DeSmog

Who are we to believe? Gore or Heartland Institute?

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Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, wrote an opinion piece that appeared in today’s Philadelphia Daily News, asking readers whom they would believe, Al Gore or scientists.

It is interesting to observe that the cadre of scientists Bast refers to as proof that Gore is wrong seems to be getting smaller and their collective expertise in the area of climate change continues to diminish as more and more jump off the climate denial bandwagon. For instance, Bast claims Tim Ball, former professor at the University of Winnipeg, to be an “expert” on climate change, when in fact Dr. Ball has not published any research in a peer-reviewed science journal in the last 20 years.

All this becomes even more questionable when you question the source of this article, Joseph Bast himself. When the Heartland Institute, of which Bast is the President, isn’t attacking climate change science, they spend their time attacking the science behind the negative effects of tobacco smoke. Not really a surprise when you learn that Heartland has been an industry sponsored PR front for the tobacco industry for many years.

I guess it also comes as no surprise, that much like the other self-professed “non-partisan” and objective US think tanks like the George C. Marshall Institute, the Hudson Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heartland Institute with Mr. Bast at helm, has received hundreds of thousands from oil interests over the years.

A glance at Bast’s list of scientists reveals Robert Balling, who has been funded by coal and mining companies, Sallie Baliunas, whose work has been funded by the American Petroleum Institute and John Christy who has been sponsored by the extremely conservative, contrarian and oil-backed Marshall Institute, among others.

So the question shouldn’t be whether I believe Gore. It should be: why would anybody believe anything Bast writes? As the old saying goes, fool me once….

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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmog. He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning. Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks. Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder. Prior to DeSmog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health. In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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