Sunday, April 1, 2012--The Heartland Institute, long a stronghold of criticism of generally accepted science on such issues as climate change and the health effects of tobacco, said in a press release today that it plans to "turn over a new leaf" and work to heighten public awareness of the negative effects on the Earth's climate of burning fossil fuels.
Since the highly publicized leak of internal documents some weeks ago, a spokesman for the group said, "We've had to do some real soul searching. It's been a difficult time."
Of particular importance in Heartland's change of heart, the spokesman said, was the conduct of Dr. Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and commentator who announced in late February that he had impersonated a Heartland board member in order to obtain the documents.
"At first, we were naturally very angry with Dr. Gleick, but after thinking it over, we realized that we had been a part of a similar episode in the past with Greenpeace. We were also struck by the distinct difference between his conduct in coming forward and that of the unknown computer hackers who stole climate scientists' e-mails in the past and who remain at large.
"We also had to acknowledge, after others pointed it out to us, that we had applauded the e-mail hacking in a perhaps unseemly way that contrasted sharply with our reaction to having our internal documents made public.
"Our hearts go out to the many individuals and their families who have suffered from diseases associated with tobacco, such as lung cancer and emphysema, and to those around the world who are threatened by impacts associated with climate change such as flooding and drought. We promise to do better in the future."
In other breaking news, meteorologist Joe Bastardi today admitted that he doesn't know beans about thermodynamics.