Study Details Dark Money Flowing to Climate Science Denial

Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle's long-awaited, peer-reviewed study “Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations” was published Dec. 20 in the journal Climatic Change.

The Drexel press release, “Not Just the Koch Brothers: New Drexel Study Reveals Funders Behind the Climate Change Denial Effort” gives a quick introduction to the findings:

'This study marks the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis ever conducted of the sources of funding that maintain the denial effort.
Through an analysis of the financial structure of the organizations that constitute the core of the countermovement and their sources of monetary support, Brulle found that, while the largest and most consistent funders behind the countermovement are a number of well-known conservative foundations, the majority of donations are 'dark money,' or concealed funding.”

“Funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to denial organizations by the Donors Trust has risen dramatically. Donors Trust is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced. This one foundation now provides about 25% of all traceable foundation funding used by organizations engaged in promoting systematic denial of climate change.”

Of course, many recipients engage in numerous other actiivities outside the climate issue, and Brulle's study did not and could not address the percentage spent on climate change.  The clear message is that tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations that spread climate denial get huge sums of dark money, and we really do not yet know exactly how they spend it.

Brulle has provided DeSmogBlog with the 120-page Supplementary Material, with detailed financial data and explanations of the methodology. Figs 1-4 are attached below. Fig 3 shows how the DONORS TRUST money anonymizer has grown:

Growth of DONORS

DONORS TRUST was first reported on here at DeSmogBlog in February 2012, updated in October, and was mentioned in PBS/Frontline's Climate of Doubt, with more discussion by Brulle.

UPDATE 02/05/14: Brulle's paper was featured in a 10-minute briefing (video) by US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Image Credit: Michael Nowosielski  / Shutterstock.


Both sides of the climate debate have their own sugar daddies. If you warmists have such a good case why not confront your opponents instead of trying to suppress them? If you're going to run away from debates, you don't deserve to be taken seriously!

It is very aggravating to find AGW deniers like Conman waxing on about science debate when he obviously doesn't have a clue as to how real science, as opposed to the comedic efforts of the likes of Monckton and other pseudo scientists, works.

The science debate takes place in the scientific literature and at conferences organized by scientists, not by fossil fuel shills.

Why are there very few papers showing how wrong the science is? Could it be that deniers have tried to dispute the findings of real scientists and have come up dry? You would think that for all the millions upon millions of words found in the likes of WUWT, Bishop Shill, climatefraudit, Monkton's ramblings, “Scottish” “Sceptic”, Principia Scientific International etc that there would be enough to make a sizable response in the scientific literature. What do we find from the deniers? Absolutely nothing, they stick to their own little sand boxes where they can spout out any misinformation and lies they want and censor anyone who takes the time to expose the lies and misinformation.

I would like to note that a response by anoilman, responses by me to anoilman and Ian, plus a subsequent response by Ian to me have disappeared.