The documents which expose these connections can be found at the main Heidelberg Appeal page

The document known as the Heidelberg Appeal first surfaced at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit where it was presented to the media as a counter to the emerging consensus about climate-warming. It purported to be an attack on the 'alarmist science' and it was said to have been signed by 200 or so scientists (unspecified disciplines) incuding a large number of Nobel Laureats.

While not strictly a fake document, it was presented to the media at Rio in a totally deceptive manner. The context changed the meaning. It was actually a statement of principles which arose from a German conference on the handling of hazardous materials ... most specifically asbestos insulation and the techniques employed in its removal or sequestration.

The people and organisation behind the deception were S. Fred Singer and his wife Candace Crandall, and a well-known atomic physicist, star-wars supporter, and climate-denier, Frederick Seitz. They ran an organisation known as the Science and Environmental Public Policy (SEPP) who's first incarnation had been as a so-called 'ethics' think tank called the Institute for Values in Public Policy (IVPP). Under the direction of Singer, Crandall and Seitz it had been transformed into an anti-regulatory / climate-denial operation.

SEPP and the IVPP had both been established by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI) with right-wing Republican funding from the normal list of conservative foundation.

For reasons not apparent to the writer, AdTI worked together with the semi-religious group known as the Moonies run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The Moonies wealthy Unification Church was then in the process of buying up Washington media organizations (Washington Times, and the UPI press agency) with the expectation of exerting influence in Republican conservative and corporate circles. The Moonies provided SEPP with free office space (and perhaps more).

Singer and SEPP's public profile was developed by APCO & Associates (the private PR firm of Philip Morris) and their operations were generously funded by a range of companies with poisoning-and-polluting problems.

Dr Frederick Seitz, who worked through the George C Marshall Institute (mainly nuclear and space-industry funding), was also a long-term consultant to RJ Reynolds Tobacco and he was well-known to Philip Morris (who regarded him as senile). He joined the SEPP board, as did a number of other climate-deniers (e.g. Patrick Michaels, etc.) who were funded by energy industry interests.

SEPP organised a one-day conference on the handling of hazardous wastes at the Heidelberg Cancer Research Center in April 1992, where Michel Salomon (a French journalist associate of SEPP) presented a 'motherhood' appeal document requesting that politicians pay more attention to the advice of scientists when formulating policy.

This appears to have focussed initially on the removal of asbestos insulation from schools and public buildings. Many environmental experts believed removal to be a dangerous over-reaction -- it was better to leave the material in-situ, and to bind the fibres into a mass by using epoxy-resins, rather than risk having free fibres floating around in the atmosphere during removal. This was a perfectly legitimate (and entirely sensible) demand ... but it had been rejected, mainly because of the political pressure of over-enthusiastic activists.

The organisation of the Heidelberg conference and the creation of the Heidelberg Appeal was primarily done at the request of Johns Manville and Philip Morris. The draft was signed by those at the conference, and, with some additional (or amended) paragraphs it became the Heidelberg Appeal document.

After Rio

After the Appeal's success at Rio, the range of activities was extended by forming the International Center for Scientific Ecology (ICSE) in Paris. Other tobacco companies and other industries were then brought in to fund new activities.

The ICSE was simply a one-man show (run by Michel Salomon in Europe -- and he continued to work with SEPP in the USA). It had a nominal 'board' consisting of pharmeceutical, chemical, and mining executives, and the objective was to exploit the junk-science publicity gained at Rio and promote the view that public policy about environment and health issues needed to made on the basis of 'sound-science' (which the companies would fund and provide).

With Tom Borelli of Philip Morris overseeing the operations and Burston-Marsteller and APCO doing the leg-work, the ICSE went on to run two major conferences to exploit the new publicity about junk-science and climate denial, which gave them a scientific platform to protest against strict EPA regulations. They were promoting the idea that the environment always had certain levels of pollutants and poisons, but these were "below the threshhold" of human danger, and therefore fears about passive smoke, etc. were nothing more than "junk science".

The first ICSE conference in Paris was dominated by speakers from British-American Tobacco with lobbyists and speakers from the asbestos, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The second held at the George Washington University in the USA, was run entirely by Philip Morris and the US Tobacco industry, but with some other speakers to make it appear to be an open-ended discussion about the standards of science.

The documents which expose these connections can be found at the main Heidelberg Appeal page.

The outcome

The Appeal document gave the media an illusion of scientific conflict, whereas the Rio conference had been about consensus. The media loves conflict. So the Appeal gave the journalists what Daniel Boorstin describes as a 'pseudo-event' which they diligently portrayed as 'media balance' ... but which was, in fact, simply 'indiscriminate objectivity.'

The term junk-science now entered the vocabulary of general discourse, and the tobacco industry with its industry coalitions had the financial clout to establish organisations to control public determination of which science was "sound-" and which was "junk-science".

So, in the washout, the Heidelberg Appeal (despite its ridiculous position now) became one of the most successful of all the anti-science scams in the last few decades.

After the success of the Heidelberg Appeal with the media at Rio, the PR and lobbying organisations which worked for Johns Manville and Philip Morris went seriously to work circulating the Appeal at scientific conferences where they persuaded many legitimate scientists to sign in support of 'sound-science principles'. Thousands did. But many of them also signed a document circulated by the Union of Concerned Scientists which was hastily circulated to counter the media-reporting of Heidelberg.

In effect, the Heidelberg document was fairly innocuous -- and this was its strength in the hands of its promoters. It simply called for a non-hysterical reaction to health and environmental threats -- which made sense to almost everyone who read it. However it was worded in terms which were vague enough to appear to be ... in the hands of SEPP at a climate-denial press conference ... a claim that governments in their ignorance were often functioning on advice which was nothing more than 'junk-science'. The insinuation was obvious: it suggested that thousands of scientists were appalled at the hysteria surrounding climate-warming science.

The Appeal document therefore became a foundation document for:
  1. attacking the conclusions reached by scientists, environmentalists and politicians at the Rio Earth Summit that the globe was under a threat from global warming and ozone depletion, and
  2. it became a clarion call for the 'sound-science' movement (a tobacco industry propaganda line) which was postulated on the idea that health regulations were being made on the basis of 'junk science'.
  3. Other 'sound-science appeal' documents such as the "Oregon Petition" and the "Liepzig Declaration".

In turn, this gave rise to the two most famous tobacco-funded 'junk-science' astroturfs: The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) and the European version which became known as the European Science and Environmental Forum (ESEF), run for the tobacco industry by the UK's Institute for Economic Affairs.

TASSC and ESEF went on to become major climate-deniers, and to play a substantial role in the attack on the Kyoto Climate Summit. Both were extensively funded, organised, and tightly controlled by the tobacco industry through Philip Morris's APCO and the Burston-Marsteller PR company.

TASSC later faced exposure as a Philip Morris scam, at which time it was hastily handed over to RJ Reynolds Tobacco who ran it briefly with the help of the political PR company Powell & Tate. Lobbyist Steve Milloy later took TASSC out of APCO and made it available to a much wider group of companies in association with his web site. He also ran an 'early-warning' monitoring service and newsletter for companies with poisoning and polluting problems, then later joined forces with Philip Morris's Tom Borelli to float a capital funds management scheme.

Copyright 2004.