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President of Czech Republic to give keynote at Heartland climate summit despite backlash over murderer billboards

The Heartland Institute's billboard campaign, which was pulled after 24 hours, has led to repercussions for the climate-denialist group.
The Heartland Institute’s billboard campaign, which was pulled after 24 hours, has led to repercussions for the climate-denialist group.

Companies are abandoning the Heartland Institute left-and-right following the conservative group’s controversial climate change billboard campaign, but Czech President, Václav Klaus, is sticking with the group, reports the Guardian. Although he criticized the Heartland’s short-lived campaign, Klaus is still planning to be the keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute’s upcoming annual climate change summit, which gathers prominent climate denialists from around the world. The Heartland Institute has been embroiled in controversy since early this month when it compared those who accept the science of climate change to mass murderer Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber.

Klaus’ spokesperson told the Guardian that the President of the Czech Republic was “principally against non-serious, aggressive and provocative billboard campaigns of the kind the Heartland Institute used recently.”

Despite this, the spokesperson confirmed that Klaus would still give the keynote speech at the Heartland summit, though several other attendees have dropped out. A prominent denialist of climate science, last year President Klaus referred to climate change as a “communist conspiracy.”

Troubles for the Heartland Institute began earlier in the month when the group unveiled what was intended to be the first in a series of billboards that showed the grizzled face of Ted Kaczynski with the line, “I still believe in Global Warming? Do you?” The group had planned to follow-up this billboard with others featuring Fidel Castro, Osama Bin Laden, Charles Manson, and hostage-take James J. Lee. However they pulled the campaign after 24 hours following severe criticism, including from some of their supporters.

The Heartland Institute has lost a bevy of financial supporters over the last couple weeks following the billboard campaign. The companies jumping ship—from State Farm Insurance to alcoholic beverage company Diageo—have cost the Heartland Institute hundreds of thousands of dollars in expected donations this year, according to financial documents leaked to the press earlier in the year by climate scientist Peter Gleick.

Another casualty of the campaign was Heartland Institute’s insurance policy program, which has decided to split from the institute after many of its financial supporters pulled their support over the group’s climate stance. The insurance group intends to change its name and start-up independently soon.

While the Heartland Institute claimed in a press release accompanying the billboard campaign that “people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society,” anthropogenic climate changes is a tenant of every one of the world’s major scientific groups, from NASA to the Royal Society.

The Earth has warmed 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since the early Twentieth Century, and is set to warm significantly more if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t quickly cut according to climatologists.

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Heartland Institute losing major corporate sponsors after comparing climate change advocates to mass-murderers

(05/08/2012) The Heartland Institute has lost two corporate supporters since it unveiled a billboard campaign that compared those who accept the science of climate change to mass murderer Ted Kaczynski also known as the Unabomber. Yesterday, State Farm Insurance confirmed it was severing ties with the group, while on Sunday, Diageo, a major alcoholic drink company, announced it was also cutting its support of the conservative think tank. Even before this, General Motors (GM) cut ties with the group over its climate stance. The exodus of the three corporate supporters has lost the Heartland Institute an estimated $180,000 for 2012, according to fundraising documents leaked to the media.

Fallout for Heartland Institute after it likens those who accept climate change to ‘murderers’ and ‘madmen’

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General Motors cuts funding to Heartland Institute due to climate change denialism

(04/02/2012) After being outed as a financial contributor to the conservative advocacy group Heartland Institute, known for its denial of global climate change, General Motors has faced harsh criticism from environmentalists. The car company, which is pushing its new all-electric model, the Chevy Volt, has now announced it will no longer be contributing to the Heartland Institute.

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