Greenpeace Claims Koch Industries Secretly Funded Climate Skeptic Groups

by | Apr 1, 2010

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KochLobbySpendingA Greenpeace report claims that Koch Industries, one of the biggest privately-owned industrial conglomerates, involved in everything from ranching to oil refining, is channeling millions of dollars into efforts aimed at discrediting the scientific findings of climate change as well as groups opposed to clean energy policies and technologies, reports the New York Times.

The report, “Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine” (PDF), alleges that Koch Industries, headed by brothers David and Charles Koch, gave nearly $50 million between 1997 to 2008 to front groups that deny climate change.

As an example, the report claims that Koch foundations provided substantial funding to at least 20 organizations involved in highlighting the “Climategate” scandal in which emails hacked from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia cast some doubt on the scientific findings behind global warming, reports The Telegraph.

The investigation also claims that Koch outspent ExxonMobil in funding groups opposed to clean energy and climate policy. According to the report, ExxonMobil spent $24 million while the Koch Industries contributed $48.5 million in funding from 1997 to 2008.

The report also lists the recipients of Koch’s funding, including 35 organizations such as the Mercutus Center, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and 21 politicians.

Greenpeace also claims that a Koch-funded study that found renewable energy in Spain resulted in the country losing jobs was used to influence U.S. politicians against taking climate action. The report was later discredited, according to the environmental group.

Greenpeace also charges the Koch companies of having a poor environmental record. In 2000 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Koch industries $30 million for 300 oil spills that resulted in more than 3 million gallons of crude oil leaking intro ponds, lakes and coastal waters, reports The Guardian.

In response to the Greenpeace report, Koch issued a statement at its Web site: “The Greenpeace report mischaracterizes these efforts and distorts the environmental record of our companies. Koch companies have long supported science-based inquiry and dialogue about climate change and proposed responses to it. Koch companies have put tremendous effort into discovering and adopting innovative practices that reduce energy use and emissions in the manufacture and distribution of our products.”

It further stated: “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.”

The Guardian reports that the Kansas-based conglomerate with annual sales of $100 billion is dominated by petroleum and chemical interests, and owns refineries in the U.S. and in Holland. It also has held leases on the tar-sand fields of Alberta, Canada, and has interests in coal, oil exploration, chemicals, forestry, and pipelines.

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