Climate change denial is a set of organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons. Source: Wikipedia
In a bold and innovative new move for climate change deniers, Dan Dimicco, the CEO of Nucor - one of the largest steel companies in the U.S - has denied that the Heartland Institute is involved in climate change science denial.
For background, the Heartland Institute is a corporate front group, well known for attacking scientific findings that their corporate paymasters find inconvenient. Heartland has denied the health effects of tobacco smoke while taking millions of dollars from tobacco corporations, and currently denies the cause and effects of global climate change, while being paid by major carbon polluters like the oil and gas industry and Nucor.
Dimicco’s denial of Heartland’s climate denial came in the form of a letter to a concerned Nucor shareholder. The letter contains a number of outright fallacies, chronicled below:
"Heartland does not deny climate change"
Really? Then why has Heartland organized 7 conferences on climate denial? Why does Heartland president Joe Bast frequently say things like: "Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth's climate."
See this blog by ThinkProgress for a longer list of Heartland's climate denial.
"[Heartland] supports research and scholarly debate on causes and effects of climate change"
An example of research and scholarly debate:
The Heartland Institute unveiled this banner in Chicago.
"It is entirely appropriate for Nucor and other like minded companies and groups to fund the Heartland Institute."
Because of Heartland’s extreme climate stance and indefensible tactics, many major corporations have distanced themselves from Heartland. In 2007 ExxonMobil, a major funder of climate science attacks, stopped funding the Institute, saying they could no longer support groups that “serve as a distraction” to the climate issue. In the last six months, 19 other major corporations like GM, Pepsico, and Bayer have cut ties with Heartland over their climate stance. These major corporations don’t think supporting Heartland is appropriate, why does Nucor?
Though it is tempting to find Dan Dimicco’s (picture right) absurd comments on Heartland and the climate change “debate” laughable, it is a deadly serious issue.
If all people act responsibly, including Nucor and the rest of the steel industry, overcoming the threats of climate change will be an enormous task. If industry leaders like Nucor continue to sit on the sidelines - or worse, intentionally obstruct climate solutions, people and the planet will suffer immensely.
Tell Nucor to stop obstructing solutions to climate change and stop funding attacks on climate science. Nucor needs to create a coherent and fact based stance on climate and stand by it.
Sign this petition and tell denier Dan Dimicco to stop funding attacks on climate science.
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 Institute. Send 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.
"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