Heartland has yet to produce a press release, but I thought in the meantime I’d share some behind the scenes. If/when they do, I’ll add it to this post.
UPDATE: 11:45AM -The press release has been added below. One of the key documents is a fabrication
UPDATE2: 2:30PM The BBC’s Richard Black slimes me, without so much as asking me a single question (he has my email, I’ve corresponded with him previously) or even understanding what the project is about Hint: Richard, it’s about HIGHS and LOWS, not trends. No journalistic integrity with this one. – Anthony
I’m surprised at the number of articles out there on this where journalists have not bothered to ask me for a statement, but rather rely on their own opinion. To date, only Suzanne Goldenberg of the Guardian has asked for a statement, and she used very little of it in her article. Her colleague, Leo Hickman asked me no questions at all for his article, but instead relied on a comment I sent to Bishop Hill. So much for journalism. (Update: In response to Hickman, Lucia asks What’s horrible about this?)
(Update: 10:45AM Seth Borenstein of the AP has contacted me and I note that has waited until he can get some kind of confirmation that these documents are real. The Heartland press release is something he’s waiting for. Contacting involved parties is the right way to investigate this story.)
Here’s the query from Goldenberg:
Name: Suzanne Goldenberg
Message: Hello, I am seeking comment on the leak of the Heartland
documents by Desmogblog which appear to suggest you are funded by them. Is
this accurate? Thanks
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.
They do not regularly fund me nor my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind.
It is simply for this special project requiring specialized servers, ingest systems, and plotting systems. They also don’t tell me what the project should look like, I came up with the idea and the design. The NOAA data will be displayed without any adjustments to allow easy side-by-side comparisons of stations, plus other graphical representations output 24/7/365. Doing this requires programming, system design, and bandwidth, which isn’t free and I could not do on my own. Compare the funding I asked for initially to
get it started to the millions some other outfits (such as CRU) get in the UK for studies that then end up as a science paper behind a publishers paywall, making the public pay again. My project will be a free public service when finished.
Description from the same (Heartland) documents:
Weather Stations Project
Every few months, weathermen report that a temperature record – either high
or low – has been broken somewhere in the U.S. This is not surprising, since weather is highly variable and reliable instrument records date back less than 100 years old. Regrettably, news of these broken records is often used by environmental extremists as evidence that human emissions are causing either global warming or the more ambiguous “climate change.”
Anthony Watts, a meteorologist who hosts WattsUpwithThat.com, one of the
most popular and influential science blogs in the world, has documented that many of the
temperature stations relied on by weathermen are compromised by heat radiating from nearby buildings, machines, or paved surfaces. It is not uncommon for these stations to over-state temperatures by 3 or 4 degrees or more, enough to set spurious records.
Because of Watts’ past work exposing flaws in the current network of temperature stations (work that The Heartland Institute supported and promoted), the National Aeronautics and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency responsible for maintaining temperature stations in the U.S., has designated a new network of higher-quality temperature stations that meet its citing specifications. Unfortunately, NOAA doesn’t widely publicize data from this new network, and puts raw data in spreadsheets buried on one of its Web sites.
Anthony Watts proposes to create a new Web site devoted to accessing the new
temperature data from NOAA’s web site and converting them into easy-to-understand graphs that can be easily found and understood by weathermen and the general interested public. Watts has deep expertise in Web site design generally and is well-known and highly regarded by weathermen and meteorologists everywhere. The new site will be promoted heavily at WattsUpwithThat.com. Heartland has agreed to help Anthony raise $88,000 for the project in 2011. The Anonymous Donor has already pledged $44,000. We’ll seek to raise the balance.
DeSmog, as part of their public relations for hire methodology to demonize skeptics, will of course try to find nefarious motives for this project. But there simply are none here. It’s something that needs doing because NOAA hasn’t made this new data available in a user friendly visual format. For example, here’s a private company website that tracks highs and low records using NOAA data:
NOAA doesn’t make any kind of presentation like that either, which is why such things are often done by private ventures.
That above is what I sent to the Guardian, and also in a comment to Bishop Hill.
The reaction has been interesting, particularly since the David-Goliath nature of funding is laid bare here. For example, Al Gore says he started a 300 million dollar advertising campaign. The Daily Bayonet sums it up pretty well:
What the Heartland document show is how badly warmists have been beaten by those with a fraction of the resources they’ve enjoyed.
Al Gore spent $300 million advertising the global warming hoax. Greenpeace, the WWF, the Sierra Club, The Natural Resources Defense Council, NASA, NOAA, the UN and nation states have collectively poured billions into climate research, alternative energies and propaganda, supported along the way by most of the broadcast and print media.
Yet they’ve been thwarted by a few honest scientists, a number of blogs and a small pile of cash from Heartland.
Here’s a clue for DeSmog, Joe Romm and other warmists enjoying a little schadenfreude today. It’s not the money that’s beating you, it’s the message.
Your climate fear-mongering backfired. You cried wolf so often the villagers stopped listening. Then Climategate I & II gave the world a peek behind the curtain into the shady practices, petty-feuding and data-manipulation that seems to pass for routine in climate ‘science’.
So enjoy the moment, warmists, because what this episode really demonstrates to the world is how little money was needed to bring the greatest scam in history to its knees. That’s not something I’d think you’d want to advertise, but knock yourselves out. It’s what you do best.
I see none of the same people at the Guardian or the blogs complaining about this:
NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to — and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for — his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.
This does not include six-figure income over that period in travel expenses to fly around the world to receive money from outside interests. As specifically detailed below, Hansen failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in global travel provided to him by outside parties — including to London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Tokyo, the Austrian Alps, Bilbao, California, Australia and elsewhere, often business or first-class and also often paying for his wife as well — to receive honoraria to speak about the topic of his taxpayer-funded employment, or get cash awards for his activism and even for his past testimony and other work for NASA.
(Update: Dr. Hansen responds here)
Or the NGO’s and their budgets (thanks Tom Nelson)
With tiny budgets like $310 million, $100 million, and $95 million respectively, how can lovable underdogs like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and NRDC *ever* hope to compete with mighty Heartland’s $6.5 million?
Heartland is projecting a boost in revenues from $4.6 million in 2011, to $7.7 million in 2012. That will enable an operating budget of $6.5 million, as well as topping up the fund balance a further $1.2 million.
Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, now has offices in more than 40 countries and claims some 2.8 million supporters. Its 1,200-strong staff ranges from “direct action” activists to scientific researchers.
Last year, its budget reached $310 million.
He said the Sierra Club had just approved the organization’s largest annual budget ever, about $100 million for 2012, up from $88 million this year.
That’s Peter Lehner talking. Peter, a 52-year-old environmental lawyer, is executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most important environmental groups. The NRDC has a $95 million budget, about 400 employees and about 1.3 million members. They’re big and they represent a lot of people.
But me and my little temperature web project to provide a public service are the real baddies here apparently. The dichotomy is stunning.
Some additional added notes:
“Because of Watts’ past work exposing flaws in the current network of temperature stations (work that The Heartland Institute supported and promoted), the National Aeronautics and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency responsible for maintaining temperature stations in the U.S., has designated a new network of higher-quality temperature stations that meet its citing specifications.”
For the record, and as previously cited on WUWT, NCDC started on the new network in 2003 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/annual-reports.html Heartland may have confused the Climate Reference Network with the updated COOP/USHCN modernization network which did indeed start after my surfacestations project: What the modernized USHCN will look like (April 29, 2008)
They then asked for 100 million to update it NOAA/NCDC – USHCN is broken please send 100 million dollars (Sept 21, 2010)
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PRESS RELEASE 11:45 AM – source http://heartland.org/press-releases/2012/02/15/heartland-institute-responds-stolen-and-fake-documents
FEBRUARY 15, 2012 – The following statement from The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Communications Director Jim Lakely at email@example.com and 312/377-4000.
Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.
The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.
Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.
One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.
We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.
The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.
How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.
Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.
Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.
But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.
Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.