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Nucor CEO: Funding Of Heartland Institute’s Climate Denial ‘Is Entirely Appropriate’

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"Nucor CEO: Funding Of Heartland Institute’s Climate Denial ‘Is Entirely Appropriate’"

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By Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts.

Nucor Corporation (NUE), the third largest U.S. steel manufacturer, is defending its support for the Heartland Institute’s climate denial efforts. In a letter to a private shareholder, Nucor chairman and CEO Daniel R. DiMicco embraced the anti-science advocacy group, describing the $502,000 in recent contributions earmarked for Heartland’s climate program as “entirely appropriate”:

The issues surrounding the "climate" debate are real and difficult questions to answer, but Nucor has been consistent in its support for scientific answers instead of political consensus. Heartland is just such an institution, "bringing together the world's leading scientists and economists to study the issue." It is entirely appropriate for Nucor and other like-minded companies and groups to fund The Heartland Institute. Working together we will find solutions, so that our best days are still ahead of us.

Of course, the entire purpose of the Heartland Institute is to prevent people from finding solutions to climate change.

Nucor CEO Daniel DiMicco

In his letter, DiMicco blamed Forecast the Facts, the group mobilizing Americans against corporate support for Heartland, for ruining the organization’s reputation. His letter was written on May 3, just days before the Heartland Institute launched a billboard campaign equating everyone who believes in global warming to the Unabomber and Osama bin Laden. A letter from the shareholder to Nucor about the Unabomber billboard has not yet received a reply. Greenpeace has launched a petition to DiMicco calling on him to end his support for the Heartland Institute.

DiMicco’s annual compensation is more than $8 million a year. He is also on the board of Duke Energy, a major electric utility that supports action on climate change.

Who are the “world’s leading scientists and economists” claimed by Heartland and cited by DiMicco? Heartland president Joe Bast helpfully provided the list. Forecast the Facts has created this table of the supposed experts listed by Bast, alongside representative quotations revealing them to be ideological conspiracy theorists:

Heartland’s “Highly respected scientists, political leaders, and economists”
Name Position
Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic “I’m convinced that after years of studying the phenomenon, global warming is not the real issue of temperature. That is the issue of a new ideology or a new religion. A religion of climate change or a religion of global warming. This is a religion which tells us that the people are responsible for the current, very small increase in temperatures. And they should be punished.” [Fox News, 12/18/2009]
John Sununu, former chief of staff for president George H.W. Bush “The natural cooling period of the ‘50s and ‘60s turned into the warming period of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and with the help of increased C02, a plant nutrient, instead of mass starvation, we had no problem growing enough food for the rapidly increasing world population, and we continue to find and make more efficient use of our other critical resources. But the anti-growth, anti-development crowd are a hardy bunch. They won’t give up. As nature switched from global cooling to global warming, so did they.” [Heartland Institute, 3/10/2009]
James Inhofe, U.S. Senator “My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” [ Voice of Christian Youth America, 3/7/2012]
Dana Rohrabacher, U.S. Representative “Because the Kyoto Treaty and much of the suggested environmental legislation would decimate jobs in southern California, constituents may be interested to learn of the growing scientific consensus that global warming is not manmade, if it is in fact even occuring.” [House.gov, ]
James Sensenbrenner, U.S. Representative “We see in these emails that ended up being on the Internet that the people who say that there’s man-made global warming end up saying that this data is contrary and we’ve actually had global cooling in the last ten years.” [House.gov, 12/7/2009]
George Allen, former U.S. Senator “I’d love to be the deciding vote to say EPA’s not going to regulate CO2.” [Constitutional, 4/2/2012]
Harrison Schmitt, former U.S. Senator and Apollo 17 astronaut “You know as well as I, the ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes, and decision making.” [SpaceRef, 11/14/2008]
Cory Bernardi, Australian Senator “The more you read into this situation, the more the claims that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for our warming climate do not add up. However to deny man’s contribution is to risk the wrath of those looking for a set of circumstances to suit their own agendas.” [Cory Bernardi, 4/21/2007]
Roger Helmer, member of the EU Parliament “It is now treated as sacrilegious to even question the dogma that leads the environmentalists to endlessly repeat what has been brainwashed into them by the establishment media. Could it not be that people are labouring under enforced adherence to a program of mass deception?” [Roger Helmer, 7/31/2010]
John Theon, retired NASA senior atmospheric scientist “I have publicly said I thought Jim Hansen should be fired. But, my opinion doesn’t count much, particularly when he is empowered by people like the current president of the United States. I’m not sure what we can do to have him get off of the public payroll and continue with the campaign or crusade. I think the man is sincere, but he is suffering from a bad case of megalomania.” [Media Research Center, 3/11/2009]
Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “The remarkable centrality of carbon dioxide means that dealing with the threat of warming fits in with a great variety of preexisting agendas–some legitimate, some less so: energy efficiency, reduced dependence on Middle Eastern oil, dissatisfaction with industrial society (neopastoralism), international competition, governmental desires for enhanced revenues (carbon taxes), and bureaucratic desires for enhanced power.” [Cato, 4/1/1992]
George Kukla, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University “The only thing to worry about global warming is the damage that can be done by worrying. Why are some scientists worried? Perhaps because they feel that to stop worrying may mean to stop being paid.” [Gelf Magazine, 4/24/2007]
William Gray, emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University “It’s sort of a religion. People are substituting environmentalism for religion: humans are bad people doing harm. People don’t follow Christianity as much any more, so they need a new religion. So there’s an almost religious belief that people feel we have to change the way we do things.” [Houston Chronicle, 4/2/2008]
Roy Spencer, U.S. Science Team Leader for instruments aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite “Climate alarmists will waste more than just American money. Regulators in the developing world push to enforce stronger air-pollution rules, which expands the role of government and provides job security for bureaucrats, while ignoring the downside of diverting too much of the taxpayers’ money away from other, more worthy goals.” [Roy Spencer, 2/26/2012]
Patrick Michaels, senior research fellow at George Mason University and former state climatologist for Virginia “We know how much the planet is going to warm. It is a small amount, and we can’t do anything about it.” [Business Week , 8/16/2004]
Willie Soon, astrophysicist, Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics “The evidence in my paper is consistent with the hypothesis that the Sun causes climatic change in the Arctic. It invalidates the hypothesis that CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change – and raises serious questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that would cripple energy production and economic activity, in the name of ‘preventing catastrophic climate change’.” [Heartland Institute, 3/1/2009]
Stanley Goldenberg, meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” [Washington Times, 12/27/2008]
Nir Shaviv, professor of physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem “Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/30/2012]
Henrik Svensmark, physicist at the Danish National Space Center “In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. . . No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable.” [Jyllands-Posten, 9/9/2009]
William Kininmonth, former head of Australia’s National Climate Center “For more than a decade public opinion on human-caused global warming has been moulded by pronouncements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its army of acolytes. . . There is rising recognition that introduction of a carbon tax under the guise of “cap and trade” will be personally costly, economically disruptive to society and tend to shift classes of jobs offshore. Moreover, despite rising carbon dioxide concentrations, global warming seems to have taken a holiday.” [The Australian, 4/29/2009]
Bob Carter, adjunct research fellow at James Cook University “The means by which the public has been convinced that dangerous global warming is occurring are not subtle. The three main agents are: the reports from the IPCC; incessant bullying by environmental NGOs and allied scientists, political groups and business; and the obliging promulgation of selectively alarmist climate information by the media. Indeed, the combined alarmist activities of the IPCC, crusading environmental NGOs, some individual leading climate scientists and many science agencies and academies can only be termed a propaganda campaign.”  [Quadrant, 11/1/2008]
Yuri Izrael, former first vice-president of the World Meteorological Organization “In this situation of uncertainty, it appears the Kyoto Protocol is costing trillions of dollars. That is what has to be spent to stop the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet even if such astronomical sums are spent, success is not assured.” [Telegraph, 9/3/2010]
Andre Illarionov, former chief economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin “For 70 years, Russia suffered from Communism and Marxism, and it incurred huge losses. And now they want us to accept another form of totalitarian ideology . . . We have received no single argument in favor of [the Kyoto Protocol] except political pressure. No link has been established between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.” [RBC, 5/19/2004]
Gabriel Calzada, associate professor of economics at King Juan Carlos University “Many consider it as the most important scientific fraud in recent decades and do not hesitate to propose its candidacy as fraud of the century. I am referring to the consensus of dangerous manmade climate change, the big bad wolf with which politicians and ecologists have been intimidating us for over twenty years to protect their draconian policies.”  [Belt Iberica, 12/2/2009]
Robert Mendelsohn, professor of economics at Yale University “More expensive abatement programs do not guarantee more benefits, and spending trillions of dollars on abatement over the next few decades is simply wasting resources, given what we now understand about climate change. Current negotiation efforts should focus on designing efficient programs, not on committing resources to foolish initiatives.” [The Greening of Global Warming, 1999]
James O’Brien, professor emeritus at Florida State University and former state climatologist for Florida “Nearly all of the physical climate scientists I know agree that minor limiting of carbon dioxide by the Kyoto Protocol will not stop the climate changes caused by the observed increase in carbon dioxide. And, I caution you not to believe the non-fact that CO2 is poisonous to our planet. Plants, forests, and crops all love the stuff. Carbon dioxide makes forests grow. If we limit CO2 too much, we will harm our agriculture.” [JohnDaly.com, 7/15/2002]
David Legates, professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former state climatologist for Delaware “Global warming alarmists would have governments impose significant regulations with tremendous economic implications. The Bush administration is under attack simply for stating that the science is uncertain whether human-induced global warming is occurring. At the same time, scientists that add credence to that assertion are being silenced.” [Marshall Institute, 8/26/2003]
George Taylor, former state climatologist for Oregon. “The “Climategate” incident continues to reverberate, revealing what appear to be willful acts to suppress dissenting views, restrict publication of dissenting material, and otherwise control the discussion of AGW.” [Answers, 6/3/2010]

Read the full letter:

CORPORATE OFFICE
3 May 2012

Mr.

Re: Letter to Peter C. Browning dated April 10, 2012

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for your letter to Mr. Peter Browning referenced above as Lead Outside Director of Nucor Corporation (“Nucor”). We appreciate your concern and we have discussed the issue. Please accept the following in response to your inquiry.

As you can see from Nucor’s website, We take environmental issues very seriously, including the debate surrounding “climate change.” (See http://www.nucor.com/responsibility/environment/issues/Warming/) Nucor has been at the forefront these issues and of improving the carbon intensity of steel making. We have correctly noted that countries acting alone to regulate carbon do so at their own economic peril. In fact, such actions likely worsen the global environment by migrating emissions from regulated countries to non-regulated countries. Global issues require global solutions; but, solutions that do not provide true answers cannot be supported by Nucor and should not be tolerated by society.

It is most likely that the information that formed the basis of your inquiry concerning the Heartland Institute (“Heartland”) had its genesis with a group entitled “Forecast the Facts,” whose activities are chronicled at http://fakegate.org/the-heartland-institute-replies-to-forecast-the-facts/. As you can read from the webpage, much of the uproar is a result of stolen and fabricated documentation. Contrary to your assertion, Heartland “does not ‘deny the existence of climate change.’” “It supports research and scholarly debate on the causes and effects of climate change.” In fact, Heartland spokespersons have said repeatedly that: (i) “some warming occurred in the second half of the twentieth century,” (ii) “there is evidence of a small human impact on climate,” and (iii) that “carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.” Heartland’s views are only controversial because they encourage more debate before governments make policies restricting greenhouse gas emissions and governments and industry spend trillions of dollars. (For more information, go to http://heartlandorg/about.)

The issues surrounding the “climate” debate are real and difficult questions to answer, but Nucor has been consistent in its support for scientific answers instead of political consensus. Heartland is just such an institution, “bringing together the world’s leading scientists and economists to study the issue.” It is entirely appropriate for Nucor and other like-minded companies and groups to fund The Heartland Institute. Working together we will find solutions, so that our best days are still ahead of us.

Sincerely,

Daniel R. DiMicco,
Chairman and CEO
Nucor Corporation

cc: Peter C. Browning, Lead Outside Director

1915 REXFORD ROAD, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA 28211 PHONE 704 366 7000 FAX 704 362 4208

Sign the Greenpeace petition calling on Nucor CEO Daniel DiMicco to end his company’s support for the Heartland Institute.

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9 Responses to Nucor CEO: Funding Of Heartland Institute’s Climate Denial ‘Is Entirely Appropriate’

  1. BillD says:

    After the “billboard incident” who can say with a straight face that Hearland supports research and scholarly debate? They have just labeled most researchers and scholars as being equivalent to murderers and tyrants. Who thinks that someone who has been libeled in way would expect Hearland to engage in a ‘scholarly” debate?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The Heartland provocation is serving its purpose of smoking out the prevaricators and fair weather nutters, and consolidating the support of the hard core. The total volume of funds will, I would surmise, remain the same. After all the Rightwing agit-prop asylums require little popular support, save from the hard Right and the Dunning-Kruger fraternity, and rely on the Kochtopus and that mollusc’s numerous political stooges to have their malign effect.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    I’m really surprised about DiMicco here. Nucor produces steel with a far smaller carbon footprint than its integrated mill competitors, since Nucor relies on scrap feeds instead of ore and coal. Most of Nucor’s mills produce very little air pollution, as they rely on baghouses for air emissions, and do careful sorting of mercury and other toxins from auto scrap.

    Nucor could leverage their competitive advantage in the marketplace, incuding, especially, compared to Chinese steel.

    DiMicco is an excellent executive. Maybe he just needs to educate himself, and find the opportunity here.

    • Pythagoras says:

      Nucor has a mini-mill in the industrial area close to the port of Seattle and immediately adjacent to the residential neighborhood of West Seattle. It uses renewable hydropower to for its electric arc furnace. The mill is clean, non-polluting, and provides good jobs in the area.

      Furthermore, Nucor appears to be a highly innovative company that is willing to compete in the world market. It certainly seems like the type of business that the US needs to keep workers in the US and maintain competitiveness.

      So the real issue for CEO DeMicco is what do we need to do so that ALL of Nucors’ mills operate like the Seattle mill?

      My thoughts are that we need to level the economic playing field. It isn’t fair for a good company like Nucor that abides by US domestic pollution control laws has to compete with foreign firms that are not hamstrung.

  3. Bill Walker says:

    Don’t you just love how he used quotes around “climate change” and “climate”? Bah! Clearly he’s just another denier.

  4. Paul Klinkman says:

    When people recycle their steel cans and other steel products, it often goes to Nucor. If a minority of these volunteer recyclers should walk away from sending metal to Nucor, because of Nucor’s net corporate damage to the planet, then Nucor can become a far poorer company. Somebody else will probably jump into the financial hole left by Nucor.

    • Leif says:

      Doesn’t Rmoney/Romney specialize in parting out corporations that have lost their focus and making big bucks on the Share holders backs?

  5. Ozonator says:

    Nucor in Louisiana now means AGW and other pollutants are parts of the Jindalstan family of freedoms demanded by extremist Republicans and Christians. “A handful of proposals that chip away at provisions of the state’s ethics code received the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal … The Republican governor, … made strengthened ethics laws a centerpiece of his first term in office … allow public hospital board members’ relatives to be hired … allow members of a Baton Rouge port commission and their family members to sell grain to a grain elevator overseen or owned by the commission” (“Jindal signs new exceptions to La. ethics code into law”; MELINDA DESLATTE, The Associated Press; dailycomet.com, 6/13/12).

    • Robert In New Orleans says:

      The delicious irony is that Nucor Steel is going to build a new steel production plant along the Mississippi River in Covent, Louisiana (St. James Parish)at a location that just might be flooded out by rising sea levels in less than a hundred years. I wonder if the share holders know about this?