Friday, March 30, 2012

As GM Goes, So Goes the Nation?

General Motors Decides Climate Change Is Real, Pulls Support From Heartland Institute 

Sharon Silke Carty

GM's CEO, Dan Akerson, said his company is running its business under the assumption that climate change is real.
After getting called out by an environmental group, General Motors has pulled support from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit well-known for attacking the science behind global warming and climate change.

The automaker told the Heartland Institute last week that it won't be making further donations, spokesman Greg Martin said. At a speech
earlier this month, GM CEO Dan Akerson said his company is running its business under the assumption that climate change is real.Internal documents leaked in February showed that the General Motors Foundation -- which the automaker runs separately from its business -- donated to the institute $15,000 in 2010 and again in 2011, with another $15,00 expected to be gifted this year.

Heartland, which identifies itself as a free-market think tank, has questioned the ideas on global warming through its newsletters, web site and associated scientists. Last year, the tagline for its annual conference on the subject was "Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis?"

Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, said GM had been a Heartland supporter for 20 years. "We regret the loss of their support, particularly since it was prompted by false claims contained in a fake memo circulated by disgraced climate scientist Peter Gleick," he said in a statement. "We once again respectfully ask liberal advocacy groups such as Huffington Post, the Center for American Progress, and Greenpeace to stop attacking scientists who question the theory of man-made global warming and corporations and foundations that are willing to fund open debate on this important public policy issue."

The bulk of Heartland's funding comes from one anonymous donor, who has given the group $11 million since 2007.

Nonprofit groups are not legally obligated to reveal their donors. Previously Heartland was transparent about its funding, even posting a list of contributors on its website, but removed it in 2004.


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