Heartland Institute: Keep Climate Denial Out of Our Schools

Climate Reality Project rolls out new campaign to keep climate denial out of school curriculum

by Maggie L. Fox, Climate Reality Project

Do you think schools should teach our children that climate change isn’t real?

Of course not. But the Heartland Institute, an organization well-known for giving a microphone to climate science deniers, now wants to bring this false message into America’s classrooms.

As their President and CEO just admitted, they are writing a “global warming curriculum” that would say climate science isn’t settled. They’d like our teachers to claim we just don’t know if humans are changing our climate.

This plan is outrageous on its face. As you well know, the science behind climate change is not controversial — it is a reality. Scientists know that climate change is happening, and we are beginning to see the impacts with our own eyes. It would be the height of irresponsibility to urge our schools to teach something known to be untrue.

As its own budget documents reveal (PDF), the Heartland Institute is funded by oil and coal companies with a financial interest in denying climate science. But I think you’ll agree this industry-funded propaganda has no place in our schools.

Fortunately, one brave high school student is asking the Heartland Institute to stop. Corey Husic is writing to the group to say there is no place for a climate denial curriculum. He is asking that Heartland immediately “cease and desist” its plan to bring climate denial into our schools. And today, I invite you to sign this petition as well.

It’s time we move on from this false debate over climate science and engage in a much more fruitful and educational discussion over what we can do to solve the climate crisis.

We’ve created a short video to help you learn more about this urgent issue. I encourage you watch this video now, and sign the petition to keep climate reality in America’s science classrooms.

Corey Husic, a student and trained Climate Presenter, is sending the message below to Joseph Bast, President and CEO, Heartland Institute. Sign our petition and join Corey in standing up for reality. Say NO to climate denial in our schools.

Dear Mr. Bast,

I’m Corey Husic, and I’m a high school student in Pennsylvania. It’s come to my attention that you are prepared to spend a significant amount of money on a “global warming curriculum” to teach kids that climate change isn’t real.

That’s right. According to your own budget documents, you want to hand teachers a curriculum that says global warming is “a major scientific controversy” and that carbon dioxide might not even be a pollutant.

Please be advised: Your entire premise is false. The reality is that our climate is changing now and human activities are a primary cause. I’m just a high school student, so please don’t take my word for it. Just ask any National Academy of Science in the world or just about any actual climate scientist.

Given who pays your bills, your plan doesn’t come as a surprise. According to your own documents, your organization is funded by coal and oil companies with a financial stake in denying climate science — not to mention tobacco companies that tried to convince us smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

My generation is already experiencing a very different climate from our parents and grandparents. We will be the ones responsible for making sure coastal cities are able to withstand rising sea levels. We are the ones who will have to protect ourselves from weather extremes like stronger hurricanes, longer droughts and hotter heat waves. Instead of trying to undermine the science that shows humans are causing climate change, we should be learning how those changes are going to affect us and what we can do about it. In other words, teach us something useful.

We respectfully demand that you cease and desist your effort to bring climate change denial into our schools.

Corey Husic
Age 17
Climate Presenter

— Maggie L. Fox is the President and CEO of the Climate Reality Project. This piece was originally published at the Climate Reality Project.

NOTE: Think Progress is among several publications to have published documents attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself. Heartland Institute has issued several press releases claiming that one document (“2012 Climate Strategy”) is fake and asserting other claims regarding the other documents. ThinkProgress has taken down the 2012 Climate Strategy document as it determines the document’s authenticity.

See also “CAPAF General Counsel Responds To Heartland Institute.”

18 Responses to Heartland Institute: Keep Climate Denial Out of Our Schools

  1. John Tucker says:

    Finally, lets shine the spotlight where it belongs. Heartland does not base its opinions on any available science and will not open its records.

    This curriculum is a gross travesty. A corrupt influence peddled anti education initiative.

    Heartland’s Denialists need to be aggressively investigated and removed from government expert and education positions.

    Taxpayers shouldn’t be funding the lobbing of fringe anti science groups and no university with a competent code of conduct based in truth and honesty should be employing them.

    Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) is calling for Congress (pdf) to investigate: ( )

  2. Tami Kennedy says:

    Glad to see the ‘sun revolves around the earth’ argument there. I’ve used it arguing against the climate denier crowd in the past.

  3. TheZeitgeist says:

    Hey Carbon Clown, ‘climate change’ in school isn’t the issue. ‘Humans via CO2 are primary agents of climate change and state-sponsored babysitting is required to save ourselves from Venusian doom’ in school IS the issue.

  4. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Nice to see another cat out of the bag – seems like this one was already pregnant and is dropping kittens like Corey all over the place. Getting press in Oz as well, ME

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    In the end, if organisations like Heartland succeed, billions will die, and human society and civilization will end. The chances of this astounding prospect coming true are increasing by the day as the denialists continue to win. This is by far the greatest moral crisis in human history, far outweighing the importance of slavery, the defeat of fascism, nuclear weapons, political emancipation and de-colonisation to mention but a few. I find myself, as I walk past a school, or see children waiting for buses to go home after school, wondering at what their future will be, and that of their children, and knowing that they will surely curse us all for letting these fiends get away with it. Not the rabble of vicious, ignorant and stupid imbeciles that the denialist industry has roused by telling them that science and environmentalist are evil Greenie plots to take away their SUVs, jetskis and plasma TVs, but the knowing liars and fundamentalist zealots behind the disinformation campaign. Heartland won’t take Gleick to court because any decent defence lawyer would subpoena the information that would reveal their true malignancy. Perhaps it’s time to start a fund to sue these organisations for the very real harm they are inflicting on humanity, and reveal their practises that way. I’d chip in a few bob myself for that.

  6. John Tucker says:

    The NYT did a scandalously bad version of this story and published pure denial.

    From the story:

    “Regarding the warming issue, it is scientifically fascinating. There are 5 different systems for estimating global temperatures, with a 6th in development. The problem is that these systems contradict one another. While all show some warming it occurs in different amounts and most importantly at very different times. Science needs something specific to explain but we just do not have that with warming. For example, HadCRU, UAH and RSS show no warming for the last 10-15 years, while GISS and BEST show steady warming,” he said, referring to the systems.

    “So has it warmed or not, we do not know. It is a grand challenge. This is scientifically fascinating and should be taught,” he concluded.

    Which has to be the most generalized absurd piece of incorrect verbose garbage ive heard in a long time.

    Why didn’t the NYT include Mr Wojick connections with the defunct Greening Earth Society ( ) in that story ??

    He is not even a climate scientist and has NEVER published on climate science. His degree is in philosophy.

    Why quote him at all?

    What is wrong with the NYT. They are horrifically incompetent.

  7. John Tucker says:

    Even low end on a conservative track the outcomes are unacceptable.

  8. Spike says:

    Over in the UK Donald Trump is funding opposition to renewables in Scotland, despite his own hotly opposed developments on the coast of Aberdeenshire

  9. Rod says:

    I’m from UK. Can someone tell me which of the donors over #10,000 are oil or coal companies? Thanks.

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    NYT has gone over to the dark side, and published the article they wanted. The abdication of American media is a professional tragedy that will lead to a global horror show.

  11. Mark says:

    YOO HOO! I have some new HEROS!

    Reminds me of this part of “We Who Believe in Freedom” (watch it here–gFrc)

    “The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on

    “Is when the reins are in the hand of the young who dare to run against the storm…

  12. Joe Romm says:


  13. john tucker says:

    you get to it from here – also they basically have a link into heartland today to characterize the emails:

  14. john tucker says:

    it was also picked up by the Huffington post here, where I first saw it – and quite a few other places now I see ( )

  15. john tucker says:

    Here is a link back to 1999 and the “greening earth society’s” advisor’s page:

    God the fossil fuel industry has done some messed up stuff over the years.

  16. john tucker says:

    lol – Patrick J. Michaels is listed as an advisor too. How embarrassing for him professionally.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    “What is wrong with the NYT?” Nothing. They are doing precisely what the leading propaganda organ in the print media of the USA’s ruling plutocratic elite is supposed to do, always has done and always will do.Advancing the economic interests of the ruling elite.
    Fossil fuels represent c.25 trillion dollars in assets. Besides that pile of loot your life, my life, the lives of all the ‘little people’ living and yet unborn, and all the natural systems of the planet amount to nothing. The NYT and its apparatchiki know what is expected of them and they deliver, or else.

  18. Interesting Times says:

    Great, a Heartland-worshiping denier troll succeeded in infesting this tread. Can you not get it through your head that FAILURE to reduce CO2 emissions – and the resulting climate chaos – will lead to government restrictions far worse than your own “OMG Agenda 21 is coming to get us” idiocy? Just look at water restrictions in Texas now, and imagine them exponentially worse. THAT’S the future you and your kind will ultimately deliver. Good luck praying your way out of it.