Tag: Climate Deniers
The embattled Heartland Institute has roundly condemned journalists for writing about or posting a climate change strategy memo earlier this week that, while attributed to the organization, Heartland says is a "total fake."An Associated Press investigation also finds no reason to doubt the Denialgate documents' authenticity. Heartland's bleating about documents which it apparently willingly handed over to someone posing as a board member stand in stark contrast to its gleeful reaction to hackers stealing the emails of climate scientists, which remains the subject of an active criminal investigation. As Zachary Shahan at PlanetSave.com writes, "Three years of nonsense and praise for 'Climategate' combined with the continual misrepresentation of what it actually was, and now the Heartland Institute wants to call in the referees and have us all sit peacefully in a thoughtful moment on how wrong it is to steal information and misrepresent people?"
But the memo was released late Tuesday night together with other budget and fundraising documents that the right-leaning think tank says appear to have been written by its president and mentions programs that are also detailed in the other documents.
The memo in question notes, for example, that one anonymous donor plans to pony up $100,000 to allow Heartland to develop a curriculum for schoolchildren that would "focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain." The project is to be spearheaded by consultant David Wojick. The same project is mentioned on page 18 of the budget of the fundraising plan, which Heartland says may be genuine.
I fully realize that facts don't stop AG Ken Cuccinelli when he is on one of his politically motivated attacks, but there have now been at least five investigations so far of what the corporate media termed "climategate" and global warming deniers, including Cooch, jumped all over as proving that climate scientists manipulated their data. All of them have found that the scientists who had their emails hacked into and published did not use methods that were not scientifically sound and did not manipulate data.
Do I think that these investigations will cause Cooch to withdraw his over-reaching subpoena to the University of Virginia for everything produced by Dr. Michael Mann when he was employed there? Of course not. That would be a rational act.
The latest investigation is one commissioned by the University of East Anglia. The outside panel of scientists looked at more than two decades of research produced by researchers at East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. It followed an earlier investigation at East Anglia that also cleared the unit. That panel, which issued its report in April, was headed by Ron Oxburgh, the former chair of the House of Lords science and technology committee.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the latest investigative panel said that the university researchers "didn't skew science to inflate evidence of man-made global warming, but it criticized them for not sharing data and, in one instance, for presenting information in a 'misleading' way."
Both of these reports follow an investigation by a House of Commons committee which reaffirmed the consensus that has emerged within the scientific community that human activity is a major cause of climate change.
Penn State University has also conducted two investigations.
So far, we have had two separate investigations by Penn State University of Dr. Michael Mann, the climate scientist under attack by Virginia's own climate crisis denier, AG Ken Cuccinelli. Both have exonerated Dr. Mann. In February, a Penn State committee found him innocent of misconduct, finding no evidence that he falsified data, destroyed data related to a 2007 report or misused confidential information. On July 1, the university found him innocent of any scientific misconduct. Still, our very own wingnut, Cooch, seems determined to persist in his ridiculous demand for every piece of information Dr. Mann produced while at the University of Virginia.
Meanwhile, because it smelled a politically motivated witch hunt, the environmental group Greenpeace has started its own investigation into the attorney general and any possible relationship he may have had with global warming deniers.
Greenpeace US is searching for a paper trail that might expose the "machinations" of a group of climate change denyers who have much to personally benefit from their attempts to discredit the work of climate scientists and to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.
Greenpeace filed Freedom of Information requests with the University of Virginia back in December and with Cuccinelli's office in June, seeking any information that ties the attorney general to two former University of Virginia professors, Patrick Michaels and Fred Singer, both of whom have insisted that man-made causes of global warming are exaggerated.
Note: Both men have since been employed by conservative anti-environmental groups, one by the Cato Institute and the other by the Science and Environmental Policy Project. Plus, let's never forget that Cuccinelli reported donations from energy corporations and natural resources companies (read that coal and oil) of $201,096 in his campaign for attorney general.
Northern Virginians have lots of reasons to take pride in George Mason University, as a rapidly growing academic community named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of US News & World Report, with Nobel Prize winning faculty and an occasionally great basketball team.
Unfortunately, GMU is also known as a "magnet for right wing money" which takes millions in corporate cash to run a network of centers to gin up and legitimate the latest ultraconservative talking points.
Now let me be clear: I strongly favor an academic environment that is open to debate and opinions from all across the political spectrum. But there is a difference between principled, reason-based academic stands and corporate-funded attempts to skew debate and provide a fig leaf to cover naked profit-based self-interest.
This brings me to the unfortunate role that our local university is playing in the political war over climate change. A lot of NOVA residents may not realize that GMU gives funding, support and - most importantly - academic legitimacy to some of the best known and most persistent deniers of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change - notably Patrick Michaels and S. Fred Singer. In doing so, GMU perpetuates the myth that there is widespread academic disagreement about the facts and causes of climate change when in fact there is not.