Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Exposed: Leak of Documents Shows How Leading Libertarian Think Tank Is Working to Undermine Climate Science

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 16, 2012, 1:04 a.m. EST by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Exposed: Leak of Documents Shows How Leading Libertarian Think Tank Is Working to Undermine Climate Science Information published by DeSmogBlog reveals that the Heartland Institute keeps prominent skeptics on its payroll and relies on millions in funding from the carbon industry. February 15, 2012 |

The inner workings of a libertarian thinktank working to discredit the established science on climate change have been exposed by a leak of confidential documents detailing its strategy and fundraising networks.

DeSmogBlog, which broke the story, said it had received the confidential documents from an "insider" at the Heartland Institute, which is based in Chicago. The blog monitors industry efforts to discredit climate science.

The scheme includes spending $100,000 on commissioning an alternative curriculum for schoolchildren that will cast doubt on global warming.

It was not possible to immediately verify the authenticity of the documents. But Anthony Watts, a weathercaster who runs one of the most prominent anti-science blogs, Watts Up With That?, acknowledged Heartland was helping him with $90,000 for a new project. He added: "They do not regularly fund me nor (sic) my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind."

Watts, in an email, did not mention the entire cost of his temperature station initiative but said: "Heartland simply helped me find a donor for funding a special project."

"There is nothing I can tell you," Jim Lakely, Heartland's communications director, said in a telephone interview. "We are investigating what we have seen on the internet and we will have more to say in the morning." Lakely made no attempt to deny the veracity of information contained in the documents.

The Heartland Institute, founded in 1984, has built a reputation over the years for providing a forum for climate change sceptics. But it is especially known for hosting a series of lavish conferences of climate science doubters at expensive hotels in New York's Times Square as well as in Washington DC.

If authentic the documents provide an intriguing glimpse at the fundraising and political priorities of one of the most powerful and vocal groups working to discredit the established science on climate change and so block any chance of policies to reduce global warming pollution.

"It's a rare glimpse behind the wall of a key climate denial organisation," Kert Davies, director of research for Greenpeace, said in a telephone interview. "It's more than just a gotcha to have these documents. It shows there is a co-ordinated effort to have an alternative reality on the climate science in order to have an impact on the policy."

The Valentine's Day exposé of Heartland is reminscent to a certain extent of the hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit in 2009. Those documents helped sink the UN's climate summit later that year.

In this instance, however, the Heartland documents are policy statements – not private email correspondence. Desmogblog said they came from an insider at Heartland and were not the result of a hack.

The documents posted on Desmog's website include confidential memos of Heartland's climate science denial strategy, its 2012 budget and fundraising plan, and minutes from a recent board meeting.

The fundraising plan suggests Heartland is hoping for a banner year, projecting it will raise $7.7m in 2012, up 70% from last year.

The papers indicate that discrediting established climate science remains a core mission of the organisation, which has received support from a network of wealthy individuals – including the Koch oil billionaires as well as corporations such as Microsoft and RJR Tobacco.

The documents confirm what environmental groups such as Greenpeace have long suspected: that Heartland itself is a major source of funding to a network of experts and bloggers who have been prominent in the campaign to discredit established science.

Heartland is anxious to retain its hold over mainstream media outlets, fretting in the documents about how Forbes magazine is publishing prominent climate scientists such as Peter Gleick. "This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out," Heartland documents warn.

But the cache raises an equal number of questions – such as the identity of an anonymous donor that has been a mainstay of Heartland. The unnamed donor, who contributed $4.6m in 2008, has since scaled back contributions. Even so, the donor's $979,000 contribution in 2011 accounted for 20% of Heartland's overall budget, the fundraising plan says

According to the fundraising document Heartland hopes to bump that up to $1.25m in 2012 [click for PDF].

The importance of one or two wealthy individuals to Heartland's operations is underscored by a line in the fundraising document noting that a foundation connected to the oil billionaire Charles Koch had returned as a donor after a lengthy hiatus with a gift of $200,000 in 2011. "We expect to ramp up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to the network of philanthropists they work with," the document said.

Heartland hopes to cash in on its vocal support for the controversial mining method known as fracking, the document suggests.

Heartland operates on a range of issues besides the environment. But discrediting the science of climate change remains a key mission. The group spends $300,000 on salaries for a team of experts working to undermine the findings of the UN climate body, the IPCC.

It plans to expand that this year by paying a former US department of energy employee to write an alternative curriculum for schoolchildren that will cast doubt on global warming. The fundraising plan notes the anonymous donor has set aside $100,000 for the project.

The plan also notes the difficulty of injecting non-scientific topics in schools. "Heartland has tried to make material available to teachers, but has had only limited success. Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. Moreover, material for classroom use must be carefully written to meet curriculum guidelines, and the amount of time teachers have for supplemental material is steadily shrinking due to the spread of standardized tests in K-12 education," the fundraising plan said.

The documents suggest several prominent voices in the campaign to deny established climate science are recipients of Heartland funding.

They include, according to the documents, a number of contrarian climate experts. "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," the documents say.

Heartland also hopes to expand that network in 2012 by raising around $90,000 for a project on temperature stations by the well-known blogger Anthony Watts.

Whether these funding arrangements actually exist cannot be verified. However, Heartland's website notes that Idso, Singer, and Carter werecommissioned to write a report for the organisation.

The strategy memo as published by DeSmogBlog mentions "cultivating" as a potential ally Andrew Revkin, a respected journalist who enjoys a huge following at the New York Times DothEarth blog.

13 Comments

13 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

This is good research but nothing particularly new. The Koch Brothers and oil companies have been funding CATO's anti science in general, and climate skeptic bullshit in particular for years, and have not hidden that fact.

Still, it's good to have more dirt dug up on these very dirty people.

[-] 0 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

Thanx. Please feel free to add more up-to-date material. I just wanted to get something up in light of all the idiotic denier crap I was seeing. It's sort of like getting data on the round earth theory, not a lot of fresh stuff on old conclusions.

Speaking of the Koch Bros and Big Oil, I find it astonishing how deniers constantly claim that it is ENVIRONMENTALISTS who are the money grubbers in the "fight" over pollution-caused climate change ~ and that some people believe it.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

Libertarians!
Libertarians doing something dishonest!


................................I'm shocked, shocked to find that lying is going on in here!"


[-] 0 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

There was a spate of denier posts, so I threw the first fairly resent article I could find quickly up on the board.

Unite and Win! Unite and Win! 2010 Never EVER Again!! ©

Image & Vote! Image & Vote! "We the 1%" Is NOT What They Wrote!! ©

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (7072) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

Well reseached thanks for posting this, as I read it, it did strike me about how these "Think Tanks" create product designed to attrack certain customers. Of course this makes perfect sense that they would, I just hadn't given much thought to how that affects the conservation. We have free enterprize operations designed to profit from decieving voters, in AZ we have them that profit from putting people in jail that's how we got SB 1070, I like profit but I'm not sure it's the purest refection of God's will.

[-] 0 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

Profits are great, until they cost us our environment, freedom and general well being. I will never understand the greed, sadism or both that causes people and organizations to be OK with that.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (7072) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

I think it's important to try really really hard to understand both ourselves and others, aka "Art of War", I tried to address this in some way in my bio, I invite you to stop by maybe you might see something you could flush out a little better and post, or not, I'm just willing to share you do good work, feel free.

[-] 0 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

Thanx

Unite and Win! Unite and Win! 2010 Never EVER Again!! ©

Image & Vote! Image & Vote! "We the 1%" Is NOT What They Wrote!! ©

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (7072) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

ur welcome..........

[-] 1 points by oldyeller (3) 2 years ago

Most Americans are anti-science. That's why this website is riddled with conspiracy theories. In the end, truth always wins, it just takes much longer in U.S. Just like the Intelligent Designers, the anti Global Warmers will go down at some point.

[-] 1 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

Reassurance is good for people who are right, too.

[-] -3 points by jerseydevil (-11) 2 years ago

The Heartland Institute,are great Americans!!!

[-] 0 points by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR 2 years ago

Sabotaging the truth, truth that will help our world, is not the practice of "great" Americans.