Did Microsoft donate to a climate change skeptic?

News 16 Feb, 2012

Microsoft is listed as a Heartland Foundation donor, although there are claims leaked documents are fakes.

Leaked documents have named several donors to climate change skeptic the Heartland Foundation, including Microsoft.

The information was leaked to DeSmogBlog by an anonymous donor calling him or her(self) "Heartland Insider" on Tuesday night.

The Heartland Foundation credits itself as a free market think tank and seeks to dispel the 'alarmist' notion of climate change.

"It is clear from the documents that Heartland advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies,'" the blog reads.

The source released several documents which, "appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on 17 January," the Heartland Foundation said.

These documents include a 2012 Fundraising Plan, which names several donors from 2011 and their expected contributions in 2012. One of the donors named is Microsoft, a company that has publicly supported climate change action in the past.

The document shows that in 2011 Microsoft allegedly donated $59,908 (£38,203) and is expected to donate another $10,000 (£6,377) in 2012. The document also shows that the total donations amount was $4,145,000 (£2,643,283).

Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention.

The Heartland Institute has claimed the authenticity of the documents has not yet been confirmed and has also said that one of the documents in particular, saying “'Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy' is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute."

The 'fake' document contains specific information about the Heartland Institutes spending plans for the donors' money, including the funds received from Microsoft.

The 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy outlined plans for a 'Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms.'

"Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To conquer this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms," the document reads.

"We are pursuing a proposal from Dr David Wojik to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 school ... his effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain — two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science."

The Climate Strategy also gives the names of several Heartland donors with their respective donations.

"Microsoft’s position on climate change remains unchanged. Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly," Microsoft said.

“As part of our global nonprofit software donation program, Microsoft provides free software licenses upon request to eligible non-profit organisations. In Fiscal Year 2011, Microsoft donated $844 million in software to 44,000 nonprofits around the world. As part of that program, the organisation requested free software licenses, and Microsoft provided them, just like we do for thousands of other eligible non-profits every year."

"In addition, Microsoft has adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to create market-based mechanisms to address climate change.”