Conservation Hawks: “We condemn the intellectually bankrupt and morally bereft Heartland Institute.”
It is the fifth day of the Heartland Institute’s online offensive comparing people who accept climate science with serial killers and mass murderers. The billboard is down, but the radical climate deniers of Heartland have explicitly refused to apologize for the ad. Worse, they’ve kept the more offensive hate speech on their website.
Unsurprisingly, corporate sponsors have started to flee, senior staff have left, partnerships have started to crumble, and all but the most extreme anti-science deniers have condemned Heartland. But as we’ll see, the origins of this smear go back many years for both Heartland and its long-time partner, Anthony Watts of the blog WattsUpWithThat.
First, Heartland has been quietly dropped from two significant coalitions with top environmental organizations, Climate Progress has learned. Under pressure from Forecast the Facts and Greenpeace, insurers who funded Heartland’s Washington DC vice president, Eli Lehrer, ceased their support and helped to convince Lehrer to leave the organization. With Lehrer’s departure, the Heartland Institute has been excised from the websites of two green coalitions:
The Smarter Safer Coalition, an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program by top insurers, environmental organizations including American Rivers, the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, Ceres, and the Nature Conservancy, alongside conservative groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Conservative Union, and Americans for Tax Reform
The Green Scissors Campaign, an initiative to reduce anti-environmental government spending with Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
According to leaked documents, Lehrer brought about $700,000 a year into the Heartland Institute for his Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, including the majority of Heartland’s corporate funding. The insurers who announced their departure from Heartland include the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, XL Group, Renaissance Re, Allied World Assurance, and State Farm Insurance.
Corporate sponsors of the Heartland Institute who have resisted calls to end their financial support include Microsoft, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Comcast, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Heartland’s seventh climate-denier conference will take place in Chicago in two weeks. To add your voice to the petition calling on corporations to end support for the Heartland Institute, click here.
I don’t know what is more amazing, truly, that the Heartland organization collectively ever thought this major messaging campaign was a good idea — or that they refuse to apologize or take down any of the absurd attacks on climate scientists and reporters from their website.
Every day, new groups condemn Heartland. Conservation Hawks, Inc., “a group of hunters and anglers working to defend America’s sporting heritage,” released a powerful statement condemning Heartland, which concluded: