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DeSmogBlog challenges Heartland Institute to argue tobacco rather than climate change

VANCOUVER – Yesterday, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute launched an ad campaign calling former vice president Gore to a public debate on global warming. In response, the DeSmogBlog challenges the Heartland Institute to a debate on the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

“The Heartland Institute has a history of trying to create scientific confusion where there is none,” DeSmogBlog.com co-founder and veteran PR professional, Jim Hoggan said today. “For years they have blown smoke for the tobacco industry. Now they’re representing the fossil fuel industry in the fight against sensible climate change legislation.”

“Well, if they’re really interested in free public debate about science, let’s talk tobacco.”

Heartland’s position is on the record. In a 2004 article on the Institute’s website, Heartland states: “Cigarettes offer real benefits for the elderly, the clumsy, the forgetful, and the easily distracted. (These benefits have been intentionally underplayed by the public health community.)” Heartland president Joseph Bast has even argued that smoking moderately presents no risk whatsoever.

“This is typical,” said Hoggan. “They know they can’t win this debate any more than they can win on climate change; but as long as they keep alive a flicker of doubt, they can prevent positive action.”

In its challenge, Heartland proposed the topic: “Global warming is not a crisis.” In keeping, the DeSmogBlog proposes: “Smoking is bad for you, really.” The DeSmogBlog will meet any tobacco apologist that Heartland can dig up in any forum. As a special bonus, there will be a short seminar on the correlation between the Heartland Institute’s corporate funding and the “free market solutions” that the think tank supports.

The DeSmogBlog is an advocacy website dedicated to clearing away the public relations pollution that clouds climate science. It specializes in demonstrating links between climate change denial and fossil fuel funding. The Heartland Institute, for example, has received more than $500,000 from ExxonMobil.

A correction to this post has been made, see here.
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Heartland launches climate debate campaign Published by MPV April 2nd, 2007 in Environment. Heartland will launch a campaign tomorrow aimed at bringing real debate on global warming to the American public. The statement below is from Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast: In recent months, former Vice President Al Gore has become the world’s most recognized advocate of the theory that human greenhouse gas emissions are altering the world’s climate and could cause catastrophic damage if not arrested and reduced. He is getting hundreds of millions of dollars in free publicity from the press and from environmental groups that echo his warning. But Al Gore refuses to debate those who say global warming is not a crisis. Maybe it’s because climate alarmists tend to lose when they debate climate realists. Or because most scientists do not support climate alarmism. Lord Monckton of Brenchley, a former advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is the latest to challenge Gore to debate. He issued the following challenge on March 14: The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley presents his compliments to Vice-President Albert Gore and by these presents challenges the said former Vice-President to a head-to-head, internationally-televised debate upon the question “That our effect on climate is not dangerous,” to be held in the Library of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History at a date of the Vice-President’s choosing. Forasmuch as it is His Lordship who now flings down the gauntlet to the Vice-President, it shall be the Vice-President’s prerogative and right to choose his weapons by specifying the form of the Great Debate. May the Truth win! Magna est veritas, et praevalet. Lord Monckton is eminently qualified to debate Gore – see here and here for his recent writing on global warming – and Gore thought highly enough of him to respond to one of his essays. Like Gore, Lord Monckton is a prominent figure in the global warming debate who is not a scientist or professional economist. He would seem to be an appropriate and worthy opponent. But Gore refuses to debate Lord Monckton, just as he refuses to debate a growing list of prominent scientists, economists, novelists, and policy experts. If the scientific debate over global warming is over, as Gore and other climate alarmists so often claim, why is Al Gore afraid to debate? Is it because there is no scientific consensus on the causes or effects of global warming? Is it because a growing number of experts believe we should invest in adapting to global warming – whether it is due to natural or human causes – rather than spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to stabilize or reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Whatever the reason, we believe Al Gore should debate his critics. If you agree, please ask Al Gore to accept Lord Monckton’s challenge. For more information about Lord Monckton’s challenge to Al Gore, go to the Web site of the Center for Environment and Public Policy. Lord Monckton can be contacted directly via email at monckton/at/mail.com.

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“Yesterday, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute launched an ad campaign calling former vice president Gore to a public debate on global warming. In response, the DeSmogBlog challenges the Heartland Institute to a debate on the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.”

So, rather than debate the issue “Global Warming Is Not A Crisis”, your response is a straw-man argument.

And you absurdly accuse others of trying to cause confusion? Check.

But, by all means, continue to run away from the debate. It brings you credit as a PR shill.

>> did someone mention confusion? We read something interesting about that recently.

“So, the solution put on this site [www.freedominion.ca] a little while ago by Tina is one I would support as well - namely, they don’t take sides at all and admit they don’t know and so are holding unbiased, public hearings in which scientists from both sides are invited to testify. The resulting chaos, with claims all over the map, will do enough to thoroughly confuse everyone (which is appropriate, actually, since the science is so immature and, frankly, confusing) and take the wind out of the sails of the “we are causing a climate disaster and must stop it” camp entirely, and the CPC can quietly turn to important issues without really having had to say much at all.
What’s wrong with this approach?
Sincerely, Tom Harris, Executive Director, Natural Resources Stewardship Project
Web: www.nrsp.com

It it unfortunate that DeSmogBlog fears the science and smears the messenger. DeSmogBlog states, “The DeSmogBlog is an advocacy website dedicated to clearing away the public relations pollution that clouds climate science.”

I guess you could say that is true, if failing to even address climate science qualifies as “clearing away the public relations pollution.” Indeed, one would think that a blog dedicated to sound science would be an enthusiastic cheerleader of scientific debates. Instead, DeSmogBlog resorts to the first-year high school debate tactic of smearing the messenger and confusing the issue when one knows one is beaten on the merits of the issue.

DeSmogBlog states that it “specializes in demonstrating links between climate change denial and fossil fuel funding. The Heartland Institute, for example, has received more than $500,000 from ExxonMobil.”

This is a common tactic of self-proclaimed “activist” groups such as DeSmogBlog; villainize and smear the ethics of your opponents as a means of avoiding discussion of an issue’s scientific merits. Nevertheless, we can certainly address DeSmogBlog’s disingenuous accusation. While it is true that Heartland receives less than 5 percent of its funding from energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Heartland receives more than 95 percent of its funding from energy consumers. If we were to be extremely cynical and believe that people create and work for public policy organizations for the express purpose of selling out to the highest bidder rather than because people strongly believe in certain fundamental principles, then who do you think the Heartland Institute and other think tanks would sell out to, energy producers or energy consumers?

In this case, the answer is clear; the 95 percent of funding that comes from energy consumers. Moreover, does DeSmogBlog even mention the mountains of money that are shoveled to environmental activist groups? The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Environmental Defense, etc., all receive far more money from left-leaning corporations and public trusts than the Heartland Institute receives from corporate donors. Once again, this begs the question, if we assume that people create and work for think tanks with the goal of selling out to the highest bidder, then which way would they lean? It is amazing that public policy organizations even question big-government environmental activism considering how much money can be made by screaming “the sky is falling.”

And all of this discussion still leaves out the topic that should matter most to people who truly care about the global warming issue – what does the science tell us? DeSmogBlog attempts to divert attention away from the fact that global warming alarmists consistently lose in scientific debates on the issue. Science has debunked virtually every assertion that Al Gore made in his movie.

The Gulf Stream is in no danger of shutting down (Science, November 17, 2006; New Scientist, November 7, 2006). Antarctica as a whole is getting colder rather than warmer (Nature, January 14, 2002). The Antarctic ice cap is growing rather than shrinking (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, September, 2006). Greenland is in a prolonged cold spell (Journal of Geophysical Research, June 2006), and Greenland’s ice sheet is in equilibrium (Journal of Glaciology, December 2005). Alpine glaciers in the Himalayan mountains are growing, not shrinking (Insurance Digest, March 13, 2005; Journal of Climate, September 2006). Kilimanjaro is losing its snow cap due to local deforestation resulting in dryer updrafts rather than because of global warming (Nature, November 23, 2003) – indeed, Kilimanjaro temperatures are in a long-term cooling trend. Scientists expect sea level to rise only 1 foot or so in the entire next century, rather than the asserted 20 feet (IPCC, February 2007). Heck, if I had to argue against sound science, I would probably criticize a debate format, also.

Mmmm are you the “James Taylor” who works for the Heartland Insitute and is editor for “Environment & Climate News”?

Here is a reference describing E&C news:


Desmogblog readers please take everything said by this contributor with a grain of salt. These are disproven references he cites.

Ian Forrester

Yes, it most definitely is me. Pardon the lack of paragraph breaks - for some reason the blog does not recognize my paragraph breaks. So global warming alarmists are saying that New Scientist, Nature, Science, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Glaciology, Journal of Climate, etc., are all “disproven references” now? That is quite an assertion.

Notice how science is still nowhere to be seen in the comments posted by global warming alarmists. This is a perfect illustration of global warming alarmists refuse to debate the science because they know the science contradicts their claims. Of course, there was a prominent debate on the science on March 14 in New York City.

Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, Philop Stott, emeritus professor of bio-geography at the University of London, and author Michael Crichton, a Harvard-trained medical doctor who has been an instructor at Cambridge University and MIT, argued on behalf of the proposition “global warming is not a crisis.” Arguing that global warming is a crisis were Brenda Ekwurzel, climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, Gavin Schmidt, an underling of prominent alarmist James Hansen at NASA, and Richard Somerville, professor of oceanography at the University of California at San Diego. Before the debate, audience members were polled and indicated by a 2-to-1 margin (57 percent to 29 percent) that they believed global warming is a crisis.

After both sides had an hour apiece to present their evidence and field questions from the audience, the audience voted by 46 percent to 42 percent that global warming is not a crisis. For my colleagues who worry that propaganda is winning out over science, the results of the New York debate were quite eye-opening! This is why global warming alarmists fear debating the issue on the merits, and instead resort to smear campaigns desiged to confuse the issue and avoid the science.

Propaganda is only effective when science is barred from the premises. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to investigate the science with an open mind before coming to a conclusion.

Our Web site, www.heartland.org, has links to the science that alarmists fear.

Why do you deniers have so much difficulty with the English language? I said that the references i.e. papers, were disproved not the journals.

And the use of sock puppets is frowned upon and in academia is considered as bad as plagiarism.

No scientist with a grain of sense will ever accept the call to “debate” with you shysters who are not well acquainted with the truth. The debate is over (see the recent IPCC reports). Get over it.

Ian Forrester

Just click on the “disable rich text” button undeneath the comment section then put either <br><br> or <p> to create a paragraph break

I've tried to find links to science on your heartland site. Just like the “smoker's lounge” section on your site, where you downplay the effects of second-hand smoke, I find no references to science only to opinion.

Could it be that you consider opinion to be science? 

Here's some links to scientists that are telling global warming is happening, humans are to blame and we should be concerned: NASA , NOAA and the Royal Society

Now let's see on the Heartland site we have links to an article by Bast called “Chrichton is Right!” – now that's some science!!

Oh and Mr. Taylor, have you considered DeSmog's debate challenge? Again the title of the debate will be “Smoking is bad for you, really.”

The DeSmogBlog will meet any tobacco apologist that Heartland can dig up in any forum. 

Are you in? We've posted and reposted around the blog-o-sphere and everyone is waiting for your answer. 

What Would Exxon Do…. if the Heartland Institute came out with a statement that global warming is happening, humans are to blame and we need to begin the switch from oil to renewables? 

Would they still give you money??? 

What would money-launderer John Lefebvre do … if Global Warming turned out to not be the “crisis” it’s whipped up to be?

Would he still give you money???

Would Al Gore still evade a debate???