Unmasking Heartland: the moral dilemma

Stephan Lewandowsky, The Conversation

“Truth is so precious that she should be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

Winston Churchill’s famous words were uttered during the war against the Nazis and referred to Operation Bodyguard, a deception that was intended to mislead the German high command about the date and location of the invasion of Normandy. Given the context, few would criticise Churchill’s statement.

Now imagine Bernie Madoff uttering the same words in defense of his acrobatic Ponzi schemes. Few would accept such glaring sophistry.

Where does Dr Peter Gleick’s revelation that he lied to a conservative think tank to access climate change documents fit on this spectrum? Continue reading

Revealing the oceans

“The visual nature of the project will also help bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public awareness,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg

Diver deploying 360 degree camera to obtain Catlin Seaview Survey images.

Press release, University of Queensland,

A pioneering scientific expedition that will document the health of coral on the Great Barrier Reef will be undertaken as a joint venture between global technology giant Google, the UQ Global Change Institute, not-for-profit organisation Underwater Earth and insurance company Catlin.

The Catlin Seaview Survey, announced in Singapore today, aims to carry out the first comprehensive study of the composition and health of Reef coral to an unprecedented depth range (0-100m).  Continue reading

Heartland Institute faces fresh scrutiny over tax status

, US environment correspondent.  The Guardian, Feb 17 2012

The Heartland Institute, the libertarian thinktank whose project to undermine science lessons for schoolchildren was exposed this week, faces new scrutiny of its finances – including its donors and tax status.

The Guardian has learned of a whistleblower complaint to the Internal Revenue Service about Heartland’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

There was also a call from a group of climate scientists who have personally been on the receiving end of attacks from Heartland and bloggers funded by the thinktank, and whose email was posted online after a notorious 2009 hack, for Heartland to “recognise how its attacks on science and scientists have poisoned the debate about climate changepolicy,” in a letter made available exclusively to the Guardian. Continue reading

Letter aimed at the heart

An Open Letter to the Heartland Institute:  Feb 17 2012

As scientists who have had their emails stolen, posted online and grossly misrepresented, we can appreciate the difficulties the Heartland Institute is currently experiencing following the online posting of the organization’s internal documents earlier this week. However, we are greatly disappointed by their content, which indicates the organization is continuing its campaign to discredit mainstream climate science and to undermine the teaching of well-established climate science in the classroom.

Continue reading

Bob Carter responds.

After being identified as being someone who will receive  $1667 per month from Heartland Institute (which is supported by fossil fuel interests and seeks to undermine the science of climate change), Adjunct Prof Bob Carter from James Cook University has responded “The details of any of these payments are private to me. I can’t imagine that Heartland has released this document”.  He has not denied receiving payments.  Here is what The Sydney Morning Herald,  The Guardian and The Economist  are reporting about this scandal.  Further confirmation and details from reporters at The Guardian.

Update:  “The Heartland Institute has confirmed in a prepared statement that it mistakenly emailed its board materials to an anonymous third party – confirming the source of the documents released here on the DeSmogBlog yesterday.”  Read more here.

Great benefits for all, even Bob: The Heartland Scandal

An interesting story is developing around documents putatively from the Heartland Institute that outline a campaign against the science of climate change and the IPCC.  

Feb 15 2012, Graham Readfearn

Leaked financial reports and documents from a US-based think tank that denies the risks of human-caused climate change show links to an Australian academic and detail a strategy to pursue funds from corporations affected by climate policies.

The documents from the Chicago-based Heartland Institute — leaked online by climate news site DeSmogBlog — also reveal the think tank has been moulding its messages to fit the requirements of funders, contrary to its own public claims.

According to a “proposed budget” statement for 2012, Australian scientist Bob Carter will receive $1667 per month for his work on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change — a rebuttal written by Heartland-paid scientists to question the well-regarded UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Carter’s affiliation is listed in the document as “James Cook University & Institute for Public Affairs”. Continue reading