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Denialgate - Internal Heartland Documents Expose Climate Denial Funding Network

Posted on 15 February 2012 by dana1981

This is a combined re-post of two major exposé posts on DeSmogBlog (here and here) regarding internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents.

*UPDATE 3* Desmogblog have removed the document Board Directory 01-18-12.pdf from their website as it contained home addresses.  

*UPDATE 2* the link to the climate strategy document below has been removed, as Heartland disputes its authenticity.

*UPDATE* DeSmogBlog now reports on a prepared statement from Heartland Institute regarding the leak:  

The Heartland Institute has confirmed in a prepared statement that it mistakenly emailed its board materials to an anonymous third party - confirming the source of the documents released here on the DeSmogBlog yesterday.

Heartland then goes on allege that one of the documents (the Climate Strategy) is a fake.

The DeSmogBlog has reviewed that Strategy document and compared its content to other material we have in hand. It addresses five elements:

The Increased Climate Project Fundraising material is reproduced in and confirmed by Heartland's own budget.

The "Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms" is also a Heartland budget item and has been confirmed independently by the author, Dr. David Wojick.

The Funding for Parallel Organizations; Funding for Selected Individuals Outside Heartland are both reproduced and confirmed in the Heartland budget. And Anthony Watts has confirmed independently the payments in Expanded Climate Communications.

The DeSmogBlog has received no direct communications from the Heartland Institute identifying any misstatement of fact in the "Climate Strategy" document and is therefore leaving the material available to those who may judge their content and veracity based on these and other sources.

*SkS note: Heartland could easily prove the strategy document is a fake by releasing the email which they claim contained the released documents.

Heartland Insider Exposes Institute's Budget and Strategy

An anonymous donor calling him (or her)self "Heartland Insider" has released the Heartland Institute's budget, fundraising plan, its Climate Strategy for 2012 and sundry other documents (all attached) that prove all of the worst allegations that have been levelled against the organization.

It is clear from the documents that Heartland advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and "other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies." Heartland particularly celebrates the funding that it receives from the fossil fuel fortune being the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Heartland also continues to collect money from Philip Morris parent company Altria as well as from the tobacco giant Reynolds American, while maintaining ongoing advocacy against policies related to smoking and health.

Heartland's policy positions, strategies and budget distinguish it clear as a lobby firm that is misrepresenting itself as a "think tank" - it budgets $4.1 million of its $6.4 million in projected expenditures for Editorial, Government Relations, Communications, Fundraising, and Publications, and the only activity it plans that could vaguely be considered policy development is the writing of a curriculum package for use in confusing high schoolers about climate change.

There will be more comment and analysis to follow on DeSmogBlog and elsewhere, but we wanted to make this information available so that others can also scrutinize the documents and bring their expertise to the task.

(1-15-2012) 2012 Fundraising Plan.pdf 89.87 KB
(1-15-2012) 2012 Heartland Budget (2).pdf 124.62 KB
2 Agenda for January 17 Meeting.pdf 7.4 KB
2010_IRS_Form_990 (2).pdf 2.7 MB
Binder1 (2).pdf 55.36 KB
Board Directory 01-18-12.pdf 11.28 KB
Board Meeting Package January 17.pdf 6.84 KB

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.

We are releasing the entire trove of documents now to allow crowd-sourcing of the material. Here are a few quick highlights, stay tuned for much more. -Confirmation that Charles G. Koch Foundation is again funding Heartland Institute’s global warming disinformation campaign. Greenpeace’s Koch reports show the last time Heartland received Koch funding was in 1999

The January 2012 Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy states:

We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000. We expect to push up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to their network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests. Other contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.”

-Heartland Institute’s global warming denial machine is chiefly – and perhaps entirely – funded by one Anonymous donor:

Our climate work is attractive to funders, especially our key Anonymous Donor (whose contribution dropped from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011 - about 20% of our total 2011 revenue). He has promised an increase in 2012…”

-Confirmation of exact amounts flowing to certain key climate contrarians. 

funding for high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist AGW message. At the moment, this funding goes primarily to Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 per month, plus expenses), Robert Carter ($1,667 per month), and a number of other individuals, but we will consider expanding it, if funding can be found.”

-As Brad Johnson reported today at ThinkProgress, confirmation that Heartland is working with David Wojick, a U.S. Energy Department contract worker and coal industry consultant, to develop a ‘Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools.’

-Forbes and other business press are favored outlets for Heartland’s dissemination of climate denial messages, and the group is worried about maintaining that exclusive space. They note in particular the work of Dr. Peter Gleick:

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.” (emphasis added)

Note the irony here that Heartland Institute – one of the major mouthpieces behind the debunked ‘Climategate’ email theft who harped about the suppression of denier voices in peer-reviewed literature – now defending its turf in the unscientific business magazine realm.

-Interesting mentions of Andrew Revkin as a potential ally worth “cultivating,” along with Judith Curry.

Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Romm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters).”

-Confirmation that skeptic blogger Anthony Watts is part of Heartland’s funded network of misinformation communicators.

We have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.”

Stay tuned for more details as DeSmogBlog and others dig through this trove of Heartland Institute documents. The Heartland Institute's legacy of evasion of this level of transparency and accountability has now been shattered.

Read the documents [all PDF]:

Minutes of January 17 board meeting (.doc)

Agenda for January 17, 2012 Board Meeting

Board Meeting Package January 17, 2012

Board Directory January 2012

Binder 1 (maybe overlap with above documents)

2012 Heartland Budget

2012 Heartland Fundraising Plan

2010 Heartland IRS Form 990 (public document)

Stay tuned… see also DeSmogBlog's Richard Littlemore's coverage.

Minutes of January 17 meeting.doc 50.84 KB
Board Meeting Package January 17.pdf 7.47 KB
Board Directory 01-18-12.pdf 12.51 KB
Agenda for January 17 Meeting.pdf 8.49 KB
Binder1.pdf 67.68 KB
(1-15-2012) 2012 Heartland Budget.pdf 126.68 KB
(1-15-2012) 2012 Fundraising Plan.pdf 91.32 KB
2010_IRS_Form_990.pdf 2.7 MB

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Comments 251 to 260 out of 260:

  1. I think it is important to understand how outfits like Heartland work, and how sophisticated and organised they are in approaching their mission of undermining climate scientists and gaining "greater attention to free-market ideas". It is the use of methods like those described in the following diagram that enable them to punch well above their weight. This is from their 2010 "Prospectus", which they regrettably no longer make available, but would be interesting to see if anyone has a copy? The important thing to bear in mind is that, as others have observed, Al Capone was not put away for theft or muder, but they did get him for tax evasion.
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  2. GreenCooling The 2010 Heartland prospectus is still online. The diagram you referenced is on page 7. Best take a copy before it vanishes from there as well ;-)
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  3. Looked at the prospectus. That is a lobbyist's prospectus, not that of a think tank. That by itself should get their charitable status questioned.
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  4. Many thanks, most illuminating. Heartland are also good enough to post their very revealing first quarter 2012 "Quarterly Performance Report" at their site, how long they leave it there seems like an open question. In case they do feel sufficiently embarrassed to remove it, here's some edited highlights, which I hope are of interest here. pp. 2-3 "Four Projects on Global Warming" "Researchers at The Heartland Institute recognized, earlier than most, that scientific uncertainty about the true causes and consequences of climate change makes costly efforts to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions unnecessary. In 2012 we are pursuing four projects on global warming. "The first is sponsoring and promoting the work of the Nongovernmental Interna- tional Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international network of scientists who write and speak out on climate change. With Heartland’s support, this team of scientists produced Climate Change Reconsidered: 2009 Report of the NIPCC, and more recently Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report. Each volume is a comprehensive and authoritative rebuttal of the United Nations’ IPCC reports. "We are currently working on promoting these volumes and preparing for publication of a third volume for release in 2013. "The second project is creation of a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools. Many people lament the absence of educational material that isn’t alarmist or overtly political. "Late last year, we found a curriculum expert who is also an expert on the global warming controversy. We think he can finally break the code on getting sound science and ecoomics into classrooms. "The third global warming project is publication of a great new book by Rael Isaac, titled Roosters of the Apocalypse. Rael, a sociologist who has studied the origins and mo- tivation of apocalyptic movements, examines the global warming movement and finds it is rooted in irrational fears and beliefs that have no scientific justifications. "The fourth global warming project will change how weathermen report new temper- ature records, and in the process help wean some of them from the alarmist point of view. We are working to create a Web site that will access newly available temperature data from a set of high-quality temperature stations created by the National Aeronautics and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "Our new Web site will convert the data into easy-to-understand graphs that can be easily found and understood by weathermen and the general interested public. The result: fewer weathermen bamboozled into reporting fake temperature records, and one fewer tool in the toolbox of global warming alarmists. Hydraulic Fracturing "Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as “fracking,” is a process whereby water, sand, and small amounts of chemicals (surfactants) are injected into oil and natural gas formations to make the energy resources easier to extract. Fracking has been used safely for more than 50 years. "Fracking became controversial in 2010 and 2011 because environmentalists, hoping to prevent the development of large reserves of oil and natural gas, invented charges that fracking poses environmental and safety risks. "Heartland has been one of the most outspoken defenders of fracking in the U.S. We expect to ramp up that effort and move to the front lines of the battle." James Taylor has a fair bit to say on Climategate 2 and Natural Gas too, but this from p.9 is of particular interest: "A Primer on Climate Realism" "Forbes magazine asked James to write an article for its print magazine explaining how sound science refutes global warming alarmism. His article was published in Forbes’ December 5 issue. "James explained, “The central issues in the global warming debate have little to do with whether or not temperatures have warmed during the past century. Nearly all scientists agree that temperatures have indeed warmed during the past 100 years, just as tempera- tures have warmed (and cooled) many times in previous centuries. The more important issues are whether current temperatures are abnormally warm in a longer-term perspective and whether present warming trends threaten disaster in the foreseeable future.” "James noted global temperatures for the vast majority of the past 10,000 years have been significantly warmer than today. He also documented how warmer temperatures always have benefited human welfare. “During the past century, as global temperatures have risen, forests have expanded, deserts have retreated, soil moisture has improved, crops have flourished and extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes have become less frequent,” he wrote. “Proponents of an imminent global warming crisis may present interesting theories about catastrophes that may occur if the Earth returns to the warmer temperatures that pre- dominated during most of the past 10,000 years, but such theories are strongly contradicted by thousands of years of real-world data and real-world climate observations. The Scientific Method dictates that real-world observations trump speculative theory, not the other way around,” James concluded. Why Forbes continues to give Taylor Op-Ed space to defend his organisation this week is beyond my comprehension, but at least they are good enough to let people respond in the comments. Perhaps SkS might like to seek a right of reply too?
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  5. @GreenCooling #54: “Been their done that” The lead-in to Skepticism about Lower Atmosphere Temperature Data .reads as follows: “Note: This article was submitted to Forbes as a correction to the op-ed by James Taylor in question, but Forbes declined to publish it, so instead we're posting it here.” Dana’s article was posted on SkS on Jan 8, 2012.
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  6. @GreenCooling #54: You'll also be pleased to know that many SkS authors post on the comment threads to articles about climate change that are posted on Forbes. Unfortunately, James Taylor, is not the only climate denier posting so-called "op-eds" on Forbes on a regular basis.
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  7. Contradicting the claim above in "UPDATE 2" that "the link to the climate strategy document below has been removed, as Heartland disputes its authenticity.", I should bring to your attention that 2 years later, this page is still quoting from and linking to the fake "Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy" document.

    I'm assuming this is merely an oversight that will be corrected.

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  8. Russ R. - Considering that the document in question was anonymously sent to Gleick in hard copy, prompting the social engineering he did to get the rest of the documents, that document (with appropriate caveats due to the lack of provenance) is the least morally questionable of the papers involved. It wasn't stolen, and is entirely consistent with the content of other documents Heartland has acknowledged to be real. 

    It's still up at DesmogBlog, too.

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  9. As I recall, most of the information in the strategy document was also corroborated by the documents Gleick tricked Heartland into sending to him. Indeed, the only quotation from the strategy document I saw in skimming through the post again was a reference to Heartland funding from the Koch Foundation... which even the crazies no longer dispute.

    It was reasonable to take down the links when the origin of the 'strategy document' was first disputed, but now that the dust has settled I don't see why such action would be needed. The creator of the document is unknown, but most of the information it contains has been proven true. It would thus fall into the category of a 'leak'. Some of it may also have been fabricated, but we don't really know that. If it were provably faked, as you seem to assume, then I'd agree it shouldn't be linked... though more because it would at that point simply be irrelevant. Given that most of its content is corroborated by the other documents there'd be no point in considering the few bits of false information. So long as those bits may or may not be false a warning to that effect seems sufficient.

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  10. KR,

    "Considering that the document in question was anonymously sent to Gleick in hard copy..."

    Do you have any evidence to back that up apart from Peter Gleick's own account? He's hardly an objective source. Pardon me for being skeptical.



    "If it were provably faked, as you seem to assume, then I'd agree it shouldn't be linked..."

    Okay.  Then what would, in your opinion, constitute proof?

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