(Mint Press)— The conservative Heartland Institute held its seventh annual climate change denial conference in Chicago earlier this week. With fewer than 300 people in attendance. Heartland CEO Joseph Bast admitted the lack of adequate funding and issued an urgent plea for donations to meet payrolls.
The dearth of funds stems from a previous billboard sponsored by the Heartland Institute comparing scientists who believe in climate change to “The Unabomber,” Ted Kacynski. With few corporate sponsors, the once powerful conservative group could be in a state of irreversible decline.
‘Unabomber’ reference and the loss of corporate sponsors
The decision to buy a billboard in Chicago comparing climate change scientists to a man who killed indiscriminately with letter bombs resulted, not surprisingly, in corporate sponsors pulling their support for the group.
According to a recent article by Raw Story, General Motors, Pepsico and State Farm Insurance, among others, pulled their support for the group following public outcry over the controversial billboard.
The lack of funding has resulted in an urgent call for the 300 attendees at the latest conference to donate as much as they can, with Blast admitting his failings as a fundraiser and asking people to “call upon their rich uncles” for donations.
The sharp decline in attendance at this year’s conference was welcomed by Forecast the Facts, a group comprised of activists and environmentalists who support climate change theory. Brad Johnson, campaign manager for the group, was pleased to hear of the poor turnout at the Heartland event.
“On behalf of our 20,000 members, Forecast the Facts welcomes the demise of the Heartland Institute’s climate change denial conferences,” Johnson told Raw Story. “Unfortunately, decades of corporate support for Heartland’s efforts have seriously damaged our nation’s ability to respond to the crisis of global warming. Which is why we will redouble our demands that major corporations like Pfizer and Comcast join the long-overdue exodus from the Heartland Institute.”
Climate change denial
According to a joint poll conducted recently by University of Michigan’s Gerald Ford School of Public Policy and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the earth’s temperature is rising. Despite the majority believing in global warming, the more contentious matter, whether this warming is man-made, has produced more mixed results, with opinions corresponding closely to party affiliation.
In a May 2011 public opinion poll, The Economist magazine found nearly 80 percent of registered Democrats believe in global warming, while only around 50 percent of registered Republicans said they believed in climate change. Only a third of those affiliated with the Tea Party believed in global warming.
The climate change denial conference, held at the same time as the NATO summit in Chicago, received some protests from members of the occupy movement and environmental organizations. The protests drew the scorn of James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for environmental policy at The Heartland Institute. In a statement with Living Green Magazine, Taylor commented, saying:
“These are the last-gasp efforts of left-wing extremists who have been defeated in the scientific debate and the court of public opinion. We reserved several dozen speaker slots for prominent warmists to discuss and debate climate change issues at the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change. The alarmists are instead sending rabble-rousers and the professionally unemployed to make their best scientific arguments. I suspect the scientists speaking at the conference know a little more about climate change than Occupy Climate Science.”