Cato Institute

Cato Institute


The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held company by revenue in the United States.

The Institute's mission is “to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace. The Institute will use the most effective means to originate, advocate, promote, and disseminate applicable policy proposals that create free, open, and civil societies in the United States and throughout the world.”

Stance on Climate Change

“No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame of 50 years or so, even with full compliance.” [1]


According to Media Matters (Accessed December, 2011): [2]

Greenpeace reports that Cato has received over $1 million from Koch since 2005. [3] Based on the above chart, the total number is somewhere areound $13,637,640 from Koch foundations.

According to ExxonSecrets, the Cato Institute received $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [4]

According to Cato's 2010 Annual Report, corporate sponsors included:

  • Altria Group Inc.
  • Amerisure Companies
  • CME Group
  • Consumer Electronics Association
  • FedEx Corporation
  • Google Inc.
  • PMI Global Services Inc.
  • Reynolds American
  • Verisign Inc.
  • Volkswagen of America
  • Whole Foods Market

SourceWatch reports that Cato's corporate funding was more extensive in the past, having received $612,000 from 26 corporate supporters in 2006: [5]

  • Altria (the report identifies Altria Corporate Services as the contributor)
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • Amerisure Companies
  •  Amgen
  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange
  • Comcast Corporation
  • Consumer Electronic Association
  • Ebay Inc
  • ExxonMobil
  • FedEx Corporation
  • Freedom Communications
  • General Motors
  • Honda North America
  • Korea International Trade Association
  •  Microsoft
  • National Association of Software and Service Companies
  • Pepco Holdings Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  •  TimeWarner
  • Toyota Motor Corporation
  • UST Inc
  •  Verisign
  • Verizon Communications
  • Visa USA Inc
  • Volkswagen of America
  • Wal-Mart Stores

Key People

Adjunct Scholars

Notable adjunct scholars include Donald J. Boudreaux and Robert L. Bradley Jr. See a full list of adjunct scholars here

According to ExxonSecrets, past adjunct scholars have included (among others) Thomas Gale Moore, Patrick J. Michaels, and Steve Milloy.

Board of Directors

  • K. Tucker Andersen — Director, Above All Advisors.
  • Edward H. Crane — President, Cato Institute.
  • Richard J. Dennis — President, Dennis Trading Group.
  • William A. Dunn — President, Dunn Capital Management.
  • Kevin Gentry — Vice President for Strategic Development, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
  • Ethelmae C. Humphreys — Chairman, Tamko Roofing Products, Inc.
  • David H. Koch — Executive Vice President, Koch Industries, Inc.
  • Robert A. Levy — Chairman, Cato Institute.
  • John C. Malone — Chairman, Liberty Media Corporation.
  • Nancy M. Pfotenhauer — President, MediaSpeak Strategies.
  • Lewis E. Randall — Board Member, ETrade Financial.
  • Howard S. Rich — Chairman, Americans for Limited Government.
  • Donald G. Smith — President, Donald Smith & Co., Inc.
  • Jeffrey S. Yass — Managing Director, Susquehanna International Group, LLP.
  • Fred Young — Former Owner, Young Radiator Company
  • Frank Bond — Director Emeritus, Chairman, The Foundation Group LLC.


July 26, 2013

The Cato Institute released a report entitled, “The IPCC AR5 is in Real Trouble,” for their weekly Global Science Report. The article was released three months before the commencement of COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland (November, 2013). The report paints a picture of “internal inconsistency” within the IPCC's consensus on climate change. Releasing AR5, in its “current form,” The Cato Institute states, “[would] be a major fiasco.” [7]

April, 2009

Cato published an advertisement in major newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Los Angeles Times that questioned President Obama's stance on climate change.  [6]

The list of signatories includes many well known climate change skeptics.

The ad received critiques from numerous sources and the New York Times ad alone reportedly cost at least $150,000.  PolitiFact also evaluated Cato's claim that “There has been no global warming for a decade now,” and found it to be false. [7]

June 7, 2002

Senior Fellow Patrick Michaels signed a letter to President Bush, asking him to withdraw the “Climate Action Report 2002.”

The letter demands it be rewritten based on “sound science” and recommends Bush “dismiss or re-assign all administration employees who are not pursuing your agenda, just as you have done in several similar instances.” [11]


Cato has developed “Cato Handbooks” for both the 106th and 107th Congresses where they were distributed to members in an attempt to cast doubt on climate change science and discouraged U.S. involvement in the Kyoto Protocol.

May 18, 2000

Held a “book forum” around the release of Patrick Michaels' “The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming.” 

According to Cato, “Acknowledging that industrial emissions of greenhouse gasses have warmed the planet and will continue to do so over the next several decades, Michaels and Balling argue that future warming will be moderate, not catastrophic, and will have benign economic and ecological effects.” [8]

October 6, 1999

Senior Fellow Patrick Michaels testified (PDF) before the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs, arguing against the classification of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. [9]

April 9, 1997

Jerry Taylor, Cato Director of Natural Resource Studies, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Energy Research, Development, Production and Regulation and the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs.

He argued that the Clinton administration budget requests for global climate change programs were not in compliance with the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act. [10]

Related Organizations

  • Philip Morris

The Cato Institute appears on lists of Philip Morris's “national allies,” including a 1999 “Federal Government Affairs Tobacco Allies Notebook,” and in a  list of “National Allies” dated 2000. [12], [13]

In another document, R.J. Reynolds Names the Cato Institute as a group they could rely on to “shift the debate and framework under which cigarette-related issues are evaluated in the future.”

They say to “Work with CATO Institute … to empanel a group to debate legality and future management of cigarette industry. Open forum to media (pitch C- SPAN coverage); issue press release and transcript of remarks to media not in attendance.” [14]


  1. Cato Handbook for Congress: Policy Recommendations for the 107th Congress (2001),” Cato Institute. See Chapter 47.

  2. The Cato Institute,” Media Matters. Accessed December 26, 2011.

  3. Case Study: The Koch-funded 'ClimateGate' Echo Chamber,” Greenpeace.

  4. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: The Cato Institute.

  5. Cato Institute,” SourceWatch profile.

  6. With all due respect…” RealClimate, March 24, 2009.

  7. Jonathan Hiskes. “Cato’s skeptic ads draw a flurry of responses,” Grist, April 2, 2009.

  8. Politics Tilts Global Warming Debate, Book Says,” Cato Policy Report, Vol. 22, No. 3 (May/June 2000).

  9. “Is Co2 a Pollutant and Does EPA Have the Power to Regulate It?” (PDF), Joint Hearing Before the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, National Resources, and Regulatory Affairs. October 6, 1999.

  10. Testimony of Jerry Taylor before the Subcommittee on Energy And Environment Committee On Science, The United States House of Representatives. Published by the Cato Institute, April 9, 1997.

  11. Joint Letter To President Bush On The EPA's Climate Action Report,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 7, 2002.

  12. Philip Morris Federal Government Affairs Tobacco Allies Notebook Index List. Legacy Tobacco Documents, October 19, 1999.

  13. Philip Morris National Allies List. February, 2000. 2 pp. Legacy Tobacco Documents.

  14. R.J. Reynolds Reframing the Debate Communications Plan Report/email. September 26, 2000. Legacy Tobacco Documents.

  15. Cato Institute,” Wikipedia entry.

  16. Greenpeace research documents on the Cato Institute.

  17. The IPCC AR5 is in Real Trouble,” Cato Institute, July 26, 2013.