Heartland Institute: Indefensible un-American Behavior
Scientific discovery has led to America being a world leader and most of the things one enjoys in life are the result of science. Attacking science is un-American and comparing scientists to Osama bin Laden is indefensible. The image below is an ad that Heartland Institute is displaying on billboards in Chicago, IL USA:
On its web page, Heartland Institute writes:
May 3, 2012 – Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the world’s most notorious criminals say they “still believe in global warming” – and ask viewers if they do, too. The first digital billboard – along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) in Maywood – appeared today.
The Heartland Institute is widely recognized as a leading source of science and economics questioning claims that man-made global warming is a crisis. The rest of this page provides answers to some of the questions you might have about these billboards. For more information, contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at firstname.lastname@example.org and 312/377-4000.
1. Who appears on the billboards?
The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. 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).
These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.
If this were not bad enough, Heartland then writes:
Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants. But the Climategate scandal and the more recent Fakegate scandal revealed that the leaders of the global warming movement are willing to break the law and the rules of ethics to shut down scientific debate and implement their left-wing agendas.
Scientific, political, and public support for the theory of man-made global warming is collapsing. Most scientists and 60 percent of the general public (in the U.S.) do not believe man-made global warming is a problem. (Keep reading for proof of these statements.) The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.
Osama bin Laden? Really? How could you go there?!
All Americans, and especially New Yorkers, should be outraged at this comparison! I knew people who were murdered in the September 11 terrorist attack and most people I know will tell you the same or have friends who lost loved ones forever.
This indefensible action by Heartland Institute is a new low but is certainly not the first attack on science and its scientists.
- Heartland Institute is the group that wants to educate our children about climate science.
- Heartland Institute’s Joseph Bast thinks the Joe Camel campaign aimed at getting children to smoke was a great idea.
- Heartland Institute’s “experts” are not. To name a few:
- Fred Singer who has been wrong on science so often he is the George Costanza of science.
- Tom Harris who teaches fake science in a Canadian University. Thinks dead plants will enjoy increased CO2.
- Harrison Schmitt who is a self-described denier of human-caused climate change. Apparently this expert cannot see a downward sloping line in ice extent that my 7 year old just identified on this computer.
- Larry Bell who routinely misrepresents science and attacks scientists at Forbes.com.
I could go on all day….
Other deniers of well-understood science include these two bloggers who have received financial support from Heartland Institute: Anthony Watts (for his surfacestations project) and Joanna Nova (for her Skeptic’s Handbook I and II). I eagerly await Anthony and Jo’s condemnation of their supporter’s un-American ad campaign. I also expect Dr. Judith Curry to issue a strong condemnation because this is a group she thinks we need to be engaging.
So what can you do about this?
I suggest that another letter be sent to the following corporations that donated money or other resources to heartland Institute: Bayer, Comcast, Eli Lilly & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Pfizer, State Farm Insurance, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. There are others.
You can also donate to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund to help protect the scientific endeavor. Donations are tax-deductible. You can also help by donating to Rocket the Hub and receiving cool items as a thank you.
Sadly, Heartland Institute is just one snake on the head of Medusa and groups like Heartland are influencing policy that threatens our future.
One should not shoot the messenger (science and scientists) because he does not like the message (changing our energy choices). The science is solid and not debatable but the policy solutions are clearly a different story. Policy is where we need to be having the discussion and it must be a civil one at that.
Let us be clear on the science. It is a well-understood fact that human emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are rapidly warming the planet and this warming is increasing risks across many sectors of society. The United State National Academy of Science stated in 2011 that the planet is warming and it is due to human activities. In fact, they made the very unusual statement that this is “settled fact”. Just like it is settled fact that the earth is round, gravity causes the apple to fall from the tree, and smoking increases the risks for lung cancer. More than 97% of the experts who study climate change every day agree and EVERY international science academy agrees. 100%. None disagree and these groups represents hundreds of thousands of scientists’ reputations so they do not make statements lightly.
Who else is concerned? Military and intelligence experts warn that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions. Health officials warn us that climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Climate change was recently listed as the greatest strategic risk currently facing the property/casualty insurance industry. None of these groups can be classified as leftist, tree-hugging liberals. These are experts who are warning us of a serious problem. We need to listen to these experts.
There are many card-carrying conservative Republican scientists who also agree that the cause of climate change is humans and that there are very good reasons that conservatives need to accept the science. Please see:
Dr. Barry Bickmore’s How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change: http://bit.ly/IrJdhN
Dr. Richard Alley’s three-part series Earth: the Operators Manual: http://bit.ly/IlhjS7
BTW, if you had attended my presentation last week you would have seen that I have reduced my LIPA bills by 50% so I am helping to solve the climate problem and saving cash! Who could be against that? See http://bit.ly/JHvD8x for PDF file and videos.
Can we please move on to the real discussion about what to do to solve the problems that are getting more serious every year? Time is running out. If we act now then the free markets and individuals can make palatable choices and we can keep government regulations to a minimum. The longer we wait the worse the problem will become and then government regulations might be forced onto us. I prefer to make the choice myself, don’t you?
We need to reduce our emissions of carbon for the sake of our public health, national security, and economic competitiveness. Surely it is foolish to base our economic energy needs on sources that are dwindling in supply and increasing in price when, instead, we could move toward energy efficiency and cheaper-by-the-year, infinite sources such as the sun and wind. If we stay addicted to fossil fuels and do not begin investing in those technologies now, we will be buying them from China in the future instead of selling it to them.
Update 10 AM: I just spoke to my State Farm rep and gave him two weeks notice. If State Farm does not stop funding Heartland in that time, I will cancel all my policies.
Update 2:45 PM: Anthony Watts provides a “left-handed condemnation“. See if you can find it after he attacks everybody else first.
Update 4 PM: Heartland Institute President and CEO Joe Bast has issued the following statement: “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.”
When the group has no intellectual appeal it resorts to “low frequency” emotional appeals. Tom Yulsman said it well at DotEarth:
The Heartland Institute is supposedly taking down the billboards. But the equally despicable press release they issued when the billboards went up shows how they really feel. As for the equivalence that some are trying to draw between climate activists and skeptics, there really aren’t two equal sides here. There is simply no equivalence.
Update 4:30 PM: Ross McKittrick’s Letter to Heartland Institute: “I am absolutely dismayed.”
Others carrying the story:
Leo Hickman, Heartland Institute compares belief in global warming to mass murder, The Guardian
Gareth Renowden, Poisonous Heartland, twisted billboards, Hot Topic
Peter Sinclair, Heartland Institute Poster Fail, Climate Denial Crock of the Week
Andrew Sullivan, The Right And The Climate: A New Low, The Daily Beast
Paul Waldman, You Know Who Else Had Six Letters In His First Name? Hitler., The American Prospect
Joe Romm, Heartland Institute Compares Climate Science Believers And Reporters To Mass ‘Murderers And Madmen’, Think Progress
Ben Geman, Conservative group ties climate action support to Unabomber, Charles Manson, The Hill
Jason Samenow, Heartland Institute launches campaign linking terrorism, murder, and global warming belief, Washington Post
Phil Plait, The Heartland Institute sinks to a new low, Bad Astronomy (Discover Magazine)
Megan Crepeau, Name that logical fallacy!, Chicago Tribune
Jocelyn Fong, Billboards Illustrate Heartland’s Approach To Science, Media Matters
Laurence Lewis, Heartland Institute compares belief in climate change to Unabomber, Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden, Daily Kos
Michael Allen, Heartland Institute Billboard Compares People Who Believe in Climate Change to Mass Murderers, Opposing Views
Caroline May, Think tank compares belief in global warming to Charles Manson, Osama Bin Laden, others, The Daily Caller
Carles P. Pierce, The Worst Billboard in America, Esquire
Stephanie Pappas, New Billboards Compare Climate Scientists and Unabomber, Mass Murderers, Live Science
Jay Bookman, An irrefutable argument from climate-change deniers, Atlanta Journal Constitution
Bob Collins, Climate change, billboards, and mass murderers, Minnesota Public Radio
Rabbett Run, Heartland Seppuku
Brendan Demelle, Will Heartland Institute’s Corporate Funders Tacitly Endorse Comparing Climate Realists to bin Laden and the Unabomber? Desmogblog
Shawn Lawrence Otto, From the Heartland: schoolchildren, climate, and… mass murder?, neorenaissance