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Heartland billboard
Heartland Institute billboard

As reported by The Hill:

The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that disputes climate science, is adopting an aggressive PR strategy by launching Chicago-area billboards that associate belief in global warming with the Unabomber and Charles Manson.
This is the same Heartland Insititute that last year was revealed to be planning to instill climate denial disinformation into elementary school curricula. As explained by actual science professor Scott Mandia:
This indefensible action by Heartland Institute is a new low but is certainly not the first attack on science and its scientists.


But with these billboards we now see just how deranged Heartland really is. More from The Hill:
Other billboards feature Charles Manson and Fidel Castro, the group said on its website, adding that “other global warming alarmists” who might appear in the future include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee, who took hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters in 2010 and was slain by police.

“These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it,” the Chicago-based group said on its website. “The point is that believing in global warming is not 'mainstream,' smart or sophisticated.”

Unless you happen to believe in science. As I elucidated a few months ago, the scientific bodies that officially acknowledge climate change include:
National Academies of Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Society, Geological Society of America, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Science Academies of the G8+5 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Australian Institute of Physics, and International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.

Each of which must be, according to Heartland, neither smart or sophisticated.

In The Guardian, Leo Hickman quotes Heartland:

Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.
Well, that's a relief. It would be very worrisome if almost every serious science body on the planet was comprised of alarmists or murderers.

As Heartland prepares another denialist conference that obviously will exclude spokespeople for these scientific societies, Hickman asks:

The bigger question, beyond trying to analyse the collective mentality of an organisation that would sign off a poster campaign like this, is whether it will now lead any of the speakers, attendees and sponsors to pull out of the conference and dissociate themselves from this thinktank.

As a result of the embarrassment caused by the release earlier this year of its internal funding documents, the US car giant GM pulled the plug on its funding for Heartland. Will Microsoft, Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline, for example, now also choose to cut their funding to this organisation?

Heartland continues to play the media, and with its next climate denial conference just around the corner, it's time the media and responsible corporations stopped playing along.

[UPDATE] After fierce pushback from the environmental and science communities, Heartland is backing down. Jason Samenow of the Washington Post reports that Heartland President and CEO Joe Bast has issued a statement:

We will stop running [the billboard] at 4:00 p.m. CST today. (It’s a digital billboard, so a simple phone call is all it takes.)

The Heartland Institute knew this was a risk when deciding to test it, but decided it was a necessary price to make an emotional appeal to people who otherwise aren’t following the climate change debate.

That second paragraph yet again speaks to the lack of integrity and scientific accuracy of Heartland. And to reiterate from above, there is no scientific debate about climate change. Any ostensible debate is a deliberately illusory right wing political invention.

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