Category Archives: Fakegate

The insiders: if climate change was a conspiracy, where are the whistleblowers?

“Human beings are not very good at keeping secrets; individual self-interest is not interchangeable with group interest and the two are often in conflict, most particularly among small groups of plotters…” – James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency

Jeffery Wigand is a hero.

As Vice President for Research and Development at the tobacco company Brown & Williamson he discovered the company was deliberating adding ingredients to make their product more addictive. He was fired from his role for this discovery.

However, in 1996 he stated this truth in a 60 Minutes interview that definitively proved to the public what many had been saying: the tobacco industry had not only been lying about the harm of their products, but actively working to make them more addictive.

Wigand appeared on television despite repeated death threats [1].

Peter Buxtun is another hero.

In 1972 he exposed the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. It was a horrific experiment overseen by the US Public Health Service in which the disease to run rampant amongst poor black men. The intent was to better understand the course of the disease if left untreated. The men thought they were receiving free medical treatment and financial benefits, while never told they had syphilis.

No secret – no matter how closely guarded its holders believe it to be – is safe.

It is human nature to confess, or disclose.

Disputes amongst like-minded conspirators will drive some to leak documents or crucial facts to the media. This is especially so in the age of Wikileaks, Twitter and 24 hour news.

Which is why we can say with absolute certainty climate change is not a conspiracy orchestrated by scientists or communists.

What is remarkable for a science that has been understood since the early 1800s is the lack of whistleblowers; there are no climate science equivalents like that of Wigand or Buxton.

There are no scientists coming forth and saying “Look, we faked this temperature data”.

Not a single environmentalist has stepped forward to showcase a treasure trove of documents demonstrating the workings of a cabal dedicated to taking over the world.

Indeed, we have the very opposite: there is increasing certainty about the science. Every national science academy in the world affirms and supports the work of thousands of scientists.

The work of 97% of those actively researching climate change supports the view human activities are changing the climate.

There are literally millions of scientists, engineers, software programmers, policy makers, activists, writers and members of the world’s military and business community working on climate change and related environmental issues. They have been toiling away on the research and policies for years.

And yet somehow we are expected to believe these millions have managed to maintain a vast conspiracy of silence over decades. Just how probable that is?

How could this enormous conspiracy, spanning the globe and generations, still exist without at least one conspirator breaking ranks and coming forth with the damning evidence? [2]

Perhaps we should follow the dictates of Occam’s Razor and look for the simplest, most rational answer: climate change is real.


[1] How familiar does this sound? How many scientists have received death threats?

[2] Climategate proved nothing. After nine separate inquires the science and the behaviour of scientist remains unblemished. It was a manufactured pseudo-scandal.

Heartland’s death spiral: loses $1m in sponsorship, and how Gleick taught us the need to capture the commanding heights

 Polluter Watch reports that more corporate sponsors have abandoned Heartland:

Pharmaceutical giants Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, along with Verizon, Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, and Credit Union National Association, have announced that they will not fund the climate change denying Heartland Institute in 2012.  According to the Heartland Institute’s own fundraising document, it hoped to receive $130,000 from these potential funders this year.  Today’s announcement brings the total number of corporate sponsors to drop Heartland to 15, representing $955,000 of Heartland’s projected $7.7 million budget this year.

In a matter of weeks, Heartland has managed to lose almost $1 million in funding and – from a PR perspective – become toxic to sponsors.

As Climate Progress notes, this is a victory but not the end of the war:

While the dissolution of Heartland’s conference may be considered a “win” for those concerned about the spread of junk science and disinformation, there are still plenty of allies in industry and the halls of Congress willing to take up the denial cause.

To which I say “Whose next”.

Heartland: we do not forgive; we do not forget; expect us

Thanks to Michael Tobis over at Planet 3.0 supporting the point I’ve been trying to make:

  • The faux sceptic movement withers under the harsh light of truth. The more light we shine on Heartland, its methods and sources of funding the more it likely it will implode or be reduced to utter irrelevance
  • Focus fire tactics (i.e. putting one target under the microscope) works
  • “We” can be tenacious and shouldn’t apologise for using the tactics of civil disobedience.

Heartland is still open for business: our business it to put Heartland out of business. Let’s be brave; let’s tear them down.

Heartland: a teaching moment for think tanks

Heartland is entering its own death spiral (did you catch the reference dear reader?) and it is truly a thing of beauty. The only people left who take Heartland seriously are eccentric billionaires and the “hard-core” segment of the denial movement.

However, I’m sure we’re not the only ones watching either.

Heartland’s implosion and dramatic loss of funding is a teaching moment for other think tanks – continue to follow the Heartland into the fantasy land of climate change denial and you may end up an international embarrassment.

More importantly, you will lose money.

Think about it: climate change denial resulted in Heartland losing money.

For several decades climate change denial was a money spinner for the PR hacks at think tanks around the globe. Denial used to guarantee a generous flow of cash from fossil fuel interests, but now it’s looking increasingly like a fringe belief

Frankly that’s how we should be framing climate change denial: the preserve of cranks.

Climate change and the battle for the commanding heights

Peter Gleick taught has something important: fight for the “commanding heights“.

We need to consider strategic targets and focus on them, rather than swarming in disgust over the latest op-ed pieces in the Washington Post or yet another bout of idiocy from The Australian.

I’ll be honest, I don’t give a fuck about the latest Monckton speech or what garbage Andrew Bolt blogs. They operate in that magic zone where facts have little relevance; their adoring fan boys will cheer them on even if they walked into the middle of Times Square and took a dump.

What I do give a fuck about is:

  • How News Corporation has misled citizens across three continents on climate change for the past two decades. That’s a crime against humanity
  • Politicians in Australia (and around the globe) have failed the act in the national interest on climate change. Our children and their descendents will have to clean up the environmental disaster these “business as usual” fucktards have helped usher in
  • Think tanks like the Institute of Public Affairs has distorted the debate on the “carbon tax” and climate change in Australia at the behest of anonymous donors. Who are those donors? Let’s rip open that nest of denial and see what juicy little secrets they’ve got tucked away.

Contrary to what some people think, the battle is not to persuade public opinion by refuting every denier claim line by line.


The social cost of climate change denial needs to be made prohibitively high so that every think tank, conservative politician and global media corporation under the control of a doddering geriatric billionaire will walk away from it.

That’s what Peter Gleick did: he made the social cost of associating with Heartland and climate change denial prohibitively high for the think tanks one-time sponsors. Oh, Heartland didn’t help themselves either – but Gleick’s actions set the scene.

Sponsors dropped Heartland the same way corporations do when a celebrity spokesperson misbehaves: i.e. think Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen.

No one wants to be associated with an idiot.

We have the tools and numbers globally to do this: if the Arab Spring taught us anything, a critical mass of people co-ordinating there efforts via social media and the internet is a powerful force.

Looking for sugar daddies: Heartland Institute announces the end of its “annual” conference, begs for cash from “rich uncles”

[Hat tip Climate Progress and DeSmogBlog]


Spot the difference: one preys on wealthy billionaires, the other is a former Playboy bunny

Some encouraging news with the Heartland Institute (HI) announcing they are going to discontinue their annual International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC). The ICCC was the big event for denial movement, an important venue to help co-ordinate efforts, generate talking points and create the impression there was opposition to the science.

This year less than 300 people turned up.

After losing major sponsors for this years ICCC, HI turned to coal lobby groups and fringe bloggers for “sponsorship”. Their “Unabomber” bill board campaign was so offensive that speakers deserted the conference and staff from the Washington office resigned in protest.

Lets not forget HI lied to the world’s media about the authenticity of the leaked strategy document (Fakegate, Fakegate, Fakegate)

Conservative think-tank seeks SW billionaire

DeSmogBlog reports on just how desperate Heartland has become after losing sponsors and suffer crippling blows to its “credibility”. Closing the conference, Heartland’s President Jo Bast is begging for cash from “rich uncles”:

Please consider supporting the Heartland Institute. These conferences are expensive, and I’m not a good fundraiser so as a result I don’t raise enough money to cover them, we really scramble to make payroll as a result to cover these expenses. If you can afford to make a contribution, please do. If you know someone, if you’ve got a rich uncle or somebody in the family or somebody that you work with, please give them a call and ask them if they would consider making a tax-deductable contribution to the Heartland Institute.”

Source: Desmogblog

So that’s HI’s strategy for the future: hope some geriatric rich white guy with more money than sense will splash some cash.

Maybe they should place an advertisement on Craig’s List?

Conservative think tank seeks SW billionaire for discreet conversations about reduced government, climate change. Strictly SB/SD relationship

When you’re funding strategy mimic’s that of Anna-Nicole Smith’s I think you might – just might – have a problem.

Heartland isn’t dead yet.

But they’re close.

Prediction: Jo Bast will resign within the next six months. I’m sure an exit strategy and financial handshake to soften the blow for him is currently being negotiated as we speak. 

Note: article cleaned up, a few typos!

Operation Heartland: Fakegate, Fakegate, Fakegate (spread the meme)

Michael Tobis over at Planet 3.0 makes a good point about the value of meme’s in the climate change debate:

Fortunately for all concerned, Joe Bast of HI followed on his mistake of calling the event “fakegate” with an even stupider move – the infamous unabomber billboard. There’s no doubt that this was an unforced error on Bast’s part. But the consequences to Heartland’s donor base would not have followed had Gleick not revealed them.

So far so good. Now it would be good if people’s attentions meandered toward the whole issue of “nonprofits” that serve entirely the interests of corporate and/or wealthy donors.

As a start, nonprofits should have to identify large donors as an ordinary aspect of business. Unrevealed donors, at the least, should get no tax writeoff. And we can thank Peter Gleick for the lesson.

As always, speculation on who wrote the document is encouraged. The more we talk about “fakegate”, the more attention goes directly to Heartland and not to the nonsense they are spewing.

So. Fakegate. Fakegate, fakegate, fakegate.

Spread the meme far and wide… #Fakegate, #Fakegate, #Fakegate

Operation Heartland – bringing accountability to those undermining science at the behest of anonymous donors.

What the Heartland episode has taught us: truth, tenacity

There are three important lessons to learn from the Heartland episode (that includes the document leaks and billboard incident):

  1. The faux sceptic movement withers under the harsh light of truth. The more light we shine on Heartland, its methods and sources of funding the more it likely it will implode or be reduced to utter irrelevance
  2. Focus fire tactics (i.e. putting one target under the microscope) works
  3. “We” can be tenacious and shouldn’t apologise for using the tactics of civil disobedience.

Bringing down Heartland won’t “win the war” – we know the denial machine needs to be destroyed piece by piece. But given Heartland’s central role in in the denial machine, “taking them down” is a good as any place to start.

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