How the Koch Brothers Fund the Climate Change Denial Machine

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The Koch brothers, owners of Koch Industries are major funders of organizations that create propaganda which denies the reality of climate change. David Koch expressed doubts to the New Yorker magazine last year that climate change is caused by human activity. He also extolled the benefits of climate change, if it happens, stating that it would result in longer growing seasons in colder climates. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he said.

The Koch Industries website contains an article that begins by claiming that the company practices environmental stewardship. A couple of paragraphs down, the article states that the company also believes “over-zealous environmental regulation can be destructive.” The article goes on to criticize measures that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Greenpeace released a report last year about the Koch foundations supporting organizations that oppose “progressive clean energy and climate policy.” Koch gave $24.9 million from 2005 to 2008 to “organizations of the climate denial machine,” the report states.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank, is one of the organizations that has benefited from Koch money. According to Greenpeace, ALEC’s total grants from 1997 to 2008 from the Koch foundations were $408,000.

The ALEC published a whitepaper titled, EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck: Strategies for State Legislators. The whitepaper states that the “highest priority should be to get the state on record as calling on Congress to stop this regulatory train wreck.” It cites the “Resolution Opposing EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck” as a model resolution. Wyoming and Indiana adopted the resolution this year.

The resolution asks Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, impose a moratorium on any new air quality regulation for at least two years, and require the Obama administration to undertake a multi-agency study identifying all EPA regulatory activity and the cumulative effect on the economy, jobs, and American competitiveness.

Koch and the Americans For Prosperity

The New Hampshire State House of Representatives voted for a bill which would repeal the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 10 state cap-and-trade scheme. Prior to the vote on the bill, a group called Americans For Prosperity (AFP) made robocalls about the bill. AFP is the “third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations, behind the Cato Institute and the George Mason University Foundation,” according to DeSmogBlog.

The AFP, along with Koch Industries, is an influence on some of the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Nine of the 12 Republicans on the Committee signed an AFP pledge to oppose GHG emissions regulations. The Committee’s chairman, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) received $20,000 in donations from Koch employees. An article by the Daily Hampshire Gazette states that “Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel…contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee’s 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.”

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Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.