Diminished Climate Alarmism: Lessons from L’Affair Heartland

Guest post by Robert Murphy, reposted from Master Resource with permission

“Without being a trained climate scientist, I can read the various blogs and try to parse the academic papers, but ultimately I have to rely a lot on the good faith and judgment of the scientists themselves. The Heartland affair has reassured my earlier conviction that the case for climate alarmism is far weaker than the alarmists have been telling us.”

As an economist who has done some research on climate change policies, I am often asked questions along the lines of, “Is the science right or is it really a hoax like Rush Limbaugh says?” My standard reply is to acknowledge first of all that I’m not trained in the field, but to say that from my outsider perspective, it seems that the people warning of imminent catastrophe are vastly overrating the likelihood of their dire forecasts.

The behavior of Joe Romm and other famous climate-change alarmists during the recent Heartland Institute affair beautifully illustrates my position.

The Heartland Affair: A Quick Recap

I am assuming most readers are familiar with the basics of the Heartland Institute affair, but for those who aren’t, I highly recommend Megan McArdle’s blog posts on the issue (1, 2, 3, and 4). Not only did McArdle keep up with each new development in the saga practically in real-time, but she herself was one of the active participants in unraveling the mystery of the initially anonymous leaker, who turned out to be climate scientist (and advocate of rapid government intervention) Peter Gleick.

I recognize that some readers may be too busy to go back over four blog posts, so let me give the essentials of the story that are necessary to understand my own reaction: Back in February, an anonymous person calling him- or herself “Heartland Insider” emailed a cache of documents to various bloggers who promote government policies to combat climate change.

The Heartland Institute is one of the leading think tanks that oppose such policies, and the sensitive nature of the documents (including funding sources and strategies for the future) made the cache seem analogous to the infamous Climategate emails.

(Full disclosure: I was paid to give a talk at a Heartland conference a few years ago, summarizing my research on the poor case for instituting a carbon tax as a solution to climate change.)

For a typical example, here is the February 14 reaction of Richard Littlemore at DeSmogBlog to the receipt of the documents:

An anonymous donor calling him (or her)self “Heartland Insider” has released the Heartland Institute’s budget, fundraising plan, its Climate Strategy for 2012 and sundry other documents (all attached) that prove all of the worst allegations that have been leveled against the organization.

It is clear from the documents that Heartland advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and “other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.” Heartland particularly celebrates the funding that it receives from the fossil fuel fortune being the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Heartland also continues to collect money from Philip Morris parent company Altria as well as from the tobacco giant Reynolds American, while maintaining ongoing advocacy against policies related to smoking and health.

Heartland’s policy positions, strategies and budget distinguish it clear as a lobby firm that is misrepresenting itself as a “think tank” – it budgets $4.1 million of its $6.4 million in projected expenditures for Editorial, Government Relations, Communications, Fundraising, and Publications, and the only activity it plans that could vaguely be considered policy development is the writing of a curriculum package for use in confusing high schoolers about climate change.

There will be more comment and analysis to follow on DeSmogBlog and elsewhere, but we wanted to make this information available so that others can also scrutinize the documents and bring their expertise to the task.

The Littlemore post then has downloadable links to the documents contained in the initial leak. By far, the most damning document was the “2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” memo [.pdf]. It was exactly what the alarmist bloggers wanted to find, and it was upon this document that they based their claims of Heartland’s foul play.

The only problem is, the document is clearly a fabrication, and any reasonable person could have identified it as such within minutes of inspection. Heartland itself almost immediately said that this particular strategy memo was bogus, while (eventually) acknowledging that the other documents were legitimate. If the reader follows the Megan McArdle links above, the numerous problems with this particular document are outlined.

Yet as of this writing—a month after all reasonable people following the case would know the situation—the DeSmogBlog post doesn’t even have an update, warning readers that there is, to say the least, some dispute as to the authenticity of the document. (To its credit, ThinkProgress took down the strategy memo after its numerous problems came to light.)

Climate Strategy Memo Legit? No Way!

The single most amazing aspect in this affair is the sheer implausibility of the alleged Climate Strategy memo. As McArdle observed, “it reads like it was written from the secret villain lair in a Batman comic.  By an intern.” I mean really, just look at this absurdity:

Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms. We are pursuing a proposal from Dr. David Wojick to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools. Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science. His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain–two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science. We tentatively plan to pay Dr. Wojick $100,000 for 20 modules in 2012, with funding pledged by the Anonymous Donor. [Bold added.]

When reading the passage in bold, the climate bloggers who received the anonymous email should have had alarms going off. “Danger, danger, Will Robinson! This is obviously a hoax.”

First of all, the academics associated with Heartland think the science is on their side. They would never in a million years describe what they are doing as “dissuading teachers from teaching science.” Second of all, even if they did think that’s what they were ultimately doing, would Heartland phrase it like that in a memo for its top supporters?

Just think about that for a moment. In a mob movie, does the boss typically say to his underlings, “OK guys, tomorrow we are going to commit some serious violations of morality”? Of course not. Instead he’ll say, “We’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse,” or maybe, “Tomorrow we settle the score” or “We’re going to protect our family once and for all.”

The Climate Strategy memo also contains this gem:

Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences, and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT [Watt’s Up With That] and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts). Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out. [Bold added.]

It should be obvious to any neutral reader that no one associated with Heartland would have written such a thing, because no one at Heartland is consciously “anti-climate.” Whoever fabricated the above—and many people think it was Gleick himself, which would explain the odd attention he receives as opposed to more famous “warmists” such as Al Gore or James Hansen—must imagine all opponents as Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons, chanting “Ehhhhhxcellent” while eating a bald eagle stew.

Finally, for added quantitative evidence that this document was clearly forged, consider the fact that it claims the Koch Foundation gave $200,000 for climate efforts in 2011. In reality, the Koch Foundation only gave $25,000 in 2011, and that was for projects related to health care. Surely the “inner circle” of Heartland wouldn’t commit such a massive error in discussing donations of this magnitude. If the discrepancy had been $200,000 versus $20,000, then we could entertain the theory that it was a typographical error.

But in light of the other oddities (outlined by McArdle and others) of this memo—coupled with the two oozing absurdities I quoted above—this mistake of $25,000 for health care activities, with $200,000 for climate projects, should have been the icing on the cake. This memo is clearly fraudulent, and yet DeSmogBlog to this day leaves up its original post with not even a nod to the controversy.

The Gullible Climate Bloggers

Some defenders of Gleick have asked what would be in it for him? Why would he have the motive to fabricate the Climate Strategy memo, since (by his own confession) he tricked a Heartland staffer into sending him the other, legitimate documents?

The answer is obvious: The legitimate documents weren’t damning enough. So someone (not necessarily Gleick, though he is the obvious suspect) cooked up the fake document that has the juiciest quotes. Steve McIntyre has a great post showing the timeline of the story as it bounced through the blogosphere. Skim through the initial discussion by the pro-intervention climate bloggers, and see how they focus almost exclusively on quotes taken from the bogus memo, not from the legitimate documents that Gleick obtained through his deception.

Now to be sure, climate science isn’t the same thing as politics and the blogosphere. Just because these climate alarmists showed ridiculously bad judgment when it came to the Heartland affair, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are wrong about the trajectory of global temperatures in the absence of mitigation strategies.

However, I do think this episode—and the reaction of the skeptic community during Climategate—are quite illustrative of the two camps’ approaches to the actual science. Back when the Climategate emails were first spreading around the Internet, I distinctly remember many people in the comments at blogs such as ClimateAudit warning their peers by saying things like, “Guys, remember, we’re skeptics. This is too good to be true. Let’s not jump up and down on this, because it might be a trap to make us look gullible.”

In contrast, the major players on the other side—when Heartland was “caught” saying things that were far more absurd than what the Climategate emails revealed—jumped with glee. For example, Leo Hickman at The Guardian‘s climate blog wrote on February 15:

Again, much to digest here, but for me one thing stands out beyond the talk of trying to “cultivate more neutral voices” and “coordination with outside networks”. When you recollect all the hullabaloo expressed by climate sceptics about how climate scientists apparently try to close down debate etc, then this sentence says so much:

This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.

If you like your hypocrisy sandwiches served with a side order of double standards, then these leaked documents are certainly the place to dine out.

Now Hickman was obviously eager to jump on Heartland, and he did so (in the above fashion) when the story first broke. But now, a month later, surely he has updated the post, to reflect the fact that most of his quotes come from a memo that is clearly fake?

Nope, all we have is this terse update: “UPDATE: 8.47pm The Heartland Institute has now issued a statement claiming one of the documents – “2012 Climate Strategy” – is “fake”.”

And be sure to check out Joe Romm’s reaction to the Gleick confession. Let’s keep in mind the irony here: Gleick was an outspoken champion for scientific integrity and ethics—accusing opponents such as Judith Curry of disappointing him in this regard—and then admitted he had pretended to be a Heartland board member, in order to trick one of their staffers into sending him documents from their last meeting.

This is arguably a crime, let alone an action unbecoming a scientist. Anyway, Romm certainly doesn’t throw Gleick under the bus. Instead, he writes an all’s-fair-when-it-comes-to-saving-the-planet defense, and spends a lot of time talking about what a jerk he thinks Andrew Revkin is.

Conclusion

The Heartland affair has shown not merely that some climate alarmists (namely Gleick) will stoop to outright deception, and most of his peers will close ranks to defend him in a sort of Green Wall of Silence. Perhaps more disturbing, it reveals that these people really have no idea how their opponents on the climate issue actually view the world. So when they dismiss skeptics as having no legitimate arguments, it should make outsiders take pause.

Without being a trained climate scientist, I can read the various blogs and try to parse the academic papers, but ultimately I have to rely a lot on the good faith and judgment of the scientists themselves. The Heartland affair has reassured my earlier conviction that the case for climate alarmism is far weaker than the alarmists have been telling us.

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This is arguably a crime, let alone an action unbecoming a scientist.
I had a discussion with one of Gleick’s defenders, who held that Gleick’s confession not only restored his credibility, but rendered the criminal aspect moot. “A man who admits he has told a lie is no longer a liar…” I told him that made as much sense as saying a man who had confessed to a murder was no longer a murderer.
That’s when the fireworks started…

michael hart

“Is the science right or is it really a hoax like Rush Limbaugh says?”
My standard reply, is to ask yourself two questions:
1) What successful predictions has the science made? [note: Predictions, not hindcasts]
2) Were those predictions at all meaningful?
These questions are for anyone to ask. All of us probably know details about some specialist topic [however small] that most other people will not be familiar with.
An example in the context of economics:
1) Many people (not just economists) will be wary of someone who claims to be able to accurately predict the stock market, and will be able ask what price movements has this model successfully predicted? [Predictions, not hindcasts].
2) A prediction that “the stockmarket will go up in 2013” has little credibility even if it proves to be correct. [Yes, it will have even less credibility if the market goes down!]

pat

Australia has a brand new Foreign Minister, an old hack of a politician, who has made one gaffe after another in his few weeks in the post. he’s on something of a roll:
24 March: Andrew Bolt Blog: Carr the catastrophist
Foreign Minister Bob Carr turns out to be, quite literally, a catastrophist – among the most absurdly alarmist of all global warming believers:
Yes, since the late eighties I have been an unapologetic believer in the grim reality that human activity is changing the earth’s climate.
The Economist said this global warming was mankind’s ‘craziest experiment’, and I do not think we could have put it better. Bill Clinton described global warming as nature’s weapon of mass destruction and the brilliant author Bill McKibben, in his book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, reminded us that this is the way we live now. This phenomenon is upon us. What was prophecy when I first started reading about it in the late eighties and early nineties is the way we live now…
http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/carr_the_catastrophist/

Leo Norekens

Slightly off tipic : Should be “L’Affaire” with an E.
Nitpicking, I know, but if you’re going to use French, you might as well……
[REPLY: Kettle, meet pot. -REP]

Bill Davis

Well put Mr Murphy!

Latitude

as less and less people believe….
….you will be left with only the lowest common denominator

wiglafthegreat

I’ve read several environmental activist websites where they promote ethical environmental morals, but none of their commandments say anything about not bearing false witness, murdering, or stealing. Apparently the new morality is different from the old.

> Some defenders of Gleick have asked what would be in it for him? Why would he have the motive to fabricate the Climate Strategy memo, since (by his own confession) he tricked a Heartland staffer into sending him the other, legitimate documents?
> The answer is obvious: The legitimate documents weren’t damning enough.
I think you have missed out one other obvious motive for forging the strategy document.
Since he wasn’t planning on getting caught for phishing, the other problem with the legitimate documents from Gleick’s point of view, is that he wouldn’t get any credit for all his hard work!
However by inserting himself in the climate strategy document – as the main enemy of Heartland – and is acknowledge even by them as a great scientist – he suddenly becomes the “goto guy” for information about Heartland’s evilness.
Of course, the way things turned out Gleick became the “goto guy” in a way that he probably did not intend.
FWIW:
1. Many of the alarmist blogs are still running with the idea that the fake is either not a fake, or was some kind of elaborate trap by Heartland. Many have elaborated on this stance. Others of course went silent, and never fessed up to the falsity of the memo.
2. Since most of the mainstream media stopped covering after the initial “leak” (leak is the wrong word) and Gleick’s half-confession, I doubt most of the public knows one of the document was faked.
3. Outside a few over-interested people (which includes me), I suspect the general perception is of Gleick stealing real documents from Heartland. IMHO, the only way that perception will be corrected is by Heartland taking Gleick to court, and winning.

David Ross

Hi Robert,
Excellent post. We should keep the pressure on till every ethically challenged journalist retracts.
Regarding:
“To its credit, ThinkProgress took down the strategy memo after its numerous problems came to light.”
I made the same mistake of taking ThinkProgress at their word in my post on Fakegate.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/02/things-about-peter-gleick-that-might-also-interest-or-intrigue-you/
Till it was pointed out by a commenter
*****************
UnfrozenCavemanMD says:
March 2, 2012 at 10:56 am
You write, “… ThinkProgress.org has removed the fake “Climate Strategy” document from their website but still hosts the “Board Directory”. …”
ThinkProgress most certainly has not removed the forged “Strategy” document from their web site. They removed one link to it, but continue to host it here: http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/2012-Climate-Strategy.pdf
*****************
The Strategy Memo is still available on their server (without any caveats) even today.

More Soylent Green!

If the alarmists really had evidence to support their case for AGW or for the “Big-Oil-Funded-Anti-Science-Conspiracy” meme, would they have to create fake documents?

They keep confusing the closing of ranks around various gleickers with closing the credibility gap around their crumbling sorcery.

eqibno

Why use the term “leak” when theft is appropriate? (To say nothing of fraud…)

chilli

“By far, the most damning document was the “2012 Heartland Climate Strategy”… The legitimate documents weren’t damning enough.”
Correction: The other documents weren’t damning AT ALL. They merely showed the paltry funding available to climate sceptics.
A very poorly written article.

Rob Crawford

copner:
“Many of the alarmist blogs are still running with the idea that the fake is either not a fake, or was some kind of elaborate trap by Heartland.”
Really?! That’s just… wrong. I’d have thought they’d have learned that’s not an ideal approach after the Rathergate business, when some declared “Lucy Ramirez” to be a Karl Rove operative who fed fake-but-accurate documents to Rather to discredit him.

Robert,
A quibble:
“Now to be sure, climate science isn’t the same thing as politics….”
So called “climate science” is ALL politics with only a varnish of “science” to “hide the decline”. As has been illustrated on this blog, it’s about using “climate science” to establish global governance (with THEM in charge). And that’s in THEIR words.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/19/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-43/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/18/finally-somebody-comes-right-out-and-says-it-climate-world-governance-is-a-match-made-in-green-heaven/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/seven-building-blocks-to-fairness-and-equity/
When you review what likeminded folks did in the last century, you should be alarmed. According to the “Black Book of Communism” (Harvard University Press), documents from the failed Communist countries indicate that Communists murdered some 120 million people (that’s a provable minimum-the total is very possibily 170 million). In addition, EVERY Communist county was a total economic failure. History has proven that the more extensive the Socialism the more death and poverty visited upon the Proletariat.
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Book-Communism-Crimes-Repression/dp/0674076087
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Communism
Regards,
Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

Ken Harvey

“Without being a trained climate scientist,…”
Is there any such person, I wonder? Can we come up with the name of any single person who can claim full qualification in physics, quantum physics, astrophysics, thermodynamics, electrical engineering, fluid mechanics, geology and biochemistry? That list is nowhere near complete, but seems to me to be a minimum requirement to start upon a quest for a Climatology PhD.
The sheer depth and breadth of the subject is the nub of the problem. Any fool can stand up and make any prediction that he cares to and there is no near absolute authority on the matter to say a resounding no.

oMan

Great essay and very useful summary of “L’Affaire Gleick.” I agree that the desired action is to force the libel-mongers to eat their own cooking, just as publicly and enthusiastically as they served it up. In other words, prominent and unambiguous retractions.
People only change when they’re in pain. Sad fact.

RockyRoad

Rush Limbaugh is right–the science of climate practiced, for example, by Mann, is a hoax. There is nothing unprecedented about what we’re seeing. Some are just seeing with cloudy optics.

cope

Nice job, Mr. Murphy. You have well captured the point that seemed so obvious to many of us. The first time I read the memo I immediately recognized it is as poor fake. I think I started laughing. That wording would never be used in a strategy memo. Never.
This episode actually provides an interesting insight into the thinking of the pro-CAGW side. To this day, many of them continue to claim that the memo is genuine, or at least plausible. They seriously believe that the memo reflects how skeptics think. Yes, they are that naive and see everything in black and white, good and evil. They have no hope of ever winning over skeptics / undecideds until they get a clue into the skeptical mindset.

Leo Hickman doesn’t like having to correct his mistakes, and won’t unless threatened with legal action.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/leo-hickman-factual-inaccuracy/

dp

This is an excellent post-mortem paper that relights the fire that waxes and wanes in the belly of the skeptics. And it does so deliciously by firing the laserbeam of truth in broadsides of imprecations at named persons who in turn artlessly used their own words to unravel their careers and expose their own biases. To the note taker reading this we are given a list of climate blackhats that reliably populate the mendacity-prone and jaded side of the science and debate: Romm, Gleick, Littlemore, Gore, Hansen, Hickman. Mentioned honorably is favorite whitehat Steven McIntyre. What a striking contrast of integrity.

JJ

“Just think about that for a moment. In a mob movie, does the boss typically say to his underlings, …”
That is a supremely bad analogy. The point it is supposed to be illustrating is that Heartland, whether they are correct about it or not, believes that the science supports their position. Thus they wouldn’t speak about their efforts as undermining science. Conversely, do mobsters actually believe that what they are doing is lawful or moral? No. They are quite clear on the illegality and immorality of their actions, and are knowingly making a business of it – exactly what the warmist twits accuse Heartland of doing.

jeanparisot

Poetic justice should include the Koch’s publicly giving Heartland $ 200K

Bill

Robert Murphy,
You forgot to mention that most of the stuff DeSmog said about Heartland wasn’t true, even with the fake memo.
The nonsense about fossil fuel companies was DISPROVED by the stolen documents.
I believe the small amount of cigarette related work was against exaggerations of 2nd hand smoke dangers. I personally agree that some of that was hyped. If you smoke a lot in the same room as your kid, obviously very bad. If you walk by somebody ten feet away and a tiny wisp of smoke tickles your nostrils, so the f*&% what. How many 100’s of thousands of years did humans use campfires and then coal, etc. Having those in your home was less healthy than today but people still lived long lives.
I find it amusing that they think skeptics are so stupid but yet at the same time, so very diabolically clever.

I first heard of Heartland from a Frontline episode called Heat. I couldn’t understand why all the hysteria from pamphlets being distributed. Was the science supporting global warming so bad that a pamphlet could dislodge the science?
“Not only have big oil companies not invested much in renewables, but for years they were among the largest contributors to so-called climate change denier groups, groups like the Heartland Institute, the organizer of this 2008 convention.”
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/heat/etc/script.html
I have a copy of this episode as well as that other Frontline episode with the infamous thermostat trickery somewhere on an external hard drive. I didn’t know they would become historical documents.

Gail Combs

copner says:
March 23, 2012 at 6:50 am
> Some defenders of Gleick have asked what would be in it for him?….
I think you have missed out one other obvious motive for forging the strategy document.
___________________________________
Yes, you are correct the whole objective of mud slinging is to make sure at least SOME of the mud manages to cling.
The way this is done is to be the first to sling mud and grab all the big headlines and therefore public opinion. It does not matter if it was a false accusation because the retraction in the papers will always be several days..weeks… months later in tiny print on a back page next to the advert for a funeral company.
Therefore Gleick’s maneuver was actually a well thought out maneuver especially since “Gleick was an outspoken champion for scientific integrity and ethics” and was even giving seminars on the topic. We already know that Greenpeace actually sifts through trash looking for anything they can find to incriminate their “Enemies” This was just taking the strategy one step further. The only thing that ruined it was that Gleick’s nerve broke and nothing incriminating was actually found. Of course the last was quickly remedied with the “Memo”
One must not forget that the Global Warming camp has one of the best political strategists, Stan Greenberg (Husband of Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.) )
“He was also a strategic consultant to the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council on its multi-year campaign on global warming… Republican pollster Frank Luntz says “Stan Greenberg scares the hell out of me. He doesn’t just have a finger on the people’s pulse; he’s got an IV injected into it.” http://ilf.ndi.org/panelists#StanleyGreenberg
“…Stan Greenberg provides strategic advice and research for leaders, companies, campaigns, and NGOs trying to advance their issues in tumultuous times….” http:/www.macmillanspeakers.com/stanleybgreenberg

The fascinating “war room” memoir of a political pollster and how he helped forge the agendas of five high-profile heads of state…
“As a hired gun strategist, Greenberg—a seasoned pollster and political consultant—has seen it all. In his memoir, he recounts his work with President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through his experiences aiding the leaders in pushing their visions for better and clearer domestic and international policies, Greenberg offers an insightful examination of leadership, democracy, and the bridge between candidate and constituency. This captivating tale of political battlegrounds provides an inside look at some of the greatest international leaders of our time from the man who stood directly beside them.”
http://macmillanspeakers.com/stanleybgreenberg

Glieck is NOT a climate scientist. He is a water specialist.
So do not underestimate yourself…

genealogymaster

Unfortunately DeSmog won’t allow any posts that contradict him. Oh well we know he has it wrong.

Anthony, you and WUWT is mentioned in todays National / Financial Post:
http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/03/22/peter-foster-suzuki-vs-the-senate-whos-silencing-whom/
“Meanwhile, if you want to understand climate issues, according to Mr. Suzuki, don’t even think of visiting the websites of dissenters such as Anthony Watts (creator of wattsupwiththat.com. Well worth a visit). Mr. Watts, after all, is a mere “weathermen.” (Mr. Watts reminds us in response that Mr. Suzuki is, or was, a fruit fly ­geneticist).”

Jim Cornelius

Why is is that any post that contains “Pot” “Holer” “54” concatenated refuses to post?
REPLY: Because oft times there are nasty comments from anonymous angroids attached that don’t meet blog policy attached to those missives. This filter helps us catch those and decide if they meet policy. – Anthony

Gail Combs

eqibno says:
March 23, 2012 at 7:10 am
Why use the term “leak” when theft is appropriate? (To say nothing of fraud…)
__________________________
Because it was supposed to be a leak from a Whistleblower. This was to be a counter point to the CRU climategate “HACKER” where the Warmists could claim the moral high ground. It backfired and there is now a scramble to bury the whole matter deep before the “Great Unwashed” actually catches on to the fact the Warmists “outspoken champion for scientific integrity and ethics” has the moral standards of a common conman.

observa

“it reveals that these people really have no idea how their opponents on the climate issue actually view the world”
That’s the crux of the divide between alarmism and skepticism for me. It’s fairly clear to me now the alarmists believed at an emotional level and then went looking for the rational analysis to justify it all. Their emotion certainly touched a sensitive ‘environmental’ nerve out there among the populace and led to a meteoric rise in their popularity and the commanding heights, but it was always rational analysis that would be their undoing. Their meteoric rise would further add hubris to the mix and Gleick was the example par excellence of that.
Their undoing would necessarily be the policy response and in that they were found wanting and it wasn’t long before the lack of rational policy from these overemotional ‘scientists’ became increasingly apparent. Essentially in public administration you can’t run nations like Mother Theresa and the nuns or the Salvos. A logical fallacy of composition in that eventually you’ll have no-one left to donate to the good works. You need to ditch personal or private emotion for the common good and its inevitable tradeoffs. ie you don’t spend say $2mill to save a statistical life if you can save 2 lives with those resources elsewhere, although in practice such marginal cost/marginal benefit calculus is more opaque than that. Nevertheless you can’t let the heart rule the head and with so many Green policies that’s exactly what they do and it shows. The more they introduce emotion into public decision-making the more they fail on analytical grounds and yet they continue to see rational skeptics through their emotional prism. Somehow we have captured the populace with evil emotion rather than their good variety.
I’d liken their belief to the emotional appeal of ‘natural’ therapies vis a vis double blind tested scientific Medicine when the latter is really just alternative medicine that works, or at least shows an efficacy that outshines all others for the time being. No matter how hard you try and convince emotional types of that simple truth there are many for whom it just will not fit their emotional paradigm. Loretta just aint sexy enough for them and their emotional needs-
http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/campaigner-ready-to-take-on-the-quacks/story-fn6ck8la-1226244316697
so it’s on with the homeopathy, reflexology, pin sticking, iridology, vitamins, ghastly teas and colonic irrigation to hang all their emotion on. In the long run only rational analysis will remain after the hot flush of emotion has been distilled off.

“Perhaps more disturbing, it reveals that these people really have no idea how their opponents on the climate issue actually view the world.”
Nailed it. This is a serious obstacle.

I wrote this on the 15th Feb……
Of course, this once again brings us back to our eternal question we have with these people. Either they knew the email titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” was a lie and they intentionally disseminated it to mislead the public, or they are not very bright and lack proper critical thinking skills and cannot distinguish truth from fiction. Either way, the people who ran with this story without first verifying this rather incredulous email have shown themselves to be people incapable to giving us proper information in the climate discussion. This greatly calls into question all the information they’ve passed on to us in this regard. They should do the honorable thing and withdraw from the discussion altogether and let the adults speak. Perhaps, if they were told to shut up and listen in their formative years, they may have learned something.

John T

“Instead, he writes an all’s-fair-when-it-comes-to-saving-the-planet defense”
Which is an admission that he will lie to you if it suits his purpose. That’s why I don’t understand the people who are defending him in this way. By doing so, they are admitting they will lie if they can come up with some justification (and what liar can’t?). That means nobody should ever trust them to be telling the truth.

What this affair illustrates better then almost any other is the disconnect with between the philosophical underpinnings of science and scientific method and the faith based inductive reasoning of true believers. I have look for more years than I which to remember for any kind of philosophical underpinning of the concepts around the whole means to and end rationalization of these true believers. I am still empty handed. At my blog, at least half of the 179 essays deal in one way or another with this disconnect. Like others I still search for that honest man.

pat

Also illustrated is the adolescent thinking, writing and behavior of the alarmists. They simply are not credentialed, and if they do have some academic accomplishment, it appears to be undeserved.

Skiphil

A question I’ve had: is it very suggestive (or not) that only a couple of blogs/journalists (sic) have ever self-identified as recipients of the original “insider” fake leak?
I.e., IIRC, although the text of the anonymous email said the docs were being sent to 15 people, only the Smog Blog (DeSmog) and ThinkProgress were hot off the mark flogging this story.
Others seemed to be followers and I don’t recall any others who claimed to have received the original “insider” faux email.
Perhaps I’ve missed it, or perhaps others were keeping a lower profile, but in both journalism and the blogosphere ppl usually want to boast about it if they are significant enough to receive such a “leak” (sic).
What I suspect (but have not followed the story enough to argue for with details) is that the fake leaker Gleick sent the email and docs only to a small handful of closest allies, and used the “15” claim simply as misdirection to divert attention from his close relationship with just a couple of blogs????
As I say I didn’t follow the details of the unfolding story to know, but there may be some suggestive details in past, present, or future words/activities of Gleick, the DeSmog cabal, ThinkProgress, et al. Something showing just how closely they may have cooperated over time, on this or other projects, etc.

johnmcguire

Thank You Anthony, for continueing to keep this issue before the public. All but forgotten and brushed under the rug by the main stream crowd but had this been a sckeptical assalt on the warmists they would still be screaming. This Gleikgate issue is just another indication that the warmistas’ do not have the science and especially do not have the ethics.

Skiphil

Are there any honest people at DeSmog or ThinkProgress?
Just wondering….

Skiphil – That’s an easy question to answer! If they were honest, they wouldn’t last very long at DeSmog or ThinkProgress!!

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
“Without being a trained climate scientist, I can read the various blogs and try to parse the academic papers, but ultimately I have to rely a lot on the good faith and judgment of the scientists themselves. The Heartland affair has reassured my earlier conviction that the case for climate alarmism is far weaker than the alarmists have been telling us.”- Robert Murphy

rogerkni

JJ says:
March 23, 2012 at 8:00 am
“Just think about that for a moment. In a mob movie, does the boss typically say to his underlings, …”
That is a supremely bad analogy. The point it is supposed to be illustrating is that Heartland, whether they are correct about it or not, believes that the science supports their position. Thus they wouldn’t speak about their efforts as undermining science. Conversely, do mobsters actually believe that what they are doing is lawful or moral? No. They are quite clear on the illegality and immorality of their actions, and are knowingly making a business of it – exactly what the warmist twits accuse Heartland of doing.

No, they are not quite clear. They use roundabout methods of referring to ordering a crime or a hit to guard against the possibility that their conversation is being bugged, or that one of them might turn and testify against them later.

John Gf

Nicely written, concise conclusion. The ring of truth almost vibrates like a frequency. Gold star

gnomish

” it budgets $4.1 million of its $6.4 million in projected expenditures for Editorial, Government Relations, Communications, Fundraising, and Publications, and the only activity it plans that could vaguely be considered policy development”
so, another quango living off angsters. great. like the roster of dependents on the protest industry needs more unproductive people added to the ranks?
nobody is going to benefit from government relations – there is only one kind of relation possible with an entity that is purely a monopoly on force and fraud.
nobody is going to benefit from more endless chatter – has it done anything good lately? no, sir – it has been the backbone of the conman forever, though.
Publications? such as ‘please donate’ letters? oops – i guess that comes under fundraising – which is now and has always been the true mission of angsters and quangos and other kinds of beggars.
so they’re going to educate people? bah – Mr. Anthony Watts has that covered in spades without soliciting millions to feed ambitions to have relations with the government. good man. he is sincere, inspired and focused and he just does it- compared to heartland’s efforts… rather, in contrast to heartland’s talk about efforts, Mr. Watts also succeeds.
so, heartland – yadda yadda. no donations for yadda yadda.
get gleick to court. DO something REAL.
barking dogs don’t bite. they make noise and eventually become intolerably obnoxious.
get off the pot with all those millions and put them to some use besides lubrication when you have government relations.
the only publications i want to see out proceeding from your self important, high priced donation harvesting machine is COURT DOCUMENTS. get it? distinguish yourself by doing something. begging and jabbering is a whole lot cheaper than what you’ve been paid.

>> No. They are quite clear on the illegality and immorality of their actions, and are knowingly making a business of it – exactly what the warmist twits accuse Heartland of doing.
> No, they are not quite clear. They use roundabout methods of referring to ordering a crime or a hit to guard against the possibility that their conversation is being bugged, or that one of them might turn and testify against them later.
I’m sure there is a practical reason to it in the case of the mob, but they also – as most people do – convince themselves they are doing the right thing and are the good guys with a moral code.
When the mob talk about killing “a dirty rat”, it’s because in their mind the police informer is the one who broke the code of morality. Same thing as when the NKVD or the SS killed millions, they thought of themselves as the good guys building a socialist utopia or saving Europe from Bolshevism.

Ian W

I know that the ‘Support the EPA’ advert from the Conservationists has been discussed in a thread. But in the past these google ads were random and even refreshing a page could produce another one. This fake advert is now appearing on EVERY WUWT thread. Is this a validatable sign of Google-bias? Someone somewhere is spending a lot of money to keep that advert up.
Why?

Skiphil

Pacific Institute remains mum since the Feb. 27 statement from their BofD.
Is there any real investigation of Gleick or are they merely hoping it will blow over?
With real legal and fiduciary responsibilities one might think the BofD has to get rid of Gleick, simply for what he has admitted to doing.
Otoh, since they are activist fanatics and hand-picked by Gleick himself, perhaps they will try to ride it out with him.

Gail Combs

observa says:
March 23, 2012 at 8:46 am
I’d liken their belief to the emotional appeal of ‘natural’ therapies vis a vis double blind tested scientific Medicine….. Loretta just aint sexy enough for them and their emotional needs – so it’s on with the homeopathy, reflexology, pin sticking, iridology, vitamins, ghastly teas….
___________________________________
Please do not throw vitamins in there with the rest of the Woo-Woo stuff. There is plenty of scientific evidence that vitamin D prevents rickets, vitamin C prevents scurvy, vitamin B1 prevents beri beri, etc…

@Skiphil:
Yesterday, Peter Gleick was celebrating (? is that the right word? marking? commemorating?) World Water Day, the fact that billions don’t have water [sic], and the fact that there sadly is only one World Water Day per year and not 365 of them.
That’s been, as far as I can tell, the main concern on his mind for the last few days.