Leaked Documents From Climate Denialism Lobbyists Revealed


The Heartland Climate Institute, a US-based organization that dubs itself  a “think tank” has recently had a number of internal documents publicly released by an anonymous “Heartland insider.” The documents include proposed budgets, lists of donors, plans for developing an anti-climate change school curriculum and more.

The documents are being carefully dissected by serious climate change commentators and bloggers all over. Here’s a list of posts made about the documents so far (courtesy of Richard Littlemore’s blog, which also has all the leaked documents available for download):

Deep Climate – Heartland Institute Budget and Strategy Revealed

Greg Laden – Anti-Science Institute’s Insider Reveals Secrets

Planet 3.0 – Is turnabout Fair Play?

Climate Crocks – How is Joe Bast like Joe Camel?

Climate Progress – Heartland Documents Reveal Fringe Denial Group Plans to Pursue Koch Money, Dupe Children and Cultivate Revkin

Is turnabout fair play, indeed? Many who closely follow both news of climate science and the politics of climate denialism will recall the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia a couple of years ago. Many on the right hailed them as proof of a massive conspiracy of climate scientists.

Yet a closer look at the emails (which are still freely available), revealed nothing of the kind. The most controversial statement was one scientist talking about using a trick of plotting data logarithmically to tease out a trend in the data. Climate deniers wildly misinterpreted this as “we’ll trick everything into seeing something in the data that isn’t there”, which is, of course, impossible. Plotting the data in a different way cannot produce a trend that isn’t there. The raw data, like most scientific data, is freely available to anyone to double-check, question or otherwise check their work, which is something that scientists do constantly.

Of course, the sorts of people who get their information from anti-scientific sources tend to take it at face value. If they had the basic knowledge or inclination to confirm or deny ideological claims by checking them against original sources, we wouldn’t have such a large section of the population believing demonstrably false statements around the world. Thus, when lobbyists for climate denial and slanted news organizations reported things in the email that weren’t really there, true believers simply accepted it.

So on the one side there is science, and on the other side, political organizations who simply like to make unfounded statements to discredit climate change. Self-described “think tanks” on the other side are misleadingly labelled. The only way to really think about a scientific topic is to collect and analyze data. But “climate skeptic think tanks” don’t do science. They’ve already decided they don’t want to believe, or at least don’t want to admit, that climate change is happening.

And this is basically what these leaked documents demonstrate. The list of funders includes big business interests who don’t want to change the way they do things because it might cost them money. (By the way, the Heartland Institute doesn’t just lie about climate change, they get paid by Reynolds American, a tobacco company, for saying that cigarettes are good for you, so now you know you can trust them.)

Heartland’s expenditures include paying several people they consider “high profile” to keep spouting off about climate change being a hoax. Craig Idso is receiving some $135, 000 a year for this crap. Fred Singer receives not quite half as much, but $60, 000 simply for making stuff up? In this economy? Not too shabby.

Oh, and they’ve found a coal-industry consultant, a Dr. Wojick, who they’re paying $100, 000 to write their “climate change is a hoax” school curriculum, though no good teacher would let these documents get within 10 feet of their classroom. Wojick’s doctorate is in mathematical logic. He has no background in the physical sciences at all, let alone the climate sciences. Of course, there’s no science in the proposed curriculum, so I suppose that works out.

But again, what would we expect? The Heartland Institute is a group of lobbyists whose agenda is profit for its donors. People lie for money. Hardly breaking news.


Related stories:

“Climate Skeptic” Think Tank Asked to Reveal Secret Funders

Climate Change Deniers Set School Policy, Forecast Weather

How “Climategate” Exposed Our Ambivalence About Science


Photo credit: NASA


Myron Scott
Myron Scott6 years ago

Heartland deserves all the exposing it can be given. I really don't know another group that combines rank intellectual dishonesty, garbage science, phoney self-righteousness and
plutocrat special pleading at so high - and well-funded - a level.

Laurita Walters
Laurita Walters6 years ago

Scary. We must continue to enlighten those with whom we have influence, and not let our schools be sullied by the greedy pigs and their plans to spread disgusting pack of lies for their own obscene profits..

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Lindsey Williams
Lindsey Williams6 years ago


Glenda L.
Glenda L6 years ago

This sort of thing should be illegal!!

federico bortoletto
federico b6 years ago

Grazie per l'articolo

Waltraud U.
Waltraud U6 years ago

I agree with SeattleAnnS. - this is like:




Thank you !

Steven R.
Steve Rose6 years ago

Follow the money. There will always be PhDs who will prostitute their degree to the highest bidder for large sums of money, just like most of the politicians these days in Washington, who are little more than paid lobbyist puppets. Unfortunately, because there is so much money to be made at the expense of taxpayers and the future existance of the human race on the planet, there will always be those who care about themselves and amassing riches and power over the health and future of all. This same story was played out by the tobacco industry and the asbestos industries - the propagation of lies to keep their massive profits going by keeping the ignorant masses in denial, thereby voting in their same old puppets to keep the laws the same. Unfortunately, we all lose by denying climate change and doing nothing to alter our behavior. By current future projections if we fail to change our current polluting habits, 85% of the earth's human population will be gone within 50 years due to direct and indirect consequences of climate change.

Seabury L.
Seabury L6 years ago

"AJ A", if we're to have any hope at all to convince any deniers with fact and reason, we've really got to work on our "People Skills".

We do huge disservice to the gravity of our plight by descending to the level of our would-be detractors.

Our very best hope for success is to get corporate money out of our electoral and legislative processes, so that the people who are in gov't for the wrong reasons lose the incentives to be there, ipso facto. Corporations then lose most of their ability to influence the very kinds of issues we're dealing with here. Until that is done, we're fighting overwhelming inertia to positive change.

Past Member 6 years ago

While we argue over the empirical reality that global climate change is both a fact, AND to a significant degree a product of human activity with lunatics, sociopaths, misanthropes and sadists who claim otherwise, here is one more issue that is very much related -- and is also incontrovertible: the acidification of the Earth's surface waters, in particular her oceans:

"British scientist warns AAAS of the threat posed by ocean acidification," 20 Feb 2012 -- http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-british-scientist-aaas-threat-posed.html & "Ocean acidification turns climate change winners into losers," 18 Feb 2012 -- http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/02/18/ocean-acidification-turns-climate-change-winners-into-losers-ubc-research/ .

Be sure to ask these galactically stupid and deranged -- if not outright insane -- cretins what they plan to eat after the oceans' food chains collapse (just imagine Limbaugh, et al, as vegetarians...).