There are some key differences between Climategate 1.0 and 2.0, where emails from scientists and their hangers on were leaked, and Heartlandgate (am I the first to use this appallingly over-used extension?).
First, the Climategate emails were real, all too real. Heartland’s wee cache of documents included one ham-handed, too goofy-for-words, fake. The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle, a self-admitted really big fan of climatology’s star figures and no lover of Heartland, analyzed the “2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” document and concluded that “Basically, it reads like it was written from the secret villain lair in a Batman comic. By an intern.”
She added, “It’s more like [whomever faked the document] sat down at the computer and said, ‘What would I write IF I WERE AS CRAZY AS AGW SKEPTICS?'” She characterized other sections of that work of creative fiction as “sheer lunacy.”
Earlier, I suggested that Heartland should keep mum about prosecuting whomever it was that stole their files since focusing on that subject would take them “off message”, to coin a phrase. But I was wrong. Instead, because of this ludicrous forgery they should trumpet the news and show how desperate environmentalists have become. They are not, and have not been, willing to settle for the truth.
In contrast, the Climategate emails did not reveal any wide-spread, or even any small-spread, conspiracy of scientists to fake results and fool the public and funding agencies. But it did show how easy it is for single-minded scientists to fool themselves. To people like the ever-emotional Ben Santer and Don Kevin Trenberth, confirmation bias is something that happens to the other guy, never them.
The most explosive genuine news—where I use “explosive” in the sense of the noise those human-male-gamete carrier-shaped poppers kids in Chinatown throw at each other—from the Heartland documents is that this feared “anti-science” boogeyman had a budget bordering on the non-existent. Last year, their actual budget for everything, including the lights, breakroom coffee, and secretaries’ salaries was only four-and-a-half million. And not a penny of this came from Big Oil.
This figure is so low it doesn’t even count as round-off error when considering the total budgets of the “other side”—Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, NSF, NIH, NOAA, USDA, and on and on and on and, yes, on some more. This isn’t David versus Goliath, it’s the pimple on David’s neck versus an army of Goliaths.
It should scare bejesus out of people like my pal Gav Schmidt that an organization as poorly funded as Heartland is making such a big noise. That they are so influential in the face of this lop-sided competition, can only be that Heartland’s message is finding a receptive audience.
In fact it does twist is knickers, Gav’s I mean. In Salon, he said:
“I don’t think Heartland is either powerful or particularly well-funded,” he said. “They do channel money to these small number of skeptics who make a living being skeptics. But those people would exist without them. The politicization of this topic has come about because people perceive there are political consequences to this problem. What is surprising is that scientists who are just doing their job get pulled up and investigated just because somebody doesn’t want to agree with their results. And that has been driven to a large part by groups like Heartland.”
That Heartland is not well-funded is now known to all, but if they were not “powerful” then we would not be having this discussion. And who makes their living being skeptics? As I pointed out repeatedly, I for example have never received even cent one for my work showing how people like Gav are too sure of themselves. Skepticism does not pay.
Whereas I’d be willing to bet (it would have to be a gentleman’s wager, since I’m not as wealthy as he) that Gav was remunerated over the past decade to the tune of around a million smackeroos; that’s if you factor in the money given to him for his global-warming research, his lavish trips, dinners, environmental soirees, talks, and so forth.
If you say money influences, then money influences, and since you and your fellow climate activists receive orders-plural of magnitude more money than we skeptics, you must be influenced all the more.
The one big trouble with climatologists is that the most vocal among them (the “little guys” haven’t this failing) have forgotten to ask the one big question scientists should always ask: what if I’m wrong?
Update Dennis Ambler, via Marc Morano, reminds us of this drop in the bucket:
Thursday, November 21, 2002 by the New York Times
Exxon-Led Group Is Giving a Climate Grant to Stanford
by Andrew Revkin
Four big international companies, including the oil giant Exxon Mobil, said yesterday that they would give Stanford University $225 million over 10 years for research on ways to meet growing energy needs without worsening global warming.
And then there’s this pittance:
BP, FORD GIVE $20 MILLION FOR PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
October 26, 2000
LONDON — BP Amoco Plc, the world’s No. 3 publicly traded oil company, and Ford Motor Co. said they will give Princeton University $20 million over 10 years to study ways to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. BP said it will give $15 million. Ford, the world’s second-biggest automaker, is donating $5 million. The gift is part of a partnership between the companies aimed at addressing concerns about climate change. Carbon dioxide is the most common of the greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming.
London-based BP said it plans to give $85 million in the next decade to universities in the U.S. and U.K. to study environmental and energy issues. In the past two years, the company has pledged $40 million to Cambridge University, $20 million to the University of California at Berkeley and $10 million to the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The old jokes comes to mind: $225 million here, $85 million there and pretty soon, etc.