Policy Documents

Heartland Replies to Greenpeace’s Dealing in Doubt

September 13, 2013

In September 2013, Greenpeace USA released a new edition of a report it previously released in 2010 titled Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science. Like the earlier edition it is an inaccurate and malicious attack on organizations and individuals who dare to report the true science behind the global warming scare campaign that has helped Greenpeace raise millions of dollars and advance its left-wing ideological agenda.

The Heartland Institute figures prominently in the report because it is “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change” [The Economist, May 26, 2012]. Here are some brief replies to some of the myths Greenpeace tries to pass off in this miserable piece of propaganda.

 

Myth: The Heartland Institute is a “front group” for the fossil fuel industry.

Fact: Heartland receives less funding from the fossil fuel industry than many environmental groups. It has never compromised its principles to satisfy a donor or special-interest group.

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old free-market think tank that speaks truth to power, sometimes in spite of the economic interests of some of its donors. Heartland’s analysts and allies have written scathing critiques of corporate subsidies and regularly denounce cronyism. It has taken unpopular stances on issues despite the fact that doing so makes it more difficult to raise funds to support its programs.

Heartland received only 18% of its funding from corporations in 2012, with no single company donating more than 5% of its annual budget. By Greenpeace’s own admission, Heartland hasn’t received a dime from ExxonMobil in six years and has received only $25,000 from foundations affiliated with Charles and David Koch in more than a decade… and that small gift was earmarked for the institute’s work on health care, not climate change!

Heartland receives less funding from big corporations than most of the major think tanks on the left end of the political spectrum. The Center for American Progress, National Audubon Society (NAS), and Sierra Club raised tens of millions of dollars every year from corporations with a financial stake in their work. The Center for American Progress’s corporate donors include Comcast, Walmart, General Motors, Pacific Gas and Electric, General Electric, Boeing, and Lockheed. The Audubon Society accepted $2.1 million from Monsanto from 2004 to 2006. The Sierra Club took $26 million in donations from 2007 to 2010 from Chesapeake Energy, a natural gas company.

Greenpeace quotes discredited climate scientist Michael Mann saying skeptics in the global warming debate “are extremely well-funded, well organized …” (p. 7) This is utter nonsense. Heartland probably raises and spends more to participate in the climate change debate than any other free-market think tank in the world, yet it raises a tenth or less than what is spent by the Center for American Progress, Greenpeace, and a dozen other left-wing advocacy groups. Government agencies spend billions of dollars a year on global warming, much of it funding the most alarmist voices in the science debate.  It’s a David versus Goliath battle, and the skeptics are clearly the “Davids” in this fight.

Finally, who funds a group is less important than how an organization conducts itself. Heartland has policies in place that protect its writers from undue influence from donors. It has a diversified funding base – currently more than 8,300 donors – allowing it to take positions based on principle without fear of losing funding. It has a deep bench of scholars to participate in its research efforts and a long list of academics and public officials who endorse it. No “front group” or “astro-turf” organization has these features.

Neither Greenpeace nor any other critic has ever documented an instance of Heartland adapting its ideas to satisfy a donor or special-interest donors. On the contrary, The Heartland Institute has maintained a consistent and principled approach to public policy since its creation almost 30 years ago.

 

Myth: There is a “scientific consensus” that global warming is caused by human activities and will be catastrophic.

Fact: Most scientists don’t believe the effect of human activities on climate is sufficiently well understood to make predictions about future climate conditions, and many believe the modest warming that may occur would be beneficial.

Greenpeace claims there is a “scientific consensus that climate change is underway and it is caused by humanity’s pollution and other insults to the planet” (p. 7). But closer investigation of the source it cites finds only 0.3% of scholarly articles that address climate change endorse this so-called “consensus.” Other claims of a “consensus” are based on surveys that fail to ask if there is a human effect on climate, whether it is significant, or whether global warming would be harmful. Surveys that ask the right questions find most scientists do not side with Greenpeace on this issue. (See here and here.)

Greenpeace claims Dr. S. Fred Singer “is a serial denier and has published little, if any, peer reviewed climate science in the last 20 years.” (p. 14). This is simply a lie Greenpeace and other environmental groups repeat over and over. Singer is one of the world’s most distinguished atmospheric physicists who has appeared hundreds of times in peer-reviewed journals, including in International Journal of Climatology in 2007 and Energy & Environment earlier this year.

The most comprehensive, authoritative, and independent analysis of climate change is the Climate Change Reconsidered series produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). It finds global warming is not a crisis. All its reports are available for free online at www.climatechangereconsidered.org.

 

Myth: The Heartland Institute uses tactics that are unethical.

Fact: Heartland and its team of scientists have been the victims of vicious and illegal attacks by global warming alarmists, including Greenpeace!

The Heartland Institute has never destroyed data or called on its researchers to delete emails. It has never demonized scientists who disagree with its positions, never broken the law, and never lied about any aspect of global warming … or any other issue for that matter. The same cannot be said of Greenpeace, disgraced climate scientist Peter Gleick, or others who have launched a shameless smear attack against The Heartland Institute.

Heartland has hosted eight international conferences on climate change attracting more than 3,000 people and hundreds of scientists. Video from all those conferences is available online. Heartland has distributed millions of copies of books, videos, and other publications on the climate issue. Heartland has produced more educational material on climate change than all but a handful of organizations in the world.

In 2012, Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of Heartland’s board of directors and used it to steal corporate documents. (For you lawyers out there, that’s called “aggravated identity theft” and it is a federal crime.) Gleick then lied again, telling his friends in the environmental community he was a “Heartland insider” who was “leaking” information to them. He lied a third time when he told them he obtained a “climate strategy memo” from Heartland, when in fact he either wrote it himself (most likely) or it mysteriously appeared in his mailbox one day (his story).

Heartland was the victim of a criminal act meant to destroy it as an organization and silence a courageous voice in the climate debate. Instead of coming to our aid, the media pounced on the stolen and forged documents and, to this day, have given Gleick a free ride for his crimes. Greenpeace used the stolen documents to target scientists who worked with Heartland, contacting the deans of universities and asking that those scientists be fired or investigated. This violation of free speech goes unremarked by the mainstream media.

The Center for American Progress and Union of Concerned Scientists used the stolen documents to launch letter-writing campaigns (quoting Gleick’s forged memo) directed at Heartland’s corporate donors, generating thousands of emails to corporate CEOs and chairmen “demanding” they stop funding The Heartland Institute. Is this ethical? Once again, the mainstream media says nothing.

Greenpeace lost sight of its ethical compass many years ago. One of its co-founders, Patrick Moore, says he left Greenpeace in 1986 because his fellow directors had “abandoned science and logic and were adopting extremist and zero tolerance policies that I could not defend with my knowledge of science.” Heartland will never do that.

When it comes to ethics, The Heartland Institute stands head and shoulders above the environmental groups and reporters that criticize it.

 

Myth: The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is vastly inferior to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Fact: NIPCC is a genuinely objective, independent, and respected voice in the climate change debate. The IPCC is none of the above.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was started by Dr. Fred Singer in 2003 and today is a joint project of Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and The Heartland Institute. It is an international group of scientists devoted to discovering the truth about climate change.

In contrast to NIPCC, the IPCC is a membership organization for national governments, not scientists. It is staffed by United Nations’ bureaucrats beholden to their governments’ interests and agendas. In her breakthrough report on the IPCC, Donna Laframboise discovered 216 authors of the IPCC’s last report had official ties to environmental organizations like Greenpeace, including a Green Party candidate for office in Canada. She also notes the IPCC staffs scientists without Ph.D.’s or Master’s degrees and publishes non-peer reviewed work. 

Climate Change Reconsidered is a series of reports, now numbering four, produced by the NIPCC and published by The Heartland Institute. All four are available for free online at www.climatechangereconsidered.org. Since its publication in 2009, CCR has been cited nearly one hundred times in scholarly journals and books and translated and published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Greenpeace has never published a scientific work that comes anywhere near CCR in depth of research, rigor, or balance. For Greenpeace to criticize NIPCC is like the National Enquirer criticizing The Wall Street Journal for its business coverage. Or maybe a street-corner thug criticizing the chief of police.

For the record, The Heartland Institute does pay scientists who do work for our organization. We don’t expect distinguished scientists with full-time jobs to donate their time as writers or reviewers of hefty scientific reports. The United Nations and many of the world’s governments pay scientists millions of dollars to participate in the IPCC process. Whatever compensation Heartland’s scientists  receive is paltry by comparison.