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Heartland Institute: Reality Check for the Climate Debate (Las Vegas conference July 7–9)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 23, 2014

“Come to fabulous Las Vegas to meet leading scientists from around the world who question whether ‘man-made global warming’ will be harmful to plants, animals, or human welfare. Learn from top economists and policy experts about the real costs and futility of trying to stop global warming.”

The leading sustainability threat is not mineral resource depletion, air or water pollution, or anthropogenic climate change. It is statism, and in the case of climate change, policy activism in the name of “stabilizing” or “saving” the planet.

Enter the Heartland Institute and their 9th International Conference on Climate Change, to be held July 7–9 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Consider the conference in the background of the “pause” in global warming, which is 15-years-going-on-20 as shown in the graph below.


As Ross McKitrick recently explained.

The absence of warming over the past 15 to 20 years amidst rapidly rising greenhouse gas levels poses a fundamental challenge to mainstream climate modeling…. Climatologist Judith Curry of Georgia Tech recently observed “If the 20-year threshold is reached for the pause, this will lead inescapably to the conclusion that the climate model sensitivity to CO2 is too large”.

Climate Change 2014 Conference

Back to Heartland and Climate Change 2014. “Meet the leaders of think tanks and grassroots organizations who are speaking out against global warming alarmism,” the conference invitation states. “Don’t just wonder about global warming … understand it!”



A preliminary schedule for the event is here. There are 10 plenary addresses and 21 break-out sessions with approximately 60 speakers.

Speakers already confirmed include Fred Singer, Craig Idso, Willie Soon, Roy Spencer, Marc Morano, Christopher Monckton, and Anthony Watts. Other speakers (bios here) include:

  • Dr. Roy Spencer, principal research scientist for the University of Alabama
  • Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, Space Research Sector of the Pulkovo Observatory
  • Joe Bastardi, chief forecaster at Weatherbell Analytics
  • Hon. George Christensen, member of the Australian Parliament
  • Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, editor of Energy & Environment, a peer-reviewed science journal
  • Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute
  • John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel
  • Dr. Craig Idso, founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
  • Dr. Anthony Lupo, professor of atmospheric science, University of Missouri
  • Dr. S. Fred Singer, emeritus professor of environmental sciences, University of Virginia
  • William Kininmonth, climatologist, Australasian Climate Research Institute
  • Dr. Jennifer Marohasy, biologist, Centre for Plant and Water Science, Central Queensland University
  • Lord Christopher Monckton, former science advisor to Margaret Thatcher and chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute
  • Dr. Hal Doiron, a retired NASA rocket scientist who worked in the Apollo Program
  • Anthony Watts, chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM radio and publisher of “Watts Up With That,” the most-read climate blog in the world

Kudos to Heartland 

Heartland’s free-market orientation led Joseph Bast, its founder, into climate-change science, economics, and policy. Criticism from the alarmist climate establishment led Heartland to issue a Reply to Critics to rebut charges that it is a ‘front group’ or anti-science. Instead:

Heartland’s mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Such solutions include parental choice in education, choice and personal responsibility in health care, market-based approaches to environmental protection, privatization of public services, and deregulation in areas where property rights and markets do a better job than government bureaucracies.

I remember well the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York City. The watershed event brought hundreds of scholars and many more observers together for the first time, all critical of the climate alarmist/policy activist machine.

It was a real morale booster for the foes of climate neo-Malthusianism. It gave new voice and resolve to both the ‘ultra-skeptics’ and the ‘global lukewarmers.’  We all saw, correctly, the new central planning in the name of climate protection, for planning the climate was really the new rational for planning the economy.

I analogized how the New York City event was the Mont Pelerin moment of the climate-change movement. In 1947, this meeting brought together free-market scholars from around the world who hardly knew that there was still such a movement. This was during the heyday of Keynesianism and socialist planning. At the 2008 event, a lot of folks found out that they were part of a big movement, a silent majority of scientists who are dependent on government grants and who are not slave to a religious view of ‘stable’ climate.

Have a great conference!

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