Joseph Bast

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Joseph Lee Bast
Joseph L. Bast.png
Joseph L. Bast at The Heartland Benefit Dinner on September 15, 2016.
Born January 22, 1958 (1958-01-22) (age 60)
Kimberly, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Occupation President, The Heartland Institute

Joseph Lee Bast is president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, an American nonprofit conservative and libertarian public policy think tank based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He recently published a controversial piece defending accused sexual harasser Edward Crane, and lambasting "the liberal trolls at Wikipedia."[1]


Bast was born on January 22, 1958 in Kimberly, Wisconsin where he attended a Catholic elementary school.[2] He studied economics at the University of Chicago but dropped out of school in order to devote more time to the Heartland Institute.[2] Bast married Diane Bast, who grew up with him in Kimberly.[3]

In 1984, David Padden founded the Heartland Institute — an American conservative and libertarian public policy think tank — and put Bast in charge of the nascent organization. Bast has been president and CEO ever since. "Personally, I'm a fallen-away libertarian. I place a high value on individual freedom and I tend to look at most issues from that perspective. But I'm not sure it is the only way anymore," Bast told the Chicago Tribune in 1995.[4]

Bast is one of the editors of the Climate Change Reconsidered series by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). He was also involved in the creation of the State Policy Network, and has written several books, some of which challenge mainstream claims about cigarette smoking.[5] In 2014, he co-authored an article entitled "The Myth of the Climate Change '97%'" in the Wall Street Journal along with Roy Spencer which argued that the oft-cited claim that "97% of the world's scientists believe climate change is an urgent problem" is misleading because the figure is derived from surveys with small sample sizes, and the questionnaire conflates belief in negligible global warming with belief in dangerous global warming.[6] A 2011 article in Nature criticized his position on global warming and second-hand smoke.[7]

The Heartland Institute[edit]

As president of the Heartland Institute, Bast manages the Institute's finances, helps organize and introduce its annual conference on climate change, and sets its research and communications agenda.[8] Bast is a regular speaker at the Heartland Institute's annual conference on climate change.[9]

Bast and his wife, executive editor Diane Bast, publish four monthly public policy newspapers that are distributed to elected officials: School Reform News, Health Care News, Budget & Tax News, and Environment & Climate News.[10]

Bast told Bloomberg News that the Heartland Institute does not deny climate change, but they are skeptical of the scientific consensus that man-made global warming is a significant danger to the planet. The Heartland Institute also believes that many of the policies to fight global warming would be damaging to the economy.[11] According to Nature, Bast does not necessarily deny that humans are having an influence on the climate, but he does question the forecasts of catastrophic impacts and the rationale for curbing carbon emissions. Bast argues that the costs of trying to prevent global warming exceed the benefits.[12]

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Bast said that he believes the climate has warmed in the second half of the 20th Century and there is likely a measurable human impact on climate. He believes the human impact on global warming is likely very small and that minimal warming is not a crisis.[13]

According to Bloomberg News, Bast's skepticism of the dangers posed by global warming have made him "a favorite bogeyman of environmentalists."[11] In 2012, Bast signed off on a widely criticized ad campaign that compared global warming believers to the Unabomber. The billboard angered environmentalists and some of the group's supporters.[14]


  • Eco-Sanity: A Common-sense Guide to Environmentalism (1994), which argues that the environmental movement has become a victim of its own success.[15]
  • Education and Capitalism: How Overcoming Our Fear of Markets and Economics Can Improve America's Schools (2003), which contends that profits and losses would provide valuable information to the education sector.[16]
  • Rewards: How to use rewards to help children learn – and why teachers don't use them well (2014), which asserts that the public education system should embrace rewards to spur student achievement.[17][18]
  • Why We Spend Too Much on Health Care...and What We Can Do About It (1993), which claims health care costs are rising through medical regulation, insurance mandates, price controls, and occupational licensing.[19]
  • Bast, Joseph L (2006). Please Don't Poop in My Salad. Chicago: The Heartland Institute. ISBN 0978695909.
  • Bast, Joseph L.; Gilder, George; Gilroy, Leonard; Glans, Matthew; Haney, Hance; Lehrer, Eli; Moore, Adrian; Stanek, Steve; Vedder, Richard; Walberg, Herbert J. (October 1, 2010). The Patriot's Toolbox: Eighty Principles for Restoring Our Freedom and Prosperity (PDF). The Heartland Institute. ISBN 1934791334.


  1. ^ Bast, Joseph (12 February 2018). "Politico Slanders Ed Crane, a Great Man". Heartland Institute. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Bast, Joseph (June 30, 2011). "My Eight Years as an Undergraduate". John William Pope Center. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  3. ^ Mohr, Michele (8 January 1995). "Think Tanks Affect You More Than You Think". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  4. ^ Mohr, Michele (January 8, 1995). "Back-yard Think Tanks: Heartland, Rockford Institutes Put Local Spin On National Issues". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  5. ^ Libit, Daniel (7 July 2014). "Climate skeptics look to prove THEIR skeptics, like Obama, wrong". CNBC. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  6. ^ Bast, Joseph; Spencer, Roy (26 May 2014). "The Myth of the Climate Change '97%'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ Tollefson, Jeff (27 July 2011). "Climate-change politics: The sceptic meets his match". Nature. 475 (7357): 440–441. doi:10.1038/475440a. PMID 21796181.
  8. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (May 23, 2012). "Heartland Institute in financial crisis after billboard controversy". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  9. ^ Harrabin, Roger (May 21, 2010). "Climate sceptics rally to expose 'myth'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  10. ^ Felsenthal, Carol (June 14, 2012). "Chicago's Heartland Institute, the Group Behind the Unabomber Billboard". Chicago Mag. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  11. ^ a b Streep, Abe (July 10, 2014). "In Las Vegas, Climate Change Deniers Regroup, Vow to Keep Doubt Alive". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  12. ^ Howard, Brian (July 1, 2014). "8 Summer Miseries Made Worse by Global Warming, From Poison Ivy to Allergies". National Geographic. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  13. ^ "The Purloined Climate Papers". The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. February 22, 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  14. ^ Geman, Ben. "Heartland Institute yanks Unabomber climate billboard". The Hill. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  15. ^ Hill, Peter. "Eco-Sanity". Property and Environment Research Center. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  16. ^ Bedrick, Jason. "Who's Afraid of School Profits?". Cato Institute. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Joseph Bast discuss his book, "Rewards: How to use rewards to help children learn." Newsmax TV. February 18, 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Rewards". Irish American News. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  19. ^ Wollstein, Jarret. "Why We Spend Too Much on Health Care and Twenty Myths About National Health Insurance". Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved 20 February 2015.

External links[edit]