“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.” Ken Caldeira, Climate Scientist 
“The Climategate scientists, for example, falsified temperature data to keep the warming scare alive” Diane Carol Bast, Heartland Institute 
“We wish to solve this equation for m. To do this we first use the mathematical trick…” Richard Feynman, Lectures in Physics, p15-10.
“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.” Internal technical report of industry disinformation group Global Climate Coalition, 1996 .
In response to my March 3 column, Scotus , Diane Blas of Heartland Institute suggested that we should focus on the science of anthropogenic global warming in her letter to the editor . I agree. But first it is relevant to note Bast’s unchristian, uncharitable and unequivocally false rush-to-judgment of climate scientist Phil Jones and other climate scientists over the so-called climate-gate controversy, if only because if one visits the Heartland Institute web site looking for any science, one is forced to wade through these ignorant and unjustified personal attacks, which all look rather foolish now. Since her letter Jones has been vindicated, twice [4-5]. If Bast was at all concerned for personal liberty as she claims in her letter, she will gladly apologize not only to Dr. Jones but to all the rest of us for spreading disinformation, but I’m not holding my breath.
With respect to science, each year Heartland Institute hosts a global warming denier conference. On March 2, 2008, prominent denier Pat Michaels was their keynote speaker. The focus of Michaels’ talk was the disingenuousness of the global warming denier canard that the Earth stopped warming and is now cooling. He said, addressing the room full of deniers: “You’ve all seen articles saying that global warming stopped in 1998. With all due respect, that’s being a little bit unfair to the data.” He then went on to describe why. I include a reference to the amusing and informative youtube video  by Peter Sinclair so you can see for yourselves.
Michaels concludes “Make an argument that you can get killed on and you kill us all.” His meaning was that if deniers make an argument that is easily debunked all global warming deniers will lose their credibility. He added: “Global warming is real and the warming in the second half of the twentieth century, people had something to do with it.”
Yet on the Heartland website  there is a list of denier arguments leading with:
“Temperatures have been cooling since 2002, even as carbon dioxide has continued to rise”.
Why would the folks at Heartland post an argument that they were informed at their own conference by their own keynote speaker was not true? It is not surprising to find “denier” Pat Michaels and “alarmist” Ken Caldeira in agreement. We observe that Bast does not even listen to her own experts let alone real climate scientists. Peter Sinclair does a respectable job of explaining the science in his little video.
None of the talking points on Heartland’s list is supported by any reference to any science, sound or otherwise, and so from a skeptic’s perspective they are not useful since they cannot be validated or confirmed. There is no understanding or information in a list of talking points. Another argument on the Heartland list is exemplary of the kind of easy mistake a gullible ideologue might make .
Reconstruction of paleoclimatological CO2 concentrations demonstrates that carbon dioxide concentration today is near its lowest level since the Cambrian Era some 550 million years ago, when there was almost 20 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere as there is today without causing a “runaway greenhouse effect.”
That sounds like a clincher argument for the denier but it leaves some very important science out. Carbon dioxide levels were indeed higher during the early Phanerozoic [see for example Berner, 2004], but any curious person can find out easily enough that the sun was less luminous as well. This is explained in my article titled Climate Factors  and is discussed in every Earth sciences text book [see for example Lunine, 2000 and Kump, 2004] with which I’m familiar, so only an unreliable and uninformed person would make this argument. Briefly, the sun was cooler 550 million years ago and the Earth required much more carbon dioxide in order to maintain a suitable climate to support liquid water and life. This is not an argument against Svante Arrhenius’ anthropogenic global warming theory as erroneously portrayed by deniers but an argument in support of it. Atmospheric carbon dioxide at those levels is the only way the planet would have been habitable by complex life forms. Any skeptic reading this will get one of the books I reference to confirm this. And she will not do so simply because she wants to be convinced but also out of curiosity and the joy of learning something new.
We see straight off that two of heartland’s top arguments are specifically false, not just misleading. The rest of the arguments on their list are dubious as well. Without reference to any data or analysis all the arguments are unverifiable. The onus is on the Heartland Institute to salvage what arguments they might from the list, defend only those and drop the others. A little apology for the attempt to mislead us would be appropriate.
The Heartland institute web site contains what they claim to be three lists of peer-reviewed journal articles. I was thrilled to find these lists, even as I noted that they are just lists with no text or explanation. The references are not cross linked to the list of denier talking points , for example. Certainly for a denier the presumed existence of such a list is sufficient since he is not interested in the science anyway. But a skeptical person wants to actually read the articles and understand why they might support the denier view and here is where the editors at Heartland run into trouble. I have a subscription to the Journal Nature and can download those articles for free. Twelve of the references are from this journal. Obviously I did not cherry picked these twelve as my criteria was completely independent of any assumption on my part about them. Four of the twelve references are correspondences or letters to the editor [Slingo, 2007, Wunsch, 2004, Ladle, 2004, Gordon, 1996]. These in fact are opinion and are not peer-reviewed so they do not belong on this list at all. Further, there is nothing in these letters which contradicts the consensus view. Ladle’s letter, which is the only entry in Heartland’s “species extinction” category, criticizes the main stream media for misinterpreting the conclusions from a previously published peer-reviewed article [Thomas, 2004]. Thomas (and this is peer-reviewed) concludes:
“We predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37 percent of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’.”
This conclusion pointedly does not support denial. If it is the purpose of Heartland Institute to criticize main stream media why not just fill up their web site with links to clips from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”? Nobody does that better than him.
Three of the Twelve Nature references are commentary; one of a paper by Emanuel and two are commentary on policy. These are not peer reviewed either and in any event do not contain science which supports or contradicts global warming. Prins, for example, writes [Prins, 2007]
“Kyoto has failed in several ways, not just in its lack of success in slowing global warming, but also because it has stifled discussion of alternative policy approaches that could both combat climate change and adapt to its unavoidable consequences.”
Please note that Prins completely contradicts the denier claim that global warming stopped in 1998 or 2002 or whatever, in agreement with Michaels and Caldeira and every other climate scientist. Prins commentary is opinion on policy. It is not peer-reviewed science. In any event, the commentary does not dispute in the least the science of anthropogenic global warming. Prins simply voices the opinion that there may be better ways to address the problem than the Kyoto process. We can honestly have that discussion without spreading disinformation.
Roger Pielke’s commentary on policy [Pielke, 2007] does not dispute AGW theory either but argues for adaptation in lieu of mitigation. Well that’s a reasonable discussion too, but it is not peer-reviewed science and does not belong on a list advertizing “peer-reviewed” science.
One of the five peer-reviewed journal articles starts:
“Between 34 and 15 million years (Myr) ago, when planetary temperatures were 3-4 oC warmer than at present and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were twice as high as today…” [Naish, 2001]
Just to be clear, this is actually at the high range of the consensus view which estimates equilibrium climate sensitivity (the amount the Earth would warm with a doubling a atmospheric carbon dioxide) to be between 2 to 4.5 oC. How in the world did this paper make a list of papers supposedly supporting the denier view? As I pointed out in my article titled Anjia Eichler , this technique is common among deniers but what else are they going to do? Deniers like Bast make a pretense of adhering to solid science so they must occasionally, albeit reluctantly, reference it and thus apparently have no choice but to contradict themselves.
Another peer-reviewed article doesn’t support the denier view either and is in fact unrelated to the discussion [Braun, 2005]. Interestingly, one of the authors is Stefan Rahmstorf, who contributes to Real Climate, perhaps the best on-line source for global warming science. In fact I cite one of Rahmstorf’s paper’s [Rahmstorf, 2008] in my Anjia Eichler article . The 2008 paper is a great summary of the science behind Arrhenius’ anthropomorphic global warming theory. I recommend this paper for any skeptically minded person who wants to understand global warming and would prefer sound information and solid scientific explanation.
In another peer-reviewed paper which Heartland cites, Moberg et al,[Moberg, 2005] concludes
“We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period—in agreement with previous similar studies (my note: they are referring to agreement with Mann et al which deniers claim has been debunct, obviously not.). The main implication of our study, however, is that natural multicentennial climate variability may be larger than commonly thought, and that much of this variability could result from a response to natural changes in radiative forcings. This does not imply that the global warming in the last few decades has been caused by natural forcing factors alone, as model experiments that use natural-only forcings fail to reproduce this warming. Nevertheless, our findings underscore a need to improve scenarios for future climate change by also including forced natural variability—which could either amplify or attenuate anthropogenic climate change significantly.”
This actually is quite alarming. The authors find evidence of forced natural variability which might amplify or attenuate climate change significantly. The authors do not speculate of course but leave open the possibility that warming could be much worse. This is in agreement with a more recent paper by Swanson et al, 2009 which concludes
“If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability.” [Swanson, 2009]
Interestingly this paper was cited by the Cato institute as supporting denial as I pointed out in my Anjia Eichler  article. Another Swanson and Tsonas paper did make the Heartland list but I don’t have access to it. Swanson once wrote on the Real Climate web site that he is completely mystified that deniers should misinterpret his research . In this article, Swanson explains his research and why it suggests that global warming might be much worse than the consensus view.
A skeptic is left to conclude that Heartland’s list of peer-reviewed papers is a deception. There are 180 papers listed and I sampled 12 or 7.5 percent. While I recognize that this is a small sample size most articles cited were not peer-reviewed journal articles, 7 of 12. And all 12 either contradict the denial view or at best are neutral. Not one of these citations supports denial. A denier sees a long list and accepts the Heartland conclusions unquestioningly. A skeptic does the homework. Ever the skeptic, myself, I view the list as a resource and will be trying to get as many of the papers as I can, certainly out of curiosity.
I’m familiar with several other references on the Heartland list such as to a paper by Lindzen [Lindzen, 1990]. This is an interesting paper, by the way, and one of perhaps a very small number which might actually be said to support the denier view. Of this paper, though, the technical team for the now-defunct industry funded misinformation group Global Climate Coalition concluded in their 1996 report :
“Lindzen’s hypothesis that any warming would create more rain which would cool and dry the upper troposphere did offer a mechanism for balancing the effect of increased greenhouse gases. However, the data supporting this hypothesis is weak, and even Lindzen has stopped presenting it as an alternative to the conventional model of climate change.”
This may be the most solid science supporting denial on their list and we note that “the data supporting this hypothesis is weak”. In his paper, Lindzen points out another problem with emissions of CO2:
“…admittedly leaving us with the problem of fossil fuel depletion;” and
“It is entirely legitimate to ask whether we should be worried about increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. (The depletion of fossil fuels is another matter.)”
Lindzen recognizes as early as 1990 that we may have a more serious or acute problem if we do not reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and convert our society to alternative energy sources as soon as possible. We note that both problems: fossil fuel depletion and global warming, have the same solution. So a skeptic might be inclined to ask “why do deniers care so much about global warming to the point of making stuff up if we have to address this problem anyway?”
I do not for a minute discount the usefulness or validity of resources such as letters-to-the-editor or commentary but these references are not in fact peer-reviewed and should not be included in a list of “peer-reviewed” resources. That in itself constitutes misinformation. They could have titled the list “references that support the denier view” or some such. But even that is misleading since many of these references do not support their view.
Unfortunately, an uncritical reader of their web site would accept the “existence” of the list as “proof” that the denier view has scientific support which it doesn’t have or that there is a legitimate scientific controversy regards the IPCC consensus view which does not exist. In this regard I think the list may constitute fraud.
There are a few articles which do support the denier view, which I recognize because I’ve read them. Somebody at Heartland Institute should remove the references which are not peer-reviewed and read the remainder and eliminate the ones which don’t actually support their position. But I suspect that then heartland would be left with perhaps a dozen disputed or debunked papers supporting their view, and that list would look rather flimsy.
As to the talking points, Heartland Institute should eliminate the points which are not true or otherwise indefensible and attempt to defend the remainder. I conclude there isn’t much in the way of solid science at this web site which disputes the consensus view on anthropogenic global warming.
I recommend a video of a speech given by one of the climate-gate scientists at last year’s AGU meeting. Richard Alley does an exceptionally good job of explaining climate science . This is a great resource for Bast to consider linking to on the Heartland Institute web site.
Berner, Robert, The Phanerozoic Carbon Cycle, Oxford University Press, 2004.
Kump, L. R., Kastings, J. F., and Crane, R. G., The Earth System, 2004.
Lunine, J. I., Earth, Evolution of a Habitable World, 2000.
Dangers of crying wolf over risk of extinctions (Nature 428, 799, 22 April 2004) – Richard J. Ladle, Paul Jepson, Miguel B. Araújo & Robert J. Whittaker – correspondence
Gulf Stream safe if wind blows and Earth turns (Nature 428, 601, 8 April 2004) – Carl Wunsch – correspondence
Is global warming climate change? (Nature 380, 478, 11 April 1996) – Adrian H. Gordon, John A. T. Bye, Roland A. D. Byron-Scott – correspondence
Sea-ice decline due to more than warming alone (Nature 450, 27, 1 November 2007) – Julia Slingo, Rowan Sutton – correspondence
Naish TR, Woolfe KJ, Barrett PJ, Wilson GS, Atkins C, Bohaty SM, Bücker CJ, Claps M, Davey FJ, Dunbar GB, Dunn AG, Fielding CR, Florindo F, Hannah MJ, Harwood DM, Henrys SA, Krissek LA, Lavelle M, van Der Meer J, McIntosh WC, Niessen F, Passchier S, Powell RD, Roberts AP, Sagnotti L, Scherer RP, Strong CP, Talarico F, Verosub KL, Villa G, Watkins DK, Webb PN, Wonik T, Orbitally induced oscillations in the East Antarctic ice sheet at the Oligocene/Miocene boundary (Nature 413, 719-723, October 2001) –
Rahmstorf, S., 2008: Anthropogenic Climate Change: Revisiting the Facts. In: Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto., E. Zedillo, Ed., Brookings Institution Press, Washington, pp. 34-53
A Millennium Scale Sunspot Reconstruction: Evidence for an Unusually Active Sun Since the 1940s (Physical Review Letters 91, 2003) – Ilya G. Usoskin, Sami K. Solanki, Manfred Schüssler, Kalevi Mursula, Katja Alanko
Wang, Y.-M., J. L. Lean, J. L., and Sheeley, N. R. Jr , Modeling the sun’s magnetic field and irradiance since 1713, The Astrophysical Journal, 625:522–538, May 20, 2005
Krivova, N. A., Balmaceda, L., and Solanki, S. K., Reconstruction of solar total irradiance since 1700 from the surface magnetic flux, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 467, Number 1, May III 2007, 335 – 346.
A 150,000-year climatic record from Antarctic ice (Nature 316, 591 – 596, 15 August 1985) – C. Lorius, C. Ritz, J. Jouzel, L. Merlivat, N. I. Barkov
Possible solar origin of the 1,470-year glacial climate cycle demonstrated in a coupled model (Nature 438, 208-211, 10 November 2005) – Holger Braun, Marcus Christl, Stefan Rahmstorf, Andrey Ganopolski, Augusto Mangini, Claudia Kubatzki, Kurt Roth, Bernd Kromet
Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data (Nature 433, 613-617, February 2005) – Anders Moberg, Dmitry M. Sonechkin, Karin Holmgren, Nina M. Datsenko and Wibjörn Karlén
Are there trends in hurricane destruction? (Nature 438, E11, 22 December 2005) – Roger A. Pielke, Jr. – brief communications – commentary on a paper by K. Emanuel – the Emanuel paper is not included in the Heartland list.
Time to ditch Kyoto (Nature 449, 973-975, 25 October 2007) – Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner – commentary
Climate change 2007: Lifting the taboo on adaptation (Nature 445, 597-598, 8 February 2007) – Roger Pielke Jr., Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner, Daniel Sarewitz – commentary
No upward trends in the occurrence of extreme floods in central Europe (Nature 425, 166-169, 11 September 2003) – Manfred Mudelsee, Michael Börngen, Gerd Tetzlaff, Uwe Grünewald
Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for adapting to climate change: Tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27. DOI 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001.
Lindzen, R. S., “Some Coolness Concerning Global Warming”, American Meteorological Society, Vol. 71, No. 3, March 1990.
 Ken Caldeira http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/26/global-cooling-myth-statisticians-caldeira-superfreakonomics/
 Diane Carol Bast, letter-to-the-editor, Blue Ridge Leader, http://brleader.com/?p=1453
 Scotus, http://brleader.com/?p=1448
 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia” Eighth Report of Session 2009–10 http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/HC387-IUEAFinalEmbargoedv21.pdf
 Joe Romm, Climate Progress, http://climateprogress.org/2010/04/14/climatic-research-unit-scientists-cleared-again/
 Sinclair http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/u/2/QwnrpwctIh4
 Noerpel, http://brleader.com/?p=1414
 Noerpel, http://brleader.com/?p=1247
 Swanson, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/
 Global Climate Coalition see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Climate_Coalition and http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Global_Climate_Coalition
 Alley, 2009, http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml