Tag Archives: Heartland Institute

Anti-science US Congressman on House science Committee!

This guy is spouting a  bunch of simple-minded anti-scientific rubbish. Not surprising in itself – he is actually opening a climate change denial conference in th US – one of the semi-annual get-togethers of climate change denialists organised by the Heartland Institute.

No – the surprise is that this guy, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), is a member of the House Science Committee, which oversees US federal policy on science and innovation.  The House Science Committee!

Bloody hell! How does that happen. Here is someone whose standard of scientific understanding is no higher than some of the anti-science blog commenters we get here – and they are on the US House Science Committee.

Thanks to: US Congressman Opens Climate Change Denial Conference with Rant Against Water Fluoridation.

Give them enough rope . . .

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 Heartland Institute feeds out the rope with this billboard advertising there 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.

Presenting the facts and not fighting them.

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.”

Some of the Australian organisations cosponsoring Heartland’s 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.

By your friends we shall know you

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.”

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Heartland ignorant of public relations – let alone science

You don’t have to hang around the internet for long to recognise the “silo” phenomena. The way the ideological group-thinkers will hang around specific sites feeding their belief. Then there is the “echo-chamber” – the way that bloggers and commenters in ideological silos will frantically circulate links and claims from ideologically approved sources for use by their ideological comrades.

It all seems to foster the illusion of a community which knows the Truth. Tame “experts” are elevated to saint-like status and other experts demonised. The community encourages faith that they are influential and larger than in fact they are.

In the past I have referred to such communities as “ghettos” – because they promote self-containment, self-reliance, and immunise their members from influences in the real world. I notice these phenomena to be very strong among religious apologists and climate change deniers/contrarians.

Sometimes the perverted sense of reality of these communities can cause them to make huge mistakes. Over this weekend we have seen one such example – the billboard advertising the Heartland Institute ahead of their annual conference dissing climate change science.

What a Koch-up!

The Washington Post reported:

“I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” read big orange letters next to the Unabomber’s infamously grizzled face on an electronic billboard along the Eisenhower Expressway outside Chicago, the Heartland Institute’s home.”

The billboard went live Thursday afternoon. But by 4 p.m. Eastern time, an outcry from allies and opponents alike led the Heartland Institute’s president, Joe Bast, to say he would switch off the sign within the hour”

As a libertarian think tank funded by major corporations the Heartland Institute should be expert in publics relations. If they can make such an egregious mistake in their area of expertise – just image how mistaken they could be in scientific areas which lie outside their expertise. Climate science for example.

As the Guardian said – how could they have got it so wrong?

It’s a huge back down – the institute was going to deploy images of Charles Manson, “tyrant” Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden in future billboards. They have now cancelled these plans.

Even supporters of the Heartland Institute in the climate change sceptic/denier/contrarian communities have criticised the campaign and “Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who was to headline the Heartland Institute’s “annual conclave of climate-change skeptics” said  he “will not participate in the upcoming climate-change conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign.”

So far, our local NZ climate changer deniers appear to be trying to ignore the embarrassment. Perhaps there are some issues of free travel involved?

See also: Nine out of 10 psychos agree: Heartland’s bonkers climate billboards need company!

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Shy climate denier in “science team” reveals himself.

Credit: Star Phoenix Base (http://starphoenixbase.com/)

More information related to local climate change denier attacks on NIWA scientists is starting to appear. The NZCSC (NZ Climate Science Coalition – a local denier group) has listed sworn affidavits supporting their arguments to the NZ High Court requesting NIWA abandon New Zealand’s temperature record. Effectively they are accusing our scientists of scientific fraud! A very serious accusation.

Currently this case appears to be timetabled for the middle of the year.

Gareth, at Hot Topic, has already commented on a discrepancy in the affidavit from the NZCSC star witness, Dr Bob Carter (see The Carter Controversy). Carter claims “I receive no research funding from special interest organisations such as environmental groups, energy companies or government departments.” But recent exposure of internal memos from the US heartland Institute revealed that Carter is and will receive payments from them for his climate change denial work. As Gareth said: “A cynic might ask if Bob’s sworn statement to the High Court is entirely compatible with his Heartland funding.”

But my interest here is in the affidavit from Manfred Otto Dedekind. He has a B.Sc (Hons) in Physics (1986) and claims to be a computer modeller “constantly engaged with statistical analysis.”  Why am I interested? Well, he admits that he was “a co-author of the 2009 NZCSC paper “Are we Feeling Warmer Yet?” Two years ago I was denied any information on the authorship of this paper, and its scientific input, by the NZSCC and its Climate Conversation Group (see New Zealand’s denier-gate and Climate change deniers live in glass buildings). In fact I was specifically told that the “science team “ who did the work for this paper wished to remain anonymous.

It was the first time I had heard of scientists so shy about their work. But given Dedekind’s science background and admitted co-authorship of this “paper” (“Are we feeling Warmer Yet?”) I guess we have a case of a “shy scientist” (or perhaps he was their whole “science team”) reluctantly coming forward because of the impending court case.

In the affidavit he describes himself as a “physicist” and “IT professional” living in Auckland who emigrated to New Zealand after working for 10 years “for the CSIR in Pretoria.” No indication of his current employment although he claims to “work as a computer modeller.”  A search on Google Scholar produced just four engineering papers (two as senior author) published about 20 years ago.

When I requested information about their “paper” from these organisations two years ago I was directed to Richard Treadgold (who current runs the denier blog Climate Conversations) as the paper’s author. He was extremely evasive, promised me the data  and methodology they used and then refused to provide it. You can download a full record of my email correspondence with Richard – but here are  questions related to the statistical analysis and the scientific authors of the “paper.”

No statistical analysis

Treadgold and Dedekind (2009) (“Are we feeling Warmer Yet?”) claimed: “the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large correction.”  In fact they went on to assert that NIWA scientists:

“created a warming effect where none existed.” That “the shocking truth is that the oldest readings were cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming.” And “we have discovered that the warming in New Zealand over the past 156 years was indeed man-made, but it had nothing to do with emission of CO2 – it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It’s a disgrace.

But they provided no statistical analysis to back up this claim!

Any effect, or lack of effect, of changes in location of station sites would have been easy to show by a relatively simple statistical procedure. In answer to my question “Was any statistical analysis (e.g. ANOVA) done on the raw data to test for the effect of station site?”

Richard’s answer “No.”

Now, at the time I thought that was scientifically inept. But Richard’s co-author Manfred describes himself, in his affidavit, as having “a sound grounding in the practical application of statistical technique.” So he should have known he could easily test his and Richard’s claim that adjustments for station site changes were unnecessary with the appropriate statistical analysis.

I find it hard to believe that he didn’t do this relatively simple analysis – given his “sound grounding” in the techniques. He may well have done so – but if he did I am sure he would have found it didn’t support the claims he and Richard made in this “paper.”

Anonymous “science team”

When communicating with Richard I attempted to track down the scientific authors of his paper. This was because Richard himself appeared not to understand my questions (he admits no science background) – and kept claiming he was passing them on to his “science team.” So it’s understandable that I should ask who this science team were:

“Can you tell me who the authors are? They will be the best people to ask about the statement in this paper which I, and David Winter, believe (and show with our analyses) to be incorrect. It would only be sensible, and respectful, for me to communicate with them before commenting further.”

Richard’s reply: ” I collated the study. The scientific team wish to remain anonymous.”

Later, frustrated with Richard’s avoidance,  I asked: “PS – would it be possible to discuss these directly with one of your scientists involved in the work? It would be a lot easier.”

Richard’ strange reply: “Talk to a scientist??!! Ring the Make A Wish  Foundation! No, it would be easier (for me, too!) — but so far they don’t wish to be known.”

Well, at last Manfred has put his hand up.  I am pleased to see that he and his mates have included their “paper” “Are we feeling Warmer Yet?” on their  index of exhibits for the High Court. Maybe NIWA will get the opportunity to put to him the questions I have raised. No judge will put up with the avoidance tactics dished out to me.

I guess we are all interested in seeing how the High Court reacts how the court reacts to Manfred’s request that NIWA’s temperature record “be rejected.” Actually, I am also interested in hearing what the judge has to say about the malicious nature of their request and the time wasted by the court.

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Flying pigs

Baron von Monckhofen

Perhaps we need a bit of humour in the “climate wars” at the moment. The blog “Climate Scum” may provide some.

Apparently it was hacked and an apology from “The Heartlend Insitute” chair, Joseph Bust, was posted.

Heartlend apologizes for deception

In an unexpected move today, the dear people at the Heartlend Institute followed the example of Peter Gleick and issued an apology to all of humankind for their many deceptions. Joseph Bust, the Heartlend Institute chair, declared:

I was deeply move by Peter Gleick’s heartfelt apology and his expression of remorse. I have realized that it is time that also we at the Heartlend Institute consider the moral implications of our actions. When I look back at what we have been doing for many years, regarding the climate, the environment, smoking and so on, I feel deeply ashamed. Peter Gleick may have lied to one of our staffers in order to get those documents, but we have systematically been lying to all of humanity during all of our existence. So please, don’t be angry with Gleick: it is us that you should be angry with. We beg on our bare knees for forgiveness for our anti-climate, anti-environment, anti-health and anti-science activities, and we promise that we will never do it again.

We also want to apologize to the IRS for falsely pretending to be a public charity. We are so sorry! Take all the money you want!

via The Climate Scum: Heartlend apologizes for deception.

Well, the blog owner was furious and has made all sorts of demands of Heartlend (see post Warning: The previous post was a fake). He is demanding:

“(1) that the responsible person removes the Fake Post from Baron von Monckhofen ‘s web site;

(2) that the same person remove from Baron von Monckhofen ‘s web site all posts that refer or relate in any manner to the Fake Post ;

(3) that the same person removes from Baron von Monckhofen ‘s web site any and all quotations from the Fake Post;

(4) that the same person publishes retractions on Baron von Monckhofen’s web site of prior postings; and

(5) that same person removes all such documents from Baron von Monckhofen’s server.”

Heartland Insitute gets mail

The US “Think Tank,” The Heartland Institute has been getting some mail since some of its documents revealing plans to undermine climate change science and its teaching were leaked to the media. These documents also details some of the payments being made to climate change denial authors and blogs.

Of course they have cried foul – even claimed one of the leaked documents is not authentic. Then again, denial is hardly new for them – they have been doing it since their days denying the scientific facts showing dangers of tobacco smoking.

Now they have received a letter from some of the climate scientists they have in the past denigrated. these scientists express their condolences, having experienced something similar a few years back, but suggest that perhaps the Institute should learn from its mistakes, change tack, and start to play a more honest and constructive role on the issue of climate change.

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Heartland’s climategate – and Mann’s book

The blogosphere has been humming over the last few days with revelations contained in document leaked from the US Heartland Institute. Documents outlining strategy for the promotion of climate denial – both through the media and through educations programmes.

Have a look at Gareth Renowden’s post The real Climategate: Heartland’s hypocrisy on display for a good summary and many links to other coverage and the documents themselves.

For me – there are no surprises in these leaked documents. I have just finished reading Michael Mann’s – The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines so was familiar with all the dirty tricks, misrepresentation, political manoeuvering and the roll of the fossil fuel industry in financing the climate denial movement.

No surprises – but some of the details in the leaked documents were interesting. The fact that heartland actually has some of the well-known climate science critics on their payroll. That they are helping to fund some of the deniers blogs. and publications. And that they a consciously investing in a campaign to “teach the controversy” – that is discredit climate science – in the schools.

Have a look at The real Climategate: Heartland’s hypocrisy on display for the details.

Clearly these revelations are only the tip of the iceberg. Much more is going on behind the scenes. And Michael Mann’s new book gives an excellent coverage of these denier campaigns.

He’s been in the tick of it. He is still being victimized with McCarthyist attacks. The book outlines the political side of the attacks on climate science. But it also delves into some of the relevant science – especially around the so-called “Hockey Stick.”

Mann is an excellent writer and anyone interest in this area, especially if they have followed some of the political aspects, will enjoy the book. It is really an actually a page turner.

And it is positive.

I will review it properly in the next few weeks.

Sneaky scientists

This little snippet from  Michael Tobis (see Scientist Sneaks Science into Heartland Meeting).

“Apparently Prof. Scott Denning of Colorado State has tricked the Heartland Institute into accepting a talk entitled “Debunking Common Myths About Global Warming” for their annual conference caucus this year.

The joke is on them. It turns out that the presentation is quite excellent! (Well, except that it’s a Microsoft PowerPoint (with heavy use of Comic Sans) but if you can put up with that, here you go.)”

It is worth watching his power point presentation (download as power point or pdf file). While The Heartland Institute has provided some of video of speakers this presentation isn’t included. However, there is a short video of some comments from Scott Denning in which he appeals to the audience to avoid confirmation bias and recognise that their tactics of attacking climate science is effectively ruling them out of the debate on solutions. The are actually disenfranchising the conservative, free market voice on this question.  As a free marketer himself he believes capitalism is capable of developing innovative and profitable  solutions to the problem.


See also: Some humour Fourth International Conference on Climate Change

Credit: Image captured from PJTV video.


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The heart of opposition to climate science

Harrison Schmitt, Member of the Board, The Heartland Institute Former U.S. Senator, New Mexico

The Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change occured this week in Chicago, USA. It was basically a gathering of activists opposed to climate change science and/or political measures to deal with global warming.

It’s worth looking at the programme and the list of co-sponsors. These reveal the nature of the political and ideological links organisations involved in promoting climate change denial. It also provides some idea of how these organisations operate.

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