Car owners voice complaints via online petition
SUMMIT COUNTY — The climate wars have moved into the economic arena, as more than 10,000 owners of General Motors-made vehicles are calling on the company to pull its financial support from the Heartland Institute, a pseudo-think tank that’s a key cog in the climate-science denial machine.
The campaign is being coordinated by Forecast the Facts, in response to leaked documents that revealed a host of major corporations funding Heartland.
“Supporting the Heartland Institute stands in direct contradiction to GM’s public stance on climate change and its effort to reinvent itself around cars like the ChevyVolt,” said Daniel Souweine, Forecast the Facts campaign director. “When taxpayers bailed out GM, this is not where they were expecting their money to go.”
Heartland holds a regular conference of leading climate change deniers, publishes reports questioning the broad scientific consensus on climate science, and provides direct funding to prominent deniers.
The leaked documents also unveil their intention to insert climate change denial into American classrooms through curricula that positions climate change as “a major scientific controversy.” Prior to its climate change work, Heartland worked closely with tobacco company Phillip Morris to question links between secondhand smoke and cancer.
The GM petition drive GM began two weeks ago, immediately after the leaked documents were published. Last week, Forecast the Facts sent the first 20,000 signatures to General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson and has also posted selected comments from GM owners online at this Forecast the Facts web page.
General Motors has previously defended its support of Heartland, with a spokesman on record saying: “We support a variety or organizations that give careful and considerate thought to complex policy issues and Heartland is one of them.”
The comments from GM owners reflect both their deep affinity for the company and their intense frustration that GM would provide support to a group like Heartland.
For example, John C., of Ballston Spa, NY had this to say upon signing the petition: “I have been a Chevy fan from a very young age. I am now 61. My parents bought only Chevys and it has been my usual car of choice. I own a classic 74 Camaro LT. However your donation to the Heartland Institute, with its anti-science, pro-oil stance, has me angry. Change you rpolicy or I will never buy another GM auto.”
In the coming weeks, Forecast the Facts will use a host of online and offline tactics to ensure that GM is well aware of the customer frustration its support of Heartland has caused.