Changing Planet

Leaked Documents Describe Plan to Push Climate Change Denial in Schools

Leaked documents purportedly from the nonprofit Heartland Institute include efforts to cast doubt on climate science. The site DeSmog Blog received the documents from an anonymous informant calling himself “Heartland Insider.”

The Heartland Institute gave mixed responses to the documents, calling them both “stolen” and “fake,” but only specifically calling one document, titled “2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” a “total fake.”

Nonetheless Think Progress confirmed that two of the main projects mentioned in the documents are real, including an effort to develop curricula for K-12 education that would cast doubt on climate science.

New York Times blogger Andrew Revkin said the Heritage Institute is using a double standard in being outraged about this leak, while celebrating the “Climategate” leak of emails from researchers.

Climate researcher Judith Curry of Georgia Tech—who has been branded a “heretic” by her colleagues for raising questions such whether there’s actually a consensus on climate change—said one of the most interesting things about the Heartland Institute is that it has been “so effective with so little funds.”

Last month, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, directed by well-known climate skeptic Bjørn Lomborg, announced it will shut because the Danish government cut its funding.

New Budget to Boost “Clean Sources” of Energy

With the announcement of the Obama administration’s proposed 2013 budget, the President called again for an end to $40 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies over the next decade. However The Hill said this is “largely a political statement” because Congress is unlikely to support the end of these tax breaks.

The budget request calls for doubling the share of electricity from “clean sources.” It would increase funding for renewable energy, nuclear power, and technologies to reduce emissions from coal, including a 29 percent increase for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, bringing its budget to $2.33 billion.

Meanwhile, U.S. regulators approved plans for a new nuclear power plant for the first time in 30 years, to be built in Georgia. Work is proceeding, with hopes of having the reactors—a new type never used in the U.S.—running by 2016, but the plant is encountering opposition.

No Guarantees

The proposed U.S. budget includes no money for the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, which gave funding to now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

Despite the uproar about Solyndra, an audit of the loan guarantee program found that the investments were actually safer than Congress had expected. Nonetheless, the audit recommended changes to loan guarantees to improve management and oversight.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu warned more recipients of loan guarantees may go bust, but that they have always known there are “inherent risks in backing innovative technologies.”

 Feed-In Tariffs’ Fate

Feed-in tariffs and other subsidies for renewable energy are in turmoil as countries rearrange their systems. The U.K. is changing to a dynamic tariff that adjusts as the cost of solar panels falls, to avoid a bubble in installations and ballooning costs for the program.

Germany is expected to cut its solar feed-in tariff—and some analysts said the cuts could be deeper than expected. Two different proposals from the Ministry of the Environment could both hurt the industry; in retaliation, three German states reportedly said they’d block these measures.

Taiwan is also lowering its solar feed-in tariff, and the U.K. is proposing to do the same for small wind turbines.

The United States has lagged behind Europe and East Asia in implementing feed-in tariffs, but two new places in the U.S. are considering starting such programs: the state of Iowa and the city of Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley.

Weather Trumps Turbines

A headline about a new study in the U.K.’s Daily Mail reading “Wind farms can actually INCREASE climate change…” received a lot of attention, but the Guardian argued the claim has now grown into a myth.

The research did show that wind farms could affect microclimates, and there are reasons to think they could have beneficial effects on crops.

But even if turbines can affect microclimates, a new study suggested powerful hurricanes could topple offshore wind farms planned along the United States’ Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

The Climate Post offers a rundown of the week in climate and energy news. It is produced each Thursday by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Mason Inman is a journalist who specializes in reporting climate change and energy. His work has appeared in National Geographic News, Science, Scientific American, Nature Climate Change and New Scientist, and he has reported from England, Switzerland, Bangladesh and Pakistan. His homepage is Failing Gracefully (
  • dectra

    Anti-science Luddites.

    Surprised they’re not trying to push the “world is flat” claim again….

  • Chuck

    I like the tag “deniers” placed on those of us who do not believe the farce that was the global warming movement.

    How can you deny what is not true? Profound, huh?

  • DavidG

    How dare the National Geographic print these libels without hearing the response of Heartland Institute? Have you asked Anthony Watts his side of the story? Obviously not! You call this journalism? It’s nothing less than an attempted lynching and is disgusting beyond belief. I have long since stopped reading a magazine i loved since childhood. Shame on you for disgracing what was once a great magazine.

  • Phil Cooper

    It’s less of a “climate change denial” than exposing the colossal fraud perpetrated by the man-made global warming/cooling/change mob whose real aim is statist totalitarianism, dressed up to look like “concern for Mother Earth”. It’s also sad that the National Geographic site would be hosting a blog that subscribes to this wart-of-toad, eye-of-newt pseudoscience, giving over two centuries of legitimate climate and weather science a bad name.

  • xexon

    I thank National Geographic for exposing this outrage. It angers me to think they’re trying to program our children.

    Some people are going to deny what’s happening right up to the point our food crops begin to fail.


  • Bill Dotterweich

    When my grandfather died in 1959, I was given his collection of National Geographic magazines, a complete set dating to 1920. I then continued this subscription (and collection) into the 1990’s, but then discontinued my membership when the editorial staff got so wacko about global warning. I just couldn’t abide the politicization of this once fine publication. National Geo is past its prime.

  • John Galt

    Schools all already have a built-in curriculum on “skepticism”. It’s called “Science class”. In science, we are taught that no hypothesis or theory can be proven to be true except through scientific method. Scientific method, in turn, is based ENTIRELY upon skepticism. Scientific method requires that rigorous experiments be conducted to prove and/or disprove a theory, that those experiments contain control groups, that those experiments are painstakingly documented, and that those experiments are subsequently undertaken by a different person or group using the same methods and control groups and that they furthermore arrive at the same outcome or conclusion. That’s scientific method, and it has been taught in U.S. schools’ science curricula for 100+ years. It’s based explicitly on a harsh and rigorous disdain and skepticism for unilateral, non-peer-reviewed, and unduplicated results.

    By the way, no experiment or so-called “science” regarding man-made global warming has been conducted using scientific method. None. Therefore, a healthy dose of skepticism damn well BETTER be taught before someone comes asking me for the money I’VE earned to pay for something that simply isn’t a problem.

  • Murphy

    Anthroprogenic climate change is a hoax propagated by those in favor of ushering in global governance with the help of funds generated from levied carbon taxes.

  • Meme Mine

    If CO2 crisis were real & not exaggerated, the thousands of scientists would march with the dozens of climate change protesters.

  • Austin

    Where’s Fox News on this?

    They were all over “Climategate,” which turned out to be nothing anyway.

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