Liveblogging the Heartland Institute’s Global Warming Denier Conference

I’m in New York City today for an event called “The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change.” It’s sponsored by the Heartland Institute, one of the leading oil industry-funded deniers of global warming. According to, Heartland received $561,500 (unadjusted for inflation) from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2005.

I know what you’re thinking – what better way to start the week than by hanging out at a meeting of global warming deniers? But conservative media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and National Review are doing everything they can to paint a false picture of the event.

They don’t want you to see it for what it is – a gathering of people who may have some science in their backgrounds but have long since sold their soul to the energy industry.

Someone has to be there to see what’s really happening at this event. I joked with my friends that I was going in like Cartman going into San Francisco on South Park – full atmospheric dive suit.

I’m not going to waste time here rebutting every line of global warming denial I hear this week. Trying to win a scientific debate with a global warming denier is like trying to blow out one of those re-lighting birthday candles – it’s a waste of breath.

But I will keep an eye on whether the speakers are being truthful on their resumes. Already, The News Journal of Wilmington, DE has reported David Legates has exaggerated his credentials.

Why haven’t his state employers or local environmentalists made a big deal of it? Says Chad Tolman of the Sierra Club’s Delaware chapter, “I don’t know if the governor or anyone else cares about it enough at this point to press the issue.” Ouch. Much like the climate denial industry in general, looks like Legates has dropped from controversial to irrelevant.

As the event goes on, I’ll also dive into some topics that aren’t on the conference agenda:

  1. Global warming isn’t a theory to be debated, temperatures are warming already and impacting species from moose in Minnesota to brook trout in Pennsylvania.
  1. Congress isn’t debating warming, it’s taking on climate solutions, including top Republican Senators like Virginia’s John Warner, North Carolina’s Elizabeth Dole, and Minnesota’s Norm Coleman.
  1. Where did the money for this lavish event come from? Who paid for the speakers’ travel expenses and honorariums?

Much more to come over the next two days. You can also read more from Kevin Grandia at DeSmogBlog, one of the few true greens allowed to register for the event.