Who are we to believe? Gore or Heartland Institute?

Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, wrote an opinion piece that appeared in today’s Philadelphia Daily News, asking readers whom they would believe, Al Gore or scientists.

It is interesting to observe that the cadre of scientists Bast refers to as proof that Gore is wrong seems to be getting smaller and their collective expertise in the area of climate change continues to diminish as more and more jump off the climate denial bandwagon. For instance, Bast claims Tim Ball, former professor at the University of Winnipeg, to be an “expert” on climate change, when in fact Dr. Ball has not published any research in a peer-reviewed science journal in the last 20 years.

All this becomes even more questionable when you question the source of this article, Joseph Bast himself. When the Heartland Institute, of which Bast is the President, isn’t attacking climate change science, they spend their time attacking the science behind the negative effects of tobacco smoke. Not really a surprise when you learn that Heartland has been an industry sponsored PR front for the tobacco industry for many years.

I guess it also comes as no surprise, that much like the other self-professed “non-partisan” and objective US think tanks like the George C. Marshall Institute, the Hudson Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heartland Institute with Mr. Bast at helm, has received hundreds of thousands from oil interests over the years.

A glance at Bast's list of scientists reveals Robert Balling, who has been funded by coal and mining companies, Sallie Baliunas, whose work has been funded by the American Petroleum Institute and John Christy who has been sponsored by the extremely conservative, contrarian and oil-backed Marshall Institute, among others.

So the question shouldn’t be whether I believe Gore. It should be: why would anybody believe anything Bast writes? As the old saying goes, fool me once….


Gore is simply echoing what the scientists (i.e. the IPCC and Dr. Hansen) have been saying for 15 years and 19 years respectively. He is only representing the state of the science in a way that the general public can understand and is cutting through the think-tank and policy wonk gobbledygook to give us all a thorough synopsis of climate change. He never claimed to be a scientist. However, he is a defender of real science and attacks the pseudo-science spewed out by the NRSP, FOS, Heartland Institute, Marshall Institute, FCPP, and others about climate change. http://www.biology-blog.com/