Climate change deniers like to say that the science behind climate change is not ‘settled science’ and that there is no consensus among scientists. These, of course, are false statements. The fact is, 97% of all climate scientists agree that climate change is real and is due to manmade emissions. Here is an excellent report on the very subject. The science is very real and scientist who work in this field of study are in overwhelming agreement.
Deniers also reject the claim that they are funded by the fossil fuel industry to undermine the valid science and to inject doubt into the minds of the public. Below is a list of some of the denier sources and individuals receiving those funds. The challenge to me was to produce documents that could used in the event I received a subpoena in a slander/libel lawsuit. I have indicated my sources of information and they satisfy that requirement. The information provided here has been gleaned from tax documents, SEC filings, statements by the individuals themselves, court papers and articles vetted by major news media (also one of the standards demanded by the denier).
So, I’ll say it to be perfectly clear:
Some organizations in the fossil fuel industry are funding climate change deniers for the purpose of undermining climate change science.
If someone would like to sue me for slander/libel, then the documents below would be enough to get the case thrown out of court. Of course, the deniers will claim otherwise, but they live in a fantasy world that does not accept reality.
The denier disinformation campaign is very well funded and very well organized. A study done at Drexel University found 140 foundations provided $558 million to nearly 100 climate change organizations between 2003 and 2010. That comes out to an average of almost $70 million per year. That is some serious money and you don’t provide that kind of funding just to have a tax-write off. This funding is done for a purpose. What I find very telling is the fact that traceable donations have disappeared and been replaced with untraceable donations to third-party proxies. In fact, one climate change denial proxy, Donors Trust (along with the associated Donors Capital) accounts for fully 25% of all climate change denier funding. Why are they hiding their donations? Are they afraid that people would question their motives?
Many of the organizations providing funding for climate change denial are among the world’s worst emitters of greenhouse gases. The original paper on sources of greenhouse gases can be found here. This list represents who stands to lose the most if we do something about the problem. In other words, people making a bunch of money hurting the rest of us are convincing millions of people that we shouldn’t do anything about the problem. And, millions of people simply take out their checkbook and agree with them.
Here are some of the funding organizations and funding receivers. This list is not even close to being exhaustive, it is here merely to illustrate the debt of the problem.
ChevronTexaco – Provides funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Think Progress
ExxonMobil – Exxon reports show donations to the Heartland Institute between 1998 and 2007 of $676,500. Exxon donated more than $28 million to the American Enterprise Institute (see below). Along with the Marshall Institute and Fred Singer’s group, they proposed a $5 million campaign, according to a leaked eight-page memo, to convince the public that the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty. Exxon was called out by a number of senators for giving over $19 million to fund groups “producing very questionable data” on climate change. Studies have found Exxon to have been “heavily involved” in denier funding between 2003 and 2008 and donated more than $16 million during that time. Exxon has since changed and says it no longer gives to climate denier organizations and there has been no publicly traceable denier funding from Exxon since 2008. There are reports it continued to provide denier funding through at least 2011. However, there are still proxies that Exxon donates to, so it is not possible to verify it has stopped all funding.
Source: Greenpeace USA, Newsweek, Scientific American, The Guardian , Huffington Post
BP – Provides funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Think Progress
Shell – Provides funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Think Progress
Koch Brothers – The Koch brothers and their interrelated corporations and foundations have been responsible for millions of dollars in donations to denial organizations, including the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute and Heritage Foundation. They have also had to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines and hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up costs as a result of violating environmental safety guards. They have been very critical of environmental safety laws, both on the books and proposed. Between 2005 and 2011 the Kochs would provide over $43 million to denier organizations, more than three times what Exxon provided during the same time period. The Kochs have become the largest single source of funds for denier organizations. They provide funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Huffington Post, Think Progress
Peabody Energy -Peabody is the world’s largest private-sector supplier of coal and sold more than 246 million tons of coal in 2010. Peabody supports American Legislative Exchange Council and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, both very active climate change denial organizations.
Source: Polluter Watch, SourceWatch
Chrysler – Chrysler donated $105,000 to the Heartland Institute between 2004 and 2006.
Source: Huffington Post
General Motors – GM donated $165,000 to the Heartland Institute between 2004 and 2010. They donated $95,000 to the Cato Institute between 2003 and 2009.
Source: Huffington Post
Western Fuels Association – Supports the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a major climate change denier organization.
Source: The Nation
And, take a look at who is getting the funding. The people and institutes here are among the most notorious of the climate change deniers or proxies.
Donors Trust – According to IRS tax returns, between 2002 and 2010, Donors Trust provided over $90 million in funding ($90,989,710 to be exact) to 84 groups that deny the scientific realities of climate change. Between 2004 and 2010, the partner group Donors Capital Fund, provided more than $28 million in funding ($28,490,862) to 75 groups that deny the scientific realities of climate change. They receive their funds from conservative sources, including the Koch Brothers, Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Charles Koch donated $2 million in 2010 alone.
Source: DeSmogBlog, Mother Jones, Huffington Post,
The Heartland Institute – Possibly the organization most guilty of false-science and efforts to undermine valid climate science. The Heartland Institute once compared climate scientists to terrorists, including the Unabomber, Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden and Fidel Castro. They stated, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.” Heartland’s president, Joseph Bast, has called Heartland “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made global warming.” Several internal documents were obtained by Peter Gleick and posted online. These documents revealed they were receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry and were engaged in campaigns to undermine climate science with school-based programs. Heartland demanded Gleick be charged and threatened lawsuits against anyone reposting the documents or even discussing them (I guess I’m in trouble). They are one of the organizations involved in the intimidation campaign against climate researcher Michael Mann. Heartland was involved in the ClimateGate campaign where the computer servers at East Anglia were illegally hacked and selected emails were stolen. These emails were then cherry-picked to take quotes out of context in an effort to make it look as if the scientists were faking their research. The scientists were all cleared of any wrong-doing by several independent panels, but Heartland continues to cite the emails in a continuing effort to discredit the scientists. They have engaged in other campaigns to attack, intimidate and discredit climate scientists (when you can’t refute the science, destroy the scientists). they host an annual conference of climate change contrarians. Heartland has also been involved with efforts to convince people there is no danger in second-hand smoke. In addition to their internal documents showing they receive funding from the fossil fuel industry, Exxon documents show they donated $676,500 to Heartland since 1998. See the above entry about Donors Trust, which has donated money to Heartland.
According to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: American Petroleum Institute ($25,000, 2008), Chrysler Foundation ($105,000, 2004-06), Donors Capital Fund ($25.6 million, 2005-11), Donors Trust ($554,000, 2008-10), ExxonMobil ($531,500, 2001-06), General Motors Foundation ($165,000, 2004-10) and Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($25,000, 2011).
Source: Washington Post, The Heartland Institute, Forbes, The Guardian, Forbes again, Watching the Deniers, More Forbes , ExxonSecrets, Huffington Post, More Huffington Post, Union of Concerned Scientists
The American Petroleum Institute (API) – The API has long held the position that any effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions is a ‘tax on our industry’ and has fought behind the scenes to undermine any effort to enact legislation that might hurt the fossil fuel industry. Internal memos have shown that it funds and provides staffing for campaigns against legislation, then denies any involvement. API says that it does not consider climate change legislation to be an energy tax, but then runs numerous ads calling any such legislation an ‘energy tax.’ Along with other groups, API funded reports for Congress “whose entire purpose was to confuse people on the science of global warming.” Among other contributors, AEI received more than $1.9 million from Exxon.
Source: DeSmogBlog, Newsweek
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – ALEC is an extremist organization that, among other things, promotes climate change denial and is funded by the oil and gas industry. It is extremely weird – and dangerous. Read the first-hand account from Chris Taylor, a state representative from Wisconsin. ALEC denies that global warming is causing glaciers to retreat or sea level to rise. Not only does ALEC deny the threat of climate change, they even argue that “substantial global warming is likely to be of benefit to the United States”.
Source: The Progressive, Climate Progress
Richard Lindzen – He always claimed to not take any funding from the fossil fuel industry, but finally admitted to taking over $10,000 per year from the fossil fuel industry plus consulting fees and travel expenses. He receives $2,500 per day in consulting fees. He was a court expert witness for the Western Fuels Association.
Source: DeSmogBlog, SourceWatch, Weather Underground
Patrick Michaels – Michaels served as an expert court witness on behalf of the Western Fuels Association. This, and other actions, led the Minnesota Star to write about him in an editorial stating he was a fossil-fuel industry funded scientist. He won a court case against them, but then he admitted in 1995 that he had received over $165,000 from the fossil fuel industry. He now refuses to reveal any of his source of funds. ABC reported he had received $100,000 from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association. He also acknowledged on CNN that 40 percent of his funding comes from the oil industry. He was a witness in a lawsuit but withdrew when it became apparent he would have to reveal his funding sources. He was paid by the coal industry to write the World Climate Report, in which he regularly attempted to discredit climate science.
Source: ThinkProgress, Wikipedia, Mother Jones, DeSmogBlog, Newsweek, Huffington Post
The Cato Institute: A long-time climate denial organization, Patrick Michaels (see above) heads their Center for the Study of Science. He admitted that he receives 40% of his funding from the fossil fuel industry. The Cato Institute received $110,000 from ExxonMobil between 2001and 2006, $95,000 from General Motors from 2003 to 2009, and $2.79 million from the three main Koch family funds from 2001 to 2010.
Competitive Enterprise Institute – According to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: American Petroleum Institute ($25,000, 2009), Donors Capital Fund ($607,280, 2007-11), Donors Trust ($581,000, 2002-11), ExxonMobil ($1.69 million, 2001-05), General Motors Foundation ($245,000, 2003-08), Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($24,100, 2009) and Charles Koch’s Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation ($222,620, 2002-11).
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists
James Inhofe – The senior senator from Oklahoma, Senator Inhofe is a die-hard critic of climate change science. He has called global warming the ‘greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” At the same time, the senator is one of the largest receivers of fossil fuel industry campaign funds. Over his career, he has received over $3,250,000 from the energy sector, including $1,600,000 from the oil and gas industry. That total included over $95,000 from the Koch Brothers. He famously used outdated data, even though it had been proven false, to make the claim that there was no scientific evidence of global warming.
Source: OpenSecrets, The Guardian, Newsweek
Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) – The NIPCC is a project funded by the Heartland Institute with the objective of presenting alternative science. The NIPCC differs from the UN’s IPCC in several important ways, including (thanks to Skeptical Science):
- Its purpose is not to give clarity on climate science, as the IPCC does, but to critique the IPCC, according to the Heartland leaked documents
- The scientists working for the NIPCC get paid; the IPCC scientists don’t
- The NIPCC report only critiques papers published by deniers, whereas the IPCC critiques all papers, including those published by deniers.
The Heartland Institute pays its scientists to disregard most climate science research and focus exclusively on the few “skeptic” studies which support their very narrow focus on poking holes in the IPCC report. One document in the Heartland leaks outlined the list of deniers being paid for their work on the NIPCC, including Craig Idso and Fred Singer.
Source: Greenpeace, Skeptical Science
S. Fred Singer – A long time climate change denier, Singer has been very active as a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry. He makes frequent appearances before government panels at the state and federal level with testimony contrary to the prevailing science. Singer is famous for claiming global warming was not real, then, when he was caught in the lie, changed his claim to saying that climate science community was a cabal that was silencing any scientist that disagreed with the ‘alarmist’ reports. Singer receives $5000 per month plus expenses from the Heartland Institute.
Source: Newsweek, The Heartland Institute
Craig Idso -Idso heads the denial organization known as the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. He is also associated with the Heartland Institute, which pays him $11,600 per month.
Source: The Heartland Institute, More Heartland Institute