This piece starts with the story of Philippe de Larminat, a "French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity - not greenhouse gases - was driving global warming," who - sacre bleu! - is denied an audience with Pope Francis before the issuance of the Pope's historic encyclical. The first problem here is that we are never given any information about de Larminat's scientific credentials - or indeed whether he has any. (Per LinkedIn, it appears that he has a bachelor's in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in "the sciences," dating from the sixties and seventies. Otherwise, he's mostly a black hole on the Internet.)
There are millions of scientists around the world, and tens of thousands in the climate field. Why focus on this one? What are his contributions to the field?
The Post story then brings up the egregious Heartland Institute, which the writers generously describe as "a free-market group that serves as a hub of skepticism regarding the science of human-caused global warming." They give no background on Heartland, such as its history of being paid by tobacco companies to deny the science of their products causing cancer, or the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has received from the Koch brothers to support their oil investments with climate denial, or their infamous billboard campaign comparing climate scientists to figures like the Unabomber.
The embattled Heartland Institute has roundly condemned journalists for writing about or posting a climate change strategy memo earlier this week that, while attributed to the organization, Heartland says is a "total fake."
But the memo was released late Tuesday night together with other budget and fundraising documents that the right-leaning think tank says appear to have been written by its president and mentions programs that are also detailed in the other documents.
The memo in question notes, for example, that one anonymous donor plans to pony up $100,000 to allow Heartland to develop a curriculum for schoolchildren that would "focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain." The project is to be spearheaded by consultant David Wojick. The same project is mentioned on page 18 of the budget of the fundraising plan, which Heartland says may be genuine.
An Associated Press investigation also finds no reason to doubt the Denialgate documents' authenticity. Heartland's bleating about documents which it apparently willingly handed over to someone posing as a board member stand in stark contrast to its gleeful reaction to hackers stealing the emails of climate scientists, which remains the subject of an active criminal investigation. As Zachary Shahan at PlanetSave.com writes, "Three years of nonsense and praise for 'Climategate' combined with the continual misrepresentation of what it actually was, and now the Heartland Institute wants to call in the referees and have us all sit peacefully in a thoughtful moment on how wrong it is to steal information and misrepresent people?"
UPDATE by Lowell: Note the Fred Singer, mentioned below, is a professor emeritus at UVA. For more on Singer, see DeSmogBlog, which broke this story and which is doing superb work on this issue. ********************
With so much at stake for climate change deniers who make millions, or even billions, of dollars as a direct or indirect result of their fossil fuel intensive business practices, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that these same businesses have financed pseudo "non-profits" like the Heartland Institute to permeate their lies about climate change throughout American society. Indeed, a new report by John Mashey has uncovered the skeletons that the Heartland Institute has attempted to keep inside its closet like its naked efforts to subvert the truth of climate change with denial-rhetoric bankrolled by (guess who) the Charles G. Koch Foundation and a number of others.
Here are a few of the no-no's perpetrated by the Heartland Institute according to Mashey's report:
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