Free Markets, Free People
Sometimes it is interesting to let a story play out for a couple of day to see what’s what. A couple of days ago I noticed a story on a blog which supports the Goresqe AGW nonsense with a story headlined “Heartland Insider Exposes Institutes Budget and Strategy”.
Listed under the story are a number of documents which Desmog Blog claims to be from an email package sent to contributing members of the Heartland Institute.
I sent the link to Jim Lakely, an old friend and communications director at Heartland. I’ve known Jim for years and wondered if he’d seen the story at the link.
He wrote back quickly saying “yes” he’d seen it and it appears that one of the documents is a fake.
That’s about the time I decided to sit back and watch while taking the time to read the documents for myself. For most of them, nothing was particularly surprising and certainly there was nothing particularly damning. If you’re familiar with the Institute, everything mentioned in the documents was pretty well known except perhaps some of the donor information Desmog chose to expose. Obviously it was too important in their opinion to release the information quickly (apparently they released it within hours of getting it) and to heck with privacy concerns. These are the “bad guys” for heaven sake. They don’t deserve the same rights or respect Desmog would most likely demand for themselves. After all, they take money from the Koch brothers.
But to the fake document. You can see it here.
What was missing from this collection of documents was something really damning. Something Desmog and their ilk could point too and condemn the Heartland Institute.
Well, conveniently, there was this “confidential memo” which fit the bill perfectly. It made statements like this:
Development of our "Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms" project [emphasis original].
Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms. We are pursuing a proposal from Dr. David Wojick to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools. Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science. His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science. [emphasis mine]
After reading that, you’re supposed to believe that the dastardly Heartland Institute is against teaching science and, of course the further implication is that AGW is “science” while the skeptical side is anti-science. Of course that belies the fact that the Heartland sponsored climate conference this year, open to everyone, was billed as “returning the scientific method” to climate science, not abandoning it.
And can you imagine pitching “dissuading teachers from teaching science” to donors who have previously sponsored your effort to get the complete science out there?
Warren Meyer comments at Forbes:
For those of us at least somewhat inside the tent of the skeptic community, particularly the science-based ones Heartland has supported in the past, the goal of “dissuading teachers from teaching science” is a total disconnect. I have never had any skeptic in even the most private of conversations even hint at such a goal. The skeptic view is that science education vis a vis climate and other environmental matters tends to be shallow, or one-sided, or politicized — in other words broken in some way and needing repair. In this way, most every prominent skeptic that works even a bit in the science/data end of things believes him or herself to be supporting, helping, and fixing science. In fact, many skeptics believe that the continued positive reception of catastrophic global warming theory is a function of the general scientific illiteracy of Americans and points to a need for more and better science education.
Is the Heartland Institute developing such a curriculum? Yes. Is it designed to point out that the topic is “controversial and uncertain” and therefor be used to dissuade teachers from teaching “science”. Hardly … what’s the point in developing the curriculum then?
In fact the curriculum is designed to present those parts of the science of climate change that don’t fit or contradict the faith based nonsense being taught and pushed by the alarmist side. You know, the “inconvenient truths”. Controversy and uncertainty have and always will be a part of science, but certainly nothing which would stop it from being taught. This Rather-gateish attempt is the left trying to discredit an institution which has mounted a threat and is actually taking action against its alarmist creed.
Why do I compare it to Rather-gate? Two reasons. One, the fake doc. Heartland acknowledged the authenticity of all the documents but one. That document, it unequivocally stated, was a fake:
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. [emphasis original]
Finally, again to compare it to Rather-gate, at least one journalist has decided to cool it for the moment, given the document that is the most damning is said to be fake. Heartland is pleased with that, however Warren Meyer made a little bet at the end of his Forbes piece:
If the strategy memo turns out to be fake as I believe it to be, I am starting the countdown now for the Dan-Rather-esque “fake but accurate” defense of the memo — ie, “Well, sure, the actual document was faked but we all know it represents what these deniers are really thinking.” This has become a mainstay of post-modern debate, where facts matter less than having the politically correct position.
Andrew Revkin, the journalist in question, has indeed backed off for the moment, but:
Is Revkin himself seeking to win my fake-but-accurate race? When presented with the fact that he may have published a fake memo, Revkin wrote:
looking back, it could well be something that was created as a way to assemble the core points in the batch of related docs.
It sounds like he is saying that while the memo is faked, it may have been someones attempt to summarize real Heartland documents. Fake but accurate! By the way, I don’t think he has any basis for this supposition, as no other documents have come to light with stuff like “we need to stop teachers from teaching science.”
Expect to see the argument that the document does indeed expose “the core points” when, in fact, it does nothing of the sort, but instead implies things not in evidence in order to discredit the Heartland Institute and characterize it as an activist organization instead of a think tank. What this attack essentially says to me is that Heartland has finally achieved the level of “threat” to the AGW crowd.
Some things never change.
Well, except the climate.
This is some good stuff folks. If you’re interested in the debate, you need to tune into the livestream of the conference. Just heard a great debate between Dr. Scott Denning and Dr. Roy Spencer on climate change. I was happy to hear some representation of the other side, although I’d have difficulty classifying Dr. Denning as an “alarmist” (he’s a scientist who thinks there’s adequate evidence that humans are having a decided effect on climate – but his main area of research is CO2 and how it interact with our climate so I’m inclined to take him much more seriously than a, say, Al Gore).
Spencer made a point that is important to absorb. If a tree has an effect on climate (and it does) then so do humans. The debate isn’t about whether humans are having an effect, it is about the degree – if any- of that effect.
Anyway, if you have the time, hit the livestream link. And at some point you should be able to see an archive of the debate.
Well I’ve managed to make it to ICCC6, which has the theme of “Restoring the Scientific Method”.
I’ve discussed that, in previous posts on the subject of climate change. Anyone who has followed this discussion is aware of the fact that I don’t believe the scientific method has been used well at all in advancing the alarmist message. And of course, “consensus” has absolutely no place in discussions of science.
Anyway, on with the show. To answer Huxley’s question, I’d say this is mostly a skeptic’s conference. We’ll see how it proceeds.
I’m really looking forward to attending this event put on by my good friend Jim Lakely and the Heartland Institute. I’ll be able to about the science that argues against the alarmist view of global warming from people I’ve been reading for years. I hope to be able to interview some of them. The theme this year is “Restoring the Scientific Method”, which is sorely needed among the purveyors of alarmism. Anyway, here’s how the event shapes up:
Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, among the most prominent critics of global warming alarmism in Congress, will kick off The Heartland Institute’s sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-6) with a breakfast keynote address at 8 a.m. June 30.
(If you can’t make it in person, Heartland will live-stream the entire conference. Tweet coverage: #ICCC6)
Inhofe will be joined at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC by dozens of state and federal legislators and climate scientists who dispute the claim that “the science is settled” on the causes, consequences, and policy implications of climate change.
Past climate conferences have taken place in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and Sydney, Australia and have attracted more than 2,000 participants from 20 countries. The proceedings have been covered by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, and many other leading media outlets.
ICCC-6 will feature presentations by more than two dozen scientists, economists, and elected officials commenting on the latest research on the causes, consequences, and policy implications of climate change. Click here for an updated conference schedule. Our line-up of speakers includes:
- Timothy Ball, Ph.D., environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was recently sued for libel by Michael Mann, a professor and prominent figure in the Climategate scandal.
- Alan Carlin, Ph.D., former senior analyst and manager at the EPA. In March 2009 he authored a highly critical internal review of the EPA’s draft report on endangerment from greenhouse gases, which led him to become a whistle-blower.
- Robert Carter, Hon. FRSNZ, research professor at James Cook University (Queensland, Australia), where he was head of the School of Earth Sciences between 1981 and 1999. He is author of Climate: The Counter Consensus.
- Scott Denning, Ph.D., professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University. Denning, who believes in man-caused global warming, spoke at ICCC-4 in 2010 and profusely thanked the organizers and attendees for a respectful, stimulating conference. (See this video.)
- Christopher Horner, J.D., senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.
- Harrison Schmitt, Ph.D., former astronaut and U.S. Senator from New Mexico and the last man to set foot on the moon. Schmitt earned his Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University and is a member of Heartland’s Board of Directors.
- S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., founder and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, is coauthor of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years and Climate Change Reconsidered and professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia.
- Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D., principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he directs a variety of climate research projects. He is the author of several books, including most recently, The Great Global Warming Blunder.
- Anthony Watts, a 25-year broadcast meteorology veteran and currently chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM radio. He hosts the popular climate change blog Wattsupwiththat.com and a Web site at surfacestations.org devoted to photographing and documenting the quality of weather stations across the U.S.
Past ICCCs have featured presentations by members of Congress, the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, and scientists who view themselves as “skeptics” as well as “alarmists.”
The theme of ICCC-6, Restoring the Scientific Method, acknowledges the fact that claims of scientific certainty and predictions of climate catastrophes are based on post-normal science, which substitutes claims of consensus for the scientific method. This choice has had terrible consequences for science and society. Abandoning the scientific method led to the Climategate scandal and the errors and abuses of peer review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
More information is available at the conference Web site.
Get Twitter updates of the conference, and tweet your own coverage, by following @HeartlandInst and using the hashtag #ICCC6.
As you might imagine, for the next few days, most of what I blog about will have to do with the subject that I’ve followed closely for years and is of extreme interest to me. Any questions that you might have are welcome. I’ll actually have two days to get them answered this time vs. the hour I had with Dr. Kissinger, so I should be able to put them too most of the players there. I’ve talked with Horner before during an interview on WRKO. I’ve read Singer and Spencer’s stuff for years and have also haunted Anthony Watts site at certain times to read or find explanations to the latest attempt by the alarmists on one subject or another.
Jim Lakely, a former Washington Times journalist who has been a good friend of QandO from the beginning, is now with the Heartland Institute and is the “bartender” and host at the libertarian think-tank’s “Freedom Pub“. The Pub opened for business yesterday.
As Jim describes it:
It’s friendly place where those who value liberty and honor the Founders’ vision of America can gather together and express themselves.
It’s a group-blog community where you can sign on and have your own page and keep up with others who share your views. I’ve signed up (anything to get the word out) and will probably do some crossposting of QandO posts there.
Give it a look and if you’re so inclined sign up and contribute. If Jim’s in charge, I can promise you it will be a worthwhile endeavor.