Cato Institute Helpfully Makes Its Fake Climate Report Look Like Actual Government Climate Report, Except Fake

  Science is Hard -- Propaganda is Easy!

Certain subtle differences give away the fake reportRemember a few months ago when hilariously titled fake ripoffs of bestsellers were all over Amazon’s e-book store — 35 Shades of Grey, or I am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, that sort of thing? The playful jokesters of the Cato Institute are using their Koch Industries Megabux to top that! They will soon release a delightful “spoof” of a 2009 US Government report on climate change, except that where the real report looks at real science, the fake “Addendum” contains the reassuring news that climate change is no big deal, hooray!

The shrill Marxists at Scientific American have the story:

The addendum matches the layout and design of the original, published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program: Cover art, “key message” sections, table of contents are all virtually identical, down to the chapter heads, fonts and footnotes….

“It’s not an addendum. It’s a counterfeit,” said John Abraham, an associate professor at the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota who studies clean power sources. “It’s a continued effort to kick the can down the road: A steady drip, drip, drip of fake reports by false scientists to create a false sense of debate.”

The 2009 report, available online, was prepared for Congress as “the most comprehensive and authoritative report of its kind” by scientists at the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and its findings are regularly updated by that group (spoiler alert: They have not decided they were wrong).

Cato claims its “Addendum” was driven by “the recognition that the original document was lacking in scope and relevant scientific detail.” For instance, the original report suggested that climate change was already having significant effects, and that we should maybe consider doing something about that, because c’mon, that can’t be right. And they’ve had a fair degree of success getting that message out, as PBS’s Frontline recently explored.

The unflattering imitations start right on the cover of the Cato version, which has the same font, color, and general design, including even a very scientific looking bar graph with global mean temperatures.

Of course, where the real report has a graph covering 108 years of data, showing a sharp rise over time, the Cato graph covers only the last 19 years, and reassuringly shows a random pattern, and not an upward trend. Stop worrying your little heads, you nervous nellies!

Climate Science Watch (the source of the illustration above, before our single improvement) details other subtle adjustments in the Cato presentation of climate science. Notably, not even the Cato Institute seems to feel it can get away with outright denial of global warming; now, it admits “Climate change is unequivocal and human activity plays some part in it,” so instead they mostly just downplay the extent and significance of climate change:

  • Where the 2009 report says “Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years,” the Cato version says there were two periods of warming in the last century. One was absolutely not due to human activity, and OK, maybe the other “has characteristics that are consistent in part with a changed greenhouse effect.”
  • Where the original says, “Climate changes are already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health,” the Cato version insists “There is no significant long-term change in US economic output that can be attributed to climate change.”
  • The government scientists say that human health will be affected by “heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents,” while Cato’s relentless optimists are quite certain that “There is little relationship between life expectancy, wealth and climate. Even under the most dire scenarios, people will be much wealthier and healthier than they are today in the year 2100.”
  • The capitalism-hating government report thinks compliance with the Kyoto treaty might slow or reduce global warming. The Libertarians at Cato are certain that cheating by China and India means that nothing the developed world does will have any global effect, so let’s not bother.

So, sure, maybe the Cato version deliberately apes the design, layout, and overall feel of a government report, but is anyone likely to be snowed by these deliberate similarities? One climate change denial blogger is quite certain that’s impossible, because if readers “can’t read ‘Cato Institute’ clearly printed on the front and back cover, then they probably aren’t capable of reading and interpreting the original report either.” We guess that settles it!

Scientific American also notes that this isn’t the first attempt by deniers to pass off fake science by making it look like the real thing. In 1998, a petition questioning the science underlying the Kyoto treaty “copied the format and style of a peer-reviewed article” in the very real Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 the Heartland Institute (recently notorious for those “Derp derp the Unabomber believed in global warming” murder billboards) published a fake-science report by the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” (NIPCC), a denialist group which just happens to sound a hell of a lot like the UN’s real science comittee, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Considering how much wingnuts hate evolutionary theory, this is a remarkable use of the classic evolutionary strategy of adaptive mimicry. (Even creationist Ray Comfort has tried this, releasing an abridged edition of On the Origin of Species with a largely-plagiarized 50-page introduction explaining how evolution is fake.)

Rather than simply pointing out and correcting these shams, though, we think it might be more effective to just join in the fun. We look forward to advertising on conservative websites the newest release from Wonkette Books: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, revised and extended by K. Marx and F. Engels.

[Scientific American via Wonkville operative C_R_Eature / PBS Frontline / Climate Science Watch]

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About the author

Doktor Zoom lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his pseudonym after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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203 comments

    1. GemlikeFlame

      It's not dead. It's just been marginalized by the kind of people who think required immunization against the worst of the childhood viral diseases are a violation of their god given right to stress and possibly collapse an already weakened public health infrastructure (and if our friends in the red states have their way, it'll be a lot easier sooner rather than later.) Middle America is going to so enjoy a recurrence of the bubonic plague, it'll be like God's vengeance or something, and hey, who doesn't enjoy spitting up blood? And, oh, Happy Halloween.

    2. Beowoof

      Only for the Anti-intellectual clods on the right. Some of us really like and appreciate things science has brought us. You know like computers, cell phones, airplanes etc.

  1. snowpointsecret

    I dare them to release it right as millions of people are getting bashed by Hurricane Sandy. I'm not sure the timing could be more perfect to have them fall flat on their faces. Then again maybe the power will be out so nobody will notice.

    1. JustPixelz

      Nice try libtard, but snow storms definitively prove global warming is a hoax while droughts, storms, record temperatures, melting ice caps and so forth are just normal variations.

  2. memzilla

    Even under the most dire scenarios, people will be much wealthier and healthier than they are today in the year 2100.

    The surviving people, that is.

    1. oenspiek

      Yes, it will be possible to preserve a nucleus of human specimens, in some of our deeper mine shafts.

    2. Native_of_SL_UT

      We will all be much better off in 2100. That's because the Federation will finally be in charge of everything.

    3. JustPixelz

      Dubya and the Repubicans said pretty much the same thing about their economic policies: Even under the most dire scenarios, people our base will be much wealthier and healthier than they are today in the year 2010.

    4. CthuNHu

      Hey, someone has to be heir to the estates of the late (un)lamented 99%, may they rest in a watery peace.

    1. Redgyal

      I find it very reassuring the way the cute little equine cartoon smiles at me from behind the impending doom of man made destruction. Very nice indeed.

      1. Corrugated Palin

        No, you're thinking about those Bert photoshops from back around the dawn of the millenium..

    1. Redgyal

      And Smithy boy based his theory on the availability of free or low cost labor so there's that also.

  3. sbj1964

    Fake Science facts are just an expanstion on a theme for the GOP right wing-nuts,they are a party of lies that cater to the most ignorant mothafuckers in America.

    1. Designer_Rants

      I was listening to TOTN the other day and two of "The Elders" (Jimmy Carter and a former Irish President) were on the show. The Irish woman talked about how the entire planet thinks we're fucking ret@rded for having climate deniers in this country – EVEN AFRICANS – because of how many people are already dealing with the effects of global warming.

  4. PsycWench

    In grad school I had to share an office with a "visiting scientist' who had worked at Cato, and a more unpleasant woman I have yet to meet. Damn you for helping me see why that was.
    No, I don't feel sorry for her any more than I pity the Tobacco Institute.

    1. JustPixelz

      I assume Cato Girl was there to learn stenography to better record the research findings of their donors.

      1. PsycWench

        It is a mystery to many of us as to her purpose, other than to show us how much a person can complain. Stenography might have been a valid career move.

  5. Callyson

    Yeah, there is nothing wrong with the weather…Frankenstorm on the East Coast, summer heat that will not fucking go away in Los Angeles…move along folks…

    Assholes.

    1. Native_of_SL_UT

      Last year in Utah, they were skiing on the 4th of July and golfing on New Years Day.

      Completely normal.

      1. Doktor Zoom

        I'm surprised that Mitt Romney hasn't claimed "skiing on the 4th of July" as part of his miraculous Olympics Turnaround.

      2. Biel_ze_Bubba

        I went skiing on the 4th of July, back in the '70s, on Mt. Lassen, where there was still 20 feet of snow. It WAS normal, or at least not unusual, back then — but I bet we won't be seeing much of that in the future.

    2. Incitefully_Joe

      It's not exactly chilly on the not-yet-submerged East Coast, either; I had to pick up some groceries, and went outside in short sleeves. Short sleeves! It's nearly November! Fuck everything!

  6. cheetojeebus

    oh, for crying out loud. This pettiness on their part just makes me sort of slump and sink into my chair. A fucking hurricane, in late October, in the mid Atlantic region? isn't that enough?

    fucking dumbass jitbags spend too much time sucking their own balls.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      But it will combine with a winter storm and make snow. Is snow warm? It is not. NO GLOBAL WARMING.

      Move along, nothing to see.

      1. Redgyal

        Yes, but will it also combine with the hot air coming from the GOP and make the economy recover? Is money warm? I rest my case.

  7. MonkeyMotion

    The Cato Institute should relocate to south Florida, where it can issue another addendum in 50 years, from UNDERWATER.

  8. PsycWench

    Even under the most dire scenarios, people will be much wealthier and healthier than they are today in the year 2100.”
    Do "dire scenarios" include Obama's re-election? I'm glad to see such optimism.

        1. Redgyal

          Yes, that one. And just for clarification I shall copy lyrics below.

          I'm just a rhyme sayer
          Skins protected 'gainst the ozone layers
          Breakdown 2001, might be best to be black
          Or just brown countdown

  9. weejee

    As the dairy-aires and beevers know too well, the cows and cattle of today are all required to read Miss Manners, so there is no more bovine burping or farting at the lot, or pasture, or milk barn, or ballet or wherever they may be.

  10. doloras

    Actually, Marx and Engels with their labour theory of value were actually just "revising and expanding" Adam Smith's economics. It's just that after that, mainstream economics decided that if Smith led to Marx and Engels Smith must be wrong, and so brought in that "neoclassical" "marginalist" voodoo nonsense.

  11. Jukesgrrl

    Cato Institute's contribution joins these other works of influential 21st century thinking:

    Dasn't Kapital, The Kardashian Manifesto, Mein Koch, Les Misérables R Us, Candida, I Think Therefore I Watch The Learning Channel, Concerning the Principles of TMZ, Atlas Shit, and Thus Spake Honey Boo Boo.

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      The Cato Report was actually written by one Kato Kaelin while driving OJ to his date with destiny. That's why the damn car drove so slow–Kato was writing while steering with his knees. Highly scientific motherfucker, but it took him this long to translate his writing into something resembling human speak

  12. James Michael Curley

    You all realize that the BarneyFrankenstorm is headed straight for Delaware and Maryland to remind those who try to upset their state's legislative process with referendum attempting to over through the process.

  13. gullywompr

    You heard about their new web site: Wonkster.com? They have a Professor Whiz who writes articles with pictures of Pretty Pony on them.

    1. natl_[redacted]_cmdr

      Is that what Ms. Cox is doing instead of writing those books she was supposed to finish?

  14. Abernathy

    “ human activity plays some part in it”

    Just imagine one of NY's finest abducted the earth and is slowly roasting it alive.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Thanks! There's a certain schlocky awesomeness to those movies. Just knowing that there's a Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus out there is kind of charming.

  15. cousinitt

    Global warming is the new child rape. No, really. Wonkers, I give you…

    "Controversial climate scientist Michael Mann, who helped raise global warming’s profile by representing temperatures as a rapidly escalating “hockey stick,” has filed a defamation lawsuit against skeptics at the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
    Mann said statements by the two organizations that compared him to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky were offensive and defamatory, and called them the latest in a series of attacks he and other climate scientists have faced."

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/10/23/climate

    1. FeloniousMonk

      There's a more neutral unfair and unbalanced account at the Grauniad. But thank you for pointing to the faux report, which has a priceless quote from the general counsel at CEI:

      “There’s irony in a global warming proponent trying to freeze discussion of this issue,” Kazman told FoxNews.com.

      These people's command of the English language is as good as their science.

    2. BadKitty904

      Didn't they pull the same stunt on Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil (played by Martin Landau), in "The X Files"?

  16. calliecallie

    I wish I had something funny to say about global climate change. I want these bastards to burn in hell, but I guess I'll have to settle for their unborn grandchildren.

  17. Dr. Nick Riviera

    OT: If Handsome Joe Biden's intent was to scare the crap out of me with his "the republicans have 45 million more in the bank", mission accomplished. Terrified. And I don't have any more money to donate :(

  18. bibliotequetress

    Next week in the Cato Institute Wish Fulfillment series, Gone WIth The Wind is rewritten as Jes Settin' Heah Enjoying a Pleasant Breeze, a historical novel which sets the record straight: the South wins the war, Scarlett discards her headstrong ways and submits to Rhett as his Biblical wife after Tara is rebuilt by their happy, eager slaves.

  19. BadKitty904

    OT: I hope our Mid-Atlantic/New England Wonklings are safely hunkered down. This "Sandy" is starting to look a mite ugly.

    And here's hoping the Obama campaign and the media make a point of publicly thanking Rmoney and the GOP for their ongoing funding cuts to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster-preparedness organizations.

    You guys mind y'all be *safe*!!!!!

    1. snowpointsecret

      If anyone needed an idea of the scope of this storm, there are high wind watches and warnings in Maine. And Virginia. And as far west as Cleveland.

      I'm assuming some people will be gone for a bit with power outages but hopefully everyone's safe out there.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        The "perfect storm" of 1991 was a plenty-big nor'easter that swallowed poor unsuspecting Hurricane Grace, absorbing her energy like an alien sucking up her life force. When the resulting monster was done battering the northeast coastline, the remnants of the storm had enough mojo to generate a second full-blown hurricane, which came ashore in Nova Scotia a few days later. It went into the history books (NOT) as the hurricane without a name, because officials didn't want to "confuse" the public.

        This one is projected to be bigger. I do hope there are lots of denialists hunkered down in seaside cottages.

    2. Dudleydidwrong

      Here I sit in the middle of the Delmarva peninsula waiting for the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay to meet and wash Salisbury University and a thousand chicken farms all the way to West-by god-Virginia into three feet of snow. We aren't frightened because we can swim, you betcha.

    3. fartknocker

      Now would be a good time for our East Coast wonketters to petition the Editorix for an emergency relocation drinky thingy in Austin!

  20. seppdecker

    You'd think Republicans would be happy to recognize climate change so that they could blame their excessive stank on that and not morbid obesity.

  21. JustPixelz

    From what I've seen, the wingers think the Constitution is also "just a theory that's out there". Especially the parts about equality.

  22. editor

    clearly, if you have ideology, you do not need science. true for sex education (just say no, kids), true for global warming (cannot be really happening). who cares about understanding what is, let's focus on what we think should be.

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      That's what keeps theocratic governments and societies on the cutting edge of the 15th century. Except when they get pissed off and want to blow something up.

  23. glamourdammerung

    What does it say about Republicans when they have to resort to transparent lies because that is all they have besides casual racism at this point?

  24. JustPixelz

    Wonkette Books?

    Let me offer you the first opportunity to publish my free form, blank verse, avante garde poetry. Poetry is sure be the one bright spot in print media in the coming years. And I know you will want to be on the leading edge of this resurgence. Here is a sample:

    O happy words, born of letters, sounds and ethereal thoughts.
    Play upon the page. As a child might play with a G I Joe.
    Sleep quiet words. Wait for the light to shine upon you as the sun greets the field.
    O happy words.

    Resurgence of print. Mark my "words".

  25. sullivanst

    Can't we just arrest these guys, ship 'em to the Hague, and have them tried for crimes against humanity, so we don't have to deal with them any more?

    Because make no mistake, the concerted attempt to prevent action to mitigate global climate change is a crime against humanity.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      I favor forcing the fuckers to sit tight in their beachfront homes this week. Probably too late, though — I'm sure they've bailed out even while denying what's happening.

      1. sullivanst

        I suspect they've long since closed up the beachhouses and returned to their McMansions inland. We're long past Labor Day, that famous celebration of CEOs.

  26. natl_[redacted]_cmdr

    To hell with global warming. I want to see the Gubmint report (and Cato's plagiarized version) on that fucking terrifying giant unicorn pony that's mounting Canada!

  27. Negropolis

    Swer to god, I see one more pony on the Wonkette, and a certian someone's going to wake with a pony head in their bed tomorrow morning.* lol

    *Pony head will be from a naturall deceased pony, so don't kill me, PETA.

      1. Crank_Tango

        I tried to avoid caffeine, "but just in case" I got a couple of bottles of jolt cuz they had'em at Beavmo!

        I am drinking gingerbeer and dark rum now…I might drop some lime in cuz you said so…oh yeah and some ediblez.

          1. Crank_Tango

            No. Should I? I can score thai red bull (in the brown bottles like the medicine that it is), but I really wanna sleep tonight. The past couple evenings have been taken up by this Napoleon documentary and occasional masturbating, per dr's rx.

          2. natl_[redacted]_cmdr

            From Google Translate: "This is the feel-bone doctor, cum in habitood"

            Me: Goddamn Brazilians.

  28. Negropolis

    BTW, I saw the Frontline piece of the issue, the other night, and maybe some will disagree, but it came across as "teaching the controversy" if even not explicitly. Of course, they had to have both sides to retain journalistic credibility, but I thought the side against those few in the scientific community who deny climate change didn't feature the best the scientific community could field for such a piece. Meh.

  29. tessiee

    “Derp derp the Unabomber believed in global warming”

    "Two and two makes four, even if Hitler says so" — Marjorie Morningstar

  30. natl_[redacted]_cmdr

    Breaking News: I just saw Abe Lincoln crossing the street whilst checking his cell phone.

      1. natl_[redacted]_cmdr

        No, he was alone. I yelled "Thanks Abe!" but he ignored me. Too much to worry about what with the Union dissolving and all that. Still, he looked good. Considering.

          1. natl_[redacted]_cmdr

            after searching, here's this from a Yahoo answer person:

            "Refering to President's Lincoln being shoot in a theater play by James booth, a southerner . While his wife was with him. so therefore she wouldn't be enjoying the play. ironic,ne? dark humor much? lol"

            good night amrricah!

    1. bobbert

      Yeah, that was actually a pretty depressing read. Sometimes I like to pretend to myself that at least we've made a little bit of progress over the last forty or fifty years (aka, my adult lifetime). And then fucking science brings me down.

  31. ttommyunger

    "Some say" the Cato Institute provides safe haven and free legal representation for accused child molesters.

  32. SorosBot

    Why should we trust anything from an institution that knowingly named themselves after the right-wing asshole who invented the filibuster, tried to block the free grain dole for the Roman poors and forced Caesar into starting a civil war out of sheet spite, anyway?

  33. jesus_vs_gojira

    What really burns me up (so to speak) is that these fuckers must know that they're full of shit. I mean, they're not that dumb. The average guy in the street — he's dumb. But these people are not dumb. And they are deliberately selling future generations down the river, for the sake of a quick buck now.

    My one comfort in all this is knowing that James Inhofe's igloo children will one day curse his name.

    1. Negropolis

      It really is about as cynical an opposition as you'll find to proven science. You know it's cynical when you tell them that even if human-driven climate change isn't real (and it is), that the reduction of pollution, alone, on the environment is worth it and they still bullshit you. We used to support this stuff just to have clean air and water.

      1. Generation[redacted]

        Or when they say offshore drilling can be done safely and when there's a massive spill they start yelling about how damaging it is to temporarily stop drilling to review safety measures.

  34. Chet Kincaid_

    The "NIPCC" instead of the IPCC? That's a fun game, let me play!

    UnAACP — Unnecessary Affirmative Action Claims Protection
    NOTNOW — Negative Oppositional Theatrics Nullify Options for Women
    ACLUSA — Adverse Civil Liberties Undermine Societal Authority
    NLURB — National Labor Union Reduction Bureau
    NASS — National Academy Skeptical of Sciences
    The NUN — The Nunh-Unh Nations

  35. C_R_Eature

    Hi, Dok:

    Thanks very much for picking up this story and running with it in such a comprehensive & admirable manner. I am thrilled and Humbled.
    I'd love to stay and chat here, but I've got to finish up my personal Disaster Preparations for the imminent arrival of Tropical storm/Hurricane/Nor'easter Hybrid Sandy on Monday.
    Yep, here comes yet another Unprecedented, severe and potentially catastrophic storm system which seem to be cropping up twice a year now, that will do its level best try to kill me and destroy everything I know, and, if the Cato Institute is to be believed, has nothing at all to do with the massive continuing atmospheric Carbon dumping activities by the Fossil Fuel Industry Corporations that are their primary sources of funding.

    Take care, everyone.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      This monster storm renders me near speechless. Hoping you and yours avoid the worst and we see conditions develop away from harm and extensive damage. Good luck C_R_eature.

  36. HouseOfTheBlueLights

    I'm going to feel really gypped if we make the world a better place, and it all turns out to have been a hoax.

  37. Biel_ze_Bubba

    “There is no significant long-term change in US economic output that can be attributed to climate change.”

    You really can't grow corn in Iowa any more — maybe they should ask the farmers if that's "significant".

    1. Generation[redacted]

      Sure, it sucks to be a farmer or someone who needs to buy food, but that economic loss is more than made up by hedge fund managers who read the real climate science report and then make a killing investing in corn futures.

Comments are closed.