The “largest corporation you’ve never heard of” — the first or second largest corporation in the US — is the leading source of funds for anti-climate science efforts.
It’s much more fun to write on the good stuff environmentally friendly people and businesses are doing, but occasionally we have to take a look at what is keeping the world down, too.
A new report put out by Greenpeace, Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine, uncovers where many of the leading anti-climate science campaigns, organizations and people get their money — from Koch Industries or affiliated charities.
Before getting into what exactly Koch Industries funded, though, what is Koch Industries?
It may not be a brand ingrained in the cultural consciousness, like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, and it doesn’t sell shares on the stock market, but Koch Industries is actually the second largest privately held corporation in the United States (and the first at some points in recent years). It is a captain of the oil industry. It has operations in 60 countries and about 70,000 people work for its 20 companies. As billionaire and co-owner David Koch likes to say, Koch Industries is “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.”
Now, to the dirty work.
$25 Million to Unscientifically Show that Climate Change Isn’t Happening
Koch Industries sent nearly $25 million to anti-climate science people and efforts from 2005-2008 — almost three times as much as ExxonMobil. It sent much of this money through three charitable foundations closely related to the corporation — the Claude R. Lambe Foundation; the Charles G. Koch Foundation; and the David H. Koch Foundation.
Among numerous other things, here are a few major efforts Koch Industries has funded:
• ClimateGate Echo Chamber—At least twenty Koch-funded organizations have repeatedly rebroadcast, referenced and appeared as media spokespeople in the story, dubbed “ClimateGate,” of supposed malfeasance by climate scientists gleaned from a cache of stolen emails from the University of East Anglia in November 2009. These organizations claim the emails prove a “conspiracy” of scientists and casts doubt on the scientific consensus regarding climate change.
• Polar Bear Junk Science—In a 2007 published ‘junk science’ article on polar bears and Arctic climate impacts, the author acknowledged receiving research funding from ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute and the Charles G. Koch foundation. The paper, which appeared in the journal Ecological Complexity, was published as a “Viewpoint” piece, rather than new scientific research. It was not peer reviewed and was criticized by leading polar bear and Arctic ice scientists for containing “no new research” and drawing unfounded conclusions. Regardless, multiple Koch and Exxon-funded groups rebroadcast the article’s conclusions that polar bears were not endangered by climate change, through their websites and other media outlets. Additional Koch-funded groups and industry groups threatened to sue the Federal government for listing the polar bear….
• More than $5 million to Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) for its nationwide “Hot Air Tour” campaign to spreading misinformation about climate science and opposing clean energy and climate legislation….
• $360,000 to Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRIPP) which supported and funded “An Inconvenient Truth…or Convenient Fiction,” a film attacking the science of global warming and intended as a rebuttal to former Vice-President Al Gore’s documentary. PRIPP also threatened to sue the US Government for listing the polar bear as an endangered species….
• $325,000 to the Tax Foundation, which issued a misleading study on the costs of proposed climate legislation.
In addition, Koch Industries helped fund very sketchy and debunked studies about the Danish wind industry and Spain losing jobs “due to investment in renewable energy”, among other things.
Of course, Koch Industries is a leading financial supporter of Lisa Murkowski, James Inhofe and other infamous anti-climate science politicians in Congress. For the full accounting of the approximately $25 million Koch Industries spent (and publicly reported spending) on anti-climate science efforts and publicly, take a look at Greenpeace’s report.