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					An Open Letter to the Heartland Institute

As scientists who have had their emails stolen, posted online and grossly misrepresented, we can
appreciate the difficulties the Heartland Institute is currently experiencing following the online
posting of the organization’s internal documents earlier this week. However, we are greatly
disappointed by their content, which indicates the organization is continuing its campaign to
discredit mainstream climate science and to undermine the teaching of well-established climate
science in the classroom.

We know what it feels like to have private information stolen and posted online via illegal
hacking. It happened to climate researchers in 2009 and again in 2011. Personal emails were
culled through and taken out of context before they were posted online. In 2009, the Heartland
Institute was among the groups that spread false allegations about what these stolen emails said.
Despite multiple independent investigations, which demonstrated that allegations against
scientists were false, the Heartland Institute continued to attack scientists based on the stolen
emails. When more stolen emails were posted online in 2011, the Heartland Institute again
pointed to their release and spread false claims about scientists.

So although we can agree that stealing documents and posting them online is not an acceptable
practice, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the Heartland Institute has had no
qualms about utilizing and distorting emails stolen from scientists.

We hope the Heartland Institute will heed its own advice to “think about what has happened” and
recognize how its attacks on science and scientists have helped poison the debate over climate
change policy. The Heartland Institute has chosen to undermine public understanding of basic
scientific facts and personally attack climate researchers rather than engage in a civil debate
about climate change policy options.

These are the facts: Climate change is occurring. Human activity is the primary cause of recent
climate change. Climate change is already disrupting many human and natural systems. The
more heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that go into the atmosphere, the more severe those
disruptions will become. Major scientific assessments from the Royal Society, the U.S. National
Academy of Sciences, United States Global Change Research Program and other authoritative
sources agree on these points.

What businesses, policymakers, advocacy groups and citizens choose to do in response to those
facts should be informed by the science. But those decisions are also necessarily informed by
economic, ethical, ideological, and other considerations.While the Heartland Institute is entitled
to its views on policy, we object to its practice of spreading misinformation about climate
research and personally attacking climate scientists to further its goals.

We hope the Heartland Institute will begin to play a more constructive role in the policy debate.
Refraining from misleading attacks on climate science and climate researchers would be a
welcome first step toward having an honest, fact-based debate about the policy responses to
climate change.
Ray Bradley, PhD, Director of the Climate System Research Center, University of Massachusetts

David Karoly, PhD, ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Michael Mann, PhD, Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University

Jonathan Overpeck, PhD, Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of
Arizona

Ben Santer, PhD, Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Gavin Schmidt, PhD, Climate Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Kevin Trenberth, ScD, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center
for Atmospheric Research

				
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