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DenialGate - Infographic Illustrating the Heartland Denial Funding Machine

Posted on 18 February 2012 by dana1981, jg

Note: the graphic below was updated at at 16:35 PM on 18 February 2012 to correct a couple of minor errors.  A portion of the government relations budget had been double-counted, and some of the Heartland proposed budgetary figures extend beyond 2012.  See the discussion below for further details.

*update* the graphic was updated again on 23 Feb 2012 to remove the Charles Koch Industries $225k donation.  The foundation donated $25k to Heartland in 2011 for health care research, but will not make Heartland's expected $200k 2012 donation.

*update 2* the graphic was updated again on 24 Feb 2012 to remove David Watkins' name.  Watkins relayed the following message to Skeptical Science:

"David Watkins has had no relationship with the Heartland Institute.  He has not accepted (nor has he been offered) any funds from them.  He is not a supporter of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and in fact he routinely uses results from reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in his research on water resources adaptation planning for climate change."


Skeptical Science's resident artist (that's pronounced "ar-teest") jg has put together an infographic illustrating the Heartland Institute's funding sources and planned budget payments (based on lots of input and suggestions from the whole Skeptical Science team; click the image for a hi-rez version):

heartland funding infographic

* Craig Loehle declined the Heartland funding offer.

These numbers come from the Heartland 2012 Budget and Fundraising Plan documents (in US dollars).  Note that while some of the figures in this graphic have been confirmed, Heartland has not yet confirmed that all the numbers are correct.  There is also no reason to doubt their veracity to this point.  If any of the numbers are found to be in error, we will revise this graphic accordingly.

Although there are too many donations and programs to include in a single graphic, we selected some of the larger and more prominent contributors for the upper half of the graphic.  Most of the programs and individuals in the lower half are potentially climate-related, with the exception of Operation Angry Badger, which we included because it potentially vlolates Heartland's tax-exempt chartiable organizational status, and James Taylor, because he frequently writes climate "skeptic" blog posts for Forbes.

The proposed budget numbers for Angry Badger and the Center for Transforming Education also appear to be long-term budgetary figures, not just applicable to 2012.  The Angry Badger 2012 budget is closer to $200k, but net planned budget is $610k.

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Comments 51 to 70 out of 70:

  1. CraigR, I believe you have read that wrong. As far as I can see, dana1981 and jg (the joint authors of this Post) state that "[m]ost of the programs and individuals in the lower half are potentially climate-related", i.e. potentially $1.75million will be spent on their attempt to create confusion in this matter. So, that is just on Climate Change in America. The figures for Greenpeace and WWF are spread throughout the world, so it is very possible that Heartland's money is comparable in scale within America - and they are just one group.
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  2. DSL @ 45
    "In other words, no matter what you believe about climate science, supporting the social construction of knowledge through the scientific method is inconsistent with supporting Heartland."
    Beautifully put. The scientific method is inconsistent with the populist politcal method, whether Heartland, Tea Party, Chris Monckton, Andrew Bolt, Tony Abbott (Australian), or any other protagonist seeking victory through rhetoric.
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  3. Apologies to the Authors... my mistake The amounts of funding are simply disproportionate to those that support the AGW theory and those that do not, it's just not comparable, to think otherwise is not being realistic. Decisions are made and financial benefits are provided particularly from convinced governments to enterprises, groups & business that have a vested interest in proposed solutions and ongoing research, it simply gains momentum of it;s own which in fact could be described as the "climate change industry", as someone has already described.
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  4. CraigR, the ultimate point is that worthwhile initiatives get funded. You could make the same argument about science in general: "Geez, these new theories about chemistry, physics, biology, and agriculture sure do have a lot of supporters. But there are alternative theories (God, FSM, Gaia). I'll bet the alternative theorists get funded much less than the scientists! Conspiracy! Waste! Fraud!" Heartland funding leads to a less informed public. Funding to climate science leads to a more informed public. The former profits the few; the latter profits the many.
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  5. CraigR wrote: "The amounts of funding are simply disproportionate to those that support the AGW theory and those that do not" What reference set are you using here? All forms of funding to everyone who supports/opposes AGW theory? Including the paychecks your employer gives you? If so then the money received by people who accept AGW is likely somewhat larger... because there are more of them. Making the difference very much 'proportionate'. All funding to climate scientists? Again, I'd argue that funding here is proportionate... because there are vastly more climate scientists who support the AGW theory (i.e. virtually all of them) than do not. All funding to anyone to promote a specific pre-determined viewpoint on global warming? Here I'd agree that there is a clear case of "disproportionate" funding, to the 'skeptics'. Also keep in mind, scientists are constantly trying to prove and DISprove countless aspects of climate science. Indeed, every significant scientific talking point the 'skeptics' have comes originally from research done by actual climate scientists (which 'skeptics' then distort or continue to reference decades after it has been corrected). Thus, treating all the money going into climate science as 'pro AGW' is simply false. That money is 'pro science', it is just that over a century of scientific efforts to contradict AGW have failed to do so.
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  6. I said ... "Decisions are made and financial benefits are provided particularly from convinced governments to enterprises, groups & business that have a vested interest in proposed solutions and ongoing research" therefore the issue I put forward is not limited to just "climate scientists" it is broader than that. It is quite clear it is not a level playing field. If I was to seek out funding and declared myself a "skeptic" I doubt funding would be given.....simply put if the world views of the decision makers changed so would the funding. I think declaring someone anti-science or pro-science in an effort to discredit them or place them above others is simply wrong "science" is to broader a topic for such generalizations.
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  7. CraigR wrote : "If I was to seek out funding and declared myself a "skeptic" I doubt funding would be given.....simply put if the world views of the decision makers changed so would the funding." Do you have any evidence to back up your doubts about funding ? Don't Lindzen and Spencer get funding ?
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  8. I wrote ... "therefore the issue I put forward is not limited to just "climate scientists" it is broader than that"
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  9. CraigR (if you were responding to me) what funding would you be seeking that you reckon would be denied to you if you declared yourself a "skeptic" ?
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  10. CraigR: Thanks to the International Climate Denial Spin Machine created by the Koch brothers, Robert Murdoch, and their ilk, a propaganda generator like the Heartland Institute does not have to be large and have a big budget in order to impact public opinion and public policy. In other words, the Heartland Institute does not operate in a vacuum.
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  11. CraigR: The fossil-fuel industry collectively stands to realize billions of dollars in profits at stake if a "business-as-usual" emissions scenario is maintained over the next decades. It created and continues to fund the global Climate Denial Spin Machine whose sole purpose is to convince the general public and policymakers that taking swift and meaningful actions to reduce manmade GHG emissions on a global scale is not necessary.
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  12. "International Climate Denial Spin Machine" but yet a label like "The Climate Change Industry" some how is viewed as inappropriate, to each their own I guess. From my understanding most organizations would probably put forward plans, agendas and processes that would most benefit their organization. I doubt that an organization would pick a path that would see it's demise on purpose (both sides). I believe the "truth" is generally found some where in the middle, not unlike the current Labor leadership tussle, (maybe their just as bad as each other, sorry I digress) to much time and vested interests have cemented peoples positions. I fear that the "truth" has been lost sometime ago and the willingness to share openly, discuss respectfully and even the opportunity for some to say "I was mistaken" just seems to hard now to admit and we as a society are the poorer for it.
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  13. CraigR @ 62
    "I believe the "truth" is generally found some where in the middle"
    What truth is in the middle of which extremes, precisely? Either Heartland financially supports groups and individuals in efforts to undermine the greater body of established climate science, or they don't. There is no half-way. Your stance is akin to saying "the truth about CO2 is half-way between 'it is a greenhouse gas' and 'it is not a greenhouse gas'" i.e: a logical impossibility.
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  14. CraigR @62, the truth is not identified by finding two factions and looking for a middle opinion, it is identified by examining the evidence and seeing how various theories stack up. As it happens, one side spends almost all of the available money to it doing just that. The other side pays people money based on the conclusion they reach, not on the evidence they supply or the rigorousness of their approach. Describing the first as an "industry" misses the essential differences between their approach. If you disagree with this assessment, you are more than welcome to take up the cudgels and show how Christopher Monckton (closely associated with the Heartland Institute) has not serially misrepresented, scientists and scientific data. Until you do, you have no business representing the sides as being equivalent when clearly they are not.
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  15. CraigR wrote: "I believe the "truth" is generally found some where in the middle" The middle of actual of scientific research yes... that's known as the IPCC reports with their finding of a climate sensitivity range likely between 2 and 4.5 C per CO2 doubling, most probably about 3 C. Somewhere in the middle between the scientific research which finds low (e.g. 2 C) climate sensitivity and the scientific research which finds high (e.g. 4.5 C) climate sensitivity. What you are arguing for is instead some sort of 'false middle' between the range found by scientific research and nonsense made up by propagandists. The Heartland Institute has never published even one peer reviewed scientific study. There is thus nothing to 'factor in' from them when calculating a 'middle'. Tell me, do you believe that 'the middle' lies somewhere between the overwhelming scientific evidence that smoking causes cancer and the Heartland Institute's position that it does not?
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  16. CraigR wrote : "I believe the "truth" is generally found some where in the middle..." As a matter of interest, what is the middle position, that presumably you find yourself in, with regards to Evolution and its Creationist opposite ? Or do you agree that the truth (without quotation marks) is generally found nearer to scientific explanations than to religious or political ones (such as expounded by Heartland).
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  17. Between the NASA version and the conspiracy theorists' one, the truth must be that astronauts went only halfway to the Moon. Between WHO's version and Dr. Duesberg's one, the truth must be that HIV causes only half of AIDS cases. Forget evidence. Forget about understanding physics. The average of all bloggers' positions is the most reliable proxy for truth. I notice I'm too sarcastic lately. Must be lazyness.
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  18. CraigR: ""I believe the "truth" is generally found some where in the middle..." I'm sorry, CraigR, but I'm going to have to join the dogpile. Any sentence that starts with not just "I believe" but also "the truth" is bound to end badly. Following such a beginning with "generally" and then "(is) found" (passive -- someone else is doing it, not you) and then "somewhere" (bring that together with "generally," and you have exactly nothing) and you end up pointing precisely to the universe as a whole. And then we have "in the middle" applied to science . . . These comments (the last few in reply to you) should be read as a sign that you are misreading your audience. Your audience clearly expects a level of precision that you felt was unnecessary in your first series of comments. That's not to say you shouldn't continue with the discussion, but without any changes you risk talking to an empty room. To continue . . . you say, "I doubt that an organization would pick a path that would see it's demise on purpose (both sides)." Not true. Organizations that have a limited lifespan are constantly being formed. I've said this before, but I suspect that John Cook (and most of the usual posters) would drop SkS in a heartbeat if denialism suddenly vanished or the world decided to put serious and sustained effort into mitigation. He certainly wouldn't manufacture controversy in order to drive up interest in the site. As far as scientists go, people don't get into an area of science because it's the hot ticket right now. The process of developing as a scientist is too slow for that. Climate science would be a field of study whether or not global warming was an issue, and, believe it or not, the actual specific discipline is not well-populated. It looks well-populated because science being done by thousands of researchers in other fields is supporting the conclusions of climate scientists (thus, everyone looks like a climate scientist). It's not as simple as saying "this side" and "that side." True, there are people who want to turn everything into a series of commodities, but these people are not generated by climate science. Rather, they are encouraged by the current economic mode (so, yes, you'll find them everywhere). CraigR: "I think declaring someone anti-science or pro-science in an effort to discredit them or place them above others is simply wrong "science" is to broader a topic for such generalizations." Heartland will continue to manufacture its primary product--doubt--as long as it has a market. If you have evidence of another primary product for Heartland, let's have it. Existing evidence supports Heartland as a doubt factory. Since science is all about eliminating doubt, Heartland is anti-science. Blah blah blah. I need to get back to work.
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  19. I want to reemphasise the following comment "Climate science would be a field of study whether or not global warming was an issue, and, believe it or not..." The idea that scientists are somehow wound up in a self-perpetuating "climate change industry" seems crazy to me. Scientists have no vested interest in whether climate change is happening. It doesn't lead to more research dollars on average -- it just changes research priorities and the distribution of dollars. Some win in that redistribution, and some lose to some degree, but most just adapt. If climate change were not so obviously happening, the priorities would be different and we would adjust accordingly. But climate is so central to so many environmental, economic and societal issues and there is still so much to learn that I doubt funding levels would change.
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  20. Here is an interesting article investigating the funding and tax-deductable status of Australia's Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which has links to Heartland. Looks like a similar setup - how strange.
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