The free-market think tank the Heartland Institute has long been considered a "dissenter" or "denier" of man-made global climate change by many in scientific circles. The Institute doesn't deny that itself. In fact, it recently launched a controversial billboard campaign likening belief in global warming to the extremism of mass murderers and terrorists.
Why? According to the Institute's online statement, "Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming."
The timing of this campaign, which features the billboards in Chicago, is no coincidence. Later this month, the Heartland Institute is hosting its Seventh International Conference on Climate Change. The conference starts May 21, the final day of the NATO Summit, which is bringing hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries to the Windy City.
The billboards feature Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, mass murderer Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee, who Heartland reminds us took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010. Heartland states it chose these extreme examples to show that global warming is not “'mainstream,' smart, or sophisticated."
Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants. But the Climategate scandal and the more recent Fakegate scandal revealed that the leaders of the global warming movement are willing to break the law and the rules of ethics to shut down scientific debate and implement their left-wing agendas.
Scientific, political, and public support for the theory of man-made global warming is collapsing. Most scientists and 60 percent of the general public (in the U.S.) do not believe man-made global warming is a problem. (Keep reading for proof of these statements.) The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.
It would be expected that these comparisons be met with criticism. The Guardian's environmental blog has come out to say "What on earth were they thinking?" It calls the billboards "quite possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns." It goes on to wonder if such an extreme campaign would result in some supporters or those with speaking engagements with the Institute to backout or disassociate themselves:
You also have to wonder if any of the scheduled conference speakersare now having doubts about whether they want to be associated with Heartland. One person who is on the list to speak is Roger Helmer, a British politician who has attended previous conferences. Having recently left the Conservative party as an MEP, the prominent climate sceptic is now the UK Independence Party's spokesperson on industry and energy.
Earlier, I sent him an email with a link to Heartland's poster campaign press release and asked him: "Will you now be reconsidering attending in light of this new poster campaign for the conference? Do you approve of or condemn the poster campaign?"
He confirmed he was still attending, adding:I am delighted that the Heartland campaign for the Chicago climate conference has succeeded in its purpose and attracted the attention of the Guardian. I urge Guardian readers to attend the conference if they can, but failing that, to follow it on the web.
The PR effort drew quick condemnation. “How low will #Heartland go? This shows pure desperation,” said Daphne Wysham, co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, over Twitter.
A spokesman for the Sierra Club also criticized the group’s “inflammatory tactics” and said they will “backfire.”
“It must be embarrassing for Heartland’s donors like Exxon to have their money used in a way that compares the majority of their customers who believe in climate change to mass murderers. But they should have thought harder before contributing to the organization that seamlessly transitioned from being apologists for Big Tobacco to being apologists for Big Oil,” said Sierra Club spokesman Trey Pollard.
Heartland goes on to explain why it thinks you shouldn't believe in man-made global warming -- man-made being the key term:
[...] the best available science says about two-thirds of the warming in the 1990s was due to natural causes, not human activities; the warming trend of the second half of the twentieth century century already has stopped and forecasts of future warming are unreliable; and the benefits of a moderate warming are likely to outweigh the costs.
Most people who still believe in global warming do so because they trust the United Nations, the so-called mainstream media, and leading political figures to be telling them the truth about a complicated scientific issue. That trust has been betrayed.
Heartland believes the UN created the International Panel for Climate Change to explicitly find a link between human activities and global warming. It believes this group has "ignored natural causes of climate variation". Also accusing the mainstream media, the Institute claims they are "'in the tank' with environmental activists and big-government advocates."
All in all the Institute writes it doesn't believe those who hold fast to the scientific validity of man-made global warming are mass murderers or terrorists, but that they are merely calling up the "suspect" ethics of global warming advocates.
Read the Heartland Institute's full statement on the billboard campaign here.