The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
On David Koch’s Death and the Koch Network’s Endless War on Clean Energy
By Ben Jervey
Billionaire libertarian activist and oil industry tycoon David Koch died on Friday, leaving a toxic legacy that includes helping birth the climate denial movement, fighting against regulations that protect worker and public health, and — critical to our work here on DeSmog's KochvsClean project — helping fund and coordinate a decades-long attack on clean energy and low carbon energy solutions.
We will leave the mourning to his family and friends, and the condemning to those who were immediately impacted by his efforts — a massive group, considering the far-reaching impacts of climate change, which are already being felt across all continents and latitudes.
Billionaire industrialist David Koch is dead.— Alexander Kaufman (@AlexCKaufman) August 23, 2019
He deployed his stupendous fortune funding climate denial in the years when the science was clear and there was still time to avert catastrophic warming. He died as fires raged from the Amazon to the Arctic.https://t.co/edFPH7DC0P
On KochvsClean, our focus is on the Koch network's ongoing efforts to stall the spread of clean energy and the decarbonization of the global economy. And those efforts will be wholly unchanged by David Koch's passing.
Though many reports, obituaries and commentaries on his death have portrayed David as an equal partner in the "Koch brothers" tandem, longtime Koch historians have noted that his brother Charles was the driving force in many of the Koch network's activist and political efforts.
In an interview with The New Republic, journalist Christopher Leonard, author of the recently published book Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America, put it this way:
David Koch's tragic passing will have no impact whatsoever on the political strategies of the Koch network or the operation of the corporation. Charles Koch has always been the center of gravity for that, not David.
The machine will continue to go forward as it has, even without David Koch at the forefront.
But the reality is that David Koch's passing will not change anything, politically speaking.
It has always been Charles Koch who was the driving force of the "Koch brothers" political network, and the ringleader of Koch Industries, the source of the fortunes that fuels his political activity.
The constellation of think tanks and front groups and citizen advocacy organizations — and the foundations and dark money groups that support them — will continue to do Charles Koch's bidding.
As has been reported by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, David Koch had stepped back from leadership roles in the business and advocacy groups due to his declining health. In addition to his own foundation, David Koch had also served until recently on the boards of the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. None of these organizations have seen any fundamental shift in mission or tactics since David Koch left.
Moreover, these are but a few tentacles of the "Kochtopus" that will continue to influence policy and pollute public discourse on climate change and energy policy.
"The Kochs have built kind of an assembly line to manufacture political change," said Mayer, in a radio interview after the publication of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. "It includes think tanks, which produce papers. It includes advocacy groups, that advocate for policies. And it includes giving money to candidates."
This "assembly line" reflects the real world implementation of an integrated strategy to influence public policy, one laid out more than two decades ago by Koch Industries insider Richard Fink in an essay titled, "Structure of Social Change."
After David Koch's passing, nothing has or will change about how the Koch network activates and implements this strategy. Here on KochvsClean, we will continue to investigate how Koch money is misleading the public on the clean energy transition, and how these Koch-funded and affiliated groups are influencing policy at the federal, state and even local level. David Koch's death will not slow the Koch network's influence machine.
Reposted with permission from our media associate DeSmogBlog.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Hans Nicholas Jong
The Indonesian government has backed down from a decision to scrap its timber legality verification process for wood export, amid criticism from activists and the prospect of being shut out of the lucrative European market.
Viruses, pollution and warming ocean temperatures have plagued corals in recent years. The onslaught of abuse has caused mass bleaching events and threatened the long-term survival of many ocean species. While corals have little chance of surviving through a mass bleaching, a new study found that when corals turn a vibrant neon color, it's in a last-ditch effort to survive, as CBS News reported.
- Coral Reef Tipping Point: 'Near-Annual' Bleaching May Occur ... ›
- Coral in Crisis: Can Replanting Efforts Halt Reefs' Death Spiral ... ›
- 2020 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Event Is Most Widespread to Date ›
During summer in central New York, residents often enjoy a refreshing dip in the region's peaceful lakes.
But sometimes swimming is off-limits because of algae blooms that can make people sick.
- Algal Blooms Can be Deadly to Your Dogs - EcoWatch ›
- Every Mississippi Beach Is Closed Due to Toxic Algae - EcoWatch ›
- Toxic Algal Blooms Connected to Climate Change and Industrial ... ›
More than 40 million doctors and nurses are in, and they are prescribing a green recovery from the economic devastation caused by the new coronavirus.
- A 'Green Stimulus' Could Battle Three Crises: Coronavirus ... ›
- German Business Leaders Call for Climate Action With COVID-19 ... ›
- Canadian Groups Fight for a Just Covid-19 Recovery - EcoWatch ›
The U.K. government has proposed delaying the annual international climate negotiations for a full year after its original date to November 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
By Jared Kaufman
Upcycled food is now an officially defined term, which advocates say will encourage broader consumer and industry support for products that help reduce food waste. Upcycling—transforming ingredients that would have been wasted into edible food products—has been gaining ground in alternative food movements for several years but had never been officially defined.
- Chefs Are Going Back to Their Roots for Local, Sustainable Foraged ... ›
- This Montreal Company Turns Juice Pulp Into Food - EcoWatch ›
How to Lower Your Coronavirus Risk While Eating Out: Restaurant Advice From an Infectious Disease Expert
By Thomas A. Russo
As restaurants and bars reopen to the public, it's important to realize that eating out will increase your risk of exposure to the new coronavirus.
- Why Wear Face Masks in Public? Here's What the Research Shows ... ›
- How to Stay Healthy at Home During the Coronavirus Lockdown ... ›
- How Do You Stay Safe Now That States Are Reopening? - EcoWatch ›