Big coal coughs up for climate denial “conference”, takes NZ sceptics along for the ride

by Gareth on May 16, 2012

As US corporate donors step away from the Heartland Institute following their ad campaign likening climate change believers to mass murderers and terrorists, big coal — in the shape of the Illinois Coal Association, supported by all the major US coal companies — has stepped in as a “Gold Sponsor” to support Heartland’s climate “conference” next week. In other heartwarming news for the ultra-conservative lobby group, the big guns of New Zealand’s climate denial movement, the Heartland-funded NZ Climate “Science” Coalition, have also sponsored the conference, thereby endorsing Heartland’s disgusting ad campaign.

Here’s what Heartland’s president Joe Bast says about the Unabomber billboard campaign:

“The leaders of the global warming movement have one thing in common: They are willing to use force and fraud to advance their fringe theory.”

Can we assume that Barry Brill, Bryan Leyland, “Heartland expert”1 Chris de Freitas and the other members of the NZ CSC all support Bast’s statement? Only Bob Carter has made a public statement, telling The Age that:

“the usual ‘liberal’ media sources” had been “amazing, immediate and over-the-top”, and that he would still speak at the conference.

Given that Heartland are happy to pay Carter a monthly retainer, it’s perhaps not surprising he supports their tasteless little publicity stunt. Money may not be able to buy you love, but it can certainly buy support, as Carter and the CSC crew prove.

  1. It’s worth following Big City Lib’s polling of other Heartland experts, to find out how many have asked for their names to be withdrawn following the Unabomber stunt. There’s no sign (yet) of de Freitas following suit. []

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy May 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

Other questions around this conference:

Is Bryan Leyland going?

Will he be paid by Heartland to attend as he has in the past?

John Mashey May 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

In close succession, we have:
1) The billboard

2) A week later, Big Coal comes out of hiding into the limelight. Coal has long paid for climate anti-science, but like the tobacco companies, tired to keep their efforts hidden.

3) The long-un-awaited Heartland book Roosters of the Apocalypse gets notice, H/T Bill. Recall that $6K was allocated in the budget, although they did decide not to pay for Roosters polybags for Environment and Climate News.

4) But we are not done. Just today, BigCityLib finds A Dear John Letter from Bast to a departing expert. Put coffee down. Poor Joe Bast, Heartland is so Good, and has been so Nice, but is attacked by mad men like Mann and McKibbon.

Check list of “Reasonable People” at the Heartland site.

AndrewH May 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I find it amusing the the IC”S”C is sponsoring Heartland who is sponsoring the IC”S”C. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for unfettered exponential growth?

John Mashey May 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I’ve tracked the “cosponsors” over the years.
1) It is completely unclear whether any money actually changes hands, especially for the lower sponsors.

2) Many of these thinktanks are funded by the same batch of family foundations, so in soem cases, it may be moving money from one pocket to the other.

3) Especially in the lower cases, the reason for inclusion may be to make this seem like a Big Deal.

As I’ve written elsewhere, this is a distributed effort, and thinktanks both compete for funds and cooperate. Suppose there is $50M from foundations. They could give $25M to 2 big thintkanks, or $5M to 10 thinktanks or $1M to 50 thinkanks, increasing the number of logos and “independent” organizations. Of course, they cross-quote each other, sometimes have people in common, etc. Some of this ios coverd in Fake science.

bill May 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Thus increasing the number of entities whose names consist of permutations of the 3Fs – ‘freedom’ ‘frontier’ and ‘foundation’ – with a little ‘liberty’ and ‘science’ thrown in for good measure…

Yeah, I think it’s safe to assume that ‘silver sponsorship’ is a sort of ‘me, too!’, moral-support, thing.

God knows they need it…

Rob Taylor May 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm

OMG, its a positive feedback! We can expect lots of excruciating noise to ensue.

bill May 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

The man just cannot stop himself -

We took it down immediately and admitted that it was in poor taste and a mistake, but they continue to promote madmen on the other side of the issue including Michael Mann and Bill McKibben, and hypocritically pound on us for our “ethical lapse.” [my emphasis]

Having blasted away both feet and kneecaps Bast now takes aim at his left elbow…

(‘Somewhat Reasonable’ is a hilariously ironic name for that HI blog. You almost have to wonder about subconscious cries for help.)

In all seriousness there must be many on the ‘skeptic’ side for whom this whole fiasco gives significant pause for thought.

The trouble is that Denial is a conspiracy theory, and conspiracy theories must revile that group they’ve cast in the role of evil manipulators. As the evidence increasingly mounts against them they face a stark choice – admit error, and thereby admit having publicly, and scandalously, campaigned to impoverish the future of humanity for over a decade – or double down on the crazy.

At the moment I think we’re seeing Denial being whittled down to this ‘true-believer’ core. And they’ll be very easy to identify: they’ll be the ones at the conference… ;-)

andyS May 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Interesting little piece from your link above Bill

Regarding tactics, since the “Fakegate” scandal, Greenpeace has contacted the employers of every scientist who works for us, demanding that they be fired for having the temerity to question the official dogma of global warming

Thanks for bringing that to my attention, though it doesn’t surprise me.

Ian Forrester May 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

andyS shows how gullible he is, he believes every word coming out of Joe Bast’s computer.

Did you not notice that there is no reference to this? How gullible can you deniers get?

I think this billboard says it all;

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3hxqUJmfmWU/T6R-fMyPY3I/AAAAAAAABZE/rMekSR9Chf0/s1600/heartland.jpg

Why don’t you go the “conference” andyS and give your hero a big hug, he is going to be very lonely (and short of pocket money) in the near future.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

The climategate 2 emails show in great detail how Jim Salinger tried to get Chris de Freitas sacked from his position at the University of Auckland.

Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me that Greenpeace would act like this.

Ian Forrester May 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm

andyS do you know what a “non sequitur” is? Didn’t think so. Your response is a great example. Nothing surprises me how stupid you act in your responses on this blog. There is absolutely no connection (except in your addled brain) between Salinger and de Frietas and Greenpeace and Heartless (Brainless too).

andyS May 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

There is absolutely no connection (except in your addled brain) between Salinger and de Frietas and Greenpeace and Heartless (Brainless too).

It shows the complete lack of any morals held by the Khmer Verte

John Mashey May 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

de Freitas:
Do see Skeptics Prefer Pal Review Over Peer Review: Chris de Freitas, Pat Michaels And Their Pals, 1997-2003″.
‘The scientists were defending peer review from abuse, as was their responsibility to science. de Freitas a martyr for good science? I don’t think so.’

But actually, at the time, the real scientists *underestimated* the extent of the peer review abuse.

bill May 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Oh, just noticed ‘Khmer Verte’. And, yes, a quick google reveals that it’s a shibboleth doing the rounds on the extreme fringe (e.g. WUWT, Jo Nova)

So, andy, you’re now comparing us to the murderous Pol Pot regime, eh?

You’ve made your choice, and you’ve chosen to learn nothing from this fiasco, and to pledge your allegiance to such vile tactics?

Well, keep it up. Every such effort on your part goes that little bit further in finally eroding the (already very shaky) prop of your movement’s ‘respectability’.

Pointing out how daft and counter-productive it is to do this actually represents good tactical advice. I suppose, therefore, that I probably shouldn’t offer it, but I’m not too worried; zealots can’t follow good tactical advice.

bill May 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

As Ian says; actual evidence?

Trying to ignite a bit of the old Denier spark there, andy? Seems a bit half-hearted, I have to say.

Let’s face it, there’s no way back from this debacle. Along with himself, Bast just keeps on merrily tarring all the conference attendees – and that’s the very heart of Denial* – by waving his pitch-brush around like there’s no tomorrow.

(In the case of his career that may well prove true!)

Also, I think you rather missed the key phrase here; so, any scientist who’s still on their lists ‘works for us’, eh?

Let’s have a look at those funding documents again, shall we?…

Again, Bast’s capacity to auto-inflict this kind of damage is truly remarkable.

*Oh, hang on, you’ll still have Monckton and Delingpole. So the science will be in safe hands, then. ;-)

andyS May 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Let’s have a look at those funding documents again, shall we?…

Which ones, the ones Gleick stole or he ones Gleick forged?

bill May 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm

There’s only one doc in question as a ‘forgery’, andy, and you know it.

As I say, your efforts to give the impression of a renewal of faith in your hour of adversity seem a little unconvincing.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

My hour of adversity? Hardly.

I do enjoy rubbing your noses in it though.

repeatedly.

bill May 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Yeah, sure: you just keep on whistling in the dark, soldier.

If you imagine you’ve ever managed to rub the nose of anyone here in anything at all I take it back – you’re more deluded than I thought!

cindy May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

sorry to disappoint, Andy, but Greenpeace didn’t ask for anyone to “be fired”. Bast got it wrong (again).

bill May 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Here’s one of Greenpeace’s letters – in this case to Harvard with regard to the activities of Willie Soon.

andy – or any fellow-traveller – please point out the bit where they ‘demand… that [Soon] be fired for having the temerity to question the official dogma of global warming’.

Any time you’re ready.

Here’s the page with links to all the other letters Greenpeace wrote. I count 10. I also counted no less than 64 ‘experts’ – who, presumably, must ‘work for us’ – on HI’s pages today.

So, since you believe this statement to be true on the heady grounds of it being somewhat like something you claim Jim Salinger did*, it should only be a matter of minutes for you to corroborate for us the claim that Greenpeace ‘has contacted the employers of every scientist who worked for us’ to demand that they be fired.

I’ve already given you the source: go to it!

( Google. It’s a wonderful thing. A really great tool to avoid looking like a prat… )

*a rather similar line of reasoning to concluding it’s OK to compare us all to the Pol Pot regime because of something one Green MP may have believed more than 30 years ago.

bill May 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Further, I note that the HI list of experts still contains the name of Christopher Landsea, despite the WaPo reporting his letter requesting that he be de-listed earlier this week.

(Note: the 64 ‘experts’ referred to above are those that are related to climate, to the best of my ability to discern it.)

AndrewH May 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm

It might be hard to get off the expert list. Owen McShane is on there (though Fred Seitz has gone).

bill May 18, 2012 at 12:25 am

I did notice McShane. I understood some folks have recently been removed from it promptly. Entomologist Paul Reiter, for instance isn’t there now..

At the meeting I was asked if I would serve as a technical advisor on my field. My personal politics are far removed from those of the Heartland Institute but, given that the voice of “skeptics”—bona fide scientists—has little opportunity for exposure to the public, I agreed to serve in this capacity provided that it was quite clear that I would only speak on my own field of expertise.

I now thoroughly regret having agreed to their request. I am horrified that my name should be associated with such a distasteful, revolting campaign. To me it is worthy of the worst propaganda of the 20th century.

In summary, I am horrified that you should have found my name in association with this sort of claim.

I copy this message to Mr Joseph Bast and demand that my name be removed from any mention by the Heartland Institute.

Also, I just noticed the ‘Person Role: Global Warming Expert’ checkbox in the right-hand column on the HI ‘expert’ search pages.

64 was indeed a conservative estimate. Make that 140.

John Mashey May 18, 2012 at 3:03 am

For some reason, Lnadsea was on the list twice.
They removed the first one fairly quickly, but missed the second, although it seems to be gone this AM.

Notwithstanding Napolen, there’s no reason malice cannot accompany incompetence. Amusingly, the 2009 version described Roger S. Pielke, Jr, while showing a picture of RPS, Sr. See Fake science, … pp.51.-52

BTW, another one of Heartland’s Global Warming fakexperts, Alan Caruba, a contributor to Heartland’s E&CN and founder of the National Anxiety Center, has a dandy article there, right now, “Climate Nazis.”

Somehow, I suspect he may not wish to be removed from the list.
H/T J Bowers

bill May 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Idso is still there twice! He must be really, really good.

Yes indeed; Landsea’s gone from the list now, and the link to his expert page 404s.

‘Climate Nazis’. Yep, for the conspiracist true believers what’s most important is to learn nothing and double-down on the Crazy.

Young Alan looks to be particularly at home in that milieu.

I note his April piece ‘Eco-Communism Celebrated Annually on Earth Day‘ contains the classic -

I came of age in the 1950s during a period when Joe McCarthy was raising hell about communists in the federal government. He was spectacularly inept, often made intemperate and inaccurate charges, but for the most part he was right.

I mean, you couldn’t make stuff like this up -

If you were fooled by global warming, they are counting on you to be fooled again by “sustainability”, their reworking of Marx’s communism in the form of a grandiose scheme to control all of the Earth’s bounty.

(Well, andy does all the time.)

I suspect the name ‘Anxiety Centre’ may well be, like HI’s ‘Somewhat Reasonable’ blog, a subconscious self-recognition- and perhaps a cry for help?! ;-)

andyS May 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Have you got anywhere with that million bucks Jim Hansen has made out of his activism whilst in the pay of the US taxpayer, perchance Bill?

Gareth May 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Please read section 3. FOIA Demands and Law Suits from Hansen’s Climate Cowards Part 2 from last year.

Then apologise for the slur on a respected scientist (see Comment policy).

You will also apologise for using the term “Khmer Vert”, or be placed on moderation until you do so.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Yes I am so terribly sorry

Gareth May 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Less snark and more evidence of good faith discussion, please, Andy.

Now: I hope you have taken the trouble to read Hansen’s detailed discussion of the unwarranted attacks on his ethics. Perhaps — just perhaps — it might give you some pause for thought before you spout whatever sceptic meme pops into your mind when commenting here.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Ok point taken. I did read Hansens piece as it happens.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

So, andy, you’re now comparing us to the murderous Pol Pot regime, eh?

I seem to remember that NZ Green MP Keith Locke was a fan of Pol Pot, although according to his Wikipedia page he changed his mind.

As you do

bill May 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

This is your idea of a justification for this kind of abuse, is it, andy?

You really should be at the Heartland conference with your peers, you know.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Abuse?
When did I “abuse” you Bill?

andyS May 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Oh wait, we have a solution for nasty people like me…

Rob Taylor May 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Why, Andy? Or are denier trolls paid by the number of posts they emit?

BTW, since McShane has gone to his just reward, who is the NZCSC bagman now, I wonder? At a guess, Leyland will pick up a cheque when he’s over there.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Yes thanks for reminding us that you and your friend Noel were celebrating the death of Owen McShane before he’s even been buried.

Incidentally, you are currently in a rather pointless thread over at Treadgold’s that has now exceeded 200 comments.

Rob Taylor May 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Indeed, Andy, you must be embarrassed to have Treadgold and his ilk on your side. Its turtles all the way down over there….

tom May 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Back to the big cough for a mo, folks.
FYI sciam has an endgamer lede.

To which golden oldie juancole.com has a referenced item to weight the above. Would you believe coal use has dropped 19 percent in one year. Yay 19%. Now, it would seem, constituting but 36 percent of total US power usage.

andyS May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

as the SciAm article states, this is because of the cheap shale gas that is coming on stream.

bill May 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

For the record, here is the sum total of references to AGW in the Unabomber’s manifesto.

118.

Thus pesticide or chemical use near a creek may contaminate the water supply hundreds of miles downstream, and the greenhouse effect affects the whole world.

169.

No one knows what will happen as a result of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems that cannot yet be foreseen.

Two whole sentences. In both instances AGW is lumped in with another issue. And a ‘no one knows what will happen’. Monomaniacal obsession, or what? Just have a scroll through the whole huge, crazy epic to get an understanding of how completely ridiculous, as well as absurd and offensive, Bast’s claims truly are.

I’m sure some at HI would like us to believe that concern for the ozone layer is a sign of terrorist madness, but I doubt too many are going to buy into that argument.

From the above we can also conclude, using Bast’s ‘logic’, that anyone who is concerned by pesticide/chemical use near creeks is a madman[/woman], meaning that in the course of my work I meet a hell of a lot of them…

andyS May 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Do you think Ted Kazkinski is mad?
He is certainly a very intelligent man, with a recorded IQ of 167, entered Harvard at age 16. he wrote a PhD thesis in pure maths that only a handful of people could understand.

This seems to be something that everyone has overlooked in this tawdry affair.

John Mashey May 21, 2012 at 9:51 am

According to Suzanne Goldenberg, Heritage Foundation also got added as sponsor A.B. (After Billboard).

Meanwhile, BigCityLib has been checking with those listed as Heartland Experts to see if they wish to do so, A.B.

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