US oil company donated millions to climate sceptic groups, says Greenpeace

31/3/2010 Guardian Greenpeace has identified Kansas-based oil firm Koch Industries as a multimillion funder of climate sceptic groups.A Greenpeace investigation has identified a little-known, privately owned US oil
company as the paymaster of global warming sceptics in the US and Europe.
The environmental campaign group accuses Kansas-based Koch Industries, which
owns refineries and operates oil pipelines, of funding 35 conservative and
libertarian groups, as well as more than 20 congressmen and senators. Between
them, Greenpeace says, these groups and individuals have spread misinformation
about climate science and led a sustained assault on climate scientists and
green alternatives to fossil fuels.
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.
“Koch industries is playing a quiet but dominant role in the global warming
debate. This private, out-of-sight corporation has become a financial kingpin of
climate science denial and clean energy opposition. On repeated occasions
organisations funded by Koch foundations have led the assault on climate science
and scientists, ‘green jobs’, renewable energy and climate policy progress,” it
The groups include many of the best-known conservative thinktanks in the US,
like Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato institute, the
Manhattan Institute and the Foundation for research on economics and the
environment. All have been involved in “spinning” the “climategate” story or are
at the forefront of the anti-global warming debate, says Greenpeace.
Koch Industries is a $100bn-a-year conglomerate dominated by petroleum and
chemical interests, with operations in nearly 60 countries and 70,000 employees.
It owns refineries which process more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day in
the US, as well as a refinery in Holland. It has held leases on the heavily
polluting tar-sand fields of Alberta, Canada and has interests in coal, oil
exploration, chemicals, forestry, and pipelines.
The majority of the group’s assets are owned and controlled by Charles and David
Koch, two of the four sons of the company’s founder. They have been identified
by Forbes magazine as the joint ninth richest Americans and the 19th richest men
in the world, each worth between $14-16bn.
Koch has also contributed money to politicians, the report said, listing 17
Republicans and four Democrats whose campaign funds got more than $10,000from
the company.
Greenpeace accuses the Koch companies of having a notorious environmental
record. In 2000 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined Koch industries
$30m for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than 3m gallons of
crude oil leaking intro ponds, lakes and coastal waters.
“The combination of foundation-funded front groups, big lobbying budgets,
political action campaign donations and direct campaign contributions makes Koch
Industries and the Koch brothers among the most formidable obstacles to
advancing clean energy and climate policy in the US,” Greenpeace said.
A spokeswoman for Koch Industries today defended the group’s track record on
environmental issues. “Koch companies have consistently found innovative and
cost-effective ways to ensure sound environmental stewardship and further reduce
waste and emissions of greenhouse gases associated with their operations and
products,” said a statement sent to AFP by Melissa Cohlmia, director of
communication. She added: “Based on this experience, we support open,
science-based dialogue about climate change and the likely effects of proposed
energy policies on the global economy.”
Top 10 Koch beneficiaries 2005-2008
Mercatus center: ($9.2m received from Koch grants 2005-2008) Conservative
thinktank at George Mason University. This group suggested in 2001 that global
warming would be beneficial in winter and at the poles. In 2009 they recommended
that nothing be done to cut emissions.
Americans for prosperity. ($5.17m). Have built opposition to clean energy and
climate legislation with events across US.
Institute for humane studies ($1.96m). Several prominent climate sceptics have
positions here, including Fred Singer and Robert Bradley.
Heritage foundation ($1.62m). Conservative thinktank leads US opposition to
climate change science.
Cato Insitute ($1.02m). Thinktank disputes science behind climate change and
questions the rationale for taking action.
Manhattan Institute ($800,000). This institute regularly publishes climate
science denials.
Washington legal foundation ($655,000) Published articles on the business
threats posed by regulation of climate change.
Federalist society for law ($542,000) advocates inaction on global warming
National center for policy analysis ($130,000) NCPA disseminates climate science
American council on science and health ($113,800) Has published papers claiming
that cutting greenhouse emissions would be detrimental to public
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