When internal documents from British scientists were leaked to the press, inaugurating “Climategate,” the Heartland Institute was one of the myriad right-wing climate-denial conspiracy organizations that cherry-picked quotes from the scientists and demanded punitive action against them. The scientists have since been cleared of any wrongdoing and their research has been vindicated, but Heartland Institute has continued its attack.
Now internal documents have been leaked from the Heartland Institute itself, revealing its funding of leading climate change skeptics and a plan to teach climate change skepticism in schools. The documents were published by DeSmogBlog, which said that “the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses, including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris), RJR Tobacco and more."
Heartland will be paying Dr. David Wojick $5,000 per module, or about $25,000 a quarter, to develop curriculum for high school and middle school. Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science. According to MSNBC, Dr. Wojick considers the reliability of climate models to be controversial and questions whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant. According to others, Wojick has no scientific or educational background, especially in climate science, only a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science to lend credibility to Heartland’s efforts.
Heartland has worked for years to lend credibility to tobacco-industry scientists and help tobacco companies sow public doubt about the dangers of tobacco and secondhand smoke. Coal and petroleum companies have emulated many of the tactics of Big Tobacco, such as hiring their own scientists to come up with bogus data that supports their interests and creating fake public interest organizations. Thus, it should come as no surprise that tobacco companies would help fund such efforts by carbon-emitting industries.