The Vancouver-based Fraser Institute is one of almost 40 climate-denial groups that have received funding linked to a U.S. conglomerate with oil interests, according to a report by Greenpeace USA.
The report, released today (March 30), shows that foundations controlled by Kansas-based Koch Industries contributed US$48.5 million to climate opposition groups from 1997 to 2008.
Koch, which Greenpeace calls the second-largest privately-held corporation in the U.S., is involved in petroleum refining, crude oil supply, petrochemicals marketing, and commodities trading, among other areas.
The report—Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine—argues that the little-known company has become “a financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition”.
“ExxonMobil has responded to public scrutiny by slightly reducing their support of climate denial, and Koch Industries is outpacing ExxonMobil’s funding activities while drawing very little public attention,” the report states.
According to the report, the Fraser Institute received US$175,000 from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2008.
“The Fraser Institute publishes in-depth critiques of climate science, including a 110-page report attacking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment report,” the Greenpeace report states. “They also offer lesson plans and educational materials designed to encourage children to be skeptical of mainstream climate science.”
Since 2005, more than US$5 million has gone to Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, and over US$1 million went to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank that has been criticized for its stance on global warming.
“On repeated occasions documented below, organizations funded by Koch foundations have led the assault on climate science and scientists, ”˜green jobs,’ renewable energy and climate policy progress,” the report says.
The report also notes that, since the 2006 election cycle, Koch’s political action committee has made more contributions to federal candidates than any other oil-and-gas-sector PAC.
Greenpeace says Koch’s environmental record isn’t exactly clean either. As noted in the report, the company was fined US$30 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2000 for its role in 300 oil spills in Texas and five other states.
In 2009, the U.S. Justice Department and EPA announced a Koch subsidiary would pay a US$1.7-million penalty and spend US$500 million to fix environmental violations at facilities in seven states.
The Greenpeace report goes on to document five case studies outlining how organizations funded by Koch were involved in spreading misinformation about climate change and the environment.
“At least twenty Koch-funded organizations have repeatedly rebroadcast, referenced and appeared as media spokespeople in the story, dubbed ”˜ClimateGate,’ of supposed malfeasance by climate scientists gleaned from a cache of stolen emails from the University of East Anglia in November 2009,” the report says of one case study. “These organizations claim the emails prove a ”˜conspiracy’ of scientists and casts doubt on the scientific consensus regarding climate change.”
Koch has responded to the report, sending a statement to AFP.
“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,” read the statement sent to the news agency by spokesperson Melissa Cohlmia.
“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,” the statement added.