On 8 August 2013, in Chicago, hundreds of primarily Republican state legislators got more indoctrination against doing anything about climate change from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The ALEC workshop, which ALEC's price list says cost $40,000 to sponsor, features James Taylor of Heartland Institute, whose president is climate change denier-in-chief Joseph Bast. Photo: PR WatchBy Lisa Graves
8 August 2013

(PR Watch) – This morning in Chicago, hundreds of primarily Republican state legislators are getting more indoctrination against doing anything about climate change from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

This year, ALEC has chosen its long-time partner, the Heartland Institute, to help host the session. Heartland is so extreme on the issue of climate change that it sought to equate people who believe the climate is changing with the Unabomber, through a billboard campaign that featured a mugshot of Ted Kaczynski with the line: "I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?" Heartland lost numerous funders in response to a citizens campaign about the ad last year.

Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm Is Where?

The ad was so controversial that even State Farm Insurance -- which has stood by ALEC through the controversy over its role in pushing Stand Your Ground gun bills into law -- announced last year that it was "ending its association with the Heartland Institute."

State Farm gave Heartland $230,000 in 2011, according to documents posted by DeSmog Blog. It was not Heartland's biggest donor; an unnamed person or corporation anonymously gives it well over $1 million per year for its operations, which include a heavy dose of climate change denial.

State Farm, however, remains on ALEC's board and funds its operations for an undisclosed amount.

Heartland Institute: Global Warming "Would Be Beneficial," if Real

Today's ALEC workshop, which ALEC's price list says cost $40,000 to sponsor, features Heartland, whose president is climate change denier-in-chief Joseph Bast.

Bast is flexible, so to speak, in how he argues about climate change, asserting that there is "no global warming trend" but alternatively claiming that if it were to get hotter, global warming "would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization." He even asserts that if there were global warming, it would help you live longer.

That claim echoes a previous ALEC conference where lawmakers were urged to consider "Warming Up to Climate Change: the Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2" by another climate change denier.

Then-state rep (now U.S. Congressman) Mark Pocan attended that session and helped expose that ALEC lawmakers were told at that ALEC session that because the amount of carbon dioxide had increased during the past century and so had the average human lifespan, "therefore" increased CO2 is good for you.

Shocked that such a fallacious claim would be made with a straight face, he asked a fellow lawmaker what he thought about it, and his fellow rep gushed about what a great session it was. With colleagues like that in statehouses across the country, it is no wonder so many state legislatures are not addressing the dire threats posed by the climate changes that are demonstrably underway; North Carolina, for example, barred state universities from even studying sea level rise in that coastal state. [more]

A Side of Climate Change Denial with Your Coffee? ALEC Dishes up Some Hard to Swallow Spin with the Heartland Institute

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