CO2 Coalition

CO2 Coalition


The CO2 Coalition was established in 2015 from the remains of the now-defunct George C. Marshall Institute (GMI) and registered as a 501(c)(3) organisation for the purpose of “educating thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide and fossil fuels to our lives and the economy.” [1]

The GMI shut down in September/October of 2015. A GMI press release noted the group's national security research would be transferred to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), while it is apparent that the CO2 Coalition would take over Marshall's “work on energy and climate change.”  [13][15]

The CO2 Coalition's tag line is “Carbon dioxide, a nutrient vital for life,” and it appears to share many of the views put forward by Craig Idso's Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change ( Craig Idso is notably listed on the CO2 Coalition's Board of Directors. [1]

“The CO2 Coalition seeks to engage thought leaders, policy makers, and the public in an informed and dispassionate discussion about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide and fossil fuels. We seek to shift the debate from the unjustified criticism of CO2 and fossil fuels to one based on a solid scientific foundation. Any discussion of climate change needs to address the extent of our knowledge of the climate system, well-established uncertainties, the limitations of climate models, and the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions,” the CO2 Coalition homepage states[1]
In December of 2015, coalition director William Happer was implicated in a Greenpeace investigation where activists posed as consultants for a Middle Eastern energy company and asked Happer and Frank Clemente, an emeritus sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, to author reports on the benefits of coal and carbon dioxide emissions. [14]


According to publicly available tax records accessed at the Economic Research Institute, the address for the CO2 Coalition (EIN 473722575) is: [2]

1601 N KENT ST STE 802
ARLINGTON,  VA  22209-2105
William F. O'Keefe was Chief Executive Officer (CEOof the George C. Marshall Institute, former Treasurer/Secretary of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and COO of the American Petroleum Institute (API). [3]
The above address for the CO2 Coalition is identical to that of the George C. Marshall Institute[4] The CO2 Coalition also registered with the Virginia SCC as a Corporation on May 6, 2015 with the ID 07899891. [5]

Stance on Climate Change

According to the CO2 Coalition, the “debate about global warming and climate change has shifted from genuine scientific exploration to a campaign demonizing CO2 and fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels, the primary source of human CO2 emissions, have played an essential role in the economic progress and improved standard of living that has been experienced in many nations since the Industrial Revolution.” [1]
Its mission is to “demonstrate with science based facts” that: [1]
  • CO2 is a nutrient that is essential to life. CO2 at current levels and higher enables plants, trees, and crops to grow faster and more efficiently. It is essential for life.”

  • “Just as we require oxygen for life, our economy requires energy, often described as the oxygen or lifeblood of the economy. Energy must be abundant, reliable, and reasonably priced for an economy to achieve robust and sustained growth.”

  • “Fossil fuels are likely to remain the world’s dominant sources of energy for decades to come because they are abundant, have a high energy density, and are superior to alternatives in terms of reliability and cost-effectiveness.”

According to Norman Rogers, Senior Policy Advisor to the Heartland Institute and member of the CO2 Coalition's Board of Advisors, “Global warming is an example of junk science where there is a kernel of scientific truth that has been abused and beaten into a junk science edifice supporting huge money flows. ” [17]


According to the CO2 Coalition's Nonprofit Exemption application (See documents list below), the Coalition will receive at a total of $1,500,000 in gifts, grants, and contributions between April 2015 and the future date of December, 2017.  For the same time period, it records expenses of $1,059,500.

IRS Documents

Key People [1], [16]

Board of Directors

Name 2015 2016 CO2 Coalition Description
Bruce Everett Y faculty Tufts University’s Fletcher School, over forty years of experience in the international energy industry.
Craig Idso Y Y founder Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, member American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.
H. Leighton Steward Y Y geologist, former Chairman, Louisiana Land and Exploration Company; chair, Institute for the Study of Earth and Man Southern Methodist University, author.
Harrison Schmitt Y Y geologist, astronaut and last man to walk the moon (Apollo 17), adjunct professor physics University of Wisconsin-Madison, and former U.S. Senator from New Mexico.
Patrick Moore Y Y Co-founder and 15-year leader of Greenpeace (1971-1986). Chairman and Chief Scientist, Ecosense Environmental. Leader, Campaign to Allow Golden Rice Now.
Rodney Nichols Y Y former Chief Executive Officer of the New York Academy of Sciences; Scholar-in-Residence at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, former Executive Vice President Rockefeller University.
Roger Cohen Y Y fellow of the American Physical Society. Former Manager Strategic Planning ExxonMobil Research and Engineering.
Will Happer Y Y Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics (emeritus) Princeton University, former Director Office of Energy Research Director of Research, U.S. Department of Energy, co-founder Magnetic Imaging Technologies.
William O'Keefe Y CEO George C. Marshall Institute; former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer American Petroleum Institute.

Advisory Committee

Name 2015 2016 CO2 Coalition Description
Bruce Everett Y faculty Tufts University’s Fletcher School, over forty years of experience in the international energy industry.
Jan Breslow Y Senior Attending Physician, Frederick Henry Leonhardt Professor, Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University.
Kathleen Hartnett-White Y Y distinguished fellow and director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment, Texas Public Policy Foundation, former chair Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Larry Bell Y Y Professor University of Houston, established the research program in space architecture, author of Climate of Corruption
Lorraine Yapps Cohen Y Y former communications & marketing manager ExxonMobil, columnist Examiner newspapers.
Mark Mills Y Y senior fellow Manhattan Institute, CEO Digital Power Group, a tech-centric capital advisory group, faculty Fellow McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University.
Norman Rogers Y Y founder of Rabbit Semiconductor company, policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.
Pat Michaels Y Y director of the Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, past president American Association of State Climatologists, former Virginia state climatologist, program chair American Meteorological Society.
Richard Lindzen Y Y emeritus Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, member National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Meteorological Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science, author of 200 scientific articles and books.
Roy Spencer Y Y Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama Huntsville; served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center; co-developer of satellite temperature measurement system.


October 31, 2016

Rodney W. Nichols and Harrison H. Schmitt of the Co2 Coalition co-published an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “The Phony War Against CO2.” [24]

Nichols and Schmitt argue that “a myth persists that is both unscientific and immoral to perpetuate: that the beneficial gas carbon dioxide ranks among hazardous pollutants. It does not.” The two then link to the CO2 Coalition's website:

“[O]bservations, such as those on our CO2 Coalition website, show that increased CO2 levels over the next century will cause modest and beneficial warming—perhaps as much as one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)—and that this will be an even larger benefit to agriculture than it is now. The costs of emissions regulations, which will be paid by everyone, will be punishingly high and will provide no benefits to most people anywhere in the world.”

Six scientists analyzed Nichols' and Schmitt's article at Climate Feedback, noting that rather than referring to published scientific research to support their views, the two authors rely heavily on information published by the CO2 Coalition to argue that CO2 emissions are beneficial. Overall feedback from the reviewers is reposted below: [25]

William Anderegg, Associate Professor, University of Utah:
“The opinion article makes sweeping assertions that are not in line with the scientific understanding. The conclusions on CO2 uniformly benefiting agriculture are simply misleading—yes, CO2 can help plants but higher temperatures and more drought and pests with climate change also hurt plants.”

Timothy Osborn, Professor of Climate Science, University of East Anglia:
“The article presents a biased view by understating the degree and impacts of global warming while overstating or simplifying the benefits of CO2 fertilisation.”

James Renwick, Professor, Victoria University of Wellington:
“The article is full of half-truths, untruths, and red herrings. Casting increased CO2 as a benefit to humankind, without considering the impacts and risks associated with a changing climate, is dangerous and irresponsible.”

Lauren Simkins, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Rice University:
“The lack of distinction between the role of solid particulates and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere makes many of the authors’ claims false and misleading. The article does not present a complete or accurate discussion of climate change, its causes, and its societal influence. The authors state that readers should ‘check the facts’ regarding climate change, but have presented us with little scientific support for their own claims.”

Victor Venema, Scientist, University of Bonn, Germany:
“This has nothing to do with science.”

March 29, 2016

The CO2 Coalition and The New Criterion held a joint conference in New York City titled “The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 is Good for the Earth.” [23]

The conference “challenged the supposedly 'settled science' on climate change and purported detrimental effects of increasing levels of carbon dioxide,” according to the event description. [23]

It added that “Members of the CO2 Coalition and many other experts argue that carbon dioxide enrichment of the atmosphere provides manifold benefits for humanity. And observed surface warmings are much smaller than predicted by climate models.  Economic models that fail to include the benefits  of CO2 and the serious exaggerations of climate models  and are being used to advocate “cures” that are much worse than the non-existent disease.” [23]

Featured speakers included the following: [23]

Videos below from The New Criterion YouTube page:

February 15, 2016

William Happer and Rodney Nichols of the CO2 Coalition published an Op-Ed in the New York Post titled “The Supreme Court sided with science against Obama.” [18]

EcoWatch reported on Happer/Nichols's Op-Ed, saying “The piece itself touts a few classic denier myths, from CO2 being good, to the existence of a global warming pause, to the letter penned by '300 experts' accusing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of cooking the books on climate change.” [19]

EcoWatch also poses the question, given the Greenpeace exposure of Happer's willingness to accept funding from fossil fuel companies: “Did someone pay Happer for this particular piece of pro-CO2 propaganda published in the Post?” [19]

December, 2015

In an undercover investigation by Greenpeace, the CO2 Coalition's Will Happer described how he uses the CO2 Coalition to secretively funnel money paid for research on behalf of fossil fuel interests. [11]

When undercover Greenpeace reporters approached Happer to write a report promoting carbon dioxide for a fictional oil company in the Middle East, Happer told reporters that he would be willing to do the research for $250 per hour. He asked that the funds be paid to the CO2 Coalition, instead of him directly. [11]

When asked to ensure that the commissioning of the report could not be traced back to the Middle East oil and gas company, Professor Happer contacted fellow CO2 Coalition board member, Bill O’Keefe, explaining: “I am trying get [sic] another mysterious client to donate funds to the CO2 Coalition instead of compensating me for my writing something for them.” [11]

To further conceal the funds, O'Keefe recommended channeling them through DonorsTrust, a group that has been described as the “Dark Money ATM” of the conservative movement in the U.S. [12]

October 19, 2015

The CO2 Coalition released a white paper titled “Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World: See for Yourself” (PDF) where they summarize the views of their fledgling organization. According to the Coalition, “Claims that '97 percent of scientists' agree that a climate catastrophe is looming because of the emission of CO2 should be greeted with skepticism. ” [20], [21]

“As CO2 levels continue to rise, the Earth will grow greener and agricultural yields will continue to increase, with additional contributions from better varieties, improved cropping practices, more efficient use of fertilizer, and other factors,” the paper predicts. [20]

Breitbart News interviewed the paper's author, William Happer, who provided an explanation for the lack of footnotes: [22]

“Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World: See for Yourself is meant to be a conversation-starter. Happer and Nichols stressed that they wanted to take a non-confrontational approach with copious footnotes and supporting sources, inviting readers to perform their own research and gain a fuller understanding of CO2 and its benefits.”

September 3, 2015

Patrick Moore, listing himself as a director of the CO2 Coalition in his signature, wrote an article in the Opinion Pages of Wall Street Journal  titled “Obama’s Half-Baked Alaska” where he suggests that there is no need to be worried about glacial ice receding because it has happened in the past. [8]

“All of this happened long before human emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, could have had any impact,” Moore writes. “There is no reason to believe that those factors have suddenly disappeared and now humans are the all-powerful shapers of global climate destiny. Yet this entirely unproven hypothesis of catastrophe is compelling to those who would control our beliefs.” [8]

He continues, stating that “carbon dioxide is essential for all life on Earth, that plants could use a lot more of it, and that the real threat is a cooling of the climate, not the slight warming that has occurred over the past 300 years.” [8]

July 28, 2015

The CO2 Coalition's first blog post, titled “Clean Power Plant Regulation: Check the Facts,” criticizes stricter power plant regulations put forth by President Obama to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. [6]
The Coalition disputes the EPA's claims that the tighter regulations would offer health benefits, including a reduction in premature deaths and the incidence of asthma attacks. 
According to the Coalition statement, “there has been growing evidence that the increase in CO2 has resulted in a greening of planet.  This is clearly shown in satellite photos.  Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 stimulate plant and crop growth and allow them to use water more efficiently.  Today’s level of 400 ppm is not unusually high in geologic history where it is estimated to have been as high as 7500 ppm.”
They conclude, “A realistic and hardheaded look at the facts leads to the conclusion that the Clean Power Plant rule will do nothing to affect the climate but will impose large and unnecessary costs on the economy and consumers.”
The above statements reiterate a number of common arguments put forward by climate change skeptics, all of which have been listed and described in detail at Those arguments include that “CO2 is not a pollutant,” that “CO2 is Plant food,” and that “CO2 was higher in the past.”

May 11, 2015

According to publicly available tax records accessed at the Economic Research Institute, the CO2 Coalition,  EIN 473722575, registered with the IRS in May of 2015.  [2]

The above WHOIS lookup for lists that the domain was registered on May 11, 2015 and hosted on the IP Address The registrant is Domains By Proxy — a service that conceals the identity of the actual registrant. [7]

March 25, 2015

According to a post from Patrick Moore's Twitter Account (see below), the CO2 Coalition is behind an Open Letter to Museums of Science and Natural History that was promoted at the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2 Science)[9]

The Coalition's letter claims that abandoning fossil fuels “would not help the environment but would likely harm it.” [9]

“The idea that the world can or should abandon fossil fuels is deeply wrong-headed, not just from a scientific perspective, but also from a humanitarian perspective,” The CO2 Coalition's letter responds. [9]

The letter responds to another recent public letter, titled “To the Museums of Science and Natural History,” which urges museums to cut their ties to the fossil fuel industry. [10]

Related Organizations

Other Organizations

The CO2 Coalition's “Studies and Resources” and “Economic Impacts” pages link to a range of studies from similar think-tanks including:


  1. About,” Co2Coalition. Archived September 4, 2015.

  2. CO2 COALITION INC,” Economic Research Institute. Accessed September 5, 2015. 

  3. Board Members,” George C. Marshall Institute. Archived September 6, 2015. 

  4. About the George C. Marshall Institute,” George C. Marshall Institute. Archived September 6, 2015. 

  5. CO2 Coalition, Inc.” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission. Archived September 6, 2015. 

  6. Clean Power Plant Regulation: Check the Facts,CO2 Coalition, July 28, 2015. Archived September 6, 2015.

  7. Whois Record for,” Accessed September 5, 2015.

  8. Patrick Moore. “Obama’s Half-Baked Alaska,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2015. Archived September 9, 2015.

  9. TO THE MUSEUMS OF SCIENCE AND NATURAL HISTORY” – AN OPEN RESPONSE,” CO2 Science, April 16, 2015. Archived September 9, 2015. 

  10. An Open Letter to Museums from Members of the Scientific Community,” The Natural History Museum, March 24, 2015. Archived September 9, 2015. 

  11. Lawrence Carter and Maeve McClenaghan. “Exposed: Academics-for-hire agree not to disclose fossil fuel funding,” GreenPeace EnergyDesk, December 8, 2015. WebCiteURL

  12. Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 24, 2015.

  13. Gayathri Vaidyanathan. “ADVOCACY:Think tank that cast doubt on climate change science morphs into smaller one,” ClimateWire, December 10, 2015. Accessed at E&E Publishing. Archived February 26, 2016. WebCite URL

  14. Lawrence Carter and Maeve McClenaghan. “Exposed: Academics-for-hire agree not to disclose fossil fuel funding,” EnergyDesk, December 8, 2015. Archived February 26, 2016. WebCite  URL

  15. (Press Release). “CSIS Announces Marshall Program on Science and National Security,” George C. Marshall Institute, October 28, 2015. Archived February 26, 2016. WebCite  URL

  16. About,” Co2Coalition. Archived April 14, 2016.

  17. Norman Rogers. “Fighting Junk Science,” American Thinker, April 8, 2016. Archived April 13, 2016. WebCite URL

  18. Will Happer and Rod Nichols. “The Supreme Court sided with science against Obama,” New York Post, February 15, 2016. Archived April 13, 2016. WebCite URL

  19. Why Would the New York Post Plug Climate Denier Profiteers?EcoWatch, February 19, 2016. Archived April 13, 2016. WebCite URL

  20. Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World: See for Yourself” (PDF), Co2 Coalition, October 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  21. Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World: See for Yourself,” Archived April 13, 2016. WebCite URL

  22. Carbon Dioxide Is not our Enemy,” Breitbart, December 4, 2015. Archived April 13, 2016. WebCite URL

  23. The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 is Good for the Earth,” CO2 Coalition, April 25, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  24. Rodney W. Nichols and Harrison H. Schmitt. “The Phony War Against CO2,” The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2016. URL

  25. Analysis of 'The Phony War Against CO2',” Climate Feedback. Archived November 4, 2016. URL: