Leaked Documents Describe Corporate Agenda to Discredit Climate Science

Bay Area climate scientist named in disputed document

The climate corner of the Blogosphere exploded this week with the alleged leak of numerous documents from one of the nation’s most ardent opponents of action to slow global warming.

It started when DeSmogBlog published a series of documents that its editors said were leaked to them, revealing much of the playbook for the Heartland Institute. If authentic, the documents would validate longstanding complaints that corporate interests have been bankrolling a deliberate campaign of disinformation, aimed at casting doubt on legitimate climate science, and that Heartland has been an important channel for this campaign.

One of the documents, described as a confidential “Climate Strategy,” dated January, 2012, describes Heartland as, “leading the fight to prevent the implementation of dangerous policy actions to address the supposed risks of global warming.”

In a response posted to its website today, Heartland called that document “a total fake” and says others “may have been altered.” The statement concedes that some of the documents “were stolen from Heartland” by an unknown perpetrator posing as a board member. The statement goes on to threaten legal action against bloggers who published the documents.

The contested strategy document also takes aim at the published writings of Peter Gleick, who directs the Oakland-based Pacific Institute. Gleick has been among the most vocal scientists in condemning efforts by global warming skeptics to discredit well-established climate science.

Forbes recently posted a blistering opinion piece by Gleick, in which he assails the editors of The Wall Street Journal for publishing climate-denier propaganda while turning away guest editorials from scientists who subscribe to the prevailing view (which, once again for good measure, supports the greenhouse gas link to global warming).

In its coverage of the alleged Heartland documents, Forbes calls them “The Real Climategate,” a reference to a series of hijacked emails that were used in a 2009 attempt to discredit scientists working for the U.N.’s climate change panel. Forbes quoted the disputed strategy memo, which makes direct reference to Gleick:

“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,” the memo states.  “This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”

In her piece for The Guardian newspaper, Suzanne Goldenberg provides a backgrounder on Heartland, its funders, and some of its efforts to influence how climate science is taught in American grammar schools.

The dust-up comes just a day before one of the world’s largest gathering of scientists and science educators convenes in Vancouver, BC. I’m on my way there tomorrow and expect some major buzz around this at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

  • Bill744

    At least three of the people named in the documents have confirmed its content as it applies to them. Only Heartland has denied the content. Even if you accept Heartland’s that the strategy document is fake, other documents were altered, and they all were stolen, you still have the problem that the budget document has money going to mislead our children.

  • http://twitter.com/sfbriansmith Brian Smith
  • Fred Mangels

     The article says, “…corporate interests have been bankrolling a deliberate campaign of disinformation,…”.

    I see no evidence of disinformation here. Is it “disinformation” that they present another side to the issue? I’m glad someone, or some company, has the resources to fight back and present the other side.

  • Peter Bradshaw

    Two things. First, the evidence from studies of ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica of the CO2 levels show a recent and rapid increase not seen in the previous 400,000 – 800,000 years (as far back as the data goes), and to levels not seen in that time, starting at about  the time we started using lots of fossil fuels. Not a matter of opinion, but of fact.

    Second, I am tired of hearing that “electric energy cannot be stored”, as a problem with wind and solar sources. Many nuclear power stations, even in the US, including at least one in California, are associated with hydro-electric-pumped-storage systems, used to accept excess generation when demand is low, and provide excess supply when demand is high. Their overall efficiency was around 85-90% when I was in high school (~1955), and visited a plant that built such equipment, and could well have improved since than. California has such a plant at Helms, and one was built in Wales in around 1960 to accompany the Trawsfynnyth nuclear power plant (the latter since decommissioned). WIkipedia shows many such facilities around the world. And many hydro-electric generation facilities could be converted to pumped storage facilities relatively easily. And they can be very quickly turned on (or off) to handle changes in demand.

    I was especially dissappointed to hear the “no storage” nonsense on an otherwise good program in Climate watch a few days ago.

    • Fred Mangels

       I don’t think you can correlate that to warming temps, though, since the last ten or 15 years haven’t shown warming, according to more than once source.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that document is looking pretty damn fake at this point. Y’all got played.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/heartland-memo-looking-faker-by-the-minute