Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation hosted The Heartland Institute's CEO Joseph Bast, along with two of Heartland's contracted climate denial scientists (Willie Soon and Bob Carter), to present their new report that denies the seriousness of global warming. Greenpeace was there to ask Heartland about the report's funders, including billionaire Barre Seid, and to challenge Heartland's assertion that their work has any scientific validity (it doesn't). See the video for yourself.
From left: Heartland Institute president Joseph Bast, lawyer James Taylor and contracted pseudo-scientist Craig Idso. Crossposted from PolluterWatch.org
As we've told the Heartland Institute directly through Twitter, their response to our new report on climate change denial, Dealing in Doubt, contains a series of lies that are tellingly consistent with the lies we document in the report itself. Here are some, but not all, of the silliest claims Heartland made in their response to us:
Follow the money. October 23, PBS Frontline's Climate of Doubt gave viewers an hour's coverage of the tactics of climate anti-science, its advocates and a quick look into the funding behind it. Read on to follow the money deeper into the funny finances, all free of tax.
Last February, Fake Science, Fakexperts, Funny Finances, Free Of Tax explored some of those issues in detail. More information has been unearthed since, especially on DONORS TRUST, which Robert Brulle discussed with Frontline. Charles Koch and others use DONORS TRUST to anonymize their funding of policy/advocacy groups. The attached revision exposes more detail of the $311 million given through DONORS between 2002-2010, managed by Whitney Ball.
This week, as the Heartland Institute commences its annual conference, the organization is clearly back on its heels. Funders, experts, and even some staff are bailing, reports The Guardian. Apparently pushed into defensive mode by Peter Gleick and his attempt to expose its funding, the Institute struck back with its ill-advised “you guys are kinda like madmen and murderers” billboard campaign—and, as they say, the rest is history.
Or is it?
If Heartland didn’t exist, wouldn’t some other organization simply take its place? And won't Heartland itself weather this storm? After all, new funders, like the Heritage Foundation and the Illinois Coal Association, have sprung to the institute’s defense. (Whatever else you might say about conservatives, they know how to support the team.)
I think the only conclusion that one can reach is that while Heartland might be flailing right now, climate denial itself is far, far from over.
Let’s think about this in perspective, and start with the good news.
Following the May 4 shocking Unabomber billboard campaign and subsequent departures of more of Heartland's corporate donors, Heartland was likely heartened to add the Illinois Coal Association as a new Gold Sponsor for its forthcoming ICCC-7 “climate” conference. Although ICA was not on the 05/09/12 sponsor list, it joined the usual collection of thinktank sponsors no later than 05/14/12, Maybe the billboard finally convinced them to come out publicly?
In the 2012 Fundraising plan p.24, Murray Energy gave $100,000 in 2010 and was expected to give $40,000 in 2012. Its subsidiary, The American Coal Company is a member of the ICA, along with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, among others.
In the PDF at Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax, pp.84-85 I showed Heartland's Environment and Climate News to have consistent views on some topics:
Negatives included the EPA (2160 mentions), renewable (761), wind farm (333), wind power (277), solar power (209), wind turbine (188).
Mercury (941 mentions) was generally viewed as OK, in fish or the environment, unless it came from CFLs. Coal (935) was often praised.
In any case, the ICA's post-billboard sponsorship of ICCC-7 is a bold public leap.
The Heartland Institute’s jaw-droppingly ill-advised, and now withdrawn billboard campaign—pictured here–has drawn a huge volume of denunciations in the last week. There’s not much more to say substantively about the campaign, or the fallout from it, which has included a number of Heartland funders heading for the hills.
But it is fascinating to try to understand why the Heartland Institute may have gone to this extreme. The psychological phenomenon that I see lurking behind these ads is a critical one to understand–black and white, “in group/out group” thinking.
This is something that David Ropeik has already written on very observantly. In trying to explain and justify its linking of global warming with people like Ted Kaczynski and Charles Manson, Ropeik notes, here are some of the things Heartland has said–and the words speak volumes:
The most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.
…what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the ‘mainstream’ media, and liberal politicians say about global warming.
What is going on here, psychologically, is something called “splitting.” The Heartland Institute is ignoring basic intellectual distinctions and all sense of nuance, and dividing the world up into black and white extremes.
Once you do this, it becomes much easier to group one’s intellectual opponents together with “murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
This is a guest post by Daniel Souweine, Campaign Director, Forecast The Facts
On April 24, Heartland Institute President Joe Bast issued an angry missive attacking Forecast the Facts, a new campaign that successfully petitioned automobile giant General Motors to end their financial support of Heartland earlier this month. In a 2,000-word screed, Bast defended his organization's efforts to disseminate anti-science propaganda to public classrooms and the general public, while making a number of wildly inaccurate claims about our group.
While much of what Bast wrote does not warrant a reply, we felt it important to address the most pernicious falsehoods, and also to remind Heartland's corporate donors exactly why support for the organization is so untenable (although Bast does an excellent job of that himself).
The saddest and most offensive attack on Forecast the Facts is the Heartland president's suggestion that the more than 20,000 signatories of our successful petition to General Motors may not even exist, calling the petition a “fraud.” We stand by the validity of our petition one hundred percent. But even more so, we proudly affirm the existence of our members and their commitment to fighting climate change denial. The signers of the petition are real people with valid email accounts and sincere concerns that major corporations continue to support Heartland's climate change denial. (You can see some of their powerful comments here).
While Bast directs his venom at the everyday Americans who comprise the Forecast the Facts campaign, it's clear that his primary intent is to soothe the concerns of his corporate donors, many of whom are now reconsidering their support of his organization. If anything, his rant lays bare just how disreputable Bast is.
In a truly Orwellian turn, Bast vehemently denies Heartland Institute's climate change denial. (As a reminder for those less familiar with Bast, his primary focus before becoming a leader in the climate change denial movement was to question the links between smoking and lung cancer at the behest of Philip Morris, which remains a Heartland backer.)
General Motors is breaking up with the Heartland Institute, announcing recently that the company will discontinue funding to the notorious climate-denying spin shop.
The move by GM comes in direct response to a national outreach campaign organized by Forecast the Facts, which garnered more than 20,000 people, including 10,000 GM vehicle owners, calling on GM to drop its financial support of the Heartland Institute.
“We applaud GM’s decision and the message it sends: that it is no longer acceptable for corporations to promote the denial of climate change, and that support for an organization like Heartland is not in line with GM’s values. This victory belongs to the 20,000 Americans, including 10,000 GM owners, who demanded that GM put its money where its mouth is on climate change and sustainability,” said Forecast the Facts Campaign Director Daniel Souweine.
Climate One director Greg Dalton revealed the GM pullout after receiving confirmation directly from GM during an event at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club. Dalton had pressed GM CEO Dan Akerson about its support for Heartland at a Climate One event earlier this month. Akerson said at the time that he would personally review the Heartland funding.
Heartland President Joseph Bast was understandably upset to learn of GM's decision to cease any further financial support, but continued to push his trusty shiny penny version of events rather than own up to the real reasons for the waning support of his group's efforts. Internal Heartland documents made public last month exposed the shocking revelation of Heartland's plans to deceive schoolchildren about climate science, most notably.
Modern anti-science was created by the tobacco industry in the 1950s and then used against climate science, often by the same well-experienced think tanks and individuals. Tobacco anti-science is strangely entangled with climate anti-science, as the attached report shows in detail involving Fred Singer's SEPP, Joseph Bast's Heartland, and more. (Fakery 2 10/25/12 updates this post with more data.)
In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who’s-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change.
As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage. The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy. In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.
Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on. After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.
For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.