Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Heartland Institute's Fear Mongering in Climate Friendly California

There is no better illustration of fear-mongering and misrepresentation than the fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute. Although they claim to be a free-market think tank they are a actually a fossil fuel funded advocacy group.

Most recently they launched a disinformation campaign targeting California's new emission reduction plans  that would see GHGs cut by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Heartland "scholars" condemned the law erroneously stating that California's new environmental policies will be an economic fiasco.

In 2015 the Heartland Institute sent a delegation to Rome to protest the idea that climate change is caused by human activity. They openly railed against Pope Francis' environmental Encyclical and during the Vatican's Climate Summit they staged a parallel event featuring speakers that challenged the science of climate-change.

“The Holy Father is being misled by ‘experts’ at the United Nations who have proven unworthy of his trust,” said Heartland Institute President and co-founder Joseph Bast. “Humans are not causing a climate crisis on God’s Green Earth – in fact, they are fulfilling their Biblical duty to protect and use it for the benefit of humanity. Though Pope Francis’s heart is surely in the right place, he would do his flock and the world a disservice by putting his moral authority behind the United Nations’ unscientific agenda on the climate.”

Bast has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the world's top ten environmental villains.
Greenpeace has published a report titled "Dealing in Doubt: A Chronicle of Climate Denial," in which they single out the Institute for their misinformation,manipulation and trickery. Bill McKibben included the Heartland in an article titled, "The Planet Wreckers." They are not only misinforming the adult population they are trying to weave their way into our schools to deceive our children through curriculum changes.

As reported in Desmog blog, the Heartland Institute is also an instrument in the Kochs’ climate denial apparatus.  In 2013 this front group published a fictitious report by the so called International Climate Science Coalition, in which lead author Fred Singer, (an apologist for the tobacco industry before he got into the business of denying the basic science of climate change) makes a number of ridiculous claims including, CO2 is “the gas of life..the more CO2, the more life.”

Heartland even sought to include climate denial in student curricula.  Their efforts were thwarted by a campaign opposing Heartland's efforts to misinform children.

In a recently circulated email Heartland  "environmental policy experts" showed their stripes commenting on California’s new emissions law:

They regularly rail against renewable energy but bristle at the idea of removing subsidies for fossil fuels. Here is an unedited summary of absurd claims and baseless accusations associated with  from the Heartland Institute's "environmental policy experts":

“Brown’s signature will cost the state economically, as businesses and entrepreneurs increasingly flee California’s anti-business environment. The higher energy costs and increased unreliability of the state’s electric grid resulting from this law, should the state actually try and enforce it, are just more nails in California’s economic coffin – with future politicians, ratepayers, and businesses paying the price for the climate mania of Gov. Moonbeam and the legislature’s liberal Democrats.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Research Fellow, Environment and Energy Policy The Heartland Institute Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News hburnett@heartland.org 800/859-1154

“Gov. Moonbeam and other supporters of this law justify its necessity to the people of California by saying it will be a boon to the poor, who will have cleaner air to breathe. Maybe so, but they’ll also be even poorer and probably less healthy because of it. The wind and solar power energy sources forced on consumers by legislation such as this are much more expensive than conventional power – more than twice as expensive for wind, three times so for solar.

“The real way to help California’s poor would be repealing this stupid law and the state’s renewable portfolio standards. Living standards will then increase, because lower-cost electricity frees up money for consumers to purchase additional goods and services that improve their lives. In turn, economic growth and jobs increase, because the newly available money spent on additional goods and services creates more jobs throughout the economy.”

Tim Benson, Policy Analyst The Heartland Institute tbenson@heartland.org 312/377-4000

“Gov. Brown and the environmental lobby in California are celebrating this new law, but the future is darker for consumers, employees, and businesses. It looks as though California’s biggest export will continue to be it citizens.”

Bette Grande, Research Fellow, Energy Policy The Heartland Institute governmentrelations@heartland.org 312/377-4000, Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

“Carbon is a perfectly respectable element on the periodic table. It is innocent in terms of greenhouses. It only becomes embroiled in climate angst when it becomes mixed up with nasty oxygen molecules. Oxygen is bad company for carbon if you do not like carbon dioxide. Could we reduce the amount of oxygen instead? I wonder if there is such a thing as oxygen sequestration. Would it be so bad? Such ridiculous directives about climate leave sensible people breathless anyway.”

Christopher Essex, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics University of Western Ontario essex@uwo.ca 519/661-3649

“The new California law to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to 40 percent of the 1990 level by 2030 has as much credibility as a law to repeal the second law of thermodynamics.”

Walter Starck, Policy Advisor, Environment The Heartland Institute media@heartland.org 312/377-4000

“In announcing California’s new draconian carbon-dioxide emissions restrictions, Gov. Brown said: ‘If we don’t stop climate change, it’s not going to be 110 in Imperial County; it’s going to be 130, 135! Not for a few days or a few weeks, but for months on end!’ Brown’s statement is ridiculous, no matter what you believe about the causes of climate change. Even California cannot stop climate change, which has been happening for billions of years, since the origin of the atmosphere. Asserting that our impact will cause a 25-degree Celsius change anywhere on the planet is juvenile science fiction.

“The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in its latest assessment report surface temperature, averaged over all land and ocean surfaces, increased only 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit from 1880 to 2012, and a significant portion of that would have been part of a natural climate cycle coming out of the Little Ice Age. This means our contribution to the change that has occurred in those 132 years is something less than 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit, a far cry from Brown’s excited forecast.”

Tom Harris, Executive Director International Climate Science Coalition Ottawa, Canada Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment The Heartland Institute tom.harris@climatescienceinternational.net 312/377-4000

“The reason Gov. Brown waited until now to sign two bills mandating drastic reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions in his state is because he first had to destroy farming in California. Farming accounts for more greenhouse gas than any other industry, sector, or activity: a whopping 37 percent of a developed nation’s entire total greenhouse-gas emissions! Naturally, global-warming and organic activists – who happen to be one and the same – try to place the blame for all of this so-called ‘pollution’ on factory farms that rely on modern, science-based technology, such as synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, and on food-miles that result from the shipment of food from out-of-state or out-of-country sources. They’re wrong on both counts.

“First, the carbon footprint of organic fertilizer (compost) is on the order of 14 times higher than that of conventional fertilizer made with the Haber-Bosch ammonia-synthesis process. Second, even when local, organic food isn’t fertilized with compost, it is nonetheless responsible for drastically elevated greenhouse-gas emissions, because it turns out only 11 percent of CO2 emissions associated with food is generated by transporting it (it can be as low as 4 percent, even when crossing the world’s oceans), while 80 percent is emitted in on-farm production, an area where big farms are naturally much more efficient.

“The truth is it will always take a certain amount of energy, along with a certain amount of methane and CO2, to produce a given amount of food. What are we supposed to do? Starve to supposedly save the planet?

“Welcome to the new normal folks. Global-warming activists have known all along that greater than one-third of a developed nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions come from farming and that greater than three-quarters of agricultural emissions occur on the farm. Clearly, destroying farming in California was a prerequisite to Gov. Brown’s decision to sign these two draconian bills. Otherwise it would have been an empty gesture.”

Mischa Popoff, Policy Advisor The Heartland Institute media@heartland.org 312/377-4000


Tom Harris said...

This is truly a ridiculous article, riddled with mistakes.

For example, look at the following from the piece:

"In 2013 this front group published a fictitious report by the so called International Climate Science Coalition, in which lead author Fred Singer, (an apologist for the tobacco industry before he got into the business of denying the basic science of climate change) makes a number of ridiculous claims including, CO2 is “the gas of life..the more CO2, the more life.”"


1 - the International Climate Science Coalition played no role whatsoever in the series of reports published by Heartland. Yes, we think the NIPCC reports are outstanding, but they are not ours.

2 - Fred Singer is not "an apologist for the tobacco industry." In fact he has been a member of various anti-smoking groups. He is not a climate change science denier either. He simply does what all good scientists should do and skeptically examines the evidence of both sides of the science debate.

3 - grade 5 students know that CO2 is essential to plant photosynthesis, so, indeed, it is the gas of life and crop yeild have increased as CO2 levels rise.

And so on.

You need to do more research before writing on this issue again.

Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (Mech.)
Executive Director,
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)
P.O. Box 23013
Ottawa, Ontario
K2A 4E2


Note: To help ICSC cover its operating expenses, please go here:

Anonymous said...

I think you do a very good job reinforcing the central premise of this article. You are trying to sow doubt about the scientific veracity of climate change and the central role of CO2 by refuting some claims made in the Desmog article. What you cannot accurately refute is the role of carbon as a causal agent in climate change. This is one of the most studied phenomena in the history of science. There is a scientific consensus on this topic. Despite your contrarian views, the science is clear while you appear confused.

"grade 5 students know that CO2 is essential to plant photosynthesis, so, indeed, it is the gas of life and crop yeild have increased as CO2 levels rise."

Your comments would be laughable if the implications were not so serious. In addition to misspelling 'yield', you are also profoundly misinformed. You make a comment out of context and think you are making a point. The facts remain, CO2 plays a salient role in global warming, which is causing sea level rise and extreme weather events. Whether you are just misinformed or being paid to misinform others, you and your ilk will be judged by history.

The science is clear, even if you are not.

Tom Harris said...

The science is completely unclear - see www.climatechangereconsidered.org.

The Green Market Oracle said...

Respectfully, the science could not be more clear.