The Extinction Rebellion protest movement has grown in scale and impact in recent weeks, bringing energy...
A former Republican congressman with a history of rejecting action on climate change while accepting funding from the fossil fuel industry has been picked as the new president of the Heartland Institute.
Tim Huelskamp, a prominent Tea Party figure, will take over from current president and institute founder Joseph Bast, who said he would stay on as CEO until some time in 2018.
Despite financial backing from groups affiliated with the Koch brothers, Huelskamp lost his March 2016 primary race, ending almost 20 years in Kansas state and federal politics.
According to Federal Election Commission disclosures, the oil and gas industries and groups affiliated with Koch Industries have been among Huelskamp’s most enthusiastic financial supporters.
Like many of his Trump administration colleagues, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt has never really been down with the whole climate science thing.
Pruitt has denied that carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning is the key driver of climate change, instead hedging his bets with an assortment of ifs, buts, and maybes.
Now, Pruitt is suggesting that what the American public really needs is more debate, more false equivalence, and more delay on policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
This is a guest post by Lee Fang and Nick Surgey, originally published on Republic Report.
Before the Heartland Institute became famous for its leading role in climate change denial, the group spent many years working to defend the tobacco industry. Just as the group is now known for its over the top attacks on climate scientists, Heartland once played a large role in criticizing public health experts and others calling attention to the dangers of cigarette smoking.
At a mining conference in Denver earlier this month, Republic Report spoke to the Heartland president Joe Bast about his past support for the tobacco industry. In an opinion column titled “Five Lies About Tobacco,” Bast once repeatedly claimed that health concerns regarding cigarette smoking were overblown and worth ignoring. At first, Bast denied that he had ever dismissed concerns about smoking and disputed the quote we read to him.
“In 1998, you wrote in a Heartland op-ed that smoking cigarettes has little to no adverse health effects,” we noted. “Do you stand by that?”
“No, I never wrote that,” replied Bast. “Why would I have written something like that?” Bast asked to see the op-ed, and promised to “contest” it.
Later, Republic Report returned and read Bast's op-ed to him.
Watch the video below:
“YOU have an important decision to make,” wrote Diane Bast from the conservative Heartland Institute in a memo posted to science teachers across the US last month.
“Will you tell your students the “science is settled” on global warming, as the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims it is?”
The Heartland Institute likes to ask disingenuous questions like this. Who can forget its disastrous billboard campaign of last year with that picture of terrorist and murderer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski and the words “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?”
Not surprisingly, after hearing of the billboard key private sponsors and funders of Heartland pulled their support quicker than you can say “What on earth were they thinking?”
The Heartland Institute is a conservative free market “think tank” that has made the ideologically-driven denial of climate change science one its core causes. The organisation has accepted millions of dollars from the likes of Exxon, family foundations built on polluting industries and many millions more via a slush fund financed by anonymous conservative millionaires.
Diane Bast, the wife of Heartland president Joseph Bast, was writing to the science teachers to introduce the free copies of its enclosed Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change report - Climate Change Reconsidered II.
“Like the IPCC's reports, NIPCC's reports cite thousands of articles appearing in peer-reviewed science journals relevant to the subject of human-induced climate change,” wrote Bast, who said the report was “comprehensive, objective, and faithful to the scientific method.”
Yet the report is anything but. Australian astrophysicist Dr Michael Brown, of Monash University in Melbourne, described it succinctly as “partisan pseudoscience”. Dr Brown wrote in The Conversation:
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.
THERE’S a section on the Heartland Institute’s website pointing readers to “Stuff We Wish We Wrote”.
After events over the last year or so, the chaps at the fossil fuel-funded “think tank” might want to add a new section with the title “Stuff We Wish We Hadn’t Wrote”.
The Heartland Institute, for those who don’t know, is a Chicago-based group promoting any view or position that argues we shouldn’t do anything about human-caused climate change. They run campaigns, hold conferences, write op-eds in the media and pay contrarian scientists.
Right there on the think-tank’s homepage, the group proudly displays a quote from The Economist magazine describing Heartland as “The world's most prominent think-tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change.”
Yet as is the case with most things Heartland says about climate change, things are not always as they seem. Heartland’s boastful quote is taken out of context and comes from this article in The Economist, documenting a spectacular own goal by Heartland.
Heartland, The Economist wrote, had lost an estimated $825,000 in funding after running a billboard campaign that equated acceptance of human-caused global warming to the values of serial killer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski.
So when The Economist was describing Heartland as a prominent think-tank promoting climate science denial, it wasn’t doing it in a good way. No wonder then that Heartland didn’t hyperlink the quote.
This brings us to Heartland’s most recent example of self-aggrandizing – implying the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) thinks they’re awesome because it translated two of Heartland’s reports, only to be told by aforementioned academy to apologise for misrepresenting what they had actually done. Here are the nuts and bolts of the story. On June 11, Heartland released a statement detailing how CAS had translated two volumes of its NIPCC reports – Climate Change Reconsidered.
The Heartland Institute has a long history of attacking conventional science on behalf of their corporate funders, whether it be the link between human activity and climate change or the link between cancer and tobacco smoke.
Covering Heartlands' activities over the last 7 years has been like watching a very, very slow train wreck.
Here's some of the highlights of Heartland's head scratchers:
1. Unabomber Billboard:
In May 2012, Heartland launched a billboard campaign comparing people who acknowledge the scientific reality of manmade climate change to serial killers like the infamous Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
There was a huge uproar over the ads, and while Heartland's president Joseph Bast thought it could help raise his organization's profile, there was instead a massive exodus of corporate funders.
A US group called the Heartland Institute will be in Munich, Germany this week holding a conference that has become known as “Denial-a-palooza” where a small group of unqualified “experts” gets together to talk about their conspiracy theory that climate change is a “hoax.” This year, Heartland Institute is partnering with the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) to host the “Eighth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC8)” November 30 - December 1.
Usually Heartland holds Denial-a-palooza in the United States, but I suspect the group is taking their event overseas where the media is less likely to know the long and sordid details of Heartland's other efforts to attack conventionally accepted scientific conclusions. Not to mention Heartland's offensive Unabomber billboard campaign and a long list of other outrageous stunts.
Perhaps the Heartland Institute is banking on the German media's failure to Google search for evidence of the group's long history of attacks on science and efforts to confuse the public about climate change and an array or other threats to public health and the planet.
The final Denial-a-Palooza was co-sponsored by dozens of organizations that have received over $67 Million from ExxonMobil, Koch, and Scaife family foundations.
There was tension in the air at this year's gathering in Chicago. In the past several weeks, Heartland's “Experts” have been jumping ship in the wake of Heartland's disastrous Unabomber billboard campaign, and some of Heartland's conference speakers even threatened not to show up.
More worrying to Heartland has been the sudden exodus of their corporate donors. Some suggested that this was cause for Heartland to cancel the conference, but it looks like they had one last hoorah left in them. (Barely, as Joe Bast admitted today.)
The sponsors and speakers who remained part of Heartland's Denial-a-Palooza network for this final conference are those who would choose to go down with a sinking ship rather than accept the scientific evidence of climate change driven by industrial pollution and other man-made impacts.
Below are links to DeSmogBlog's in-depth research on both the Sponsors and Speakers of ICCC7. This list of sponsor organizations is just a taste of the additions coming soon to the DeSmogBlog Disinformation Database.
Here is our comprehensive entry for The Heartland Institute.