March 3, 2008
Posted: 02:42 PM ET
A Meeting of Skeptics
Check out the Anderson Cooper 360 show tonight for Miles O'Brien's report on the Heartland Institute's 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. Judging just from the title, the meeting sounds official, maybe even boring...but it is in fact one of the largest gatherings of the year for global warming skeptics, doubters and dissenters.
Conference organizers bill it as the "first major international conference to focus on issues and questions not answered by advocates of the theory of man-made global warming."
And they go on to say:
"The global warming debate that the public and policymakers usually see is one-sided, dominated by government scientists and government organizations agenda-driven to find data that suggest a human impact on climate and to call for immediate government action, if only to fund their own continued research, but often to achieve political agendas entirely unrelated to the science of climate change. There is another side, but in recent years it has been denied a platform from which to speak."
They'll get a platform tonight...but expect Miles to ask some tough questions...about the Heartland Institute's ties to the oil and gas industry, about the overwhelming scientific consensus supporting the human link to climate change expressed last year by the blue ribbon Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and about just who in this debate might be trying to advance an agenda.
Heartland raised some eyebrows by offering “fellowships” to cover travel and lodging costs for legislators attending the conference. The conference literature says that no energy company funds are paying for the conference, but the list of sponsoring organizations include many groups who receive direct support from Exxon/Mobil and other oil and coal entities.
The conference agenda includes several credentialed scientists, and a few who are members of the IPCC. Those few are in the ironic, if not uncomfortable position of sharing a slice of the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore – who to many at this conference is the arch-villain of climate change. Others are political advocates from groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute. And the political opposites of those groups are keeping their powder dry. Desmogblog.com, a website which describes itself as unmasking the motives of global warming skeptics, has labeled the conference a “Denial-a-palooza.”
–Kate Tobin and Peter Dykstra, CNN Science & Technology
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