Why is an infamous climate denier speaking at a Miami Beach climate change workshop?

By Alex Harris

James Taylor — no, not the singer — is the man to call when you want an official-sounding, educated voice on why climate change isn’t happening (it is), why humans haven’t caused it (we have) or why it’s actually good for the planet (it isn’t).

It’s all but impossible to find a reputable climate scientist that agrees with Taylor but his views are popular with the fossil fuel industry and climate-change deniers. He’s a senior fellow with the Heartland Institute, which is notorious for a series of 2012 billboards in Chicago with the phrase “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” alongside pictures of The Unabomber, Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden. Heartland was at one point funded by oil and gas giants, including Exxon Mobil.

So why is he speaking in Miami Beach next week at a workshop to teach journalists and editors about covering climate change?

“It’s like having a debate on gun control and not inviting the NRA,” said Alejandro Alvarado, an associate professor at Florida International University and co-organizer of the event. “The key word here is workshop. This is not a science forum. It is a workshop.”

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