Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Heartland Institute Threatens Critics after Leaked Documents

Climate
Heartland Institute Threatens Critics after Leaked Documents

Oil Change International

By Andy Rowell

The climate skeptic think tank, the Heartland Institute, that last week was the victim of a devastating leak of information, has decided that attack is the best form of defense and has started threatening organizations and websites that published the leaked documents.

It is interesting to dissect how Heartland, which has been in crisis mode for a week now, has reacted to this scandal. And it smacks of hypocrisy.

Its first response was to argue that the authenticity of the documents had not been confirmed. It then argued that one of the most damaging documents—its leaked 2012 Strategy—was a fake “apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute." This was a clear attempt to stop people from quoting from it.

The Heartland then “respectfully” asked “all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.”

In a section on the lessons learned it argued that “honest disagreement” over the causes of climate change “should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.”

If Heartland had a track record of honestly portraying the science of climate change and not exploiting previous stolen information it might well have a leg to stand on. Instead we are dealing with an institute that is used to promoting climate denial and one that ruthlessly exploited the leaked emails from scientists, not just with the first leak in November 2009, but also the second leak at the end of last year.

Just check a short selection of some of their headlines:

So the hypocrisy and irony of Heartland asking people to refrain from using the documents has not been lost on seven scientists whose emails featured in “Climategate.”

In a letter published in the Guardian at the end of last week, the scientists wrote:

“As scientists who have had their emails stolen, posted online and grossly misrepresented, we can appreciate the difficulties the Heartland Institute is currently experiencing following the online posting of the organization’s internal documents earlier this week. However, we are greatly disappointed by their content, which indicates the organization is continuing its campaign to discredit mainstream climate science and to undermine the teaching of well-established climate science in the classroom.”

The letter continued—“Despite multiple independent investigations, which demonstrated that allegations against scientists were false, the Heartland Institute continued to attack scientists based on the stolen emails … So although we can agree that stealing documents and posting them online is not an acceptable practice, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the Heartland Institute has had no qualms about utilizing and distorting emails stolen from scientists.”

It also said—“We hope the Heartland Institute will heed its own advice to ‘think about what has happened’ and recognize how its attacks on science and scientists have helped poison the debate over climate change policy. The Heartland Institute has chosen to undermine public understanding of basic scientific facts and personally attack climate researchers rather than engage in a civil debate about climate change policy options.”

Rather than “thinking about what has happened” the Institute is now trying to gag websites  from using the information. It has sent legal notices to numerous Web sites, blogs and publications asking them to take down documents.

For once I agree with Heartland’s Joseph Bast when he writes, “We realize this will be portrayed by some as a heavy-handed threat to free speech.”

One of those whom has received a legal letter is of course DeSmogBlog, which leaked the original documents.

As Richard Littlemore from the blog notes—“Heartland Institute general counsel Maureen Martin has sent letters to the DeSmogBlog and several other publications demanding that we remove all Heartland-related documents that we posted on February 14, as well as all related commentary.”

So good on DeSmogBlog for not buckling under the pressure.

As they say, “We will leave them in place – in the public interest."

For more information, click here.

Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A woman marks down her vote on a ballot for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Herndon, Virginia. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Oliver Milman

The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A black bear cub climbs a tree at Tongass National Forest in Alaska. sarkophoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on September 25, 2020. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan

Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.

Read More Show Less

This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch