AT&T's Contributions to (Un-)Think Tank Heartland Institute 'Past' (& Pepsi Also Distances Itself)

at&t heartland institute

Last week, I had the pleasure of writing that GM was cutting its financial support for the Heartland Institute due to the institute’s extreme stance opposed to the scientific consensus on global warming (that it is happening and caused by humans).

This week, AT&T has also stated that its support for the Heartland Institute is over. AT&T, according to Heartland Institute documents linked this year, has given at least $100,000 to the institute.

Of course, the Heartland Institute’s conspiracy theories about global warming don’t jive with AT&T’s statements on the topic. From an AT&T whitepaper: “Climate change is a fact, and the scientific evidence so far seems to implicate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, as the cause of climate change.”

In a statement to ThinkProgress Green, Beth Gautier Alm, director of public relations at AT&T, wrote:

We are not currently contributing to the Heartland Institute. Our past contributions were earmarked for their technology and telecom efforts. Heartland keeps its specific project areas completely separate, in terms of staff, publications, events and budgets, so our contributions were strictly limited to supporting their work in the technology and telecom area.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo, which announced this week that it has completely cut its funding of the American Legislative Exchange Council (another right-wing organization that denies the scientific consensus on global warming), also wrote to ThinkProgress Green:

PepsiCo was a member of the Heartland Institute specifically related to taxes on the consumption of food and beverage products. PepsiCo is currently not a member of the Heartland Institute nor did we engage with them on climate issues while a member.

And from Pepsi’s website:

It is clear that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather patterns and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters. Because these changes could have an impact on the availability or pricing of certain commodities that are necessary for our products, we are continuously working to address climate change, from scaling up the company’s use of renewable fuel sources to reducing energy consumption.

Of course, it’s obvious these companies were looking to promote deregulation of their industries, so they could run over what’s in the best interest of the citizenry (see the ThinkProgress links above for more on that)… but at least they’ve made statements in support of the scientific consensus on global warming and have worked to do their part in addressing the problem, at least a bit.

Image: AT&T sign courtesy Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0 license)

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