Get News & Views Updates
Most Popular This Week
Today's Top News
Documents Reveal Plans, Funders and Goals of 'Climate Denial' Machine
The DeSmogBlog, which has long covered the impacts global warming and fossil fuel industry-backed misinformation campaigns, on Tuesday released internal documents from the Heartland Institute -- "the heart of the climate denial machine" -- that discuss "its current plans, many of its funders, and details" confirming years of suspicion and reporting on their goals and machinations.
"The heart of the climate denial machine," writes Brendan Demelle at DeSmog,"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."
The documents include:
- Confirmation that Charles G. Koch Foundation is again funding Heartland Institute’s global warming disinformation campaign. Greenpeace’s Koch reports show the last time Heartland received Koch funding was in 1999.
“We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000. We expect to push up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to their network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests. Other contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.”
- Heartland Institute’s global warming denial machine is chiefly – and perhaps entirely – funded by one Anonymous donor:
Our climate work is attractive to funders, especially our key Anonymous Donor (whose contribution dropped from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011 - about 20% of our total 2011 revenue). He has promised an increase in 2012…”
- 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.”
Forbes and other business press are favored outlets for Heartland’s dissemination of climate denial messages, and the group is worried about maintaining that exclusive space. They note in particular the work of Dr. Peter Gleick:
“Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.” (emphasis added)
Note the irony here that Heartland Institute – one of the major mouthpieces behind the debunked ‘Climategate’ email theft who harped about the suppression of denier voices in peer-reviewed literature – now defending its turf in the unscientific business magazine realm.
And Suzanne Goldenberg, writing for The Guardian:
It was not possible to immediately verify the authenticity of the documents. "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 at New York's Time 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.