Cooler Heads Coalition

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The Cooler Heads Coalition is a politically conservative[1] "informal and ad-hoc group" in the United States, financed and operated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.[2] It describes itself as "focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis".[2] The Coalition operates a website and blog, and publishes the e-newsletter Cooler Heads Digest (last issued in 2012).

The New Yorker has described the Cooler Heads Coalition as "an umbrella organization operated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit that prides itself on its opposition to environmentalists."[3] In the 2011 Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society, the Cooler Heads Coalition was listed as one of the "front groups" that form “key components of the climate change denial machine”.[4]


Consumer Alert was founded in 1977.[5] It described itself as "a national, non-profit organization for people concerned about excessive growth of government regulation at the national and state levels. We are dedicated to informing the public about the consumer benefits of competitive enterprise and promoting the utilization of sound economic, scientific, and risk data in public policy decisions."[6]

The National Consumer Coalition was formed by Consumer Alert on February 4, 1997; it conducted research and educational activities on a variety of issues, including housing, transportation, food, health and safety, the environment, utilities, tax policy, financial issues, and telecommunications.[7] A major issue of the National Consumer Coalition in the late 1990s was opposition to a federal mandate that airbags be installed in automobiles sold in the United States.[8] The NCC argued that manufacturers should be allowed to install switches in automobiles so consumers can turn the airbags off. After federal permission for such switches was given, the NCC sought to persuade automakers to install the switches.[9]

The founding principles of the National Consumer Coalition were stated as follows:

"The members of the National Consumer Coalition (NCC) do hereby endorse the following principles for a society of free and responsible consumers:

  • A market economy benefits consumers by expanding consumer choice and competition and fostering innovation, which lowers costs and improves consumer health and safety.
  • Individual consumers have different values and varying needs in the marketplace and shop for goods and services based on those, such as quality level, price, service, and convenience.
  • Informed consumers are better off making their own decisions in the marketplace and holding responsibility for those decisions.
  • Consumers exert clout in the marketplace by their decisions to buy or not to buy and to choose where to spend their money.
  • Government policies that restrict consumer choice and stifle competition harm consumers by substituting policymakers' values for individual values and raising the costs of goods and services to consumers."[10]

In 2001, the National Consumer Coalition launched the website, saying it would cover four issue areas: online privacy, medical privacy, financial privacy and government surveillance.[11]

In 2004, the National Consumer Coalition joined with the Free Congress Foundation to ask Congress not to eliminate "sunset" provisions calling for the expiry of regulations in the Patriot Act that Consumer Alert's James Plummer called "violations of consumer privacy".[12]

Consumer Alert and the National Consumer Coalition ceased operations in 2005.[13]


The Cooler Heads Coalition has been criticized for ties to energy industries that would be affected if the United States enacted any legislation targeted at reducing CO2 emissions.[14] The Coalition has been accused by Mother Jones of astroturfing.[15] For example, writing in October 2004 for The American Prospect, Nicholas Confessore described the Coalition as "an Astroturf group funded by industries opposed to regulation of CO2 emissions".[16]


Notable members of Coalition have included:[17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quirk, Trevor (2012-02-16). "Explainer: What is the Heartland Institute?". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b "About". Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  3. ^ "Playing Climate-Change Telephone". The New Yorker. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  4. ^ Revkin, Andrew C. (2011-10-02). "A Map of Organized Climate Change Denial". Dot Earth Blog. The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Dead Link: (Blocked by site ownder)
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ New web site launched - National Consumer Coalition - Brief Article | Consumer Comments | Find Articles at
  12. ^ Free Congress Foundation And National Consumer Coalition’s Privacy Group Urge Congress Not To Blindly Jettison PATRIOT Sunset Provision
  13. ^ Note: Its website,, and three other websites operated by the organization (as cited in Consumer Alert's 2004 tax return), including the website of the Cooler Heads Coalition, went offline in 2006. Consumer Alert's 2004 tax return, the last one publicly available, cites its address as "in care of" the Washington DC law firm Collier Shannon Scott (since merged into Kelley, Drye & Warren, LLP).
  14. ^ David Adam, "Oil industry targets EU climate policy" The Guardian, December 2005.
  15. ^ "Wingnuts in Sheep's Clothing" , Mother Jones, December 1997
  16. ^ "Tapped", American Prospect Online, October 19, 2004, at
  17. ^ About, retrieved May 2, 2008
  18. ^ Note: the list of members as of June 2004, as recorded at, at , is no longer available: the owner of has blocked access by requesting not to make the archived copy of the page available any further.

External links[edit]