Reply To: Global warming lies and climate change hysteria

Martin W

I posted the following in response to an item on

As for me, I reckon papers can be right or wrong, but I see "Heartland Institute" on anything, and think woah! – I'll be surprised if there's any truth and balance here.

– and promptly received an email from the institute.

My post was prompted by a scienceblog post, titled: Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny? – after article of same name in Chigaco Times, which had – as you might expect – some of the silly stuff from righties and their ilk.

The blog post cited an article on Heartland Institute cite, with title: Himalayan Glaciers Are Growing … and Confounding Global Warming Alarmists This article includes statement:

Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who have recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame. A new study of the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Western Himalaya mountain ranges by researchers at England's Newcastle University shows consistent recent growth among the region's glaciers.

– which startled me, so googled for info. Readily found, and press release from Newcastle University on the paper says:

New research into climate change in the Western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting. The findings suggest this area, known as the Upper Indus Basin, could be reacting differently to global warming, the phenomenon blamed for causing glaciers in the Eastern Himalaya, Nepal and India, to melt and shrink.

Mountain climate change trends could predict water resources Mountain climate change trends could predict water resources – so the paper refers to just one area of the Himalayas, where results (and conditions) differ from those elsewhere. Selective use of info by the institute, then – distorting the truth close enough to lying, I figure. Anyways, my email from the institute was a generic one, included:

I was concerned that you have the wrong impression of the Heartland Institute. We are a free market think tank based in Chicago. We are a non-partisan organization that believes free markets provide the best solutions to social and economic problems. We do not represent any business interests. … [blah blah blah] We may disagree on philosophy, but I think we are trying to accomplish the same thing.

Heartland is especially interested in school choice and healthcare reform.

Regards, Tom Swiss Director – Public Relations The Heartland Institute

I emailed Tom back, saying they are trying to say global warming is a non issue; I'm trying to highlight science showing it's major problem. (Should have also mentioned he was being patronising here). No response.

Wikipedia entry on the institute tells of them receiving substantial funding from Exxon. Also, institute has long been pro-smoking, with money from Philip Morris, among others: So, I suggest a name change, to the Heartless Institute.

Update, 16 Feb 2012, with news on BBC site after some leaked files show Heartland's strategy in attempting to ridicule global warming science, and funds from a mysterious "Anonymous Donor".

While Europe was asleep, someone mailed a bunch of internal Heartland Institute documents to a number of bloggers including desmogblog and ThinkProgress – these two and others have since posted the documents online.

One thing that's clear from the documents is that the Heartland Institute is largely behind the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a project that purports to mirror the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by producing reports downplaying the extent of global warming as well as the involvement of greenhouse gas emissions in producing it.

The next target appears to be schools. The plan is to fund a consultant, David Wojick, to develop modules for use in classrooms.

Among the statements it might promulgate, according to the "2012 Fundraising Plan" document, are that "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy" and "natural [CO2] emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions".

Chris Rapley, a climate change scientist at University College London, described the project as "brain-washing".

"This strikes at the very roots of truth and freedom in a democratic society, something I would have felt the American people would find abhorrent," he said. 

a single source who is so important as to acquire his own set of capitals – the Anonymous Donor.

This man – the gender is specified – gave just under $1m last year, a little less than a quarter of the institute's income.

But that's small beer compared with his 2008 contribution of $4,610,000 – amounting to 58% of the organisation's entire budget for the year!

Openness: A Heartland-warming tale