Dear UCS supporters,
On December 27, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Kevin Knobloch, sent another fundraising appeal to his members using The Heartland Institute as its poster child for a mythical “war on science” being waged by “corporate-funded think tanks.”
Actually, we appreciate the opportunity to reach out to UCS members and present our side of the story. It’s quite different from the simplistic and inaccurate propaganda being peddled by UCS and other extremist voices in the global warming/cooling debate.
First, here’s the truth about The Heartland Institute: We are a 29-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization that addresses a wide range of topics, including climate change and other environmental issues. Our mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problem. We are a “think tank” that applies the best available research to some of the world’s toughest problems.
Heartland is rigorously nonpartisan: we offend Republicans and Democrats alike. Our perspective is libertarian: pro-civil and economic liberties. We devote most of our time to communicating directly with elected officials, especially state legislators who are still open to objective research and interested in finding solutions and not just taking sides in political or ideological debates.
Heartland is supported by more than 5,000 individuals, foundations, and corporations. Contrary to efforts by UCS and others to smear us as a “front group” for big corporations, nearly all our work on climate is funded by individuals and foundations with no financial interest in the debate. Like UCS and other groups, we do not reveal the identities of our donors.
We are pro-science: Heartland has worked with hundreds of scientists to give them a platform to communicate with elected officials and the general public. We hosted eight international conferences attended by thousands of scientists, economists, and other policy experts. We published two volumes of Climate Change Reconsidered, a comprehensive and authoritative rebuttal of the alarmist IPCC’s reports that cites thousands of peer-reviewed studies.
Our position on man-made global warming should be familiar to you because it is the position expressed by most scientists familiar with the issue. Global warming and cooling is cyclical, slow, and produces benefits as well as costs. The human impact is small, much less than natural variability. Computer models often cited as forecasting catastrophic warming are not designed to forecast future climate conditions and are widely acknowledged to be unreliable.
Groups such as UCS exploit the public’s lack of scientific training to fuel alarm over what is almost entirely a natural and benign phenomenon. They are using fear of man-made global warming to advance an agenda that has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with politics and ideology.
Attacks on The Heartland Institute from UCS, disgraced climate scientist Peter Gleick, and other advocates and advocacy groups are the result of our effectiveness: we are a target because we are “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change” (The Economist, May 26, 2012). We happily accept this role, and are confident that history will show we were right and our critics wrong about this important issue.
If you are currently a contributor to UCS, I hope you will reconsider your support. UCS truly doesn’t deserve it. It might be too much to ask that you contribute instead to The Heartland Institute ... but if your interest in science and environmental protection is sincere, you could do much worse than making a tax-deductible gift today.
Joseph L. Bast