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« Hulme's new climate course | Main | SciTech III »
Wednesday
Mar282012

Who leaked the Hintze correspondence?

There is some fascinating web-sleuthing going on in the comments on the Hintze email post, as readers try to work out who leaked the correspondence to the Guardian. Some clues have come from the correspondence itself, redacted versions of which have been published by the Guardian.

The original letter reveals that the requester was involved in the relationship between climate and health:

We assume that our previous letter to you, attached, somehow slipped your attention as we realise that you are really busy and may have been away. We do assure you that we will not be writing to you repeatedly.

However, because of the urgent need for action on climate change and health, illustrated by events in the last few months, we are taking the liberty of contacting you again to request support for the XXX.

And also that they had a representative at the Durban climate confrerence.

We would be happy to provide you with any other information you require, set up a conference call with you, or meet face-to-face. XXX is will be attending the Durban conference on Climate Change and Health in December and XXX will be in the UK again in February 2012.

Some googling suggested one plausible source of the letter as being the Climate and Health Council, an offshoot of the British Medical Journal.

Now, Barry Woods Maurizio Morabito has discovered this:

The Climate and Health Council supports Nasa scientist James Hansen as he joins the campaign to uncover secret funders bankrolling climate sceptic Nigel Lawson and his lobbying think-tank (Climate experts back unveiling of Lawson thinktank donor, 23 January). The public may finally discover who is secretly influencing UK climate policy – contrary to scientific consensus – today (27 January), when the Information Rights Tribunal hears this key freedom of information case. Some anti-climate lobbyists routinely misrepresent and cast doubt on the work of climate scientists. Although Lawson and his Global Warming Policy Foundation have been discredited and attacked by numerous scientists and senior politicians, his thinktank continues to receive significant coverage, wrongfully distorting the public and policy debate over climate change.

Well, well, well.

The signatories of the letter were:

Dr Fiona Godlee Editor-in-chief, British Medical Journal
Dr. Richard Horton Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet
Professor Ian Roberts Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health
Professor Hugh Montgomery Professor of Intensive Care Medicine
Professor Anthony Costello Professor of International Child Health
Rachel Stancliffe Director, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
Dr. Robin Stott Co-chair, Climate and Health Council
Maya Tickell-Painter Director, Medsin Healthy Planet Campaign

 

I've written to Dr Godlee to ask for a comment on this post.

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Reader Comments (135)

There is a sickness in the herd, alright, a madness of the crowd.
===============

Mar 28, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

On the 25th Jan.... (fiona is executive board of the Climate and Health Council)
I do hope it is not them, but which group is it?

fiona godlee‏@fgodlee
Climate scientists say Nigel Lawson should say where his climate change thinktank gets its money from, and I agree http://bit.ly/x5qqF5

IF it is this group, maybe someone realised they had that eamil, identifying Hintze and leaked it. OR it was given with official approval - much worse...

Onlythe guardain knows for sure.. how noble - to protect a source, that when the person they wrote to asking for money said no thanks. leaked his emails to the press, because he funds something they don't like...

Do journalists protect sources - with PROVEN axes to grind..

What a noble paper the Guardain has become..

THIS is the story, this lobby groups behaviour.. NOT Michael Hintze few K to the GWPF..

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Remember that 'the cause' is Marxist revolution by stealth, and they have put their people in important positions over about 20 years since the 'science was fixed' in 1993.

Unfortunately, in 1997 the discovery that CO2 lagged T meant 'the team' had to deceive the majority of people involved in climate science.

Hence CG1 and CG2 have been very important because the genuine scientists have now realised they have been deceived and are distancing themselves from the politics.

Therefore, the real political activists are going for broke quite spectacularly.

The people i have on my radar are the very highest level operatives at the heart of governments in the West.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Not me.... Maurizio has done most of the legwork on this..

---------------------------------------------------------------------
"I've found a different version of the redacted letter in an Afghan website (!) and it's now available at my new blog site omnologos.com.

The extended version includes

The carbon price legislation before the Australian parliament still faces much political and public opposition even though Australia is one of the heaviest carbon emitters in the world. Meanwhile, the capricious climate and extreme weather events in Australia this year, including severe flooding, especially Queensland, and ferocious bushfires in WA, make it clear we cannot afford to delay preventive action further. Drought and famine in Sub-Saharan Africa and floods again in Pakistan illustrate the disadvantage of developing countries and the imperative of more help from the developed world.
plus the actual requested figures (total of $150k, AUD I presume)

Methinks the Guardian guys published it with figures and details they later decided to remove, too late of course for the web not to notice...

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

The 'anti-climate' phrase makes an interesting appearance in the piece that Barry Woods found

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndyL

It is a story that has been overlooked. If there is a war going on between NGO's are we supposed to accept one side has an intrinsic worth that trumps others?

The Guardian seems to think so.

If the Graun can show - or maybe claim with some force - that this organisation has a leak that the organisation itself doesn't condone then possibly fair enough. Otherwise they better pray its name doesn't get out. Who wants to get involved with an organisation that has this attitude that it can solicit money and go to the press if its gets the brush off?

No matter what you think about climate I would've thought most would consider that beyond the pale? Is it legal even?

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Plus one - good thinking..

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

If the Graun can show - or maybe claim with some force - that this organisation has a leak that the organisation itself doesn't condone then possibly fair enough. Otherwise they better pray its name doesn't get out. Who wants to get involved with an organisation that has this attitude that it can solicit money and go to the press if its gets the brush off?

No matter what you think about climate I would've thought most would consider that beyond the pale? Is it legal even?

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

"...his thinktank continues to receive significant coverage, wrongfully distorting the public and policy debate over climate change."

I wonder if they consider themselves to be "rightfully" distorting the public and policy debate over climate change.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Fixed the attribution of the finding of the relevant source to show Maurizio, not Barry.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It's unlikely to have been the C&HC because they are always in London (except when they are in Durban or Cancun or Cochabamba or wherever). Incidentally, they are an offshoot of Muir Gray's Knowledge Into Action AKA The National Campaign for Walking, not the BMJ.

It's probably an Australian outfit. The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) might fit the bill. It's short of money and it attended the Durban climate and health summit. Or it might be one its member organizations, perhaps Doctors for the Environment Australia - though I think someone from DEA was in London in October 2011 for the C&HC conference. The begging letter surely would have mentioned that.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterVinny Burgoo

Possibly O/T. Professor Ian Roberts is the author of The Energy Glut: The Politics of Fatness in an Overheating World. He believes that fat people contribute more to climate change than skinny people, because as they get fatter, people depend more on labour saving machines. http://www.climate-resistance.org/2007/07/fat-people-are-killing-polar-bears-2.html Pretty silly stuff. These guys are just trying to get invent health angles on climate change, for obvious reasons.

Maya Tickell-Painter is, as far as I can tell, a 24-year-old medical student and political activist. I can only assume that she has a profile at all because she shares her name with Oliver and Crispin Tickell. I don't know that there's any family connection, however.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

It could be the Council because in the letter they say this:

ie email to Hintze "your Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney"

ie so quoted a figure in aussie dollars...

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

ie they quoted in Dollars as they were refering to Hintzes australian organisation..

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Should we be looking at Australia's CLimate and Health Alliance?

http://caha.org.au/

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

could be - Are you going to ask?

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry Woods
Yeah there is a guy in Aus there who writes more conventional climate and health crap - I read some of his stuff - off the shelf thinking about climate security and health scares


Alan Dupont is Michael Hintze Professor of International Security and Director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

Maybe this climate and health org thought Hintze was running a different climate brand in the Aussie region and thought could tap into that stream?

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Vinny Burgoo

You could be right about the Climate and Health Alliance. I see that David Karoly and Stephan Lewandowski are on their expert advisory committee.

http://caha.org.au/about/governance/

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Maya Tickell-Painter is involved in CaHA too.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

House! Sorry Bingo!

From the CAHA site:

Demonstrating Better Practice: scoping paper on developing a set of criteria for voluntary accreditation of health care institutions in the area of environmental sustainability.

Sound familiar? ;)

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Very likely that it came out of Australia where things are hotting up for the warmies making them very uncomfortable in just a day or so.

Queensland have saved ~ $1/2B since Sunday

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRipper

Leopard

Yes, that looks like it.

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

"And also that they had a representative at the Durban climate confrerence."

Confrerence - Freudian slip?

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

I suggest a working title of Fionagate. That covers both Godlee and Armstrong.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Also

CAHA undertakes its work largely on the basis of pro bono and in-kind support.

From the Guardian original (mangled I think though)

To date members have worked with "pro bono" and "in kind".

"Pro bono and in-kind "seems a unique signature that is too coincidental.

I'll post the links and see if the spam filter lets them through next post.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Dreadnought

Nice!

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

http://caha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/October-2011-final-edition.pdf

CAHA undertakes its work largely on the basis of pro bono and in-kind support.

http://caha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/CAHAs-Achievements_170611.pdf

Demonstrating Better Practice: scoping paper on developing a set of criteria for voluntary accreditation of health care institutions in the area of environmental sustainability.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Here we go...

Stuck one of Mosher's high entropy terms (phrase) into google: "Health effects of fossil fuels"

Appears in the letter as "Health effects of fossil fuels report = $40K"

Now for me, and this may have something to do with the machinations of google - I did have the CAHA site up just prior to this search - the first hit is a PDF...

http://caha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/CAHA_Position_Statement_on_Wind_final_240112.pdf

Try it out.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

From CAHA's "achievement" page - caha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/CAHAs-Achievements_170611.pdf

CAHA developed its Policy, Advocacy and Research Agenda which outlines a number of projects it intends to undertake to realise its aim and objectives:

Proposed Projects:

Being Visible: developing and maintaining a dynamic online presence to facilitate the influence of the Alliance; communicate the alliance's key messages to media and the community; share information with members and the broader health care sector.

Building Evidence: develop background research and policy papers on each of the Alliance’s identified priority areas: Health; Research and Development; Energy; Transport; Built Environment; Food and Agriculture; Education; Water; Sustainable Population; Citizen Engagement; Global Justice; Biodiversity; and Adaptation.

Demonstrating Better Practice: scoping paper on developing a set of criteria for voluntary accreditation of health care institutions in the area of environmental sustainability.

Other projects: developing a report on the health effects of coal and fossil fuels
January 2011:

From the Hintze letter:

It is seeking to raise $150,000 from private sources to deliver on its policy, research and advocacy priorities

Breakdown of this funding need is:

Website = $30K

Policy/position papers = $50K

Health effects of fossil fuels report = $40K

Scoping paper on voluntary accreditation for health care organisations = $10K

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterGenette

I've emailed Fiona Armstrong at CAHA for comment.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Hat tip to Leo Hickma (we are amatuers after all)


why not ask Michael Hintze?? which organisation sent him that email...

doh (to self)

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

First cab of the rank here in Australia.

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=%22health%20effects%20of%20fossil%20fuels%22&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCQQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcaha.org.au%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F01%2FCAHA_Position_Statement_on_Wind_final_240112.pdf&ei=nhtzT56hFq2iiAf9xrXkDw&usg=AFQjCNEnqGgKj4jZdtXrdmb8D_80uCVL3A&cad=rja

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRipper

Who's going to ask CAHA if they have a leak? I can't I'm an anonymous coward.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Ah! just read the Bish :)

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM AndyL

The 'anti-climate' phrase makes an interesting appearance in the piece that Barry Woods found

I had thought 'anti-climate' was a Gleickism but it seems to have been more widely used.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

If they advertised more than a PO Box I might have been able to go and knock on their door.

They've got their own twitter account though nothing of note twitted.

https://twitter.com/#!/healthy_climate

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I guess they'll soon rename CaHA into AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

An Australian connection might explain Graham Redfearn's byline on the original Grauniad piece.

(Incidentally, I see that the Grauniad has Readfearn. Oh, and Brendon Montague.)

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

@David 3:28PM
- pretty easy to find an address if you look hard enough
the domain registration details give some info away
http://tools.whois.com.au/whois/?domain=caha.org.au&rd=1
then the ABN search gives you the suburb of Camberwell
of course it's just specuation they (She) is behind the leak, so we should all play nice of course

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavidf

Re: Barry Woods

why not ask Michael Hintze?? which organisation sent him that email...

Michael Hintze might believe that the organisation that sent him the email had an expectation of privacy and is respecting that expectation.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

davidf, I assure you I would still play nice even if I were certain it was them. You guys might like to know that Camberwell is one of our more toffy areas from which the likes of Barry Humphries and Geoffrey Rush originate. Very concerned people in very expensive houses.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I put this on the wrong thread - apologies !

There is a UK version of the Australian lot - there's a link on one of their pages. Apologies if it has been seen before.

http://www.climateandhealth.org/

"United health professionals present a powerful force to hold governments accountable and protect health from climate change

Our current use of resources and production of greenhouse gases is leading to destabilisation of global ecosystems. Continuing ‘business as usual’ will cause severe and irreversible damage to human health.

Climate change is a global health threat, just as nuclear war was a global health threat where health professionals played a key role in halting an irreversible trajectory to severe and widespread damage to health."

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Michael hintze might have an expectation that the organisation that sent him an email... Not to leak it to the Guardian newspaper, resulting in wwf calling him a denier..

ie the wwf_UK_politics hashtag. #diningwithdeniers

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I love you guys!
However, I have a feeling Leo Hickman will not.
Another fine mess.

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

It's an interesting facet of the climate wars. The alarmists deal in manufacturing popular illusions and yet the realists deal so much better with the resultant wilderness of mirrors than they do.

Pointman

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

The Climate and Health Council figured in the Heartland affair also. They had an appearing, disappearing, re-appearing with toned down language letter on their website.

Suzanne Goldberg of the Guardian quoted the strong one. The current version is the weak one.

IIRC in the comments on this site about the SKS leak geoffchambers quoted a message from the secret SKS forum in which a person was talking about going after GWPF. I guess that to be Brendan Montague.

Geoff's comment begins here:

On a thread headed: “Nigel Lawson's GWPF - research help needed”, (2012-01-27) logicman says:

I am in process of formulating an application to the UK Charity Commissioners for the voiding of the charitable status of the GWPF.
This application will be in my own name and will not be supported in any way by any 3rd party, not even a lawyer.
I am not a lawyer, but I have studied the historic and logical foundations of the British law in some depth and have been permitted to address the court in the Royal Courts of Justice on a number of occasions.

(There’s a lot more)

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:29 PM | geoffchambers

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I was struck not just by 'anti-climate' but the date 27th January 2012 in the Guardian letter from the UK branch of medics-on-the-make (or whatever they call themselves). That of course was the morning in California when the great Peter Gleick, fresh from his embarrassing climbdown over MacArthur-genius-in-waiting Barry Woods the day before, flipped a switch and started to impersonate a board member of Heartland. Something tells me, like Pointman, that the other side always has a cunning plan, like Baldrick, but never quite seem to be able to pull it off. Interesting combination of timing and terminology.

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

This is an example of the Gleick-Effect

When you've been saying '...drought and desertification characterizes climate change in others – and now affects large areas of Australia,...'

see, e.g.: http://fionaarmstrong.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Armstrong_Safetyfirst_Climate-policy-options-for-Australia.pdf

...and nature responds with massive flooding, which is exacerbated by misguided CAGW based water management policies - you become desperate and devious (apparently).

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Re: Morph at 4:20 pm --
Am I the only one to find amusement in the wording of "nuclear war was a global health threat where health professionals played a key role in halting an irreversible trajectory to severe and widespread damage to health" ?

Mar 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Another link about GWPF. Nell Crowden (communications and campaign manager, Climate and Health Council) is quite concerned about who funded them.

http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2012/02/07/nell-crowden-what%E2%80%99s-bad-for-the-climate-is-bad-for-health/

Mar 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Mar 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM pointman


It's an interesting facet of the climate wars. The alarmists deal in manufacturing popular illusions and yet the realists deal so much better with the resultant wilderness of mirrors than they do.


As someone (a Chinese philosopher?) said "Unless you tell the truth, you must have a very good memory". Exposing the truth is just simpler than obscuring it.

Mar 28, 2012 at 5:21 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

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