Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation


The Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” [1]

Heritage has been a fervent opponent of the Kyoto protocol. It runs a searchable online database of “policy experts” (www.policyexperts.org) that includes renowned climate change skeptics Patrick Michaels, Sallie Baliunas, Thomas Gale Moore, Robert Balling, and Fred Singer.

The Heritage Foundation has had considerable influence over Republican politicians. It is estimated that two-thirds of the policy recommendations it made in 1981 were adopted by the Reagan Administration [2]. The Heritage Foundation has been described as “the most effective media operation in American politics.” [3]

Heritage is a former member of the Cooler Heads Coalition. Thomas A. Roe, a member of the board of trustees of the Heritage Foundation, founded the State Policy Network in 1991 as a way to promote conservative policies at the state level.

It also runs the right wing news website Townhall.com.

Stance on Climate Change

Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst for Energy and Environment at The Heritage Foundation said the following about climate change:

“What I conclude from a policy standpoint is that global warming is clearly not a crisis and should not be addressed as one … None of the scary stuff about global warming is true, and what is true about global warming, what the science actually tells us about man's role in changing the climate, is far from terrifying.” [4]

Heritage has also concluded that “global warming will not hurt the U.S. economy.” [5]


According to ExxonSecrets, Heritage Foundation has received $680,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [6]

According to Greenpeace, Heritage received $2,238,571 from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2009 and a total of $3,976,571 from Koch Foundations between 1997 and 2009. [7]

MediaMatters breaks down Heritage Foundation's funding as follows: [8]

Key People

Board of Trustees

The Heritage Foundation listed the Board of Trustees, as of December, 2011:

  • Thomas A. Saunders III — (Chairman). Past director of Morgan Stanley & Co.
  • Richard M. Scaife — Vice Chairman.
  • J. Frederic Rench — (Secretary). Former Chairman and CEO of Racine Industries Inc.
  • Meg Allen — Co-founded the partnership, DRAMLA Consulting U.K.
  • Douglas F. Allison — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Allison-Fisher, Inc.
  • Larry P. Arnn — President, Hillsdale College, Michigan.
  • Belden H. Bell — Past Counselor to President of the Heritage Foundation.
  • Midge Decter
  • Edwin J. Feulner — President, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Steve Forbes — President and Chief Executive Officer, Forbes Inc.
  • Robert J. Herbold — Retired Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft.
  • Todd W. Herrick — Retired chairman, president and CEO of Tecumseh Products Co.
  • Jerry Hume — Chairman of the Board, Basic American Inc.
  • Kay Coles James — Former director of the federal Office of Personnel Management.
  • J. William Middendorf II — Chairman, Middendorf and Company, Washington, D.C.
  • Abby Moffat — Treasurer, Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
  • Nersi Nazari — Founder & President, Pacific General Ventures.
  • Robert Pennington —  Overseer of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.
  • William E. Simon, Jr. —  Executive Director of William E. Simon & Sons LLC.
  • Brian Tracy — Heritage Associate, Founder, Brian Tracy International.
  • Phillip N. Truluck — Executive Vice President, The Heritage Foundation.
  • Barb Van Andel-Gaby CEO, Peter Island Resort.
  • Marion Wells — Member of the Board of Trustees, Capital Research Center. 

Policy Experts

According to ExxonSecrets, Heritage Foundation's Policy experts have included notable climate change deniers such as:


May 21 - 23, 2012

The Heritage Foundation is listed as an official Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

October 1, 2010

The Heritage Foundation claimed that the Royal Society had “significantly softened its position on global warming[9], but this was a misrepresentation of the Society's actual position.  

Heritage selectively edited the report in a way that manufactured doubt about man-made climate change by editing out 10 pages and 48 paragraphs of text that had provided context in the report. [10]  

The Royal Society's accurate view that man-made climate change is a problem is evidenced in the report summary “[This report] shows that there is strong evidence that over the last half century, the earth's warming has been caused largely by human activity.”

Nicolas Loris, the author of Heritage's controversial post, is a former associate of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

May 4, 2009

Heritage held a panel titled “Busting the Myth of Green Jobs” that aimed to “explore the lessons of Spain, and examine some of the fundamental flaws in the green jobs-as-an-economic-salve line of argument.”  [11]

Media Matters found that the entire Heritage panel had received money from ExxonMobil. [12]

The Heritage Foundation's senior policy analyst Ben Lieberman joined Robert Murphy, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), on a panel to discuss the study (PDF) done by economist Gabriel Calzada that suggested green jobs were harmful to the economy.  
Calzada's study has been debunked on numerous occasions.

November 5, 2008

In a “WebMemo” published on November fifth by the Heritage Foundation, Dr. Donald Kreutzer claimed that policy initiatives to advance green investment hurt economic growth and employment.

Kreutzer pointed to three studies that contended made false claims that green investment can promote job creation. Robert Pollin, the co-author of one of the studies (“Green Recovery”) responded here. See a PDF version of his response here[13]


The Heritage Foundation reportedly encouraged conservatives to work together to “[s]trangle the environmental movement.” [14]

This originally presented in a blueprint for policy in the 1990s and published in its journal “Policy Review.”

Related Organizations


  1. About Us,” Heritage Foundation. Accessed December 23, 2011.

  2. Carl Deal. The Greenpeace guide to anti-environmental organizations. Odonian Press, Emeryville, Calif. Distributed through Publishers Group West, 1993.

  3. Norman Solomon. “The Media's Favorite Think Tank,” Extra!”, July/August 1996.

  4. Ben Lieberman.”The Economics of Global Warming Policy,” The Heritage Foundation, June 16, 2010.

  5. Conn Carroll. “Study Shows Global Warming Will Not Hurt U.S. Economy,” The Foundry, January 6, 2009.

  6. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Heritage Foundation.

  7. Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group The Heritage Foundation,” Greenpeace. Accessed December 23, 2011.

  8. The Heritage Foundation,” Media Matters. Accessed December 23, 2011.

  9. U.S. Could Learn from U.K.’s Global Warming Reversal,” The Foundry, September 30, 2010.

  10. Dan Lashof. “Heritage Gate,” Switchboard, October 1, 2010.

  11. Busting the Myth of Green Jobs,” The Heritage Foundation, May 4, 2009.

  12. Heritage Foundation Green Jobs Panel - Bought and Paid For By ExxonMobil,” politicalcorrection.org, May 4, 2009.

  13. Robert Pollin. “Green Investments and Jobs: A Response to the Heritage Foundation,” Center for American Progress, November 7, 2008.

  14. Andrew Rowell. Green Backlash: Global Subversion of the Environmental Movement. Page 52. Routledge; 1 edition (Sep 24 1996)

  15. Heritage Foundation,” SourceWatch profile.

  16. Greenpeace research documents on the Heritage Foundation (Page A), (Page B).

  17. Pete Altman. “Heritage Foundation Fools Itself on Carbon Taxes,” Switchboard, April 2, 2009.