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Unidentified sources massively fund climate change denial movement

According to an article published in The Daily Climate and republished in Scientific American online (December 23), conservative organizations are using anonymous third party trusts to channel funds to people and organizations that deny the...


According to an article published in The Daily Climate and republished in Scientific American online (December 23), conservative organizations are using anonymous third party trusts to channel funds to people and organizations that deny the science behind climate change.

The article “‘Dark Money’ Funds Climate Change Denial Effort” reports on a study by Robert Brulle at Drexel University (a study originally published in the journal Climate Change). Brulle found that the amount of donation money that is flowing through third-party, pass-through foundations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, has risen dramatically over the past five years.

Said to be the first academic study of its kind, Brulle’s study found that 140 foundations channeled $558 million to 100 climate denial organizations between the years 2003-2010.

He also found that the donations from companies like ExxonMobil and Koch Industries to climate change denial organizations had declined dramatically after 2007, whereas in the years beforehand they had been heavily involved in funding such programs.

Brulle gathered information on the funding of 118 climate denial organizations from the Foundation Centre, which is a database of global philanthropy together with financial data submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.

He found that some 75% of the income received by client change denial organizations comes from unidentifiable sources.

Brulle is quoted as saying that the climate change deniers have had a significant influence in preventing the world from acting to prevent global warming.

He also said that anonymous donation programs are an issue for democracy. “Without a free flow of accurate information, democratic politics and government accountability becomes impossible…Money amplifies certain voices above others and, in effect, gives them a megaphone in the public square.”

The chief financial officer for DonorsTrust said that they “do not take positions with respect to any issue advocated by its grantees.”

To read the article by author Douglas Fischer, click here.