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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Heartland Institute's Denialgate includes funding from Microsoft to undermine the IPCC: Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science …”

Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science …”

by Adam Siegel, Get Energy Smart! NOW!, February 15, 2012
An anonymous leaker sent a number of climate-science related bloggers/blog-sites a trove of internal documents from libertarian Heartland Institute. While the material points to many nefarious Heartland Institute efforts, such as supporting undermining of Wisconsin’s public education, the most extensive material is about Heartland’s heartless efforts to foster disinformation about climate science, to undermine Americans’ access to accurate information, and to weaken America’s K-12 science education.
In what looks almost certainly to be backed by focused group testing, Heartlands’ K-12 climate disinformation strategy targets “dissuading teachers from teaching science”. Here is the key paragraph from the heartless “climate education” plans
Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms. We are pursuing a proposal…to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools…[this] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.
Yes, the heartless Heartland Institute plans to spend significant sums of money to develop an anti-science curriculum to foster confusion about climate change in line with Luntz’ political guidance to use ‘climate change’ because it fosters uncertainty about the state of climate science and will undermine efforts to act to mitigate climate change to help us avoid catastrophic climate chaos. Let is be clear that Heartland isn’t interested in honest examination of science (after all, why would Heartland’s Climate Change wiki be closed to actual science if they were interested in truth?) or fostering an educational system that better prepares American students for the science-related challenges and opportunities that will dominate the 21st century. No, in support of polluting interests, the Heartland Institute’s climate strategy is targeted at “dissuading teachers from teaching science”.
“Dissuading teachers from teaching science …”
It is hard to imagine a worse objective or more heartless for anything claiming to be an educational initiative.
While there is much to be learned from this Valentine’s Day breaking DissuadeGate data dump from within the science denier world, among the items of real interest in this Heart-Less Valentine’s Day news item: an anonymous lover (”Anonymous Donor”) of the Heartland Institute’s efforts to infect America’s youth with anti-science syndrome. One person, according to the January 2012 Heat-less Climate Denial Strategy document (pdf), provides over 20% of Heartland’s entire budget with plans to increase that funding;
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…”
Yes, in addition to the significant Koch-otopus support ($100,000s per year plus access to Koch’s secret cabal of right-wing funders), Heartland’s heartless disinformation efforts targeting the undermining of America’s science education with promotion of anti-science syndrome are funded anonymously. Hmmm … Don’t you want to know who is trying to manipulate your child’s education to support their financial interests?
Discussions of the Heartless Documents
A note
This situation clearly has some resonance and parallels with “ClimateGate“. Let’s explore, however, some differences:
1. Unlike the illegal breaking into East Anglia’s computers, the Heartless Valentine’s Day material does not look to have come from an outside theft but from an insider who has chosen, for whatever reason, to ‘leak’ the material (almost certainly without authorization) and be a(n anonymous) whistleblower.
2. Unlike the selective leaking of the stolen East Anglia’s email correspondance, the Heartless Valentine’s Day material has been, from the get go, put into public in its entirety — with any ‘cherry-picking’ of material that leads to misrepresentation easily discovered.
3. Unlike the stolen East Anglia’s email correspondance, the Heartless Valentine’s Day material are completed (formal) documents. This isn’t back and forth draft material between colleagues, engaged in what they saw as interactions with colleagues as they sought to figure out how to move forward, but the formalized results of drafts/etc … There is something quite different between one’s informal (midnight …) email and an institution’s formalized planning documents.
4. Sigh, unlike with the distorted coverage the stolen East Anglia correspondence with the RWSM machine (from bloggers to Hannity/Beck to Faux “News” to the RNC …) backing, we cannot expect that the nation’s “journalists” will give front page attention to this heartless effort advocating “dissuading teachers from teaching science”.
And, well, as for the motivation of the leaker — perhaps he (or she) was motivated, on Valentine’s Day 2012, by a love of the planet’s ability to support modern human civilization.
Image note: Heartless, starring Jim Sturgess audience reactions:
Clearly, my focus (and the primary portion of the material) is on Heartland’s heartless climate disinformation efforts. But, to reiterate, Heartland is involved in other things of concern / interest to this community. For example, from the totally Heartless 2012 budget document, there is the $91,500 in the 2012 budget for “Operation Angry Badger”
A research and education project built to take advantage of the public interest in
Wisconsin’s Act 10 generated by recall elections that could take place. Publications Dept. budget includes printing and mailing three reports and brochures.
Hmmm … might this sort of activity (and information) attract the attention of ‘non-Green’-oriented commentators to help them understand how critical climate change and science can and should be in the political process?

I can not prove that these documents are real or fake. I will certainly pass on to you any information that comes along about this. Have a look at the documents and make up your own mind.

Let us be clear, however, that the Heartland Institute has been engaged -- systematically -- in demeaning climate science and sowing confusion as to the science.  This, sigh, fostered credibility as to the document release along with their delayed responsiveness to numerous media requests for comment.

And, for a moment, let us consider what The Heartland Institute argued related to the criminal theft of material from East Anglia University:

"The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians, and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinions about global warming to stop and reconsider their position. The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions, and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is new and real evidence that they should examine and then comment on publicly."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

With only one or two exceptions, no state has set climate literacy standards for K-12 and none have standard curriculum. In California, the "environmental education" materials produced by private third parties for voluntary use in the public school system falls far short of what is needed. If CL standards existed in more states or nationally, would Heartland even have bothered? Perhaps, it is our collective inability to even attempt to establish CL standards that has emboldened entities such as Heartland. The absence of CL standards seems to me to be at least as shameful as a paid lobbyist's attempts to fill that gap.