An article appeared today in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which is pretty much the German New York Times, with the Frankfurter Allgemeine playing the role of the Wall Street Journal pre-Murdoch. The article pretty well sums up the release by deSmogBlog of the Heartland Papers. The translation is by Eli.
Climate Skeptics’ Funding Sources
By Christopher Schrader
Bloggers have posted documents from a conservative US think tank that is deceptive about climate change. Among its donors are famous companies and tea party sympathizers.
It is customary for work to be properly compensated. If, for example, someone publishes a book, which traces climate change back to natural causes as well as praising the increase carbon dioxide in the air as a boon to mankind, he can do well and enjoy earning $ 11,600 a month - even as renowned scientists tear the book to shreds.
Now, thanks to an indiscretion, it is known that Craig Idso, head of an organization of climate change deniers in Arizona, was paid such a fee by the Heartland Institute in Chicago. That think tank advocates for free markets and against government interference and in this includes denial of manmade climate change.
Payments to Idso were found in Heartland's internal documents which bloggers have published on the web. The organization confirmed that documents had been stolen from them by a trick, but does not directly confirm the authenticity of the published documents. Heartland apologized to the now publicly identified donors, because their promised confidentiality had been broken. These include Microsoft, the tobacco giant Altria ("Marlboro"), the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as well as the General Motors Foundation.
A number of companies have confirmed the donations. In the case of GSK a spokeswomen told the British Guardian, they were for health care. Microsoft officials said the company had only provided nearly $ 60,000 of software free of charge. In fact, many of the companies have distanced themselves from Heartland’s position on climate. The New York Times quoted a spokesman."Microsoft believes that climate change is a serious problem which requires immediate, worldwide attention."
Oil companies were missing in the list of donors. Still, recently the donors again include one of the Koch brothers; the business empire of the Tea Party sympathizers spans petroleum refineries and pipelines as well as paper and fertilizer factories.
Conferences full of "wild allegations and political propaganda"
The lobbying against established climate research according to the documents have been funded mainly by two unnamed foundations and an "anonymous donor". If the latter holds to his pledges for 2012, he will have provided the Heartland Institute $ 14.3 million in six years, ten million for climate related projects. With money from this donor, the organization has hosted six international conferences since 2008. There the speakers propound their theories about the IPCC reports on climate change and why these are totally wrong. Nature characterized the events as ones "in which science is secondary to accusations and political propaganda
Many bloggers and journalists have searched in the documents for revealing formulations. The strongest are in a memorandum that Heartland representatives labeled a forgery. It says that Idso's book was to "undermine" the work of the IPCC. Further, school teachers should be discouraged from teaching climate science.
However, apart from the specific wording, other documents confirm the two-page document. What is new in the Heartland program is development of a school curriculum that represents the findings of science as "controversial,". This is needed because "teachers and principals are biased toward the perspective of the alarmists' – a description that climate skeptics use for scientists who point out the possible drastic consequences of climate change
ADDENDA: The Nature Editorial from July 2011 characterized the Heartland meetings as
It would be easy for scientists to ignore the Heartland Institute's climate conferences. They are curious affairs designed to gather and share contrarian views, in which science is secondary to wild accusations and political propaganda. They are easy to lampoon — delegates at the latest meeting of the Chicago-based institute in Washington DC earlier this month could pick up primers on the libertarian writings of Russian–American novelist Ayn Rand, who developed the philosophical theory of objectivism, and postcards depicting former US vice-president Al Gore as a fire-breathing demon. And they are predictable, with environmentalists often portrayed as the latest incarnation of a persistent communist plot. “Green on the outside, red on the inside,” said one display. “Smash the watermelons!”