GM CEO Commits To Reviewing Support For Heartland Institute

Brad Johnson
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Sunday 11 March 2012
“Over 10,000 GM owners have signed a petition organized by Forecast the Facts to get GM to pledge not to support Heartland’s attacks on science.”

In response to growing protest, the CEO of General Motors publicly committed to reviewing his corporation’s funding of the Heartland Insitute, the radical right-wing organization that is planning a campaign to spread climate-science denial in public classrooms. Over 10,000 GM owners have signed a petition organized by Forecast the Facts to get GM to pledge not to support Heartland’s attacks on science. GM CEO Dan Akerson told Climate One’s Greg Dalton at a San Francisco Commonwealth Club appearance that he does not agree with Heartland’s climate denial.

Akerson stated that he was castigated by other GM executives after saying that he believes global warming is real, calling dissent on climate science “healthy.” He described GM’s efforts to reduce its ecological footprint and distanced himself from the work of the GM Foundation, the charitable arm of General Motors that made the contribution. Akerson then promised to review his company’s support for the Heartland Institute:

This is $15,000 that was committed to before I came in. I also think the Heartland Institute, I’m told, does other things. I find this interesting. I won’t go any further, but I’m going to take another look at it when I get back to Detroit. I’ll leave it at that.

Before the petition effort, GM spokesperson earlier defended the corporation’s support for the Heartland Institute, calling its work “careful and considerate.”

“I always say actions matter more than words,” Akerson said at the beginning of his response.

Forecast the Facts director Daniel Souweine issued this reply:

We are encouraged that CEO Dan Akerson has committed to review GM’s funding of the Heartland Institute. We hope that review leads to the result that more than 10,000 GM owners have been asking for: a public commitment by GM to stop funding Heartland immediately.

One in a series of posts about the Heartland Institute’s inner workings, from internal documentsacquired by ThinkProgress Green. ThinkProgress is among several publications to have publisheddocuments attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself. Heartland Institute has issued several press releases claiming that one document (“2012 Climate Strategy”) is fake and asserting other claims regarding the other documents. ThinkProgress has taken down the “2012 Climate Strategy” document as it determines the document’s authenticity.



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ABOUT Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is the Editor for ThinkProgress Green at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in math and physics from Amherst College and master’s degree in geosciences from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. He is the co-author of Technomanifestos and the founder of HillHeat.com. Prior to joining the Center, he worked as a developer for Saatchi & Saatchi, Lextranet, and the Democratic National Committee. Brad grew up in Boston, Massachusetts.

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7 comments on "GM CEO Commits To Reviewing Support For Heartland Institute"

RochJames

March 11, 2012 10:27pm

I usually don't have time to comment on these posts but this one is so over the top I cannot ignore it. First, let's stick to the issue and not try to defame the messenger. Second, I have taught the U.S. Constitution in history course at a first rate university and cannot for the life of me figure out how Mr. Johnson is attacking our Constitution, or how he is attempting to implement Marxism. Those who research and teach environmental history can easily attest to the fact that we (humankind) have raped God's good earth and continue to destroy the earth rather than be good stewards of the earth as God commanded us to be. Third, the United States is a leading producer of CO2 and, as such, a leading contributor to climate change (global warming) and to deny that is simply to show ignorance of solid academic scientific research. To make such an absurd claim as to state that the Center for American Progress is a Marxist Front Group is to display such ignorance and stupidity as to completely invalidate any argument DMILLERFLA could even hope to put forth. Why is DMILLERFLA even reading, let alone commenting on, this website when he/she is so obviously too ignorant to understand any basics of either United States history of elementary science.

And here lies the essential problem facIng our country today. An embarrassingly illiterate population.....

ChetDude

March 11, 2012 6:52pm

deleted...

dmillerfla

March 11, 2012 5:42pm

It is sad to see someone from MIT (Brad Johnson) being so completely wrong on an issue. What does that say about the critical thinking skills being taught at MIT - or is it considered ok to lie in order to destroy our Constitution and implement Marxism?It is wildly known among any who takes the time to review -that man-made CO2 is not causing Global Warming and it is also known that Center for Americans for Progress is a Marxist Front Group.-Beware of Agenda21 and those who would destroy us.

ChetDude

March 11, 2012 6:51pm

It's nice to see the lunatic fringe alive and well...

Methinks dmillerfla has the cognitive deficit...

G.E.R.R.Y.

March 11, 2012 7:32pm

He's a resident troll. Don't feed the trolls! He might just give up and go back to his Mom's basement.

BozoAdult

March 11, 2012 5:07pm

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini