Greenpeace takes aim at Koch Industries for funding Climate Denial

A new Greenpeace report uncovers the multimillion dollar funding and intense lobbying against climate science and climate action by Koch Industries, that eclipses the traditional funding for climate deniers from ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies.

Greenpeace Reports: Koch Industries: secretly funding the climate denial machine | Dealing in Doubt: A Brief History of Attacks on Climate Science, Climate Scientists and the IPCC

Climate criminals come in many shapes and forms including many corporate executives and politicians who fail to take meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions or other climate mitigation action despite being aware of the climate science.

But a step above the many who fail to take action, are the few who actively engage in the concerted campaign against climate scientists, climate science and intensively lobby against emissions reduction or mitigation action on climate change. The executives of Exxon-Mobil are part of this elite criminal fraternity, but eclipsing even them are Charles and David Koch, the principal owners of Koch Industries, the second largest privately-held company in the USA.

You haven't heard of them? They like it that way. They have until now been operating under the radar of public scrutiny. But now Greenpeace have published a report on their climate denial funding activities, gleaned from public sources. Koch Industries: secretly funding the climate denial machine

Koch Industries funding climate denial


Koch Industries is a conglomerate of more than twenty companies with $100 billion in annual sales, operations in nearly 60 countries and 70,000 employees. Koch’s industry areas span petroleum refining, fuel pipelines, coal supply and trading, oil and gas exploration, chemicals and polymers, fertilizer production, ranching and forestry products. There are few brand names in their portfolio.

Their investments include multiple leases on the polluting tar sands of Alberta, Canada since the 1990s and the Koch Pipeline Company operates the
pipelines that carry tar sands crude from Canada into Minnesota and Wisconsin
where Koch’s Flint Hill Resources owns oil refineries.

The Koch brothers and other executives in the company work behind the scenes against climate action by contributing to a combination of foundation-funded front-groups, big lobbying budgets, Political Action Committee (PAC) donations, and direct campaign contributions overwhelmingly favouring Republican candidates at both State and Federal level in the US.

Koch foundations contributed over $48 million to climate opposition groups in the US from 1997 to 2008. With the debate over climate action heating up since 2005 with increasing calls for Government action on carbon emission control and climate mitigation measures the volume of funding has increased significantly. Over one half of this funding - $24,888,282 - was contributed in the three years between 2005 to 2008.

Koch foundations surpass ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation as a funding source to organizations that generate and disseminate misinformation on the science of and solutions to global warming according to Greenpeace. In the same three year period - 2005 to 2008 - ExxonMobil provided about $8.9 million to groups with similar activities.

Charles Koch as well as being Chief Executive Officer, Koch Industries, is ranked as 9th richest American (tied with his brother David). He is a Co-founder of the Cato Institute, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, and Member of the Board of Directors of the Mercatus Center.

David H. Koch is Executive Vice-President, Koch Industries and ranked equal 9th richest American. He is on the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

Other key executives in Koch Industries and Foundations include: Koch Industries Executive Vice_president Richard Fink, Logan Moore, Wayne Gable, and Kevin Gentry.

The web of denial of foundations and front groups works like an echo chamber amplifying arguments and counter information for grass roots members to blog or post comments on. In the theft of emails from the University of East Anglia in November 2009, dubbed 'climategate' by sceptics, many of the groups funded by Koch Industries played a major role in Climategate publicising information in the emails as a “conspiracy” of scientists to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on human caused climate change.

Countering climate science with 'Junk' science

The funding works in many ways. Part of it is to fund researchers with some scientific credibility to publish counter research in scientific or related journals regarding climate science.

For example, funding from ExxonMobil and Koch Industries was provided to Dr. Willie Soon for a non-peer reviewed paper on polar bears (“Polar bears of western Hudson Bay and climate change: Are warming spring air temperatures the ‘‘ultimate’’ survival control factor?”) The 2007 paper did not contain original research but was a review of the literature to produce conclusions at odds with researchers studying in the field. The paper was debunked by two polar bear experts, Dr. Ian Stirling and Dr. Andrew Derocher who published a response stating that the article did not adequately support the claim that non-climate factors were causing the polar bear population decline.

Many Koch and Exxon-funded groups published the ‘findings’ from the Soon paper that polar bears are not endangered by climate change, with the Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin using the paper as part of protesting Federal government action to protect the polar bear.

Willie Soon, and fellow author Sally Baliunas are astrophysicists by profession working at Center for Astrophysics. Their institute, the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory has received funds from ExxonMobil totalling $340,000 in four grants since 2005.

Countering the push for Renewable Energy

In countering the growth of renewables, the Koch web of denial has been an important source of funding and network for dissemination of information from a 2009 Spanish study on Green Jobs and a 2009 Danish Study on Windpower and on the viability of renewable energy.

The Spanish study has been proven unsupportable by the US’s own National Renewable Energy Laboratory as well as being criticised by ministers of the Spanish government and independent experts.

The Danish study, prepared by Danish think-tank CEPOS has been misrepresented and distorted. CEPOS was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which has given CEPOS “several awards.” The Charles G. Koch Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation both support the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. The Danish paper on wind farms was promoted by The Institute for Energy Research and the Heritage Foundation.

Foundations and Front Groups

Foundations and groups being funded (that Greenpeace have discovered so far) include:

  • Mercatus Center - $9,247,500 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $9,874,500]
  • Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) - $5,176,500 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [No Koch foundation grants received prior to 2005]
  • Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) - $1,967,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $3,923,457]
  • The Heritage Foundation - $1,620,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $3,358,000]
  • Cato Institute - $1,028,400 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $5,278,400]
  • The Manhattan Institute - $800,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $1,325,000]
  • Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) - $655,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $1,255,000]
  • Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies - $542,500 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $1,750,700]
  • Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment - $365,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $1,460,000]
  • Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (PRIPP)
    $360,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $1,100,000]
  • Tax Foundation - $325,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $525,000]
  • Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) - $290,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $335,000]
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) $283,125 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $393,999]
  • American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) - $215,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $225,000]
  • George C. Marshall Institute - $210,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $240,000]
  • The Reason Foundation - $205,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $1,706,200]
  • Institute for Energy Research (IER) - $175,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $235,000]
  • Fraser Institute - $175,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [No Koch foundation grants received prior to 2005]
  • Frontiers of Freedom - $150,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $175,000]
  • National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) - $130,000 received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $570,000]
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) - No grants received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $471,420]
  • Heartland Institute (HI) - No grants received from Koch foundations 2005–2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997–2008: $30,000]
  • and others as listed in the Greenpeace report

Want to read more?

Visit some of these sites for more information on the sceptic campaign against climate science and climate action:

  • RealClimate blog – a blog by climate scientists discussing science in a very scientific way.
  • Climate progress by Joe Romm
  • Skeptical science: blog by John Cook, that answers the main denier arguments.
  • Deltoid: An Australian blog by scientist Tim Lambert - exposes the scientific holes in denier arguments:
  • Desmogblog – a Canadian blog exposing climate denier junk science and business links http://
  • Hot Topic – New Zealand science writer Gareth Renowden on climate science and denial arguments.
    co.nz
  • Grist ‘How to talk to a climate sceptic
  • Climate Science Watch: Former ‘gagged’ US climate scientist Rick Piltz follows the abuse of climate science
    •  
      • ‘Climate Cover Up’ by James Hoggan, Greystone Books 2009,
      • ‘Science as a Contact Sport’ by Stephen H Schneider (intro by Tim Flannery) – a scientist’s account of years of denier attacks, Random House, 2009.
    • or try these two books:

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