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Leaked documents turn up heat on climate change denying Hearlands Institute
The right-wing Heartland Institute think-tank , which produces anti-scientific propaganda for climate change denial purposes , has often been criticized for its links to mining, oil and mineral extraction industries . These links would seem to have been confirmed by the publishing of documents on the Desmogblog site on February 14 that , if authentic, reveal much of the "inner workings " of Heartlands .
The Heartland Institute has since its founding in 1984 been lobbying against policies that are aimed at curbing carbon emissions . The Chicago-based Institute directs regular well-funded research against scientific data whose publication might support environmentalist regulation. The right-wing Institute argues that global warming is not occurring and that warming would be beneficial if it did occur .
Now the inner workings of Heartlands have been exposed by a leak of confidential documents detailing the institute’s strategy and fundraising networks and its links to the heads of mineral extraction operations including the Koch oil billionaires .The leaked documents were posted two weeks ago by Desmogblog – a blog set up to monitor industry efforts to discredit climate science. Desmogblog said when publishing them that the documents come from a Heartlands insider. Heartlands alleges that the documents were “fraudulently acquired” . Environmental activist Peter Gleick , president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security has admitted to posing as someone else in order to obtain confidential materials from the Heartland Institute.
Amongst the most controversial of the documents is one which Desmoblog claims to show Heartlands’ attempts to influence school curricula . Heartlands has said that the document is “fake” - even though in passages such as the one below it appears to be very much in line with Heartland’s frequently stated views on climate change :
“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.”
According to a Guardian report of last week : “The papers indicate that discrediting established climate science remains a core mission of the organisation, which has received support from a network of wealthy individuals – including the Koch oil billionaires as well as corporations such as Microsoft and RJR Tobacco.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/15/leak-...T3487
A group of climate scientists who have personally been "on the receiving end of attacks" from Heartland and bloggers funded by the thinktank, called for Heartland to "recognise how its attacks on science and scientists have poisoned the debate about climate change policy ." Several environmental organizations have called on companies that have donated to The Heartland Institute in the past to sever their ties with the institute .
Predictably a campaign to discredit the source of the leaks as well as Desmosblog has begun - for some the unauthorized leaking of this material is considered a greater crime than the threat to the environment posed by the lobbyists that the leak exposed . The launch of the Heartlands Institute fight back coincides with the start of an investigations into the Institute's tax affairs and charitable status.
Indymedia Ireland readers familiar with the global warming debates on this site should note that climate change deniers have often used material sourced from Heartlands to back up their arguments . In 2010 for instance somebody calling himself “Real Scientist” put up a link to a “refereed “ paper that was published in a Heartlands sponsored magazine called Energy and Environment . see this thread :