Joseph Bast America First Energy SpeakerJoseph Bast will be speaking at the America First Energy Conference.

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Joseph Bast co-founded the the Heartland Institute, a climate change denying think tank, in 1984 and just recently stepped down as CEO. Bast has no expertise in climate science. He briefly studied economics as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago before dropping out of school.


Tobacco Denial

In 1998, Bast wrote in a Heartland op-ed that smoking is not deadly and has “few, if any adverse health effects”. In 1999, Bast wrote in a letter to Roy Marden, the Manager of Industry Affairs for Philip Morris Management, that Heartland “does many things that benefit Philip Morris’ bottom line, things that no other organization does,” and asked the company to “consider boosting your general operating support this year”. Bast writes in the letter “Heartland has devoted considerable attention to defending tobacco”, pointing out that two of his essays on the subject, ‘Five Lies About Tobacco’ and ‘Joe Camel is Innocent’, are “particularly popular”.

Climate Denial

In 1998, Bast wrote in an article on the Heartland website;

“There is growing consensus among climatologists that global warming is not a genuine threat to humans or other inhabitants of the Earth. For starters, global temperatures have been falling, not rising, during the past twenty years”.

In the same breath, Bast both claimed global warming is not happening and that if it was happening it would not be a threat to life on earth. He went on to say that,

“rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will spur plant growth, increasing agricultural yields and literally making deserts bloom.”

In a 2013 interview, Bast also claimed that sea ice is in fact increasing, not decreasing.  Bast, representing Heartland, was a signatory to an open letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him “to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.” Joe Bast was seated in the Rose Garden, by invitation, when Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.  Internal emails and documents reveal Bast frustration and desperation that the Trump team isn’t doing enough to kill discussion of climate change.



In 2013, Bast says that sea ice is increasing not decreasing.