In the second part of a 3-part series on David Koch based on an interview with him, Lee Fang of ThinkProgress discusses Koch’s opinions on climate change and his “shrug” regarding his own carbon pollution.
This week, ThinkProgress conducted an impromptu interview with David Koch — one of the richest men in America, co-owner of the conglomerate Koch Industries, and a top financier of right-wing front groups — after we found him leaving the swearing-in ceremony for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). In the first part of the interview, Koch said that he “admire[s]” the Tea Party movement, and that “the rank and file are just normal people like us.” As ThinkProgress has detailed, Koch operatives orchestratedthe first anti-Obama Tea Party protests, channeled Tea Party groups into increasing the Koch’s personal wealth, and organized Tea Parties for Republican campaigns andlobbying drives.
When we tried to speak to Koch — who never said he did not want to talk to us — his employee Tim Phillips, president of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, tried to push ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes away and yelled into the camera Keyes was holding. Phillips is a prolific “astroturf” lobbyist who has worked for Jack Abramoff’s forced-abortion sweatshop clients, Enron, and had a hand in an anti-Semitic campaign against Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) first bid for Congress. Despite Phillips’ distractions, Koch answered several of our questions about climate science and global warming.
Asked why Koch’s Americans for Prosperity focuses so much on denying climate change, Koch said it was because “regulating CO2 excessively … really damage[s] the economy.” Koch however was hesitant to answer if he himself believes in climate change. He eventually denied anthropogenic global warming by giving a standard climate denier response: “Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.” However, he simply shrugged when asked if carbon pollution — like the carbon pollution Koch Industries heavily contributes to — affects climate change:
FANG: Why does Americans for Prosperity focus so much on the science of climate change? I’m just curious why they spread so much information that denies the existence of climate, of global warming?
KOCH: Well… I think it’s uh, regulating CO2 excessively is going to put — uh really damage the economy.
FANG: Do you believe in climate change yourself? […] Do you believe in climate change yourself, Mr. Koch?
KOCH: Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.
FANG: But do you believe carbon pollution affects climate change? [Koch shrugs]
Ever wonder why there is so much global warming misinformation out there? (hint: this guy and a few others like him are funding and stimulating it)
Read the rest of the piece on ThinkProgress: Exclusive: Tea Party Billionaire David Koch Denies Climate Change, Shrugs Off His Carbon Pollution