Quantcast

New Report Exposes Dark Money Funneling to Climate Change Denial Groups

The network of corporate-funded right wing think tanks in America is massive. The money that flows to these organizations is even more massive than the networks themselves, and it flows in almost total secrecy thanks to Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.

According to the report, a staggering sum of $125 million has been given to these organizations that deny climate change over the last three years.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

These think tanks and astroturf groups are the leaders in climate change denial, spreading misinformation and corrupt data to the masses in order to downplay—and in many cases flat out deny—the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

And though we may not have the names of individual donors, a new report from The Guardian does a great job of laying out how much money is flowing to these climate change denial groups.

According to the report, a staggering sum of $125 million has been given to these organizations that deny climate change over the last three years. This money is used to fund industry-friendly groups who create and disseminate talking points, and support other public relations efforts and the right wing media echo chamber to promote climate change denial.

Another goal of this money is to undermine federal regulations aimed at curtailing emissions and other environmental health and safety standards. For example, The Guardian says that portions of this $125 million have been used to fight the Obama administration’s recent rules for coal-fired power plants that would put limits on the amount of greenhouses gases these plants are allowed to release into the atmosphere.

Of course, since these groups all participate in other areas of politics, it is difficult to conclude whether or not all of this money went directly to climate change denial, but The Guardian does confirm that all groups involved are actively engaged in climate change denial.

In order to find out where the money is going, The Guardian sifted through several years’ worth of tax filings. Many of these organizations are classified as 501(c)3 groups, which means that they are tax exempt and do not have to disclose the names of their donors.

What they uncovered is a massive web of climate denial being funded by a seemingly limitless “dark money ATM.”

A few of the groups listed in the report include:

  • The Federalist Society, a networking group for conservative lawyers and justices which calls on states to reject the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate carbon pollution, received $8.7 million over the past three years.
  • The State Policy Network, a network of ultra-conservative think tanks, received a total of $8.2 million over the last three years.
  • Think tanks allied with the State Policy Network have worked with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a pro-business lobby, which has sought legislation to penalize homeowners who install solar panels.
  • The Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank whose climate expert opposes cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, took in $7.9 million over three years.
  • The Heartland Institute, which sent a delegation to Rome in April to try to upstage meetings between the Pope and the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon on climate change, received $3.8 million.
  • The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received $4.3 million over three years, claims on its website that climate change is its biggest program.
  • The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, whose communications director is Marc Morano, took $3.7 million from donors in 2012—its most ever. A year later, however, the organization received $325,000.

Again, the source of the money is not clear, thanks to U.S. laws that allow donors to give anonymously to these organizations. But what is painfully clear is that the money flowing to climate change denial is only for the benefit of the dirty energy industry, as the rest of the country only stands to lose if corporations are allowed to continue to pollute without limits.

To learn more about Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, check out the analysis by DeSmog's Graham Readfearn exploring the dark money ATM in further detail.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical Is Disrupting American Politics

NOAA: Hottest Spring and Hottest Year to Date on Record

Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley: We Can and Should Be 100% Powered by Renewable Energy by 2050

Sponsored
Prince William and British naturalist David Attenborough attend converse during the World Economic Forum annual meeting, on January 22 in Davos, Switzerland. Fabrice Cofferini /AFP / Getty Images

Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.

During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.

Read More Show Less
EV charging lot in Anaheim, California. dj venus / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Electric vehicle sales took off in 2018, with a record two million units sold around the world, according to a new Deloitte analysis.

What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Teenager Alex Weber and friends collected nearly 40,000 golf balls hit into the ocean from a handful of California golf courses. Alex Weber / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Savoca

Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.

As a scientist researching marine plastic pollution, I thought I had seen a lot. Then, early in 2017, I heard from Alex Weber, a junior at Carmel High School in California.

Read More Show Less
Southwest Greenland had the most consistent ice loss from 2003 to 2012. Eqalugaarsuit, Ostgronland, Greenland on Aug. 1, 2018. Rob Oo / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.

"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"

Read More Show Less
Seismic tests are a precursor to offshore drilling for oil and gas. BSEE

Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.

The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.

Read More Show Less
Brazil, Pantanal, water lilies. Nat Photos / DigitalVision / Getty Images Plus

Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.

Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators participate in a protest march over agricultural policy on Jan. 19 in Berlin, Germany. Carsten Koall / Getty Images Europe

By Andrea Germanos

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.

Read More Show Less
MarioGuti / iStock / Getty Images

By Patrick Rogers

If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Read More Show Less