Global Warming or Global Manipulation?
(May 5, 2012) The Heartland Institute has engaged in perhaps most ill-considered publicity stunt to date: a poster ad campaign that associates mass murders with those who belief in the science of global warming.
The Chicago-based think tank, infamous for denying the basic facts about global warming recently launched billboards in Chicago featuring the likes of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and convicted murderer Charles Manson, asking viewers “I Still Believe in Global Warming… Do You?”
On Thursday one such billboard featuring Ted Kaczynski and located on the Eisenhower Expressway, West of Chicago, was unveiled only to be decommissioned 24 hours later.
Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast said the billboard was “always intended to be an experiment” and acknowledged having disappointed many including some defenders of the Institute.
One such Heartland ally was leading climate skeptic Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), who indicated Friday in a statement to The Washington Post that he would not participate in the upcoming Climate Change Conference if the Heartland Institute continued its ad campaign.
Who is the Heartland Institute?
The Heartland Institute is an American conservative public policy think tank based in Chicago, Illinois which advocates free market policies. The Institute was founded in 1984 and conducts research and advocacy work on issues including government spending, taxation, healthcare, tobacco policy, global warming, information technology and free-market environmentalism.
Heartland opponents claim that the Institute’s self-proclaimed theme of “conservative” values is merely a thin veil covering their corporate agenda.
In the 1990s, the group worked closely with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question the science linking secondhand smoke to health risks, and to lobby against government public-health reforms.
More recently, the Institute has focused on questioning the science of climate change, and was described by the New York Times as “the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism.
On Global Warming
The Heartland Institute argues that global warming is not occurring and that warming might be beneficial if it did occur.The institute is a member organization of the Cooler Heads Coalition, which describes itself as “an informal and ad-hoc group focused on dispelling the myths of global warming.
“In Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway wrote that the Heartland Institute was known “for its persistent questioning of climate science, for its promotion of ‘experts’ who have done little, if any peer-reviewed climate research, and for its sponsorship of a conference in New York City in 2008 alleging that the scientific community’s work on global warming is fake.”
Between 2008 and 2011 the Heartland Institute sponsored six International Conferences on Climate Change, bringing together hundreds of global warming skeptics.
Educating With Misinformation
In February 2012, environmentalist scientist and president of the Pacific Institute Peter Gleick deceptively acquired some internal documents from The Heartland Institute and anonymously divulged them together with an additional document he later claimed to have received from an unknown source; the Heartland Institute has declared this last document to be a fake fabricated with the purpose of defaming and discrediting the institute.
The documents showed that the institute planned to provide climate skeptical materials to teachers in the United States to promote criticism of climate change theories in schools. Some of the documents contain details of payments to climate skeptics and financial support to skeptics’ research programs.
In Mid-Febuary, the website thinkprogress.org revealed many of Heartland’s corporate donors with some surprising results. They include: Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., AT&T, Nucor Corporation, Pfizer, Pepsico, Time Warner Corporation and the Koch Bros..