Leaked! – NZ talks at Heartland crankfest

BREAKING NEWS: A mole in the Heartland Institute has leaked details of presentations planned for the fourth “International Conference on Climate Change”, to be held in Chicago from May 16 – 18. Over the weekend a file containing a selection of emails between Heartland senior executives and their invited speakers was uploaded to a Russian server, and a link to the file posted in comments at Hot Topic (since removed, to protect the whistleblower). To give you a flavour of the explosive contents, here are extracts in which prominent New Zealand sceptics Bob Carter, Chris de Freitas and Bryan Leyland discuss the talks they plan to give.

Email from Bob Carter to Joseph Bast: Joe, here’s the outline of my presentation. It builds on themes I’ve been developing in my recent writing, and my new book. Incidentally, any chance I can have a signing session at some point? I see you have Roy Spencer down for one break. I wouldn’t mind something similar. Anyway, here’s the blurb:

The emerging counter-consensus: The counter-consensus to quasi-scientific hype and induced panic on climate change is at last assembling — here in Chicago, thanks to the generosity of those deep-pocketed patrons of climate realism, the Heartland Institute. The argument is not in the first place as to whether or not climate change has been taking place, although last Tuesday was no warmer than the same Tuesday 20 years ago, but whether any recent warming of the planet is appreciably due to human activity (which of course it isn’t) and how harmful it will prove (which it won’t). In the context of the paleoclimatic history of SE Queensland, as evidenced in a hand dug core in my back garden, I can demonstrate that recent warming is neither large nor exceptional when viewed with the necessary perspective (through a beer glass, darkly). ENSO cycles detected in the soil profile prove that CO2 has no role to play in climate beyond making Fosters fizzy. And every time I’ve tried to point that out in the local pub I’ve been laughed at and vilified, so there must be a global conspiracy to shut me up.

Email from Chris de Freitas to Jay Lehr: Jay, thanks for the suggestion that I should give a run through of the ENSO stuff, but that’s really Maclean’s thing, not mine. Why have you not invited John, by the way? I know he’s a bit of a liability in public, but he can spin figures with the best of them. Anyway, I really will have to stick with my earlier talk idea, because Auckland are getting very shirty if I talk outside my areas of expertise. You’ll see I’ve tweaked the title and ending a little to suit the conference theme.

How do we know the climate hasn’t changed? The effect of woollen overgarments on perceptions of temperature in the Waitomo Caves of New Zealand. Over the last 20 years, a survey of people leaving a popular New Zealand tourist attraction, the Waitomo Caves, has determined that people wearing warm outer garments report that the caves are warmer than those wearing thin T-shirts and shorts. This means that there can be no greenhouse effect and that ENSO can explain all global warming ever. Because my brother told me so.

Joseph Bast to Bryan Leyland: Bryan, I’m sure an overview of the NZ electricity market and its failings is an important contribution to the whole issue of energy security, but you have to remember we’re going to be in Chicago. The closest thing we’ve got to geothermal is the Salma Hayek at Hot Doug’s. (Remind me to take you there, BTW). I’d much prefer it if you could talk about how the NZ model of climate science coalitions is being rolled out around the world.

Email from Bryan Leyland to Jay Lehr: Jay, Joe’s been leaning on me to talk about the ICSC instead of the energy stuff, so how does this look?

Coalitions and colons: how to talk out of your bottom about climate. Since we launched the New Zealand Climate Coalition four years ago, our doughty little band of retirees has demonstrated how a little disinformation, a compliant press and complicit politicians can create a political climate in which daft Americans pay us to fly around the world and create coalitions wherever we go. I have myself personally created coalitions in Goa, Hyderabad and Bangkok, and am pleased to serve on the one coalition to rule them all, the intergalactic climate science coalition. Today Chicago, tomorrow the universe. In this talk I shall reveal the secrets of recruiting the best independent scientists from lists provided by the Heartland Institute, and share the best methods of persuading dim journalists to report our tripe.

Editor’s note: the emails contain much more in a similar vein. I’ll be happy to forward copies to anyone who wants to look at the correspondence involving some of the other “big” names involved, and who would like to draw attention to them here. The best examples might get promoted to the main article… (And before you ask, Scrotum denies any knowledge of this coup, but Mycroft’s keeping schtum).

43 thoughts on “Leaked! – NZ talks at Heartland crankfest”

  1. Will the MSM actual pick up on this? I wonder if DPF will, mention this scandal or just keep posting only on 'alarmist' or any other right wing blog?

  2. Perhaps Heartland could do a session on "striking similarity" between certain major contrarian papers and their antecedents. Pros and cons of using blogs vs text books vs Wikipedia for this purpose. Featuring Alan Carlin (of EPA fame) and Steve McIntyre standing in for the Wegman team.

  3. So what's the "gotcha" here? I don't get it. How is the release of these emails that previews what these well-known skeptics will say a scandal?

    Unless you think what they say will be a scandal — which is your right. But these emails are irrelevant to that point.

  4. If you can wait a couple more days, we'll release our standard "look who's talking" media release that provides a synopsis of each presenters' content. In the meantime, thanks for the breathless publicity ("To give you a flavour of the explosive contents…").

    Dan Miller
    The Heartland Institute

  5. It looked like a piss-take to me jonno:

    "but he can spin figures with the best of them. "
    "share the best methods of persuading dim journalists to report our tripe."
    "people wearing warm outer garments report that the caves are warmer than those wearing thin T-shirts and shorts"
    "a little disinformation, a compliant press and complicit politicians can create a political climate in which daft Americans pay us to fly around the world"
    "although last Tuesday was no warmer than the same Tuesday 20 years ago,"


          1. I thought it was quite funny. Perhaps more funny if i'd understood all the references – what exactly (if anything) was the caves reference to? Presumably something to do with de Freitas' work in the past…

      1. yes. de freitas expertise appears to be in the arena of the effect of weather on tourists. How long do they stay on the beach if it rains? What if the sun goes behind a cloud?

        His PhD involved taking skin temperature of people sitting in the sun on a beach in Queensland, I hear.

      2. Pray tell me what expertise Michael Mann has in "big picture" sciences — atmospheric physics, oceanography etc etc.
        Let alone statistical analysis which is what his fraudulent hockey stick was all about! Even Lord Oxburgh criticsed Mann's co-workers in UEA for lack of statistical expertise.

        1. Bryan, be warned that I don't tolerate accusations of fraud levelled at respected scientists. It might be acceptable in the circles you move in, but not here.

          The Oxburgh report suggested that it might be better if Jones et al had worked with statisticians, but found the methods they used were perfectly acceptable.

          1. Apologies. I had forgotten that in your world chopping the end off inconveniently declining tree ring proxies and replacing them with temperature records showing a warming trend, "censoring" data that shows the MWP was warm, resisting FOI requests and conspiring to use the peer review process to block the publication of sceptical papers, is laudable and ethical because "the end justifies the means".

  6. Gareth, it is good to have confirmation of what has been obvious for a long time. You have no hesitation in fabricating evidence. So, no rational person should ever believe anything you say ever again. Sadly, there are lots of irrational people around.
    If you had bothered to ask, I would have happily given you an e-mail exchanges between myself and Heartland. But, as I suspect you know me well enough to know that I am not into deception or vicious personal attacks, you would have realised that it was better to fabricate something that is damaging to the reputations of honest people.

    Here are some of my e-mail exchanges.
    On 27/04/2010, at 5:50 AM, Diane Bast wrote:


    Below appears the brief bio statement we are planning to use in the program for the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change. Please let me know at your earliest convenience – no later than Monday, May 3 – if any changes must be made. Thank you! –Diane

    Bryan Leyland is an electrical and mechanical engineer specializing in power generation and power systems. He worked as an engineer for a utility in New Zealand; sailed to Tahiti on a yacht and then on to the United States on Marlon Brando’s “Bounty”; and in 1974 established his own consulting firm. He now acts as a power industry consultant. He is a member of the Expert Advisory Group for the Kalpasar Tidal Power Scheme in India. His renewable energy expertise includes power generation from tidal, wave, wind, solar, and geothermal resources. He has acted as an expert witness opposing wind farms, based on the high cost of wind power and the problems and costs it imposes on the rest of the system. He has been interested in climate change for several years and his views changed as he has learned more about the uncertainties underlying claims of manmade global warming. He is a founder member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and secretary of the International Climate Science Coalition.

    Diane Carol Bast
    Executive Editor
    The Heartland Institute

    22 jan
    Dear James,

    Thank you very much for your invitation which I am delighted to accept. I apologise for the delay in replying but I have had to spend some time thinking about what I could present that would be of most relevant to the conference objectives.

    As my background is in power generation and transmission and, in particular, in renewable energy, I propose to do a presentation based on exposing the realities (fraud?) of "new renewable energy technologies". I did a brief presentation on this subject at a conference in New Zealand about six months ago which is attached. I've also written a paper for Energy and Environment (attached) that demonstrates that on an "apples for apples" basis a combination of wind power with long term hydro-pumped storage (which, in reality, is unrealistic because it is virtually impossible to find sufficiently large reservoirs) and windpower would supply an isolated power system at a cost at least three times higher than supplying the same isolated system from a combination of nuclear (or geothermal) power and conventional pumped hydro storage.

    Make what you can of that.

    Gareth, as the owner operator of a 1 MW hydro scheme I would make a lot of money from the ETS. But I oppose it. Am I crazy or am I someone who cares for the economic future of this country? The Green Party have a lot of money invested in wind power that, they must know, needs to be subsidised in some way. What does this make them? Heavily conflicted? When will we hear from you on that scandal?

  7. See comment by dappledwater Bryan.

    Gareth, it is good to have confirmation of what has been obvious for a long time. You have no hesitation in fabricating evidence.

    Awful big claim that.

  8. 'according to Prof Phil Jones, stopped 15 years ago)'. These Muppets can't even lie properly. First they claimed it was 'stopped in 1998', now they claim 'the scientist says it stopped in 1995'. Maybe they should learn simple maths before trying to understand science.

  9. Funny how in your world you just make stuff up, isn't it? All you have is mud-slinging, or outright lies . To persuade the world to do nothing you have to have extraordinary proof, because the balance of evidence is so heavily against you. And you've got nothing….

  10. Obviously you haven't read the climategate emails (among other stuff). I had made the the mistake of assuming that you had. Silly me! I thought it was your group who had to have extraordinary proof to show the warming (that, according to Prof Phil Jones, stopped 15 years ago) is inconsistent with natural climate change. But as we know, you live in a different world where computer models are more important than observations.

  11. If you were a regular reader, you would know that the stolen emails have been extensively covered here, and they don't say what you seem to think they do.

    Phil Jones didn't say that warming \”stopped 15 years ago\”.

    The balance of evidence is clear: multiple lines of evidence, from basic physics through to snow and ice melt show we have a problem. To persuade us that we do not, you have to do more than nit pick, you have to provide compelling evidence. Let me know when you do, I'll be glad to report on it. In the meantime, your rejection of science and rational thought renders you irrelevant. The rest of us will get on with trying to find a solution.

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