Three Full-Page Whoppers from the Heartland Institute (Part Two)

The Heartland Institute has reared its hoary head again, this time fronting three full-page color ads in the Washington Post targeting lawmakers now debating the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) on Capitol Hill.

As I mentioned in my last post, it is not often the denial machine resorts to something as clumsy as buying media exposure. This indicates just how desperate their oily funders are to avoid meaningful regulation of filthy fuels.

That they have managed to dodge this bullet for so long, illustrates just how brilliant Big Oil has been at precluding pesky laws for their dangerous product.

I promised in my last post to pull apart some of the knee-slappers and nose-stretchers in these full-page propaganda pieces and I will try not to disappoint. There is plenty to work with…

Three Full-Page Whoppers from the Heartland Institute (Part One)

You can often judge progress by the reaction of those opposed to it. If that’s true, we may finally be getting somewhere.

The notoriously unethical Heartland Institute is blowing a bundle of cash in an all-out effort to derail climate change legislation moving through Congress. The Heartland folks have never been overly encumbered by either ethics or accuracy and their latest effort is no exception.

Heartland is fronting three full-page ads in the Washington Post, transparently targeted at lawmakers now horse-trading over the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES).

So what does that kind of action cost? According the Washington Post website, close to $250,000. But that is pocket change for Big Oil and Big Coal, who stand to lose big if US climate policy moves into the 21st century.

The ads deadpan three hilariously audacious whoppers:

I’ll deal with the content of the full-page propaganda effort in a separate post but the first thing to note is the desperation of the tactics.

These are sophisticated players and such ham-handed lobbying techniques are typically a last resort in the public relations toolkit. This latest move illustrates just how isolated vested oil and coal interests have become in the climate change debate.

Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam

james-hoggan-climate-cover-up

Updated: June 15, 2009

There is a line between public relations and propaganda - or there should be. And there is a difference between using your skills, in good faith, to help rescue a battered reputation and using them to twist the truth - to sow confusion and doubt on an issue that is critical to human survival.

And it is infuriating - as a public relations professional - to watch my colleagues use their skills, their training and their considerable intellect to poison the international debate on climate change.

That's what is happening today, and I think it's a disgrace. On one hand, you have the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – as well as the science academies of every developed nation in the world – confirming that:

  • climate change is real;
  • it is caused by human activity; and
  • it is threatening the planet in ways we can only begin to imagine.


On the other hand, you have an ongoing public debate - not about how to respond, but about whether we should bother, about whether climate change is even a scientific certainty. While those who stand in denial of climate change have failed in the last 15 years to produce a single, peer-reviewed scientific journal article that challenges the theory and evidence of human-induced climate change, mainstream media was, until very recently, covering the story (in more than half the cases, according to the academic researchers Boykoff and Boykoff) by quoting one scientist talking about the risks and one purported expert saying that climate change was not happening – or might actually be a good thing.

One Solution to the Crisis: Kneecap and Trade

“As Australian companies prepare to trade emissions, climate criminals are cashing in on similar schemes overseas. Interpol has warned companies to beware of bogus ‘carbon credits’ that fail to lower emissions. One Interpol agent said the carbon market would be irresistible to criminal gangs. ‘In future, if you are running a factory and you desperately need credits to offset your emissions, there will be someone who can make that happen,’ he said. ‘Absolutely, organized crime will be involved.’ “  

BC NDP Leader Accepts BC Carbon Tax (Bravo! Carole James)

After election defeat, a conscientious shift

In a surprising and impressive political about-face, BC New Democratic Party leader Carole James withdrew her party’s opposition to the BC carbon tax today - committing to improving the tax, rather than trying to undermine it.

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