The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) – which still considers Anthony Watts’s dog a member in good standing, a good indication of how seriously they should be taken – is one of the more shrill voices in the debate over climate change. Today, they turned their popgun on The Heartland Institute, which we don’t mind, but more annoyingly, on one of our donors, Pfizer.
Pfizer and our other corporate donors are already under attack by a fake group calling itself “Forecast the Facts,” which is actually just a front-group created by several environmental groups in January to attack us and other climate change skeptics. “Forecast the Facts” is using the fake “climate strategy memo” that disgraced climate scientist Peter Gleick circulated along with documents he stole from The Heartland Institute in February. The fake group is using the fake memo to create fake petitions urging corporations to stop funding The Heartland Institute!
The campaign the UCS has joined is driven by ignorance of science and disregard for Heartland’s actual views on climate change. This is not a big surprise, since the UCS historically has subordinated science to its hard-left political agenda. (In policy circles it is better known as the “Union of Concerned Socialists.” )
The campaign is fundamentally unethical. In the battle of ideas, groups on the left and the right can and do disagree on important issues, but historically when one side is losing they have not tried to defund their opponents by attacking their donors. This is what the alarmists (or “warmists” if they prefer) in the climate debate are doing. And instead of condemning them for this cowardly effort to shut down public debate, media are either ignoring the campaign or actually participating in it. It’s a disheartening spectacle.
Pfizer is, as the UCS comment correctly states, “one of America’s largest and most respected pharmaceutical companies.” It has courageously defended its support of Heartland’s work on health care policy issues. Like most of our corporate donors, Pfizer does not contribute to support our work on climate change, and its management may not agree with it. That’s just how it works with large national think tanks that address a wide range of issues. Demanding that Pfizer and other companies stop funding our work on an unrelated topic doesn’t make sense, unless your goal is simply to silence a voice in the climate debate. Which, of course, is what this is all about.
The campaign against Heartland’s donors has backfired on the “warmists.” We’ve more than doubled the number of donors to The Heartland Institute since “Fakegate” broke in February. We’ve been recruiting new donors, policy advisors, board members, and followers online at record or near-record paces. We’ve benefited greatly from the attention that groups like “Forecast the Facts,” 350.org, the Sierra Club, and now UCS have given us. Al Gore even ran billboards comparing us the National Academy of Science! That’s just priceless!
But really, we would rather get back to debating the science and economics of climate change. This is where we really excel and are clearly winning. The alarmists can’t prove that man-made global warming is a crisis. All they have to offer is fear, exaggerations, outright lies, and now attacks on the donors to their opponents. Give it rest, guys! Either debate us, or get off the field.