The Heartland Institute is a free-market think-tank, and one of its biggest projects is undermining climate science. When IPCC climate scientists had emails stolen in the Climategate incident of 2009, Heartland expressed joy, saying something about how the release of those stolen documents should make people who believe in climate change reconsider (indeed, abandon) their position. Now, the tables have turned, and Heartland has had some of its documents stolen and released. According to one article, Heartland is making this out to be an issue of “common decency and journalistic ethics,” a red herring to draw attention away from the contents of the stolen documents. A piece in the Guardian sums up the contents of the stolen documents:
The papers indicate that discrediting established climate science remains a core mission of the organisation, which has received support from a network of wealthy individuals – including the Koch oil billionaires as well as corporations such as Microsoft and RJR Tobacco.
The documents confirm what environmental groups such as Greenpeace have long suspected: that Heartland itself is a major source of funding to a network of experts and bloggers who have been prominent in the campaign to discredit established science.
This seems like a perfect opportunity for political leaders to remind people that climate change is real and that it requires real changes to our policies, institutions, lifestyles, etc. However, that is precisely not what the Obama administration is doing. In fact, the phrases “climate change” and “global warming” are uttered increasingly less by Obama. As the State of the Union address indicated, climate change is being replaced by “clean energy.” Luckily, since it’s clean, nobody has to worry about how much of it we’re using. The loss of the phrase “climate change” is a bad move rhetorically, politically, scientifically…. it’s a bad move.