The Heartland Institute held the 6th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC) in Washington, D.C. last week. The official theme of the conference was “restoring the scientific method,” but the message, loud and clear, was that we should not take action to address global warming, regardless of whether it is happening, threatening, neither, or both. Although the Heartland Institute’s self-declared mission is to “discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems,” the ICCC did not address a social or economic problem at all, but instead denied the existence of one of the world’s largest social, environmental, and economic problems; Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).
The Heartland Institute and others who deny that the Earth is warming and that human actions are a central cause, often claim that politics are motivating science when it comes to the theory of AGW, instead of the other way around. The hypocrisy here is that Heartland is an ideological player, free-market economics being the ideology, trying to use science as a tool to advance policy. The ICCC mixed cheers for small government, scientific skepticism, and free market economics with attacks on the IPCC, the Obama administration and “environmentalists,” most of which were manifestations of ideology, not science.
Those who refute the theory of AGW are often referred to as “skeptics,” and while skepticism and debate are essential in science, “skeptic” becomes a misnomer when one deliberately introduces confusion and doubt for political and ideological reasons.
The Playbook to Thwarting Climate Change
Regardless of what they may be called, their method is threefold. First, they do whatever they can to refute or cast doubt on the science that supports AGW. This usually consists of very narrow attacks on specific models and research methods which in turn lead the AGW deniers to broad conclusions about the validity of AGW. In many ways,