For Immediate Release
Giant Private US Oil Company at Center of Climate Denial Funding: Greenpeace
WASHINGTON - A little-known, privately-owned US oil and
manufacturing giant that has made its owners the 19th richest men in the
world has outspent even ExxonMobil in funding the denial of the science
of climate change in recent years, according to a Greenpeace report
machine” (1), the report details how Kansas-based Koch Industries, a
multinational company with little public profile, is playing a quiet but
dominant role in the US policy debate on climate change. It shows how
Koch has become the financial kingpin in efforts to undermine confidence
in climate science and to oppose clean energy in the US and
internationally. Between 2005 and 2008, Koch foundations contributed
$24.8 million to climate denial organizations – nearly 3 times as much
as ExxonMobil in the same period.
“It is time Koch Industries came clean and dropped its dirty,
behind-the-scenes campaign against action on climate change,” said Kert
Davies, Research Director at Greenpeace US
The report also details Koch Industries’ growing effort in recent years
to influence US climate and energy policy through spending on lobbying
and campaign contributions from Koch’s Political Action Committee to
candidates for federal office. Since the 2006 election cycle, Koch
Industries PAC contributed more to federal candidates than any other
company in the oil & gas industry. Koch Industries ranks third in
lobby expenditures from the oil sector since 2006, just behind
ExxonMobil and Chevron.
Two brothers, Charles and David Koch, own and control Koch Industries as
well as its political spending.
“By spending millions of dollars on lobbying and political
contributions, Charles and David Koch are polluting not only our
environment, but also the US political process. Efforts to pass US clean
energy and climate policy are being hampered by polluter lobbyists and
climate science denial campaigns, and Koch Industries is at the core of
this obstruction.” said Davies.
The report details several Koch-funded climate denial efforts:
* The Koch foundations provided substantial funding to at least 20
organizations central to the global “echo chamber” which have repeatedly
rebroadcast, referenced, and appeared as media spokespeople in the
story, dubbed “Climategate,” of supposed wrongdoing by climate
scientists gleaned from e-mails hacked from the University of East
Anglia, in November 2009.
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* Charles Koch's foundation along with ExxonMobil and the American
Petroleum Institute, funded an astrophysicist to write a 2007 article
about polar bears, masquerading as a peer-reviewed scientific paper
attempting to refute the science around the threat to polar bears from
* The Kochs funded a Danish think tank that produced a dubious study
about the Danish wind industry. The Koch-funded 'echo chamber' in the
US used this study to challenge President Obama’s support of wind
energy. Earlier this month, the Danish Environment Minister rejected the
* The Kochs funded groups that supported and promoted a widely debunked
study in Spain that claimed that the renewable energy industry had lost
the country jobs. Among the groups was “Americans for Prosperity” - a
front group founded and chaired by David Koch. It is currently
campaigning against clean energy and climate policy in the US.
Although few Americans have heard of Koch Industries, it is a major oil
corporation with operations in nearly 60 countries. Koch Industries is
the second largest privately held company in the US, a conglomerate of
more than 20 companies with 70,000 employees and $100 billion in annual
sales. Most of Koch’s operations are invisible to the public, with the
exception of a handful of retail brands such as Brawny® paper towels
and Dixie® cups as well as synthetic textiles like Lycra® and Cordura®.
Part of Koch Industries’ influence is channeled through three
foundations, also controlled by the co-owners of the company, David and
Charles Koch. From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent around US$9 million
while Koch Industries-controlled foundations spent nearly US$25 million
on undermining confidence in climate science by funding the climate
denial movement. Groups which received funding include the Americans for
Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Mercatus Center, the Cato
Institute, Washington Legal Foundation and the Foundation for Research
on Economics and the Environment (FREE).
"This funding is propping up an echo chamber of doubt, deliberately
creating the appearance of controversy and uncertainty about the
international consensus on climate change science in order to slow down
policymakers," said Davies.
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