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In a December 28 post, blogger Greg Laden, a self-described “biological anthropologist and science communicator,” ranked The Heartland Institute’s efforts to expose global warming alarmism as one of the “top climate stories of 2012”.
I suppose we should be flattered, but Laden’s error-filled explanation for including us in the list requires some corrections:
- Heartland isn’t a “climate denial ‘think’ tank.” Last time I checked, no Heartland spokesperson ever denied the existence of the climate, or even climate change.
- Heartland didn’t “implode” or “suffer major damage” in 2012. In fact, we increased receipts by about 15% from 2011, increased the number of donors nearly four-fold, more than doubled the number of policy advisors (to 237), and set records for press attention and online traffic for our sites. 2012 was a breakthrough year for us, thanks in no small part to the attention generated by our work on global warming/cooling.
- We have never tried to “prove that cigarette smoking was not bad for you.” We do argue that taxes on smokers are too high and second-hand smoke is not the public health threat that anti-smoking zealots claim.
- We were not “caught red handed trying to fund an effort explicitly (but secretly) designed to damage science education in public schools.” That description is based on a fake memo circulated by disgraced water scientist Peter Gleick. We announced the curriculum project in our members newsletter and explained there that our intent is to help de-politicize the issue. How is that a bad thing?
- We did run a billboard about global warming, but it did not “equat[e] people who thought the climate science on global warming is based on facts and is not a fraud with well-known serial killers.” The billboard simply pointed out that Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, still believes in global warming, and asked viewers if they do, too. We know why lefties went nuts over it – Kaczynski, after all, is one of their own – but it wasn’t inaccurate or offensive.
- We lost a few corporate donors who couldn’t stand the heat when liberal advocacy groups, using a donor list stolen by the aforementioned Peter Gleick, circulated online petitions demanding that they stop funding us. But as already mentioned, we gained many more donors than we lost and had an exceptionally good fundraising year.
- Laden ends by saying The Heartland Institute, “which never was really that big, is now no longer a factor in the climate change.” He’s right that we aren’t very big – about $6 million a year – but he’s wrong about the role we continue to play in the international debate. Our Eighth International Conference on Climate Change, held in Munich on November 30-December 1, 2012, was a huge success. We’ve got projects on climate already lined up for 2013 that make 2012 look like a dress rehearsal.
In short, Heartland played a major role in shaping the debate over global warming in 2012, and we expect to play an even larger role in 2013. Sometimes it takes a little controversy to break through media bias and public indifference. Heartland achieved this in 2012.