Heartland Replies to Greenpeace

by Jim Lakely on March 28, 2012

(The following press release was posted at the media page at Heartland.org on March 26, 2012.)

Recently, a Greenpeace activist named Cindy Baxter suddenly recalled that “someone calling himself ‘John’ and saying he was with a US environmental NGO” recorded a brief phone conversation with her more than four years ago, while she was at a United Nations’ climate conference in Bali. She now says the episode is comparable to Fakegate – the theft of corporate documents from The Heartland Institute and their circulation, along with a fake memo purporting to describe Heartland’s “climate strategy,” by disgraced climate scientist Peter Gleick.

We respectfully disagree.

Heartland acknowledges that it issued a news release on December 6, 2007 deploring the conduct of the United Nations’ media office during a climate conference taking place in Bali. A link to the alleged recorded conversation with Baxter appeared in that news release.

The point of the news release was that the United Nations’ media office had collected names and contact information for all the journalists registered to cover the conference, and then gave that list only to a select list of liberal environmental groups to inundate with their news releases. In a March 14, 2012 letter to Heartland, Baxter now admits she had received the U.N. media list in Bali. Evidently, she also admitted this in the taped conversation.

Baxter presents no evidence that anyone from The Heartland Institute posed as “John.” No one here remembers the details of the alleged incident. The person overseeing our communications program (over whose name the December 6, 2007 press release was sent out) left Heartland a week after the alleged incident (for unrelated reasons). The audio file was quickly taken off Heartland’s Web site. We have searched our archives for the partial audio file but cannot find it.

James M. Taylor, a Heartland senior fellow and managing editor of Environment & Climate News, is quoted in the news release, but the quotation does not show any involvement with or even awareness of the alleged recorded phone message. Taylor is quoted saying:

“‘This is a sad day for the UN, but not unexpected. They have purposefully rejected any dissenting opinions. Now that the science has reversed on them, the UN is resorting to bully tactics and manipulation to achieve their political goals,’ said James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute. ‘The first victim of global warming was science and truth with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Now it appears every aspect of the UN has become politicized.’”

Of course, we stand by the accuracy of that observation even now, more than four years later.

Baxter’s claim that this event is comparable to the ongoing global warming scandal called Fakegate is incredible. Here is a brief summary of what happened in Fakegate.

On January 27, a prominent climate scientist named Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of Heartland’s board of directors. During the next 14 days, Gleick used that false identity to obtain a series of confidential corporate documents. The stolen documents showed Heartland has a broad base of donors, addresses a wide range of topics, was planning a series of exciting new projects, and is deeply committed to its mission of “discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems.”

Finding no “smoking gun,” someone — either Gleick or a conspirator – produced a fake memo purporting to be Heartland’s “climate strategy” containing false statements apparently intended to defame the organization. On February 14, Gleick added the fake memo to the stolen documents and sent them to 15 media sources and blogs, including a few of his fellow radical environmentalists, claiming they all came from Heartland.

Many of Gleick’s allies immediately posted and blogged about the stolen and forged documents, without giving Heartland a chance to confirm or deny their authenticity. Liberal reporters in the mainstream media went into a feeding frenzy, quoting almost exclusively from the fake memo.

On February 20, Gleick confessed to using deception to obtain the stolen documents and claimed he received the fake memo “in the mail” from an anonymous source. Peter Gleick, by the way, is not some low-level environmental activist. He is president of the Pacific Institute, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Foundation “genius award” recipient, and until recently was chairman of the ethics committee of the American Geophysical Union.

In the weeks following “Fakegate,” Gleick’s allies at 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters, and Citizen Engagement Lab launched a campaign of harassment against the donors identified in the stolen documents, hoping to cripple Heartland’s educational efforts by discouraging donors from renewing their support. At the same time, Greenpeace started attacking the climate scientists who were named in the stolen documents, sending letters to their employers demanding that they be reprimanded or fired for daring to conduct independent research on climate change. Both of these campaigns against free speech and rational debate continue today.

In conclusion, we can see only one thing Fakegate has in common with Cindy Baxter’s story: Both incidents exposed the moral corruption of the global warming movement.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Satrya April 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Regarding the subdebate here on soiacl equity . From the context of the whole sentence: The Pacific Institute will continue in its vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, and soiacl equity. it obviously refers to the well established notion of three pillars of sustanability . Sustainability concerns precicely that: environmental protection, economic development, and soiacl equity. Social equity in this context has precisely NOTHING to do with the notion of left political governance.Sustainability Its just a way of encompassing all relevant effects of any human activity such as running a buisness, building a brige, driving your kid to school, or whatever. Relevant in the sense that they do matter in some way, but they do not necessarily have a clear pricetag or liability label on them. To assess the sustainability performance of an activity lets take the example of driving your kid to school:In the economic sense you achieve a desired function: transporting kid from point A to B. You also suffer economically, e.g. you pay for the gas and incremental value-loss of your car due to the driving. There are also more indirect economic effects but these are easy enough to consider as they directly affect your wallet. Now, your drive also produce effects in the environment and often indirectly on soiacl equity issues. Such effects are often called externalities .In the environmental sense you emit some gases and rubber tire particles to the environment that have (small, but still) unwanted effects such as toxic effect on organisms (including humans), global warming counted as kg CO2-equivalents is typically added here as an undesired environmental effect. But no one is held accountable in terms of paying for these external environmental effects. By using your car you also take advantage of all emissions and resource extracted from nature in order to build the car, the roads, produce the gas, the motoroil, etc.The soiacl equity aspect just means expanding the effects from not only covering traditional environmental effects but also effects on you guessed it: soiacl equity, i.e. human soiacl phenomena that are considerered worthy of protection or establishment such as human rights, gender equity, ethnological equity, religouos equity, the right of kids to be kids, etc.If parts of your car was produced by child labour on a next to nothing salary, your kid-to-school drive can be considered have a bad impact on soiacl equity, given of course that you think underpaid child labor is a bad thing.Now comes the most difficult part: how to compare all these effects? For example, how big is the cost of 3 hour of child labour compared to the cost of toxic effects due to air emission of 0.05 kg benzene-equivalent? It is ONLY in this sense of how things should be valued that any discussion of political values such as left-right policies has any bearing on sustainability. The effects will occur regardless of opinion. But people value the effects differently and it is a matter of preference and subjective choice. It is not inherent in the idea of sustainability that anyone must have adhere to a certain preset idea of what is good or bad. Sustainability assessment only acknowledges that in order to know if it is sustainable or not you must include some idea of what is a desired state of things including soiacl equity issues. So, assessing the sustainability of a given activity only means looking at ALL these effects: economic, environmental, and soiacl good and bad paid for or not.Now, please do not confuse my post of taking a stance for or against the concept of sustainability or any specific value on externalities, sustainability is only a perspective on things. Clearly the concept attracts environmentalists as they put a high value on environmental and socal equity impacts and it is a tool to assess responsibility for these effects.

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