The Heartland Institute, a far-right climate change denying "thinktank" has put up a series of billboards so disgusting, so vile, that I find it difficult to find words to tell you just how disgusting and vile they are.
So instead, I’ll show you one:
When I first heard of this earlier today, I thought it was a joke. No one would seriously do this, right? Creating an actual billboard like this would be taking Poe’s Law and aiming right between your own eyes!
But it’s real. Heartland actually put these up, and according to their press release, they’re proud of it. And other people Heartland has on the billboards? Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, and they’re considering putting up some with Osama bin Laden.
I could go on and on about just how incredibly offensive this is, but you can read about it here, here, here, and here. [UPDATE: And here, here, and here.]
Still, there’s one thing I do want to highlight. The press release is a non-stop firehose of misinformation and spin, but among the venom-dripping things they say, one bit of crazy stands out:
The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.
Actually, "a solid majority" of Americans think global warming is real. They’re the radical fringe? As usual, the global warming deniers accuse others of doing what the deniers themselves are guilty of.
And the prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists? Like Michael Mann and James Hansen? Oh wait, those two are actual climate scientists. You know, the kind of people who are experts in climate science. The kind who don’t tend to sign climate change denial screeds.
Also, the "murderers, tyrants, and madmen" line? Nice, Heartland, nice. Rhetoric like that really makes you look sober, sane, and willing to discuss things rationally.
Always remember, this is the reality Heartland is trying to deny:
The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.
Those are the facts. It’s hard to believe anyone takes Heartland seriously at this point. And while they’re fiddling, the world burns.
Leading GOPer chastises right wing group for comparing climate believers to mass murderers
As you may have heard, the Heartland Institute, a right-wing anti-climate-science think tank, has launched a billboard campaign that’s getting widely pilloried on the Web — it compares people who accept climate science as legitimate to Osama Bin Laden, Charles Manson, and the Unibomber.
Now the Heartland Institute has suffered its first major defection in the way of GOP public officials: GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a leading climate “skeptic,” will be pulling out of an upcoming conference sponsored by the group where he was supposed to speak, his spokesman confirms to me.
The billboards, which were first reported by the UK Guardian, show the Unabomber or Manson saying: ”I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” Future billboards may include Bin Laden, reported the Guardian, which referred to the billboards as “possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns.”
The group has a conference set for later this month, and one of the featured speakers is Sensenbrenner. I asked Sensenbrenner’s spokesperson, Amanda Infield, if he’s still participating. She emails:
Congressman Sensenbrenner will not participate in the upcoming Climate Change Conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign. We have contacted the Heartland Institute and voiced these same concerns to them.
Joe Romm reports that a several major corporations have ended their support for Heartland, but many still continue to bankroll it, and many other prominent voices are expected to speak at Heartland’s conference.
As Andrew Sullivan, writing about the billboards, put it: “In some ways, this is an almost perfect illustration of what has happened to the `right.’ A refusal to acknowledge scientific reality; and a brutalist style of public propaganda that focuses entirely on guilt by the most extreme association.”
Indeed, it’s likely that the pressure will increase, via social media, for these companies and voices to sever their ties with Heartland until they pull the billboards down. As Sensenbrenner has showed by pulling out, there are some positions that are too extreme for “climate skeptical” mainstream Republicans to countenance, such as comparing climate change science believers to mass murderers.