Global Climate Coalition

Global Climate Coalition (GCC)

Background

The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was an outspoken industry group based in the United States opposing policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the coalition disbanded in 2002, some members including the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute continue to lobby against emissions reductions. [1]

The GCC was formed in 1989, shortly after the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was operated until 1997 out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers. Early members included Amoco, the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute (API), Chevron, Chrysler, Cyprus AMAX Minerals, Exxon, Ford, General Motors, Shell Oil, Texaco, the United States Chamber of Commerce and more than 40 other corporations and trade associations[2], [8]

Steve Milloy's former employer, the lobbying firm EOP Group as well as the E. Bruce Harrison Company were employed as lobbyists on behalf of the GCC, which aggressively lobbied international climate negotiations and distributed videos to journalists suggesting that increased carbon dioxide would be beneficial to increasing crop yields. E. Bruce Harrison has been described as “the founder of green PR” for work for the pesticide industries in the 1960s, where he led the opposition to Rachel Carson. [2][8]

According to GCC's mission statement, “Existing scientific evidence does not support actions aimed solely at reducing or stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions. GCC does support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to increase greenhouse gas sinks that are justified for other economic or environmental reasons.” [3]

Stance on Climate Change

In a scientific “backgrounder” (PDF) published in the early 1990s, the Global Climate Coalition argued that “The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood.”

This was at a time that their own scientists had concluded the opposite, finding “The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.”  [1]

While they later distributed a version of their backgrounder that agreed with the scientists' conclusion, the amended version still disagreed with on “the rate and magnitude of the 'enhanced greenhouse effect' (warming) that will result.” [1]

Funding

The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was not registered as a nonprofit organization, which means its finances are not under public scrutiny. According to the Los Angeles Times, GCC spent over $13 million on its 1997 ad campaign opposing the Kyoto Protocol. [4]

PR Watch
reports that the GCC spent more than $1 million per year between 1994 and 1997 to downplay the threat of climate change. They report that those efforts were coordinated with separate campaigns by its members including the National Coal Association which spent over $700,000 on the climate change issue in 1992 and 1993. In 1993, the American Petroleum Institute paid Burson-Marsteller $1.8 million for a successful computer-driven “grassroots” letter and phone-in campaign to stop a proposed tax on fossil fuels. [8]

Between December, 1999, and March, 2000, the GCC was deserted by Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Texaco, the Southern Company and General Motors, although the companies reported that their stance on the Kyoto Protocol had not changed at that time. [5]

When Ford left in 1999, a Ford spokesman noted their reasoning for leaving: “Over the course of time, membership in the Global Climate Coalition has become something of an impediment for Ford Motor Company to achieving our environmental objectives.” [9]

According to Sourcewatch, members of GCC made more than $63 million in contributions to politicians from 1989-1999. This doesn't include separate campaigns organized by members of GCC at the time like the National Coal Association and American Petroleum Institute which also paid significant funds on the global warming issue. [2]

Key People [2]

  • William O'Keefe — Chairman.
  • Gail McDonald — President.
  • Glenn Kelly — Executive Director.
  • Frank Maisano — Media Contact. Member, Potomac Communications Group.

Actions

2005

According to documents obtained by The Guardian, President George Bush's decision not to sign up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was influenced by pressure from ExxonMobil. [10]

Briefing papers given  before meetings to the US under-secretary of state, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004, the administration is found thanking Exxon executives for the company's “active involvement” in helping to determine climate change policy, and also seeking its advice on what climate change policies the company might find acceptable. [10]

“Potus [president of the United States] rejected Kyoto in part based on input from you [the Global Climate Coalition],” says one briefing note before Ms Dobriansky's meeting with the GCC, the main anti-Kyoto US industry group, which was dominated by Exxon. [10]

2002

The GCC ceased operation, claiming that it had “served its purpose by contributing to a new national approach to global warming,” with its success evident in the fact that “The Bush administration will soon announce a climate policy that is expected to rely on the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse emissions, a concept strongly supported by the GCC.” [6]

March, 2000

GCC announced a “strategic restructuring” designed to “bring the focus of the climate debate back to the real issues.” Individual companies would no longer be asked to join the GCC and membership would be limited to “only trade associations” and “other like-minded organizations.” [2]

Potentially, this would give GCC's supporters a layer of protection if they chose to support GCC's climate change activities while avoiding public ridicule for their support.

1997

The GCC responded to international global warming treaty negotiations in Kyoto, Japan by launching an advertising campaign in the US that advised against any agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions internationally.  [5]

The campaign was run through the Global Climate Information Project (GCIP), an organization sponsored by the GCC and the American Association of Automobile Manufacturers, among others. GCIP's ads were produced by Goddard Claussen/First Tuesday, a California-based PR firm whose past clients included the Chlorine Chemistry Council, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, and the Vinyl Siding Institute.  [5]

The anti-Kyoto ads claimed “It's Not Global and It Won't Work,” and that “Americans will pay the price… 50 cents more for every gallon of gasoline.” Notably, no actual government proposals had suggested this “50 cent” tax that the GCC warned of.  [5]

With a growing consensus regarding global warming at the time, a number of GCC supporters parted ways with the group, likely top avoid negative PR. In 1997 these included BP/Amoco, and other prominent companies including American Electric Power, Dow, Dupont, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Southern Company, Texaco and General Motors.  [5]

December, 1997

In a report titled “Astroturf Troopers“ Mother Jones (MJ) reported that William O'Keefe kickstarted the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) in 1996 when he hired former lobbyist Susan Moya to set up a national network of “grassroots” groups that included industry-funded groups across the states. MJ found that GCC was “ coordinating a secret coalition of extreme right-wingers and astroturf groups—fake grassroots lobbyists funded by conservative foundations and corporations.” [12]

While Moya denied the existence of the astroturf network, an internal memo (page 1, page 2) obtained by Mother Jones  suggested otherwise. Mother Jones  wrote that “some of the corporate-funded astroturf groups named in her memo, including Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy and People for the West, confirmed that they were part of Moya's network of 'state grassroots leaders,' and that they received this memo.” [13], [14]

Representatives named in the memo as “available for contact” included: [14]

Name Organization
Eric Licht Alliance for America
Diane Steed Coalition for Vehicle Choice (CVC)
Ron Defore Coalition for Vehicle Choice (CVC)
Jeff Miller Coalition for Vehicle Choice (CVC)
Bruce Vincent Alliance for America
Steve Miller The Center for Energy & Economic Development
Susan Christy People for the West
Michael Coffman Sovereignty International
Cindy Morphew Texas Oil & Gas Association
Floy Lilley University of Texas @ Austin
Randy Eminger The Center for Energy and Economic Development
Lydia Robertson CVC-Arkansas
John Federico CVC-Kansas
Don Morrison CVC-Missouri
Bob Linderwood CVC-Ohio
Pat Nolan CVC-Tennessee
Chuck Cushman American Land Rights Association
Senator Malcolm Wallop (former) Promises of Freedom Institute
H. Sterling Burnett National Center for Policy Analysis
Peggy M. Venable Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy
Duggan Flanakin Environmental Compliance Reporter, Inc.
David R. Pinkus Small Business United of TX
Carole Keeton Rylander Texas Railroad Commission
Steve Reeves Greater Houston Partnership
Carol Jones Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy
Genie Short Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy

Related Organizations

The following corporations were part of the Global Climate Coalition: [2], [7]

Global Climate Coalition Contact & Addresss

As of February, 2005, the Global Climate Coalition's contact information was listed as follows: [11]

Global Climate Coalition
1275 K St, NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-682-9161

Email: [email protected]

Media Contact:
Frank Maisano
202-628-3622

Resources

  1. Andrew Revkin. “Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate,” The New York Times, April 23, 2009. Archived January 18, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6edfj5wM0

  2. Global Climate Coalition,” SourceWatch.

  3. The GCC's position on the climate change issue,” Global Climate Coalition website. Archived August 15, 2000. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  4. Maggie Farley. “Showdown at Global Warming Summit,” Los Angeles Times, December 7, 1997. Archived January 18, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6edhgApV3

  5. GCC Suffers Technical Knockout,” The Heat Is Online, March, 2000. Archived January 18, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6edgi7xbM

  6. Global Climate Coalition homepage. Archived April 8, 2003. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  7. RIPGlobal Climate Coalition (March, 2000): INDUSTRY DEFECTIONS DECIMATE GLOBAL CLIMATE COALITION,” The Heat is Online. Archived January 16, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6ediFvC8Y

  8. Bob Burton and Sheldon Rampton. “Thinking Globally, Acting Vocally: The International Conspiracy to Overheat the Earth,” PR Watch Vol. 4. No. 4 (Q4 1997). Archived June 9, 2013.

  9. Lester R. Brown. “The Rise and Fall of the Global Climate Coalition,” Earth Policy Institute, July 25, 2000. Archived February 2, 2002.

  10. John Vidal. “Revealed: how oil giant influenced Bush,” The Guardian, June 8, 2005. Archived April 13, 2016.  WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6gjDL8wj3

  11. Contact Us,” Global Climate Coalition., Archived February 3, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  12. Keith Hammond. “Astroturf Troopers,Mother Jones, December 4, 1997. Archived March 25, 2017. Archive. Is URL: https://archive.is/uqFvL

  13. Astroturf Memo, page 1,” Mother Jones, December 4, 1997. Archived November 1, 2005. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/eVd8Z

  14. Astroturf Memo, page 2,” Mother Jones, December 4, 1997. Archived November 2, 2005. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Nk3vS

Other Resources