The Heartland Institute

Industry-Funded CPAC Panelists: Climate Change A 'Silly' 'Scam,' 'Modern Witchcraft'

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this morning hosted a panel titled, “What’s The Deal With Global Warming?,” the answer to which was apparently that it’s a “silly debate,” a “scam” and “modern witchcraft.”

The panel was moderated by Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute, a leading climate-change denial group funded in large part by major corporations, and included Steve Milloy, a longtime climate change denier who is now working for the coal company Murray Energy; Marc Morano of the oil-industry funded Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Heartland Institute “expert” and former a staffer for climate skeptic Sen. Jim Inhofe; Marlo Lewis of the anti-regulation Competitive Enterprise Institute; George Landrith of Fronteirs of Freedom, another oil-industry funded climate change denial group; and for “balance,” Shannon Smith, who runs an energy efficiency financing group.

Throughout the hour-long discussion, the panelists were cracking each other up with jabs at climate science.

One of the biggest laugh lines came from Morano, who mocked Rep. Barbara Lee’s warning that the effects of climate change in the developing world could force women into poverty and prostitution. “So now, everyone in the audience worried that your mom’s sister or daughter is going to become a hooker, had better start to get behind a carbon tax or cap and trade,” he joked.

He then made fun of a UN report that many African countries will be especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “They’re now saying because of weird weather in Africa and other places, families are desperate and so their daughters are turning to prostitution,” he said. “They’re trying everything and anything.”

Later in the talk, Morano called the idea that climate change makes storms more severe “modern witchcraft.”

Milloy for his part insisted that this “is really sort of a silly discussion,” adding, “I reject the notion that we need to cut back on fossil fuels because we’re worried about the weather possibly being inclement in 30 years or 40 years.”

The panelists also presented various conspiracy theories about U.S. policies meant to combat climate change.

Lewis said that state renewable portfolio standards reminded him of Stalinist production quotas, while Milloy claimed that the climate change “scam” is the “perfect vehicle” for progressives to gain “control of our lives.”

Landrith then chimed in with a bizarre comparison of environmental regulations to allied bombings of German cities in World War II: “If you want to bring the other side to its knees, you bomb their ball bearing factories, you bomb their refineries, okay? If you want to get control of the economy, then you regulate such things.”

700 Club: Climate Change Helps Environment and Civilization, SUV Owners Treated Like Witches

On the 700 Club today, Pat Robertson followed a segment mocking “climatism” with an interview with Steve Goreham of the climate change denying Heartland Institute. Goreham is not a climate scientist (his degree is in electrical engineering) and the Heartland Institute regularly pushes misinformation about climate change.

Richard Littlemore points out that internal Heartland documents reveal that “Heartland advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and ‘other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.’” The group is behind an effort to promote climate change denialism in schools and a billboard campaign likening climate scientists to mass murderers.

Robertson, a climate change denier who has without a hint of irony criticized climate scientists as “nutty” and “fanatics,” unsurprisingly ate up Goreham’s claims that humans play no role in climate change and that higher CO2 levels help the environment.

“Warmer periods have actually been better for civilizations,” Goreham argued. “We have less extreme weather, we have longer growing seasons and we have more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now, which is actually greening the planet.” “That’s good!” Robertson replied.

Goreham lamented that SUV owners and power company officials may be treated like witches who were burnt at the stake in the Middle Ages: “There were many people in the Middle Ages that were blamed for causing the cold temperatures and the poor crops and they labeled them witches, they burned them. And so today we blame it on our neighbor’s SUV or a power plant, it’s a little bit of a medieval thing.”

“Let’s hope we don’t burn the officials of VEPCO,” Robertson joked, referring to the Virginia Electric and Power Company.

Later, Goreham said that people in New York, San Francisco and Bangladesh should be “rejoicing” about warming as “all the climate models are wrong.”

Watch:

Beverage Giant Diageo Drops Heartland Institute

Joining the scores of corporations that have recently dropped their support of ultra-conservative organizations that represent shady, undemocratic and disingenuous practices, the London-based beverage giant Diageo, which owns brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnny Walker and others, announced that they will no longer fund the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank. General Motors also discontinued their support for the organization earlier this year.

The decision came after the Heartland Institute ran an unsavory billboard ad showing a picture of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, with a caption that read, “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”

In addition to the Unabomber, the Heartland Institute’s ad campaign also compares climate change scientists and advocates to murderers such as Charles Manson and the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and the organization believes that "The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society," a statement reads. "This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen."

The Institute, which receives funding from the Koch Brothers, has also posted an impassioned defense of the American Legislative Exchange Council on their blog: “The Heartland Institute stands with ALEC in support of free enterprise, limited government, and federalism, and asks that you do so as well.” Apparently, this includes a blatantly disingenuous and hateful ad campaign that calls those who oppose their pro-oil, pro Koch-brothers agenda, even scientists, “murderers” and “tyrants.”

While Diageo should be commended for severing ties with the Heartland Institute, the corporation unfortunately has not joined a number of other corporations, including The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi and Kraft Foods, who have severed their ties with ALEC.

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