Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Heartland Institute: Indefensible un-American Behavior

with 18 comments

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:

Heartland Institute Billboard

Heartland Institute Billboard

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 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.


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:

Dr. Richard Alley’s three-part series Earth: the Operators Manual:

Paul Douglas: Climate Change Has Nothing to Do With Al Gore (Part 1):
Paul Douglas Forecast Calls for Climate-Smart Business:

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 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

Many, many more using Google News search

Written by Scott Mandia

May 4, 2012 at 8:34 am

18 Responses

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  1. Did the Heartland Institute just Rush Limbaugh themselves?

    Greg Laden

    May 4, 2012 at 8:42 am

  2. In some ways this is a good move by Heartland: good for all of us who want to move ahead on climate action.

    I suspect this suicidal campaign will tend to polarise those in denial into the right wing nut jobs, and those who are more fence-sitters or don’t knows. And those two sides I suspect will have more difficulty in then finding common ground.

    With a bit of luck perhaps the undecided will now be pushed into finding out why the extremists on the denial side are so hysterical and discover that the story behind climate change is in fact logical and scientific?

    John Russell

    May 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

  3. interesting timing as well with actions around the world Sat May 5 to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather. suggests desperation or a clever attempt to hi-jack media attention?


    May 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

  4. Here are the Heartland Institute’s Global Warming “Experts”:

    Let us see how many of these folks have the decency to condemn Heartland’s actions and to remove themselves from this list.

    Scott Mandia

    May 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

  5. You’re making the mistaking of equating AGW to the entire field of science. Sorry, but the fate of physics and chemistry do not rest on the shoulders of AGW theory.


    May 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

    • On the one hand, Will, of course you’re right. On the more practical hand, you’re very wrong.

      The problem is, the attack on climatology is not for any reason specific to climatology. It is because the science is delivering answers that some people don’t like. This is whole cloth the same thing as the attack on evolutionary biology from young earth creationists, or the attack on biologists who established the connection between smoking and death. To a large extent, it is even much the same people and institutions. Heartland started as an organ for denying science on smoking (Lindzen, Singer, and others, better known for their climate comments show up in the tobacco papers as well). The Discovery Institute was going with attacking biology long before they started denying climatology. And the groups that have been pushing to get evolution out of science classes (today, by the way, is the anniversary of Scopes’ arrest, for teaching evolution — a case he lost) have started adding climatology to their list of science they don’t want taught.

      Key to science is to pursue the evidence where it leads — regardless of whether you like the answer. As soon as science is subject to whether it reaches popular answers, it is doomed. History gives many examples. Perhaps the clearest is the collapse of Islamic science, from which those countries have never recovered, even 600 years on. From, say, 900-1200, parts of the Islamic world were far in advance of Europe (at minimum). Then the decision spread that science was subservient to what people wanted to be true from other grounds. The preference for answers that were pleasing still stands, so even a Nobel Laureate Muslim (Salaam, from Pakistan originally) cannot return to his home country.

      The attacks on climatology are indeed attacks on physics and chemistry. The attacks include denial of the first law of thermodynamics (denial of the existence of a greenhouse effect), denial of observation and quantum mechanics (the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas), denial of stable isotope (geo)chemistry (the fact that the recent CO2 increase is due to human activity), and so on through the list of elementary facts regarding the climate.

      Climatology is not independent of physics and chemistry, which makes physics and chemistry real targets when climatology is attacked. Again, same thing from the attacks on evolution. Young earth creationists attack physics — decay rates, orbital mechanics, … and chemistry — for instance, the fact that atoms don’t combine randomly — all the time. They don’t always realize this, and often neither do the chemists and physicists.

      Nevertheless, after they’re done with evolution and climatology, they’ll be coming for the physicists and chemists.

      Robert Grumbine

      May 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  6. Heartland is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. lists folks who got tax-write-offs for funding Heartland.

    As a reminder on 501(c)(3): PDF p.8:

    (quoting , Rev. Proc. 86-43, 1986-2 C.B. 729 )

    “Educational Purpose” section:


    .03 The presence of any of the following factors in the presentations made by an organization is indicative that the method used by the organization to advocate its viewpoints or positions is not educational.

    1 The presentation of viewpoints or positions unsupported by facts is a significant portion of the organization’s communications.

    2 The facts that purport to support the viewpoints or positions are distorted.

    3 ==> The organization’s presentations make substantial use of inflammatory and disparaging terms and express conclusions more on the basis of strong emotional feelings than of objective evaluations. <==

    4 The approach used in the organization's presentations is not aimed at developing an understanding on the part of the intended audience or readership because it does not consider their background or training in the subject matter.'

    Of course, given Heartland's ~20-year tobacco connection, I suppose nothing is surprising.

    John Mashey

    May 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm

  7. @RogerPielkeJr just tweeted…

    “Heartland invited me to debate a skeptic at their mtg, I declined due to a conflict if I accepted, would have canceled after new ad campaign”

    Is this the first sign of the backlash that I’m very confident we’ll see?

    John Russell

    May 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

  8. The billboard was spot on. Take the “Who Said It?” quiz: Al Gore vs. the Unabomber….

    Believe me, you people look like nuts to normal folks.

    Mandia: I suggest you look up the word “indefensible”.

    Mike Mangan

    May 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    • You can always tell that someone doesn’t know what the f–k they’re talking about when they mention Al Gore. Let’s pretend Al Gore doesn’t exist and look at the data. It speaks for itself. The Earth is getting warmer.


      May 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

  9. […] just installed a couple of interesting billboards that redefine depravity. The web site “Global Warming, Man or Myth” has details: “In some ways, this is an almost perfect illustration of what has […]

  10. […] just installed a couple of interesting billboards that redefine depravity. The web site “Global Warming, Man or Myth” has details: “In some ways, this is an almost perfect illustration of what has […]

  11. […] funding from Heartland Institute. I do not wish my money to be sent to Heartland Institute – a group that recently compared climate scientists and those concerned about climate change to “mur… such as Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber), Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and Osama bin Laden. Although […]

  12. Eli Rabett found Origin of Unabomber meme, in July 2006 column by Joe (Camel) Bast. Obviously , it didn’t get enough press then, so he tried again.

    John Mashey

    May 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

  13. […] Scott Mandia dice de la campaña que se trata de “un comportamiento antiamericano que no se puede defender”, sobre todo en referencia a una futura instalación de una valla publicitaria en la que aparecería la imagen de Osama bin Laden, algo seguramente ofensivo para los norteamericanos, sobre todo para los neoyorquinos, y para aquellos amigos y familiares de las víctimas del atentado del 11 de septiembre. […]

  14. […] funds Heartland Institute – an un-American hate group who thinks people like you and me who accept human-caused climate change are just like The Unabomber, Charles M… Pfizer also removes Face Book comments asking them to suspend their support of this un-American […]

  15. […] Taylor, among several others. The episode also featured right-wing denier organization such as Heartland Institute, American Tradition Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute and others, who routinely […]

  16. […] in May, 2012, Heartland Institute showed their true colors by posting large billboards in Chicago, IL that compare… with plans to also link climate experts to Osama bin Laden, Hitlers, and Charles […]

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