It’s mostly secret. A new refereed paper by Robert Brulle of Drexel University looks into it.
“The climate change countermovement has had a real political and ecological impact on the failure of the world to act on the issue of global warming,” said Brulle. “Like a play on Broadway, the countermovement has stars in the spotlight—often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians—but behind the stars is an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations. If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.”
So he looked, and he found this:
• The biggest known funders of organizations downplaying the importance of man-made climate change are foundations such as the Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.
• Koch and ExxonMobil have pulled back from publicly visible funding. From 2003 to 2007, the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were heavily involved in funding the climate change countermovement. But since 2008, they are no longer making publicly traceable contributions.
• Funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. As traceable funding drops, the amount of funding given to the countermovement by the Donors Trust has risen dramatically. Donors Trust is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced. This one foundation now provides about 25% of all traceable foundation funding used by organizations engaged in promoting systematic denial of human-caused climate change.
• Most funding for denial efforts is untraceable. Despite extensive digging, only a small part of the hundreds of millions in contributions to climate change denying organizations can be found out from public records. A group of 91 climate change denial organizations has a total income of $900 million per year—but only $64 million in identifiable foundation support!
All this is from the original paper:
• Robert J. Brulle, Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations, Climatic Change, 2013.
and this summary:
• Not just Koch brothers: new study reveals funders behind climate change denial effort, ScienceDaily, 20 December 2013.
Ironically, the original paper would probably be hidden behind a paywall if someone hadn’t liberated it. Get your copy now, while you can!
You can also get 120 pages of details—names and dollar amounts—here:
• Robert J. Brulle, Supplementary online material.
Here is Brulle’s pie chart of who is doing the (traceable!) funding—click to enlarge:
And here is his chart of the organizations who are getting funded:
Here is his graph showing the rise of Donors Trust:
And here is his picture of the social network involved in climate change denial. He calls this the Climate Change Counter Movement. You really need to enlarge this one to see anything: