Free to Choose Network

Free to Choose Network

 Background

The Free to Choose Network is a a non-profit foundation founded by the late neo-liberal economist Milton Friedman, a man closely associated with the tobacco industry.

Friedman was also a fellow at the Hoover Institution which has received grants from ExxonMobil, Koch Foundations and other right wing foundations such as the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

Free to Choose Network describes it's purpose as “To use accessible and entertaining media to build popular support for personal, economic and political freedom.” [1]

Stance on Climate Change

“So the truth is out. And it really is inconvenient: The earth is probably warming a little bit – and man probably doesn't have that much influence. If we were to take draconian measures to change our miniscule contribution, we'd be shooting ourselves in the economic foot (especially when we can currently do absolutely nothing about the behavior of the sun).” [2]

 Funding

Although detailed funding records are not available, it is clear that Free to Choose Network Received $10,058 for “Educational Programs” from Koch Family Foundations in 2009.

In 2010 the Network received over $489,000 from Donors Capital Fund (DCF), a group that anonymously distributes donations. DCF has been a major funder of the Heartland Institute, and has given money to numerous other organizations skeptical of man-made climate change. [3]

Key People

Board of Directors

As of May, 2012, the following directors were listed on Free to Choose's website: [4]

  • Sarah Humphreys Atkins
  • Jonathan Thomas Beach — Executive Director, Beach Foundation.
  • James J. Bochnowski
  • Robert J. Chitester — President and CEO.
  • Preston Cody — Managing Consultant, Wood Mackenzie.
  • Ron Farmer
  • David Jorgensen — Vice Chairman.
  • Vidar Jorgensen — Chairman, Conference and Research Companies.
  • Michael L.S. Keiser
  • Ronald H. Muhlenkamp
  • John Reese — Partner, Peak View Capital, LLC.
  • Chris J. Rufer
  • Brian Singer, CFA — Chairman.
  • Douglas Wolf
  • Rick Wolf — President & CEO, Wolf-Gordon, Inc.

 Actions

May 21 - 23, 2012

Free to Choose Network is listed as a “Silver Sponsor” of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

2008

The Idea Channel produced a video that was funded and distributed by the Heartland Institute titled “Unstoppable Solar Cycles: Rethinking Global Warming.” [5]

According to Free to Choose Network, “What we learn in this program is that earth’s climate is always changing—from The Middle Ages and the 'Little Ice Age' to the modern warming that has been going on since 1850—well before human-generated CO2 began increasing in our atmosphere.”

Speakers featured in the program included prominent climate change skeptics Willie Soon and David Legates.  Notably, in the same year Free to Choose Network gave Willie Soon a $19,383 grant to study “The sun's influence on climate change.” [6], [7]

Rie Oldenburg, curator of the Narsaq Museum was interviewed in the video. She later claimed that she had been tricked into participating. She had thought she was contributing to a video on Norse history, and was shocked to learn that the DVD denied the human contribution to climate change.

A version of the video was distributed to schools by the advocacy organization Izzit.org, described as the “educational initiative of the Free To Choose Network” and included a “Teacher's Guide” (PDF) and lesson plan. [8]

Related Organizations

 Resources

  1. About Us,” Free to Choose Network. Accessed May, 2012.

  2. Roy Spencer: Climate Realism v. Junk Science,” Ideas Matter, March 1, 2012.

  3. The case for Barre Seid as the Heartland Institute's Anonymous Donor, Part 3,” Daily Kos, February 26, 2012.

  4. Board of Directors,” Freetochoose.net. Accessed May 8, 2012.

  5. “Unstoppable Solar CycleS: Production Team,” Free to Choose Network. Accessed May, 2012.

  6. “Unstoppable Solar Cyclesm,” Free to Choose Network. Accessed May, 2012.

  7. CASE STUDY: Dr. Willie Soon, a Career Fueled by Big Oil and Coal,” Greenpeace. Accessed May, 2012.

  8. About Us,” Izzit.org. Accessed May, 2012.