Climate McCarthyism: Democrat Congressman Demands Hearing on Interior Employee Linked to Heartland

by Marlo Lewis on February 23, 2012

in Blog, Features

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Yesterday, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) requested that the House Resources Committee investigate whether Department of Interior employee Indur Goklany accepted “illegal outside payments” from the Heartland Institute, and “what confidential information Goklany may have shared with Heartland officials in the course of negotiating his payment agreements.”

Grijalva made this request in a letter to Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Ranking Member Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The alleged ‘issue’ arose because one of the stolen Heartland documents, the Institute’s 2012 budget, proposes to pay Goklany $1,000/m to write a chapter on economics and policy for a forthcoming book, Climate Change Reconsidered: 2012 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

Grijalva, citing a letter from Greenpeace to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, claims federal employees are not allowed to take payment from outside organizations, particularly for “teaching, speaking and writing that relates to [their] official duties.”

I fully understand why Greenpeace and Grijalva want to harass and silence Goklany. Goklany is one of a handful of indispensable thought leaders in the climate policy debate.  He has demonstrated, for example, that, largely because of mankind’s utilization of fossil fuels, global deaths and death rates related to extreme weather have declined by a remarkable 93% and 98%, respectively, since the 1920s. He has also demonstrated that, even assuming worst-case impacts from the UN IPCC’s high-end warming scenario, developing countries in 2100 are projected to be much richer than developed countries are today. Nobody takes the hot air out of climate hype like Indur Goklany! So naturally, Greenpeace guttersnipes want to besmirch and muzzle him.

Okay, let’s get one thing out of the way from the get-go. There are absolutely no grounds for Grijalva to investigate whether Goklany “may have shared” “confidential information” with Heartland. To make a charge like that, you’ve got to show probable cause, or at least some evidence. The mere speculative possibility that something might have happened does not authorize politicians to demand proof that it didn’t happen — not in a free country, anyway. Even Joe McCarthy pretended to have evidence for the allegations he made.

Think tanks often commission books, chapters, or papers from outside experts. If the sloths at Greenpeace and Grijalva’s office made the least effort, they would see that Goklany’s prolific scholarship on climate change relies exclusively on peer-reviewed, open-source literature.

Now let’s consider the alleged ban on outside payments for teaching, writing, and speaking. Here’s the relevant portion of the Justice Department’s Federal Employee Ethics Handbook:

An employee may not receive compensation — including travel expenses for transportation and lodging — from any source other than the Government for teaching, speaking or writing that relates to the employee’s official duties. For most employees, teaching, speaking, or writing is considered “related to official duties” if–

  • The activity is part of the employee’s official duties;
  • The invitation to teach, speak, or write is extended primarily because of the employee’s official position;
  • The invitation or the offer of compensation is extended by a person whose interests may be affected substantially by the employee’s performance of his official duties;
  • The activity draws substantially on nonpublic information; or
  • The subject of the activity deals in significant part with agency programs, operations or policies or with the employee’s current or recent assignments.

Let’s take each bullet in turn. (1) To my knowledge, writing on climate economics and policy is not “part of” Goklany’s “official duties” at Interior. (2) Heartland invited Goklany to write a chapter on climate economics and policy because of his expertise, not “primarily because” of his “official position.” (3) Heartland’s “interests” are not “affected substantially” by Goklany’s “performance of his official duties.” (4) Goklany’s chapter would be based on peer-reviewed and open-source literature, not “nonpublic information.” (5) The proposed chapter presumably would not discuss Interior Department “programs, operations or policies.”

It may surprise Rep. Grijalva, but some experts who work in federal agencies also have careers as independent scholars. For decades, Goklany has written books and articles on weekends, at night, and during sabbaticals. His Web site, Goklany.Org, lists his numerous publications.

The Cato Institute published three of Goklany’s books: The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet (2007), The Precautionary Principle: An Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment (2001), and Clearing the Air: The Real Story of the War on Air Pollution (1999). Since most people in America — including most authors — get paid something for their labors, I assume  Cato paid Goklany honoraria to write those books.

Do Greenpeace and Grijalva suppose that Goklany hid the books from Interior, or that Interior was too dim or lazy to find out that Cato had published them? Knowing Goklany, I would be shocked if he did not clear with higher ups whatever financial arrangements he negotiated with Cato. Ditto for anything he writes for Heartland.

Gleick did not need to steal Heartland documents for Greenpeace to discover Goklany’s “link” to Heartland. Take a look at Heartland’s Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, the prequel to the 2012 book project discussed in the purloined budget document. Appendix 2 (pp. 415-516) lists Goklany as one of eight contributing authors.

Heartland has distributed thousands of hard copies of the 2011 Interim Report and makes the book available for free download on three different Web sites (here, here, and here). Heartland will similarly publicize the heck out of the 2012 report to which Goklany may be a contributor. There is simply no “secret” here meriting a congressional probe.

So what’s it all about? Grijalva and Greenpeace are desperate to find some redeeming social value in Peter Gleick’s professional meltdown. They want to harass somebody, anybody, connected with Heartland. They want to divert attention from the stupendous embarrassment that Gleick has become for the self-anointed “consensus of scientists.” They want to suppress independent thought in federal agencies too prone already to the maladies of group-think and political correctness.

Bully tactics are more likely to turn people off than win hearts and minds. Like Gleick and the Climategate schemers, Greenpeace and Grijalva are their own worst enemies.

Riley Still February 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Hold the hearings! Bring as witnesses on the same panel Indur Goklany and James Hansen. That would be fun.

Why not have the same hearing in the Senate in front of the Committee on Environment and Public Works – Next Year.

John February 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Where is your article on the industry (Heartland) trying to brainwash kids? Is that not a bully tactic? The science is in: climate change is occurring. So…Gleick made a stupid mistake over this issue. SO, now, that somehow shoots down all the science out there as a big conspiracy or what did you say: group think?

How about when someone with a clue released an internal memo from API that they were developing “curriculum” to cast doubt on climate change? Where is your data on that? Heartland is a bunch of pimps: they use big, corporate money to cast doubt on anything that they perceive to get in the way of their growth model.

The problem is that you don’ t like science that doesn’t fit your agenda as well. Sadly: you are as hypocritical as Heartland. Yes, Gleicik was wrong. No…it doesn’t cast doubt on peer reviewed science of many decades that show ocean acidification to glacial loss to rapidly changing ecosystems.

Carbonicus February 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Ocean “acidification” is a falsehood. The oceans remain slightly alkaline. They are slightly less alkaline over the last 100 years or so. But your brand of eco-statists portray to the populace that the oceans are on drop of global warming away from bubbling cauldrons of acid.

Glaciers add and lose ice. Ecosystems change. The climate always changes, by definition; it is average. “Peer reviewed science” documents all these changes have occurred many times over the planet’s 4.5 billion year old history. If you’re suggesting something about the recent changes is a) unprecedented in earth’s history, and/or b) attributable mostly to humans burning fossil fuels, then you’ve got a ways to go before the (real) science is “in” or “settled”. And please don’t use the term “consensus”. Your “consensus” is a political term, not a scientific one.

Gleick was wrong, yes, and that doesn’t “shoot down” or “cast doubt” on “peer reviewed” “climate science”. “Climate science” as you defend it was well in doubt and being shot down long before Gleick pulled his stunt. Plenty of others were doing a fine enough job that they didn’t need any help from Gleick. In truth, that’s exactly WHY Gleick did what he did: out of frustration that the empirical evidence and plenty of “peer reviewed” science counter to his beliefs are winning in the minds of the public.

Put another way: 15 years of no warming and failure of the Kyoto process to advance to the next stage weren’t caused by the oil companies or Republicans. And Gleick and his crowd aren’t happy about it.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. It will only get worse as the empirical evidence piles up against them.

MarcusG February 27, 2012 at 3:13 am

John, you are quite simply, a nong.
Nothing you have stated here is correct. Nothing.
Our schools and government departments are rife with the climate hoax to the point that it will take generations to explain these lies .
The mind boggling amount of money spent by governments over shadows the pittance that private organisations receive.
Pull your head out of your backside for just 1 minute and commit to seeking the truth and the penny may, MAY, drop for you.
I will put my money where my mouth is. Anyone, anywhere and any time to publicly debate this issue.

PolluterWatch February 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

So Greenpeace is
1) “guttersnipes”
2) “Joe McCarthy”
3) “sloths” (sloths??)
4) “desperate”
5) “bullies”
6) “their own worst enemy”

Okay. Who is Marlo Lewis?

He looks pretty upset when confronted with CEI’s historic Exxon funding in this CNN debate with Greenpeace’s research director:

Real world ——->
<—– Marlo Lewis

PolluterWatch (project of Greenpeace)

Bob Cherba February 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

I hear that James Hansen has and is making a considerable amount of money from outside organizations for “teaching, speaking and writing that relates to official duties.”

Why hasn’t Raul requested an investigation of Mr. Hansen?

Carbonicus February 25, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Everything Grivalja accused Goklany of doing are things James Hansen, NASA’s American Idol of Global Warming, has been doing for more than a decade.

Goklany works at Interior. I’ve read “The Improving State of the World”. Excellent book. We’re living longer, eating better, more prosperous. More importantly, not part of what Goklany does at DOI.

Hansen, on the other hand, profits DIRECTLY from “teaching, speaking, and writing” (and protesting) on matters related to his “official duties”.

Conflating Goklany with Hansen, Gleick with the Climategate whistleblower, and similar comparisons are only possible in the twilight zone of eco-statism.

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