Random Sampling – Part 2 of "Ew, I just stepped in a Heartland study!"

Random Sampling – Part 2 of  "Ew, I just stepped in a Heartland study!"
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This is part 2 in a series on the Heartland Institute’s supposedly rigorous study (pdf) on the state of global warming science. This flawed paper has been distributed to 10,000 Utahns by the Utah-based Sutherland Institute, a “sister” of the Heartland Institute.

Paul T. Mero, the president of the Sutherland Institute claims that, “for skeptics, we went out of our way to include a special analysis of the methodology used to create this study. This report is an honest reflection of the international scientific community…”

Let’s see how that holds up.

Flaw #1: Heartland’s study is not based on a random sample.

The Heartland study is a survey, an opinion poll, and claims to have collected the opinions of “530 climate scientists from 27 countries.” The responses to the survey were conducted online and “notice of the survey was posted in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” and on a listserv frequented by climatologists. The respondents were anonymous, which is fine, however we must put our faith in Heartland’s claim that all 530 respondents were actually climate scientists.

As far as the sample itself, it is in no way random and therefore the Heartland Institute or the Sutherland Institute cannot make any claim that this study represents the scientific community as a whole. The Heartland must limit itself to only making statements about the 530 respondents. So the claim by the Sutherland Institute that, “this report is an honest reflection of the international scientific community…” is incorrect based on the evidence they provide.

As far as random sampling this “think” tank didn’t put too much thought into the matter.

Random Sampling – Part 2 of  "Ew, I just stepped in a Heartland study!"

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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