The Heartland Institute makes enemies with 'unsavoury tactics'

Lumping global warming believers in with the Unabomber proves catastrophic for the skeptic think tank

The Heartland Institute is described by the New York Times as “the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism.” With U.S. belief in global warming at record lows, the think tank seemed to be riding high.

But this month, Heartland brought catastrophic climate change on itself with a billboard in its Chicago hometown. It featured Ted “the Unabomber” Kaczynski and the caption: “I still believe in global warming. Do you?” Heartland president Joseph Bast said he wanted to show that “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists,” but rather include “Charles Manson, a mass murderer,” and “Fidel Castro, a tyrant.”

Even Heartland’s supporters balked. Republican congressman James Sensenbrenner denounced “unsavoury tactics that only serve to distract from our message.” Several corporate sponsors pulled their funding, and experts asked to be delisted or withdrew from its International Conference on Climate Change.

Senior fellow Dennis Avery, however, defended the ad, telling Canadian blogger M.J. Murphy that switching to solar power would bring such hardship that it would “qualify as mass murder on a far grander scale than the Unabomber.”

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