The Heartland Institute is a corporate funded think tank based in Chicago that denies global warming. It particularly targets elected officials and politicians hoping to short circuit the democratic process of full public debate. Its monthly publication Environment & Climate News "is sent to every state and federal elected official, more than 40,000 environmental professionals, and thousands of grassroots environment activists".
The Heartland Institute runs a website entitled Global Warming Facts which states that global warming "is a prime example of the alarmism that characterizes much of the modern environmental movement". The experts it has listed on this website have included Fred Singer, Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, David Legates, Richard Lindzen and Robert Balling.
The Heartland Institute has received funds from several corporations that have something to fear from democratic regulation of business activity, such as Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries and Philip Morris, and from foundations that have emerged from corporate empires such the Olin Foundation (chemical company money) and the Scaife foundations (oil company money). Its annual funding is about $5 million, of which over three quarters comes from corporations and foundations. It also receives around a million dollars each year from a single anonymous donor. Around two thirds of its budget is spent on lobbying and campaigning.
In 2012, the Institute outlined its stategy for raising more funds, "especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies".
The Heartland Institute also put up a billboard associating belief in global warming with the Unabomber (see picture) and planned others featuring Fidel Castro and Charles Manson. The outcry forced them to cancel the campaign the next day. The Institute said: "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".
Over the past 5 years the Heartland Institute has spent some $20 million funding climate science denial. For example it hosts and funds ($388,000 in 2011) the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a team of scientists who are paid to write and speak out against the science of climate change. Authors are recruited by The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), which also hosts NIPCC meetings. Scientists funded include Craig Idso, Fred Singer (SEPP) and Robert Carter (Australian climate denier - $1677/month), Robert Balling, and Willie Soon.
The Institute seeks to counter the impact extreme weather events and record temperatures are having on public perceptions of global warming by undermining the credibility of weather stations. Their Weather Stations Project will fund Anthony Watts, who claims that temperature stations are compromised by heat from nearby buildings and other infrastructure
The Institute also plans to pay David Wojick, a the US Department of Energy consultant who has also worked for electricity and coal companies, to produce global warming classroom materials aimed at countering the tendency of teachers to be too alarmist about global warming: "His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science. We tentatively plan to pay Dr. Wojick $100,000 for 20 modules in 2012".
The Heartland Institute also runs international conferences on climate change that bring together global warming deniers from around the world. Its 2009 conference held in Washington claimed to be "An international conference calling attention to widespread dissent to the asserted “consensus” on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change." Speakers included the usual denial scientists including Patrick Michaels, Bob Carter, Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer and Willie Soon.
Although the Institute claims its conferences are not funded by corporations the groups the conference co-sponsors are. Conference co-sponsors have included a variety of far right organizations, such as the Ayn Rand Institute and the Australian Libertarian Institute; a number of corporate-funded think tanks including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the George Marshall Institute, Science and Environmental Policy Project and the Heritage Foundation; and corporate front groups such as The Carbon Sense Coalition. Kevin Grandia, from DeSmogBlog says:
We've researched the funding history of all the organizations that the Heartland Institute has listed as co-sponsors for their 2009 International Conference on Climate Change and have found that over the years these groups have received in excess of $47 million from oil companies and right-wing foundations.