Much of the public discourse denying the science of climate change and the need to take action to slow it seems to be funded by shadowy oil companies and conservative billionaires funneling hundreds of millions of dollars secretly through dummy organizations, according to a new report.
Some 75% of the money backing climate-denial efforts is untraceable, the peer-reviewed study by Drexel University's Robert J. Brulle finds. It was published December 21, 2013, in the journal Climatic Change.
The size of the "climate change counter-movement" (Brulle's label for an amalgam of advocacy organizations, think tanks, and trade associations) is impressive: he looks at 91 organizations with combined annual income of just over $900 million.
But the sources of this income are increasingly hidden. A January 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited billions on political propaganda, and to keep their spending secret. The big fossil-fuel industry funders who had previously funded the climate denial media blitz — for example ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers — seem to be shifting from disclosed contributions to deniable dark money.
- "Institutionalizing Delay: Foundation Funding and the Creation of U.S. Climate Change Counter-Movement Organizations," Climatic Change, December 21, 2013, by Robert J. Brulle.
- "Study Details Dark Money Flowing to Climate Science Denial," DeSmogBlog, December 23, 2013, by John Mashey.
- "Conservative Groups Spend Up To $1 Billion a Year To Fight Action on Climate Change," The Guardian, December 20, 2013, by Suzanne Goldenberg.
- "Study Finds Shift to 'Dark Money' in Climate Denial Effort," The Daily Climate, December 24, 2013, by Douglas Fischer.
- "The Dark Money in Climate Change," The Plum Line blog (Washington Post), December 27, 2013, by George Zornick.
- "Secret Funding Helped Build Vast Network of Climate Denial Thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013, by Suzanne Goldenberg.
- "DonorsTrust — the Right's Dark-Money ATM — Pumps Out Record $96 Million," Mother Jones, December 3, 2013, by Andy Kroll.
- "Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement," Mother Jones, February 5, 2013, by Andy Kroll.
- EJToday Headlines (SEJ), February 15, 2013.