Monday, September 30, 2013

Heartland Institute: Slick and Sleazy

While much of the world was waiting for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) to release its fifth report on global warming, the Heartland Institute released its fake report, issued under a fake name, with plenty of deception inside as well.

The Heartland Institute has been around for a long time. It has always remained true to its original mission. Heartland takes money from corporations and writes misleading articles on their behalf. Heartland also works with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to write laws that favor their donors. Heartland considers its primary audience to be lawmakers, just as ALEC does. They do not trouble themselves to convince scientists or the public. They merely want to confuse legislators and make sure they don't pass any regulations on CO2.

The fun begins with the intentionally confusing name of the group issuing the report. It's the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Control (NIPCC). The fake report has a slick color cover. Just like the real report, the fake report has articles written by scientists, only instead of actual climate scientists who are contributing to the advancement of knowledge, they are scientists in name only, who draw paychecks from Heartland so long as they spew meaningless articles with scientific jargon.

Fred S. Singer is the head scientist at Heritage. He helped them in their campaign against regulations on second-hand smoke. Singer took money from front groups for the Tobacco Companies, but claims he never took money from the tobacco companies themselves. Nowadays Singer is the scientific front man for the oil companies that contribute to Heritage, including the Koch Brothers.

In addition to fake experts, the fake report has a number of testimonials. It does not include what Nature, the preeminent British scientific journal said about Heritage, In a 2011 editorial, Nature said

Many climate sceptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys, magnifying doubts and treating incomplete explanations as falsehoods rather than signs of progress towards the truth. ... The Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters.1

That description by Nature fits the current fake report as well.

The general tenor of goofiness continues on the Heartland home page. There you will see a picture of David Suzuki, world-famous environmentalist, with the headline, “David Suzuki Attacks Climate Science”. If you click on the article you will find that Suzuki does not attack climate science. Instead he attacks “Climate Change Reconsidered II”--the fake report just issued by Heartland.

Accept no substitutes. The real IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change is here.

1Heart of the Matter, Nature 475, 432-424 (28 July 2011), The complete editorial is also informative.

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