Joseph Bast


Joseph Bast


Joseph Bast studied Economics as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. According to Sourcewatch, he did not complete his degree.


Joseph Bast co-founded the Heartland Institute in 1984 with David M. Padder. He currently serves as the institute's president and CEO. 

Bast is also the publisher of Heartland’s monthly periodical, Environment and Climate News, as well four other like-minded publications. 

Bast studied economics as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books promoting free-market solutions to different public policy problems including Eco-sanity: a common sense guide to environmentalism. 

Heartland International Conferences on Climate Change (ICCC)

As the president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, Bast helped organize and introduce the First (March 2008), Second (March 2009), Third (June 2009), Fourth (May 2010), Fifth (Oct 2010), Sixth (June 2011), Seventh (May 2012), Eighth (November 2012), and Ninth (July 2014) international conferences on climate change. 

Stance on Climate Change

Bast claims that most scientists believe that human activity has no appreciable effects on the climate, citing a (since-debunked) 17,000-name petition run by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

Some of Bast's assertions include that: [1]

  • “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the
    Earth's climate” (This is referring to the Oregon Petition).
  • “Our most reliable sources of temperature data show no global warming
  • “Global climate computer models are too crude to predict future climate
  • “The IPCC did not prove that human activities are causing global warming.”
  • “A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial
    to the natural world and to human civilization.”
  • “Efforts to quickly reduce human greenhouse gas emissions would be costly
    and would not stop Earth's climate from changing.”
  • “The best strategy to pursue is 'no regrets.' The alternative to demands
    for immediate action to “stop global warming” is not to do nothing.”

Key Quotes

March 31, 2014

Regarding the NIPCC's contradictory conclusions to the IPCC's latest assessment report:

“How could two teams of scientists come to such obviously contradictory conclusions on seemingly every point that matters in the debate over global warming? There are many reasons why scientists disagree, the subject, by the way, of an excellent book a couple years ago titled Wrong by David H. Freedman. A big reason is IPCC is producing what academics call “post-normal science” while NIPCC is producing old-fashioned “real science.” [10]

March 26, 2014

Leading up to the Heartland Institute's Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-9) in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 7-9, 2014, Jim Lakely and Joseph Bast publish a press release in which Bast is quoted:

“The scientists Heartland works with demanded we host a ninth conference this year to foster a much-needed frank, honest, and open discussion of the current state of climate science and we just couldn’t refuse. The public, the press, and the scientific community will all benefit from learning about the latest research and observational data that indicate climate science is anything but ‘settled.’” [17]

September 19, 2013

“The IPCC – and all the mainstream media and environmental extremists who cite it uncritically — really have become a joke in the scientific community.” [8]

In reference to the Chinese Academy of Sciences' rebuttal of the IPCC's assessment, just months before COP19 in Warsaw, Poland, Bast said:

“This is a historic moment in the global debate about climate change… The translation and publication of a comprehensive critique of the IPPC’s alarmist reports by a leading national academy of sciences is one more sign of the trend toward skepticism and away from alarmism.” [7]

“The benefits of a modest warming would outweigh the costs – by $8.4 billion a year in 1990 dollars by the year 2060, according to Robert Mendelsohn at Yale University – thanks to longer growing seasons, more wood fiber production, lower construction costs, lower mortality rates, and lower rates of morbidity (illness).” [2]

Key Deeds

January 12, 2017

Joseph Bast was a signatory to a January 12, 2017 official letter of support (PDF) for Scott Pruitt, in which numerous groups,  including The Heartland Institute, American Energy Alliance (AEA), and others, declared that the Senate should “swiftly approve his nomination” for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 Other signatories of the letter included: [30]

July 12, 2016

Joseph Bast, representing the Heartland Institute, was a signatory to a “Coalition” open letter pushing back against what the Heartland Institute describes as an “affront to free speech.” The groups are responding to the recent Web of Denial Resolution brought up in the Senate, calling out fossil fuel industry-funded groups denying climate change. [26]

According to the Climate Investigations Center, all but one of the open letter's signatory organizations have taken money (totalling at least $92 million since 1997) from the “climate denial web” including Koch Brothers' various foundations, ExxonMobil, and two “Dark Money” organizations, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. [29]

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.” [27]

The open letter addresses the senators, calling them “tyrants”: 

“We hear you. Your threat is clear: There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.” [28]

The full list of signatories and their respective organizations is as follows:

May 18, 2016

Joseph Bast was a signatory to a full page color advertisement in The New York Times titled “Abuse of Power” (PDF) sponsored by The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).  The ad serves as an open letter from 43 signatories including organizations and individuals in response to  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and the coalition of Attorneys General investigating groups denying man-made climate change[23][24]

Attempts to intimidate CEI and our allies and silence our policy research are unconstitutional,” said CEI president Kent Lassman. “The First Amendment protects us and everyone has a duty to respect it – even state attorneys general.  CEI will continue to fight for all Americans to support the causes in which they believe.” [23]

The Competitive Enterprise Institute received a subpoena from AG Walker on April 7, 2016. On April 20, CEI filed an objection to the subpoena calling it “offensive,” “un-American,” and “unlawful,” and are contending that AG Walker is “violating CEI’s First Amendment rights.”  [23]

The “freedom of speech” argument was echoed by ExxonMobil's legal team, as well as numerous other conservative groups including the Pacific Legal Foundation, and Heritage Foundation and the recently-formed Free Speech in Science Project, a group created by the same lawyers who defended the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the past. [25]

The CEI letter lists the following signatories:

March, 2015

Joseph Bast is one of several climate change skeptics cc'd on an email from S. Fred Singer in hopes of countering the documentary film “Merchants of Doubt,” which exposes the network of climate change skeptics and deniers trying to delay legislative action on climate change.  

The October, 2014 email was leaked to journalists before the documentary was released. “Can I sue for damages?” Singer asked in the email. “Can we get an injunction against the documentary?”

InsideClimate News reports in their article “Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists,” how “Many of those copied on the email thread, such as Singer and communications specialist Steven Milloy, have financial ties to the tobacco, chemical, and oil and gas industries and have worked to defend them since the 1990s.” [18]

InsideClimate News also documented all those who were cc'd on the email, including the following skeptics and groups:

DeSmogBlog covered the emails here: “Merchants of Doubt Film Debuts, Textbook Denial Attack Campaign Led By Fred Singer Ensues” and DeSmogBlog also archived a full copy of the Singer email thread (PDF).

August 2014

Joseph Bast testified at a Travis County Texas court hearing regarding the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Programs (“TTSGP”). The court questions Bast's credibility as a witness (PDF, p. 335 - 336):
“Mr. Joseph Bast, president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, testified for the Intervenors regarding the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Programs (“TTSGP”), a school voucher bill that failed in the 82nd Legislative Session. As a threshold matter, this Court finds that Mr. Bast is not a credible witness and that he did not offer reliable opinions in this matter. While Mr. Bast described himself as an economist, he holds neither undergraduate nor graduate degrees in economics, and the highest level of education he completed was high school. Mr. Bast testified that he is 100% committed to the long-term goal of getting government out of the business of educating its own voting citizens. Further, his use of inflammatory and irresponsible language regarding global warming, and his admission that the long term goal of his advocacy of vouchers is to dismantle the 'socialist' public education system further undermine his credibility with this Court.”  [20]

May 26, 2014

Joe Bast co-wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with Roy Spencer entitled, “The Myth of the Climate Change '97%'.” In the commentary attacking the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate science, Spencer and Bast argued that, “There is no basis for the claim that 97% of scientists believe that man-made climate change is a dangerous problem.”

May 19, 2014

As Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch reports, Joseph Bast was featured on part of a Showtime series titled “Years of Living Dangerously” profiling climate change skeptics. A preview of the interview is available here. [21], [22]

May 6, 2014

Joseph Bast was interviewed by Dorothy Tucker, of CBS 2 News in Chicago, “to give the other side of [the] story about President Obama's National Climate Assessment report.” [16]

1:22-1:40 “We have always had floods, we have always had droughts … I think they [The Obama Administration] are trying to whip up public support and attention for a political agenda. He [Obama] is attempting to shut down coal generation in the United States, and in its place, heavily subsidizing wind and solar, and biofuels.” [16]

April 30, 2014

At a mining conference in Denver, CO, Republic Report, cross-posted on DeSmogBlog, spoke to Heartland Institute's president, Joseph Bast, about his past support for the tobacco industry. When first asked by Republic Report, Bast denied that he had ever dismissed concerns about the risks of smoking. [13]

In a report entitled, “Please Don't Poop in My Salad,” (PDF) released by Heartland and written by Bast in July of 2006, Bast was quoted on page 57 (pg. 65 in PDF format), “A fourth lie is that even moderate smoking is deadly. Several experts (including two who are very anti-smoking) have told me that smoking fewer than seven cigarettes a day does not raise a smoker's risk of lung cancer.” [14]

Republic Report captured his response to the statement here [15]

March 31, 2014

Bast published an Op/Ed piece in Forbes the same week the IPCC released its latest report: “Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report.” In the article, Bast states that the NIPCC's latest report, released that same day, fully addresses the IPCC's eight “reasons for concern” made in the final draft of its Summary for Policymakers. Bast asks Forbes' readers to not just wonder if man-made global warming is a crisis, but to “understand it yourself,” by “read[ing] one or a few chapters of one of the NIPCC reports, and ask if what you read is logical, factual, and relevant to the debate.” [10]

March 15, 2013 

Joseph Bast, alongside Walter Cunningham, Thomas Wysmuller, and Harold Doiron spoke at a panel discussion of The Right Climate Stuff (TRCS) where they explain “why they are urging government agencies to cease their ‘unbridled advocacy’ of Anthropogenic Global Warming & Return Integrity to the Scientific Method.” [19]
In January 2013, TRCS issued this summary of its findings as follows (according to a press release issued by The Heartland Institute):
  1. The science that predicts the extent of anthropogenic global warming is not settled science.
  2. There is no convincing physical evidence of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.
  3. Computer models need to be validated before being used in critical decision-making.
  4. Because there is no immediate threat of global warming requiring swift corrective action, we have time to study global climate changes and improve our prediction accuracy.
  5. The U.S. government is over-reacting to concerns about anthropogenic global warming.
  6. A wider range of solution options should be studied for global warming or cooling threats from any credible cause.

September 18, 2013

Joseph Bast and Willie Soon appeared on Fox News Channel's, “Special Report with Bret Baier” to discuss the release of “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science,” published for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) by The Heartland Institute. [9]

May 23, 2012

The Heartland Institute's Seventh “International Conference on Climate Change,” took place on May 23, 2012 in Chicago. Heartland President Joseph Bast, during his closing remarks of the conference, appealed for funding from the crowd due to lower attendence numbers and an insufficient ability to raise funds: 

Please consider supporting the Heartland Institute. These conferences are expensive, and I’m not a good fundraiser so as a result I don’t raise enough money to cover them, we really scramble to make payroll as a result to cover these expenses. If you can afford to make a contribution, please do. If you know someone, if you’ve got a rich uncle or somebody in the family or somebody that you work with, please give them a call and ask them if they would consider making a tax-deductable contribution to the Heartland Institute.” [11]

May 4, 2012

The Heartland Institute released a billboard campaign in Chicago featuring “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson and Fidel Castro. Heartland's intent with the campaign was to portray those who believe in the overwhelming evidence of man-made climate change as “radical [and] on the fringe of society.” [12]


In a statement announcing the billboard campaign, Heartland explained its rationale as: 

“Because 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….
The point is that believing in global warming is not “mainstream,” smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things. Still believing in man-made global warming – after all the scientific discoveries and revelations that point against this theory – is more than a little nutty. In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.”

The billboard was immediately and widely condemned as outrageous and offensive. Bast soon issued a statement to The Washington Post, rather unapologetically stating:

“We will stop running [the billboard] at 4:00 p.m. CST today. (It’s a digital billboard, so a simple phone call is all it takes.) The Heartland Institute knew this was a risk when deciding to test it, but decided it was a necessary price to make an emotional appeal to people who otherwise aren’t following the climate change debate.” [12]

June 21, 2005

Testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on the  “Cost of Greenhouse Gas Control” (PDF). [3]

August 2, 2002

Bast was signed to a letter to President Bush written by Myron Ebell and Fred L. Smith. The letter congratulated President George W. Bush for not attending the World Summit on sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and warned against a “a World Environmental Organization,” which the authors described as “the worst possible outcome at Johannesburg.” [31]


Wrote and designed a series of six brochures on environmental issues for distribution to elected officials, journalists, and other audiences. [3]


Wrote, co-directed, and co-produced a 20-minute video titled Coming Out of the Ice.  The video covered a variety of public policy issues such as tort reform, privatization, school reform, and taxes. [3]


Source: [3]


Bast is the coauthor of 12 books, including Rebuilding America's Schools (1990), Why We Spend Too Much on Health Care (1992), Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism (1994), and Education & Capitalism (2003). [3]

He has not published any articles in peer-reviewed journals on the subject of climate change. A list of his books, publications, and policy studies is available at his profile at the Heartland Institute.


  1. Joseph Bast. “Eight Reasons Why Global Warming is a Scam” (PDF), The Heartland Institute, February 1, 2003.

  2. “Testimony by Joseph L. Bast President, The Heartland Institute
    to the Environment Committee of the Iowa House Monday, February 9, 2004” (PDF), The Heartland Institute.

  3. Joseph L. Bast - 2008 Resumé.” The Heartland Institute.

  4. Staff and Board Members: Joseph L. Bast,” Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

  5. The Heartland Institute,” SourceWatch.

  6. Joseph Bast,” SourceWatch.

  7. Chinese Translate Climate Change Reconsidered Volumes,” The Heartland Institute, August 14, 2013.

  8. Joe Bast, Willie Soon talking 'Climate Change Reconsidered' on Fox News,” The Heartland Institute, September 19, 2013.

  9. NIPCC Climate Report Covered on 'Special Report with Bret Baier',” The Heartland Institute, September 17, 2013. Archived April 8, 2014.

  10. The IPCC's Latest Report Deliberately Excludes and Misrepresents Important Climate Science,” Forbes, March 31, 2014. Archived April 8, 2014.

  11. Joe Bast Announces the Death of Denial-a-Palooza at Final Heartland ICCC Conference,” DeSmogBlog, May 23, 2012.

  12. Will Heartland Institute's Corporate Funders Tacitly Endorse Comparing Climate realists to Bin Laden and the Unabomber?DeSmogBlog, May 4, 2012.

  13. VIDEO: Heartland Institute Reluctantly Stands by Denial of Cigarette Smoking Risks,” Republic Report, April 30, 2014. Archived May 5, 2014.

  14. Joseph Bast. “Please Don't Poop in My Salad” (PDF), Heartland Institute, July, 2006. Archived May 5, 2014.

  15. Joe Bast reluctantly reaffirms cigarette health risk denial,” Lee Fang, April 24, 2014. Archived May 5, 2014.

  16. Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast on CBS 2 in Chicago Talking Climate,” HeartlandTube, May 7, 2014. Archived July 1, 2014.

  17. Jim Lakely, Joseph Bast. “International Gathering of Scientists Skeptical of Man-Caused Global Warming to Take Place in Las Vegas from July 7 to July 9,” Heartland Institute, March 26, 2014. Archived July 1, 2014.

  18. Katherine Bagley. “Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists,” InsideClimate News. March 12, 2015.

  19. Jim Lakely. “Apollo 7 Astronaut Walter Cunningham to Headline 'Right Climate Stuff' Event at CPAC 2013,” The Heartland Institute, March 8, 2013.

  20. The Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition et al. vs Williams et al. (pdf),” D-1-GN-11-003130, (District Court of Travis County Texas 2014), 335 to 336. Original also on DocumentCloud. Archived at Internet Archive, June 9, 2015.

  21. Showtime Exposes Climate Change Deniers, like James Taylor and Joseph Bast's Heartland Institute,” PR Watch, May 19, 2014. Archived January 25, 2016. WebCite URL

  22. Years of Living Dangerously: Episode 6,” Showtime. Archived January 25, 2016. WebCite URL

  23. CEI Runs “Abuse of Power” Ad In New York Times,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2016. Archived May 31, 2016.

  24. “Abuse of Power: All Americans have the right to support causes they believe in” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  25. Steve Horn. “Exxon's Lawyer in Climate Science Probe Has History Helping Big Tobacco and NFL Defend Against Health Claims,” DeSmogBlog, May 10, 2016.

  26. Jim Lakely. “#WebOfDenial Push by Senate Dems Exposes Their Hatred of Free Speech,” Somewhat Reasonable (Heartland Institute Blog), July 12, 2016. Archived July 14, 2016.

  27. Brendan Demelle. “Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action, DeSmog, July 11, 2016.

  28. Coalition Letter to Senate Web of Denial Resolution (PDF). Retrieved from the Heartland Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSMogBlog.

  29. Cindy Baxter. “Front Groups Attacking #WebofDenial Senate Action Took Over $92M in Dark, Dirty Money,” Desmog, July 14, 2016. Originally posted at Climate Investigations Center.

  30. “Dear Senators,” (PDF)Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 12, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  31. An Open Letter To President Bush About The World Summit On Sustainable Development,“ Competitive Enterprise Institute, August 2, 2002. Archived November 5, 2002. URL: