Heartland Institute documents reveal strategy of attacks against climate science

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:15 PM GMT on February 17, 2012

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Documents illegally leaked from the Heartland Institute, one of the most active groups engaged in attacking the science of climate change, provide an unprecedented look into how these groups operate. The story was broken Tuesday by DeSmogBlog, a website dedicated to exposing false claims about climate change science. The documents reveal that donors to Heartland included oil billionaire Charles Koch, and Heartland has spent several million dollars over the past five years to undermine climate science. Tens of thousands of dollars are slated to go this year to well-known climate contrarians S.Fred Singer, Craig Idso, and Anthony Watts of the Watts Up With That? website. Naturally, the leaked documents have lit up the blogosphere, but none of the revelations are particularly surprising. The U.S. has a very successful and well-funded climate change denial industry, primarily funded by fossil fuel companies, that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few decades on a PR campaign against climate change science. I made a lengthy post on the subject in 2009 called, The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy. I won't say more here, but getenergysmartnow.com has compiled a long list of blogs that have interesting posts on the Heartland Institute affair for those interested in following this story.



Eight books challenging the Manufactured Doubt industry
Important scientific findings should always be challenged with the goal of finding flaws and improving our scientific understanding. But there's nothing a scientist hates more than to see good science attacked and the reputations of good scientists smeared in name of protecting corporate profits or ideology. A number of scientists have fought back against the recent unfounded assaults on climate change science by publishing books calling attention to the Manufactured Doubt industry's tactics and goals. Anyone priding themselves on being a open-minded skeptic of human-caused global warming should challenge their skepticism by reading one of these works. I thought so highly of Unscientific America, Merchants of Doubt, and Climate Coverup, that I donated 50 copies of these books to undergraduates at the University of Michigan last year. Here's a short synopsis of eight books published in the past three years defending climate change science against the attacks of the Manufactured Doubt industry:

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. If you're going to read one book on the attacks on climate science, this should probably be the one--Dr. Oreskes, a history professor at UC San Diego, was voted climate change communicator of the year in 2011. A review of Merchants of Doubt and a video of her defending her book against skeptics is at climateprogress.org, my favorite website for staying current on the politics of climate change. From the review: "Make the journey with them, and you’ll see renowned scientists abandon science, you’ll see environmentalism equated with communism, and you’ll discover the connection between the Cold War and climate denial. And for the most part, you’ll be entertained along the way."

Climate Cover-up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, by desmogblog.com co-founders James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore. The main author, James Hoggan, owns a Canadian public relations firm, and is intimately familiar with how public relations campaigns work. It's another fascinating and very readable book.

Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, by science writer Chris Mooney. He writes a blog focusing on science communication called the intersection. This is a fantastic book, and should be required reading for all college science majors.

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand, by Haydn Washington and John Cook. John Cook writes for one of my favorite climate science blogs, skepticalscience.com, which focuses on debunking false skeptic claims about climate science. The book does a great job debunking all the classic climate change denial arguments.

Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, by George Washington University epidemiologist David Michaels, who now heads the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). This meticulously-researched book has just one chapter on climate change, and focuses more on tobacco and hazardous chemicals. About the the tobacco industry's Manufactured Doubt campaigns, Michaels wrote: "the industry understood that the public is in no position to distinguish good science from bad. Create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Throw mud at the anti-smoking research under the assumption that some of it is bound to stick. And buy time, lots of it, in the bargain". The title of Michaels' book comes from a 1969 memo from a tobacco company executive: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy".

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, by climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann. Dr. Mann is the originator of the much-debated "hockey stick" graph of global temperatures over the past 1,000 years, which looks like a hockey stick due to the sharp increase in temperatures in recent decades. This book just came out last week, and I hope to write a review on it this spring. Dr. Mann is one of the main contributors to my favorite web site for staying current on climate change research, realclimate.org. John Cook of skepticalscience.com wrote a review, calling it "an eye-opening account of the lengths the opponents of climate science will go to in their campaign to slander climate scientists and distract the public from the realities of human caused global warming."

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto. I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but it looks interesting. A review by Katherine O’Konski of Climate Science Watch called the book "a fascinating look at the status of science in American society."

The Inquisition of Climate Science, by Dr. James Lawrence Powell, a geochemist with a distinguished career as a college teacher, college president, museum director, and author of books on earth science for general audiences. I haven't read it, but John Cook of skepticalscience.com wrote a review, calling it "a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the full scope of the denial industry and their modern day persecution of climate science."

Have a great weekend, everyone! I'll be taking a few vacation days next week, and wunderground meteorologist Angela Fritz will probably be doing most of the blogging for me during the coming week.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


I hope so, would love to get out of classes on monday. Models are looking good for 1-3 for us, and here thats like getting 8 inches up north.


You're in classes Monday too? I thought i'd be the only one who had to go to college (or high school) that day.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting KeyWestSun:

That's not too bad. At least you know it'll melt relatively quickly, at least compared to our northern neighbors. (You probably guessed I'm not too fond of snow). lol


What i really want is a blizzard like in '93. Maybe march this year
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Evening all....

Did I see something about the doc taking vacation days?????

ut uh......

[Pulls out blank hurricane tracking map and waits patiently]
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I like the humanistic touch to the forecast discussion this evening..................AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NASHVILLE TN
348 PM CST SAT FEB 18 2012

.SHORT TERM...THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING FORECASTS I`VE
DONE IN RECENT MEMORY. A MAJOR LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL SPREAD
PRECIPITATION ACROSS MIDDLE TENNESSEE TONIGHT AND TOMORROW, AND
SIGNIFICANT DISCREPANCIES STILL EXIST BETWEEN THE NAM AND GFS
MODELS, MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO DRAW UP A FORECAST WITH A HIGH
DEGREE OF CONFIDENCE.

WHAT WE KNOW: A HIGH QPF EVENT IS DEVELOPING AS A DEEP SURFACE LOW
TRACKS FROM THE GULF COAST, ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA TOMORROW
MORNING, AND INTO THE CAROLINAS BY NIGHTFALL. A STRONG PRESSURE
GRADIENT WILL SURROUND THE LOW, MAKING FOR BLUSTERY CONDITIONS,
WITH SIGNIFICANT COLD ADVECTION INTO MIDDLE TENNESSEE AS THE LOW
CENTER MOVES EAST OF THE MID STATE SUNDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON.
THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR MEASURABLE SNOWFALL, ESPECIALLY ACROSS
EXTREME NORTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE AND THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU BY
TOMORROW AFTERNOON.

WHAT WE DON`T KNOW: THE GFS PULLS THE DEEPEST MOISTURE OUT OF
MIDDLE TENNESSEE SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE THE NAM DOES. ALSO, THERE
REMAINS SOME UNCERTAINTY JUST HOW MUCH COOLING WE CAN EXPECT FROM
PRECIPITATION EFFECTS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE NAM MODEL SOUNDING FOR BNA
AT 18Z SUNDAY SHOWS A NEARLY SATURATED COLUMN WITH ALL SNOW. THE
SAME SOUNDING BY THE GFS SHOWS DRIER AIR IN THE LOW LEVELS, WITH
MAINLY LIGHT RAIN, POSSIBLY MIXED WITH SOME SNOW. A SECONDARY
ISSUE SURROUNDS THE GROUND TEMPERATURE. GIVEN THE RELATIVE WARMTH
WE`VE SEEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY, COUPLED WITH THE EXPECTATION FOR
SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL OVERNIGHT AND TOMORROW MORNING, DON`T KNOW
WHETHER GROUND AND PAVEMENT TEMPERATURES WILL SUPPORT ACCUMULATING
SNOWFALL UNTIL NEAR THE END OF THE EVENT, AND THIS MAY PLAY JUST
AS MUCH A ROLE AS THE ABOVE-SURFACE TEMPERATURES.

AS WE NOW HAVE IT, THE WINTER STORM WATCH WILL CONTINUE FOR
TOMORROW FOR AREAS TO THE IMMEDIATE EAST OF NASHVILLE ALL THE WAY
ACROSS THE NORTHERN PLATEAU, AS THESE LOCATIONS ARE THE MOST
LIKELY TO RECEIVE SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATION. HOPEFULLY, THE NAM AND
GFS WILL COME MORE IN LINE IN THE NEXT RUN TO HELP PRODUCE A MORE
CONFIDENT FORECAST. AS IT STANDS NOW, THE POSSIBILITIES REMAIN
LARGE AND CONFIDENCE IN ANY ONE SOLUTION IS LOW.
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Quoting KeyWestSun:

Gotcha. I kinda always equate your region with ice storms. At least that's what I remember years ago. I'm gonna knock on wood now that I said that.


Not since maybe 5 or 6 years back have we had a significant ice storm.
We had a little glaze last year that was gone the next morning and a little ice on top of 6 inches of snow last january, but the last couple of years it has been all snow.
So I dont remember any ice storms, but my parents have a few videos of some.
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North of Atlanta in N Cobb County
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Quoting SPLbeater:


i am hmeschooled, so wether its no snow or 50 inches i got to do my school lol


So am I, but living in GA 3+ inches might get me out for a few hours, 6+ for a day or two(depending on how good I was)
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Quoting KeyWestSun:

Haha. 3 just might be enough to cancel classes, especially if it comes down hard enough and at the right tim of snowe. Fingers crossed!!


i am hmeschooled, so wether its no snow or 50 inches i got to do my school lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


That doesn't tell me why they should be counted as reliable?


Forget the models. What do the OBSERVATIONS tell you? What theory most accurately explains the observations we are seeing? I will give you a hint. Anthony Watts will deny it and say, "It ain't so!".
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
Quoting KeyWestSun:

Thanks. It's lovely. Really anytime of the year, and even bearable in the summer. Been here for almost 3 years following college. Parents still outside of Baltimore.

I will say it's probably the last place I would want to be for a hurricane, but it's the chances we take.

How's it shakin' in VA? You gonna be getting in on some of that white stuff?


I hope so, would love to get out of classes on monday. Models are looking good for 1-3 for us, and here thats like getting 8 inches up north.
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Quoting bappit:

Why do you insist on comparing apples and oranges? Also, are the climate models' output that significant? We use them just to understand the extent of warming. That warming will occur seems like common sense. Warming has been observed, and the atmosphere is becoming even less transparent to infrared radiation.


I'm just saying if we can't trust models 5 days out, why should we trust the models that go 50 years out?
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Reason we can trust these when we can't trust all global models past 144 hours?

Why do you insist on comparing apples and oranges? Also, are the climate models' output that significant? We use them just to understand the extent of warming. That warming will occur seems like common sense. Warming has been observed, and the atmosphere is becoming even less transparent to infrared radiation.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

How bad was the line?


not that severe at my house as it was in other areas of the county. it didn't last but about 20-30 minutes here..light showers now
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Quoting KeyWestSun:

Now kiss and make up boys. j/k haha.

Some nice rains for the panhandle and for much of the deep south today.


You know how we do Key ;) I wish I lived in the Keys... gotta be so nice down there.
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Quoting bappit:

I misunderstood the post.


Yeah, I saw that its okay :)
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


huh? theres no need to call out another blogger like that saying he is a liar and believes in fairytails.

I misunderstood the post.
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Looks like it was a good severe weather day, even a little golf ball sized hail. Starting to rain steadily here in N GA.
I missed it all though, I was busy.
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702. Skyepony (Mod)
01W


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Quoting AllyBama:


Thanks!..lol...the intense line has passed over me - just rain and thunder now.

How bad was the line?
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Quoting EllenPettit:

I could imagine. It looked rather nasty. We had similar weather over in Galveston earlier, but it appears the baton has been passed over to your neck of the woods.


Thanks!..lol...the intense line has passed over me - just rain and thunder now.
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Quoting EllenPettit:

Climate and weather models are two entirely different entities.


That doesn't tell me why they should be counted as reliable?
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Quoting Xandra:
What Is a Climate Model?

Global climate models (GCMs) use math - alot of math - to describe how the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, living things, ice, and energy from the Sun affect each other and Earth's climate. Thousands of climate researchers use global climate models to better understand how global changes such as increasing greenhouses gases or decreasing Arctic sea ice will affect the Earth. The models are used to look hundreds of years into the future, so that we can predict how our planet’s climate will likely change.

… Earth is a complex place and so many of these models are very complex too. They include so many math calculations that they must be run on supercomputers, which can do the calculations quickly. All climate models must make some assumptions about how the Earth works, but in general, the more complex a model, the more factors it takes into account, and the fewer assumptions it makes.

At the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), researchers work with complex models of the Earth's climate system. Their Community Climate System Model is so complex that it requires about three trillion math calculations to simulate a single day on planet Earth. It can take thousands of hours for the supercomputer to run the model.
The model output, typically many gigabytes large, is analyzed by researchers and compared with other model results and with observations and measurement data.



Reason we can trust these when we can't trust all global models past 144 hours?
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What Is a Climate Model?

Global climate models (GCMs) use math - alot of math - to describe how the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, living things, ice, and energy from the Sun affect each other and Earth's climate. Thousands of climate researchers use global climate models to better understand how global changes such as increasing greenhouses gases or decreasing Arctic sea ice will affect the Earth. The models are used to look hundreds of years into the future, so that we can predict how our planet’s climate will likely change.

… Earth is a complex place and so many of these models are very complex too. They include so many math calculations that they must be run on supercomputers, which can do the calculations quickly. All climate models must make some assumptions about how the Earth works, but in general, the more complex a model, the more factors it takes into account, and the fewer assumptions it makes.

At the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), researchers work with complex models of the Earth's climate system. Their Community Climate System Model is so complex that it requires about three trillion math calculations to simulate a single day on planet Earth. It can take thousands of hours for the supercomputer to run the model.
The model output, typically many gigabytes large, is analyzed by researchers and compared with other model results and with observations and measurement data.

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Quoting bappit:

I dunno. Maybe we do need that seeing as there are companies whose business model is pushing it.


huh? theres no need to call out another blogger like that saying he is a liar and believes in fairytails.
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.
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I was waiting for this warning to come...I noticed this area on the radar about 5-10 minutes ago and mentioned to my hubby. It appears that this area will stay south of me.
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Noting:-662. Xyrus2000
Well that was worth reading!

If you are about to parachute out of a plane you watch out for the red light, when it comes on you jump.

With this global warming thing the red light is the rise in temperature. The lights come on. Jump!
If you like to rename it call it global WARNING!
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Quoting AllyBama:
no totals yet. I am near the I-10/I-65 junction and actually in the past 5 mins rains got heavier..the lights are flickering on and off and I am hearing some thunder in the distance.

Gee I wonder why.
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Quoting AllyBama:
no totals yet. I am near the I-10/I-65 junction and actually in the past 5 mins rains got heavier..the lights are flickering on and off and I am hearing some thunder in the distance.


Stay safe down there...what part of AL u in?
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
TORNADO WARNING
ALC097-182245-
/O.NEW.KMOB.TO.W.0008.120218T2221Z-120218T2245Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
421 PM CST SAT FEB 18 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEAST MOBILE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 445 PM CST

* AT 421 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 4 MILES
NORTHEAST OF BAYOU LA BATRE...OR 5 MILES NORTH OF CODEN...MOVING
EAST AT 25 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
BELLE FONTAINE AROUND 435 PM CST...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A
WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS
AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN
INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO
COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MANUFACTURED HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

HEAVY RAINFALL MAY OBSCURE THIS TORNADO. TAKE COVER NOW! IF YOU WAIT
TO SEE OR HEAR IT COMING...IT MAY BE TOO LATE TO GET TO A SAFE PLACE.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 500 PM CST SATURDAY AFTERNOON
FOR SOUTHWESTERN ALABAMA AND NORTHWEST FLORIDA AND SOUTHEAST
MISSISSIPPI.

&&

LAT...LON 3041 8825 3049 8825 3054 8808 3053 8807
3051 8809 3047 8809 3045 8810 3042 8809
3039 8810
TIME...MOT...LOC 2221Z 271DEG 23KT 3046 8821

$$

JP/MB
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no totals yet. I am near the I-10/I-65 junction and actually in the past 5 mins rains got heavier..the lights are flickering on and off and I am hearing some thunder in the distance.
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So far,only one report of a Tornado,but more about Hail and strong winds.

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YEAH BOY!!

NWS forecast for sunday night has freezing rain out, rain and snow in:D

From NWS:

Sunday Night: Rain and snow, becoming all snow after midnight. Low around 31. North wind between 10 and 15mph, with gusts as high as 25mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation amounts of less then half an inch possible.

----------------------------

T snow forecast and accumulation amounts have been going towards the positive direction for the last 48 hours :D:D:D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I'm hoping for about a 550 mile shift north in the track


LOL! your welcome to come south to my house in NC and visit, but you might be greeted with a teenager holding a snowball, lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting EllenPettit:

He or she can't, simply because you have not. At least not today, or since I've been here. Just my observation.

Suggestion: Put that user on ignore. It's clear he or she has nothing positive to add to the discussion, at least toward you.

Keep up the good work, kid. I enjoy your posting and personality. Nothing wrong with your style.


:D

i had him ignored awhile ago, then decided to take it off the ignore list, but.....see ya KEEPER. maybe in april...xD
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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