In 2011, he gave Heartland $979,000, less than any year since 2005.  In January 2012, he pledged $1 million.  We project that he will give $250,000 more over the course of the year.

Table 6 at page 21 confirms the Anonymous Donor’s million dollar pledge for the first quarter of 2012, of which $194,000 is allocated for the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) Project, $44,000 for the (Anthony Watts) Weather Stations Project, and $100,000 for the Global Warming Curriculum Project.

Further corroboration is found in the 2012 Proposed Budget which states at page 3:

Anonymous Donor:  We expect the Anonymous Donor to contribute $1,250,000 in 2012 in gifts for budgeted projects, 28 percent more than he contributed in 2011, but still less than he contributed in any other year since 2004.  He already pledged to give $1 million in January.

We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000. We expect to push up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to their network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests.

DeSmogBlog:  This appears to be a misstatement but only as to timing: the budget and fundraising documents confirm that the Charles G. Koch Foundation gave $25,000 in 2011, and that Heartland expected that figure to jump up to $200,000 in 2012. For example, the Fundraising Plan which states at page 7:

The Charles G. Koch Foundation returned as a Heartland donor in 2011.  We expect to ramp up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to the network of philanthropists they work with.”

The same document states at page 13:

NIPCC is currently funded by two gifts a year from two foundations, both of them requesting anonymity.  In 2012 we plan to solicit gifts from other donors to add to what these two donors are giving in order to cover more of our fixed costs for promoting the first two Climate Change Reconsidered volumes and writing and editing the volume scheduled for release in 2013.  We hope to raise $200,000 in 2012.

See also the 2012 Proposed Budget at page 4 where a table of Projected Income from Lapsed and First-Time Donors by Project allocates a budget of $200,000 to the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and a budget of $200,000 to the Global Warming Curriculum Project.

Heartland donors’ apparent appetite for anonymity – and Koch’s toxic profile as a major funder of anti-democratic and anti-climate science activism – would explain why the 2012 Fundraising Plan does not explicitly mention the source of the large infusion of precisely $200,000 in 2012.  DeSmogBlog also assumes that the reference to a $200,000 contribution (and not $25,000) in 2011 was probably a slip-up by the Climate Strategy memo’s author, who probably meant to refer to a promise made in 2011 in that amount.

A disavowal from the Koch Foundation suggests that Heartland will have to abandon its hopes of a $200,000 payment from Koch in 2012. 

Other contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.

DeSmogBlog: The Heartland 2012 Fundraising Plan explicitly states at page 12:

While ideologically motivated individual donors are apt to contribute for general operating, corporations and (increasingly) foundations want project-specific proposals…During 2012 we plan to fundraise for 10 new or relaunched projects designed to attract new donors.”

Table 3 at page 6 identifies “Target Groups for Potential Major Donors” which include “Officers, PR and GR officials at corporations with an interest in free-market policy messages on topics covered in Heartland publications.”  (Heartland has numerous publications concerning global warming.) The sources for that target group include “Media coverage of corporations and industries under attack.”

Development of our “Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms” project.

Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.

DeSmogBlog:  The word “alarmist” is part of the Heartland lexicon.  It is their terminology for real climate scientists.  The word appears continuously in Heartland publications concerning climate change.

To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms.

DeSmogBlog:  This statement is corroborated by the 2012 Fundraising Plan which states at page 18:

H.  Global warming curriculum for K-12 Schools
Many people lament the absence of educational material suitable for K-12 students on global warming that isn’t alarmist or overtly political. … Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.  …

The 2012 Fundraising Plan then proceeds to detail how Heartland will arrange for the preparation of alternative materials for K-12 classrooms.

We are pursuing a proposal from Dr. David Wojick to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools.

DeSmogBlog:  The 2012 Fundraising Plan states at page 18:

Dr. David Wojick has presented Heartland with a proposal to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools that appears to have great potential for success.

Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science.

DeSmogBlog:  The 2012 Fundraising Plan states at page 18:

Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science.

His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.

DeSmogBlog:  This is corroborated by the 2012 Fundraising Plan which states at page 18: 

Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works.  Their reliability is controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial.  It is the global food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”).

We tentatively plan to pay Dr. Wojick $100,000 for 20 modules in 2012, with funding pledged by the Anonymous Donor.

DeSmogBlog:  This is corroborated by the 2012 Fundraising Plan which states at page 18:

We tentatively plan to pay Dr. Wojick $5,000 per module, about $25,000 a quarter, starting in the second quarter of 2012 for this work.  The Anonymous donor has pledged the first $100,000 for this project, and we will circulate a proposal to match and then expand upon that investment.

Wojick, who by the way has no background or expertise in climate science, has confirmed independently that he has been engaged to do this work.

Heartland’s suggestion that climate change is controversial and uncertain bears no relation to the true state of science, which is perhaps why the author of the Climate Strategy Memo admits (in what may be a Freudian slip) that those “two key points … are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”

Funding for parallel organizations.

Heartland is part of a growing network of groups working the climate issues, some of which we support financially.  We will seek additional partnerships in 2012. At present we sponsor the NIPCC to undermine the official United Nations’ IPCC reports and paid a team of writers $388,000 in 2011 to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered. Expenses will be about the same in 2012. NIPCC is currently funded by two gifts a year from two foundations, both of them requesting anonymity.

DeSmogBlog:  The 2012 Proposed Budget states at page 7:

The two tables below summarize the multi-year budget for the project and personnel costs for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international group of scientists that produces critiques of the reports of the United Nations' IPCC.  Heartland hosts and funds the effort.  A growing number of scientists have been recruited by Craig Idso to be contributing authors and editors of NIPCC’s major reports, a series titled Climate Change Reconsidered.  Two volumes have been published so far.

Further, the 2012 Fundraising Plan states at page 13:

Heartland sponsors the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international network of scientists who write and speak out on climate change.  Heartland pays a team of scientists approximately $300,000 a year to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered, the most comprehensive and authoritative rebuttal of the United Nations’ IPCC reports.  

The use of “rebuttal” in this context certainly supports the interpretation that the NIPCC’s purpose is “to undermine the official United Nation's IPCC reports.

Another $88,000 is earmarked this year for Heartland staff, incremental expenses, and overhead for editing, expense reimbursement for the authors, and marketing.

DeSmogBlog:  This is corroborated in the 2012 Fundraising Plan which states at page 13:

Another $88,000 is earmarked for Heartland staff, incremental expenses, and overhead for editing, expense reimbursement for the authors, and marketing.

Note that the political – rather than scientific – nature of the NIPCC's work has been well-documented elsewhere.

Funding for selected individuals outside of Heartland.

Our current budget includes funding for high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist AGW message. At the moment, this funding goes primarily to Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 per month, plus expenses), Robert Carter ($1,667 per month), and a number of other individuals, but we will consider expanding it, if funding can be found.

DeSmogBlog:  This is corroborated by table 3 at page 7 of the 2012 Proposed Budget which describes Craig Idso as a Senior Editor, Center for the Study of CO2 and Global Change; Fred Singer as Co-Editor, Science and Environmental Policy Project; and Robert Carter, Co-Editor, James Cook University and Institute for Public Affairs, Australia.

Note that Heartland’s propensity for inadvertent misstatement spills into its own budget documents. For example, Heartland's Budget speaks of paying “Susan Crockford” for a chapter “2.2 Terrestrial Animals,” at the University of Victoria in “Australia.” Crockford is in fact a professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia (which Joe Bast ought to realize is in Canada). Crockford advertises herself as an expert in “the evolution and history of the domestic dog.” There is no mention in the Heartland material of any qualifications relevant to climate change.

Bob Carter (who really IS from Australia) confirmed the information about him in the 2012 Proposed Budget during an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Expanded climate communications

Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences, and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts).

DeSmogBlog:  This is corroborated by Heartland's website which lists James Taylor as a Senior Fellow. Taylor does, indeed, write periodically in Forbes. Heartland also appears to have a close relationship with WUWT, which is weather forecaster Anthony Watts website, What's Up With That. For example, when Peter Gleick publicly acknowledged his role in getting Heartland to hand over their Board package, the Institute chose to use WUWT to release their reaction, even in priority to publishing the information on their own website.

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own.

DeSmogBlog:  Dr. Peter Gleick, who explained the origins of the leak of Heartland documents, is also a frequent contributor at Forbes. And again, throughout this document, as on its website and in other documents, Heartland uses the adjective “warmist” to indicate someone who gives an accurate interpretation to the human cause – and likely effects – of global warming.

This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out. Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Romm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters).

DeSmogBlog:  This is mostly editorial comment, although Forbes has distinguished itself on many previous occasions by choosing to concentrate on material that suggests there is still some debate over the causes of climate change.

Andrew Revkin commented on his blog that he felt this reference undermined the credibility of the Climate Strategy memo, saying, “It (the strategy document) always seemed dubious, given that the document said it might be worth 'cultivating' me as a 'neutral' voice. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that the group called me “a noted ally of the alarmist camp.” Certainly, it would be embarrassing for a former New York Times environment reporter to be labelled “neutral” by an organization such as Heartland. But Revkin’s attack on Peter Gleick tends to corroborate the Climate Strategy memo’s assessment, especially given that Revkin failed, in the same article, to offer any direct criticism of an organization that has dedicated itself for years to climate disinformation.

We have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.

DeSmogBlog: This is corroborated in the 2012 Fundraising Plan which states at pages 19-20:

Anthony Watts proposes to create a new Web site devoted to accessing the new temperature data from NOAA’s web site and converting them into easy-to-understand graphs that can be easily found and understood by weathermen and the general interested public. …The new site will be promoted heavily at WattsUpwithThat.com.

Heartland has agreed to help Anthony raise $88,000 for the project in 2011.  The Anonymous donor has already pledged $44,000.  We’ll seek to raise the balance.

Further, Anthony Watts himself has confirmed the details of this project, but he later stated that the rounding up from $88,000 to $90,000 indicated that the document is a fake, saying the Climate Strategy, “gets the operational details (budget) wrong – especially the points about my project, rounding up to $90,000 from a very specific budget number of $88,000. This suggests trying to inflate the number for a purpose. There’s no evidence of rounding budget numbers in any other document in the set.”
Watts’ criticism of the $2,000 variance is patently absurd.

Finally, we will consider expanding these efforts further, or developing new ones, if funding can be obtained.

DeSmogBlog:  This seems unlikely to represent an “obvious and gross misstatement of fact.”


The foregoing analysis demonstrates that the Climate Strategy Memo is an accurate executive summary of the information contained in budget and fundraising documents that were to be put before the Board at its January meeting.

DeSmogBlog therefore sees no basis whatsoever for Heartland’s assertion that the Climate Strategy memo is a ‘fake” which contains “obvious and gross misstatements of fact.”

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It’s probable that the HI folks will continue to trumpet their conspiracy theories, flying around the room like a leaky balloon until they finally fizzle out.   They will become increasingly irrelevant, as Christopher Monckton has done. 

I find it a bit sad that they actually seem hurt and a bit bewildered.  They give every appearance of genuinely not seeing the connection between so-called Climategate and the present situation. 


Keep up the good work, DSB!


A good analysis here of Heartland’s statement about this memo:


Well worth reading that article at Scholars & Rogues.

Considering the multiple ambiguous nature of that Heartland statement I would thing that the Memo was sent from somebody associated with Heartland. What their motives were is unclear but given that Heartland have been so coy about this whole business and that the contents of the memo are backed up by evidence in other released documents I would think that it should not be a problem to restore access to it here, as I see has been done - good. After all there must be thousands of copies around the world by now.

With all that hullabaloo, it should not be forgotten that John Mashey’s opus is now ‘out there’ and should be allowed to raise a Heartland Institute swamping tidal wave. Those who stir the waters should expect wet feet.

I note that the other Bast, Diane, has written with some head exploding arrogance:


Thank you for your excellent work on this document.  I never for a moment believed it was fake anyway, given its on-the-face corroboration by already authenticated documents, but your scrupulousness and attention to detail is invaluable in dispelling all remaining doubts.

I still have plenty of doubts about this memo. All you have done is shown that whoever wrote it had access to Heartland internal data.

Heartland claims that Gleick himself wrote it. I wish I could rule this possibility out but I can’t. He showed a lapse of jugment in how he obtained the rest of the files. Only someone who actually knows him well could rule out an even greater lapse of judgment.

You have ruled out the possibility that someone with no connection to Heartland wrote this and sent it to Gleick. But if it was written by a Heartland insider, is it genuine? I can think of two reasons why an insider might write a fake memo. One is an attempt at revenge by an insider with a grudge. The other is a false flag opperation, with someone writing this to set up Gleick.

The arguments that I have seen against this memo being genuine are mostly based on how they talk about themselves and their aims in this paper. Some parts do sound more like how an adversary would see them.

Fair enough Lloyd. Dr Gleick’s word is good enough for me, as he chose to come out about his role in this at all, he’s got a very high incentive to be telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but… (and I trust him) ..and with respect I think the rationale given for your doubts are a little far fetched.

It’s actually pretty hard to write something as tight and concise as this too. But “how they talk about themselves and their aims” provides no argument for it not being genuine. These guys take themselves so seriously, and are so one-eyed, to us outsiders it does appear to be self-parody. You see a lot of their more enthusiastic supporters in the blogosphere doing this kind of thing all the time. Some of the better ones are worth framing.

I have to concur that we have not yet arrived at a verdict of “beyond reasonable doubt”, but it seems to me we can be confident of a conviction on the balance of probablilities.

We can also be confident that further evidence will float to the surface. The proverbial almost always does.

I don’t think a fake by a insider is likely, just a possibility that has to be considered. If that did happen then a false flag is much more likely than a grudge.

There’ve been too many fakes by people who meant well. I can see how frustration with the dihonesty of the likes of Heartland could tempt someone to create such a fake. On the other hand what he tricked them into giving him was damaging enough. Gleicks account does make more sense than Heartland’s accusations.

But some of what they talk about in the strategy sounds like dialogue that you would give to a villain rather than how they are likely see themselves. Would they actuall describe supporters as anti-climate and talk about keeping opposing voices out. These after all are people who see themselves as defenders of freedom. The talk about dissuading teachers from teaching science could be sloppy phrasing. It does not fit with their self image.

But I agree. There will probably more information later that will let us fit things together in a way that makes more sense.

Heartland’s own website (“globalwarmingheartland.org”) confirms doesn’t seem less over-the-top. Cartoonish quotes are easily found there (for example under, ‘response to critics’):

“The important point at the base of this controversy is that the published work of many scientists, even those who publicly support the alarmist position in the global warming debate, supports the view that most or all of the modern warming is due to natural causes. This is simply a fact, and an embarrassing one to global warming alarmists. No amount of PR spin can hide this.”

(note the term ‘alarmist’)

“While the first gift to Heartland reported on the ExxonSecrets site appears to have been made in 1998, the site fails to report that Heartland was questioning the science behind the global warming scare since 1994. And although ExxonMobil hasn’t contributed to Heartland since 2006, Heartland greatly increased its concentration and publication output on global warming since then.”

(note ‘global warming scare’)

Although they pay lip service to ‘both sides of the story’ on the website, comparing the strategy document to their website or the other leaked documents, the difference in tone and content is neglible.

Lloyd, I share your doubts. But consider that something gave Gleick the opportunity to trick Heartland into sending him more documents – the explanation he gave, that he received the strategy memo first, naturally explains this.

Of course it could still be a fake; the remarkable thing is that it reads like someone having access to the leaked internal documents – as in having them on his hard drive to copy/paste from and lightly edit – but not actually sharing the belief system of Heartland, which explains the slip-ups you note.

The mystery then becomes: if he had the documents all along, why didn’t he just print them out and put them in the same envelope to Gleick as the memo? Trying to protect a source?

On reconsideration a fake created by someone else, at least for the reasons that I suggested, is even less likely than I thought. Something created by an insider for revenge would not have the hints of not sharing their belief system. Even if they had abandoned it they would understand it well enough to do a more convincing fake. I would expect a sting to have false information inserted as a trap. They could not have anticipated his getting the other documents to check it against.

So the plausible explations are ether Gleick created a fake or it is genuine. And both have problems. Need more information.

Someone on the inside had doubts about what they were doing.  (Wife or child of a Heartland executive perhaps?)

They then forwarded it to someone who might make hay of it.

Instead we get this story line.

If Gleick took the time to scan and email the document to himself BEFORE he phished the response from Heartland, then… its proof positive.

I’m still waiting to see if Heartland pressed any sort of charges against Gleick in order for them to do so, will prove that all the documents are real.

On the plus side, the documents show that desmogblog has been seeing through their fog and reporting the truth all along.

All that Gleick’s word does right now, is make it harder for Heartland to prove otherwise.  In court, they have to prove him guilty.  He doesn’t have to prove his innocence.

Excellent work, guys.

The investigation & defenestration of the Heartland Institute along with other anti-science, anti-education fronts will go a long way to get this nation back on track for the 21st Century.  Our deepest respect & undying gratitude to Pete Gleick for his personal sacrifice for all our grandkids’ future.

We fervently believe that Peter Gleick’s courageous decision to risk his career, his fortune, & his honor to expose this well-oiled Heartland cog in the anti-science denial machine will go down in American history as another in our long line of courageous, patriotic acts.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary … we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Now is the time to bring it all – including Heartland’s anonymous multi-million dollar donor – to light & account before the American people in our public square, in our news media, in our congressional investigations, & in our criminal trials by jury.

To paraphrase John Hancock, “Bring it on!”

Heartland, by anyone’s standards, is strictly small-time as think-tanks go. They are nowhere near as powerfull an NGO as say Greenpeace, etc. Do you really think it was worth it for Gleick to ruin his career and, in the process, cast further doubt on all climate sientists/activists?

Hardly a win for the greenies. This is the worst possible outcome for the whole Heartland thing. Everyone is talking about Geick’s theft of the documents, not what the documents actually say!

Means, reaching 13,000,000 people a month in your world?

You must be confusing Desmogblog with Heartland.  (Not a statement I make lightly.)

But was it ultimately worth it? Gleick’s actions have done far too much damage to scientific credibility. There’s no escaping that truth!

Seriously.  I don’t see any.

No papers have been retracted.  Furthermore it won’t affect his ability to publish in the future.

No, but when someone says that they lie to advance their views, it does tend to damage their credibility. 

Whether he ultimately thinks it’s worth it, I can’t judge. Maybe he will. But he’s going to take some hits for it. 

> No, but when someone says that they lie to advance their views, it does tend to  damage their credibility

Yes I agree – but that (“…to advance their views”? Come on, it was to get hold of documents!) is not what happened here. Credibility has structure: for example, scientists cheating on their wives are not therefore less credible as scientists.

He lied to discern whether some mail he received was true. 

So he didn’t lie to advance his views.  Glieck’s scientific work is untouched and vetted by a healthy hunk of scientific community.

However, lying to advance views is what Heartland does for money.

Looking at this another way… Glieck could very well have found that Heartland was indeed a legit organization.  Lying in that case (i.e. falsifying documents) would be what you are talking about, and certainly hasn’t happened.  Instead… he’s telling the truth and its been backed up and proved by Heartland.

Whether he remains a prominent scientist in opposition remains to be seen.  Personally, I think that chunk of his career is over.

Congratulations on an excellent job of deconstruction and analysis. It struck me right from the beginning that the strategy is an excellent executive summary, and certainly contains no “obvious and gross misstatements of fact”.

This diagram from the HI’s 2010 prospectus (now sadly unavailable on their site) doesn’t shed light on the origin of the “2012 Climate Strategy” document, but it is pretty interesting nonetheless, and clearly demonstrates the sophisticated approach they take to the task of undermining climate scientists and “Bring greater attention to free-market ideas”:


I’m sure others have suggested this elsewhere, but it would make sense that the person who originally leaked this to Dr Gleick did so beacuse he was named in this document, and named as someone who is good at communicating in the mainstream media.

If not a stake in the heart, this should be a pretty solid nail in the Heartland coffin. If I was them I’d stop digging the hole I’m in any deeper, but I have no expectation they will.

Face it, #fakegate fans, you’ve been fooled and you are… (…facing an invidious position?)

Let me take you WAAAAY BACK.


Their documents were copied as far back as 1996 as part of the Way Back internet archive.  Its not always obvious where one version of the web page hides this stuff versus the next.

Many PDFs appear to be missing.  But you can find them about, like so;


2008 Michael Crichton is right!

How did Heartland figure out I’m an Eco Ninja attacking themAHHAHAAHAA

“…Congratulations on an excellent job of deconstruction and analysis”

It’s called ‘spin’ my friend, and that’s all that Desmog has left at this point as the entire WORLD is coming down on Peter Gleick and his illegal actions.

Please crawl out of your shell and read the mainstream media of the last few days. It’s actually epic in proportion to the original Heartland story.

Gleick has set the debate back years with his actions.

After all of the relevations, how can their be any doubt left about the truth?

Dr Gleick’s actions actions are virtually unprecidented in modern Climate Science.

He has truly earned the legacy all this will bring to him.

You never once mention that the Koch donations - both 25K and 200K - were to go to the HCN project, i.e. the Healthcare News newspaper. Which has nothing to do at all with AGW.

Also, it is obvious that the memo - whether real or fake - was written on the basis of these documents, so how comparing it to these documents shows that it is authentic is beyond me.

I can’t help wondering how many of the corporations and individuals who donated secretly will hate being outed. Will they donate to Heartland again?

Or will these donors move on to some other “nonprofit” Institute? And how can another such Institute find new “Singers” or “Soons”? Are there more guys of that ilk lurking in the hinterlands of science?

Take this map for example (I have others):


You can create your own, search for ‘NAMES’ so that they appear and pull around to suit best presentation. By pausing mouse point on a ‘cesspit’ you are presented with a list of further options.

Remember though this is just EXXON (who still have not paid their dues for the Valdez crime against humanity). Have a read of Greg Palast’s:

Vulture’s Picnic


for more Monsters from the Oily Lagoon.

They’ve released their plans publicly;


… the Sultan’s of Spin!

But on a more sober note, I bet Brenden will be doing a point by point comparison of that too.  Particularly comparing sentences and words.

Heartland in dire straits it would appear.


Ah! The nostalgia, Dire Straits one of my favourite pop bands much to the fore when I was at uni’ in the 1980s (as a mature student with a whole ‘other life’ behind me). Dire Straits inspired by one of my favourite UK instrumental groups ‘The Shadows’ who also inspired lautist (lutenist) Nigel North.

A little light diversion, if you will excuse:


From your document:

“The third global warming project is publication of a great new book by Rael Isaac, titled Roosters of the Apocalypse. Rael, a sociologist who has studied the origins and motivation of apocalyptic movements, examines the global warming movement and finds it is rooted in irrational fears and beliefs that have no scientific justifications.”

I am sure it is going to be a great read… but I don’t recall that being mentioned in the leaked documents. Who is this clown Rael Isaac anyway?

Its like they pinched a document from the tobacco wars and replaced all the words tobacco with climate change. Scientific uncertainty? Puhleeease.

Oh and gotta love those caring Green Scissors guys.

They are going to get loud about fracking. How reassuring.

There are things that Heartland has not done. They have not sent hard copies of their threatening email. They have gone silent on Gleik.  They have not confirmed their statement that documents may have been altered. They have not published timelines, phone records or email logs which could confirm some of their assertions.

Maybe muddy waters bare better for their credibility .

Actually that’s exactly what a lawyer would have told them to do in preparation for a court case against Gleick. You stop talking and start preparing for the offensive.

For Gleick’s part, I believe he was also under a lawyer’s advice when he outed himself. He basically is throwing himself on the “mercy of the court” as it were.

He is going to get sued, there’s no doubt, and maybe charged criminally as well.

In cases where whistleblowing on a specified topic is protected by statute, US courts have generally held that such whistleblowers are protected from retaliation.



Let’s be honest - does anyone care what they have to say? After asserting that the one document is fake and admitting that the rest are real, they have nothing to add to this conversation short of legal proceedings. The people who think it’s fake are already convinced and don’t need to be fed more, and the people who think it’s real already think that Heartland is a bunch of lying scum and would discount anything they say as a fabrication. 

DeSmogBlog therefore sees no basis whatsoever for Heartland’s assertion that the Climate Strategy memo is a ‘fake” which contains “obvious and gross misstatements of fact.”

No, but gross misstatements of intention and motivation.

”- two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”

This doesn’t appear anywhere in the original documents.


> No, but gross misstatements of intention and motivation

Hmm, and you believe Joe Bast’s statements on his own intention and motivation are accurate? Really?

I think everyone - fakeists and realists alike - has agreed from the beginning that the strategy memo is consistent with the other documents. Thing is, both theories explain that. If the document is real, then it was made by the same people who made the others, and would of course be consistent. If it’s fake, then it was probably made by Gleick himself after he got his hands on the other documents, and would be written specifically to be consistent. We can rule out some random person writing up a fake and firing it off to Gleick, but nobody thought that was the case. 

So in sum, it was either a legitimate Heartland memo or a malicious fake designed to add some spice to a series of (frankly boring) stolen documents. Sadly, this tells us nothing, but short of subpoenas and discovery or a confession from someone, it’s the best we can expect. Good analysis, anyways. 

This may be worth looking at.

The appliance of science, text analysis by Shawn Lawrence Otto has come up with this:

The most likely author of the Heartland Institute climate strategy memo?


Apart from the internal evidence suggesting that the ‘strategy document’ is a fake, which has been well analyzed by Megan McArdle in the Atlantic, I think that some weight should be given to the fact that the Heartland Institute have strongly denied its authenticity. OK, you may think that the Heartland Institute are a bunch of evil lying liars, who would say anything to promote their nefarious designs, but in the circumstances it would be extremely rash for them to deny the document’s authenticity if in fact it is genuine. If the document is genuine, people at various levels in or associated with the Institute would be aware of that fact, and in a position to vouch for it and perhaps to produce supporting evidence. Proof that the Institute had lied about the matter would be far more damaging than anything in the disputed document itself. It would only be safe to take the route of denying its authenticity if the Institute could be confident that no-one would break ranks and expose the cover-up. But manifestly they could not be confident of that, because (supposing the document to be authentic) someone in or close to the Institute has already broken ranks by sending it to Gleick!

DeSmog’s analysis is useful in showing that whoever wrote the ‘strategy document’ must have had access to the other papers in Gleick’s possession, before their release to the public. Other commentators have already made the same point, but drawn quite a different conclusion.