The last few years the climate change denier organisations have fooled themselves into thinking they are on a roll. (I am talking about deniers – not contrarians or sceptics). What with the “climategate affair,” the resulting investigations (which didn’t go their way) and the legal attacks on prominent climate scientists like Michael Mann (These have also failed). But really what they have been doing is feeding out the rope which will eventually hang them.
This is obviously the case with the US “think tank” The Heartland Institute. This rabid free market organisation had been trying hard to present themselves as purveyors of the “true” science on the climate. In particular, they have being sponsoring, together with a number of other dogmatic free market organisations, a conference they claim as “scientific.” But, they are not interested in finding facts, rather fighting facts. And that is the true purpose of their conference.
The most recent conference kicked off the other day (see Heartland Institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change – ICCC-7). But its come at a bad time for them. Back in February there was the scandal of their leaked emails and documents. These revealed some details of their financial backers – as well as plans to subvert the educations system with climate denial propaganda (see Heartland Institute gets mail and Heartland’s climategate – and Mann’s book). Then earlier this month they really dished out the rope with a electronic billboard advertising this conference (see Heartland ignorant of public relations – let alone science).*
$825,000 gone – $1,430,000 to go!
This caused such a negative reaction that they pulled it within hours. But instead of effectively “fighting the facts” of climate science they were sawing off the branch they were sitting on. Within days they faced withdrawal of speakers from the conference, departure of staff, and, more importantly, withdrawal of finance from some of their sponsors. See Guardian report Heartland Institute facing uncertain future as staff depart and cash dries up).
Have a look at Forecast the Facts – a webs site charting the decline in Heartland’s financial support. As of today $US825,000 of their projected 2012 Corporate support of US$2,225,00 has been pulled.
And the climate reality project has responded with a public donor financed billboard giving some of the facts. This will be displayed throughout their conference. (You can make donations at Climate Reality | Donate).
All this has forced The Heartland Institute to fall back on other sponsors, both for their conference and for their own finances. Sponsors more directly and publicly connected to the fossil fuel industry (see Heartland Institute Hemorrhages Donors And Cash For Extremist Agenda, As Coal And Oil Step In).
“a coal lobby group has stepped in as one of its ‘gold’ sponsors. The Illinois coal chief praises Heartland for its work and ‘so we thought we would finally make a contribution to the organisation.’ He added, ‘In general, the message of the Heartland Institute is something the Illinois Coal Association supports.
In addition to the Illinois Coal Association, ExxonMobil, other oil companies, as well as Heritage Foundation have joined to sponsor the conference.”
Mind you, have a look at their co-sponsors for this conference. A whole host of political, extreme right-wing, organisations. You will recognise some of the names. The George C. Marshall Institute (who denied tobacco was harmful), Institute for Private Enterprise, Australian Taxpayers Alliance (“fighting tax, regulation and waste”), Heritage Foundation, Ayn Rand Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and so on.
Oh, by the way – the only New Zealand sponsor I could see was the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
*Even the climate change denial internet echo chamber was largely critical of the Heartland billboard. (Although local denier blog Climate Conversations couldn’t quite make up its mind. Richard Treadgold, poor guy, thought it was “a stupid, brave, heart-warming experiment.” Couldn’t quite bring himself to be critical, although most of his commenters were – see … is sauce for the gander). And the Heartland Institute is such a sensitive topic at Watts Up With That you need a special password to join in any discussion of the conference – see Protected: At the conference.
Update: Seems Watts Up With That was so excited about attending the conference they cocked up that post. So it’s no longer “protected.”