I cannot for the life of me understand why I am on the Heartland Institute’s email list. If you aren’t familiar with the organization, it is a captive mouthpiece of Charles and David Koch which has been spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the role fossil fuels have played in rising average global temperatures for the past 35 years.
There is a whole coterie of people who make their living by attaching themselves to the Kochs and the fossil fuel industry and saying whatever they are paid to say. They busy themselves churning out reports and studies that start with the desired conclusion and then work backwards to create so-called data to support the end result. To do otherwise would see their personal gravy train come to an abrupt halt. There are names for people like that and you can probably think of a few of them yourself.
I got an email from the Heartland Institute on Monday letting me know that they were sponsoring a 5-hour long presentation designed to refute what they call “the United Nations’ climate delusion” featuring a string of well known climate deniers, all of whom feed at the same trough where Koch and fossil fuel money flows 24/7 for anyone willing to put aside any shred of intelligence or decency.
Here’s a partial list:
- William Happer, professor emeritus in physics at Princeton
- Alleged climate scientist Stanley Goldenberg
- Meteorologist Anthony Watts
- Chilean scientist Douglas Pollock
- European Institute for Climate and Energy General Secretary Wolfgang Müller
- Lord Christopher Monckton, advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
- Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition
- James Taylor, director of the Heartland Institute’s Center on Climate and Environmental Policy
The livestreamed event will be live on YouTube, and if you want to watch it for yourself, here’s the link.
In the email I received, James Taylor was euphoric about the upcoming event. “The Heartland Institute is honored to present Dr. Happer at our prebuttal (sic) of the December 2-13 UN conference. Dr. Happer will provide valuable insight into the powerful scientific evidence that shapes President’s Trump climate realism. Dr. Happer’s impressive scientific credentials and accomplishments are unsurpassed. The world needs to hear Dr. Happer present the scientific case against a speculative and highly dubious climate crisis.”
I was curious about Happer’s “impressive scientific credentials and accomplishments” so I asked Google for assistance, and here is what I found on the Climate Reality Forum website. “Co-Founder and current Director of the CO2 Coalition, Dr. William Happer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics at Princeton University, is a specialist in modern optics, optical and radiofrequency spectroscopy of atoms and molecules, radiation propagation in the atmosphere, and spin-polarized atoms and nuclei.”
Do you see any mention in there that Happer knows more than a bucket of warm spit about climate science? No, me either. But he is the keynote speaker at the anti-COP25 presentation, the demigod that climate deniers look to when they want to explain away melting ice caps, rising sea levels, more powerful storms, disruption of ocean currents, and desertification as mere pranks being played on humans by a capricious planet. Nothing to see here, folks, move along. Nothing to see here. Move along.
The email concludes with this message: “The Heartland Institute is a 35-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.”
The code words you need to be aware of are “free market solutions.” That’s Koch-speak for eviscerating any and all government regulations, pouring more mercury into the air and rivers from coal-fired generating plants, rolling back clean air and clean water rules, preventing California from setting its own emissions rules, and allowing industry to leak as much methane into the atmosphere as it wants without any restraint whatsoever.
Charles Koch is the impresario behind Ronald Reagan’s “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” slur, trickle-down economics, the Tea Party, the Freedom Caucus, the Federalist Society, and dozens of other pressure groups designed to spread the gospel according to Koch that all government is bad and rich people should be able to keep all the money they earn for themselves and to hell with the rest of society.
On December 3, you will be able to listen to the cabal that Charles bought make jackasses of themselves in front of the camera. If anybody actually tunes in to watch this three-ring circus, share your thoughts with us. It should be quite a show.