DeSmogBlog, a Web site created to attack conservative and free-market nonprofit organizations, targeted The Heartland Institute in late April 2008, and in particular two lists posted on Heartland’s Web site [ http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=21971 ] of scientists whose published work contradicts some of the main tenets of global warming alarmism. The blog persuaded some of the scientists appearing in the lists to ask that their names be removed from the lists.
In response to the complaints, The Heartland Institute has changed the headlines that its PR department had chosen for some of the documents related to the lists, from “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares” to “500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares.”
Aside from those headlines, none of the articles and news releases produced by The Heartland Institute or the Hudson Institute (the original source of the lists) claims that all of the scientists who appear in the lists currently doubt that the modern warming is man-made. In fact, The Hudson Institute’s news release [ http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=21970 ] says, “Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics,” said Avery, “but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see.”
We plan to make no further changes to the articles or to the lists.
We suspect this change will not satisfy the bloggers or the disgruntled scientists. Why? DeSmogBlog’s motivation is plain enough: It was created and is funded solely to demonize groups like The Heartland Institute. They are doing what they are paid to do.
What motivates the scientists? They have no right — legally or ethically — to demand that their names be removed from a bibliography composed by researchers with whom they disagree. Their names probably appear in hundreds or thousands of bibliographies accompanying other articles or in books with which they disagree. Do they plan to sue hundreds or thousands of their colleagues? The proper response is to engage in scholarly debate, not demand imperiously that the other side redact its publications.
Many of the complaining scientists have crossed the line between scientific research and policy advocacy. They lend their credibility to politicians and advocacy groups who call for higher taxes and more government regulations to “save the world” from catastrophic warming … and not coincidentally, to fund more climate research. They are embarrassed — as they should be — to see their names in a list of scientists whose peer-reviewed published work suggests the modern warming might be due to a natural 1,500-year climate cycle.
Why did DeSmogBlog and the disgruntled scientists wait seven months to express their displeasure? Maybe its because a new and expanded list [ http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22968 ] was released by the Hudson Institute on March 3. Heartland reported it in the May issue of Environment and Climate News in an article titled “Hundreds More Scientists Acknowledge Natural 1,500-Year Climate Cycle.” [ http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=23085 ] The number of peer-reviewed scientists who’ve recently found physical evidence of natural climate cycles now exceeds 700. No need to redact the title of any of those articles.
The point should be obvious: There is no scientific consensus that global warming is a crisis. For more evidence, including actual surveys of scientists (something the alarmists never cite because no survey has ever found a “consensus” in support of their claims), click on the “PolicyBot” button on Heartland’s Web site at http://www.heartland.org and choose “environment” and then “Climate: Consensus” from the menu.
Joseph Bast is president of The Heartland Institute, a 24-year-old national nonprofit research organization, and publisher of Environment & Climate News.