Heartland Spams Teachers with Bogus Report

Graham Wayne reports:

Many US teachers have been sent a memo by The Heartland Institute, an organisation whose mission is to “promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems”. The topic of the memo was a report on climate change by the NIPCC, an acronym for “Not the International Panel on Climate Change”.

In essence, educators are being asked by Heartland to review climate change science at a remove. By distributing the NIPCC report “Climate Change Reconsidered II – Physical Science” (CCR2) to teachers, Heartland hopes that the view they sponsor via the NIPCC – one that entirely contradicts the official findings of the IPCC – will prevail in the classroom, or at least feature in the curriculum.

I have for some time been pleased that my offhand summary of the deniers’ position being “not the IPCC”, based on the title of an old BBC program “Not the Nine O’Clock News” has become a watchword, and that Heartland has so handily walked into picking up that title, but to be strictly honest that isn;t how they justify their acronym. (They call themselves, I believe, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.) I would also propose the Nonqualified International Panel on Climate Change. So many possibilities!

Otherwise Wayne’s piece is excellent, and the quote he begins with from Nature is particularly germane:

“Despite criticizing climate scientists for being overconfident about their data, models and theories, the Heartland Institute proclaims a conspicuous confidence in single studies and grand interpretations…it makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading and do not highlight the uncertainties… Many climate sceptics seem to review scientific data and studies not as scientists but as attorneys, magnifying doubts and treating incomplete explanations as falsehoods rather than signs of progress towards the truth. … The Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters.”

“Heart of the Matter”, Nature 475 editorial (28 July 2011)

Comments:

  1. Rather disturbingly I was watching the House of Lords 'debate' on the ammendment to the Energy Bill (via Bishops Hill, of all places - at about 16:12:30) and one of them, I didn't catch his name (I should probably recognise him but didn't), who was otherwise fairly anodyne in his arguments talked about having read the IPCC report and the NIPCC one and said:

    "What disturbs me about these two bodies - and I will leave it there - is that they do not argue with each other, they each abuse each other."

    It is shocking to see this level of discussion (and I'm not even going to start on Lawson's contributions) in a forum where real, significant decisions are being made.

    • It was Patrick Jenkin, apparently - so no, I don't think I should have recognised him - can't rmemeber having heard of him before. The full transcript is here.

    • Patrick Jenkin has responded to an email I sent him expressing my concerns about his statement:

      "You have made a perfectly fair point and I plead guilty. The NIPCC certainly does abuse the IPCC as I described, but of course it is the defenders of the IPCC who tend to talk of Climate Change Deniers, not the IPCC itself."

      I've also sent him a link to Graham's excellent analysis of the NIPCC report.

      It's clearly worth taking the time to hold reasonable people to account for their words.

      I decided not to e-mail Matt Ridley or nigel Lawson.


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