The heart of opposition to climate science

By Ken Perrott 21/05/2010

Harrison Schmitt, Member of the Board, The Heartland Institute Former U.S. Senator, New Mexico

The Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change occured this week in Chicago, USA. It was basically a gathering of activists opposed to climate change science and/or political measures to deal with global warming.

It’s worth looking at the programme and the list of co-sponsors. These reveal the nature of the political and ideological links organisations involved in promoting climate change denial. It also provides some idea of how these organisations operate.

Sponsors include:

  • Conservative and free market organisations and think tanks like American Policy Center, Americans for Prosperity, Americans For Tax Reform, Atlas Economic Research Foundation Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, Competitive Enterprise Institute, George Marshall Institute, Institute for Free Enterprise – Berlin, National Center for Public Policy Research, Tennessee Center for Policy Research and many more.
  • The Right Wing Christian group Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.
  • Climate change denial activist groups such as Science and Public Policy Institute, New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, International Climate Science Coalition, Icecap,, European Institute for Climate and Energy, Climate Science Coalition of America, Climate Sceptics, and so on.

Many of these groups and organisations have web sites and blogs dedicated wholly or partly to discrediting climate science and scientists.

Steve, McIntyre, from Climate Audit blog

And the programme included many of the well known outspoken critics of climate science and scientists. They include authors, contrarian scientists, journalists, politicians, etc. People like Stephen McIntyre, Bob Carter, Willie Soon, Marc Morano, Sen. James Inhofe, Richard Lindzen, James Delingpole, S. Fred Singer, Ross McKitrick, Anthony Watts, Roy W. Spencer, Ian Plimer, Christopher Monckton.

Some of these operate their own blogs and websites or write for conservative newspapers.

Chris de Freitas from Auckland University was there. As was Avril Terri Jackson, the founder of the Institute of Physics energy Group implicated in the biased submission to the Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament inquiry (see Institute of Physics in hot seat).

Science as a hand maiden to ideology

So this was definitely not a scientific conference – although science was discussed. Hardly in an objective manner, though. In general the science presented would have been to attack and discredit the current understanding of human induced climate change. Given the overwhelming ideological, political, and economic interests  we can see that the science would have been used to support and promote a conservative free market agenda.

OK – that’s the international face of climate change denial. But it’s also reflected locally in New Zealand. There are strong links between local organisations opposing climate change. The Coalition for Climate science and the Climate Conversation Group are linked with the Act Party and the NZ Centre for Political research. These organisations coordinate campaigns, petitions and meetings. Even parliamentary questions are involved.

And of course all these organisations have their own international links with conservative free market organisations like the heartland Institute.

UPDATE: John Boscawen MP for the NZ ACT Party and their main activist attacking climate scientists was at the conference. I wonder who paid his expenses? (Thanks Gareth).

Importance of propaganda and media

The composition of this conference indicate how this campaign recognises the importance of media and propaganda. The “science” of climate change denial, and its contrarian spokespeople, are linked not only to conservative think tanks (handy for funding) and politicians but also to media. To conservative journalists (eg. James Delingpole of  the London Daily Telegraph) and bloggers (eg. Marc Morano).

Another indication of the importance they place on propaganda. The Heartland Institute waived conference registration fees for politicians,  journalists and bloggers. They also offered some travel subsidies to members of the media.

Credit: Images captured from PJTV video.


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