Koch-Funded Tim Phillips is Still Confused About Climate Change

This piece was co-written by Ryan Koronowski, Alliance for Climate Protection Research Director and Josh Nelson, Alliance for Climate Protection New Media Director.

This week, CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” spoke with Tim Phillips, the head of the front group Americans for Prosperity that’s funded by the oil company Koch Industries. Mr. Phillips was up to his old tricks. While acknowledging that he is not a scientist, he said that to believe climate science isn’t “far from settled” would be “arrogance.”

Of course, his claim is the furthest thing from the truth. This was simply another attempt by an oil industry-funded, climate denial mouthpiece to try and convince Americans that climate change isn’t happening. But this particularly insidious brand of snake oil has no basis in reality. In fact, there’s overwhelming evidence that climate change is happening now and is caused by pollution from fossil fuels. Americans for Prosperity has a seemingly harmless-sounding name, but they are heavily funded by foundations run by David Koch, co-owner of the oil refinery and pipeline company Koch Industries.

While you might not have heard of Koch Industries before they won Repower America’s Snake Oil Award for Public Deception, the Koch brothers are doing everything they can to mislead the public and influence our political leaders. And it doesn’t stop with backing third party smear machines; Koch has also spent nearly $17 million lobbying Congress in the past two years.

It’s not over yet. In January, Koch Industries executives and high finance head honchos will be meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society,” which evidently includes “climate change alarmism.” A similar meeting this year featured a presentation on voter mobilization by none other than Tim Phillips.

The fight to solve climate change is about more than just a back-and-forth debate about scientific issues that have long been settled. Instead, we should acknowledge that facts don’t have a political party, and get to work building a clean energy economy that can create millions of jobs for Americans.

Tim Phillips may claim not to believe in climate change, but as Upton Sinclair once wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Thanks to the Wonk Room over at Think Progress for first catching this story.


One year ago, the right-wing media machine smeared climate scientists with the Climate gate conspiracy theory, even as the climate itself continued to get hotter and more destructive.
Although the National Academies of Science says “the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change,” the Republican Party is now dominated by fossil-funded ideologues who repeat zombie myths about global warming. An exclusive survey by Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson, with research support by Daily Kos blogger RL Miller, has identified the members of Congress that are on record challenging the scientific consensus:

Straw man 1:

‘I think the science is far from settled and for anyone including Al Gore to say otherwise is arrogance.’

Nobody is saying the science is settled you are either very ignorant or a liar Phillips.
Our appreciation of climate change is rather like a jig-saw puzzle with some pieces yet to be found, some rather obscure in how they fit – as yet, but enough of the picture is clear to understand the underlying trends and what is driving them. We should be concerned, very concerned about the picture that is emerging.

Straw man 2:

‘There are enough scientists out there and doctors out there saying hey wait a minute lets look at this thing more closely.’

There are very few scientists who are skeptical of the impact of humans on the climate but most of those who raise doubts are supported financially, either directly or indirectly by the fossil fuel and allied industries through the various ‘tax perked’ think tanks. But of course you know that Mr Phillips because you are a part of that misinformation campaign.

As for doctors! Really Mr Phillips would you consult a climatologist about your gall stones?

Straw man 3:

‘…but when I look and read for the left to say…’

Left, Mr Phillips, left! The Arctic sea ice has no political affiliation nor have any of the glaciers that have lost mass over the last thirty years in particular, some even disappearing and taking the water supply of the native population with them. The late Chacalataya glacier of Bolivia knew nothing about left or right and neither did the population that lost their irrigation. That glacier BTW was assessed as surviving until 2015 but triple the rate of thaw ensured that it had gone by March 2009.

So, if you look and read that warming has stopped over the last ten years then those who are telling you that are lying. YES lying Mr Phillips.

Your reading material clearly leaves much to be desired and I would suggest a good starter would be ‘Science as a Contact Sport’ by the late lamented, and courageous, Stephen H. Schneider who has been so cowardly maligned recently by one of those scientists to whom you obviously like to pay attention. You, as a non scientist should be able to cope with that book. For the science I would suggest David Archer’s excellent offerings ‘Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast’, ‘The Long Thaw’ and ‘The Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change’ with Stefan Rahmstorf.

Mr Phillips you need to be sent on a reality tour around all the various places on the globe that are already seeing the effects of climate change. You should be sent to exist as they do and not with the aid of imported sustenance. Maybe then you will not be an entrant in any future edition of

Climate Cover-Up


Merchants of Doubt


Straight Up

Oh! And Tim, ‘We are watching you!’


Your comment about creating “millions of jobs” with a green or clean energy economy confuses me. All the big employers seem to be in the dirty energy dependent industries. Which of the companies/employers or industry/business types are those that will create the huge numbers of jobs that you and others predict? It seems to me that going back to smaller, cottage-style industries with their dispersed, slower-pace of activity models will do this, but at a price of lowered efficiencies and higher worker:product rations. What is it that you see coming up? The information age and robotics appears to have fizzled on the more-employment scene (and competing with cheap foreign labour!). I’d love to see that going green was for more than philosophical reasons (which I support hugely), as only economics is going to convince any corporation or non-authoritatian/socialist government on the planet.

Lets be very clear about this. This not just snake oil marketing, this directly endangers our future.