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Climate-Change Denier Group Is Feeling the Heat




There they go again. The Heartland Institute, which  The New York Times rather generously describes as a “libertarian organization,” recently felt compelled to yank a line of billboards comparing believers in climate change to mass murderers and dictators. “I Still Believe in Global Warming. Do You?” asked one billboard featuring a picture of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. More boards had been planned for Chicago, in a run-up to the institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, a kind of Coachella for climate-change deniers. Those ads showed photos of Charles Manson, Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden.

Apparently even some of Heartland’s fellow climate-change deniers began feeling a little  queasy over the campaign and so the Windy City-based group killed its plan. Not with any remorse, however. Institute president Joseph Bast released this statement:

“We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters . . . We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.”

Denying climate change is not the only thing the realists at Heartland do. Over the years they have provided “research” in support of Walmart labor practices and tobacco industry denials that cigarettes cause cancer — while trashing unions, health-care reform, Wall Street reform and just about anything else that has the word “reform” in it.

As much as Heartland may wish to deny certain fundamentals of science, there are signs that its gonzo billboard ads have created a classic cause and effect backlash among some supporters. Yesterday an Environment & Energy Publishing ClimateWire report noted that the fiasco “is driving a surge of corporate donors to abandon the group and prompting a mutiny among its Washington-based staff, which is decamping for less volatile surroundings.”

Looks as though temperatures are rising in the denier tent. Crank up the AC!

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