Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

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Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.

We are releasing the entire trove of documents now to allow crowd-sourcing of the material. Here are a few quick highlights, stay tuned for much more.

-Confirmation that Charles G. Koch Foundation is again funding Heartland Institute’s global warming disinformation campaign. [Update: Apparently even the Koch brothers think the Heartland Institute's climate denial program is too toxic to fund. On Wednesday, Koch confirmed that it did not cut a check for the $200K mentioned in the strategy memo after all. A statement released on KochFacts.com and the charleskochfoundationfacts.org states that “…the Charles Koch Foundation provided $25,000 to the Heartland Institute in 2011 for research in healthcare, not climate change, and this was the first and only donation the Foundation made to the institute in more than a decade. The Foundation has made no further commitments of funding to Heartland.”]

Greenpeace’s Koch reports show the last time Heartland received Koch funding was in 1999

The **January 2012 Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy** states:

We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000. We expect to push up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to their network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests. Other contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.”

-Heartland Institute’s global warming denial machine is chiefly – and perhaps entirely – funded by one Anonymous donor:

Our climate work is attractive to funders, especially our key Anonymous Donor (whose contribution dropped from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011 - about 20% of our total 2011 revenue). He has promised an increase in 2012…”

-Confirmation of exact amounts flowing to certain key climate contrarians. 

funding for high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist AGW message. At the moment, this funding goes primarily to Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 per month, plus expenses), Robert Carter ($1,667 per month), and a number of other individuals, but we will consider expanding it, if funding can be found.”

-As Brad Johnson reported today at ThinkProgress, confirmation that Heartland is working with David Wojick, a U.S. Energy Department contract worker and coal industry consultant, to develop a ‘Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools.’

-Forbes and other business press are favored outlets for Heartland’s dissemination of climate denial messages, and the group is worried about maintaining that exclusive space. They note in particular the work of Dr. Peter Gleick:

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.” (emphasis added)

Note the irony here that Heartland Institute – one of the major mouthpieces behind the debunked ‘Climategate’ email theft who harped about the suppression of denier voices in peer-reviewed literature – now defending its turf in the unscientific business magazine realm.

-Interesting mentions of Andrew Revkin as a potential ally worth “cultivating,” along with Judith Curry.

Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Romm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters).”

-Confirmation that skeptic blogger Anthony Watts is part of Heartland’s funded network of misinformation communicators.

We have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.”

Stay tuned for more details as DeSmogBlog and others dig through this trove of Heartland Institute documents. The Heartland Institute's legacy of evasion of this level of transparency and accountability has now been shattered. 

Read the documents [all PDF (except one .doc)]:

January 2012 Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy

Minutes of January 17 board meeting (.doc)

Agenda for January 17, 2012 Board Meeting

Board Meeting Package January 17, 2012

Binder 1 (maybe overlap with above documents)

2012 Heartland Budget

2012 Heartland Fundraising Plan

2010 Heartland IRS Form 990 (public document)

Stay tuned… see also DeSmogBlog's Richard Littlemore's coverage.

**The Heartland Institute alleges that the 2012 climate strategy document is a “fake” and has threatened the DeSmogBlog with legal action. However, the organization has not provided any proof to support its allegations. We see no basis in fact or law for us to remove this document, and will leave it available in the public interest.

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The exposure of these documents confirm what climate realists/scientists have been saying for many years about the source of climate denial, and that the people pushing denier talking points are doing so for money. This money comes largely from the fossil fuel industry, which this further proves.

The “Climategate” emails, whose motivated misinterpretation and attendant media blitz was *successful* at creating additional climate denialism, and importantly, gave politicians political cover to avoid climate legislation/renewable energy support. It was a case study of the powers of modern PR and misinformation, and just how effectively a lie can be made to persuade and effect policy.

These Heartland docs *should* be a very effective weapon to shut down climate denier arguments, disbar the media credentials of paid climate deniers everywhere, and demonstrate the sophistication and dishonesty of the PR machine that climate scientists are up against. It truly is a test of whether or not scientists and honest/objective media brokers will ever be able to turn the tide in the climate messaging/media fight. This is a rare gift, and I hope to see the same strength and media brilliance employed in its dissemination as we all had to witness and endure during the “climategate” media blitz.

Hopefully this episode becomes branded with a catchy name, which can then be neatly invoked forevermore to call to mind the devious and fraudulent nature of climate denial. You know, sort of like all manner of conservatives attempt when mentioning “climategate”. Please do better than “Heartlandgate”, though.

This is great news and will hopefully help to make up some of the ground lost to the forces of darkness through the ‘Climategate’ nonsense.

Many thanks to ’Heartland Insider’ - perhaps this will encourage some more whistleblowing. I’d liek to see the same thing happen to our equivalent in the UK, the Global Warming Policy Foundation.


 The Fundraising plan lists past donors and potential future donors. Some of them are publicly held corporations. I think that stockholders of those corporations deserve an explanation for why management is funding disinformation.

I would be very interested in main stream media contacting the individual donors and getting some feedback from them as to what their views are. They are treating their donations as “speech”, lets give them a public forum to speak at.

Sounds like great stuff to bring up at the next share holder’s meeting.

In Calgary, when it became appearent that Talisman Energy had funded Tim Ball and the so called Friends of Science (and of course they laundered the money through charities), Talisman was forced to distance itself from the shame of what they’d done.


It would have been an interesting discussion to listen in to at their 17/1/12 meeting.

“What if somebody sues us for slander or libel or defamation?”

Normally the discussion would consider how to keep all publications truthful etc. but this meeting concludes with the motion - “It was agreed that a policy (for insurance) would be purchased no less than two weeks following the meeting provided a policy could be found that covered libel/slander/defamation.”

That pretty much says it all!

“With tiny budgets like $310 million, $100 million, and $95 million respectively, how can lovable underdogs like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and NRDC *ever* hope to compete with mighty Heartland’s $6.5 million? “

Tom Nelson’s headline on the Heartland affair. \

Heartland Insititure is only one of many many many false organizations.  In the US its called Koch Octopus for a reason.

Read some other articles;

Gina Rinehart dropped $192,000,000 to pick up a mouth piece in Australia.


“As I watched the video last Tuesday evening, news was just emerging that mining billionaire and Asia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, had bought $192 million worth of shares in Fairfax (the publisher of Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and many regional newspapers and city-based radio stations) to take her share in the company to about 14 per cent. To me, these two events were intrinsically linked, and not just because Mr Manners is a personal friend of Ms Rinehart’”

And here’s one reason why it may be so;


“At the time, Lord Monckton was in Australia at the behest of a mining association and Gina Rinehart to deliver a series of talks on climate change and spread his conspiracy theories that human-caused climate change is a left-wing plot to bring down the West.”

Gina Rinehart is a woman with a mission to control the air waves and pesky climate science in Australia.

I can hardly wait to hear what she spends $200 million on next year.

Chas Rasper.
You fail to complete your commenting.

Obfuscation is indeed a highly cost-effective activity.

Was it Samuel L. Clemens who said “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” ?

Congratulations.  You are right with underdogs who are still financed by tobacco comanies (Altria is stiil there).  Heartland learned how to deceive by helping the tobacco companies, who survive by killing children very sloiwly.

The evidence is that Heartland is a PR/advocacy entity.

Here I should add something flippant about how much drinking water can be spoiled by how little dirt. It’s a very unsymmetric situation.

For a Think Tank, there doesn’t seem to be any thinking.  Right?  

The purpose of a Think Tank is to provide talking points for the media.  But in this case, you can see they are simply trying to worm their opinion into the media.  They aren’t trying to verify that what they are doing is correct.  Quite the opposite.  They are concerned that they may get sued for Liable\Slander.

We already know exactly what Wojick’s ‘education plan’ is going to look like.


Environmental groups have huge Research Budgets.

Many environmental groups have to actually research their own data.  Its expensive, and they have to do a good job, or silly skeptics will make hay of it.  In the Tar Sands, the work required to prove that the toxic emissions from bitumen upgraders, was enormous.  After producing it… they get attacked.  It took a documentary from David Suzuki to convince federal and provincial governments to actually measure toxic emissions. So far we only have a PR campaign.  Nothing else, and this is some 15 years after problems were first identified.  The government fired Dr David Swan for daring to speak out about toxic pollution.

Now compare what the environment groups do to the cost of navel gazing and offering pre-written opinion pieces to new papers.  They are not even remotely the same things.

The real question is why media (such as FOX) considers Heartland navel gazing in any way on par with science or research.  Their broadcasts\newspaper articles should be proceeded by something like, “And now we hear from some guy who doesn’t know anything but was paid cash (monthly) to disagree with the majority of specialists in this field.

even if the document wasn’t a fake, which it is, what are idiot greens whining about? The out spend skeptics 50 to 1.

You’re not going to find much logic on this site. Lots of emotional hate.

Its a serious question.

The fact is Heartland does Zero Nada Zippo work.  The environmental groups research and peform real work.  Like measurements.  Facts.

Not the truthy stuff your kind sells.


but you have to face the greenshirt facts of the situation;


The data is right there;






 2010 Annual Report



 ”  ($524m Euro)

Pew Charitable Trust


2010 Annual Report

Sierra Club


2010 Annual Report

NSW climate change fund (just one random govt example)


 NSW Gov (A$700m)

Heartland Institute



US government funding for climate science and technology


 “Climate Money” 2009

US government funding for “climate related appropriations”


USAID 2010

Annual turnover in global carbon markets


2010 Point Carbon

Annual investment in renewable energy


2010  BNEF

US government funding for skeptical scientists

$ 0


These are annual turnovers or annual budgets


You still haven’t figured out how much money is involved.  Only a half wit such as yourself wouldn’t realize this.

For instance… The anonymous donor put $200k (?) for the education program modules.  Right?

But the donor was the one who was supposed to put them in the classrooms.  Right?  That’s priceless.

(Note to self… figure who’s pushing it.)

Obviously more is afoot than you and the hapless Jo can follow.  Or is it maybe that she can follow.  I mean she was in the meeting with Moncton discussing buying a TV station to pump out her crap.  Hmmm?

Its called Koch Octopus for reason.

But you do make a valid point, that maybe the enviros shouldn’t study or learn about the environment, but rather they should buy TV stations, and pump out crap like you guys.

I’ll just let Greenpeace know about that.

story based on fraud;


At least Climategate was real.

I want to know if the documents are real.  (This is what you skeptics were saying about Climategate, right?)

Americans are subsidizing them in the form of being charities, and have a right to know if the documents are real.

We should seize and search their computers.  Now before they hide their slimy trail.

and it’d be the fraudulent impersonation of a board member to elicit the sending of the documents to a third party.

so let me write it out to see if it makes more sense. You have a privately funded think tank who are recieving approximately $7-8M a year from various private and corporate sources. Why the outrage? It’s not public money being spent. Yep, there has been some money sourced from oil companies, a drop in the ocean compared to the funding recieved by greenpeace, WWF, and governmental climate change agencies in the western world.

If you want to see public money being wasted, look at the IPCC.

It has been a while since I commented here but your comments on the Heartland Institute “leaks” are puzzling:

1.  Please explain why $80,000 donated to Anthony Watts is a problem while $1,600,000 for Hansen is not.

2.  Please explain why anyone would object to a project that will make it easier for the general public to access NOAA climate data.

I’ve looked at his mickey mouse work on climate science… and he has nothing to offer the world. He doesn’t understand anything.   (Except more FUD… Fear Uncertainty Doubt.  He has plenty of that to offer.)


As Mann put it.  The reason you guys go after the scientists is because you don’t have any science to back you up.  Zero Nadda Zippo

Galloping Camel said:

“Please explain why $80,000 donated to Anthony Watts is a problem”

Given Watts’ past history of lies, disinformation and slander of climate scientists you would actually believe anything he puts on the Web?

Hey, if you are that much of a sucker I have some moose pasture in Northern Alberta I can sell you. You would only have surface rights but just wait a few years and oil pollution from the tar sands will be enough to make it economical to recycle a few barrels at a time.

Good grief, no wonder the deniers get so much press time when idiot deniers like GC lap up every dishonest word they say.

Interesting that my comment has already been removed from this echo chamber.  Thanks for replying before it was snipped.

Watts is going to use the money to make it easier for the general public to access NOAA climate data.  Do you have a problem with that?

I also asked whether why the money showered on Hansen was not a problem.

As I said before, Watts is one of the most dishonest of the deniers (see his comments before and after BEST). He will use his Hearltless money to spread more lies about honest scientific data which confirms global warming. After all that is what Heartland wants people to do, tell lies and pass on misinformation.

If you cannot see that all he has are lies then you are indeed a sad case.

 Here are three investigative reports that show connections between Joseph Bast and various other Koch front groups. (With pictures.)






Ray Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate”

Seriously… We’re not the ones who are upset.  You are.  We’re also not talking about the numbers either.  You are.

By the way, you neglected Jo Nova’s insider track on buying newspapers and setting up a Fox clone for Australia. Why don’t you hear her talk about it right here;


Thats an obvious and convenient mistake for her to make isn’t it?  In Jo Nova’s world, TV stations must be free.  Right?

Come back when you have something useful to contribute. OK Chump?

Media Matters = Hate group


Tied to a JournOlist network and the White House. This is a scandal.

The “poor little H.I.” with ‘hardily $6.4m to rub together’ message may appear to apologists useful in this forum but that is not the message the H.I. is putting in front of its supporters.

A link at SkS yields the appeal by H.I. President Jo Bast. The H.I. is doing such a good job, apparently. “…on climate change, we are the loudest and most effective voice against alarmism in the country, even the entire world. “

But they are in need of more money. “We are creating a legal defense fund to support litigation, starting immediately, to demand that false and defamatory material be removed from blogs and Web sites and publications, and that the true criminals in this case be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Obviously they have yet to seek any legal advice as the action they are about is not defense!

The humour content of Jo Bast’s appeal makes it well worth the read.



So, if one’s position is affirmed, it’s OK if the document that is the ‘smoking gun’ is faked? 

If the argument that deniers are being funded by BIG ______ (fill in the blank) is so strong, why fake documents?  Besides, oil companies have given more money to fund research on alternative energy than they have to deniers, so why give big money to deniers and hand alarmists a major PR coup?  If anything, these documents show just how poorly funded the deniers are.  This kind of money is chump change compared to what the other side gets.  Heck, James Hansen wouldn’t even get out of bed for this kind of money. 

It would seem that a heaping plate of crow is in order. 

Heartland funding sources = 14% individuals, 34% corporations, 48% foundations.

That pretty much says it all. This is not an independent grass roots group of concerned citizens with the welfare of others on their minds.

Greenpeace International: 226 million Euros (or $296,051,386.52 CAD)  donations from 2.8 million different people, 95% from individuals with an average of 77 euros per year.

Sierra Club: $56 million

WWF: $ 524,963,000 (Not $700 million)

Pew Charitable Trust: $297,929,876 (Not $360 million)

I didn’t bother looking up the rest, as they’d be just as inaccurate. First: These are gross revenues from all sources, not an accounting of how much these groups spend on climate change campaigns in North America. Second: Government funds research in climate change and technology. Since governments (i.e. politicians) are funded by coporations to get elected, wouldn’ it be in government’s interest to look for results from all that climate change research that could be favorable to their climate denying corporate campaign financiers? Does the fact that most scientists haven’t found anything fundamentally wrong with the concept of global warming tell you anything?

The Heartland Institute gets more bang for their buck because they already have the advantage of a compliant news media:

In 2010, The Heartland Institute contacted journalists more than 262,000 times and appeared in print and on television or radio 3,490 times. Heartland hosted 21 events attracting nearly 2,000 guests.”-  2010 Heartland Institute Prospectus

When is the last time you saw someone from the Pew Charitable Trust being interviewed on TV or radio about climate change? Or Greenpeace (without being ridiculed by the reporter)?


As I read carefully the Koch Foundation is not a donor to the Heartland Institute -   I do not read that either one of the Koch brothers or other companies has denied making contributions.