Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.
Last night's entire first segment of The Daily Show focused on the recent study funded by the Koch Brothers that confirmed (again) that climate change is indeed a reality - an ironic twist given the Kochtopus' track record of fueling the climate change denial echo chamber with upwards of $55 million.
As described in an earlier piece on DeSmogBlog, “The [Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST)] paper, an effort to confirm or debunk whether the urban heat island (UHI) effect was skewing climate records, has affirmed - again - that global temperature records are accurate and worrisome.”
In a manner that only John Stewart and his Daily Show team can, they unpacked the hilarious irony of the whole situation. The segment, roughly ten minutes long, is well worth watching for the laughs alone, especially the McRib-ing of the mainstream media's pathetic coverage of climate science and fixation on corporate advertising ploys. And Aasif Mandvi's interviews, of course. Watch the video below:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Climate skeptics are once again proven wrong, and this time even Koch money can't skew the facts.
Have you heard the one from climate deniers that the “Urban Heat Island” effect has ruined all the weather stations and made the data they collect completely useless? The deniers claim any warming trend seen from these temperature recordings is from concrete buildings and asphalt roads – and that climate change is therefore a myth?
That would be false. Says whom, you ask? How about a new Koch-funded scientific study?
An investigation by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project released yesterday once again thoroughly dispatches the skeptic myth about the “Urban Heat Island” (UHI) effect.
Many global warming skeptics have long claimed that the urban heat island effect is so strong that it has skewed temperature measurements indicating that global warming is happening. The skeptics argue that efforts to curb global warming pollution are therefore unnecessary, citing their pet theory that surface temperature stations were swallowed by, or moved closer to, cities, thus skewing surface temperature records on the whole.
The BEST papers – which still must go through rigorous peer review – confirm what climate scientists have correctly stated previously, demonstrating without doubt that “very rural” temperature stations miles from any new “UHI” towns or cities have also recorded warming at 0.9 degrees Celsius over the last century.
To put it plainly, even the Kochtopus denial machine will have a tough time trying to twist this Koch-funded project’s findings. It looks like the Kochs backed the wrong horse here - one wonders whether they thought Hadley CRU would be proven wrong?
UPDATE: Video footage of the Greenpeace airship flight below this post.
A Greenpeace airship today flew over the secretive Rancho Mirage polluter strategy meeting hosted by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Wealthy elite interests and oil tycoons arriving at the posh resort to plot their anti-democracy agenda were greeted with the aerial message “Koch Brothers: Dirty Money.”
Greenpeace also released information collected from tax records confirming that the Koch Family Foundations continue to fund climate denial organizations. The most recent records available document that the Kochtopus dished out $6.4 million in 2009 to front groups and think tanks that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies. That brings the Kochtopus’s confirmed Dirty Money total to $54.9 million since 1997, with the majority, $31.3 million, spent since 2005.
There are few terms in the Canadian vernacular that irk me more than “ethical oil”. Since Ezra Levant’s 2010 book “Ethical Oil” hit the scene, it’s become the favourite language for government newspeak, and the media. Worst of all, its given tar sands proponents and the Conservative Government fodder for their debunked argument that tarsands oil is good for us.
Levant’s book looks at the ethical cost of our addiction to oil, and argues that Alberta tar sands oil is more ethically responsible than oil imported from despotic regimes in the Sudan, Russia, and Mexico, where human rights issues are of concern.
Though neither Harper nor our new Minister of Environmental Destruction have read the book, the term was exactly what the Conservatives needed to bolster the much-maligned tar sands. Prior to the echochamber that ensued after the publication of Levant’s book, tar sands oil was often characterized as “dirty” and “controversial” - much to the ire of the government.
Levant may well have learned the art of spin early in his career while spending the summer in an internship arranged by the libertarian and clean energy/climate change enemy Charles G. Koch Foundation, or through his work with the Fraser Institute. Levant himself coined the term “ethical oil” in 2009 after being involved in a panel on tar sands oil. The spin doctor finished the 90-minute debate having not managed to convince his audience of the merits of the toxic oil. Without admitting defeat, Levant quickly realized that he was going to have to find a different way to spin the dirty oil apart from economic arguments which just weren’t resonating with people.
With the U.S. midterm elections days away, there is no shortage of last-minute efforts and big advertising dollars being spent on the campaign trail. Prominent among those ‘campaigning’ are Big Oil and corporate interests, who are spending with reckless abandon after the recent Citizens United decision enabled unlimited spending to influence election results. As the Center for American Progress Action Fund reported, nearly $70 million of that funding was directed towards efforts to halt clean energy legislation.
Among the various polluting industries doling out big bucks is Big Oil who is bankrolling major efforts, along with their dubious sounding front groups, including Kochtopus funded groups. But the Kochs aren’t the only ones attacking prevailing climate science through shady front groups.
According to an excellent investigation by the Institute for Southern Studies, there’s a denier in town that is giving the Kochs a run for their money. Art Pope has finessed the art of bankrolling climate change denial in North Carolina. Facing South’s research demonstrates that Pope has close ties to the Kochs as one of four national directors of the Koch-founded political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity. He is also the second-largest institutional funder of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
Pope is a director and board chair of the William Pope Foundation, which has steered millions to conservative thinks tanks in North Carolina and nationally, a network working closely with the Kochtopus to manufacture doubt about global warming.
The New Yorker has published a must-read article exposing the long reach of the “Kochtopus” network set up by Koch Industries to fuel the Tea Party and fund the climate denial machine.
Written by investigative journalist Jane Mayer, the piece titled “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging war against Obama” explores the decades-long efforts of brothers David and Charles Koch to manipulate and deceive the public on issues ranging from climate change to cancer-causing chemicals.
Koch Industries has done far more than even ExxonMobil to fund the climate denial machine in recent years, and media coverage about numerous Tea Party and GOP candidates who deny the science of climate change confirm that the Kochs’ reach has infected national politics in unprecedented ways.
The lengthy New Yorker article covers many interesting new angles about the Kochs’ influence-peddling empire, and adds to a growing body of research about Koch Industries’ anti-science, anti-democratic activities.
Building upon the research from Greenpeace’s excellent Koch report earlier this year, Jane Mayer expands on Koch’s role in funding climate deniers and anti-science think tanks, not to mention the Tea Party.
Head over to The New Yorker to read the slimy details.
In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who’s-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change.
As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage. The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy. In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.
Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on. After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.
For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.
Koch Industries has “become a financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition,” spending over $48.5 million since 1997 to fund the climate denial machine, according to an extensive report today by Greenpeace.
The Greenpeace report reveals how Koch Industries and the foundations under its control spent far more than even ExxonMobil in recent years to fund industry front groups opposed to clean energy and climate policies. Koch spent over half the total amount -nearly $25 million - funding climate denier groups from 2005 to 2008, a period in which Exxon only spent $8.9 million.
Greenpeace’s attempt to lift the veil of secrecy inherent to a private company like Koch Industries is no easy task. Because it remains privately owned, Koch faces few of the disclosure requirements designed to increase transparency among publicly-traded companies.
Koch Industries, Inc.
Background and History
Koch Industries, Inc. is the largest privately owned energy company in the United States, and the country's second largest private company. According to Forbes, in 2007 Koch Industries generated $98 billion in revenue and had 80,000 employees.