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Climate Change Deniers Caught Astroturfing

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You may have heard of “Climate Gate“, the totally fabricated non-scandal perpetuated by climate change deniers in an effort to discredit the scientists who actual study the very real phenomenon of Global Warming.

If not, the basic story is that hackers broke into the email server and stole hundreds of emails between climate scientists.

The hackers attempted to use the email out of context to try to show a conspiracy to hide the “truth” behind what they are trying to portray as the hoax of human-caused climate change.

They failed. Three inquiries into the emails found that the science therein is sound and does overwhelmingly support the conclusion that human activity is causing the world to warm up.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Hackers have stolen emails from an outfit called The Heartland Institute.

This oil industry front group, the emails show, has been paying scientists to preach the gospel that Global Warming is a lie.

A new Salon piece shows the scope of their attempts to drown out the actual science:

Secret papers turn up heat on global-warming deniers

Heartland, which bills itself as anti-regulatory and libertarian, annually produces climate change “denier” conferences and pays expenses for elected officials to attend. For example, the budget shows that Heartland allocated $304,704 for scientists supporting its contrarian views in 2012.

One of these scientists is Fred S. Singer, a physicist and National Weather Bureau satellite center founder, who is said to receive $5,000 a month. The same day as the document leak, a science watchdog named John Mashey released a detailed investigation into Singer and his Science and Environmental Policy Project, indicating that he failed to properly fill out income forms for the foundation. Singer has previously worked with Heartland arguing that secondhand smoke is harmless. One of Heartland’s funders, according to the documents, is Phillip Morris.

Other scientists, researchers and pseudo-scientists on the Heartland payroll include a former California TV weatherman, Anthony Watts, who runs an anti-climate change science blog called WUWT (Watts Up With That). Heartland budgeted him $90,000 for a “special project.”

On his blog yesterday, Watts admitted taking an unspecified sum:

Heartland simply helped me find a donor for funding a special project having to do with presenting some new NOAA surface data in a public friendly graphical form, something NOAA themselves is not doing, but should be. I approached them in the fall of 2011 asking for help, on this project not the other way around.

The Heartland budget allocates more than half a million dollars for “government relations” and another $800,000 for communications. Besides the big-budget annual climate conference, another $25,920 was budgeted for eight “Heartland Capital Events” identified as “events in state capitals for elected officials,” at $3,240 each.

Some of these documents may get the Astroturf organization into hot water with the feds — as a 501(c)(3) it is illegal for Heartland spend money to lobby for or against legislation, which some of the documents show it intended to do.

As climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, a scientist with NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies put it:

“The big issue is that they are using charitable status to lobby,” Schmidt asked. “They are not an educational outfit. They are doing this to influence legislators. To what extent is it appropriate for them to be filing nonprofit status?”

Organizations like Heartland are opening a war on many fronts; paying scientists to reach the conclusions they like, influencing legislation, and going after the reputations of scientists actually doing the science to determine what is going on in our warming world.

One document even shows the operation putting together programs to take into the schools to indoctrinate American children (Heartland only denies the authenticity of this one document that purports to outline the plan).

The one front they don’t seem to be part of is actually funding any actual scientific inquiry to provide evidence for their position.

That’s not surprising, as they are more than likely aware of the gargantuan mountain of peer-reviewed evidence that proves that their position is the lie.


February 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment