The Heartland Institute, a corporate funded anti-environmental front group, just wrapped up their 7th climate denial meeting, aka denial-palooza. This year saw a much smaller turnout of climate science denialists than previous years, but more fringe conspiracy theories than ever. The drop in attendance comes after the Heartland Institute’s failed billboard campaign comparing advocates of climate science to terrorists, murderers, and madmen.
The billboard, combined with Heartland’s illogical stance on climate science, has forced 11 corporate sponsors to drop financial support of the organization. Heartland had hoped to receive over $825,000 in funding from these corporations in 2012 and their departure has left Heartland's CEO Joe Bast desperate for funding. During his closing remarks, Bast said:
I'm not a good fundraiser and as a result I don't raise enough money to cover [the climate conference]...if you can afford to make a contribution please do, if you know someone, if you have a rich uncle... please ask him to contribute.
This year’s conference featured the usual self-contradictory climate denier arguments, which includes everything from outright denial that the earth temperature is going up, to admitting the globe is warming but denying that humans and CO2 are involved, to admitting the earth is warming, humans and CO2 are involved, but the warming will be beneficial. However, this year’s meeting also delved in to other fanatical conspiracy theories, like the belief that President Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate is not real.
The truth is, if Heartland’s deceptive and dishonest talk about climate science was aimed at the few old contrarians that attended the latest meeting, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, Heartland doesn’t get paid by Nucor and other big carbon emitting corporations to mislead a fringe tribe of retired old white men. Heartland gets paid to derail solutions to climate change. This has meant creating anti-science curriculum for grade schools, paying spokespeople to deny climate science, and attacking the scientists that do real work on climate change.
And who pays for Heartland disinformation? Leaked internal fundraising and budget documents have revealed that major corporations like Nucor and Pfizer, as well as the coal industry, are substantial contributors to Heartland’s annual budget. As for the denial conference itself, it has recently been revealed that the organizations that co-sponsored this year’s event have taken $67 million from ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife foundations.
Currently a coalition of groups including Greenpeace, Forecast the Facts, Sierra Club, SumofUs, and 350.org are gathering petitions from people concerned about the corporate funding of climate denial, and demanding that Heartland’s remaining corporate funders stop their support of the Heartland Institute. Sign the petition and tell these corporations to stop funding attacks on climate change science.
For more information, check out these recent articles on the Heartland Institute:
“Heartland reflects on its beating,” Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
“Heartland Institute facing uncertain future as staff depart and cash dries up”, Suzanne Goldenberg, the Guardian
“For Heartland board, failed climate attack was a surprise” Evan Lehmann, Climatewire
“Heartland faces a mutiny amid furor over billboard campaign” Evan Lehmann, Climatewire