Koch brothers indirectly funding climate change skeptics

From the Independent:

A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate “counter movement” to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.

The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.

However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.

Chris wrote three years about the Koch Brothers, then not nearly as well known, funding climate change truthers (quoting the Guardian):

Greenpeace says that Koch Industries donated nearly $48m (£31.8m) to climate opposition groups between 1997-2008. From 2005-2008, it donated $25m to groups opposed to climate change, nearly three times as much as higher-profile funders that time such as oil company ExxonMobil. Koch also spent $5.7m on political campaigns and $37m on direct lobbying to support fossil fuels.

In a hard-hitting report, which appears to confirm environmentalists’ suspicions that there is a well-funded opposition to the science of climate change, Greenpeace accuses the funded groups of “spreading inaccurate and misleading information” about climate science and clean energy companies.

“The company’s network of lobbyists, former executives and organisations has created a forceful stream of misinformation that Koch-funded entities produce and disseminate. The propaganda is then replicated, repackaged and echoed many times throughout the Koch-funded web of political front groups and thinktanks,” said Greenpeace.

But, but, but the Koch Brothers fund PBS!  So they can’t be all bad!

climate change global warming pollution environment

Pollution via Shutterstock

Yeah, right.  A friend of mine here in town explained this seeming contradiction thusly: Rich GOP billionaires like to live in NYC, but their wive’s don’t get invited to any high-society parties because hubby is a right-wing nut, and NYC isn’t.  So, hubby find a few liberal causes to invest in – it was PBS, now for many NYC Rs it’s gay marriage – and presto!  No longer the social pariah they once were.

You’ve heard of clean coal?  Welcome to Clean Koch.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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13 Responses to “Koch brothers indirectly funding climate change skeptics”

  1. Michael Petterson says:


    Greenpeace $300m 2010 Annual Report

    WWF $700m

    Pew Charitable Trust $360m 2010 Annual Report

    Sierra Club $56m 2010 Annual Report

    NSW climate change fund (just one random govt example) $750m

    NSW Gov (A$700m)

    Heartland Institute $6.4m

    US government funding for climate science and technology $7,000m ($7B) “Climate Money”

    US government funding for “climate related appropriations” $1,300m ($1.3B) USAID 2010

    Annual turnover in global carbon markets $120,000m ($120B) 2010 Point Carbon

    Annual investment in renewable energy $243,000m ($230B) 2010 BNEF

    US government funding for skeptical scientists $ 0

    These are annual turnovers or annual budgets

    what the expose shows is that the Heartland Institute punches far above
    its weight with an incredibly efficient budget. That is, of course,
    assuming that the so-called expose is real and not a fake, or altered,
    which it could be, watch the Heartland site for any confirmation or

    is a wake up call to the freedom loving people of the world, it’s time
    to make donations a regular part of your monthly budget to support all
    the people out there who work on your behalf (SEE DONATE BUTTON ON
    LEFT). The fact that Heartland has only one major, generous donor is
    remarkable. Where are the rest?

    hypocrisy is flagrant. The Sierra Club listed a category for $1,000,000
    donations by “anonymous donors” in their 2010 annual report. Strangely
    DeSmog didn’t froth with anticipation. Their Sierra Club annual report
    mentions “Matching Gifts”, and apparently supporters who matched gifts
    include the evil Exxon, not to mention GoldMan Sachs, Barclays, Google,
    Monsanto, Nestle, Yahoo, Bank of America, and many many more. But that’s
    alright then.

    if Bob Carter receives an honorarium type amount of $1500 a month, the
    pull of those big dollars must be powerfully tempting for people like
    Tim Flannery who struggle along on about $1200 each day he works.


  2. pappyvet says:

    “Koch brothers indirectly funding climate change skeptics’
    Well of course they are.

  3. klem says:

    Um, can you run that by me again please?

  4. klem says:

    “..the current funding disparity where scientists tailor their results of their research in order to ensure continued federal funding of their research.”

    You are correct. I personally know a working scientist who is a vocal climate skeptic, yet he openly admits that in order to secure his annual research funding he always links his research proposals to climate change. He says it goes against his personal convictions, but he’s a pragmatist, he does what is necessary to continue his research. He does it because it works, it keeps his staff employed adn puts food on his table. His research is earth science related but it does not have much in the way of commercial application, so government funding is how he survives. He does not fudge his data, or tailor the results as you suggest above, it isn’t necessary. All he does is suggest a link, or merely speculate that his research is related to climate change, that’s it. Its easy. Climate change is his path to continued research. I think this is a common practice out there in the scientific world.

  5. klem says:

    “..I think it’s based entirely around the fact that they simply don’t want to pay for it”
    They are in the business of selling carbon, you are in the business of buying and using carbon. They won’t be paying for it, you will.

  6. klem says:

    Um so oil money is funding climate skepticism, is that somehow news? This has been known for years.

    Besides, you’re not suggesting that money from Big Oil is somehow evil while money from Big Green is pure and inviolate are you?

    I can tell by the way you write that is exactly what you are suggesting. OMG. Lol!

  7. Of course, they’re not funding real scientists, they’re funding the same scam artists that the oil industry was funding, if you read the article. If the Koch Brothers were legitimately interested in funding global warming objectively, they’d give their money to an objective body to then dole out the funds. Their money isn’t going to objetive scientists.

    As for the notion that global warming will cure the 10,000 year ice age cycle. Wow. You watch Fox, right?

  8. Naja pallida says:

    PBS science programming has pretty much always been funded by climate deniers. The Kochs are actually quite involved in funding science, research and education in many fields. I don’t for a moment believe their climate change denial is based on a fundamental belief that it isn’t happening, I think it’s based entirely around the fact that they simply don’t want to pay for it. The good old libertarian mindset, that they should be able to do whatever they want with their own money, and not be told by government to stop or change what they are doing, because if they were doing wrong, magical market forces would correct their behavior.

  9. tamarz says:

    Rachel Maddow had a Koch-funded climate change denier on a couple of months ago — he had gone to the press saying he had changed his mind because of a thorough review of the data. Sounds good, right? And it was until she asked him about solutions. He gave a one-phrase support of renewable energy sources and then launched into a shpiel on how the solution to global warming was entirely natural gas. Surprise, surprise: turns out that the Koch Bros have big investments in natural gas!

  10. samizdat says:

    Your ignorance, though not surprising, is still astonishing. You obviously don’t understand fully the state of the planet at this moment, nor do you comprehend the dramatic and–at least to human and other animal life–catastrophic consequences of not only inaction, but continuing on the path of carbon-based energy consumption.

    Oceans are becoming increasingly acidic, meaning that all of the life-forms depending on a healthy exoskeleton–lobsters, crab, krill, etc.–are in danger of experiencing significant population loss. Extinction? No one knows yet. But what is known is that it is occurring now. One need only to look at the failing reefs all over the planet to see this. By the way, if phytoplankton and krill populations are seriously reduced, you can probably kiss most of the species of baleen whales goodbye. If the reefs go, that will impact to a great degree the populations of fish upon which we often rely for nutrition. Significant damage has already been done to ocean fisheries by overfishing and purse-seine nets. Release of methane into the atmosphere from ocean sources (methane hydrates/clathrates: frozen methane, kept that way by pressure and temparature) will only add the problem. And since methane possesses the ability to trap ten times the amount of heat within the atmosphere, that won’t be good, for many reasons. (Put Svalbard ignition in a search engine, I dare you).

    You’ve heard farmers, horticulturists, foresters, gardeners, et al, complaining about the lack of hard freezes over the last few winters? Yeah, that means that instead of nature taking care of pests by freezing them to death, the populations come back even stronger in the spring. Which means that crop and forest losses to infestations of various creepy-crawlies will increase–if the trend to lack of hard freezing continues–as the years ahead come and go.

    I won’t even begin to address the spurious claim that scientists tailor their grant proposals to suit a warming climate scenario. If that charge was directed at an individual, I would call it slander.

    Frankly, considering you’ve been brainwashed to within an inch of your sanity (and reason), it’s rather pointless for me to even engage your tripe for consideration.

    Have a nice day.

  11. confusion says:

    Koch funded PBS science …science is lost in translation.

  12. pogden297 says:

    The Koch brothers are financing scientists on the other side of the global warming debate? Good. Maybe that will finally even out the current funding disparity where scientists tailor their results of their research in order to ensure continued federal funding of their research. The author is right about the corrupting influence of money on science. But what the author doesn’t get is that the corrupting influence is on the alarmist side. Do a grant proposal saying that you intend to prove global warming isn’t happening and see if it will receive a grant. You only get the grant if you express that you intend to get results that back up the alarmist view of global warming.

    As far as mememine’s comment below, he/she suffers from the delusion that proposed measures to combat global warming (not going to call it “climate change” as the climate is always changing and always will be), would actually do something to stop it. Even those who promote things like the Kyotoa Treaty say it won’t actually make more than a few fractions of a degree of difference even if fully implemented.

    Global warming though could help us stave off another ice age which is a lot more threat to civilization than the planet warming.

  13. mememine says:

    Deny this: REAL planet lovers are happy a crisis was just a tragic exaggeration.

    You can’t have a “little tiny catastrophic” climate crisis outside of Harry Potter movies so how close to the point of no return from complete unstoppable warming will science take us before they start saying the climate change CRISIS will actually happen as in imminent or impending or inevitable or certain or unavoidable or assured or guaranteed or even just “will happen” instead of their “might” and “could” happen.“Help my house could be on fire maybe.” NOT ONE single IPCC report says it “WILL” happen, only “might” happen and “likely” happen etc. The worst crisis imaginable needs certainty, not “maybe”.
    Climate change was a war crime and some day condemning billions of children to an exaggerated crisis will see justice done.Get ahead of the curve and get up to date:*Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.*In all of the debates Obama hadn’t planned to mention climate change once.*Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of
    demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations and trustworthy politicians*Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying
    prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).Meanwhile, the entire world of SCIENCE, lazy copy and paste news editors and obedient journalists, had condemned our kids to the greenhouse gas ovens of an exaggerated “crisis” and had allowed bank-funded and corporate-run “CARBON TRADING STOCK MARKETS” to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 26 years of insane attempts at climate CONTROL.

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