The discredited Heartland Institute is attempting to present its new NIPCC report, Climate Change Reconsidered, as a legitimate alternative authority to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the NIPCC report is not a credible scientific undertaking, and the Heartland Institute has no credibility, scientific or otherwise.

Update: The Heartland Institute is planning to launch Climate Change Reconsidered at an event on September 18.

The following is a guest post by Climate Nexus. (The post in PDF format is here.)

With the launch of new NIPCC report, the discredited Heartland Institute goes head to head with the entire world’s foremost climate scientists.

Tomorrow the Heartland Institute launches a new report Climate Change Reconsidered. To write the report, Heartland assembled a group it calls the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a particularly revealing choice of name. The name, combined with the timing of the release to coincide with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s upcoming Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), shows that Heartland is attempting to present itself as a legitimate alternative authority to the IPCC.

However, the Heartland institute is nowhere close to the IPCC in terms of credibility. A few key points show the NIPCC to be a transparent marketing gimmick rather than a legitimate scientific undertaking:

    • The NIPCC does not follow the same rigorous scientific evaluation process as the IPCC.
    • The Heartland Institute has a long history of opposing settled science in the interests of its free-market funders, and has used decidedly un-scientific tactics to do so.

The NIPCC vs. IPCC Process

The IPCC is supported by hundreds of scientists, think tanks, and organizations around the world that assess and synthesize the most recent climate change-related science. The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), published in 2007, involved more than 500 Lead Authors and 2000 Expert Reviewers from more than one hundred participating nations. These authors and reviewers were all unpaid volunteers, and are required to identify and show consideration to theories that differ from conventional wisdom.

Unlike the IPCC, the NIPCC examines literature published exclusively by climate contrarians who are paid to contribute their findings to NIPCC reports, according to leaked internal documents of the Heartland Institute. The 2009 NIPCC report Climate Change Reconsidered had two lead authors, Fred Singer and Craig Idso, and 35 contributors. Similarly, the 2011 Interim NIPCC report had three lead authors, Fred Singer, Craig Idso, and Robert Carter, and only eight contributors. The NIPCC does not employ the same rigorous standards and approval process used by the IPCC to ensure its assessment reports are accurate and inclusive.

The Heartland Institute’s Credibility

The Heartland Institute has a long history of valuing the interests of its financial backers over the conclusions of experts. It has campaigned against the threats posed by second-hand smoke, acid rain, and ozone depletion, as well as the Endangered Species Act. With its aggressive campaigning using tools such as billboards comparing climate change “believers” to the Unabomber, Heartland makes no pretense at being a scientific organization.

Heartland’s funding over the past decade has included thousands of dollars directly from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute, but a large portion of their funding ($25.6 million) comes from the shadowy Donor’s Capital Fund, created expressly to conceal the identity of large donors to free-market causes. The Koch brothers appear to be funneling money into Donor’s Capital via their Knowledge and Progress Fund.

Heartland’s credibility has been so damaged that mainstream funders have been abandoning the organization, and it has been forced to discontinue its annual climate conference.

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Earlier guest posts by Climate Nexus:

The science behind EPA standards is clear

The Economist zeroes in on climate sensitivity but misses bigger picture

The CO2 “fertilization” effect won’t deter climate change

Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs

(Response by Qing-Bin Lu to “Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs”)

House Science Committee chair twists climate science in Washington Post

Global warming misconceptions on BBC radio

Tired, disproven argument on “benefits” of CO2 resurfaces in Wall Street Journal

Drought study misses underlying climate connections

Setting the Temperature Record Straight: The Last 11,300 Years Explained

Pielke Jr. implies conspiracy over routine journal procedure

James Taylor misinterprets study by 180 degrees

James Taylor’s deceptive attempt to discredit National Climate Assessment experts

In Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bjorn Lomborg urges delay with misleading stats

On floods and climate change

Scientists respond to the Wall Street Journal’s latest junk-science climate predictions