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Friday, August 27, 2010

Koch Industries spends 48 million dollars in funding of Climate Change Denial and subverting democracy in America

Koch Industries spends 48 million dollars in funding of Climate Change Denial

by Ellinorianne, DailyKos, April 06, 2010

For those of us who don't doubt that climate change is happening, we know there are people who profit from the denial and we know that there is big money behind keeping the general public pushing to keep the status quo.
But this makes progress for real legislation to control greenhouse gases, change our dependence on an oil driven economy and protect biodiversity not just in our neck of the woods but worldwide, almost impossible to enact.
Then Greenpeace released a stunning report revealing just who was putting millions dollars into the anti-climate change denial machine.  The muddling was a concerted effort and well funded.
Not just well funded by a little bit of money but by the tune of 48 and a half million dollars.  That's right, between the years of 1997 and 2008 Koch Industries has pumped almost fifty million dollars into various organizations to put forth climate change denial echo chambers of so called experts, scientists and, "think tanks".  
Mercatus Center 
$9,247,500 received from Koch foundations 2005-2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997-2008: $9,874,500] 
Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) 
$5,176,500 received from Koch foundations 2005-2008 [No Koch foundation grants received prior to 2005] 
The Heritage Foundation 
$1,620,000 received from Koch foundations 2005-2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997-2008: $3,358,000] 
Cato Institute 
$1,028,400 received from Koch foundations 2005-2008 [Total Koch foundation grants 1997-2008: $5,278,400]
The obscene amounts of money thrown around is to prop up bogus experts in order to discredit legitimate scientific research and make it seem as if these skeptics have some kind of ground to stand on.  And Koch has a reason to see science stumble, a lot of reasons, it's called profit, lots of little dollar signs.  Not just Exxon, Massey and other large oil, coal and fossil fuel giants that are as plain as the nose on our faces, Koch is one of those giants that flies under the radar.
Not anymore, if we can do something to reveal how they push their money to mold the opinion of the masses we can hopefully take away their cover.
So who is Koch Industries?
Billionaire oilman David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is “the biggest company you've never heard of.” But the nearly $50 million that David Koch and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter.
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s time more people were aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to.
Here is just one example of how the Koch machine works...
In November 2009, anonymous hackers illegally obtained and disseminated thousands of personal emails from climate scientists housed on the server of the University of East Anglia. The emails spanned 13 years of correspondence and a handful of selected emails were taken out of context by a number of climate-denier organizations. These organizations, many part of the Koch Web, claim the emails prove a “conspiracy” of scientists and cast doubt on the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.
This incident, dubbed “ClimateGate” by climate-denier groups, has been distorted and repeated many times by conservative media and blogs since late November 2009.  Twenty organizations, roughly half of the Koch-funded groups profiled in this report, have contributed to the “ClimateGate” echo chamber. Among the most vocal groups are organizations that received over $1,000,000 from Koch foundations since 2005, including Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute.
Americans For Prosperity (received over $5 million from Koch since 2005) hosted a live webcast from Copenhagen on Dec 9th as part of their “Hot Air Tour,” using the “ClimateGate” emails as a reason to prevent passage of any progressive global warming policy. During the webcast, Steve Lonegan, AFP’s New Jersey Director, said “ClimateGate” could have uncovered “the biggest hoax our world has ever seen” and vows not to allow any climate bill to pass the US Senate. Several members of the Copenhagen youth delegation crashed the AFP event and were angrily called “Hitler Youth” by AFP guest speaker and well known climate denier Lord Christopher Monckton. In addition to the Copenhagen webcast, AFP mentions “ClimateGate” in many blog  posts, including in their protest of the EPA CO2 endangerment finding.
The Heritage Foundation (received over $1 million from Koch since 2005) has posted several articles on its website regarding “ClimateGate.”  The blogs run the gamut of possible climate-denier angles on the incident, ranging from conspiracy accusations , to a history of imagined climate scandals, to effects on world politics, to supposed economic consequences from climate legislation.
**The Cato Institute (received over $1 million in grants from Koch since 2005) is the front-group for climate-denier Patrick Michaels, who has been a vocal spokesperson regarding “ClimateGate”. Within two weeks following the email breach at East Anglia University, Patrick Michaels had appeared in over twenty media interviews on shows including CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, NBC's Nightly News, FOX's Fox & Friends, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, and BBC's Have Your Say. Michaels, taking one line of an illegally-obtained email out of context, has claimed the scientists have committed a “capital crime”  and their actions are “akin to filtering what goes in the bible.”
Emphasis Mine!
Kind of makes your stomach turn, doesn't it?  And this kind of "echo chamber" attack works, not because they prove anything is wrong, they don't have to produce any research of their own, they just have to play a kind of media "house of cards" by removing just one piece of the house and say that because of this, the whole thing just collapses.
And science just doesn't work that way, science is not a house of cards but, as so eloquently argued by an article in The Economist, it is more like a jigsaw puzzle as scientists attempt to put it together collectively, arranging pieces and putting together those parts to get a bigger picture.
There is no reasoning between climate scientists and supporters and those that are determined to deny and undermine the science if they refuse to use the same logic.  Of course we know, as you can see by the huge amount of money behind the denial, it's not about science at all, but the bottom line of large corporate entities that rely on the continued use of fossil fuels and the lack of regulation regarding green house gases.
In any complex scientific picture of the world there will be gaps, misperceptions and mistakes. Whether your impression is dominated by the whole or the holes will depend on your attitude to the project at hand. You might say that some see a jigsaw where others see a house of cards. Jigsaw types have in mind an overall picture and are open to bits being taken out, moved around or abandoned should they not fit. Those who see houses of cards think that if any piece is removed, the whole lot falls down. When it comes to climate, academic scientists are jigsaw types, dissenters from their view house-of-cards-ists.
The defenders of the consensus tend to stress the general consilience of their efforts—the way that data, theory and modelling back each other up. Doubters see this as a thoroughgoing version of “confirmation bias”, the tendency people have to select the evidence that agrees with their original outlook. But although there is undoubtedly some degree of that (the errors in the IPCC, such as they are, all make the problem look worse, not better) there is still genuine power to the way different arguments and datasets in climate science tend to reinforce each other.
Emphasis mine
But does this come down to the fact that in general, people have a real lack of understanding of science, they can point to a snowstorm and say, look global warming can't be real?  And then fall for it?  This is what distresses me most, that the big money can use the house of cards so well that we can move a huge number of people to think so ill of the scientific process.
Remove a card and the whole thing falls down?
And here are some examples of these organizations brilliant work!
Gotta love this video!  Here's another winner that they call "Grassroots" that's funded by corporate dollars!
Here is Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute giving his thoughts on "Climate Change" on CNN with Anderson Cooper.  This is part of the Echo Chamber that Greenpeace documented as their example of Koch Industries funding the denial
Just thought I would give you a little taste of the echo chamber.   Especially when Anderson Cooper says, Patrick has a point!  Really?  
What needs to happen is that we need to reveal that the denial is well funded by huge corporate entities that don't really care about your personal wellbeing.  Pass it on.  
Rachel Maddow covered Koch Industries, of course she did.  I leave you with her segment on this issue.  This is much easier to share.

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