A study by Drexel University has identified the major sources of funding for climate change denial. Some of the names are all too familiar such as the Koch and Scaife families while some have done their best to remain obscure and have yet to get noticed.
The battle to de-legitimize climate science and science in general has been largely successful in America. According to a recent poll only 36% have “a lot” of trust in scientists. The numbers on climate change have also dropped with few Americans considering climate change a priority.
These sentiments stand in stark contrast to warnings from scientists such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which says humans are responsible for climate change and that the consequences of climate change are likely to be disastrous.
Given the research and opinion of scholars why is the public unconcerned? Because considerable amounts of cash are being deployed to neutralize the science.
Ultraculture identifies the Top 4 Contributors:
1. Donors Trust/Donors Capital Fund, $78.8 million, 14%
Donors Trust, established in 1999, is a 501(c)(3) donor advised fund that throws money at conservative causes and specifically climate change denial; it keeps its own donors completely anonymous, and assures them that their contributions will never go to support liberal causes. It has distributed over $400 million to 1,000+ conservative and libertation groups.
2. Scaife Affiliated Foundations, $39.6 million, 7%
A collection of four foundations based out of Pittsburgh, including the Carthage and Sarah Scaife Foundations, which focus on pushing domestic and international policy (to what end they neglect to mention on their website). The other two—the Allegheny and Scaife Family Foundations—focus on improving Pennsylvania and the welfare of families, women, children and animals respectively.
3. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, $29.5 million, 5%
A massively loaded (to the tune of billions) foundation located in Milwaukee that drops over $30 million a year on conservative causes, including federal institutes and education. The foundation is “devoted to strengthening American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles and values that sustain and nurture it.” For them, this means smaller government (big surprise); the Foundation also helped bankroll the smear campaign against Bill Clinton and later helped fund the Neoconservatives’ Project for a New American Century, with a focus on the push to invade Iraq as far back as the late 1990s. Charming.
4. Koch Affiliated Foundations, $25.3 million, 5%
The bêtes noire of the American political and media landscape, the Koch brothers are a walking “libertarian” horror show who bankrolled the Tea Party; the efforts against Obamacare; California Prop 23 (which would have overturned anti-global warming regulation in California); the campaign against Obama’s re-election; Mitt Romney; Scott Walker’s campaign for governor of Wisconsin; anti-union groups; keeping young members of the Democratic Party from voting and more. They’ve also paid for a lot of bunk anti-global warming science and massively pushed the Supreme Court on rolling back the EPA’s regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. LA Times reporter Margot Roosevelt called the twosome “the nation’s most prominent funders of efforts to prevent curbs on fossil-fuel burning.” (The Koch Brothers subsequently actually tried to buy the LA Times.)
Many of the techniques being used to cast doubt on climate change were pioneered by the tobacco industry – operatives for them knew the truth and likely didn’t smoke. But now, as Big Business funds another denialist campaign, one has to wonder what the endgame is.