I haven’t had the chance to have much of a look at what some climate activists are calling the ‘sceptics climategate’.
Except it isn’t. The sums of money involved here are minute, compared to the budgets of companies, NGOs, governments and bodies like the EU and UN to spend on environmental propaganda.
And this epitomises yet again the environmentalist’s failure to develop a sense of proportion. Not only are the Heartland’s funds dwarfed, there is no substantial relationship between it, the state, and other policy-making processes, as there are between NGOs, national governments, scientific research organisations and the UN, and of course, huge firms.
It is amazing to see how the environmental movement responds to challenges to its claims, authority, and privileged access to policy-makers. The UK’s GWPF has a budget a fraction of the size even of the Heartland Institute, yet activists seem to believe that Nigel Lawson and Benny Peiser have between them prevented the possibility of the much sought-after international agreement on carbon emissions.
The documents allegedly reveal that some funding came from oil interests. If so, again the question is ‘why so little’? If oil companies really were concerned about protecting themselves from regulation (in fact corporates benefit from tight regulation), why wouldn’t they spend $tens or $hundreds of billions on campaigns? Why wouldn’t they spend $billions — they have the resources, after all. But, of course, this ‘oil companies fund denial’ nonsense is a zombie argument; it’s been put back to death so many times, it’s barely worth repeating: oil companies also fund research and organisations that are impeccably green. As do people with substantial interests in oil — my favourite being Jeremy Grantham, who employs climate big mouth, Bob Ward at the Grantham institute. Grantham funded the Grantham Institute to the tune of £12 million — way more than the budget available to the Heartland — presumably, some of which came from dividends from the $1.5 billion dollars he has invested in oil company stock.
None of this bothers Bob Ward though, who is shamelessly tweeting about the leaked documents, as though there were no flies on him.
Ditto, green activists all over the web and twitter, as if they really had uncovered a conspiracy: a hidden network of relationships between huge firms, governments, secretive and undemocratic international agencies, and other vested interests.
But that description still much better suits the environmental movement.
These alarmists — aren’t they! — have got hold of a number of strategy documents that might just as easily have been produced by the environmental movement, to discuss budgets, ways to intervene in the climate debate, how to do PR, and organise research. There’s nothing dodgy about that — it’s the way contemporary politics works. Strategy documents and business plans are not very exciting.
In contrast, Climategate — which I’ve never actually had much time for — surprised people, because the environmental movement had made claims about researchers’ unimpeachable moral conduct, and pure, unadulterated scientific research.
The message from all this must be that the environmentalists who bang on about funding must be very, very desperate indeed to find ways of avoiding debate about climate change.
Thanks Ben – what the Heartland revelation does for me is to finally nail the Mannian lie about ‘well-funded’ scepticism. The Heartland Institute is the only major body I’m aware of that is active in this field (GWPF is much smaller, apparently) and its budget, at $6.5m is a vanishingly small proportion (2.1%) of that of Greenpeace ($310m) alone, never mind FoE, WWF, et al.
Given the anti-science funding available to the green movement, they show their utter incompetence and moral bankruptcy in perceiving that the overwhelming threat to their miserabilist world view comes from a tiny outfit such as this.
The story is that unknown millionaires are paying the Heartland Institute to pay people to write stuff. Just like millionaire Grantham and Autotrader pay Bob Ward and Monbiot to write stuff. The scandal is that no-one in the mainstream media or in academic institiutions is interested in a comparison between the different stuffs to see who’s right.
Hickman’s got a commentable article up at
I know what you mean, I thought the denier side was much better funded than that. It’s truly amazing that climate skepticism has done so much for so little money. I hope more of the documents are released, it will kill the alarmists.
After seeing what was actually in those documents I would think that the warmist sites would have been better off keeping quiet about them. $6.5 million in funding for one of the most visible sceptic organizations? Really? Look for more funding? Appalling. Try to get teachers to teach that the science behind our understanding of climate may not be totally settled as of yet. Disgusting!
Reading comprehension must be hard to acquire in an echo-chamber.
I’ve been reading comments, on blogs, which try to take this sentence to mean Heartland is out to dissuade teachers from teaching 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.”
Poor Tardish thinking…reread the sentence in whole. it is the lack of “controversy and uncertainty” being taught in schools – that dissuade NORMAL SCIENCE,
The story is, rather, that the ‘Green establishment’ are so uncomfortable in their ‘comfy’ seat, so insecure on their new thrown, they will grab any desperate fig leaf to hide their blatant, mid day nakedness. This will blow over as a meaningless piece of nonsense but we will hear the chorus of idiots echoing it down the months. A new re-reinforcement to their already forced position. What baleful stupidity! Can I be Neronic – is that a word!?
This is a fight to our political death, not just on this front, but on all fronts – that of obscurantism, sophistry and self-willed stupidity. And we better be prepared for the consequences of defeat, for those consequences are dreadful and not worth living through. We have seen them before and we vowed, not so very long ago, not to see them again. How optimistic! And yet here they come again, crowding out our future, clouding our present. Above all, don’t be naive! You don’t have to be a cynic to look clearly. On the contrary!
And it appears, Steve Mosher, a person who I trust, intimates that these ‘disclosures’ are possibly counterfeit? All the better, if so. It would make no difference.
The group claiming to have ‘broken’ the story is DeSmogBlog, an enviro-activist web site. Some of you might recognize one of its top bloggers, anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan, a guy who has been blogging at the site against skeptic scientists since Jan 2006, just three months after the site was created. As near as I can tell after extensively digging into Gelbspan activities, he appears to have largely invented the idea that skeptic climate scientists act in a way that supposedly parallels old US tobacco industry tactics to downplay the hazards of smoking. He is also the very same person I covered my 2010 article in The Daily Caller, “Is the ‘Columbo of climate change’ someone who would rather avoid Columbo-like questions?” http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/11/is-the-columbo-of-climate-change-someone-who-would-rather-avoid-columbo-like-questions/
The staggering thing about this current story is how utterly worn-out its underlying tactic is. Al Gore was resorting to it back in the early ’90s. AGW apparently isn’t supportable on its own merits, so its promoters must use any means possible to marginalize skeptics who point this out problem.
No Lewis, it would be delicious if they have been faked.
So little evidence of wrong-doing that they have to sex it up! If I was setting out to discredit the Greens, that would be just about the best possible way.
The rather rash behaviour recently demonstrated by some is testimony, I think, to the impact the earlier Climategate revelations must have had. Not a few people must have thought “payback time!” or something similar a couple of days ago, when the Heartland story broke, hence the rush to jump in with all the hasty “deniergate” commentary. If the “2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” document central to this kerfuffle turns out to have been faked (James Delingpole has called it the “Protocols of the Elders of Climategate”) it has left them with a bit of a hostage (to fortune) situation.
On a similar note: Twitter! Has there ever been, in the history of humankind, a medium so wonderfully suited to blurting out ill-considered off-the-cuff remarks to be seen by the whole world and then captured for posterity? I think not.
Carbon Climate Forcing is Faux Science concieved to decieve and create a FORCED Carbon Commodity Market. The big energy players, Exxon, Shell and BP have all invested tens of millions into research of bio-fuels, alternative energy, Carbon capture and sequester technologies….all with no fruitful outcomes. In contrast, their total “investment” into denier science has been at most a million or so. When asked about this apparent conflict of interest at a social event several years ago, an oil company executive told me in paraphrase….
“We get to do all of this research at customer expense, increasing costs also increases profits. If we happen to discover useful products and methods, this will generate further profits. We fund the ‘green fraud’ because it is an additional revenue stream for us.”
So much for the Patron Saints of TRUTH. This fraud and the related FRAUD OF PEAK OIL are intentional scientific distortions designed to control the source and flow of money. At the heart of all these frauds is the defective monetary system, as explained in “Fractional Reserve Banking Begat Faux Reality”. If you think that the emprically corrected field of science is none the less, still littered with lies, wait till you discover Faux History. We all have a life mission to find and share Truth. Please fulfill your life mission.
More to the point, the “Confidential Memo” in which the “dissuading teachers from teaching science” phrase appears, is according to HI a forgery. Reading it reveals several points about the author including a complete lack of a clear idea of the diversity of sceptical positions, which are neither homogenous nor even necessarily in agreement with each other. No HI board member would be that unclear about the character and diversity of the sceptic population. Another fact is the remarkably poor language mechanics and the complete unfamiliarity with what a “confidential memo” ought to contain. Nor would a member of any board be so stupid as to put into writing the intent to exclude fellow board members from the circulation.
This ties in with the elite – polticos, Princes and Hollywood “stars” calling for a grass-roots movement, which never occurs. The power and finance and elites are in favour of this scam – because they profit from it? Or they just think they know how other people should live, á la Plato’s Guardians.
As they are frustrated in their call for a mass movement for their benefit, they create Potemkin Astroturf movements, such as occupy Wallstreet, etc.
Just a point on your comment that you never had much time for the Climategate e-mails. They do seem to me very important. Not perhaps in the sense of specifically exposing fraud and dishonesty etc., although they may do (that needs more knowledgeable people than I to pinpoint), but in the general approach exposed – which is just not scientific. That may sound a statement of the obvious, but it is so extraordinarily wrong. Professor Steve Jones was a guest on Radio 3 Essential Classics last week blathering on about the purity of science compared to the irrational beliefs of climate sceptics etc., and those e-mails just show he doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about.
Just to say thanks, Mike Fowle, for the mention of Steve Jones on Radio 3, which I’ve now listened to on iPlayer, and yes, Prof Jones really does not grasp the nuances of the debate at all. Here he is, talking about the balancing of opinions on the BBC’s Today programme:
He’s said similar things before but this is especially perverse. He really does appear to believe that the entire climate debate can be summed up by a sort of on/off proposition. Either the switch is “on” (global warming – the catastrophic, runaway variety, one assumes – is “happening” and humans are causing it) or the switch is “off” (global warming isn’t happening at all, and it’s entirely “made up”.) No other positions are possible, he seems to be implying.
For a man who professes to despise this sort of thing, he really does appear to abide by the kind of simplistic tenets more commonly found among religious fundamentalists.
Mike, I am prepared to be wrong about Climategate. Here’s what I’ve said previously https://www.climate-resistance.org/2011/12/thoughts-on-climategate-r1.html
You mention Jones, too. I’ve some similar points about his interventions here https://www.climate-resistance.org/2011/08/the-pm-her-chancellor.html though it’s the longest post on this blog, so you have to wade through a bit.
What concerns me about Climategate is the idea that there can be a purity to science — that it can be decontaminated of politics and subjectivity. I think the only way such influences can be ruled out is by recognising that they can’t be. We need to be reflective about those influences, not imagine that overcoming them is possible, much less already been achieved. And this is one of the things I think climate sceptics and alarmists unfortunately have in common.
Take Susan Goldenberg’s absurd article on Michael Mann’s position in the climate war – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/17/michael-mann-climate-war .
Mann imagines himself to be in possession of science, defending it against the anti-scientists. But isn’t it the climate wars, not the science wars? Nobody is taking a position against science. Mann hides his politics behind science, and kids himself that he can channel it, as if God’s had spoken to him.
We don’t need climategate to see the problem. The culture that this arrogant and vain individual is wrapped up in is there in black and white. And so is the fawning, credulous, obsequiousness of the idiot hack, Goldenberg. There is as much in that article as there is in the whole of Climategate 1 and 2 — and probably in the remaining encrypted files, too.
Ben Pile #18
“We don’t need climategate to see the problem. The culture that this arrogant and vain individual is wrapped up in is there in black and white. And so is the fawning, credulous, obsequiousness of the idiot hack, Goldenberg”.
Agreed. And the same culture is there in the Steve Jones quote mentioned by Alex Cull at #17. So we see the same thing in the scientist Mann, and the scientist / science journalist Jones.
But Goldenberg can’t see it, because it’s her job not to (see the FIVE articles she has written this week based on one fake document). And the BBC interviewer can’t see it, because he/she is interviewing Jones following the guidelines on how to interview scientists written by – Steve Jones.
Yes, it’s there in black and white, and yet it remains invisible to all but a small number of marginalised commenters. The fact that many commenters misinterpreted the significance of the Climategate emails doesn’t detract from their importance as primary evidence.
As you point out well, Heartland and Climategate tell us nothing we didn’t know. But the climate conflict is not a simple accumulation of facts. The fake Heartland document, like the Climategate emails, is evidence of how warmists wage their campaign.
This is an ongoing process, and one which is not going well for the sceptics. Steve Jones’s report was clearly aimed at keeping Lawson off the air. The Guardian’s aim is clearly to discredit Heartland on the subject of its anonymous donor, before doing the same thing to Lawson’s GWPF.
Thank you for pointing me towards your previous posts on the subject which I read with great interest. You have clearly considered matters deeply. I would agree with most of what you write. I am not certain about the argument that science cannot be decontaminated from subjectivity and politics. But I am not a scientist.
Peter Gleick (AKA Mr. Climate Crock of the Week, AKA Mr. Integrity in Science) confesses to stealing the doc’s. Law suits on the way.
See you in jail Pete.
Wow, wow, wow!
It is so great being a climate denier. This is fun!
While trying in vain to find a reference to the Glieck story in the British press, other than the Guardian, I came across this:
Dr Glieck is due to lecture in Oxford on April 24th. Amnesty are no doubt used to having their guests refused permission to travel, but it would surely cause quite a stir if some judge took his passport away..
The lecture organisers insist that they are not part of Amnesty, then, confusingly, add this:
“Amnesty’s watchword, ‘Protect the Human’, is a call to respect existing human life. But in putting humans at the centre of our moral universe, do we imperil future generations; is a call to ‘human’ rights also an imperious claim against our place in the natural order? What of other animals and life forms, the planet itself?
Both climate change and the fight against it have immense human consequences. Do human rights get in the way of an effective response? Or might they form the basis of a new environmental ethics? Can we refashion human rights to acknowledge our interconnectedness with nature? Or should human rights move aside to make room for less human-centred system of values?
Can we protect the human and save the planet? Join an Economics Nobel Laureate, an environmental activist, a UN Special Rapporteur, a political theorist, and others to find out in this year’s series of Oxford Amnesty Lectures”.