15 Feb

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Iran unveils ‘uranium enrichment advances’

Claimed breakthrough likely to further unsettle US and EU who believe Tehran is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons.
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2012 16:13 GMT

Middle East

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Syria violence unabated as UN vote looms

Activists say opposition areas of Homs and Hama attacked as president sets date for referendum on draft constitution.
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2012 16:11 GMT

Middle East

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Thailand charges Iranian suspects over blast

Police examining possible links between explosion in Bangkok and attacks on Israeli diplomats in two countries.
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2012 17:42 GMT


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Mormons apologise for baptising Simon Wiesenthal’s parents

Nazi hunter’s forebears inducted posthumously by church in what Jewish rights group says is latest in a series of gaffes

Climate sceptics – who gets paid what?

Leaked documents show US thinktank the Heartland Institute has been making payments to experts and scientists to cast doubt on climate science. Here, we profile some of the figures

Anthony Watts

Who they are A former TV weatherman from California who runs the “world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change”, according to his climate sceptic blog, Watts Up With That?

How they influence Watts has been interviewed on Fox News by Glenn Beck about climate change and spoken at climate sceptic conferences. His blog posts, and those of his contributers, are widely and rapidly linked to and discussed across the climate sceptic ‘blogosphere’.

Quote “Heh, I’ve yet to see that check or any from Exxon-Mobil or any other energy or development company. Somebody must be stealing checks out of my mailbox. /sarc – Anthony.” (May, 2011)

Funding details Leaked documents revealed Watts was paid $44,000 by Heartland Institute in January – with a further $44,000 promised later this year – to set up a website “devoted to accessing the new temperature data from NOAA’s web site.”

Heartland Institute funding

$44,000 one-off payment



  • Fred Singer

    Who they are Emeritus professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia who has been linked to, paid by, and consulted for a range of corporations and free-market thinktanks in the US.

    How they influence Has long been one of the world’s most prominent – and few – climate sceptic scientists. In 1990, set up the Science & Environmental Policy Project, a non-profit educational foundation aiming to “advance environment and health policies through sound science”

    Quote “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.”

    Funding details Last year, he admitted that he had received from Exxon Mobil “an unsolicited and unexpected donation of $10,000 more than a decade ago.” The Heartland leak shows that he currently receives “$5,000 per month, plus expenses” from the institute.

    Heartland Institute funding

    $5,000 per month




  • Craig Idso

    Who they are Founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change based in Arizona.

    How they influence He produces a weekly newsletter called CO2Science which is disseminated among climate sceptics. Has collaborated with most climate sceptic scientists in US to write various reports and papers criticising climate science and policies.

    Quote “A doubling in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will lead to a 25%-55% increase in crop yield. As carbon dioxide
    concentrations continue to grow, were going to help feed the population of the planet.”

    Funding details The Heartland leak reveals the institute is currently paying Idso “$11,600 per month”. His also collects a salary of more than $100,000 from his centre, which, until 2006, received funding from Exxon Mobil.

    Heartland Institute funding

    $11,600 per month




  • Bob Carter

    Who they are An environmental scientist who is an adjunct (unpaid) research fellow at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia.

    How they influence Carter advises a range of climate sceptic thinktanks including Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation and Australia’s Institute for Public Affairs. In 2010, he authored a book
    called “Climate: the Counter Consensus.”

    Quote “There’s no evidence at all that any of these changes had anything to do with human activity or influence. These are natural
    climatic changes.” (2010)

    Funding details The Heartland leak reveals Carter is receiving “$1,667 per month” from the institute. When asked about the funding, he said: “”Heartland is one of a number of think-tanks and institutions that I work with. Sometimes I’m paid an honorarium, sometimes expenses and sometimes I do it pro-bono…My scientific authority has nothing to do with who is paying me.”

    Heartland Institute funding

    $1,667 per month




  • Anonymous Donor

    Who they are A mystery millionaire simply referred to as “he” in the leaked documents who gave $8,602,267 between 2007 and 2011 to Heartland to be spent on its “climate change projects”. A further £1m is promised this year. The only possible clue to his identity is that he also funded
    two of Heartland’s non-climate projects in the Illinois/Wisconsin area.

    How they influence The leaked documents reveal that in previous years “he” has been the source of half of Heartland’s donations.

    Quote Not known

    Heartland Institute funding





  • Joseph Bast

    Who they are President and CEO of the Heartland Institute and author of some of the leaked documents.

    How they influence The Heartland Institute is one of the US’s most influential “libertarian” thinktanks, which has long campaigned to reduce government regulations. In the 1990s, it worked with tobacco firms to
    question the health links associated with smoking. More recently, it has opposed “Obamacare” health reforms, as well as a range of proposed
    climate polices.

    Quote “There is no scientific consensus on the causes, extent, or likely future direction of climate change.” (2011)

    Funding details Heartland has, in the past, received funding from Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris. The leak documents show it received $200,000 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation in 2011. Documents filed with the US tax authorities in order to claim exemption from tax show the institute received an income of nearly $7m in 2010, with Bast receiving a salary of $145,135.

    Heartland Institute funding



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