Heartland Institute Funded By Fossil Fuel Interests To Work Against Public Interest
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s one that gives some background about so-called “think tanks” and their anti-science, climate change denial agenda. These guys cut their teeth on denying/suppressing/ridiculing the science that linked cigarette smoking with cancer (see Fake Science, Fakexperts, Funny Finances, Free of Tax) and they’re doing it all over again with climate science. Of course, as with tobacco, the truth will eventually be too obvious to hide, even with the best PR money can buy. In the meantime, we are losing precious time and resources that could be put to use combating climate change, and limiting the inevitable disruption and suffering that will come with a destabilized climate. Just like with tobacco companies, though, the fossil fuel industry couldn’t care less who is hurt by their tactics. They are focused on their own bottom line – money, and lots of it. That means it’s up to regular citizens like you and me to send our elected representatives the message loud and clear that the pollution that causes our climate to change, like tobacco smoke, needs to be regulated. Tell them that it is time we stopped using our atmosphere as a sewer, and that our children deserve the gift of a stable climate, clean air and clean water. If you want to join a grass-roots group that is focused on creating the political will for a sustainable climate, check out Citizens Climate Lobby, about which Dr. James Hansen from NASA’s Goddard Space Institute has said “if you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.”
I have to admit it’s entertaining to watch the Heartland Institute cry foul about the distribution of their confidential documents, and threaten to sue. Most amusing, they are asking bloggers and journalists to take down the documents and refrain from quoting them. Contrast this to Heartland President Joe Blast’s comments after the illegal theft of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in 2009:
The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians, and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinions about global warming to stop and reconsider their position. The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions, and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is new and real evidence that they should examine and then comment on publicly.
When the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly openness and accountability to the public isn’t such a great thing. Such hypocrisy! Here’s Bast suggesting that energy from a refrigerator door could produce more electricity than wind and solar, and then says that the ecological impact of fossil fuel dependency is not a problem. His comments take on a lot more significance now that his institute’s funding sources are a matter of public record, don’t they?
I can’t leave without celebrating some good news for this Friday. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, a new global initiative to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. The coalition will focus efforts on reducing black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and methane. The founding coalition partners are Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States, together with the UN Environment Programme. So, it seems that if our buddy the United States is doing something positive to address climate change, Canada is happy to jump on the bandwagon. Yey – I guess. I wonder what Peter Kent, Canada’s
Oil Environment Minister made of Ms. Clinton’s statements on carbon dioxide and climate (emphasis mine):
Now, this project holds a lot of promise, especially in the context of our larger battle against climate change. Now we know, of course, that this effort is not the answer to the climate crisis. There is no way to effectively address climate change without reducing carbon dioxide, the most dangerous, prevalent, and persistent greenhouse gas. It stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. So this coalition is intended to complement – not supplant – the other actions we are, and must be, taking.
And – for real climate and politics junkies – it’s very interesting to listen to yesterday’s entire press conference re: Climate and Clean Air Initiative, posted on the U.S. Department of State’s website. Particularly interesting are the comments of the last speaker, Mr. Steiner, who praises the work of climate scientists and the importance of science in general (Mr. Kent, are you listening?). Nice to hear public support for a group of people under siege on so many fronts these days.