US oil giant pumps $48m into climate sceptic groups

Cash passed between two hands
Report finds Kansas-based Koch Industries has been financing opposition to environmental regulation, clean energy and climate scepticism

A largely unknown US oil and manufacturing company has been exposed as a multi-million pound funder of climate change opposition groups and lobbyists.

According to a Greenpeace report, Koch Industries, a billion-dollar company based in Kansas, spent nearly $50 million between 1997-2008 and almost $25 million between 2005-8 on organisations including:

  • $5 million to Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) for a nationwide campaign opposing climate change legislation;
  • $1 million to the Cato Institute, which questions the rationale for tackling climate change;
  • $365,000 to Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environmnet, which opposes tackling climate change because warming is 'inevitable' and expensive to address.

The privately-owned company has no branded consumer products and as such a limited public profile.

However, Greenpeace says it has become a dominant figure in efforts to undermine confidence in climate science and promote opposition to clean energy both in the US and around the world.

'This private, out-of-sight corporation is now a partner to ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and other donors that support organisations and front-groups opposing progressive clean energy and climate policy,' says the report.

'In fact, Koch has out-spent ExxonMobil in funding these groups in recent years. From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to organisations of the ‘climate denial machine’.

Channelled funding

Most of its funding is channelled through three foundations: the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and the David H. Koch Foundation.

'It is time Koch Industries came clean and dropped its dirty, behind-the-scenes campaign against action on climate change,' said Greenpeace US research director Kert Davies.

In response, a spokesperson for Koch Industries said the company believed the, 'political response to climate issues should be based on sound science. Both a free society and the scientific method require an open and honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree.

'We've strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases.

'We have tried to help bring out the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate, as it's crucial to understand whether proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will achieve desired environmental goals and what effects they would likely have on the global economy,' said the spokesperson.

Useful links
Full report: Koch Industries: secretly funding the climate denial machine

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