In late July, climate science deniers will descend upon the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. — located right across the street from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — to attend the Heartland Institute’s annual climate conference. The theme this year is “Best Science, Winning Energy Policies.”
When Trump announced in June 2016 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate deal, representatives from longtime anti-climate action groups like Koch-funded think tanks the American Energy Alliance, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation were all present in the Rose Garden.
Many of these same think tanks will be attending Heartland‘s conference next month, where speakers will offer up policy ideas “to lead a post-alarmist world in climate realism” as well as discussing “the benefits of ending the Democrats’ war on fossil fuels.”
Heartland’s conference comes as the head of the group, former Republican Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, abruptly stepped down last week, just two years after taking the position, while offering no explanation. The think tank has in recent years faced funding uncertainties, with even ExxonMobil no longer donating to the organization. As head of Heartland, Heulskamp focused on energy policy and promoting coal at the state level as opposed to vocal attacks on climate science as his predecessor Joseph Bast did.
The news of Huelskamp leaving his post comes shortly after another Koch-funded libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, quietly announced it was disbanding its climate denial program, the Center for the Study of Science. A Cato spokesperson at the time, however, said this didn’t change the organization’s stance on human-caused climate change.
Heartland has been working for years to unravel environmental rules. The think tank has also played a major role in staffing various EPA posts within the Trump Administration.