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Leaked Heartland Institute Documents Reveal Opposition To Science 615

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the scientists-cause-global-warming dept.
New submitter bheerssen writes with an excerpt from an article by The Bad Astronomer: "The Heartland Institute — a self-described 'think tank' that actually serves in part as a way for climate change denialism to get funded — has a potentially embarrassing situation on their hands. Someone going by the handle 'Heartland Insider' has anonymously released quite a few of what are claimed to be internal documents from Heartland, revealing the Institute's strategies, funds, and much more." At least one site has the documents in question.
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Leaked Heartland Institute Documents Reveal Opposition To Science

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:01PM (#39045213)

    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 a 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. We tentatively plan to pay Dr. Wojick $100,000 for 20 modules in 2012, with funding pledged by the Anonymous Donor.

    Wow, they didn't even bother to put the "science" in quotation marks. Guess they *really* never thought these documents would get out. Pretty dumb to use that kind of language, even in purely internal communications. About all they can say at this point is that it was a poorly-proofed typo (that they *meant* to say "bad science" or something). But even that would qualify as a Freudian slip of the fingers, methinks.

    Even creepier is the way they capitalize "the Anonymous Donor." Makes me think of a guy petting a cat in a secret island compound somewhere.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:03PM (#39045253)

      >Even creepier is the way they capitalize "the Anonymous Donor." Makes me think of a guy petting a cat in a secret island compound somewhere.

      Yep, that's me.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:16PM (#39045393) Journal
      Just to point out that the real incriminating evidence comes from the "2012 Climate Strategy" document that could be falsified. The other documents, like the budget, look pretty legit but the document you are citing is a page and a half. Wouldn't take much for me, someone who is ultra opposed to the Heartland Institute, to dream that up in a short afternoon with a six pack. I'm poking through the rest of them and am not finding the same sort of evidence. So it's possible that someone could have gotten their hands on a few legit documents (like the budget) and created this one and added it to the group. The metadata on the meeting agendas and such read "jbast" while the metadata on the climate strategy document reads "Joseph Bast." Entirely possible they were created two different ways but then why does the climate strategy document appear photoscanned? Is he photoscanning his own internal documents? Why? Or did someone want this to look legit, photoscan it and then write "Joseph Bast" as the author to make it look authentic?

      I'm just pleading for people to exercise caution. I think that the best approach for this is to put forth questions towards Dr. Wojick about his funding and move forward with caution. This is the internet. This is an area where I require a lot of verification before I believe something. The climate strategy document is awful convenient and as someone who's use to corporate bullshit, I can tell you my manager could easily produce a 15 page document on our team's "vision" and "mission statements" or "strategy." Mostly to prove he's worth something but also because that just seems to be how they roll. Two pages can be made up and I would imagine the real thing would have a lot more fluff and a lot more boring in it. I'm not saying this document is a fake, I'm just urging everyone to exercise caution before you look like a rube.
      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @01:06PM (#39046087)

        As much as I love your response, I'm more disheartened by the fact that you seem to be the only advocating this position, and are sitting there without upmods.

        Leaks by definition are suspect. #1 problem is that leaks are always cherry-picked to show a particular problem. #2 problem is that leaks are always coming from an adversarial source that cannot be verified. #3 problem is that leaks can only be the starting point of an investigation, never the end point.

        As a result, this should be treated the same way as any other leak: with circumspection, and with a follow-up investigation.

    • by Layzej (1976930) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @01:51PM (#39046765)
      The $90,000 going to Anthony Watts is money well spent, considering [wordpress.com] the [wordpress.com] sheer [wordpress.com] volume [wordpress.com] of [wordpress.com] easily [wordpress.com] debunked [wordpress.com] anti [wordpress.com]-science [wordpress.com] nonsense [wordpress.com] that [wordpress.com] gets [wordpress.com] posted [wordpress.com] over [wordpress.com] there. [wordpress.com]
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:05PM (#39045271)
    Cue the climate change denials in 3...2...1...
  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:15PM (#39045383)

    We've all known these groups were anti-science. While seeing it spelled out on paper is amusing, and satisfying, I doubt that very many minds are going to be changed by this information. The people that populate and fund these groups ignore anything and everything that conflicts with their ideas as it is.

    These people are used to the extreme mental acrobatics necessary to deny the reality right in front of them. This will be written off as "liberal lies and smear tactics" pretty much immediately. It's not so much that they believe the crap these groups spew, a lot of people simply take the opposite stance of their political opponents regardless. Since climate change is a "liberal" thing, it's all a lie, because all "liberals" are liars.

    Still, like I said, it's nice to see what we've all already suspected confirmed in writing. These guys are in the same league as Big Tobacco with their bullshit.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:20PM (#39045435) Homepage Journal
    Better to have your population ignorant, fearful and easily alarmed. Not only are they easily controlled, but pseudo-science is big business in this country. I wonder if their end goal is a fascist state, or if they're simply trying to preserve their economic advantage.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I wonder if their end goal is a fascist state, or if they're simply trying to preserve their economic advantage.

      Same thing really - eventually the economic advantage is enough that it causes the masses to resent the privileged class, who then must enlist the power of the state to enforce its economic advantage (or else the masses will simply use force to recover the wealth currently going to the privileged class). The state, in turn, must then ignore the will of the people in favor of the corporations, and eventually a nucleus of pliant politicians and corporate overlords is running everything.

  • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:22PM (#39045467)

    I used to butt heads with Jim Lakely [heartland.org] on a small, multi-author politically slanted blog [infinitemonkeysblog.com] he contributed to. I was friends with him briefly on FB, but I couldn't take his near constant right-wing/libertarian rantings. By all accounts he's an intelligent guy, but he has some of the craziest ideas. He's a really good fit for that organization. When he got that job, the action at the blog dried up, which was unfortunate. I had a lot of fun debating there, as one of only about 3 active left-leaners.

  • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:37PM (#39045677)

    The funny thing is these guys were chortling mightily at the release of the "Climategate" emails a couple of years ago.

    Is this Alanis Morissette-ironic, or actual-ironic?

  • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:47PM (#39045823)
    As a Brit reading this, I see it as deliberately trying to diminishing the capability of the US work force. How many great accomplishments would have been impossible if it were not for your nations commitment to science. To be able take the sum of the worlds knowledge and put a man on the moon is wonderful. China (or any other industrial nation) isn't going to put itself back into the dark ages and I'm sure they'll be happy to take advantage and will continue to invest in as much science as they can.
    So regardless of religion, at some point (or at what point does) the doctrine have a detrimental effect to a nation and become Anti-american or unpatriotic ?
    I really hope British cynicism will keep such topics confined to awful daytime TV discussion shows and not in the real world. /rant over.
  • by DontBlameCanada (1325547) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:48PM (#39045829)

    Climate science indicates that the world is warming. Whether the globe is warming to human activity or excess flatulation from aardvarks is immaterial.

    The best models indicate that the trend will continue. The best theoretic models predict that this will cause the polar ice caps to change: some cause it to melt, others to increase in size. Both outcomes are dire, massive increase in ocean levels resulting in New York becoming New Venice or a mile thick wall of ice rolling down over the Northern Hemisphere.

    I'm a software engineer. I don't pretend to understand climatology, however I do know how to manage risk. When the evidence is pointing to a potential disaster, be it projects running late, major requirements being added at the last minute or something akin to the end of the world as we know it, I don't waste time with the "finger of blame". I ask, how do we mitigate the issue?

    Since we don't know the root cause (or if there is even a single root cause), lets take action on all fronts and use this as an opportunity to make our lifestyles more sustainable and less impactful on the planet. Legislate lower vehicular emissions and mass transit use. Use incentives to get people to cycle or walk. Require companies to institute work-from-home plans. Slap taxes on pollution from industries to force them to reduce their emissions. Bar import of goods from countries that don't adhere to the global standard. Humans (and the companies they run) are adaptable, they'll find other work.

    If we're wrong and global warming isn't actually happening, at least we'll have some positive outcomes. If we're right, maybe we can prevent a total catastrophe. Inaction, garners little or no benefit if human-caused GW isn't actually occurring, but will be a direct contributor to disaster if it is.

    The Canadian fishing industry is a good example. Those folks who lost their jobs are hurting, but they are alive and there is some chance that the fishing will reopen. If GW is real, millions if not billions will die from starvation, be displaced into refugee camps as their towns are flooded or be impacted by regional conflicts as countries struggle to deal with the changing climate.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:52PM (#39045889)

    FTFA: "uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies. Heartland particularly celebrates the funding that it receives from the fossil fuel fortune being the Charles G. Koch Foundation."

    Once again it comes down to Oil and Money with one organization steering the whole ship. Lessee... so the shopping list must look a bit like this:

    [x] legal system pwned by koch
    [x] judicial system pwned by koch
    [x] polictical system pwned by koch
    [ ] education sytsem pwned by koch

  • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:52PM (#39045897)

    Since some secular IT workers occupy positions of trust in superstitionist groups, and have the skill to leak information without getting busted (the Bradley Manning attention-whore model is not what to do!). they should consider doing so for the good of mankind.

    IT workers can spy on superstitionists over time. Superstitionist political moves rely on hiding in the dark. IT folk can dump info (not from your own IP and don't forget MAC spoofing) into the light, and expose their machinations.

    IT workers are taken for granted, their reach is considerable, and with malice and planning they can take the fight to the enemy. Don't forget to "follow the money".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @12:54PM (#39045945)

    Wow, denier funding is peanuts. These documents contradict the constant claims of 'well funded climate denialism'. It shows they were never true, alarmists simply made them up.

    For years I never really knew if deniers were well funded or not. Now I know they were never well funded.

    Its the greenies who have been well funded all along.

    Thank you Desmogblog. Nice work

  • by AdamHaun (43173) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @01:23PM (#39046323) Journal

    The most damning part of the climate strategy document wasn't the curriculum stuff, it was this:

    Expanded climate communications
    Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house
    experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences,
    and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT and other groups capable of
    rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts).
    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.
    Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big
    audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of
    the more extreme AGW communicators such as Rornm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who
    has become popular with our supporters). AVe have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in
    2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.

    In other words, they don't want a debate.

    The budget document says that their key projects are (in order of funding): eliminating or reducing FDA approval requirements for new medicines, opposing the Wisconsin recall elections (i.e. anti-union activity), opposing global warming, supporting charter schools and the privatization of education, supporting fracking, and a couple of Chicago-specific items. The Wisconsin work goes by the name Operation Angry Badger, for no apparent reason.

    The fundraising document is the most interesting, and describes an "Anonymous Donor" who once gave them half of their money but is now merely the largest donor. This donor is particularly interested in climate change, and has earmarked the majority of his donations for related projects.

    Heartland has an anonymous donor who has given as much as half the organizations’ entire
    budget in some past years, and currently gives about one-fifth of total receipts. Renewing
    him each year and keeping him informed and engaged is a major responsibility of the
    President. We regularly solicite his ideas for new projects

    There's a description of their anti-IPCC report project:

    Heartland sponsors the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an
    international network of scientists who write and speak out on climate change. Heartland pays a
    team of scientists approximately $300,000 a year to work on a series of editions of Climate
    Change Reconsidered, the most comprehensive and authoritative rebuttal of the United Nations’
    IPCC reports. Another $88,000 is earmarked for Heartland staff, incremental expenses, and
    overhead for editing, expense reimbursement for the authors, and marketing.

    NIPCC is currently funded by two gifts a year from two foundations, both of them requesting
    anonymity.
    In 2012 we plan to solicit gifts from other donors to add to what these two donors are
    giving in order to cover more of our fixed costs for promoting the first two Climate Change
    Reconsidered volumes and writing and editing the volume scheduled for release in 2013. We
    hope to raise $200,000 in 2012.

    Again with the anonymous donors.

    There's a long description of the anti-AGW curriculum project. It was proposed by a consultant who works with the Department of Energy, Dr. David Wojick. Wojick studies science education, and his knowledge of national test requirements and contacts in educational organizations are described as his key attributes. He is not described as a climate scientist.

    Many people lament the absence of educational material sui

    • "supporting charter schools and the privatization of education"

      That's the one that hits close to home for me. Where I live there are a ton of charter schools. They take public school money, but get to 1) pick and choose who to admit, 2) get to report standardized test scores themselves (with no double-checking from a 3rd party), and 3) make a profit on this "education" and funnel it to their board members. As more money gets taken away from public schools, the public schools get worse and the charter sch

  • This is terrorism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @01:32PM (#39046471)

    The fact is that this is terrorism by any other name. This is Charles Manson directing the activities of his Family. The Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and all the rest of the rogues gallery of Koch Instruments are effectively building a bomb - a bomb named inaction- that will kill every one of us and our children, and they are fully intent on setting that bomb off.

    These individuals are a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States of America and they need to be dealt with within that defining context and no other. It is directly because of their actions that steps needed to preserve our civilization against catastrophic climate change have not been taken despite the fact they're well within our ability:

    http://cmi.princeton.edu/wedges/ [princeton.edu]

    I understand that many reading this will not see advocating for provably suicidal policies and conspiring to influence society to take suicidal steps as a crime. To them I say- the definition of what is criminal does and must change because criminals adapt and change. The means they have to effect their ends change and the scope of devastation they can effect enlarges. The purpose of a system of laws is to protect society against the self chosen behaviour of criminals, whatever that behaviour may be. Criminals should not expect that they can evade justice by gaming the law.

    It's criminals themselves who force society's and and decide what laws will come to exist. In a free society that seeks to protect the greatest freedom for each individual and which values liberty, the rule of law is by nature reactionary. But that cannot mean that society will permit criminals to leverage that permissive attitude into an act of world wide homicide.

    There is ONE objective reality, not many. This conservative Post Modernist bullshit whereby YOU have YOUR reality but conservatives get THEIR OWN version of reality is cultural and planetary suicide.

    There is ONE reality and human caused climate change is a fact of that reality.Continued inaction will lead directly to the extinction of civilization. Those are facts. Anyone advocating for that course of non-action is acting as a terrorist against everyone in every nation who is alive now or will be at all times forward.

    That is a fact, not an opinion.

    Remember, it really didn't matter that the Nazis "really believed" their load of scientific crap they used to justify their genocidal policies. We still prosecuted them in Nuremberg , then we found them guilty and then we hung them.

    This is exactly what needs to be done with the individuals and funders of these denier organizations. No one cares if you *really believe* your bullshit or you know you're lying through your teeth. Neither does it matter that in your view your *rights* include to the *right* to yell "no fire!!" in a burning theater.

    It's amusing to see that people who are attempting to implement policies which we know will lead to mass death on a scale which will dwarf the body count and social upheaval of WWII think they can get away with it because they've found a worm hole in the rule of law to squeeze through on the other side of which no one can touch them.

    In Nuremberg, the Allies faced a similar problem. Because the victims of the Nazis were not enemy troops, the Geneva Convention did not apply.

    Similarly because the victims were under Nazi rule at the time, they were subject to German law and no Nazi broke any German law.

    This was the first thrust of the defense the Nazis raised- "hey, we broke no law..."

    And what was the solution the Allies came up with in Nuremberg? We just made up- ex post facto- the crimes we decided the Nazis had committed- something we called Crimes Against Humanity .

    Then we tried them for those crimes. Then we found them guilty. Then we hung them.

    Before Nuremberg the concept of Crimes Agains

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