Leaked! — NZ talks at Heartland crankfest

By Gareth Renowden 25/04/2010


BREAKING NEWS: A mole in the Heartland Institute has leaked details of presentations planned for the fourth “International Conference on Climate Change”, to be held in Chicago from May 16 – 18. Over the weekend a file containing a selection of emails between Heartland senior executives and their invited speakers was uploaded to a Russian server, and a link to the file posted in comments at Hot Topic (since removed, to protect the whistleblower). To give you a flavour of the explosive contents, here are extracts in which prominent New Zealand sceptics Bob Carter, Chris de Freitas and Bryan Leyland discuss the talks they plan to give.

Email from Bob Carter to Joseph Bast: Joe, here’s the outline of my presentation. It builds on themes I’ve been developing in my recent writing, and my new book. Incidentally, any chance I can have a signing session at some point? I see you have Roy Spencer down for one break. I wouldn’t mind something similar. Anyway, here’s the blurb:

The emerging counter-consensus: The counter-consensus to quasi-scientific hype and induced panic on climate change is at last assembling — here in Chicago, thanks to the generosity of those deep-pocketed patrons of climate realism, the Heartland Institute. The argument is not in the first place as to whether or not climate change has been taking place, although last Tuesday was no warmer than the same Tuesday 20 years ago, but whether any recent warming of the planet is appreciably due to human activity (which of course it isn’t) and how harmful it will prove (which it won’t). In the context of the paleoclimatic history of SE Queensland, as evidenced in a hand dug core in my back garden, I can demonstrate that recent warming is neither large nor exceptional when viewed with the necessary perspective (through a beer glass, darkly). ENSO cycles detected in the soil profile prove that CO2 has no role to play in climate beyond making Fosters fizzy. And every time I’ve tried to point that out in the local pub I’ve been laughed at and vilified, so there must be a global conspiracy to shut me up.

Email from Chris de Freitas to Jay Lehr: Jay, thanks for the suggestion that I should give a run through of the ENSO stuff, but that’s really Maclean’s thing, not mine. Why have you not invited John, by the way? I know he’s a bit of a liability in public, but he can spin figures with the best of them. Anyway, I really will have to stick with my earlier talk idea, because Auckland are getting very shirty if I talk outside my areas of expertise. You’ll see I’ve tweaked the title and ending a little to suit the conference theme.

How do we know the climate hasn’t changed? The effect of woollen overgarments on perceptions of temperature in the Waitomo Caves of New Zealand. Over the last 20 years, a survey of people leaving a popular New Zealand tourist attraction, the Waitomo Caves, has determined that people wearing warm outer garments report that the caves are warmer than those wearing thin T-shirts and shorts. This means that there can be no greenhouse effect and that ENSO can explain all global warming ever. Because my brother told me so.

Joseph Bast to Bryan Leyland: Bryan, I’m sure an overview of the NZ electricity market and its failings is an important contribution to the whole issue of energy security, but you have to remember we’re going to be in Chicago. The closest thing we’ve got to geothermal is the Salma Hayek at Hot Doug’s. (Remind me to take you there, BTW). I’d much prefer it if you could talk about how the NZ model of climate science coalitions is being rolled out around the world.

Email from Bryan Leyland to Jay Lehr: Jay, Joe’s been leaning on me to talk about the ICSC instead of the energy stuff, so how does this look?

Coalitions and colons: how to talk out of your bottom about climate. Since we launched the New Zealand Climate Coalition four years ago, our doughty little band of retirees has demonstrated how a little disinformation, a compliant press and complicit politicians can create a political climate in which daft Americans pay us to fly around the world and create coalitions wherever we go. I have myself personally created coalitions in Goa, Hyderabad and Bangkok, and am pleased to serve on the one coalition to rule them all, the intergalactic climate science coalition. Today Chicago, tomorrow the universe. In this talk I shall reveal the secrets of recruiting the best independent scientists from lists provided by the Heartland Institute, and share the best methods of persuading dim journalists to report our tripe.

Editor’s note: the emails contain much more in a similar vein. I’ll be happy to forward copies to anyone who wants to look at the correspondence involving some of the other “big” names involved, and who would like to draw attention to them here. The best examples might get promoted to the main article… (And before you ask, Scrotum denies any knowledge of this coup, but Mycroft’s keeping schtum).