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February 22 2012

23:48

Evaluation shows "Faked" Heartland Climate Strategy Memo is Authentic

A line-by-line evaluation of the Climate Strategy memo, which the Heartland Institute has repeatedly denounced as a "fake" shows no “obvious and gross misstatements of fact,” as Heartland has alleged. On the contrary, the Climate Strategy document is corroborated by Heartland’s own material and/or by its allies and employees.

It also uses phrases, language and, in many cases, whole sentences that were taken directly from Heartland’s own material. Only someone who had previous access to all of that material could have prepared the Climate Strategy in its current form.

In all the circumstances – taking into account Peter Gleick’s explanation of the origin of the Heartland documents, and in direct contradiction of Heartland’s stated position – DeSmogBlog has concluded that the Climate Strategy memo is authentic. 

read more

July 08 2011

17:49

RealClimate Reveals Willie Soon’s “Scientific Sleight of Hand”

Willie Soon has been an individual of significant interest lately in climate circles. Last week, he spoke at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate change, or as we like to call it, Denial-a-Palooza. A recent Greenpeace report found that Soon accepted over $1 million in funding from fossil fuel interests, including Koch Industries

To top it off, RealClimate released a report yesterday revealing new issues with Soon’s 2007 paper on polar bears. The non-peer-reviewed paper has been cited extensively before, notably by Sarah Palin, as proof that polar bears are not endangered by global warming. The paper includes skeptical co-authors M.G. Dyck, R.K. Baydack, David Legates, Sallie BaliunasTim Ball and L.O. Hancocks.

While the paper's central claims have already been disproven, the remaining issue is what appears to be Soon's willing disregard for data. RealClimate found that Soon had cherry picked data showing the highest level of Arctic Oscillation (AO), a natural variability that he blamed for any increases in temperature in the Hudson Bay area:

“The evidence of the cherry-picking of data for the sake of an (irrelevant) higher correlation from the files is a very clear black flag.”

More importantly, RealClimate found evidence that Soon had access to more relevant data but chose not to use it. Rather than use data from Churchhill which borders the Hudson Bay (an area that experienced little impact from Arctic Oscillation), Soon examined an area over 1000 miles away:

“So, the picture here is quite clear. Soon knew that the relevant data series for discussing the AO influence on Western Hudson Bay temperature (and by proxy, sea ice) was from Churchill and despite being reminded of the fact by the first set of reviewers, nonetheless continued to only show the AO connection to a site 1000 miles away, which had a much higher correlation without any discussion of whether this other data was at all relevant to Churchill or the bears nearby.” 

Although it is worth mentioning that the paper was funded by Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, and ExxonMobil (see the paper's "Acknowledgements" section), it is what RealClimate describes as Soon's "scientific sleight of hand" that most tarnishes his credibility. 

When it comes down to it, the quality of the science is what matters. And skeptical science regularly resorts to misdirection and junk science as a mode to influence popular opinion. That is why we need scientists like those at RealClimate to break through the skeptical static and reveal the truth.

July 20 2010

02:39

ExxonMobil Gave $1.5M to Climate Denier Groups Last Year, Breaking Its Pledge To Stop Funding Denial Machine

ExxonMobil gave $1.5 million to climate deniers and industry front groups known for working to create doubt about global warming, attacking the integrity of climate scientists, and protecting the status quo for polluters, according to a front-page story in the Times of London today. 

Contrary to its stated commitment to stop funding climate denier groups, the Exxon funding spigot remained as open as the BP gusher, continuing to pollute the media landscape with oil-soaked misinformation designed to cripple international action on climate change.

Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets project has documented the nearly $25 million spent by ExxonMobil since 1998 to fund climate denier groups.

Exxon-funded groups used their latest infusion of oil money to create a media frenzy over the “Climategate” non-scandal and other efforts to derail progress towards an international agreement to fight climate change at the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen last winter.
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As noted by the Times article [subscription required]:

“Several [of the Exxon-funded groups] made outspoken attacks on climate scientists at the University of East Anglia and argued their leaked e-mails showed that the dangers of global warming had been grossly exaggerated.

The scientists were exonerated this month by an independent inquiry but groups funded by Exxon have continued to lambast them. The Media Research Centre, which received $50,000 last year from Exxon, called the inquiry a "whitewash" and condemned "climate alarmists".

Some of Exxon's largest donations were to groups that lobbied against a global deal on emissions being reached at the climate summit last December in Copenhagen.

Exxon could see the value of its oil and gas investments fall sharply if governments adopt aggressive plans to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.”


The Times correctly notes that Exxon had pledged in 2007 to stop funding climate denier groups:

In its 2007 Corporate Citizenship Report, [Exxon] stated: "In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

Exxon also gave reassurances last year that it had no funding links with the sceptics' biggest annual conference, the International Conference on Climate Change. But a list published by Exxon this month of its "2009 worldwide contributions and investments" revealed that it had given four cosponsors of the New York event a total of $275,000. It also gave $1 million to 20 other sceptic groups.


The four groups funded by Exxon — the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Media Research Center, the Pacific Research Institute and the Heritage Foundation — co-sponsored the annual Heartland Institute denial-a-palooza conference last year.

When questioned by the Times about the company’s previous decision to stop funding denier groups, Exxon chose to recycle its pledge yet again, announcing that it would stop supporting three of the four groups from now on:

After being contacted by The Times, Exxon announced that it would no longer fund the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Media Research Centre or the Pacific Research Institute. Exxon did not comment on whether it would continue to fund the other 21 sceptic groups to which it gave money last year.

It said in a statement: "We fund a wide range of groups. Every year, we do an evaluation and make funding decisions.

If a group's position on climate change becomes distracting or diverts attention away from this important discussion, we evaluate whether we will continue funding." Exxon said it selected groups because of their work "on a variety of issues, for example Heritage Foundation to further discussion on tax and trade issues".


So is this Exxon’s newest trick to spin its vast misinformation campaign?  Now it will only provide funding for groups who work on a variety of issues, not those whose sole focus is endangering humanity further by delaying action to address climate change?

What excuse will ExxonMobil think of next year?

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