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« Evidence to the Justice Committee | Main | Public should be charged to see their own papers »
Wednesday
Feb152012

Heartland docs leaked

Some documents have been leaked from the Heartland Institute, which detail its funding of various sceptics - Idso, Carter and Singer - together with some funding for Anthony Watts' temperature stations project. They're stolen documents, I tell you, stolen!

There are apparently nine or ten documents, which will no doubt be scanned for evidence of malfeasance. I haven't seen any serious allegations as yet.

There's coverage all over the place. Try here for starters.

 

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Reader Comments (123)

@ Henry 7:38 - If Alleagra had enough common-sense to understand irony, she/he/it wouldn't be a warmist. Another lost 'cause'.

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterHugh K

I hope it's not a fake. That all these warmist hysterics have been elicited by the shock/horror discovery that the evil Heartland has an annual budget of $6.5m (c.f. Greenpeace's measly $310m) and has the temerity to fund people who share its views, illustrates perfectly their lack of confidence in the validity of their claims and in the real strength of their position. Why otherwise would they be so concerned about such a tiny, ill-funded organisation?

And as Heartland is, I believe, the only body of any significance promoting CAGW scepticism, this torpedoes those assertions about "a well-funded, highly organised denial machine".

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

This news has completely destroyed my sceptical world-view! It didn't take scientific evidence, or logic. Merely the "revelation" that some Institute, think-tank (or whatever), receives/donates/whatever some sort of funding. How could one argue with that?

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJ Calvert N

"Couldn't do it on my own"

Whatever. Both myself and someone else who I won't mention wrangled up the HadCRUT3 data and plotted out graphs and maps less than a week after it came out. Not long after, I had an OpenGL app for viewing everything in an interactive form. When I say I, I mean I did it all on my own, without a university degree or any formal training in statistics, programming, or linear algebra.

If you need funding to do work like this, then you're clearly in it for the money and not for the love.

What a dumbass.

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterShawn Halayka

Big Oil should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves if all they can pony up is a measly $88,000 to pay Anthony.

That's the real scandal here

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMr Bliss

I hope someone give woodfortrees billions of dollars.

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Mr Bliss

The real scandal is that I haven't had a penny!

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:55 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

...dissuading teachers from teaching science... ($100K)
...undermine the United Nations IPCC reports ...($388K)
...important to keep opposing voices out .... (Priceless?)

One of these is the new 'Hide the Decline'. But which one?

Schadenfreudegate.

Feb 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Bishop,

Networking is the answer here.

Ask Anthony for an invitation to the next Big Oil expenses-paid exotic extravaganza, and make sure he introduces you to the right people :)

Big Oil do have expenses-paid exotic extravaganzas don't they? Or is it just climate conventions that can afford them?

Feb 15, 2012 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMr Bliss

Phil Clarke
“Which one is the new 'Hide the Decline'?”
The one which shows the intention to mislead - i.e. None of them.

No-one was paid to dissuade teachers from teaching science. They were paid to produce a teaching module which would demonstrate the fact that official climate science is controversial and uncertain.

Undermining IPCC reports is easily done. Donna Laframboise did it when she pointed out that 40% of their sources were non-peer-reviewed.

Opposing voices are to be kept out of a news magazine by the normal process of lobbying. Unfair, isn’t it? No British environmental editor would dream of keeping opposing voices out of his paper, would they?

Feb 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Three Observations
1. The alarmists think that $6.5m is sufficient money to infer that legions sceptics are paid to be biased - but the unsubstantiated pronouncements by thousands of scientists and others, who rely for their livelihoods and status in life on alarmism, is not evidence of bias?
2. That 9 or 10 documents on funding is cause for great excitement, but thousands of emails containing strong circumstantial evidence that core climate science is far weaker, and more partisan, than its public image, is dismissed as inconsequential.
3. The Guardian shows, yet again, that it reports only one side of the argument. Another example was Chris Huhne's public letter to the GWPF - and lack of any reporting of the robust point-by-point reply by Lords Lawson and Turnbull.

Feb 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

Heartland is saying the key memo is a fake.

Feb 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It doesn't really matter, Your Grace. The damage is done.
1. A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.
2. The Mandy Rice-Davies Manoeuvre applies.

Feb 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

A commenter at CIF says:

"$8 million dollars is a huge amount of money, no wonder the deniers are winning the propaganda war. The public seem turned off on the whole subject of climate change - now we know why.

If only Green organisations had that sort of funding, just think of the good they could do. They could turn the whole situation around tomorrow."

I had to check her profile to make sure she wasn't being ironic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/feb/15/leaked-heartland-institute-documents-climate-scepticism?commentpage=2#comment-14678484

Feb 15, 2012 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

What a dumbass.

Feb 15, 2012 at 6:40 PM | Shawn Halayka

I don't suppose your PC gets 20,000,000 page views a year, does it?

Feb 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

There's an almost "Life of Brian" quality of comedy to this entire "climate" farce. We have Catholics (AGW) and Protestants (sceptics) and a vast excluded domain of people who would really simply like some coherent, verified facts. There seems to have been a mad scramble by "journalists," who apparently do not know either meaning of "investigative" nor "reporting," to fire off their version of events without either investigating or even bothering to interview anyone - or if they did, sadly leaving the responses out for some reason.

It now appears that at least one of the Heartland "documents" was forged, and not by anyone very literate either. Others may have been altered. Since we can expect that the thief who "Mitnicked" the documents with a social exploit (no world class hacker he or she) would not have toned down any perceived nefariousness, apparently they are sadly lacking in imagination as well.

Were those documents stolen from me, I would happily make them all public upfront, with the exception of donor names. The obvious embarrassment quality of the tremendous disparity between the use of funding by the (profoundly) inefficient AGW school which requires 100s of millions of dollars - or pounds, and the remarkable efficiency of the sceptic domain suggests that the science really IS on the side of the sceptics.

You can just imagine the fallen faces when the culprits first read those documents. "Well, we can key off Mike's trick. We'll just make up an agenda for them. They won't dare deny it."

Feb 15, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDuster

Why embellish this leak by including a fake document? Surely to do so "undermines" the whole exercise.

If this document proves to be fake then that points to a coordinated dirty tricks campaign by green campaigners. Which if true be would more damaging to the warmist cause than Climategates I and II.

The Revkins and the Monbiots of this world suffer significant reputational damage if they are making arguements based on a fake document.

Feb 15, 2012 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

If Heartland can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the documents were faked, this could be very amusing and embarassing. Pro-AGW media falls for more dubious press releases from uncertain sources, but fact checking has seldom been a strong point.

The objections to the K-12 curriculum are rather ironic after the shameless promotion of AIT in our schools, or the activities of other lobbying groups like 10:10. They're active in my area with a novel fundraiser promoting "Solar Schools". Their T&C's make for interesting reading:

5 In the event that we either (a) do not raise the minimum amount required to purchase a solar energy system; or (b) are unable to achieve any applicable planning consents required from a local authority for the installation of solar panels; or (c) are advised that the installation of solar panels at our premises is not possible or inadvisable, we shall use all monies donated as part of any other energy-saving or green initiative as we may decide. If we raise funds in excess of the minimum amount, we shall either attribute them to additional solar energy installations or an alternative energy- saving or green initiative.
5 We may engage an approved supplier recommended to us by 10:10 to install our solar energy installation who may (at no cost to us) make a donation to 10:10 which 10:10 shall use towards the running costs of the Project.

Prospective donors may hope that there would be some intial qualification process prior to accepting donations and avoid triggering clause (c), but then 10:10 wouldn't get donor's money to spend on other "green initiatives", like blowing up more kids. No pressure.

5) sounds like a simple kickback to get on 10:10's "approved supplier" list. Being MCS certified is not enough it seems.

Feb 15, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

"Whatever. Both myself and someone else who I won't mention wrangled up the HadCRUT3 data and plotted out graphs and maps less than a week after it came out. Not long after, I had an OpenGL app for viewing everything in an interactive form. When I say I, I mean I did it all on my own, without a university degree or any formal training in statistics, programming, or linear algebra.
If you need funding to do work like this, then you're clearly in it for the money and not for the love."

A few questions.

How configurable were the outputs by users?

How easy to configure were the outputs?

How easy to understand were the configurable outputs?

Did your site handle records of previously configured comparisons?

Were you able to handle a changing set of input data?

How was your web site hosted?

What was the backup and recovery for your hosting?

Was there a guaranteed up-time from your web host?

How many concurrent users could you handle? (I have no idea what's normal, 100/1000?).

Was your site able to handle commentary?

Was your site able to handle users comments?


How much do you think it would cost if you went to a small software engineering company and comissioned the above?

Feb 15, 2012 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

give us the URL, Shawn...let us admire your genius

Feb 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Anthony Watts notes in a reply to the first comment on WUWT? relevant to this (Some notes on the Heartland Leak):

"... Also, and most important, the figure pledged thus far is $44K, not $88K, nor the roundup to $90K listed in news stories. – Anthony"

Feb 16, 2012 at 3:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Well, I've read the documents and.....yawn.

Nearly all are trivial rubbish, including a memo confirming a meeting date, an agenda, some minutes and a few CVs.

There seem to be only two documents that contain anything substantive - the fundraising plan and the '2012 Strategy'. And Heartland have categorically stated the latter is a fake.

The fundraising plan shows HI have to work extremely hard to raise funds, and they secure money from many sources. The mystery 'Anonymous Donor' has clearly been pivotal to keeping HI going and no doubt the warmists would love to expose him. But what's wrong with giving anonymously to a cause one feels strongly about? The bigger picture is that Heartland secure their funding professionally, from a wide range of donors, and 'Big Oil' hardly gets a look-in.

I feel sorry for all those donors who have now had their privacy stripped by this act. But, on the bright side, knowing who they are has increased my appreciation of them. I shall be favouring a few different companies now and I'm off to buy a Pepsi.

The 'strategy' docco is the only one that smacks of anything remotely underhanded. HI are adamant it is a fake. If that turns out to be the case, there's going to be an awful lot of egg-face interaction. And possibly even legal repercussions.

Trebles all round!

Feb 16, 2012 at 4:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

"That all these warmist hysterics have been elicited by the shock/horror discovery that the evil Heartland has an annual budget of $6.5m"

Err.... their total budget has always been publicly available by visiting their website and clicking the "About" link at the top of the page.

Feb 16, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

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