Quote of the Day: Andy Revkin


Andy Revkin (NYT image)

Andy Revkin, on his Dot Earth blog, attempts to draw comparisons between Climategate and the Heartland release of documents, and chastises Heartland for not reacting to the Climategate release in the same way as to that of their own documents:

[Quoting from Heartland press release] “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.”

Wouldn’t it have been great if a similar message had some from the group and its allies after the mass release of e-mails and files from the University of East Anglia climatic research center in 2009 and last year — documents that skeptics quickly and repeatedly over-interpreted as a damning “Climategate”? That hasn’t been Heartland’s approach. (source)

Whilst there are aspects we should frown upon in both cases (release of confidential documents without authority – although I note that the Liberal media, to which the NYT makes a substantial contribution, rarely get so steamed up about Wikileaks, but that’s another issue), there are huge differences.

Let me make a few obvious points:

  • Whereas the Heartland documents relate to a relatively small amount of funding for a handful of sceptics, the Climategate documents cast doubt on the integrity of “consensus” climate science as an entire discipline;
  • Funding for sceptics is literally microscopic compared to the massive swill trough available for the consensus, but more importantly, and irrespective of that, the suggestion that any reputable scientist can be bought for a few bucks is offensive (on both sides of the debate);
  • Whereas sceptics have minimal influence on policy (at present at least), the consensus influence is significant, since the majority of national governments have subscribed to the politicised, and alarmist, UN/IPCC process;
  • Whereas the Heartland documents reveal little of substance regarding the discipline of climate science, the Climategate emails reveal:
    • a concerted effort to manipulate and/or suppress inconvenient data;
    • a desire to minimise uncertainty in order to maintain a consistent political “message”;
    • attempts to subvert and corrupt the peer-review process; and,
    • evidence of destruction of documents and correspondence in contravention of FOI requirements.
  • UPDATE: A number of commenters have suggested (thanks!) another differentiating factor: UEA is a publicly funded institution, which, as a result, should be thoroughly transparent in its operations, whereas Heartland is a purely private organisation which does not draw upon the public purse.

Wow, they really are almost in the same league, aren’t they, Andy?

The eagerness with which these documents were seized upon by the smear blogs [by the way, from where does the funding for those come? – Ed] reveals the desperation at work behind the scenes.

Heartland: key document "a fabrication"


Heartland

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.

Heartland documents: what's the big deal?


Heartland

UPDATE: Heartland indicates that the document discussed here is a fabrication:

“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 request in their press release that copies of this document be removed, and I am therefore complying with that request. My comments on it remain here.

See ACM’s further post on this here.

Having downloaded and perused the bundle of Heartland financial and strategy documents released on MeDog’sGlob today, I thought it may be instructive to summarise their nature and substance.

The “smoking gun” that the headbangers claim is a one-and-a-half page document entitled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy”. [link removed]. This, apparently, in all of its 58 lines, exposed the blackened “heart of climate change denial”, so let’s take a close look at it:

[readacted]

Dangerous policy actions is precisely correct, given that billions of dollars is being diverted away from the real urgent causes of fighting poverty and disease, and instead is being pissed up the wall on climate mitigation policies based on science that is compromised and in many cases corrupt.

[redacted]

As mentioned in the previous post, these sums are loose change compared to the billions that are funnelled to green groups, alarmist research establishments, smear blogs, propaganda organisations and the like. For alarmists to complain about such tiny sums is simply laughable.

[redacted]

The headbangers object to this because they want our children to be indoctrinated with the purest form of alarmist propaganda from an early age. Despite the fact that there is much uncertainty surrounding the magnitude of man’s effect on the climate (irrespective of how much The Cause try to suppress it), the curriculum of most schools is heavily weighted towards politically-correct climate alarmism. Realism is frowned upon and should, in their view, be eliminated.

Just wait, you’ll next hear them compare climate realism to creationism… ding, there is is! And we all know that creationism shouldn’t be given “equal weight” in the classroom – and rightly so. But there is no comparison, of course, as it is a tired and worn out straw man argument, but it is disappointingly successful at suppressing dissent. So any action that may redress the balance in the classroom must be encouraged.

UPDATE: The headbangers on Twitter, like George Monbiot, have focussed on that one sentence “two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science” as an attempt to promote an anti-science agenda. Moonbat tweets:

RTFM, pal

This is clearly nonsense. This document has a number of grammatical errors including in the previous line a missing “a” before curriculum. It is likely that the word “the” is missing, since it would be ludicrous for Heartland to suggest that it is attempting to “dissuade teachers from teaching science”.

And indeed, the Funding Plan at page 18 expands on this single paragraph and mentions nothing about such dissuasion. Indeed Wojick’s background is in environmental and science education – how likely is it that someone like him would advocate dissuading teachers from teaching science? The fact is, Monbiot skim-read the typo-filled summary reproduced here, and set off to smear before checking his facts, as usual. Plus ça change.

[redacted]

Why shouldn’t there be a rebuttal to the IPCC’s politically motivated tome (at a tiny fraction of the wasted billions of the UN)? $400k is, again, chicken feed. And any scientist with an ounce of integrity (of which there are virtually none in climate alarmist circles) would welcome the opportunity to consider opposing views as a way towards greater truth and understanding. But no, that will never do. The Cause must not be diluted by any possible challenges. Politics masquerading as science. Again.

[redacted]

Look at all those filthy deniers in the pay of Heartland. Disgraceful. I have already commented that these sums are loose change. Don’t mention Al Gore. Oops, I just did. For alarmists to complain about this is pure, undiluted hypocrisy.

[redacted]

Apart from their desire to keep opposing voices out, with which I sympathise but disagree with (despite the fact that The Cause regularly attempts to suppress opposing voices in the pal-review literature), the remainder is reasonable. Try to engage those who at least have demonstrated some degree of calm detachment. Judith Curry, certainly, but Revkin…? But again, the headbangers don’t want dialogue. They want their own way. All the time. And smear and ridicule anyone who dares question any aspect of The Cause.

The remainder of the documents are a Fundraising Plan and Budget for 2012 (both pretty much a yawn) and IRS Form 990 (Return of Organisation Exempt from Income Tax – MeDog’sGlob is making a number of potentially highly defamatory allegations about this document – I hope they’ve got their lawyers reviewing their rantings – but I will defer to other experts on this subject of US tax law) and various unremarkable agendas and minutes.

So in summary, if that’s all they’ve got, well BIG FREAKING DEAL. If there’s more, let’s see it.

Calling this an equivalent of Climategate is like comparing alarmist funding to sceptics funding… (little joke there). However, it does demonstrate how desperate The Cause is to smear and discredit those who are asking difficult questions – for which they often have no answer – except misrepresentation and spin.

UPDATE: Ben Pile at Climate Resistance has more here. And at Bishop Hill here, where he reveals all of Anthony Watts’ comments to the Guardian were left on the cutting room floor. Quelle surprise, encore…

UPDATE 2: I am totally unfunded by Big Oil or any other organisation, so I invite you all to click the Donate button above – to help pay for my flash new server which, I hope, has speeded up your reading experience no end over the last couple of weeks!

Warmist headbangers go ape over Heartland finance leak


Seems fair, right?

UPDATE 3: See my latest post on this here.

UPDATE 2: Hilarious comment on MeDog’sGlob:

Hank_ – Tue, 2012-02-14 19:00

Could you guys write just one more article about this exposé? Somehow 4 articles in a row just doesn’t seem like enough. thanks…….

UPDATE: The only mainstream media outlet to even cover this non-story so far is The Guardian (natch). The others are the usual rancid Lefty/alarmist blogs, Puff Ho, StinkProgress, Climate Crocks, MeDog’sGlob – get the picture? Although you can bet that Fairfax and the ABC will lap it up if they get wind of it.

Hilarious to watch the ecotards wet themselves because some trivial documents have been released that show an organisation has not been funding alarmists! Shame on them.

The deluded fools think this is some kind of equivalent to Climategate (v1 and v2), which demonstrated widespread scientific fraud, manipulation of data, destruction of emails and avoidance of FOI requests on the part of the consensus boys.

The Cause has sucked up around $70 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) since the global warming gravy train set off about 20 years ago, but despite the obvious hypocrisy, the warm-mongers are outraged, outraged I tell you, that some “deniers” are getting, er, some small change.

Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science attempts to coin the phrase “Denialgate”… LOL.

Headbanger site DeSmogBlog goes feral:

Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.

We are releasing the entire trove of documents now to allow crowd-sourcing of the material. Here are a few quick highlights, stay tuned for much more.

Ooh, you little tease! I can’t wait that long!

-Confirmation of exact amounts flowing to certain key climate contrarians.

“funding for high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist AGW message. At the moment, this funding goes primarily to Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 per month, plus expenses), Robert Carter ($1,667 per month), and a number of other individuals, but we will consider expanding it, if funding can be found.” (link – Webcite)

Wow, $1,667 a month for Bob Carter. Totally outrageous! That’s less than the minimum wage (around $2,500 per month), and maybe pays for his electricity bill. Tom Nelson hits the nail on the head with this headline:

Gore launches $300 million campaign

Former Vice President Al Gore is launching a $300 million, bipartisan campaign to try to push climate change higher on the nation’s political agenda.

The three-year campaign by the Alliance for Climate Protection will begin Wednesday with network television advertising that will include “American Idol” and other non-traditional shows that reach a non-news audience. (source)

Naturally, the hypocrisy of this is totally lost on their addled brains, and the headbangers’ totalitarian mindset dictates that only those who agree with them should be funded, even if it’s a ludicrously tiny amount as revealed here.

Where’s my Big Oil cheque, that’s what I want to know.

By the way, interesting background on MeDog’sGlob here.

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