Calgary Foundation, University of Calgary Launder Oil Industry Donations

Read time: 2 mins

A report in the Globe and Mail (Canada's reputable national newspaper), reports today on the slick funnelling of oil industry money into an astroturf campaign to attack climate change science

(note: the story only appeared in the Globe's print edition, but an online copy is available at the author's own website here).

The following excerpt explains how (the group is question is called the Friends of Science and “Mr. Jacobs” is a retired oil-explorations manager who is one of the group's founders).

“There was plenty of money for the anti-Kyoto cause in the oil patch, but the Friends dared not take money directly from energy companies. The optics, Mr. Jacobs acknowledges, sould have been terrible.

This conundrum, he says, was solved by University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper, a well-known associate of (Canadian Prime Minister) Mr. (Stephen) Harper.

As is his privilege as a faculty member, Prof. Cooper set up a fund at the university dubbed the Science Education Fund. Donors were encouraged to give to the fund through the Calgary Foundation, which administers charitable giving in the Calgary area and has a policy of guarding donors' identities. The Science Education Fund, in turn, provides money for the Friends of Science, as well as Dr. (Tim) Ball's travell expenses, according to Mr. Jacobs.

And who are the donors? No one will say.

The money is 'not exclusively from the oil and gas industry,' Prof. Cooper says. 'It's also from foundations and individuals. I can't tell you the names of those companies, or the foundations for that matter, or the individuals.'”

Cute. We didn't realize that it was the privilege of every U.Calgary faculty member to set up funds designed to launder money for PR campaigns that are overtly political and that have no demonstrable academic merit.

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This is a great read and excellent comments. I think its a good plan, the more donations the better.