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ActivismGlobal Warming

'Financial Kingpin' Trying to Undermine Climate Change Science Exposed by Greenpeace

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.

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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.

Image Credit: Greenpeace
Follow Zachary Shahan on twitter @zshahan3




6 comments
  1. jason

    The earth is millions of years old. We have had Ice ages and warming periods over and over. It is ridiculous to belive that our limited sample of temperature changes (even assuming they are unbiased) are enough to assume such small period of measurement is indicative of the whole. It is absolutely not a Scientific consensus, and at least for the reason I have just mentioned, any logical conclusions otherwise are likely flawed. Both ends of this are in it for the money and/or power. I am all for keeping the environment nice, but in this case, the ends dont justify the means.

  2. Barbara K

    I hope we all have the guts to stand up to these despicable companies and pass the Climate Bill, and that all they spent is just money flying in the wind. We also need to VOTE OUT their chums in Congress. It needs to be mandated that Congresspeople who take large sums of money from these or any corporations, must give up their seat in Congress. We have these bozos there doing the opposite of what we send them there to do. A little investigation of our own will easily turn up who they are. I watch the Senate daily and I can name over a dozen right now. Just watch their speeches and how they vote. If they are not voting for us, they are voting for one or more big corporations who are out to screw us as much as the guilty congressperson.

  3. william meyer

    forensic tracking of funding is a very, very important and valid investigation and i appreciate the writers work. ultimately, though we have to reason out and investigate the facts for ourselves rather than rely on any second hand sources. so, in pursuant to that i have some initial observations…

    in the 1970’s a movement started claiming that the earth was heading into a new, catastrophic ice-age caused by man. the idea was based on the data that showed the earth was cooling from about 1935 to 1970. the rationale was that man-made pollutants were blocking the sunlight from reaching the earth.
    after 1970 the earth entered a heating cycle and sometime in the early 1990’s a movement started saying the earth was heading into a catastrophic heating cycle -this time caused by man-made co2.
    in recent times there is growing evidence that heating cycle has abated. now, the story has changed to “climate change” – also attributed to man.
    now, this final change in the story is similar to the story of “terrorists”. a government can always claim it has stopped inumerable “terrorist” acts thru its policies -how can they be disproven?
    in the same vein any change in weather can be asserted to be related to man-made “climate change.”
    what is climate change? one day it is rainy and one day it is sunny. the seasons are “climate change.”
    attempting to statistically access the severity of climate events in relation to the past is impossible because we dont have enough information. remember, the climate we are talking about -local weather over short periods of time- does not have the massive statistical backlog neccesary to analyse it over the long, long periods we are concerned about in earths history. the kind of climate change we are worried aboout takes place over millions of years – not 10, 20 or even 100. that is all we have any significant data on as far as “temporal” weather events.
    the central theme of “terrorists” and “climate change” is that government and surpa-government agencies are needed to increase control over the population of the earth thru taxes, regulation and -ultimately- the force to implement these changes.
    who will be running these control mechanisms and how can we trust them to work for all our benefits?
    as difficult as it is to examine one’s belief system, i believe a more personal investigation of the claims around climate science is absolutely critical in light of the problems we have had with goverment authorities, academics and “scientists” setting our policies and enforcing behaviors.

    1. Zachary Shahan

      william,

      they are good concerns you bring up. unfortunately, i think this situation is different from others you discussed. the “coming ice age” issue of several decades ago didn’t have nearly the scientific research or consensus (among climate scientists intimately knowledgeable about the topic) that accelerated “climate change” or global warming has — a topic i hope to write at length about in the future.

      additionally, i have seen it said other places that the Earth is cooling again, but the data and experiences of countless people really does not confirm that. 2009 was the 2nd hottest year on record and concluded what was by far the hottest decade on record (http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/23/nasa-makes-it-official-2000s-were-the-hottest-decade-on-record-2009-tied-for-second-warmest-year/). this winter is turned out to be the hottest or one of the hottest winters on record as well. (the thing that confused many Americans is that there was more snow in some places — most likely due to global warming, in fact — and it was colder than normal in much if the US and Europe,… but actually warmer than normal in the large majority of the world).

      climate scientists around the world confirm that climate change is happening — 97% of them. it would take more than a government conspiracy to come to this conclusion. in fact, i think most governments have been holding out on listening to them bcs of the challenge of quickly changing policies, technologies, lifestyles, etc.

      thank you for your thoughts. i agree, everyone should continue looking into the issue using the rawest data and observations available.

  4. David Anderson

    This may be the biggest political story that never came out until lately. At least public companies are accountable to SOMEONE…

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