Guess who claimed that climate change scientists are just like Charles Manson, the Unabomber and Fidel Castro? Our good friends at the Heartland Institute, a notorious conservative think tank that promotes denial that man-made global warming is behind climate change: Here's one image of the billboards they were running:
These billboard ads were obviously meant to intimidate climate scientists by inflaming public opinion against them and their research through the implication that supporters of climate science are mass murderers, serial killers, terrorists and murderous, dictators. Fortunately the outcry over those ads forced Heartland to remove the billboards after only a few hours:
"I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?" reads the ad, next to a picture of Unabomber Kaczynski. It went live on Thursday afternoon on an electronic billboard on the Eisenhower Expressway near Chicago, where the Heartland Institute is based.
However, within hours, an outpouring of opposition - much of it from Heartland's own supporters - led the organization to pull the ad. And it's now claiming that it meant to all along.
Nonetheless, despite this PR disaster, the good folks at Heartland still stand by their message. Indeed, you could say they doubled down on their message that climate change is a terrorist plot:
"The most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists," says Bast.
"They are Charles Manson, a mass murderer; Fidel Castro, a tyrant; and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Global warming alarmists include Osama bin Laden and James J Lee [who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010]."
Smacks of desperation doesn't it. Sadly, with the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere at record levels and rising at an
exponential ever increasing rate, tactics such as these are delaying any real action on the threat posed to our present (extreme weather events, e.g.), and even moreso to our future. Already, deaths directly tied to climate change worldwide are in the thousands:
WASHINGTON Nov 29 (Reuters) - Climate-related disasters killed 21,000 people in the first nine months of this year, more than double the number in 2009, the humanitarian organization Oxfam reported on Monday.
Those are deaths that we can directly tie to extreme weather events. Estimates of actual deaths from disease for which climate is a contributing cause are much higher. The World Health Organization estimated in 2001 that 150,00 deaths could be attributed to global climate change. However, more recent projections of deaths from respiratory diseases and disorders alone from ozone and other emissions caused by the continued burning of fossil fuels will run into the millions over the next 20 years. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentpredicts that, by 2030, up to 3 million people will die each year from pollutants in the air caused by burning fossil fuels, and 47% of the world's population will live under conditions of "water stress" (i.e., the lack of sufficient supplies of safe drinking water):
The number of premature deaths per million inhabitants linked to PM10 (fine particulates) could double to 2030 per million inhabitants ...
Almost half the world population (47%) will be living under severe water stress by 2030 if no new policies are introduced. That is over one billion more people under severe water stress in 2030 than today (absolute numbers will increase from 2.8 to 3.9 billion people).
In other words, reasonable projections of the consequences of continuing to do nothing to prevent the increased emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants estimate that millions more people will die as a result of disease, famines, fires, floods, extreme storms, malnutrition, sea level rise, etc. These are all likely consequences of our rapidly changing climate over the coming decades, unless we act as soon as possible to reduce emissions from fossil fuels.
So, I ask you: who poses the greatest threat to mankind? A dead Osama bin Laden, the incarcerated murderers Ted Kaczynski and Charles Manson, a hald-dead dictator in Cuba, or climate change deniers, such as the Heartland Institute, whose propaganda, disinformation campaigns and outright lies help the fossil fuel industry delay measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? The same industries that are the principal financial supporters of think tanks like Heartland that actively deny man-made climate change) delay development of renewable sources of energy. The same industries making record profits and spewing record amounts of pollutants and greenhouse gases into our atmosphere?