HomeWeather NewsA reply to hate mail • Watts Up With That?

A reply to hate mail • Watts Up With That?

People send me stuff. I often get hate mail, but this one was so irrational and feckless, I decided that I’d have to respond. Usually I ignore these, but this one offered an opportunity for a teachable moment.

First, I don’t work for the “fossil fuel industry” – I never have. I have not taken a single penny. It’s a common misconception (driven by people that publish outright fabrications with no evidence) out there that anyone who questions the “science is settled” aspect of climate change is automatically employed by “big oil.” It’s as if people like myself aren’t capable of having their own opinions rooted in their own research.

You’re wrong Susan, flat wrong. My opinions are my own, not bought, and unlike your tired and fact-free rhetoric, I have evidence to back up each and every one of them.

The other common misconception is that because I’m associated with The Heartland Institute, and they supposedly are getting funded by “big oil,” that also makes me a shill by association.

Your wrong there too, Susan. The Heartland Institute does not receive any funding from any oil, coal, or natural gas companies whatsoever. Then there’s the other claim that “Heartland is funded by the Koch brothers to publish climate disinformation.”

Low-information people keep repeating these lies because it is far easier to spew hateful commentary than to spend time looking it up for themselves. Some facts from the Heartland web page Reply to Critics:

Is The Heartland Institute funded by the Koch Brothers?

No. Neither Charles Koch nor David Koch – nor any Koch family charitable foundation – is a current or regular contributor to The Heartland Institute. Koch Industries has never funded The Heartland Institute.

The Charles G. Koch Foundation in 2012 donated $25,000 to Heartland to support our work promoting free-market health care solutions, not climate issues. That is a paltry sum (0.36 percent) in our organization’s $7 million budget. That single donation – to support our work on health care issues – was the only Koch-connected contribution to Heartland in nearly two decades. [Important note: Heartland didn’t begin to support and promote scientists who are skeptical of human-caused climate catastrophe until 2008.]

The “Koch Brothers” generously support many nonprofit organizations that promote free markets and individual liberty. The Heartland Institute is not among them. Our policy positions, at any rate, are based on principle. We are not a “pay to play” organization.

Can you reply to specific accusations made by ExxonSecrets?

The site presents a list of gifts from ExxonMobil to Heartland from 1998 to 2006, based on annual reports from ExxonMobil, but fails to mention that the gifts never exceeded 5 percent of Heartland’s annual budgets, makes no mention of Heartland’s policies that separate donors from our researchers and writers, and presents no evidence at all of an improper relationship. It should matter that Heartland gets 95 percent of its income from energy consumers and only 5 percent from energy producers, but this fact doesn’t appear on ExxonSecrets.

While the first gift to Heartland reported on the ExxonSecrets site appears to have been made in 1998, the site fails to report that Heartland was questioning the science behind the global warming scare since 1994. And although ExxonMobil hasn’t contributed to Heartland since 2006, Heartland greatly increased its concentration and publication output on global warming since then.

So there you have it. I never have taken funding from “big oil” and Heartland hasn’t had any since 2006. But that doesn’t stop people like Susan from repeating a lie they use to justify their hate mails.

The most ridiculous statement from Susan was this:

“…people are suffering and dying.”

Apparently Susan thinks this is all due to me having and publishing an opinion she doesn’t like.

Well, once again its easier to repeat a lie to justify your hatred than it is to actually look up the data on that. For example, Susan did you know that “climate related deaths” are actually approaching ZERO?

Now before you say this is a oil-driven lie too, I’ll point out that the data comes from the International Disaster Database at – you can register, login, grab the data, and plot it yourself, though I doubt you will, because science is hard. But, here’s something easier for you to wrap your head around. I’m assuming that your letter was driven by the recent media hype over heat waves. Here’s an immutable fact from NOAA, bold mine:

July 1936, part of the “Dust Bowl”, produced one of the hottest summers on record across the country, especially across the Plains, Upper Midwest, and Great Lakes regions.  Nationally, about 5,000 people died from the heat.  The heat was accentuated due to a prolonged drought that was affecting the region, and poor farming methods which left little vegetation to help mitigate the hot temperatures.  In Illinois, many locations saw peak temperatures in excess of 110 degrees at the height of the heat wave, with all-time high temperature records established during this period.

Now if people were suffering and dying from heat waves today, especially in numbers like that, you’d surely hear about it in the media. But, you aren’t. Bottom line – we have learned how to adapt to heatwaves today, and yes while some people that don’t have the capability to adapt or make bad life choices are suffering and dying today, the two facts I presented above show that in the present-day, humans are doing far better than they did in the past at dealing with weather events like heat waves.

Based on my decades-long experience with haters, I don’t expect Susan will embrace this information, much less send an apology. Instead, she’ll likely find ways to work around it to maintain her erroneous belief system. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) said it best:

“It’s Easier to Fool People Than It Is to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled.” – Mark Twain

For those of you like Susan who feel the way she does and want to send hate mail, you can use the contact form in the menu above under About>Contact. Go ahead, make my day.

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