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Climate Hustle

Who Are the Most Prominent Advocates of Global Warming?

Posted on 20 May 2012 by Rob Honeycutt

Last week, as many know, the Heartland Institute put up a billboard with a picture of Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) with the caption, "I still believe in global warming.  Do you?"  The outrage was instantaneous from people on all sides of the issue and the billboard was taken down within a day.

Heartland, though, has chosen not to apologize for making such an outrageous association.  They have instead chosen to double down on their position and maintain a statement on their website where they include the statement...

"The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen."

The statement defies all logic.  It is a clear and fundmental logical fallacy like saying, "Hitler liked cats, so the most prominent cat-lovers are murdering fascists."

The insanity of the Heartland's statements have brought upon them a rash of companies pulling funding and an exodus of the people they had once listed as experts on their website.

Peter Sinclair has just produced a new video for the Yale Forum channel that takes a look at who the most prominent advocates of global warming science really are...

Also check out the Yale Forum for Climate Change and the Media website.

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Comments 1 to 30:

  1. Angela Merkel. Phd quantum chemistry. Conservative femail politician, pro action on global warming.
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  2. Why don't we have politicians like that nowadays? Maybe the deniers were indeed successful in manufacturing the controversy in the meantime. It became a touchy subject now.
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  3. This is, of course, excellent. But this is the same Mrs. Thatcher who stated "there is no such thing as society" and whose strident advocacy of neoliberalism played a significant role in undermining the legitimacy of dealing with environmental problems. This makes her recognition of global warming more salient but it shouldn't obscure her significant culpability for the difficulties experienced in developing sensible policy responses to global warming.
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  4. We can only hope that Heartland's "Murders, Tyrants, and Madmen" statement is brought to the attention of even more of Heartland's sponsors and that even more will flee this organization that seems to have increasing difficulties managing its public messaging. How anyone will stay connected with this organization on any level is beyond me.
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  5. Nitpick: No one really advocates global warming (except a few Barents sea crab fishermen frequently seen on the Discovery Channel). Perhaps it would be better to say 'The most prominent advocates of global warming science'

    Because the implicit message of Heartland is "Those who advocate science are ..."
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  6. @ralbin #3: word.
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  7. Well, being the motivated climate activist citizen...I actually had a billboard put up in Minneapolis, Minnesota last Tuesday with the text "Guess who believes in Climate Change?" in response to the Heartland Billboard. My billboard directs you to the website: Please go take a look-the first page lists quotations of various scientific and military organizations advocating action on climate change. Then (culled from this site over the years!) page 2 explains the BASIC physics of climate change. I wanted to put up my billboard in Chicago this week on the Heartland billboard site,but the billboard company wanted $1000 for a day (Minneapolis only charged $300...oh well)
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  8. As a former history student and cat person, I just want to point out Hitler (like Napoleon) disliked cats. But the point is taken.
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  9. Miffedmax... I thought of using dogs in that statement but somehow it lacks the same umph. Maybe it's just me. And I'm a cat person.
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  10. Rob, it's always best to be accurate when talking about historical people, and as a matter of face, Hilter was a dog lover, often photographed with his shepard "Blondi" while chancellor.

    I'm a cat person, too, so photos like this:


    Make me feel good about myself :) :) :)

    Napolean disliked cats, too? Maybe cats are too independent-minded for your average dictator type ...
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    Moderator Response: [RH] Link was breaking page formatting, and sorry, I somehow killed the link as I was trying to fix it. If you repost think link I'll fix it again.
  11. I just wanted to congratulate dagold for actually paying-out money for that billboard, and setting-up a website to go along with it. It sounds like a good idea but not something that everyone can or would want to fund. Well done, sir !
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  12. I second the congratulations and thanks to dagold #7 for the best new idea I've heard in a while, namely spreading the word about the reality of climate change on billboards linked to an excellent website. I suppose Heartland gets some credit for the inspiration! For future such endeavors, I suggest putting part of the answer to the billboard question "Guess who believes in climate change?" right on the billboard, such as the line from the website, "The Pentagon and every National Science Academy in the world for starters...". There's some guy named Obama with a million dollars to spare and a sympathetic superPAC who should see this idea and have a lightbulb go on...
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  13. Pity Thatcher was chosen as a focus, otherwise it is an excellent video. Perhaps Mr Sinclair doesn't realise just how much she is still reviled by a sizeable portion of the U.K. population, and I choose my words with care as I am a member of that group.

    If you want to find out how good the U.K. accident and emergency services are, go into a bar in what used to be a Welsh mining village and say out loud that you think Mrs Thatcher is a lovely person. Mind you, it is doubtful that anyone would actually call an ambulance for you.
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  14. Of course, this sort of nonsense from Heartland should not affect someone's opinion on AGW one way or another. But I would walk away from any group who behaved this badly, even if it were SkS. The science of AGW will--actually, it does--does stand on its own.

    Remembering the Falklands War, I don't have a high opinion of Thatcher myself. That too, is a separate issue.
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  15. Heartland took hits from many that do not agree with catastrophic warming and Heartland removed the billboard post haste. Margret Thatcher is really just another politician to be taken with a grain of salt. Hansen's Hiroshima bit is rather sensationalism as that particular incident is highly emotionally charged and can be construed in the same manner as Heartlands ill conceived billboard. His forays into activism are reducing his stature as a scientist.
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  16. dalyplanet... Heartland also took a lot of hits from skeptics of global warming. They took hits from just about everyone. It was an incredibly poorly calculated "experiment" on their part.

    Margret Thatcher is being presented because she, like Reagan, was a staunch conservative but still understood the threat of global warming.

    The amount of energy released in Hiroshima is a standard reference used is all kinds of contexts, not just this. It's an accurate measure of how much energy is being retained by the planet through a change in radiative balance. Hansen is not reducing his stature at all. He is showing his concern for the consequences we face.
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  17. dalyplanet, I'll point out the obvious: comparing someone to Hitler is intended to cast the target as, at the very least, a mass murderer (through indirect means). It is a sensational comparison, meant to ring those little bells of paranoia inside the heads of those who are unable or unwilling to think critically beyond a certain point. Anyone who accepts the theory of AGW is a mass murderer, according to the logic of the billboard.

    Measuring the energy budget imbalance in Hiroshimas is also sensational, but the comparison is not meant to suggest that the energy will end up destroying whole cities, leaving us with a radioactive nightmare. It's simply a way to put the size of the energy imbalance into perspective. A few extra Wm2? What's the big deal? And what's a Wm2? Oh, throughout the whole system it's that much? Ok then.
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  18. LarryM #12 - Seems like Al Gore has the same idea! - The Climate Reality Project are putting up a bunch of billboards around Chicago to time with the Heartland conference there.
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  19. yes, Climate Reality is going ahead with the billboard campaign. Funny little story- I actually passed along my billboard and website idea to a person who works with Climate Reality and...lo and behold...a week later they came out with their campaign. Actually, it seems we both came up with the idea independent of each other. Great minds think alike? :)
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  20. dalyplanet@15,

    I really must take strong exception to some of the assertions that you made in your post.

    While Heartland did remove the billboard, they did so under duress and have remained unapologetic for their actions. In fact, Joe Bast has been bending over backwards to try and justify what they did (see here) and in the process Bast refers to Mike Mann as a "madman". Also, Heartland still stands by its assertion that "....the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen."

    You mention Thatcher, while you are entitled to your opinions of her (I am not a particular fan, but what we think of her is irrelevant), it does not change the fact that what she says in the video is supported by the science and in present day by observations. People who have watched the video will not that it also features such greats as Hawking, Sagan and Schneider.

    It is very unfortunate that you tried to dismiss the Hiroshima analogy as "sensationalism". Ever since the Hiroshoma bomb scientists have been using that analogy to help readers comprehend and understand the huge amounts of energy involved or released during certain processes, and certainly not to engage in sensationalism or appeal to emotion. Telling someone that the earthquake off Japan last March released about 2x10^17 Joules of energy means nothing at all to most people. But they can very much appreciate the huge amounts of energy involved when told that the quake released the energy equivalent to 600 million A-bombs.

    Similarly, during the Thunderstorm Project, Dr. Braham and his colleagues determined that the amount of energy released in the lifteime of a sing-celled thunderstorm is equivalent to 50 A-bombs. Those are but two of many examples.

    So when Hansen is trying to convey to a lay audience how much energy is being accumulated each year in the climate system on account of the planetary energy imbalance being imposed by us emitting GHGs, telling them that the increase on the order of 10^22 J/yr would not be helpful. Hence, he like his colleagues, uses the A-bomb analogy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    You trying to claim that his stature as a scientist is being reduced for standing up for what is right is not only demonstrably false, but a form of ad hominem argument and possibly in violation of the comments policy. Regardless, that he is an activist (it is sad that some people consider others standing up for what is right to be a bad thing) has no bearing whatsoever on the integrity or value of his findings appearing in his scientific publications. Hansen continues to publish prolifically in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and is very much respected by his peers.
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  21. Grrr, keyboard with stuck keys....

    Most answers to the Haertland-hate-Billboard either took the type of argument to ridiculousness, or answered the science.

    I propose something other, show people Heartlands own history of industy-paid, fake expertise:

    A picture of e.g. Fred Singer, withe the subtitle "tabacco-industry paid fake expert from Heartland" (if this seems to harsh, one could just omit the "fake", but I go with tamino on this). Main text: "I still believe smoking does not cause cancer. Do you?" ( can be replaced with a source of real information either about Heartlands role in the smoking-debate or with information about the dangers of smoking)

    Its mirroring the attack; but not with the same logical fallacy, but known facts about the paid lobyying of Heartland.
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  22. I have been reading that Margaret Thatcher changed her views on Man-made global warming and is now a skeptic. I think that should be addressed. Apparently both deniers and mainstream science supporters are using Thatcher to make their case. What gives?
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  23. It seems, based on davidpalermo's links, that the earlier views espoused by Thatcher were rooted in science, whereas her later change of mind, in her 2003 book Statecraft, was driven by politics.

    Sadly, Mrs Thatcher has suffered a severe decline in her health, including dementia, since the year 2000, so it would be impossible now to challenge her on her reversal of opinion.

    I actually don't see much problem using her earlier speeches. They demonstrate that a scientifically informed political leader with an indisputable conservative world-view can say sensible things about the climate crisis.Even if she later changed her mind, her earlier views prove that concern about climate change is not linked to left-wing politics.

    The Heartland Institute would have us believe that anyone alarmed about climate change is mad or bad. Peter Sinclair's excellent video demonstrates that such a view is totally and utterly false.
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  24. The situation with regard to Thatcher and her apparent politically-motivated change of view later on in life, reminds me of the case of Roger Revelle and how he was shamefully used by the likes of S Fred Singer.
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  25. Hansen would be better served using Joules or at the least atomic bomb units as opposed to Hiroshima units.

    Thatcher as a "prominent advocate" has some concerns and needs to be ascribed the status of politician for accuracy.
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    Moderator Response: TC: This comment consists of a simple reassertion of points you raised in a previous post, which has been well rebutted. As such, it constitutes simple repetition, and is in violation of the comments policy. Future violations may be simply deleted without comment.
  26. dalyplanet - The Hiroshima bomb is a perfectly commonly-used unit of energy that people can relate to. It has been used for many years in innumerable cotexts. Crying foul over it strikes me as an attempt to distract from the point, rather than accept the very large amount of energy being added to the Earth system daily.

    Such units come in all shapes and sizes. Brits often use units of "Wales" or "London Bus". Other units of measurement, including the Hiroshima Bomb, can be seen in this fun list of 10 unusual measurement units. Hiroshima has been used regularly by geologists and astronomers for indicating the energy involved in asteroid strikes and volcanic eruptions, so it's hardly odd to use it here. Wikipedia uses it for the Tunguska event a recent large meteoroid impact/explosion.
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  27. @25 DalyPlanet-

    You strike me as playing the role of 'concern troll'. Try checking google scholar for Jim Hansen's scientific publication record....and then consider this question:

    There is a strain of global warming deniers who promote the following substitution judgemement:

    "If Global Warming were real and really a problem, scientists would be out demonstrating in the streets about it".

    How sure are you that demonstrating **really** reduces someones scientific opposed to simply providing fodder for the never-ending rhetorical games that the fake skeptics engage in having no facts or reasoning to support their case?

    Everyone else: Here's a counter billboard for Heartland-

    "Heartland created a phony billboard about who prominent advocates for the consensus global warming view are. We'd like to show you who the prominent deniers of global warming are-

    The rest of the billboard is blank, except for a footnote- "Drawing a blank? So did we... the denial of global warming is lead from a faceless backroom."

    And then let Inhofe, or Limbaugh, or Christy, Spencer etc complain.
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  28. Who Are the Most Prominent Advocates of Global Warming????

    John Cook

    Dana Nuccitelli
    Rob Painting
    Doug Mackie
    Ari Jokimaki
    Andy Skuce
    Daniel Bailey
    James Wight
    Robert Way
    Glenn Tamblyn
    Anne-Marie Blackburn
    Steve Brown
    Michael Sweet
    Barbel Winkler
    Neal J. King
    Hoskuldur Bui Jonsson

    and lets not forget,

    Tom Curtis

    Skeptical Science is the back bone of the Climate Change movement. Science today cant reach the community like skeptical science does. It is only early days for this website, but I see a noble prize on the table if everyone including all the great commenters, keep up this fantastic work.
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Fixed text per request.
  29. LOL Apparently I am so prominent that you can't even get my name right ;)
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  30. My bad Tom, if a Mod could fix it, that would be great :)
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