unabomber

Nucor’s Hypocrisy: Funding The Heartland Institute's Attacks on Climate Change Science

Nucor's logo

Nucor, the largest producer of steel in the U.S., takes great pains to present a “green” image.  Nucor's website is full of oak trees and pastoral scenes next to the tag line “Nucor: It’s Our Nature.”

However, since 2010, Nucor has given at least $500,000 to the Heartland Institute, a right wing corporate front group that attacks climate change science and scientists.  According to Heartland’s own fundraising documents, Nucor’s contributions were earmarked specifically for attacking climate science and environmental regulations.  Heartland has recently made headlines for a billboard campaign featuring a picture of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, next to the words “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?”

The billboard campaign is the latest in Heartland’s continuing battle against the scientific evidence of climate change. Heartland has also sponsored and organized six conferences on climate denial in the past 5 years, and they recently held a seventh that took place May 21-23 in Chicago. The “International Conferences on Climate Change,” as Heartland calls them, provide a platform and meeting space for the small cadre of professional climate science deniers that have derailed meaningful solutions to the threats of global warming in the U.S.

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.

Because of their outrageous attacks on climate science, 15 corporations have dropped the Heartland InstituteSend Nucor's CEO Dan Dimicco an email telling him to stop funding the Heartland Institute and climate denial.

The truth is, if Heartland’s deceptive and dishonest talk about climate science was aimed at the few aging 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 (picture of conference at right).  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.  

Given that the $500,000 Nucor has given Heartland in the last 3 years was specifically for attacking climate science and environmental regulations, Nucor must be held accountable for Heartland's climate science denial.

Send Nucor CEO Dan Dimicco an email telling him to stop funding attacks on climate science and the Heartland Institute.

For updates on the Heartland Institute, see PolluterWatch's ongoing investigation.

More corporate funders drop the anti-science Heartland Institute, Including Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Verizon, and CUNA

UPDATE: Statement from Forecast the Facts added below (click here to see)

Pharmaceutical giants Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, along with Verizon, Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, and Credit Union National Association, have announced that they will not fund the climate change denying Heartland Institute in 2012.  According to the Heartland Institute’s own fundraising document, it hoped to receive $130,000 from these potential funders this year.  Today’s announcement brings the total number of corporate sponsors to drop Heartland to 15, representing $955,000 of Heartland’s projected $7.7 million budget this year.

This announcement comes in response to a petition signed by over 150,000 people calling for Heartland’s corporate funders to drop support of the organization, which recently ran a billboard campaign in Chicago comparing those that advocate for solutions to climate change to “murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”  The petition was organized by Forecast the Facts, Greenpeace, SumofUs, Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and 350.org.

The Heartland Institute just finished their 7th “International Conference on Climate Change” which ran from May21-23 in Chicago.  The conferences, which provides a platform and meeting space for professional climate science deniers, are dedicated to attacking the climate scientists and the scientific consensus on climate change.  This years conference also questioned the authenticity of President Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate. Because of the funding gaps brought on by the mass defection of corporate sponsors Heartland Institute president Joe Bast.  Joe Bast said at the conference:

"I hope to see you at a future conference, but at this point we have no plans to do another ICCC.”

Major corporations and trade groups like Nucor, Pfizer, Reynolds American Inc., and Phrma continue to fund the Heartland Institute.

Statement from Forecast the Facts on healthcare companies distancing themselves from the Heartland Institute:

"Forecast the Facts applauds the decision of pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer to sever their relationship with the Heartland Institute and its denial of scientific fact. Unfortunately, corporations like Pfizer and United Healthcare have yet to follow suit, ignoring the concerns of more than 160,000 concerned citizens, customers, and shareholders. Health-care companies have a special responsibility to act, as climate pollution is the key public health threat of the 21st century." -- Brad Johnson, Campaign Manager, Forecast the Facts

 

Recent press on the Heartland Institute:

Some of the major corproations still funding Heartland's climate denial:

     

 

 

 

 

 

The Heartland Institute’s 7th Climate denial-palooza, fewer attendees, more fringe conspiracy theories

The Heartland Institute

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

"Heartland Institute conference attendees try for a subtler skepticism, but group's leader sometimes strays off message" Evan Lehmann, Climatewire

Heartland Institute’s Achy Breaky Climate Denial Machine

Logic at it's most...illogical.

Written by Greenpeace Research Director Kert Davies, crossposted from Greenpeace Blogs.

No one would argue that Heartland Institute is in turmoil. The Guardian summed it up pretty well last night . The historic Joe Bast backfiring blunder of a billboard campaign featuring Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, the non-apology that followed, corporate funders running for the exits, the collapse of the Heartland DC office, former friends and colleagues jumping Bast's ship in his "hour of need"...

Desperate times indeed for climate denial central....

Before the billboard debacle, after their documents were leaked, they called another meeting - to challenge the prevailing consensus science on global warming (again...). It looked to us a lot like a circling of wagons. The co-sponsor organizations and speakers at the Heartland meeting this week in Chicago are the last remaining army bent on stalling action on global warming. The cosponsor orgs along with Heartland itself, received grants totaling almost $5.5 Million from ExxonMobil and $13.8 Million from the Koch brothers foundations since the late 1990s. Their work together goes way back. The interlaced connections between these groups and people is best illustrated by this ExxonSecrets.org map showing the meeting cosponsors down the left and some key speakers down the middle and all their other connections on the right. (Move them around on the map and explore their connections.) Marc Morano, Patrick Michaels, Myron Ebell, Fred Singer, Craig Idso, Willie Soon, Bob Carter and other speakers have long associations with multiple denial front groups The crowd assembled in Chicago this week at the 7th (not annual, but randomly occurring) Heartland Denial-Palooza meeting is a who's who of individuals and organizations that have actively conspired to derail global warming policy and science for the last two decades. Ever since the world woke up to the climate crisis, this mob has been working to delay action by distracting the public and policy arena with misinformation. Steve Coll's new book, Private Empire, gives an in depth account of Exxon's front group climate denial funding effort that accelerated after the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. These people and groups at Heartland's meeting are the very groups Exxon was funding to do their scut work a few short years ago.. Exxon Dumped Heartland The corporations fleeing Heartland now are slow learners. Exxon dumped Heartland years ago when it shed multiple front groups who they admitted "could divert attention" on climate change. Alas, Heartland is still diverting attention, Exxon money or not. Exxon did give Heartland a total of $676,500 from 1998 until 2007 they severed ties.

"In 2008, we will discontinue contributions to several public policy groups, whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure energy required for economic growth in a responsible manner." --2007 ExxonMobil Corporate Citizenship Report, published in May 2008

NOTE: Shareholder activists continue to try to hold Exxon accountable on climate change at their AGM May 30 in Dallas, including a resolution on greenhouse gas reductions. Reporters: go cover that meeting! Starting in 2006, Exxon dumped all (well almost all, see Heritage below) of the current co-sponsors of the Heartland meeting whom they had sent a grand total of $5.49 Million in grants from 1998 until they cut them off one by one. This year's co-sponsors include:

NOTE: Late comer to the Heartland party is the Illinois Coal Association. For years they bragged that these Denial-Palooza meetings were not funded by corporations, but alas times have changed. But the legacy of these groups is deeper and more detailed than just sharing money from Exxon. The Koch brothers Foundations sent the co-sponsors of the Heartland meeting a total of $13.8 Million from 1997 onward. Koch money receipts by Heartland co-sponsors

  • Americans for Prosperity, late conference co-sponsor, has received nearly $5.8 Million from the Koch foundation. David Koch is the Chair of Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
  • Heritage leads all Koch fundees having received over $4.4M since 1997
  • Reason Foundation has received at total of $1.8M
  • Capital Research Center hauled in $660K
  • CEI got $521K in Koch money
  • Frontiers of Freedom has received $175K
  • Ayn Rand Institute, Center for Study of CO2 and Global Change, Independent Institute and the John Locke Foundation all received Koch money.

Let's explore the history of this hardcore climate denial club a bit further: American Petroleum Institute Secret Plan Many of the people at the Chicago meeting and the organizations they represent were part of the American Petroleum Institute's Global Climate Science Communications Team (GCSCT), circa 1998. This leaked document revealed a multimillion dollar plan to train scientists for media and run a counter narrative to the prevailing climate science.

Greening Earth Society Craig Idso, a speaker at the conference, who we now know is on the Heartland payroll at over $130K this year, was one of the architects of the 1992 coal-funded Greening Earth Society which tried the non-denial approach: It's good for us, everything will be greener and warmer. Don't worry, burn coal as fast as you can!! Can you believe this guy still has a job? Recap The Peter Gleick master dupe of the century, revealed for all to see the Heartland 2012 Budget and Fundraising Plans. When DeSmogBlog released the documents on Valentines Day, we learned an awful lot about the Heartland mob and their plans. The Greenpeace Heartland investigation continues at PolluterWatch. Some of what we have learned:

  • Their climate denial lifeline over the past five years at least has been one "Anonymous Donor" who is managed by the random Mr Bast., who at times has accounted for over 60 percent of their operating budget.
  • Heartland is developing K-12 curriculum to teach our children their climate mythology.
  • They have moved uptown out of their "shabby" offices and wanted to raise more money working on fracking, presumably to keep up with the rent.
  • They hope(d) to increase their $20,000 2011 donation from one of the Koch Foundations to $200,000 and leverage the Koch network to expand their funding base. Wonder how those fundraising calls to the Kochs' are going now, after the billboard blowback?

This Heartland Chicago meeting might be interesting. The last one was a dud I hear. Oh to be a fly on the wall as the participants line up to rail on Joe Bast for dragging them into his cesspool.

More corporate funders drop Heartland Institute, yet some major names remain

Heartland billboard featuring Ted Kaczynski

Adding to a growing list of defections, Eli Lilly, BB&T Bank, and PepsiCo have announced they will not fund the Heartland Institute in 2012.  They join State Farm, USAA, and others who have stopped financial support of the Chicago front group after Heartland released a billboard featuring a picture of Ted Kaczynski next to the text “I still believe in Global Warming. Do You?”

Sign our petition asking the rest of Heartland's corporate sponsors to stop funding climate science denial.

Just for background, Heartland’s fringe positions on science and loose grasp of reality is no secret in corporate circles. Heartland’s climate stance is so extreme that ExxonMobil, the great patron of climate science denial, dropped them years ago - saying they could no longer support groups that “serve as a distraction” to the climate issue.

Heartland peddles its own pseudo-science that contradicts the vast majority of scientists in the world, and observable reality.  As James Hansen recently wrote in the New York Times, climate change can be conclusively linked to recent extreme weather conditions like the major heat wave that killed hundreds across Europe and the excruciating drought the western U.S. is still suffering from. (At right: A cow stuck in the mud in Texas, photograph by Jay Janner, 2011)

However, in part because the effects of global climate change have become perceptible to most Americans, fewer and fewer people are buying Heartland’s BS about climate science. 

 

Which leads to the Big Questions: - where does Heartland get the money to buy crazy billboards?

 

Where do they get the money to pay for climate denying school curriculum?

 

With Exxon gone, which anti-science corporations still support Heartland’s loony climate denial meetings?

 

For starters: Pfizer.

Pfizer, the giant drug company, is a leading sponsor of the Heartland Institute. But wait you say, doesn’t Pfizer have a strong statement about the serious threats posed by climate change and the necessity of cutting greenhouse emissions?  Yes, yes they do. But, Pfizer also has a history of saying the right thing to the public while doing the exact opposite behind closed doors.  Take healthcare reform for example; Pfizer publicly supported president Obama’s Healthcare reform while quietly giving the Heartland Institute hundreds of thousands of dollars to savage the president and the healthcare law.

Side note: Pfizer is no stranger to being called out for their affiliations to unsavory corporate front groups. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the group that helped for-profit prison companies write and pass immigration bills that put more people in jail - and helped gun groups write and pass the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, (which protected the killer of teenage Trayvon Martin) counts Pfizer as a corporate sponsor.  At a protest calling for Pfizer to drop ALEC, eight people were arrested outside of Pfizer’s gates. In a telling show of corporate hubris, Pfizer never even responded to the demonstrators requests.

 

Nucor, the steel manufacturer, is also a Heartland funder.

According to leaked internal documents from the Heartland Institute, Nucor directly funds Heartland’s climate work.  Like Pfizer, Nucor talks openly about solutions to climate change, and their website proudly proclaims “Concerns about climate change not taken lightly by Nucor.”

 

Other corporate bad actors still funding Heartland include Comcast, Reynolds American inc, and Golden Rule Insurance.  Tell these companies that their support of climate denial must be stopped, by signing this petition.

 

PolluterWatch: Greenpeace Investigates Heartland Institute Leaked Documents -- click to see a list of companies that dropped Heartland and ongoing investigations.

Heartland Institute Compares Climate Advocates to Mass Murderers

The Heartland Institute, a “think tank” in Chicago that serves as an epicenter for the denial of climate change, unveiled a series of billboards that equate climate change advocacy with mass murder and terrorism. The billboards featured pictures of Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson, and Fidel Castro, next to the text “I still believe in Global Warming. Do You?” For a full background on the Heartland Institute's PolluterWatch profile. 

 

The billboards were so outrageous Heartland was forced take them down soon after they premiered.

 

A further explanation of the billboard campaign on Heartland’s website clarified the message:

“the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

And their plan for more billboards:

“Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

The billboard campaign is the latest in Heartland’s continuing battle against the scientific evidence of climate change. Heartland has sponsored and organized six conferences on climate denial in the past 5 years, and they recently announced a seventh to take place May 21-23 in Chicago. The “International Climate Conferences” provide a platform and meeting space for the small cadre of professional climate science deniers that have derailed meaningful solutions to the threats of global warming in the U.S.

These same climate deniers have distanced themselves from Heartland over the deranged nature of the recent billboard campaign.  The Washington Post reported:

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), scheduled to headline the Heartland Institute’s annual conclave of climate-change skeptics this month, said through a spokeswoman that he “will not participate in the upcoming climate-change conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign.”

Though these billboards reach new levels of absurdity and desperation, the Heartland Institute’s president Joe Bast is no stranger to using indefensible tactics to attack climate science.

Heartland recently made headlines for their scheme to create a school curriculum on climate change for grades K-12. The curriculum will be designed to delegitimize established climate science by teaching students that human beings’ role in climate change is “a major scientific controversy.” According to leaked internal documents, Heartland paid a well known climate denier, David Wojick, to create the curriculum, which Heartland then planned to send to teachers across the country.

The leaked documents also revealed plans to pay university professors and federal scientists to deny the reality of global climate change.  For more on the internal Heartland documents and their implications, see the ongoing Polluterwatch investigation.

 

Who funds Heartland?

 

The Heartland Institute has a long history of taking extreme stances on policy that benefit the institute’s corporate funders. They received hefty funding from tobacco corporations while fighting regulations on cigarettes, and have taken funds from Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, and other polluters while fighting solutions to environmental problems like climate change.

Media attention on Heartland’s extreme climate stance, like Heartland’s plan to mislead teachers and children, has caused major corporations like GM to stop supporting the organization in recent months.  However, major corporations like State Farm, Nucor and Microsoft still fund Heartland’s activities.  A full list of donors is available on Polluterwatch and includes strange bedfellows such as the reinsurance industry (represented by RennaisanceRe, Allied World, and USAA) and secretive right-wing foundations like the Donors Capital Fund.

Syndicate content

Connect

Keep In Touch

FacebookTwitterYouTubePolluterWatch RSS


Sign up for
POLLUTERWATCH News