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GM, Microsoft, Diageo Gave to Climate-Denier Think Tank

Microsoft, General Motors and Diageo are among the companies that have donated money to the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that denies the ongoing existence of global warming, according to the Guardian.

The newspaper cites industry watchdog site DeSmogBlog, which says a think tank insider leaked it confidential documents detailing the Heartland Institute’s strategy and fundraising network.

But Heartland said that at least one of the posted documents is a fake, some may have been altered, and some were stolen. It said Heartland president Joseph Bast has not yet had a chance to review all documents to see what has been altered, so until then the institute is refusing to confirm the documents’ authenticity.

It is threatening to pursue civil and possibly criminal charges against “individuals who have commented so far on these documents,” and said it would seek prison time for the person responsible for stealing documents.

According to DeSmogBlog and the Guardian, Heartland has received funds from a number of companies that publicly support action to stop climate change. Many of the companies acknowledged their donations.

Microsoft gave the institute $59,908 in 2011, but said the money was earmarked for a program providing free software licenses to non-profit organizations. GlaxoSmithKline said its $50,000, two-year donation was for a healthcare initiative.

General Motors gave $15,000 each in 2010 and 2011, for non-climate-related projects. Diageo gave $10,000 over the past two years, for a project related to excise duty.

Microsoft, GSK and Diageo all told the Guardian that they do not support the institute’s views on climate change.

Tobacco companies Altria and Reynolds America, and drug firms Pfizer and Eli Lilly, also gave to Heartland. In all corporations have given over $1.1 million in the past two years and are planning another $705,000 this year, the documents said, but much of the institute’s work to discredit the science of climate change has been funded by a single anonymous donor, who gave $4.6m in 2008.

The institute is a prominent climate change denier. In a briefing on its website, the organization says that the global warming trend has already stopped, and that about two-thirds of warming in the 1990s was due to natural causes. It also says that moderate warming is likely to bring about benefits outweighing its costs.

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11 thoughts on “GM, Microsoft, Diageo Gave to Climate-Denier Think Tank

  1. What a bunch of fools. We all breathe, we all drink water, we all need these to survive. Yet thesecompanies continue to play this game….we’ll all pay with our lives.

  2. I think you need to be careful here, tread lightly. The donations pale in comparisons to the amount taxpayers have funded (forced) pushing this so called anthropologic warming. The Heartland Institute is not just about climate science, it deals with other social issues as well.

  3. Hi Matt, Unfortunately, “so called” anthropogenic climate change is a reality, not a theory any more. You can choose to listen to the minute fraction of Exxon/Mobil and Koch bros Chemical funded “scientists” who continue to deny its existence – so that our policies and subsidies still heavily favor their most polluting and toxic products. But that doesn’t make their denial any more real or make the problem go away. Or you can care about the future of every person you know and believe the many thousands and thousands of peer reviewed scientists that agree that our burning of fossil fuels and clear cutting forests are what is obviously creating the weather disasters we are seeing all over the world. In the US we had 12 $10 billion dollar+ storms, (hurricanes, floods, deadly heat heat waves…) versus 3 that is the historical average. The increased and more powerful storms we are seeing are exactly what the scientists have been telling us would happen if we didn’t control our greenhouse gas emissions. Take a look online at the NOAA map of Abnormal Weather Events around the world in 2010. The current weather disasters are happening all around the globe. No one will avoid these weather disasters, crop destruction from heat waves (like in Russia last Summer), historic flooding in Rhode Island, Vermont, Bangkok… Now we have the proof. Its up to you and me to decide what we are going to do — believe those who are making record profits by maintaining business as usual, or start protecting the people we love from this urgent tragedy. We snooze, we lose.

  4. Scientists whose opinions differ from those of the mainstream must not be browbeaten by those who hold different opinions but must have the freedom and funds to explore issues they see as important . Isn’t this what scientific freedom is all about? Stiffling dissent is never a good idea in a democracy. to stiffle dissent ?

  5. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Ted – Do you agree that glaciers once covered much of the midwest and a substantial amount of the Northern Hemisphere 10,000 years ago and that sea level was 465 feet lower? I am sure the Koch Brothers and Exxon/Mobil caused the glaciers to melt. Proof? This stuff happened in the 1700s and 1800s too.

  6. Warming comes and goes. Don’t need to sacrifice our future trying to stop it because it’s inevitable. If liberals care so much, why stop at priuses and subsidized amtrak? why not horse and buggies? Jesus already gave us horses. He already have us oil in the ground naturally. priuses are the ones man made.

  7. @Jamied – no one is suggesting that any scientists get browbeaten. But when you look at the 98% majority of leading climate researchers who support the global warming hypothesis, one should naturally be led to the conclusion that AGW is almost certainly real. And don’t forget, scientific freedom comes with the responsibility to be scientifically rigorous. Scientific rigor is provided, in part, by peer review of results – and criticisms of those results when criticism is called for. Most scientific papers calling AGW into question have been thoroughly rebutted by the scientific community. That’s how science works.

  8. @Paris – AGW is global warming that is coming on top of pre-existing natural climate drivers. The true ‘sacrifice of our future’ will occur if we do not address the human causes of AGW.
    And your labels of liberalism are completely irrelevant to the science, and to our required societal response to the causes of AGW.

  9. @Matt – your assertions regarding past climate are likewise irrelevant to the question of AGW. No reputable scientist has ever asserted that climate has not changed in the past due to natural climate drivers. AGW represents the additional human-caused contributions to global climate change that come on top of the pre-existing natural drivers. Your opinion cannot change those facts.

  10. How hypocritical of AGW-deniers regarding their demand for dissenting opinion. So, where are all the AGW-deniers demanding that every single prisoner in every single prison on earth be released, because each of THEIR opinions is equally valid as to what some judge or cop or prison guard says? Huh? I DO support freeing all prisoners, until we put people into prison for the right reasons: eating meat & breeding & interfering with efforts to get off fossil fuels. I don’t care how offended the overly politically correct conservatives are. I don’t support violent force for their causes (even if I agree with a few of them) if they don’t support violent force on behalf of my causes.

    So, until you openly take a stand against cops & judges getting rich from extorting & terrorizing citizens, forcing them to choose to give up their freedom or all their money to defend themselves, stop with your lies that you care about dissenting opinions.

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