Tag: denialism

FOLLOWUP: Heartland Institute's billboards are costing them donors

By Phil Plait | May 8, 2012 5:58 am

I wrote a few days ago about the disgusting billboards put up by the far-right Heartland Institute, a climate-change denial group that apparently has no lower bounds to what they’ll do. The billboards, which went up in Chicago, likened climate scientists (and anyone who knows global warming is real) to mass murderers and madmen.

It was repulsive and hateful. After an uproar — and in less than a day — Heartland took down the billboards, but didn’t apologize for them. Instead they claimed it was an "experiment", and declared victory in getting attention. This would be why I use the words repulsive and disgusting.

But the damage was done — this tactic has backfired on Heartland. Even before the billboards went up they lost sponsorship from the Diageo liquor company, which makes such brands as Smirnoff and Guiness. In March, General Motors dropped Heartland as well. Even people who support climate change denialism are worried that their own reputations "[have] been harmed".

And now, after a few bloggers wrote to State farm, the insurance company has announced they too will withdraw funding from Heartland Institute. State Farm specifically cites the billboards as the reason in their announcement.

I suspect that Scott Mandia’s open letter to them was the major driver for this. For my part, I tweeted about this on Sunday:

The link goes to a copy of Mandia’s letter. On Monday evening, State Farm tweeted they were severing ties with Heartland.

Besides removing ties from a group with such awful tactics, it’s in State Farm’s best interest anyway. Global warming is having and will continue to have a profound impact, including droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and much more. Insurance companies will need to deal with this, and they need to be thinking about this now.

I want to publicly thank State Farm for doing the right thing here. I already did so on Twitter as well.

Never forget the power we have as consumers to change the world. It worked when it came to American Arlines and antivaxxers, and it’s working here.

[UPDATE: Bernews is reporting the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers will discontinue funding Heartland as well; they gave $125,000 in 2010/11.]

And we’re not done. Heartland still has quite a few corporate sponsors. Brad Johnson has created a list of them on Pinterest, how much they’ve given, and which ones have dropped Heartland due to its shenanigans. Heartland is hemorrhaging donors, but there’s still a long way to go.


Related Posts:

The Heartland Institute sinks to a new low
Breaking news: a look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute’s climate change spin
Hip, hip, hypocrisy!
A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target
NASA talks global warming
The world is getting warmer
Our ice is disappearing
Climate change: the evidence

The Heartland Institute sinks to a new low

By Phil Plait | May 4, 2012 11:09 am

The Heartland Institute, a far-right climate change denying "thinktank" has put up a series of billboards so disgusting, so vile, that I find it difficult to find words to tell you just how disgusting and vile they are.

So instead, I’ll show you one:

When I first heard of this earlier today, I thought it was a joke. No one would seriously do this, right? Creating an actual billboard like this would be taking Poe’s Law and aiming right between your own eyes!

But it’s real. Heartland actually put these up, and according to their press release, they’re proud of it. And other people Heartland has on the billboards? Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and they’re considering putting up some with Osama bin Laden.

Yes, seriously.

I could go on and on about just how incredibly offensive this is, but you can read about it here, here, here, and here. [UPDATE: And here, here, and here.]

[UPDATE: Apparently, Heartland has decided to pull down the billboard ad… of course, they’re claiming it "got attention" but somehow neglect to mention this attention was overwhelmingly negative and disgusted. But you can expect Heartland to continue their skeevy campaign against reality; I’ll note that they not only do not apologize for the ad, but state outright they won’t apologize for it. Lovely. Science writer and humanitarian Shawn Otto has posted a list of names and links of companies that support Heartland, just so’s you know.]

Still, there’s one thing I do want to highlight. The press release is a non-stop firehose of misinformation and spin, but among the venom-dripping things they say, one bit of crazy stands out:

The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.

Actually, "a solid majority" of Americans think global warming is real. They’re the radical fringe? As usual, the global warming deniers accuse others of doing what the deniers themselves are guilty of.

And the prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists? Like Michael Mann and James Hansen? Oh wait, those two are actual climate scientists. You know, the kind of people who are experts in climate science. The kind who don’t tend to sign climate change denial screeds.

Also, the "murderers, tyrants, and madmen" line? Nice, Heartland, nice. Rhetoric like that really makes you look sober, sane, and willing to discuss things rationally.

Always remember, this is the reality Heartland is trying to deny:

The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.

Those are the facts. It’s hard to believe anyone takes Heartland seriously at this point. And while they’re fiddling, the world burns.


Related Posts:

Breaking news: a look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute’s climate change spin
Hip, hip, hypocrisy!
A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target
NASA talks global warming
The world is getting warmer
Our ice is disappearing
Climate change: the evidence

More debunking of the ex-NASA 49 climate change deniers

By Phil Plait | April 26, 2012 6:34 am

Remember that embarrassingly bad letter written by 49 ex-NASA employees saying that global warming is a fraud and that NASA shouldn’t support it?

Over at Scholars and Rogues, Brian Angliss tears it apart for the sham that it is. It’s a pretty good review that destroys the claims made in the letter and has plenty of links to back up the debunking.

I find a lot of the climate change deny-o-sphere pretty baffling. A lot of the claims are trivially wrong, a lot more are cherry-picked and can be seen to be wrong when presented in the correct context, and others are just spin and rhetoric ("carbon dioxide is plant food!") that is facile at best and outright nonsense at worst. Of course, many of them touted this letter by the ex-NASA 49 as more proof that climate change is wrong. Amazing.

So as usual, let me make this clear:

The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.

Got it?

OK, I know reality-based folks do. But keep that paragraph handy when confronted by the deniers. It may not change their minds, but people are listening to them, and we need to keep making sure the facts — the real, true, provable facts — are out there.


Related Posts:

Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA
New study clinches it: The Earth is warming up
2011: The 9th hottest year on record
While temperatures rise, denialists reach lower
New independent climate study confirms global warming is real
Case closed: “Climategate” was manufactured

Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA

By Phil Plait | April 13, 2012 12:16 pm

I’ve been getting lots of email and other notes about a group of 49 people — including some ex-astronauts — who have written a public letter to NASA complaining about the space agency’s stance that global warming exists and is caused by humans.

You can guess how I feel about it. But to be clear: it’s more denialist spin, nonsense, and noise. You can read the original leter here, and then I strongly suggest reading Shawn Otto’s devastating deconstruction of it. You can also read the response to this letter by NASA’s Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalatim if you’d like.

I’ll note that it doesn’t matter that former astronauts signed this propaganda letter — I’ve written about Apollo 17’s Harrison Schmitt and his climate change denialism before — but I note it does matter that of the 49 signatories on that letter, not one is an actual working climate scientist. That should give you pause. I’ll also note that 49 former NASA employees is a tiny, tiny fraction of the total. It’s not hard to find statistical outliers in a group that big. I knew a creationist who worked for NASA!

But really, my very favorite thing about this is the group behind the letter: a non-profit called Plants Need CO2, which, if you can believe it, actively advocates that more carbon dioxide is good for us.

Yes, once you’re done comically rubbing your eyes with your fists you can read that again. Read More

Tennessee legislature boldly sets the science clocks back 150 years

By Phil Plait | March 22, 2012 9:59 am

The Tennessee legislature — apparently jealous that the people running Louisiana are hogging all the laughing stock — is possibly about to pass an antiscience bill designed specifically to make it easier for teachers to allow creationism in their classroom.

The bill passed the House last year, but then a similar bill was put on hold in the Senate. Unfortunately, it was put to the Senate floor earlier this week and passed. It will have to be reconciled with the House bill, but it’s expected to pass. It’ll have to then go to the Governor to sign it into law.

Basically, the bill will make sure teachers can discuss creationism in the classroom, as well as global warming denialism. The House version states,

This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming.

That whole "strengths and weaknesses" is for all intent and purpose a lie; we’ve seen it many times before. Of course science has strengths and weaknesses, but what these people are looking to do is be able to say any kind of antiscience rhetoric in the classroom and not get called on it. What the bill should call for is legislators to be tested on the strengths and weaknesses of their creationist beliefs that clearly contradict what’s known about the real world. Or, better yet, how what they’re trying to do violates the Constitution of the United States.

I would pay good money to sit and listen to that.

I also wonder how the Tennessee lawmakers would feel if, say, teachers used this potential law to teach about Islam, or astrology, or Wiccan beliefs. That would be interesting indeed.

If you want more, Josh Rosenau has a great summary, as does Cara Santa Maria at the Huffington Post, and, of course, the NCSE. It’s not clear to me that the Governor will sign this bill; Josh’s post has more on that. But even if he doesn’t, all those creationist climate change deniers will simply try again in some different way.

If you live in Tennessee, you should let the Governor know how you feel, and right away. Otherwise…


Related Posts:

Antiscience bill passes Tennessee House vote
Update: Tennessee postpones education-wrecking bill
Louisiana fights back against creationist legislators
Jindal dooms Louisiana
Heroes of Dover

Hip, hip, hypocrisy!

By Phil Plait | February 16, 2012 11:50 am

Let’s hope the Heartland Institute pursues this perfidious document leaker with the same vigor, moral certitude, and righteous fury with which they went after the criminal who stole the climate scientist emails.

Oh, wait.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind

Breaking news: A look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute's climate change spin

By Phil Plait | February 15, 2012 7:00 am

The Heartland Institute — a self-described “think tank” that actually serves in part as a way for climate change denialism to get funded — has a potentially embarrassing situation on their hands. Someone going by the handle “Heartland Insider” has anonymously released quite a few of what are claimed to be internal documents from Heartland, revealing the Institute’s strategies, funds, and much more.

[UPDATE: Heartland has confirmed that some of the documents are real, but claims the strategy document, which I quote below about teaching strategy, is faked. This claim has not yet been confirmed or refuted. DeSmogBlog has more info.]

These documents are available over at DeSmogBlog. Several people are going over them, and so far they appear legit. You can read some relevant discussions at DeSmogBlog, Deep Climate, Planet 3, Greg Laden, ClimateCrocks, Shawn Otto, and Think Progress. John Mashey at DeSmogBlog has more info that also corroborates the leaked documents, and to call it blistering is to severely underestimate it.

One thing I want to point out right away which is very illuminating, if highly disturbing, about what Heartland allegedly wants to do: they are considering developing a curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom to sow confusion about climate change. I know, it sounds like I’m making that up, but I’m not. In this document they say:

[Dr. Wojick‘s] 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.

That seems clear enough, doesn’t it? From that, it sure sounds like they want to dissuade teachers from teaching science. I imagine there will be a lot of spin about how this quote is out of context, or a typo, or something alone those lines. Perhaps. But I remember all the hammering real scientists took when they used jargon in their emails to each other, jargon which was gleefully misinterpreted to make it seem as if these scientists were faking data. Interesting how this is pointing right back at them. Just as I said it does.

When it comes to all this, the comparison to “Climategate” springs to mind, but there’s one enormous difference: Climategate was manufactured, a made-up controversy (what I call a manufactroversy) that had no real teeth — as was its failed sequel. The emails released weren’t damning at all, and didn’t show scientists tinkering with or faking data. As much as the media made of it, as much as climate change denial blogs played them up, it has been shown again and again that Climategate was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

These new documents, though, look different, especially given that quote above. The next few days should be very interesting as people start digging into them, especially if they prove to be authentic.

And how ironic! It was the Heartland Institute themselves who played up Climategate quite a bit. Back in 2009 when they were trumpeting Climategate, Heartland said:

The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians, and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinions about global warming to stop and reconsider their position. The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions, and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is new and real evidence that they should examine and then comment on publicly.

That claim from them is nonsense, but it will be interesting to see how happy they are when the tables are turned, and “reporters, academics, politicians, and others” look into their documents. And around that same time they also said:

For anyone who doubts the power of the Internet to shine light on darkness, the news of the month is how digital technology helped uncover a secretive group of scientists who suppressed data, froze others out of the debate, and flouted freedom-of-information laws.

Again, none of that is true. But that claim about freezing out others sticks out, especially in light of another of these leaked Heartland internal memos which says,

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as [Peter] 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.

Emphasis mine. Yes, that sounds like a group interested in promoting “sound science”.

Wow. Just, wow.


Related posts:

Case closed: “Climategate” was manufactured
Climategate 2: More ado about nothing. Again.
New independent climate study confirms global warming is real
While temperatures rise, denialists reach lower
A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target

A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target

By Phil Plait | February 2, 2012 7:00 am

Over the years I have pointed out the fallacious arguments of climate change deniers when they attack legitimate climatologists like James Hansen and Michael Mann. This is, of course, like kicking at a bee hive, and whenever I do the comments section of my posts fill with lots of angry buzzing.

But now, for what I think is the first time, I find myself the target of an attack. And I have to admit, I welcome it: it’s a textbook case of denialist sleight of hand, of distraction, distortion, error, and misdirection.

Stick around for all of this. It’ll be… interesting.


Our story so far

OK, first, here’s the scoop: a few days ago, I wrote a blog post taking apart two intellectually bankrupt climate change denial articles, one in the Wall Street Journal, and the other in the UK’s Daily Mail. Both were claiming that global warming appears to have stopped in the past few years, a claim which is trivially easy to show wrong. In fact, I linked to two articles doing just that: one at Skeptical Science, and another I myself wrote. Finding actual scientists destroying that claim is not hard at all; those two links have many more links therein.

In my post about the WSJ and DM, I included a graph. It pretty clearly shows temperatures rising from 1973 to the present. And this is where the fun begins.

That’s the plot. It’s from a recent, independent study done at Berkeley, and represents actual, measured, data. Just to be clear, those points are from weather stations across the globe, and the method used to collect and analyze those measurements is described by the Berkeley team themselves (PDF). With me so far?

Apparently, William Briggs is not with me. He takes very vigorous exception to the graph in an article he wrote which he titled "Bad Astronomer Does Bad Statistics: That Wall Street Journal Editorial." I encourage you to read it, so that you can assure yourself I am not misrepresenting his arguments in any way.

I found out about this article when I saw a tweet by Dr. Briggs himself. My first thought was: Uh oh. I sure hope I didn’t make a math mistake somewhere in my WSJ post! I better read Briggs’ article and see… So I read it.

My next thought after reading his arguments was then: Ho-hum. So?


The mismeasure of an argument

Basically, Briggs accuses me of not understanding statistics, of not including error bars, of misrepresenting that points in that plot, of not displaying the plot correctly, and so on ad nauseum. His biggest claim: that those points aren’t measurements at all, but estimates.

Here’s the thing: he’s wrong. Those point are in fact measurements, though they are not raw measurements right off the thermometers. They have been processed, averaged, in a scientifically rigorous way to make sure that the statistics derived from them are in fact solid. The Berkeley team describes in detail how that was done (PDF), and does actually call them estimates, but not because they are just guessing, or using some arcane computer model. They are technically estimates, in the sense that any measurement is an estimate, but they are really, really good ones. Greg Laden tears this use of words apart, as well as pretty much everything else Briggs wrote.

Oddly, Briggs then goes on to call them "predictions" for some reason, and that they came from "models", which is just weird. It’s as if he’s trying to use a word choice that raises doubt about the measurements. But again he’s wrong. They really are measurements, not model predictions. At Open Mind, Brigg’s word choice once again is ripped apart. [Note: Briggs has left a comment there, further verifying the fact that his use of words is incorrect.]


This reminds me of one of my favorite skeptic jokes. Question: How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?

Answer: Four. It doesn’t matter what you call a tail, it’s not a leg.


There are many other places where Briggs makes mistakes that render his arguments null; for example, the error bars (what statisticians usually call "uncertainty") are in fact made available by the Berkeley team, and are small compared to the long-term rise in temperature. For another, Briggs says I should’ve shown the plot going farther into the past, because 1973 was actually a low point. However, that’s completely wrong: it’s actually a high point! As Deep Climate points out here, this actually makes the warming trend lower. So in true contrarian fashion, Briggs is contrary even to himself. It’s bizarre.

So really, there goes Briggs’ argument. His main point is wrong, so we’re done, right?

Well, no. There’s more fun to be had here.


Beside the point

If you read Briggs’ article, you certainly get the impression that because the graph I use is statistically meaningless (so he incorrectly claims), then my whole argument about global warming is wrong.

And this is where I found myself greatly amused, though in a schadenfreude sort of way.

Think of it this way: if my argument hinged on that graph, and I removed it, my argument would have no foundation, correct? It would change the tenor of the entire blog post.

Go look at my article. If you remove that graph from it, what changes? Nothing. My main point — that the WSJ and DM articles are wrong, that we have lots of evidence the Earth is warming up, that 9 of the 10 hottest years on record occurred since the year 2000, that the DM article specifically uses scientific studies and presents them as if they say the exact opposite of what they actually say — still stands.

So even if that graph is wrong and misrepresents what I’m saying — which it does not — it doesn’t matter. In fact, I used that graph as an illustration, to show how we’re warming up. I never intended it to be the basis for the argument I was making, just a way of further showing it. If you read the actual words I wrote, including the links to many, many articles backing up my position, you’ll see that Briggs has not refuted a single actual point I made.

So even if he’s right about that graph, it doesn’t matter. And he’s not right.

But notice what he’s done. He’s taken what is clearly a minor point and blown it up as if it’s my main point. He’s used shady words (predictions, models) to cast aspersions, and to make someone (me!) look bad. Then, by "refuting" this minor issue he can then poison the well, strongly implying that all my arguments are wrong. That’s kind of a big no-no when trying to argue a point.

But it packages well. Watts Up With That, another denialist blog, has run with Briggs’ claims about me as well. He also makes the false claim that warming has stalled, and so on. Note WUWT also says the signers of the WSJ OpEd are "16 scientists", which isn’t true: not all are scientists, and only four have actually published climate science research. And don’t forget about the article the WSJ refused to print talking about the reality of global warming, signed by 255 actual scientists.

Oops.


Denialism’s dark mirror

I will admit the irony of this attack amuses me greatly; Briggs accuses me of many things he himself is doing. That is standard fare from antiscience group: creationists, global warming deniers, and alt-medders, for example, all seem to project their own tactics on the scientists with whom they disagree. Don’t like real medicine? Accuse scientists of being in the pocket of Big Pharma (and forget about the millions being made by quacks on useless "remedies"). Don’t believe in evolution? Accuse scientists of being too dogmatic. Don’t think global warming is real? Accuse scientists of misrepresenting the data.

My favorite irony is that a lot of these global warming denialists take money from fossil fuel interests, but then routinely say to "follow the money", as if it’s the climatologists who are raking in the big bucks from shady think tanks with undisclosed bankrollers. While Briggs points out he gets no money from them, he asks where my money comes from. Think on this, Dr. Briggs; how much money would I make if I suddenly turned coat and said global warming wasn’t real? I’ll guarantee you it would be a lot more than I make now, probably with a couple of zeroes added to the end. So that argument falls a wee bit flat here.

Like all the others.

Of course, given the comments I’ve seen on my blog, on Briggs’ blog, on Watts Up With That, or in any other blog discussing global warming, I know how this will go. You can bring up the major pieces of evidence supporting reality again and again, but the denialists will ignore them and go after phantoms instead. Because if they do acknowledge the actual evidence, they lose.

While temperatures rise, denialists reach lower

By Phil Plait | January 30, 2012 12:20 pm

Over the weekend, two amazingly bad articles were published about climate change. Both were loaded with mistakes, misinterpretations, and outright misinformation, and are simply so factually wrong that they almost read like parodies.

Just so we’re clear here.

The first was in the Wall Street Journal. The article, called No Need to Panic About Global Warming, is a textbook example of misleading prose. It’s laden to bursting with factual errors, but the one that stood out to me most was this whopper: "Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now."

What the what?

That statement, to put it bluntly, is dead wrong. It relies on blatantly misinterpreting long term trends, instead wearing blinders and only looking at year-to-year variations in temperature. The Skeptical Science website destroyed this argument in November 2011, in fact. The OpEd also ignores the fact that nine of the ten hottest years on record all occurred since the year 2000.

The WSJ OpEd makes a lot of hay from having 16 scientists sign it, but of those only 4 are actually climate scientists. And that bragging right is crushed to dust when you find out that the WSJ turned down an article about the reality of global warming that was signed by 255 actual climate scientists. In fact, as Media Matters reports, more of the signers of the WSJ OpEd have ties to oil interests than actually publish peer-reviewed climate research.

Shame on the WSJ for publishing that nonsense.

When I read it, I thought that OpEd was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. But then the Daily Mail chimed in and I discovered that barrel gets a lot deeper. They printed an article by David Rose called Forget global warming — it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again).

By "Cycle 25" he’s referring to the solar activity cycle — which I’ll get to in a moment. But first, the most egregiously awful thing about the Mail article is the angle it takes on new results released by The Met Office, the National Weather Service for the UK. The subheadline for the Mail article is "Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years", which is a bit odd given that the very first two paragraphs of the Met’s press release say:

Read More

Five shots against global warming denialism

By Phil Plait | January 25, 2012 12:41 pm

It’s a truism that whenever I write about the solid fact that the Earth is warming up, that post will get comments that make it clear that denialists — and please read that link before commenting on my use of the word — are like religious zealots, writing the same tired long-debunked arguments that are usually debunked in the very post they’re commenting on.

Still, we press on. The noise machine only wins if they can outshout reality, so it’s important to keep writing about it. Here are five news items about climate change that might help mitigate the nonsense.

1) Last week, I posted the results from studies showing 2011 was the 9th hottest year on record. Forbes online has more information on this. They take a different tack on it, but get the same results I do: the Earth is warming up, and humans are why.

2) Some very welcome news: the National Center for Science Education — who for years have been at the forefront of battling creationists getting their "curriculum" into schools — is adding climate change to their syllabus. At that link they have well-written descriptions of the problem, how to teach about climate change, and how take action against denialism.

You can watch NCSE’s Executive Director, the wonderful Genie Scott (full disclosure: she’s a friend of mine) talk about climate change, and why it’s so important that we tackle this issue politically.

3) One tactic of denialists like Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and several Congressmen is to use witch hunts against climate scientists. By filing court orders to get access to emails, for example, they endlessly hound scientists. This serves their purposes quite well: it sets up a chilling effect, for one, making a hostile environment for the scientist; and it sets up doubt in the public’s mind despite there being zero real evidence for it. Michael Mann has suffered this sort of thing many times, despite being cleared of all wrongdoing over and over again.

Now the tables are turned. Scientists have filed a Freedom of Information request to find out who is bankrolling the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a denialist "think tank" with "shadowy funders". In the US, there are groups like this aplenty, and in many cases their funding can be traced to oil companies, the Koch brothers, and so on.

The more people see who actually funds these denialist groups, the better. Once it became public that it was the tobacco industry pumping so many lies into the media about cigarettes the tide turned, and these global warming denialist groups are literally using the same tactics. And hey, the Heartland Institute, which bills itself as libertarian, also has ties to tobacco at the same time it funds New Zealand climate denial groups, too.

4) Apropos of that, some good news in the fight: the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund — which helps raise money for beleagured scientists under attack by denialists — has a new home: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER will provide sponsorship and logistical support for the fund. Money raised goes to help defray the costs of legal fees for scientists who are the subjects of the above-mentioned witch hunts. The CSLDF also helps educate scientists about their rights, recruits lawyers to help out, and serves as an information database related to legal actions against scientists.

Wanna help? Donate to the fund here.

5) … and apropos of that, it’s nice to see scientists fighting back, too.


Related posts:

2011: The 9th hottest year on record
Climategate 2: More ado about nothing. Again.
New independent climate study confirms global warming is real
Case closed: “Climategate” was manufactured

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