March 30th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
So, apparently, General Motors (GM) has finally decided that it must part ways with the Heartland Institute, due to the institute’s extremist position on global warming — that is, its global warming denial.
GM, the largest automaker in the world, has announced that it’s pulling funding from the Heartland Institute. While GM doesn’t have the rosiest or most progressive stance on global warming, it’s changed a lot in recent years and can no longer support an institute that is so against tackling one of the biggest problems challenging human civilization (of not the biggest).
Of course, this announcement comes a short time after internal Heartland Institute documents were leaked to the media by a water and climate scientist, Peter Gleick. Those documents revealed some of the ignoble anti-science programs the institute has supported is intends to support.
GM has reportedly supported the Heartland Institute for 20 years, so this is no ephemeral friendship it is shrugging off. However, GM has made a huge transition from supposedly working to undermine climate science and climate action for years to working on some of the leading green cars in the industry, such as the Chevy Volt, a new conservative punching bag.
In a statement on the matter, GM noted that it now runs its business “as if climate change is real and believe we have a role to play in developing new cars, trucks and technologies that can make a difference.”
It probably also doesn’t hurt either that the Heartland Institute has made some very critical, one might even say slanderous, comments about GM in the past year or so.
Impact of GM’s Funding Change
What impact will this have on the Heartland Institute? Well, GM was only contributing $15,000 a year, miniscule compared to the millions the institute brings in each year (mostly through one anonymous donor), but the statement from GM, the press, and the continued discussion around Heartland’s global warming denial and shady programs related to that probably won’t help it.
On this end, I’m happy to see that GM has taken this responsibility upon itself. Even though it wasn’t funding the anti-science programs mentioned above, and the statement it has made is important to the trajectory of the world.
Image: Chevy Volt courtesy shutterstock
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