NASA has documented indications of the earth’s changing climate using satellite images. The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) Mission measured the amount of ice lost from earth’s glaciers and ice caps from 2003 to 2010 due to atmospheric warming. GRACE is the first comprehensive satellite study of its kind, providing scientists with valuable data to help them understand the effects of climate change on our world. Despite the overwhelming evidence accumulated by the NASA research project, many groups are still funding the spread of climate change denial propaganda.
The study found that over the 7-year period, approximately 4.3 trillion tons of land ice mass was lost, resulting in a 0.5 inch rise in global sea level. About one fourth of the total annual ice lost to the ocean. Tom Wagner, NASA scientist, says that the project “… confirms that ice is being lost from around the globe, with just a few areas in precarious balance.”
It is hard to believe that with such scientific research and evidence there are still many who wish to deny climate change. Recently two groups, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund were brought into the spotlight for donating millions of dollars to anti-environmental and climate change denial groups.
Organizations like the Heartland Institute, a conservative think-tank and one of the recipients of the Donors Trusts’ funds, contribute to the spread of climate change science denial propaganda by targeting children. Last year some Heartland documents were leaked to the public, revealing plans for their “global warming curriculum project,” which would distribute unscientific global warming material for elementary school and anti-climate change science programs.
Though it sounds shocking, this was not the first time that Heartland attempted to integrate anti-climate change materials into schools. In 2008, over 11,000 Canadian schools received teaching materials that denied human involvement in climate change from the Heartland Institute. In 2009, they sent copies of The Skeptic’s Handbook to 14,000 US school board officials.
Last year, a whistleblower calling him/herself a “Heartland Insider,” released the Heartland Institute’s budget, fundraising plan, and climate strategy. The documents proved that Heartland “advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and ‘other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies,’” according to DeSmogBlog.
Internal documents revealed Heartland’s plan to develop a “global warming curriculum” for elementary school children that “presents climate science as a major scientific controversy,” ClimateProgress reports. The $100,000 a year effort is being developed by Dr. David E. Wojick, a coal-industry consultant. The Institute also runs the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), which “pays a team of scientists approximately $300,000 a year to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered.”
Heartland continues to receive funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, one of the foundations of the fossil fuel fortune that is the Koch brothers, as well as Philip Morris, the tobacco giant advocating against policies related to smoking and health, among many others.
Alisha is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.