Your cheatin’ heart(land)

heart.jpg You’re a senior New Zealand climate scientist. You shared in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC last year. As a young scientist in the 1970s you did ground-breaking work on warming in New Zealand, and wrote a seminal paper in Nature pointing out that cooling experienced in the northern hemisphere might be due to aerosols. You wrote the first book on what global warming might mean for New Zealand. And then your name appears on a list of “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares” published by the Heartland Institute. Would you not be a trifle irritated?

Jim Salinger (for it is he! – excellent Herald profile here) and four other NZ scientists who found their way on to the Heartland list issued their response last night (pers comm):

The five scientists concerned are Associate Professor Chris Hendy (University of Waikato), Dr Matt McGlone (Science Team Leader, Landcare Research), Dr Neville Moar (retired DSIR,), Dr Jim Salinger (Principal Scientist, NIWA) and Dr Peter Wardle (retired DSIR, FRSNZ). Other eminent scientists around the world, also included in the list of 500, have publically distanced themselves from the Heartland statement. While the Heartland Institute is entitled to make what it will of their research, these scientists strongly object to the implication that they support Heartland’s position. The scientists fully endorse the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as to global warming and its causes.

There’s good coverage by Angela Gregory in the Herald this morning, plus Hard News & Stuff, and Morning Report has an interview (6:16am, podcast available), including a remarkable effort by Owen Mcshane of the NZCSC to defend the list. DeSmogBlog broke the story about the Heartland list, and has been documenting the reaction from scientists on it. Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute has made a small change to the heading of the list, but refuses to remove it from their web site.

This is the same Heartland Institute whose President, Joseph L Bast, sent a letter to The Listener (scroll down this page) demanding that Dave Hansford stop writing about climate. He wrote:

I don’t know how writers like Hansford sleep at night. If he has even a shred of personal integrity, he should apologise for his attacks on the growing number of scientists who say the threat of global warming has been over-sold, and promise to never again write on this subject. And his publisher should accept nothing less.

Bast defends his actions over the list in equally bombastic fashion (here):

Many of the complaining scientists have crossed the line between scientific research and policy advocacy. They lend their credibility to politicians and advocacy groups who call for higher taxes and more government regulations to “save the world” from catastrophic warming … and not coincidentally, to fund more climate research. They are embarrassed — as they should be — to see their names in a list of scientists whose peer-reviewed published work suggests the modern warming might be due to a natural 1,500-year climate cycle.

Well, Mr Bast, I’ve got news for you. The embarrassment should be yours. You are happy to claim the moral high ground when making thinly-veiled attempts to get rid of a journalist prepared to point out the inconvenient truth about your organisation and its funding of sceptics in NZ and around the world. But when you professionally smear a group of respected scientists – and then deepen the smear by questioning their ethics – you cross the line from advocacy to desperate defamation. To coin a phrase, you should apologise for your attacks on respected scientists, and promise to never again write on this subject. And stay out of New Zealand.

But I’m not holding my breath.

(Hat tips to JS, cindy, Deltoid, International Journal of Inactivism)

11 thoughts on “Your cheatin’ heart(land)”

  1. Good article. Does Bast not see the paradox of complaining that the very scientists he says support his views don’t in fact support his views? Weird logic there, but since when did the denialist cranks every admit they’re wrong?

  2. “They lend their credibility to politicians and advocacy groups who call for higher taxes and more government regulations to “save the world” from catastrophic warming”

    Don’t tell me they have a problem with taxes? Why waste air talking about taxes if the science is so clear cut?

    “… and not coincidentally, to fund more climate research.”

    Not sure what they mean by that…’empirical research bad’?

  3. Stephen:

    “Not sure what they mean by that…’empirical research bad’?”

    Nice catch! Inactivists keep saying that we should Do Nothing until All The Science Is In, which means to keep doing more research. But when there are people who actually go ahead and do more research, the inactivists turn around and call them a bunch of pinko commie bedwetters.

    The barrel of fish that’s climate inactivism just gets bigger and bigger.

  4. Did I hear right that the five NZ scientists are the only ones on the list? (or are they the only ones that want to get off it)?

    What happened to CdF and VG?

  5. Stephen:

    “I think using the dead astrologer was much harder to resist giggling at.”

    No, this sort of thing deserves a big, hearty laugh. 🙂

    – –

    Andrew H:

    “What happened to CdF and VG?”

    De Freitas isn’t on the list at all, for whatever reason. I’m not sure who VG is, but I couldn’t find anyone with those initials on the list either.

  6. Exactly!

    (thanks Frank & Gareth for doing my research for me) And, thanks to Heartland too.

    So this suggests that the two most qualified individuals in the NZC”S”C have not done any research that could be used by Heartland in the anti AGW claim. Not really a surprise, but might make a useful quote one day.


  7. Andrew

    Well, given that Vincent Gray hasn’t published on climate, then that’s hardly suprising.

    And CdF appears to be an expert on the impact on weather on tourism – not exactly the published climate scientist we’d expect to be teaching climate science at Auckland University.

    the other new zealanders listed included someone from Waikato who hasn’t been there for 25 years and a graduate research student.

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