Joe Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, wrote a response to the Climate Etc. blog post titled “Heartburn at Heartland.” It’s a cheeky title for a pretty serious issue: The way environmental leftist groups such as Greenpeace, 350.org, Forecast the Facts, and the Sierra Club respond to those who disagree with catastrophic AGW.
Since the enviro-left refuse to examine (let alone discuss) the data that poke holes in the theory, they pull out the brass knuckles against think tanks such as Heartland and the scientists who participate in our climate conferences. Their tactics: Distortion, lies, pressure — attack, attack, attack. Their goal: Get funders to pull support from the think tanks and universities to pull tenure or even fire scientists who dare to fall out of line with the AGW narrative.
So let’s be clear what the environmental left means when it says “the debate is over.” It means … or else. Remember, we’re talking about science here — by definition a discipline of constant open questioning, testing, and discovery. Do astrophysicists get threatening letters when they question Einstein’s theory of relativity? The question answers itself, and points to how out of bounds the enviro-left is behaving. Yet, Judith Curry who publishes Climate Etc. and is a scientist at Georgia Tech, merely shrugs — like the rest of the academic and “mainstream” media.
Again, Joe addressed well Curry’s yawn of a reaction in his post. But he’s not the only one to have noticed. Aside from many people taking Curry to task in the comments below her post, the Shub Niggurath Climate blog has weighed in (HT: Willie Soon). In a post titled “Heartland: What is Judith Curry Talking About?“, the author writes:
One can understand if climate activists smelt blood and roused to exploit an opponent’s move with boundless enthusiasm, shooting off letters to sponsors who are public figures. But writing letters to universities and workplaces putting pressure for people to be fired? Does that go on nonstop in the world of advocacy organizations?
Perhaps Curry has seen similar stuff and this is old hat to her. Perhaps environmental pressure groups have constantly bombarded GeorgiaTech that her tenure status be revoked and she be fired from her job for being a bit of a skeptic. Surely such things do happen anyway.
But that does not make it the norm among environmental groups. It is not a normal thing either.
Environmental groups and non-governmental organizations certainly do not all spend their time getting people whose beliefs do not match theirs fired from their jobs by writing letters and emails to their bosses. Only an elite hypocritical handful of them do – and that certainly includes Greenpeace.
Why do such groups have the luxury of doing that? Well, for one, they are well funded (Greenpeace budget: $270 million). That kind of funding can afford quite a bit of nasty “activism” for the cause. Heartland? Not so much (Our budget: about $5 million).
I am quite sure Heartland has not appointed an expert rummaging crew to suss out Greenpeace’s donors from their trash. I am sure Heartland is not writing letters to universities where the numerous expert scientists who advise Greenpeace work, asking them to think hard who they have on their roster and consider firing some. This is particularly important given the near-perpetual tendency of Greenpeace to commit acts that range from borderline to outright illegal. And remember, this is a group that believes ‘activism is not a crime‘. Only its own activism is not a crime, it seems, with Greenpeace.
On the other hand, almost everything Greenpeace doesn’t like is illegitimate, or a ‘crime’. Offshore oil drilling, crop research, palm cultivation, general commerce, oil prospecting, coal mining, nuclear power generation – they are all crimes.
Read the whole thing, but the author makes the point that many have made since we ran a provocative billboard for one day: Heartland’s friends hold us to a higher standard than they do much more lavish outfits such as Greenpeace.
In the end, I think the Heartland Institute did a great job showing what constitutes passable behavior in environmental activism is not acceptable in the real world.
That’s becoming more clear every day.