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How Heartland Institute funnels corporate funds to undermine climate science — revealed in leaked documents

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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 for spreading the message in K-12 schools that “the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science”, the documents said…

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…

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…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…

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. [That means real science] 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.

Creeps and cretins. The usual cabal of anti-intellectual, anti-science blabbermouths who show up to serve as flunkies for corporations profiteering from polluting enterprises, once again. Sure is nice to see it documented though for folks who need a little bracing in the backbone department. Like the White House.

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Written by Ed Campbell

February 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Skeptical physicist completes review of climate change data — ends up confirming climate change

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Back in 2010, Richard Muller, a Berkeley physicist and self-proclaimed climate skeptic, decided to launch the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project to review the temperature data that underpinned global-warming claims…

Muller’s stated aims were simple. He and his team would scour and re-analyze the climate data, putting all their calculations and methods online. Skeptics cheered the effort. “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong,” wrote Anthony Watts, a blogger who has criticized the quality of the weather stations in the United States that provide temperature data. The Charles G. Koch Foundation even gave Muller’s project $150,000 — and the Koch brothers, recall, are hardly fans of mainstream climate science.

So what are the end results? Muller’s team appears to have confirmed the basic tenets of climate science. Back in March, Muller told the House Science and Technology Committee that, contrary to what he expected, the existing temperature data was “excellent.” He went on: “We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups.” And, today, the BEST team has released a flurry of new papers that confirm that the planet is getting hotter. As the team’s two-page summary flatly concludes, “Global warming is real.”Here’s a chart comparing their findings with existing data…

BEST_temp_chart_2011

Peer review must have, will have, its day. That’s a right and proper part of scientific research.

Still, I have to chuckle over the know-nothings who supported the BEST research project. I’ll bet they’ll be spending the peer review time working like busy little ants to construct new rationales to avoid anything like responsible decision-making to combat the obvious causes of climate change.

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