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Sat, 2012-05-05 12:28Richard Littlemore
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Microsoft Fail: Computer company criticizes Heartland but won't withhold future support

Microsoft is finally taking a clearer position denouncing the Heartland Institute's irresponsible position on climate science, but the computer megacorp still won't shut the door on providing Heartland with free software in the future.

In the wake of Heartland's highly offensive advertising campaign, in which Heartland said, flatly, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists; they are murderers, tyrants and madmen,” Microsoft''s Director of Corporate Citizenship Steve Lippman distanced his company from the Heartland position:

“The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.”

But he went on with this unconvincing dodge:

“Heartland did participate in our global software donation program in 2010, as did thousands of other nonprofit organizations.  It’s important to point out that hundreds of environmental and conservation groups also took advantage of the same program, and received over $13 million in free software to pursue their missions.”

Fri, 2012-05-04 10:36Richard Littlemore
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Heartland Billboard: "the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists; they are murderers, tyrants, and madmen"

The Heartland Institute's current President, Joe Bast, has launched a billboard campaign denouncing science, scientists, conscientious political activists - and by association EVERYONE else who speaks with concern about climate change - as murderous, tyranical or insane.

Settling on that third descriptor, it's difficult to imagine what kind of crazy person thought this was an appropriate attack on the public dialogue about the most pressing environmental issue in the history of humankind.

This is a link to the 2012 Heartland Fundraising strategy, a document the institute was careless enough to email to a stranger, regardless that it includes the full list of Heartland funders. General Motors has already announced that it wants off this list - that it is embarrassed by any association with a disinformation organization of this nature.

But if you are concerned about climate change, if you are NOT a murderer, a tyrant or a crazy person, and you are a shareholder or customer of any of the organizations on this list (maybe we could start with Microsoft), please send an email, write a letter, make a phone call or sell your stock. Let's make it clear that Joe Bast needs a vacation, permanently.

Thu, 2012-04-26 09:03Richard Littlemore
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Koch Brothers fund Fraser Institute

Hats off to Alexis Stoymenoff at the Vancouver Observer for turning up evidence that the Koch Brothers have been ladling money into Canada's own climate dissembling Fraser Institute since at least 2008.

It helps to answer why a so-called “think” tank - even one so ideologically hidebound as the Fraser Institute - would compromise its credibility by producing and promoting pathetic and manipulative minsinformation for children.

Now we understand that there is a good free enterprise answer: they're getting paid.

Wed, 2012-03-14 09:02Richard Littlemore
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Heartland Double Standard: Institute Tried to Scam Greenpeace for Internal Documents

A Heartland Institute front man* phoned a Greenpeace activist and lied about his identity in an effort to get her to turn over UN climate conference documents to which he had no legitimate access. Heartland senior fellow James Taylor then boasted about the scam in a press release decrying what he described as Greenpeace's preferential access to UN information.

Now, in a belated act of optimism, Greenpeace's Cindy Baxter has written a letter to Heartland (attached below) requesting an explanation for the double standard. Baxter is asking, in effect, why Heartland thinks it's completely okay for them to misrepresent themselves, repeatedly, and to celebrate the misrepresentations of others who are attacking climate scientists, but then gets all righteous when someone suckers them into handing over their entire budget and fundraising policy for 2012.

The Heartland misrepresentation about which Baxter is now complaining occurred in 2007 at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bali. The Heartland caller phoned Baxter at four in the morning (Bali time), claiming to represent a U.S. environmental organization and asking if she would hand over the UNFCCC media list - which Heartland clearly had failed to secure through legitimate means.

Baxter demurred, after which Taylor sent out a press release, recounting the conversation, linking to a (possibly illegal) recording that Heartland had made of the phonecall, and “exposing” the fact that Greenpeace has a better working relationship than Heartland with just about everyone in the climate, diplomatic and scientific communities.

Thu, 2012-03-08 09:57Richard Littlemore
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Heartland has Long History of Blowing Smoke

One of the most bizarre reactions to the St. Valetines Day Striptease, in which the Heartland Institute was tempted by a mild-mnannered scientist to completely expose itself - its strategies, funders and plans for the new year - is the complaint by “neutral” observers like Judith Curry that people were somehow picking on Heartland unfairly.

Even aside from the reams of evidence in the Striptease documents, Heartland has a long history of mining money from questionable corporate funders and then representing itself as a (taxpayer subsidized) “think tank” - as if its some kind of educational organization contributing to the public conversation about difficult issues.

The document - and Heartland's own self-celebrating promotional efforts - make absolutely clear that Heartland is a lobbyist, and given that its favourite client through the years has been the tobacco industry, we know for sure it's a lobbyist with no particular standards.

Here, as evidence toward that point, is a wonderful wrap, by the blog Planet 3.0/Beyond Sustainability of Heartland's history of blowing smoke on behalf of funders Philip Morris, et al.

Tue, 2012-02-28 08:12Richard Littlemore
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Fake Heartland "Scientist" Infiltrates Canadian University

Bogus climate course “a source of embarrassment to the institution”

An energy industry public relations man and lobbyist with no background in climate science has infiltrated Carleton University in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, teaching a course on climate change denial that other Carleton professors describe as “a source of embarrassment to the institution.”

Tom Harris, who originally trained as a mechanical engineer, has been a strategist for the climate change denial industry for at least a decade. A favourite presenter misrepresented as a PhD at the Heartland Institute’s regular climate change denial conferences, Harris has worked directly for companies like the international PR giant APCO Worldwide or for energy industry lobby firms such as Toronto’s High Park Group. More recently, he has launched or led at least three phony “grassroots organizations” – energy industry front groups that promote confusion or denial in climate science.

Now, Harris is teaching at Carleton, passing on a mix of climate denial mythology and flat out fiction, telling students that the planet isn’t really warming, that (if it is), humans aren’t to blame, that (if they are) if might be a good thing and that, regardless, it’s just too complicated for mere scientists to figure out. (“The climate problem is so difficult that we might never solve it.”)

Harris’s ridiculous claims have been laid bare in a new report by the Canadian Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS), which has gone through videotapes of lectures from Climate Change: An Earth Sciences Perspective (ERTH2402), identifying 142 errors, exaggerations or outright prevarications.

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