Why Exxon makes Koch Giggle

Fri, 2007-06-29 09:48Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Why Exxon makes Koch Giggle

As regular readers of DeSmogBlog know, ExxonMobil has been a regular target of bad ink for their continued funding of “think” tanks and industry associations that spread misinformation about the scientific evidence for human-caused global warming.

While Exxon is continuously vilified as the leader of the attack on climate change science, the Koch Foundation is heavily involved in the same type of activity, but receives very little of the bad press.

Anyone want to start www.kochsecrets.org?

As regular readers of DeSmogBlog know, ExxonMobil has been a regular target of bad ink for their continued funding of “think” tanks and industry associations that spread misinformation about the scientific evidence for human-caused global warming.

However, an organization that you may not have heard of is equally guilty of such activities.

The Koch (pronounced “coke”) Family of Foundations is run by David and Charles Koch, sons of the founder of Koch Industries, Fred Koch. Koch Industries is the world's largest privately owned company and while it now boasts a diversified portfolio of companies, it cut its teeth in the 1940's as an oil refining company and today produces 800,000 barrels of oil per day through one of its subsidiaries.

While Exxon is continuously vilified as the leader of the attack on climate change science, the Koch Foundation is heavily involved in the same type of activity, but receives very little of the bad press.

Some examples:

The Cato Institute was founded by Charles Koch in 1977, and has received a reported $13.2 million from the Koch Family foundations since 1986. Cato has received $110,000 from ExxonMobil since 1991.

The Heritage Foundation has received $2.4 million from Koch, while receiving $585,000 from ExxonMobil.

The Reason Foundation has received $2.2 million from Koch, while receiving $381,000 from ExxonMobil.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute received $666,000 from Koch, while receiving a whopping $2 million from ExxonMobil.

And the list goes on, but the media and NGO spotlight remains heavily focussed on the funding activities of the publicly traded oil company, while the private one remains, for the most part, private. We here at the DeSmogBlog are just as guilty of focusing most of our attention on the activities of ExxonMobil, as are many others. And why not. With ExxonMobil publicly disclosing its funding activities on an annual basis, they make an easy target.

In the Fall, 2006 the Royal Society in the UK issued a public letter demanding that ExxonMobil discontinue its think tank war on climate science and this demand was met with a small measure of success. ExxonSecrets.org, operated by Greenpeace, has done amazing work as well in this area. Such efforts are to be commended. However it is imperative that when it comes to such things we do not put on our Exxon blinders to the exclusion of all others.

To that end I have registered the website domain name www.kochsecrets.org if anyone is interested.

 

Comments

The dollar amounts mentioned are mere peanuts. No propaganda, no matter how effective, can accomplish and supposedly “confuse” the public on such tiny sums of money. Regards,

It seems to have worked on you since you believe the non-sense put out by Exxon, CEI, AEI, Heartland, FOS, NRSP et al. and you refuse to read and acceept the real science as published in the peer reviewed scientific literature.

However, maybe you are just cheap and easily bought.

Ian Forrester

Irregardless, propaganda on the masses can not be done for the paltry sums mentioned.
All that’s needed is to pay someone to call their house or office an institute and have them make press releases and write to opinion pages. The normal media do the rest by presenting “both sides” in their coverage which is almost always too superficial to allow viewership/readership to make an informed decision. All that gets presented is that some vague body of scientists think X and some others from an institute think Y.

Much more is needed Steve. You have a superficial understanding of propaganda and it’s supposed effectiveness.

You assume that the public is composed of simpletons who you consider incapable of handling various viewpoints, and therefore, can only be offered the one, official viewpoint. But free expression of ideas does not work that way.

Blaming Exxon and its ilk is barking up the wrong tree. Regards,

Paul, if those amounts don’t amount to anything, then you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do: Why does Exxon et al fund these groups if it only contributes to negative views of Exxon et al and has no other effect on public perceptions? Also, you haven’t understood my (indeed, THE) point. I’m all for free expression of ideas – unfortunately our media are poor at educating because of constraints on time and space (most articles are an uncomprehensive five or fewer minutes to read and TV presentations are shorter) and most readers/viewers are too busy or preoccupied with important things in their lives to spend time on something (that they might not be interested in researching) in order to determine which arguments are stronger when equal time is given in a he said/she said presentation. I don’t think people are simpletons. I think they are busy and disinterested. Of course there are a few (like Stan below, I suspect) who do go and check up on things. Many of these folks have an ideological leaning that directs them to particular sources so that they ask questions that show they haven’t tried looking in more scientific sources. But that’s beside the point. Most people aren’t like you, Stan, Forrester, Eco-Hitler, or me; they have other things to do. That’s why in the 90’s Exxon or a coalition of fossil fuel interests (somebody correct me if I’m wrong) explained in a memo that their intention was not to prove to people that AGW didn’t exist but instead to plant seeds of doubt. You needn’t tell me that I misunderstanding how propaganda works – you have to explain it to Exxon (and Koch).
To which peer reviewed papers do you refer? The ones that show that Al Gore’s use of Mt. Kilimanjaro as a poster child for anthropogenic global warming is wrong? The ones that show that temperature changes precede carbon dioxide changes The ones that show that there was a medieval warm period? The ones that show that temperatures in Antarctica are staying level, not increasing as they should because of polar amplification? Please enlighten me on what I have missed.

What makes you think that the disappearnace of the glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro are not caused by global warming? Just because the local temperature may not show much of a rise does not immediately invalidate the concept of global warming. The theory that deforestation is the cause is just more junk science. The most probable reason is that global warming is causing increased temparatures in the Indian Ocean and that is causing major climate changes in the African continent (droughts in the interior and major flooding in coastal areas). This is pretty well accepted now.

As for the old canard about temperature change preceding CO2 rises this is discussed in a number of places. Realclimate is a good place to start:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/the-lag-between-temp-and-co2/

As for the medieval warm period, there has been no evidence produced that there was a global increase in temperature during this period. There may, and even at that it is highly unlikely, that certain areas may have experienced a localized warming at that time. Please do not get excited about warming and wine making in Greenland, any warming there was very localized. It is unlikley that the Northern hemisphere experienced more than 0.2 degrees C of warming.

For information on the Antarctic see Realclimate:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/antarctica-snowfall/

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/significant-warming-of-the-antarctic-winter-troposphere/

If you read these articles and approach them with an open mind and know a little bit about science I think that you will be less inclined to believe the pseudo-science put out by the AGW deniers.

Ian Forrester

Add up all the money contributed to this campaign and you're talking a nice chunk of change. Plus, it is not very expensive to sow doubt – much more expensive to convince. 

Why is it not expensive to sow doubt Kevin?

Kevin, you are arguing the position that we, the general public, can not be trusted to absorb, assimilate, or discard information that is presented to us. But we can, and we do.

Canada’s government has spent vast sums of money, and so have environmental groups, on the dangers of AGW, yet the general public remains largely unmotivated to serious action.

I believe the real “enemy”, if there is one, is us; average ordinary Canadian citizens. Something to think about. Regards,

Paul, I don’t think we’re that ordinary, with respect to climate change. Most people spend a lot less time on it.


Quantity does not equal quality.

Try raising the bar just once.
How much money has the government of Canada spent on talking about AGW? What do you consider a “vast sum” in their case?


“Cato has received $110,000 from ExxonMobil since 1991.”

Holy smokes! You’ve uncovered the scandal of the century! That works out to like, uh, $6,875 a year! Imagine if this gets out? The Cato Institute’s credibility will be shot to hell, and you’ll be famous.

This is the kind of muck-raking journalism that could win you the Pulitzer Prize. Even if it doesn’t, you can still tell everyone you won. It’s not like anyone ever checks these things.
If a demand actually existed for [their] imaginary service, then the PR [effort] which signs [those] paycheques would be redundant. Nor would they be trying so desperately to peddle this particular sack of magic beans.

Dear Ignoranus, the Cato Institute lost its credibility when, as a libertarian group, it supported stronger central government and reduced liberties at home in support of a “war on terror” which amounts to corporate welfare. If you held a consistent philosophy, you would know that. Also, you would not be able to write the above paragraph regarding Desmogblog without also applying the same argument to the Heartland Institute, etc.


“Dear Ignoranus, the Cato Institute lost its credibility when, as a libertarian group, it supported stronger central government and reduced liberties at home in support of a “war on terror” which amounts to corporate welfare.”

Do you even know what you’re talking about? Evidently not.

In what alternate reality did the Cato Institute ever advocate a larger government in support of the war on terrorism? And what on Earth that would have to do with “corporate welfare”, is anyone’s guess.

Why do you say I don’t know what I’m talking about? If you don’t trust me as a source of information you can go and argue against Antiwar.com on their pages. The earliest one regarding this issue that I successfully googled is this one: http://antiwar.com/blog/?p=2394 . (Use antiwar.com’s search function to find others.) As time wore on there have been more reports on Cato publishing articles in favour of beefing up homeland security (that’s right, using TAX $$!) and diverting extra public funds to the MIC. Cato also has a filter that prevents them from applying their principles when discussing aid to a particular country. I suspect that you may actually read (!) this other article on Cato’s website: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2007/03/11/tyler-cowen/the-paradox-of-libert....
Here are the first lines: >Brian Doherty asks: “Did this libertarian movement … actually accomplish anything of unquestionable significance?” >Yes: Bigger government. >But no, that isn’t as bad as it might sound to many Cato readers.

I’ll stop here because Cato’s claims to libertarianism are quite distant from the topic of this post. The original post is about groups other than Exxon funding climate misinformation. Thanks Kevin, it’s all well and good to point out Exxon’s role, but it’s also important to know that there are deep pockets elsewhere demanding the services of AEI etc.


AHAHAHAHAHA! Oh man, that is so hilarious.

By the way, though it would be obvious to most halfway intelligent people, that “post” is actually a guest essay. What seems to be confusing you, is that you don’t understand that other political philosophies, unlike your hard core leftist “Environmentalist” cult, controversial viewpoints, discussion, and debate are tolerated and encouraged. Anyone expressing disenting opinion is not automatically pilloried and denounced as a counter-revolutionary “denieralist”.

But you wouldn’t know about that, would you?

The fact that I read “right wing” and libertarian literature should tell you that 1) not all desmoggers are hard-core leftists and 2) that the “environmentalist cult” allows many people to express a variety of views. What I would protest regarding your posts is that they are ignorant and lack depth. Try reading something and commenting on the merits of the argument rather than snivelling around to find an out in the stead of a counter argument. I think most people would welcome intelligent rebuttal to the mainstream AGW science and arguments about what to do about those conclusions. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be up to it. WRT Cato, it ain’t my dad’s Cato Institute anymore, and there are plenty of other examples (I hope you laugh an equal amount at them when you search them out).
I couldn’t figure out what was so funny until I thought about your form and how you ‘evidently’ don’t read. Here’s Antiwar.com’s self description for you:
http://antiwar.com/who.php
“The founders of Antiwar.com were active in the Libertarian Party during the 1970s; in 1983, we founded the Libertarian Republican Organizing Committee, to work as a libertarian caucus within the GOP.” Note that some of their contributors left the Cato Institute due to its shift.

Now, this isn’t the place to argue the libertarian bonafides of other websites (sorry all), so I’ll emplore you to read and to shove your underserved elitism wrt tolerance up any one of your equally unenlightened orifices.


Just how much does Internet money-laundering mogul John Lefebvre pay your employer, James Hoggan and Associates public relations firm for this propaganda?

Just asking …

4yGood idea.0j I compleatly disagree with last post . hhg
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