Exxon-Mobil Funding Overstated

Published October 7, 2011

Dear editor,

Sara Reardon’s August 5 article, “Climate change Sparks Battles in Classroom,” champions the views of individuals who call for prohibiting debate regarding the causes and consequences of climate change in K-12 classrooms in the U.S. This was a surprising and deplorable thing to read in the pages of a scientific journal.

Ms. Reardon uses only six words to describe my organization, The Heartland Institute: “has received significant funding from Exxon-Mobil.” Is it a coincidence or an act of deliberate misrepresentation that she did not report the amount of support we received (never more than 5 percent of our budget) or when we received it (not since 2006, three years before the mailing of research material to school board presidents that she reports)? I fear the latter.

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization. Our work is backed by advisory boards of more than 300 academics and elected officials and supported by the voluntary contributions of some 1,800 donors. We are a widely recognized and respected source of objective analysis on a wide range of topics, including climate change.

An apology to The Heartland Institute’s staff and supporters may be asking too much, but perhaps Ms. Reardon and Science could at least apologize to the teachers they have demeaned and misled.


Joseph L. Bast
The Heartland Institute