William F. O'Keefe
- According to a profile included in a set of 1996 American Petroleum Institute (API) documents, “Mr. O’Keefe holds a B.S. in business and has done graduate work in business and economics.” 
O'Keefe served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Petroleum Institute (API) from 1974 to 1999. API ”represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.” , 
He has worked for a variety of think tanks and industry groups in executive capacities, and has worked as a registered lobbyist for industry groups on climate change and energy issues including oil giant ExxonMobil and API. 
According to his archived profile at the Marshall Institute, O'Keefe previously sat on the board of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and was president of the now-defunct Global Climate Coalition (GCC) (of which API was a member). He has also been a director at the Kennedy Institute, and the U.S. Energy Association. He was formerly the Senior Vice President of Jellinek, Schwartz and Conolly, Inc. and Chief Administrative Officer of the Center for Naval Analyses. 
O'Keefe is founder and president of the lobbying firm Solutions Consulting, for which he served as a registered lobbyist for ExxonMobil Corporation from 2001 to 2005. He was also a registered lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute (API) according to data from OpenSecrets.org. According to the Marshall Institute's 2009 form 990, Solutions Consulting also “provided consulting services” to the George C. Marshall Institute. , 
A query of the United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database reveals the following from a search for the lobbyist name “o'keefe, william”: 
|Registrant & Client Name||Amount Reported|
|American Petroleum Institute|
|AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE|
|ADA CONSULTING SERVICES||$0|
According to original filings, O'Keefe lobbied for ExxonMobil primarily on issues relating to “climate change,” “energy legislation and climate change provisions,” and “energy.” 
Stance on Climate Change
October 11, 2015
“Advocates assert that the hypothesis that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide—CO2—from fossil fuel use will lead to unacceptable increases in global temperatures is no longer open to debate. A review of the evolution of our understanding of the climate system and human influence on it makes clear that neither climate science nor human influence are settled.” 
2001 - 2005
“We have no capacity to influence Mother Nature” 
In 2005, he said that it was too late to do anything about climate change: 
“We aren’t going to put the carbon dioxide genie back in the bottle. There’s no going back. There is too much fossil fuel, it’s too cheap, and it’s too easy to get.” 
”[…] the climate problem that the COP seeks to solve is not real. It is an image that does not conform with the real world or the climate that we actually experience.” 
August 28, 2015
“While the annual meetings of the climate establishment are likely to continue there is growing evidence that the climate is not behaving as the models say it should have and the fact that CO2 is a nutrient that makes our lives better because of plant and crop growth.” 
June 30, 2004
“The sponsors of this legislation, Senators McCain and Lieberman, believe that it is a cost-effective way using market forces to respond to the serious climate change threat caused by human activity. In fact it is none of these and their statements about the seriousness of the climate change threat goes well beyond the current state of scientific knowledge,” O'Keefe wrote. 
June 1, 2001
Writing at the George C. Marshall Institute about the Kyoto Protocol, O'Keefe declared: 
“The President said what most people familiar with this issue already knew: Kyoto is flawed and will not work.” 
“Fortunately, we have sufficient time to craft a course of action based on facts, hardheaded analysis, and objective assessment of the climate risks,” he said. 
According to O'Keefe, the risks of climate change are “more moderate and in the more distant future than the Kyoto Protocol implies.” 
He said, the protocol would “waste society's scarce resources and divert them from actions that would be far more beneficial.” 
ThinkProgress reports that two years after the IPCC had declared that a “balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate,” and nations gathered in Kyoto, Japan, O'Keefe was among the dissenters: 
“The statement that we’ll have continued warming with an increase in CO2 is opinion, not fact,” O’Keefe told reporters in Kyoto. 
June 28, 1996
January 7, 2017
“The facts that Mr. Tillerson has led ExxonMobil and been successful in negotiating with Vladimir Putin are being used by some to suggest that he should not be confirmed when, in fact, those facts are strong reasons for confirmation,” O'Keefe wrote. 
“Mr. Tillerson would bring that integrity to the task of being secretary of state, and his management and global track record could breathe life and efficiency into a department that is often characterized as slow-moving and ponderous.” 
May 25, 2017
O'Keefe claimed that the signing of the Paris agreement on climate change “ has focused too much attention on how individual countries will meet their obligations,” writing at The Hill. According to O'Keefe, “energy poverty” is the real problem, and what he contends is a “continued debate” on climate science is a distraction: 
“The continued debate over carbon dioxide emissions and whether climate science is settled diverts attention and resources from addressing the serious energy poverty problem that we know how to solve: getting adequate and affordable energy to the world's least well-off and helping them improve their standard of living,” he concluded. 
January 15, 2016
Climate scientist Michael Mann re-posted an email open letter that was sent by John Droz of the American Tradition Institute (now E&E Legal) and forwarded by Will Happer of the CO2 Coalition. Mann writes on Facebook that the letter “reads like a who's who of climate change contrarianism, with many of the most notorious industry-funded climate change deniers listed.” William O'Keefe is listed among the initial signatories of the letter, which supports Lamar Smith's probe of climate change scientists. 
In an undercover investigation by Greenpeace UK, investigators posed as representatives for a (fictional) Middle Eastern oil company seeking a report that would outline the benefits of CO2 while keeping the sources of the funding secret. In the email chain, Will Happer defers to his colleague William O'Keefe at the CO2 Coalition for advice: 
“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,” Happer wrote to O'Keefe.
“We are under no obligation to identify donors, except to the IRS but I think that is just organizations,” O'Keefe responded in an email. “When people ask the IRS or a firms 990, the donor list is redacted. If the person participates in the Donors Trust, he/she can make the notation through that and have complete confidentiality.” 
April 1, 2015
After the George C. Marshall Institute received a letter, along with 99 other organizations and corporations, from Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) , O'Keefe responded with an official letter to the Senators on behalf of the George C. Marshall Institute. 
He wrote that it was “clear that the Institute’s views have been consistent, scientifically based, and independent of funding sources.” In the letter, he also claims that “[climate] models remain a poor substitute for empirical evidence and the testing of hypothesis by rigorous adherence to the scientific process. We do not reject the reality of global warming and climate change, but do reject the hypotheses that increases in CO2 have and are having a detrimental impact. Indeed, CO2 is a nutrient, not a pollutant.” 
June 16, 2010
Writing at the “Planet Panel” at The Washington Post, O'Keefe responded to the question “Should EPA keep pressing ahead with new greenhouse gas rules, or should it accept Congress will shape the future of any mandatory limits on carbon dioxide?” 
“Climate policy is energy policy and that is beyond EPA's mission and competence. 
“Government agencies have a hard enough time with their assigned missions without attempting to perform ones that are beyond their expertise and competence. 
“EPA knows, as does Congress, that the Clean Air Act was never intended to cover regulation of CO2. […]” 
September 30, 2005
Speaking at the Annual Meeting Of The Society Of Environmental Journalists, O'Keefe declared: 
“For almost two decades, the climate debate has been dominated by advocates and environmental ministries, primarily those from the European Union. They used the image of a distant environmental apocalypse caused by human activity to fashion an unsustainable and unachievable treaty and to demonize any one who questioned their orthodoxy. That orthodoxy holds that climate science is settled, that humans are the major cause of warming in recent decades, and that there is only one way to avoid a climate-induced apocalypse later this century. That one way is to drastically reduce green- house gas emissions to levels 60% below 1990 levels by 2050. That orthodoxy is not built on observation, measurement, validation, and objective analyses, which are the bases of scientific information and sound policy.” 
Talking about climate models, he describes them as “ instruments of mischief,” that have “not been validated.” 
In his conclusion, he suggests climate change skepticism should be looked upon more favorably by journalists. “Healthy skepticism makes good journalism and is recognized as a virtue. In the climate debate, unfortunately, it has been treated as a vice. It should not be,” he said. 
February 10, 2005
William O'Keefe was a panelist at a CEI event titled “The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of International and U. S. Climate Policy” that examined what Kyoto would mean for future climate policy in the U.S. 
June 3, 2004
In his capacity as President of the Marshall Institute, O'Keefe made remarks at the EPA Science Forum in 2004. In his concluding statements, he advocates for adaptation as opposed to prevention when it comes to climate change: 
“Until we have better information and analytical capabilities, a higher premium also should be placed on adaptation planning,” O'Keefe wrote. “Nothing we do in the short run is going to
change the atmospheric concentration profile over the next few decades.” 
He also focuses on the supposed uncertainty regarding man's role in climate change as a reason to postpone climate action: 
“It should be self evident that until we better understand natural variability, feedbacks, climate sensitivity, cloud formation, water vapor, solar variability, and ocean currents, we cannot adequately understand the extent of human influence or the appropriate actions to mitigate it,” he wrote. 
January 6, 2004
Pointing to a “review” conducted by prominent climate change deniers Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, O'Keefe writes about the supposed “scientific uncertainty” around climate change. 
“This is just one example of scientific uncertainty. There are many others demonstrating that the science of climate change is far from settled. Neither I nor anyone else knows whether over the course of this century the climate will be a scientific curiosity or a serious ecological threat”, he writes. “If it becomes a serious threat, today’s so-called renewable energy sources may not be the best solutions.” 
He goes on to suggest that renewable energy sources are not a feasible solution. “The potential of a renewable-based economy may seem boundless, but it has real practical limits,” he wrote. He concludes: “Our nation should not be frightened into adopting unknown and unproven technologies until they can contribute to healthy economic growth and until we better understand the impact of human activities on our climate system.” 
December 4, 2002
William O'Keefe promoted the Global Climate and Energy Project of Stanford University as a “a welcome collaboration between academia and the private sector that holds the promise of shedding much-needed light on the debate on global warming.” 
In the article, O'Keefe also dismisses the Kyoto Protocol:
“The draconian and poorly thought out restrictions in Kyoto would stifle economic growth in the world’s most advanced nations, while allowing the full-throttle economies of emerging giants like China, India, Indonesia and Brazil to continue spewing carbon dioxide emissions at will,” he wrote. The Standford project would “seek to provide the kind of clean energy alternatives that will allow all nations to dramatically reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions,” he adds. 
The Global Climate and Energy Project's founding sponsors included ExxonMobil, General Electric, Schlumberger, and Toyota. The four sponsors planned to invest $225 million into Stanford and other institutions working on the project. 
April 4, 2002
According to O'Keefe, representing the George C. Marshall Institute, Watson was too quick to blame industry for global warming. 
“I believe that Bob Watson and some of his colleagues have reached a conclusion about the state of science which we don't believe is justified.” 
The program mentioned that ExxonMobil, for whom O'Keefe was also a lobbyist at the time, also criticized Watson's proposed regulations on industry, sending a memo to the White House the previous year asking that Watson be replaced. 
June 9, 2000
“Everybody who has read the full document comes to the same conclusion. That it is a document that is designed to scare, not to enlighten, to mislead, not inform. And that's unfortunate,” he said. 
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.” 
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.” , 
Representatives named in the memo as “available for contact” included: 
November 10, 1996
The American Petroleum Institute hosted a presentation titled “Climate Change: International Economic Implications” during its 1996 Annual Meeting. William F. O'Keefe, at the time executive vice president of API and chairman of the Global Climate Coalition, was among the speakers at the session. 
August 4, 1996
“This comes at a time when the scientific community remains sharply divided over the timing, extent and consequences of climate change,” he wrote. 
According to O'Keefe, “Massive energy taxes would, of course, cost millions of American jobs.” 
August 3, 1996
Responding to a July 21 editorial that had been titled “How to Cool the Earth,” O'Keefe goes on to suggest a “correction” to a number of points. Writing in a Washington Post letter to the editor: 
”[…] current climate science does not warrant mandatory limits on fossil fuels,” O'Keefe wrote. “neither the global environment nor our economic well-being is served by near-term attempts to limit U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.” 
August 15, 1995
“I intend to be provocative and to challenge what is portrayed as the prevailing wisdom, not to discount the potential of future climate change or the possibility of serious consequences, but to challenge, the current public policy process,” the transcript begins. 
“That process is in fact not consistent with the view that mankind is confronted with a potential catastrophe. Instead, global warming appears to be yet another example of predicting catastrophe to reshape political decisions and economic outcomes. This is an overused strategy.” 
O'Keefe notes that he had been in contact with prominent climate change denier Richard Lindzen. He noted that “Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT recently sent me a paper that compared global warming to the debate over heredity, eugenics and immigration laws in the 1920s.” 
“Global warming may turn out to be a reality but right now there also are enough reasons to conclude that what is masquerading as the most serious of environmental threats may be just another hobgoblin being used to advance agendas that can't survive on their own merits,” O'Keefe said. “I want to be absolutely clear that I am not asserting that the global warming threat is a hoax. I am challenging the process — the way it is being addressed,” he clarifies. “Instead of rational debate, what we have is advocacy driven by pseudo-science and hyped by the media.” 
O'Keefe goes on to what he describes as “scientific realities”: 
“Those who advocate deep emission reductions contend that a scientific consensus exists and that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to a dangerous level of global warming. That's simply wrong.” 
In his conclusion, he suggests that limiting emissions right away would lead to a “full-scale depression”: 
“First, the cost of mitigation is a function of time. Reducing emissions over a longer time period will be far less harmful to our economic well-being than forcing rapid reductions. I have no doubt that if we tried to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over the next few years we would bring on a full-scale depression.” 
- George C. Marshall Institute — Former CEO. 
- American Petroleum Institute (API) — Former Executive Vice President and COO (May 1974 - Dec 1999); Former Lobbyist. , 
- Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) — Board Member and Adjunct Scholar. , 
- Global Climate Coalition — Chairman Emeritus. 
- ExxonMobil — Former Lobbyist. 
- Solutions Consulting — Founder and President. 
- Ada Consulting Services — Former Lobbying Client, under Solutions Consulting. 
- Kennedy Institute — Former Member, Board of Directors. 
- CO2 Coalition — Former Member, Board of Directors. 
- Center for Naval Analyses — Former Chief Administrative Officer. 
- Jellinek, Schwartz and Conolly, Inc. — Former Senior Vice President. 
William O'Keefe has published over 300 articles at the George C. Marshall Institute, approximately 50 of which reference “climate” or “climate change”. View the attached spreadsheet for a complete list of William O'Keef's publications at the Marshall Institute (.xlsx), sortable by keyword. 
- Senator Whitehouse Whitewashes Climate Change Reality
- Climate Radicalism
- Climate Industry's Annual Meeting
- Response of William O'Keefe to Senators Markey, Boxer and Whitehouse on Institute Climate Research
- Climate Skepticism: Today's Witch Hunt and McCarthyism
- We need to solve the real climate problem
- A Martian Looks at Climate Negotiations
- What's the Climate Pledge Worth? Absolutely Nothing
- Climate Change Polls Are like the Weather: Everyone Likes to Talk About it.
- Climate Denier: A Tool to Intimidate
- Mark Twain on Climate Alarmism
- The Best Way to Write a Climate Rule is by leaving the Paper Blank
- The Bankrupt Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- The Death Knell for Climate Change Orthodoxy?
- What's the State of Obama's Energy and Climate Agenda?
- Climate Change: The Crumbling Foundation
- California's Energy and Climate Agenda: California Dreamin!
- Climate Policy: It's All A Matter of Priorities
- “Rigidifying” Climate Policy
- What the Heartland Response Reveals About Climate Activists
- Ethical Questions Surround Climate Advocacy Group
- Immorality in UN Climate Talks
- Climate Change and National Security: Are They Linked?
- Oxford Climate Book Contradicts IPCC Findings
- Climate Science Money Trail Calls into Question Motive of Editor's Resignation
- Hurricane Irene and Natural Disaster Fanaticism in the Climate Debate
- Perry, Romney, and Climate Change Consensus in the Presidential Race
- Climate Science Money Trail Calls into Question Motive of Editor's Resignation
- A Novel Approach to Climate Change Policy: A Tax Shift
- DC Winter Storm Underscores Climate Policy Snow Job
- Snowstorm and Climate Change
- Put 'Hot Oil' Lessons to Use in Climate Policy Debate
- Caps, Taxes and Technology – How Do We Respond to Climate Change
- Climate Zealotry Produces Bad Policy: Observations on Al Gore's New York University Speech
- Senate Climate Conference Offers One-Sided View
- Climate Policy: A Reality Check
- Climate Change and National Security
- The True Costs of the Climate Stewardship Act
- Climate Sensitivity – Still a SWAG
- The Challenge of Making Climate Science Relevant
- Climate Models: A Primer
- Climate debate isn't about action, it's about knowledge
- Climate Change Skepticism: A Virtue or Vice?
- Climate Policy and Energy Use and Objective Realities
- Remarks Before the Final Plenary Session of the U.S. Climate Change Program's Planning Workshop for Scientists and Stakeholders
- A Global Climate and Energy Project – Big Ambitions at Stanford
- Putting Climate Science and Kyoto in Perspective
- Climate Change: A Political Assessment
- A Meaningless Poll on Global Warming
- Debate Over Need To Panic About Global Warming
- Washington Post: G-8 Urges Action on Global Warming, With General Goals
- Global Warming Debate Heats Up Capitol Hill
“Gcc Bill Okeefe All 2 002,” Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Contributed by Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
Gayathri Vaidyanathan. “ADVOCACY:Think tank that cast doubt on climate change science morphs into smaller one,” ClimateWire, December 10, 2015. Archived February 26, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/d7APw
Lobbying Disclosure Act Database search. Performed March 25, 2017. Archived .xlsx on file at DeSmog.
“Lobbying Registration” (PDF), Clerk of the House of Representatives, June 10, 2004. Retrieved from The United States Senate Lobbying Disclose Act Database. PDF on file at DeSmog.
“O'Keefe, William F,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed March 25, 2017. Archived data on file at DeSmog.
William O'Keefe. “Senator Whitehouse Whitewashes Climate Change Reality,” George C. Marshall Institute, October 11, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/VZYCe
“API: U.S. oil industry recognizes climate change risk,” Oil & Gas Journal, November 2, 1998. Archived March 25, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
Joe Romm. “The A.P. Slams U.S. Deniers in 2,000-Word Essay: 'The American ‘Allergy’ to Global Warming: Why?',” ThinkProgress, September 28, 2011. Archived March 25, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nmsfT
“GCC About All,” Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Contributed by Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
Kelly Sims. “Gone Completely Crazy,” Ozone Action. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Contributed by Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
“William O’Keefe: Rex Tillerson brings substance to the State Department,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Nx6Tg
“Several colleagues have notified me of the following email […],” Michael E. Mann via Facebook, January 19, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
“Email-Chain-Happer-O-Keefe-and-Donors-Trust,” Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Contributed by Damian Kahya, Greenpeace. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 24, 2015.
William O'Keefe. “Response of William O’Keefe to Senators Markey, Boxer and Whitehouse on Institute Climate Research,” George C. Marshall Institute, April 1, 2015. Archived March 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/uQ0Q6
“Dear Senators Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse” (PDF), George C. Marshall Institute, April 1, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
“Climate Policy: A Reality Check” (PDF), George C. Marshall Insitute Policy Outlook (September, 2005). Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
“The Challenge of Making Climate Science Policy Relevant,” George C. Marshall Institute Policy Outlook (June, 2004). Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
William O'Keefe. “Climate debate isn’t about action, it’s about knowledge,” George C. Marshall Institute, January 6, 2004. Archived March 5, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/FpQrh
William O'Keefe. “A global climate and energy project,” International Herald Tribune, December 4, 2002. Retrieved from DocumentCloud collection CEQ 12 06 media6 (page 53). Contributed by: Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
The Lamp Number 2 (2008 - PDF). ExxonMobil. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
“Ipcc,” NPR, April 4, 2002. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog.
“API Presents Session on Warming, Economic Impact,” IAC Newsletter Database. Retrieved from DocumentCloud collection api-presentation-speaker-1996. Contributed by Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace.
“Drimcgrawhill Press Kyoto 96,” Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Contributed by Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace.
“'Balance' on Greenhouse Gases” (PDF), The Washington Post, August 3, 1996. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.
“Time for a reality check: global climate change policies; American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President William F. O'Keefe speech; Transcript,” City News Publishing Company Inc. and Information Access Company. Retrieved from DocumentCloud collection “alan-manne-op-eds-1” contributed by Skyler Kopko, Greenpeace.
“Bill O'Keefe,” LinkedIn. Accessed March 24, 2017. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
“The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of International and U. S. Climate Policy,” CEI Events and Appearances. Archived April 26, 2006. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/wfPMu
“Deniers: William O’Keefe,” ExxonSecrets. Archived November 20, 2008.
Greenpeace/ Polluterwatch Research Documents
The following documents are from Greenpeace's research archives for William O'Keefe at Polluterwatch. They are available on DocumentCloud, contributed by Skyler Kopko of Greenpeace.