yes, being a global warming denier does pay
You might remember the self-contradictory positions of denialist think tanks on global warming with their charge that scientists saying that the planet is warming up are in it for billions of taxpayer dollars, though how much money they get in grants can’t possibly be that high unless the government is seriously underreporting its science and research budget. But fun fact, it turns out that the very same denialists who blast grants for all sorts of climate studies that find conclusions their patrons don’t like make a good chunk of change. In fact, an entire little industry has sprung up around its donations to denialists and they admit right out that their goal is specifically to stop science teachers from talking about climate change and get climatologists out of print in a publication once considered friendly, goals outlined in the Heartland Institute’s confidential documents…
After complaining that “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the [ warming ] alarmist perspective,” the document indicates that the $100,000 will go to David Wojick, an engineer with a PhD in the philosophy of science. Wojick will be funded to address “the absence of educational material suitable for K-12 students on global warming that isn’t alarmist or overtly political.” To that end, he’ll produce a set of modules that explicitly borrows the “teach the controversy” strategy, with each module dedicated to terming different aspects of climate change controversial — humanity’s involvement, the accuracy of climate models, the role of CO2 as a pollutant, etc. “Efforts will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain, two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”
In other words, there’s science the Heartland Institute likes and the science it doesn’t like, and it doesn’t want teachers to talk about the science it doesn’t like so much so, it’s going to give someone a six figure salary for the express goal of making sure they’ll stop teaching it. Really, it’s one thing to ask someone prophesying the watery end of the world through human-charged global warming how he or she can be so sure that we are all doomed to a chaotic hothouse world if we don’t adopt their vision right this second. But to shell out cash for a campaign to fudge the facts without the slightest thought as to the education of the kids? That is simply not a legitimate way to conduct oneself.
Now I’m sure there are going to be plenty of denialists who’ll cry and whine about their papers being ignored despite being told for the thousandth time that their talking points have been shown as either mistakes, ignorance, or an outright lie, demanding that we allow them to present something that sounds soothing in their minds as fact. But we can’t. We’re supposed to deal with facts and one’s desire to disprove global warming because he hates Al Gore and think environmentalism is a communist plot does not yield good, actionable, qualified data on the subject in question.
Then again, what would you expect from Heartland? This is the think tank that was hired by Phillip Morris to do all it could to lobby against secondhand smoke being classified as hazardous and distributed obfuscation by the tobacco giant in response to mounting studies that long term exposure to secondhand smoke could lead to cancers or smoking-related diseases. Certainly one can understand their reasons for advocating balanced budgets for states and competitive reforms in education and we could make reasoned arguments for holding the position they do.
But when it comes to pollution and health issues, Heartland’s moral compass will point to the largest wad of cash around and considering that NSF grants aren’t as lucrative of a pursuit as getting a large cash donation from a company to lobby the government, and require actual deliverable studies instead of politicized obfuscation, they’re going to go with the wad of cash. Oh and if you see an editor from Forbes, do be sure to point him or her to the documents leaked from the think tank. They’re very unhappy with the actual, peer-reviewed climate science being published by the magazine rather than the hacks on their payroll doing all the talking there and in the Wall Street Journal. Just thought the editors may want to that…