Business & Policy Environmental Policy The Heartland Institute Is No Longer Fringe By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated October 11, 2018 Screen capture. They are just getting started. Share Twitter Pinterest Email Business & Policy Corporate Responsibility Environmental Policy Economics Food Issues TreeHugger used to have fun with the Heartland Institute with their over-the-top campaigns denying climate change. After one particularly stupid campaign, TreeHugger Emeritus and now famous author Brian Merchant described them as... ...a fringe group with fringe beliefs (which is, ironically, the opposite of what this campaign intended to accomplish). In case they hadn't gotten the memo, overwhelming majorities of Americans not only believe in climate change, but now link global warming to current extreme weather trends. Only a vocal minority flat-out deny climate change now. This billboard campaign reveals that Heartland is not only capable of operating in extremely poor taste, but that it's hopelessly out of touch, too. Sorry Brian, that was so 2012. Today, the Heartland Institute is on a roll. And where most of us might think that the current administration in Washington has done huge damage to the environment, the Heartland Institute thinks they are just getting started. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Davis of the Washington Post got a hold of their Energy Freedom Scorecard that shows what they have achieved, but what is still on their to-do list, and it is really scary. Washington Post/via In fact, it is positively Orwellian. Renewable energy harms the environment because it is less efficient and more land intensive than fossil fuels. Solar energy destroys jobs and harms the environment. PM 2.5 particulates have no detrimental health effects. Oh, and fuel economy standards "result in the deaths of thousands of car and truck passengers every year." The fact that instead of being happy about it, they are complaining that change isn't happening fast enough, is even scarier. And as proof that they are not fringe anymore, the EPA head Scott Pruitt phoned in his message: It's too hard to watch, really. This is the head of the EPA talking: Think back to Nov. 8 of last year, the lack of optimism, the concern about where we were headed as a country. And think about where we are today,” he said in the video. “So, I want to say to you at the Heartland Institute, thanks for what you’re doing to advance energy. Thank you for what you’re doing to advance natural resources. After that wonderful introduction, they all got down to work. According to the Post, There were sessions on the “future of coal,” “the cost of excessive regulation” and the “benefits of ending the war on fossil fuels.” Speakers assailed most climate scientists as alarmists, extolled the benefits of fossil fuels and blasted environmental activists, whom they equated with government overreach. “People don’t trust the environmental left. They know they’re crazy,” one speaker said. The Post article ends with a classic, that nobody has had the nerve to say in public for decade, and now could well be government policy: “We are greening the planet with carbon dioxide,” he [a speaker at the conference] said, and cutting back on fossil fuels would be a “disaster. ... There is no downside to carbon dioxide. It is the breath of life.” Washington Post/via We are not yet a year into this administration where the President and Congress are all rowing together in the same direction, following this agenda, and they really are just getting started.