A Dear John Letter From The Heartland Institute's Joe Bast?

From BigCityLib comes this gem from Bast: Joe Bast’s Response to Scholars Feeling Pressure After Attacks on Heartland.

Since this is denial-world, everything is appropriately topsy-turvey. The “attacks” he is talking about are not plural but singular, and is the disastrous billboard campaign, which even Heartland has admitted was a mistake – though not very sincerely, and Bast clearly doesn’t agree; he is still defending them here.

Bast is writing to his pet scholars, and begins

For 28 years, The Heartland Institute has tried to stay “above the fray,” producing high-quality research and commentary and staying focused on the issues, even as the political dialogue became more and more polarized and corrosive. Almost alone among think tanks, we focus on communicating with people who do not already agree with us. We rely on research and reason, not rhetoric and emotion, and still do.

It is pretty hard to reconcile those claims about reason and research rather than rhetoric and emotion with the billboard campaign. Bast doesn’t even try to; he just says the billboards were “punching back”, errrm, i.e. using emotion and rhetoric. Never mind; his job depends on him being able to believe incompatible things.

There are also (in another fine display of rhetoric and emotion) a couple of paragraphs of attacks on Peter Gleick, then some ranting about the mainstream media, then the obligatory attack on Michael Mann.

It doesn’t look convincing to me. But Lindzen and Landsea [*] are still onboard (current URL here, webcited here in case that changes). Pielke is gone, though, so belated credit to him.

[*} See comments. BCL thinks this is Heartland’s fault, not Landsea’s. Looking again 6h after first posting, Landsea is now gone entirely.

So, is it a fake?

Not to spoil the surprise, the answer is: I dunno, but the Arbiter is [was] bored.

This is a follow-up to the Heartland Leak stuff, which ended up posted in various places but (apparently most notably) DeSmogBlog. Heartland have (I think; perhaps only implicitly) admitted to all of them, except the Climate Strategy which they declare to be faked.

Various people have done various bits of textual analysis, which may or may not have been convincing to them, but I can’t see anything that convinces one way or another. Heartland still says its fake, DeSmog says “The DeSmogBlog has no evidence supporting Heartland’s claim that the Strategic document is fake” – which isn’t exactly strong evidence for its genuineness (update: but they have now bumped that up to Evaluation shows “Faked” Heartland Climate Strategy Memo is Authentic). It looks like their stern resolve to expose The Truth is going to be tested: Heartland are sending out legal-looking emails (and possibly letters too; there is some suggestion that their legalese isn’t very good, but their intent is clear). Would Heartland really want to fight this through the courts? Imagine the dialogue:

H: this memo is a fake! You can tell it is, it says things we’d never do, like we’re anti-climate.
D: of course you’re anti-climate. Everyone knows that. Look at this, and this, and…

And so on. Would that play well? Dunno. But, probably H have no choice: having called it a fake, they have to act like it is.

Meanwhile, no-one has questioned John Mashey’s stuff, and that may in the end be more important.

[Update: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html. JA has changed his mind. Its now exciting, and PG is a complete and utter twat of the highest order. The Watties are having fun with PG running the AGU ethics committee.]

[Update: so, PG leaked it, but I still haven’t seen anything definitive on whether its a fake or not.]


* Fakeducation For Years From Heartland
* WtD
* Keep your eye on the ball says Brian.
* A Heartland Institute statement raises questions about “climate strategy” memo’s origin
* WtD
* Nature says he was naughty, but have the grace to wonder In a much-quoted Editorial in March 2010 (Nature 464, 141; 2010), this publication urged researchers to acknowledge that they are involved in a street fight over the communication of climate science. So would it now be hypocritical to condemn Peter Gleick for fighting dirty?
* What people think about the Heartland leaks

The Heartland Institute’s failed wiki

From the Heartland Institute:

Subject: Announcing ClimateWiki.org: The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia
To: <no-one@cares>
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 4:40 PM
Announcing ClimateWiki.org: The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia

CHICAGO – Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world’s most esteemed climate scientists, The Heartland Institute <http://www.heartland.org/&gt; is proud to announce the launch of a new Web site called ClimateWiki.org . It is the definitive climate change encyclopedia.

It is doomed, obviously.

Looking at the Global Warming page (it might be best to look at the version when I wrote this) you see why. The page itself isn’t too bad, of course. A bit dull – no graphs – but the text is basically OK. Which is because it is just the introduction from the wikipedia article. Why would anyone bother read the cut-down Heartland version rather than the real thing? If you want to live in the denialist echo-chamber, you read CA and Watts and watch Faux. You don’t need a broken copy of wikipedia. They’ve moved it into “Category: Politics”, which is presumably a silly joke on their part. Or perhaps, being the Heartland, all articles will be in the politics class?

Also, anyone pausing to compare their claims (“Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world’s most esteemed climate scientists”) against the reality (broken copies of wikipedia) is going to wonder at the disparity. Good grief: they haven’t even managed to copy across the IPCC page yet.

Or, you can read an article not copied from wikipedia: they push their Introduction to Global Warming. That one is a true Heartland article, and has been written (or copied) straight from their current hand book, whose theme is “if you can’t convince them that you are right, try to convince them that it is all to complicated and confusing for anyone to understand”, aka FUD: Global warming is a complicated issue. It’s easy to get confused by all the scientific arguments and conflicting claims… Scientists disagree on the causes and consequences of climate change for a number of reasons… Again, this is all very well if you’re part of the echo chamber, but a teensy bit useless for anyone else.