Heartland: key document "a fabrication"


UPDATE: MeDog’sGlob is refusing to take down the fake document because “they haven’t heard from Heartland directly”. LOL. Hope they have good lawyers.

The key document, on which the smears and slimes of MeDog’sGlob and climate headbangers like Monbiot on Twitter are based, is a fabrication. The press release from Heartland explains:

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

Heartland have requested copies of this document be removed, and my earlier post, a rebuttal to the allegations of smear sites (who themselves made no effort to ascertain the documents’ authenticity), has been amended to comply with that request. Heartland’s conclusion:

Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.

But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.

Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.

Mea culpa as well, I think, but my previous post was composed with the best intentions of defending Heartland from these baseless attacks, especially since the smear sites had already made the document public and used it to attack the credibility and intentions of Heartland.

As predicted, Fairfax have ignored the enormous sums funnelled to Al Gore (and even our own Tim Flannery) and pick up on a tiny payment to Bob Carter, confirming Fairfax as an integral part of the climate smear machine:

A PROMINENT Australian scientist has rejected as offensive any suggestion he is doing the bidding of a US climate-sceptic think tank that is paying him a monthly fee.

Confidential documents leaked from inside The Heartland Institute [including a link to MeDog’sGlob], a wealthy [compared to Al Gore?] think tank based in Chicago and Washington, detail strategy and funding for an array of activities designed to spread doubt [regain balance] about climate change science, paid for by companies that have a financial interest in continuing to release greenhouse gases without government interference. [and plenty that don’t]

Among the recipients of funding is Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University, a geologist and marine researcher who spoke at the ”convoys of no confidence” protests against the carbon price last year alongside the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and writes columns for News Ltd newspapers [get the Murdoch smear in quick]. (source)

Judith Curry has an excellent roundup of reaction here. Her sober conclusion is worth repeating in full:

A few weeks ago, I had a thread called ‘climate classroom‘ over at Climate Etc.  David Wojick participated extensively in the comments on the thread, see his own blog post here.  David Wojick engages extensively over at Climate Etc., he seems to have political views that are consonant with Heartland, but he does not come across as a propagandist.  I don’t know exactly what he is trying do with this K-12 project, I will ask him and maybe discuss this on the blog this weekend.

My summary comment on the blog post was:

Why am I giving a “raspberry” to the NCSE initiative?  This seems like propaganda, pure and simple.  Keep it out of the K-12 classrooms.

With regards to K-12 education, there is no particular reason to teach ‘climate change’ in the K-12 curriculum.  Climate change is a topic that is more suitable high school ‘science and society’ courses.  In such courses, teaching the controversy would seem to be of paramount importance.  Critical thinking and understanding the complex societal factors that are influenced by science and influence science itself would be of value in such a course, although intelligent and appropriate handling of such a course at the high school level is a challenge.

With regards to Heartland giving Wojick funds for K-12 education, it is not clear to me how this is different from the NCSE initiative.  State and local governments need to make judgments regarding what materials are taught in K-12.  If/how to teach climate change in K-12 remains an open issue.

With regards to Singer and Idso getting funds from Heartland, this is not surprising and they have never claimed not to be getting funds from such groups. I note that I read somewhere that Bob Carter has stated he is not receiving funds from Heartland. Some scientists receive funds from organizations such as WWW, Environmental Defense, etc., so this is not something unique to Heartland.  The funding that Watts is hoping to receive seems to be in a different category:  he is looking for private funds for a specific project, rather than to be on a monthly retainer such as the others.  This would seem to be similar to what Rich Muller pulled together to fund the BEST project (one of the donors was the Koch brothers).  Personally, as an academic, I religiously steer clear of such funding (not that any of it has ever been offered to me, other than travel funds to attend an event); it compromises your appearance of objectivity.  The problem is when a scientist receives such funds and does not declare it in a journal publication, review panel, or government advisory committee where there would be an explicit conflict of interest that should be declared.  I don’t see that as an issue for Singer or Idso; most people are aware that they receive funds from orgs such as Heartland.

Re Heartland’s funding, I did a previous blog post on this: Blame on Heartland-Cato-Marshall-Etc.   Much information about total amount and funding sources is publicly available from sourcewatch. The surprising thing is the paltry funding that the libertarian think tanks have relative to the green groups (e.g.  WWF, Greenpeace, etc.)  The more interesting question to me is how have these groups been so effective with so little funds, relative to the much larger expenditures by the green groups.

Re the parallels to Climategate. They are similar in the sense that they give us a behind the scenes peak at how the IPCC and Heartland works.  In terms of moral equivalence, what Heartland is doing is not surprising; seems to be no different than what other advocacy groups do.  The IPCC is a very different organization, and also the CRU/UEA, with explicit requirements for government accountability.  So in terms of a scandal, I would have to say that Heartlandgate is nowhere near Climategate.


  1. Ah “Denialgate” the unravelling of the great global conspiracy to thwart science.

    [REPLY – The main document was FAKED: how desperate is that, sillyfilly? – Ed]

    The mob that promoted “climategate” now has to defend it’s corruption of science.

    [REPLY – Note how sillyfilly hasn’t even read the documents – they hardly refer to science at all, only tiny amounts of funding – Ed]

    Now ACM withdraws the data on the basis of some irrelevant press release, go figure. Obviously the Heartland Institute still wants to avoid scrutiny of it function and operations in promoting bastardised science.

    [REPLY – LOL – You are great value – please keep writing these hilarious comments! We’re all having a laugh at your desperation! Better luck next time with that Deniergate thing, sorry FAKEgate. By the way, in case you haven’t worked it out yet, every future comment of yours will get this treatment, so I suggest sticking to DeSmogBlog instead, that’s more your style – Ed]

  2. Blair Giles via Facebook says:

    Once again, even if the papers released were accurate as to the budget information, this confirms that the annual budget for HI sits at a mere $5million (27.7 flanneries). Compare this to the figure of $100million that the Gillard government used to advertise their carbon tax (555.5 flanneries) and we can see that these claims of a “paid denier network” are pure bunk.

  3. This is science?

  4. The document said to be fake does have some strange metadata. See:


    [REPLY – Despite agreeing that the document was fake, you then went away and rubbished my post, with the line “It’s not a question of funding consensus views versus ‘skeptic’ views — it’s funding science versus non-science. OK?” What a joke. The politicised consensus is “non-science”]

  5. It’s not uncommon for scientists to be paid retainers, by governments or NGO’s, for opinion pieces. David Karoly, a self-appointed Australian expert in climate change science, said in an interview with Alan Jones, ” I am receiving a travel allowance to cover the costs of going to meetings of the Science Advisory Panel and I am receiving a small retainer which is substantially less than your daily salary.”

    Apparently this fact wasn’t worth reporting by any mainstream Australian media, but of course it’s a different story for the Fairfax press when it comes to a ‘climate denial’ scientist being paid a retainer!

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