Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Around and around and around it goes.
April 1, 2010 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Exposing the money behind fake climate science Koch Industries, possibly the largest private industry you never knew about; is secretly funding the Climate Denial Machine; and also funds Americans for Prosperity, the organisation behind the Tea Party movement as well as the Cato Institute among others. The companies founder Fred Koch was a co founder of the John Birch Society. AFP invited the mad Lord Monckton to speak at Copenhagen where he called climate protestors “crazed Hitler youth” and “Nazis.” The Greenpeace story has been largely ignored by US main stream media; apart from HuffPo ; but covered in Europe. Koch Industries have also been involved in dubious studies about the viability of renewable energy.
posted by adamvasco (74 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:41 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


How many resources does Rupert Murdoch have?
posted by Balisong at 8:43 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.

There was supposed to be a hamburger here, right? Right?
posted by bjrubble at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle:

1. Talking about sides ignores the fact that many of these things Koch are backing are batshit insane. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say the tea partyers are off-their-meds crazy.

2. We know about Soros, the whole point of the article is that no one is shining a light on these guys. We live in a political system where the courts consider money spent on speech to be the same as speech, so it is essential to know, whenever some idiot with flimsy science gets air time to flog his bag of world-ruining crazy, just who it is who's really talking.
posted by JHarris at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2010 [22 favorites]


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.

"In 2008 it was the second largest privately held company in the United States (after Cargill) with an annual revenue of about $98 billion."

In 2009 Forbes listed Soros as the 29th-richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at US$13.0 billion.

So kinda the other way around, actually, especially since Koch doesn't have to answer to shareholders in the same way as a publicly traded company.
posted by jedicus at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2010 [37 favorites]


In related news: Climate Scientist Phil Jones Exonerated by British House of Commons.

Previous FPP: Climategate - interview with Phil Jones.
posted by ericb at 8:57 AM on April 1, 2010


George Soros is funding the United Nations? I guess when the US starts paying it's bills, he won't have to anymore.
posted by DU at 8:59 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


David Koch is an evil bastard that also gave millions to PBS for Nova, MIT and the Smithsonian. WHY CAN'T HE BE CONSISTENT?
posted by birdherder at 8:59 AM on April 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.

lol good point...........april fools!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Damn That Television at 9:01 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So kinda the other way around, actually, especially since Koch doesn't have to answer to shareholders in the same way as a publicly traded company.

Revenue, not net income...
posted by ripley_ at 9:01 AM on April 1, 2010


This is not news to me. I've thought climate change deniers were a bunch of Kochs for some time.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:11 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the thesis lacks scope, Terrorist Bombings vs Suicide Bombings might have yielded more accurate results.
posted by NiteMayr at 9:14 AM on April 1, 2010


D'oh and writing responses on the correct 'blue'
posted by NiteMayr at 9:14 AM on April 1, 2010


Revenue, not net income...

Koch bought Georgia-Pacific for $21 billion in 2005. I don't think they're a low-margin company.
posted by jedicus at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2010


Kotch Industries: Fuck Nature.
posted by stbalbach at 9:22 AM on April 1, 2010


The Greenpeace story has been largely ignored by US main stream media; apart from HuffPo

Well.... and along with many other "follow the money" stories, has been covered by Rachel Maddow.

Seriously -- want to see truth spoken to and about power nightly, watch Rachel Maddow. Her archives and shows are all online, if you don't catch one of the 3 or 4 times a night her show is shown on MSNBC. There are even RSS feeds of her show in video and audio format.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look, you can advocate 2 ways:

1. You can man-up and state your position proudly in your own voice,

or

2. Be a snively, weaselly little dick and fund other people to do your dirty work.

Koch obviously understands that, even though the politics here are good for his business, they may not be so good for his public relations. So he let's his (huuuuge amounts of) money speak through such sterling organizations as: The Mercatus Center, Americans for Prosperity, The Cato Institute,The Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, etc., etc., etc.

Political philosophy masquerading as science in the service of greed. Fuck this guy, his minions, and his supporters.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the post. Like 99.9% of the US, I missed the story too.

Kotch Industries: Fuck Nature.

The history of this company is nuts. From a 2000 60 Minutes story:
in December 1999, the jury found that Koch Industries did steal oil from the public and lied about its purchases – 24 thousand times
In April, Koch’s Petroleum Group was fined 20 million dollars after it released huge amounts of cancer-causing benzene from a Texas refinery and then tried to cover it up.
Even if they are a private corporation, U.S. companies still need corporate charters, right? Exactly what does it take to revoke one? If this company didn't lose its charter, what company would?

(I don't think I've ever used the word pwned non-ironically, but Chocolate Pickle, you nut ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:50 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Might have been fruitful to include Koch Industries' response to the greenpeace study.

Here it is.

While you're there, be sure to check out Koch Industries' Market Based Management® system.
posted by notyou at 9:50 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.

2 users marked this as a favorite:
[citation needed] April 1, 2010 9:48 AM


Epoxy resin! Wait, I'll come in again...
posted by aihal at 9:54 AM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Kotch Industries: Fuck Nature.

The kicker is that all those years of fines and settlements amount to about half of a percent of the company's annual revenue.

It's time to tie the penalties for massive environmental damage to the perpetrating company's net worth.
posted by Iridic at 9:55 AM on April 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


and the average american (sadly) says "you people are crazy as hell. what the fuck do i care about stuff like this? Now shut up American Idol is on".
posted by damnitkage at 9:59 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


be sure to check out Koch Industries' Market Based Management® system.

"Is it respectful if somebody ... if you have a good friend driving 100mph and about to go over the cliff, and you say "Oh that's great. You're doing a great job driving"? No, that's what you do to your worst enemy."

What you do to your worst enemy is to cut his brakes or drive him off the road. Seems similar to what Koch Industries is doing to all of us.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:00 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I haven't read the full report, only the summary, but I have to say I don't really see the smoking gun here. The groups they fund (Heritage, Cato) are general-issue conservative thinktanks. Sure, they peddle lies, astroturf, and character attacks -- that's standard practice for conservatives these days. More to the point, they do this on every issue. Why the presumption that Koch is funding them specifically to produce these environmental reports, rather than for their positions on top-bracket income taxes, or immigration, or punishing the enemies of Jesus?
posted by bjrubble at 10:02 AM on April 1, 2010


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.

What? According to Wikipedia Koch Industries revenue is about 98 billion a year. Which is insane. That's 7 times George Soros' net worth. That's 7 times George Soros' net worth each year. Of course, that's revenue, not profit. But still, they would have access to far more cash then Soros if they wanted.
posted by delmoi at 10:02 AM on April 1, 2010


The groups they fund (Heritage, Cato) are general-issue conservative thinktanks.

That's true, and your point is correct and well-taken.

The real bad guys in this story are Americans for Prosperity. They are not a thinktank; they are a wholly-owned front for Koch.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:09 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 2008, David Koch personally had $19 billion dollars. George Soros has around $13 billion.

Here's a really good profile of David Koch from the now-defunct Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine.
t’s taken a while, but the events of those two years—the plane crash and the cancer—have transformed David Koch, slowly changing him into one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America. After spending much of the past decade and a half giving to cancer causes as well as supporting his right-wing political agenda, Koch grabbed the spotlight this summer with a $100 million gift to the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, elevating the profile of a businessman previously known mainly for a bruising fight with his twin brother over control of the family business.

Koch, who would go on to marry Julia, acknowledges that he’s now more well-known thanks to the theater gift, which capped decades of giving that has also included $125 million to his alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for cancer research, and $25 million to Johns Hopkins University. His giving ranks him seventh in Condé Nast Portfolio’s Generosity Index. He says the motive for much of his giving can be traced to that February evening on the tarmac in L.A. “When you’re the only one who survived in the front of the plane and everyone else died—yeah, you think, My God, the good Lord spared me for some greater purpose,” he says. “My joke is that I’ve been busy ever since, doing all the good works I can think of so he can have confidence in me.”
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:16 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Koch's net worth is about $17 billion and George Soros' net worth is about $14 billion, but what's $3 billion between tycoons.
posted by otto42 at 10:17 AM on April 1, 2010


Chocolate Pickle: "And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side."

There's no "other side" here. There's the truth and there's a lot of industry money trying to create uncertainty and doubt about the truth.
posted by octothorpe at 10:19 AM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


> WHY CAN'T HE BE CONSISTENT?
If Joe Romm is to be believed, Koch are being very consistent: Polluter-funded Smithsonian exhibit whitewashes danger of human-caused climate change.
posted by scruss at 10:20 AM on April 1, 2010


David Koch is an evil bastard that also gave millions to PBS for Nova, MIT and the Smithsonian. WHY CAN'T HE BE CONSISTENT?

A little crazy negates a lot of sane.

I haven't read the full report, only the summary, but I have to say I don't really see the smoking gun here.

That's because you've become used to how fucked up our nation is.

I don't know, I see all these little snarky "He's not so bad" comments in this thread and I don't see reasoned responses, I see kneejerk talking-point-like tennis returns. How can anyone defend this?

Koch bought Georgia-Pacific for $21 billion in 2005. I don't think they're a low-margin company.

Holy crap, my Dad used to work for these guys! I literally just put it together, "Koch Cellulose." He got back from a retirees dinner a few days ago. They gave him a huge pile of paper towels and toilet paper, I presume in lieu of a gold watch.

Now I really think they're assholes.
posted by JHarris at 10:28 AM on April 1, 2010


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros, who's been funding the other side.

You do know that the "other side" is science.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2010 [20 favorites]


Revenue, not net income...

Because lobbying and astroturf outlays surely aren't considered under thier expenses.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2010


The 2009 Forbes list shows Charles and David Koch are tied for 19th richest at $14 billion. Individually each is over 25% wealthier than Soros.
posted by kgander at 10:35 AM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I'm a billionaire, I'm just going to pay Senators to kiss each other.
posted by Theta States at 10:36 AM on April 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


There's a little bit of irony here because Greenpeace has done dubious fact-twisting of its own when it suited its agenda. The Brent Spar episode comes to mind.
posted by storybored at 10:41 AM on April 1, 2010


There's a little bit of irony here because Greenpeace has done dubious fact-twisting of its own when it suited its agenda. The Brent Spar episode comes to mind.

Here's the thing, though: When Greenpeace spouts something incorrect, at least you know it's coming from Greenpeace.

When Americans for Prosperity spouts disinformation, how do most people know that they are speaking for, and at the behest of, Koch????
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I am shocked - shocked - to find that the troll who posted a flamebaiting, fact-free one-liner four minutes after this detailed, multiply sourced revelation of the cynical, anti-scientific machinations behind climate change denial was posted has failed to return to defend his vague, ill-informed assertion. I'm even more shocked - shocked - to find that it took that little to hopelessly derail this thread.

This is what I love about the public discourse on climate change: Fill a room with PhDs and Nobel laureates and then set a braying jackass loose, and everyone will start chasing the jackass around to ask what exactly he meant when he said Hee-haw!
posted by gompa at 11:03 AM on April 1, 2010 [38 favorites]


There's a little bit of irony here because Greenpeace has done dubious fact-twisting of its own when it suited its agenda. The Brent Spar episode comes to mind.

You see! This is just what I meant about tennis-return talking point responses! It doesn't seek to overturn the horrible claim made in the FPP, it's just meant to defuse it by hoping to illustrate how it's really not that bad, or that other people do it too.

I think we all do that from time to time. I'm trying to cut down myself. But it's particularly bad here, and from multiple people. Why even mention George Soros, as if it's anywhere near the same league? What does it matter that they give their money to other organizations too?

It’s taken a while, but the events of those two years—the plane crash and the cancer—have transformed David Koch, slowly changing him into one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America.

I'm reminded of Michael Moore's prayer to afflict the comfortable.
posted by JHarris at 11:04 AM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gah, I'm getting grumpy and am overreacting. I'm stepping away from the thread before I get Forehead Vein.
posted by JHarris at 11:05 AM on April 1, 2010


It sounds like Koch Industries is what happens when a sociopathic corporation is run by a sociopath.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:06 AM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Industry doesn't have the burden of truth quite the way that science does. All industry has to do is cast doubt. Doubt slows the gears of regulation, and the slowed gears mean more profit from the status quo. Politics, acting on a glacial timeframe, just can't cope with the nimbleness of industry and thus regulation lags industry neatly.

This is the tactic used by the tobacco industry for decades after it was discovered in the 60s that tobacco products cause cancer. just cast doubt. fund false science. dress it up. publish your own studies. let them be debunked. create more. wash. repeat. until the weight of evidence is overbearing. but by then industry has wracked up enough to foot any bill.

more links about dubious science:

For heaven's sake, it's even the same people. paid to make the same
argument, just for a different industry.
delay is all that is needed.

But on the bright side, I am starting to think that the energy industry (here Koch) may be now nearing the end of opposition. Aren't big industry types coming out on the record acknowledging the problem? I've even read about Exxon investing in green tech.

politics will catch up. but only long after industry has set a new course.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 11:45 AM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Polluter-funded Smithsonian exhibit whitewashes danger of human-caused climate change.

A ‘Grateful’ Smithsonian Denies Greenwashing ‘Philanthropist’ David H. Koch’s Dirty Money.
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You see! This is just what I meant about tennis-return talking point responses! It doesn't seek to overturn the horrible claim made in the FPP, it's just meant to defuse it by hoping to illustrate how it's really not that bad, or that other people do it too.

Um, no. Where did i say that the claim in the FPP is "not that bad?" It's news to me that Koch funds the AFP. Actually until the FPP i've never even heard of Koch Industries, so kudos to the poster for schooling me on that.

I have however heard of Greenpeace. I used to be a fan but now not so much.

An earlier poster said there were "two sides" in the enviro debate, the conservative side and science. I think there are three sides. The conservative side, the Greenpeace side and science.

And science is the battered, bleeding underdog, whipped by the two others.
posted by storybored at 12:05 PM on April 1, 2010


David Koch is an evil bastard that also gave millions to PBS for Nova, MIT and the Smithsonian. WHY CAN'T HE BE CONSISTENT?
"Koch, the ninth richest man in the United States, has distributed a tiny fraction of his wealth to greenwash his image, putting his name on cancer research centers (Koch had prostate cancer) and ballet halls (Koch enjoys watching the 'beautiful girls'). His propaganda operation Americans for Prosperity, meanwhile, scares Americans about President Obama’s 'radical global warming agenda' and claims health care reform is like Adolf Hitler’s 'final solution.' *
posted by ericb at 12:08 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Video [08:28]: Rachel Maddow on David Koch last night.
posted by ericb at 12:15 PM on April 1, 2010


My question is why this is news. This has been going on for years, with funding coming through people associated with the Mont Pelerin Society, a group of hard-core Hayak devotees. Big money, starting with the Volker Fund, which gave way to the Hoover Institution, whose list of fellows and donors is... interesting, to say the least.

These guys invented the "think tank." There weren't enough scholarly articles coming out attacking socialism and the Soviets, so they basically created journals and research institutes out of whole cloth. Most of the first think tanks were "conservative," (neoliberal, really), and most of them started with money traceable to people associated with Mont Pelerin in some form or another.

A partial list of major advocacy groups who receive funding from these guys:
- The Hudson Institute.
- The Heritage Foundation.
- The Cato Institute.
- The American Enterprise Institute.
- The Manhattan Institute.

And you know who is a major contribute to a lot of those groups? The Koch Family Foundations. Hell, Koch founded Cato. Other major contributors include The John M. Olin Foundation and The Lilly Endowment.

Before they were focused on creating FUD about climate change, a lot of them spent time supporting SDI. When the Soviet Union collapsed, they simply shifted focus, because hey, they already had this "scientific" infrastructure in place, so why not keep using it?

Check out The Road From Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective and Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science. For a more scholarly treatment.
posted by valkyryn at 12:30 PM on April 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


To quote Lester Freeman of The Wire, "Follow the money."
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 1:00 PM on April 1, 2010


Ironically, when they charter ships (and they charter a metric assload of ships) they charter the absolute best, safest and most expensive.

Doesn't make me hate them any less, of course.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:21 PM on April 1, 2010


I still say a law should be passed: if you want to fight science, you don't get to enjoy the benefits of science: electricity in your home, plumbing, tv, radio, phones, computers, automobiles, medicines, etc.
posted by grubi at 1:46 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously -- want to see truth spoken to and about power nightly, watch Rachel Maddow.

Today is her birthday, btw.

posted by homunculus at 2:09 PM on April 1, 2010


The groups they fund (Heritage, Cato) are general-issue conservative thinktanks. Sure, they peddle lies, astroturf, and character attacks -- that's standard practice for conservatives these days. More to the point, they do this on every issue. Why the presumption that Koch is funding them specifically to produce these environmental reports, rather than for their positions on top-bracket income taxes, or immigration, or punishing the enemies of Jesus?

Cato opposed the Iraq war, calls for the end of the drug war, decries the continued militarization of police forces, and campaigns against immigration restrictions.

But because you don't agree with them on economic policy, everything they do is evil? That's binary thinking of the worst order.
posted by ripley_ at 2:28 PM on April 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


And they've got maybe one ten-thousandth of the resources of George Soros

So... Any citation for this? Or can we safely put your contribution to rest as complete bullshit?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


George Soros is a fascinating figure-not the man himself, but his presence in the American political discourse. He's this scumfuck currency trader who made his money doing nothing particularly productive, bettering on the misery of others, but in 2004 he was bright enough to see that another four years of Bush was bad for business. His allegiance isn't to any political philosophy or to philanthropy, it's to a healthy economy that he can make a bunch more money in. And most strikingly, before the 2004 election season, unless you were the sort to pay close attention to people like him, you'd never heard of him.

But then in 2004 he announced that he was getting behind the effort to unseat Bush. And ever since then, the braying jackasses of the right- the mindless, screaming idiots running on nothing but screaming terror of the future and the unknown- have framed him as Public Enemy Number 1, as a ringleader, as a conspiratorial mastermind behind every door and under every bed. It doesn't hurt that he's Jewish, as the Jews have long played this role in racist-reactionary politics.

Flash forward to 2008 and it's ACORN, an organization that, unless you were involved in voter registration or street-level politics, you'd never heard of, that is suddenly a massive, nationwide conspiracy behind everything that frightens or bothers Republicans.

Soros is a nobody. He's just some asshole with a bunch of money who got involved six years ago. And because he wasn't supporting the Republican candidate, he became the Red Skull, he became Ernst Stavro Bloefeld, he became Bob Page. He, like ACORN after him, became a bogeyman to project fear onto, a scapegoat who can be blamed for everything that goes wrong. If he actually had anything near the power, influence, or even involvement that the Republicans like to pretend he has, he'd be a monster threatening democracy itself. But he doesn't, and he isn't, and watching the right use him as a Bloefeld figure is sad and pathetic.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:55 PM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]



So how do I invest in Koch industries....
posted by notreally at 3:19 PM on April 1, 2010


Blofeld, good sir.
posted by phaedon at 4:02 PM on April 1, 2010


TIMELINE: From Promoting Acid Rain To Climate Denial, Over 20 Years Of David Koch’s Polluter Front Groups.
posted by ericb at 5:13 PM on April 1, 2010


The Climate Skeptics are primarily a bunch of people with web sites. Climate Audit, Watts Up with That, The Blackboard and a few other places. They get no funding. They disagree with some of the statements made by some climatologists. Most of the people on these sites wouldn't even know that Pat Michaels, who is funded by the Cato Institute, runs a site somewhere that posts on climate science.

The 'climategate' incident was run on a number of websites. You can view all the emails on some site someone put up. The Blackboard was one of the first sites that had the emails posted.

The principle claim in these emails seems to be, from page 19 of "Koch-industries-secretly-fund-1.pfdf" is that Koch foundations contributed 48 million dollars to "climate opposition groups from 1997-2008 & 25M between 2005-2008. The report makes a huge mistake by claiming that donations to groups that undertake a large numbers of campaigns are spending all that money on influencing climate change policy.

The numbers in the report for 2005-2008 seem to come from p20 of the pdf:

9.2M to the Mercatus Center
5.1M to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation
1.9M to Institute for Humane Studies
1.6M to The Heritage Foundation
1.0M to the Cato Institute
0.8M to the Manhattan Institute
0.6M to the Washington Legal Foundation
0.5M to the Federalist Society

which gets to about 20.7M and then a load of other small grants to other organisations.

The Mercatus Center has their research ares list here. Find the 'environment section'. It's one of about 50 sub-areas that they look at. They are clearly a libertarian think tank that looks at a wide range of issues. Greenpeace implies that all the funding Koch is giving the Mercatus Centre is about global warming. This is highly unlikely.

Americans for Prosperity has revenue of about 6 million dollars. From their issues page it looks like they 7 issues one of which is energy. Again, Greenpeace thinks that all the money they get from the Kochs is directed to be spent on campaigning against global warming.

The Heritage Foundation is a a big hitter. The Kochs gave them 1.9M. Now, again, look at the range of issues they canvas. They list 9 areas, one of which is energy and the environment. Again, the claim that the Kochs are only spending money on their energy policy is far fetched. How much do you think the Kochs want universal health care? How about more government regulation?

Again, the Cato Institute is important. The Kochs gave them 1.0M, But again look at the range of things the Cato Institute campaigns on. On page 22 of the Greenpeace report they have a specific instance of where Cato has spent money on climate skepticism. It's 120K and 98K paid to Pat Michaels and others.

The idea that all the money the Kochs are donating is going to promoting climate skepticism is dubious at best. The Kochs appear to be strongly libertarian and they donate to Libertarian organisations. You could equally claim that the Kochs are putting 23M toward denying health care change or opposing the stimulus. It's wrong.

Now, just to compare lets look at Greenpeace and WWF who both specifically campaign on global warming. How much have they spent?

From page 31 of the Greenpeace international report Greenpeace says it spent 22.9M Euros just on energy and climate in 2008 and 19.3M Euros in 2007. Let's guess for 2005 & 2006 at another 15M Euros for 2005 & 2006. So Greenpeace has probably spent about 72.2 M on climate change in the period in question.

WWF's annual report has their revenues for the past few years. Their operating expenditures for 2007,2008 & 2009 were 159, 161 and 99 million Euros. They don't seem to have a clearly available breakdown of where they spent their money but given that Conservation and Climate Change is the first chapter of their report Climate Change would appear to have pretty major billing. But let's guess that they spend 1/5 of their expenditure on climate change activism. So, for those three years you have about 80 million Euros spent on climate change activism.

There are many other Green organisations active on climate change but Greenepeace and WWF are probably the largest.

These figures are also comparing global figures with US figures which makes it harder to compare. However, is there funded climate change opposition outside the US?

So, you have the Koch's spending 25M USD donating to Libertarian Organisations which do spend some of their time on climate change versuses the combined spend of only 2 large Green organisations of 150M Euros.

The money would appear not to be on the skeptics side.
posted by sien at 7:05 PM on April 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


sien> So, you have the Koch's spending 25M USD donating to Libertarian Organisations which do spend some of their time on climate change versuses the combined spend of only 2 large Green organisations of 150M Euros.

The money would appear not to be on the skeptics side.


Because, of course, there is no person or corporation other than Koch supporting the climate change denialist movement.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cato opposed the Iraq war, calls for the end of the drug war, decries the continued militarization of police forces, and campaigns against immigration restrictions.

But because you don't agree with them on economic policy, everything they do is evil? That's binary thinking of the worst order.


Cato is something of a false-flag political operation, like Politico. It casts itself as this committed, independent, libertarian advocacy outfit--which dovetails nicely into Koch and his pals' self-interested anti-regulatory agenda just fine--while at the same time, creating a false appearance of independent, principled political opposition that they can hide behind to attack any potential reformers who come along that might pose a serious threat of imposing an effective regulatory regime.

It's a pretty transparent scam, once you start paying attention to where the money flows from. Then you start noticing how the "principled" attacks always seem to start just in time to create a more hostile political climate for reform...
posted by saulgoodman at 9:32 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


sien: Again, the Cato Institute is important.

The Cato Institute was founded by Charles Koch in 1977. Check out this timeline.
posted by russilwvong at 9:38 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The money would appear not to be on the skeptics side.

Wrong. Koch is far from alone. Grover Norquist has coordinated efforts on the part of the wealthiest billionaires in America with the stated aim of making the US Federal government weak enough to "strangle it in a bath tub."

Rupert Murdoch, for example, owns The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, News Corp (with all the Fox goodness you can stand), and a mind-blowing number of other media outlets (see the complete list at the end of this comment):

From his beginnings as a proprietor of a single Australian newspaper, Mr. Murdoch now commands a news, entertainment and Internet enterprise whose $68 billion value slightly exceeds that of the Walt Disney Company.

And the beloved, recently departed Roy Disney? Yep, before he died, he pumped millions into right-wing political activism, too, and if you ever happen to ride Spaceship Earth, you'll note that the narration includes a blatantly right wing anti-tax editorial when it talks about how the invention of writing, "unfortunately, soon led to the invention of taxes," or words to that effect.

Here's the full list of Rupert Murdoch's media holdings alone (and no, this is not a joke):

Film

20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Español
Twentieth Century Fox International
Twentieth Century Fox Television
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Studios Australia
Fox Studios Baja
Fox Studios Los Angeles
Fox Television Studios

Television

Broadcast/Production assets
20th Century Fox Television
20th Television
bTV
Foxtel
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox International Channels Italy
Fox Kids (1990-2002)
Fox Sports Australia
Fox Telecolombia
Fox Television Stations
Fox Television Studios
Imedi TV
Latvijas Neatkarīgā Televīzija
MyNetworkTV
STAR TV
TV5 Rīga

Cable Assets
Big Ten Network (49%)
Fox Business Network
Fox College Sports
Fox Movie Channel
Fox News Channel
Fox Soccer Channel
Fox Sports Enterprises
Fox Sports en Español
Fox Sports Net
FUEL TV
FX Networks
Fox Reality
National Geographic Channel (50%)
National Geographic Channel UK (50%)
Speed Channel
SportSouth
LAPTV (Latin America — co-owned with Paramount Pictures/Viacom, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/MGM Holdings and Universal Studios/NBC Universal)
Telecine (Brazil — co-owned with Globosat Canais, Paramount Pictures, MGM, Universal Studios and DreamWorks);

Direct broadcast satellite Assets

BSkyB [United Kingdom] (39.1%)
Sky Deutschland (39.96%)
SKY Italia
SKY Network Television [New Zealand] (43.65%)
Foxtel [Australia] (25%)
Star TV [India & Greater China] (100%)
Tata Sky [India] (20%)

Internet

Fox Interactive Media
AmericanIdol.com
AskMen.com
Fox.com
Foxsports.com
GameSpy
Hulu.com
kSolo
IGN
Drownedinsound.com
MySpace
MyNetworktv.com
NewRoo.com
Strategicdatacorp.com
Photobucket.com
Scout.com
SpringWidgets
WhatIfSports
Beliefnet
News Digital Media
Slingshot Labs
Authonomy via HarperCollins

Magazines and Inserts

InsideOut
donna hay
News America Marketing
SmartSource

Newspapers and Information Services

United Kingdom
News International
The Sun
News of the World
The Times
Sunday Times
thelondonpaper (a free newspaper which closed in September 2009)

Australia
News Limited
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)
The Australian (national)
The Weekend Australian (national)
The Advertiser (Adelaide)
Sunday Mail (Adelaide)
The Sunday Times (Perth)
Herald Sun (Melbourne)
Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne)
mX (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane)
The Courier-Mail (Brisbane)
The Cairns Post (Cairns, Queensland)
Geelong Advertiser
Gold Coast Bulletin
The Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian (Hobart)
Northern Territory News (Darwin)
The Sunday Territorian (Darwin)
Australian Associated Press (45%)

Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Post-Courier
Fiji
The Fiji Times

United States
New York Post
Community Newspaper Group
The Brooklyn Paper
Courier-Life Publications
TimesLedger Newspapers
Bronx Times Reporter Inc.

International
Dow Jones & Company
Consumer Media Group
The Wall Street Journal - the leading US financial newspaper.
Wall Street Journal Europe
Wall Street Journal Asia
Barron's - weekly financial markets magazine.
Marketwatch - Financial news and information website.
Far Eastern Economic Review
Financial News
Enterprise Media Group
Dow Jones Newswires - global, real-time news and information provider.
Factiva - provides business news and information together with content delivery tools and services.
Dow Jones Indexes - stock market indexes and indicators, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Dow Jones Financial Information Services — produces databases, electronic media, newsletters, conferences, directories, and other information services on specialised markets and industry sectors.
Betten Financial News — leading Dutch language financial and economic news service.
Local Media Group'
Dow Jones Local Media Group (formerly Ottaway Community Newspapers) - 8 daily and 15 weekly regional newspapers.
Strategic Alliances
STOXX (33%) - joint venture with Deutsche Boerse and SWG Group for the development and distribution of Dow Jones STOXX indices.
Vedomosti (33%) - Russia's leading financial newspaper (joint venture with Financial Times and Independent Media).
SmartMoney (50%)
FiLife.com (50%)

Books
HarperCollins
HarperCollins India (40%) joint venture with India Today Group
Zondervan Publishing
Youth Specialties — organisation helping youth workers worldwide through training seminars and conventions, resources and the internet.
Inspirio — religious gift production.

So I think it's fair to say Rupert Murdoch has no trouble getting a fair hearing for his strident anti-tax and antiregulatory political views.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:52 PM on April 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


(i'm pretty sure FIM sold photobucket)
posted by flaterik at 10:04 PM on April 1, 2010


Oh, on the extent of George Soros' political activism?

Soros was not a large donor to US political causes until the 2004 presidential election, but according to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the 2003-2004 election cycle, Soros donated $23,581,000 to various 527 groups dedicated to defeating President Bush.

And his media holdings?

Not only does he not have any US media holdings, he can't even seem to maintain a working website, as this Google cache version of a fact-check page hosted on his website explains.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:06 PM on April 1, 2010


(i'm pretty sure FIM sold photobucket)

Ouch. Point taken. How ever will Murdoch, Koch, Norquist, and the others in their little club get a chance to chime in on public policy debates now?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:12 PM on April 1, 2010


Oh, and The Weekly Standard? Murdoch started that too.

Another major right-wing voice and Koch political ally is newspaper baron and Heritage Foundation vice-chair, Richard Mellon-Scaife, who by now has probably pumped billions into right-wing political activism mostly focused on combating environmental regulation and using "libertarianism" as a cover for a financially motivated anti-tax, anti-regulatory agenda:

By 1998 his foundations were listed among donors to over 100 such groups [right-wing political groups], to which he had disbursed some $340 million by 2002
posted by saulgoodman at 10:36 PM on April 1, 2010


saul, i put it in parentheses because it was a minor factual correction that took nothing away from your point. i wasn't arguing, just issuing a correction.
posted by flaterik at 10:58 PM on April 1, 2010


I thought Hillary's "vast right wing conspiracy" comment was absurd, back when she originally made it. Now I'm not so sure.
posted by syzygy at 12:25 AM on April 2, 2010


I thought Hillary's "vast right wing conspiracy" comment was absurd, back when she originally made it. Now I'm not so sure.

Go read Blinded By The Right, by the author of such right-wing hit pieces as The Real Anita Hill and The Seduction of Hillary Rodham. He was active in the right-wing punditry scene in the 90's and lays out exactly how the right-wing noise machine of the Clinton era was coordinated and funded by right-wing millionaires.

The VRWC was real; Brock explains it as a former member.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:39 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


saul, i put it in parentheses because it was a minor factual correction that took nothing away from your point. i wasn't arguing, just issuing a correction.

i understand. didn't mean to get snippy--the absurdity of the media situation is just so vexing...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:04 AM on April 2, 2010


You are all doomed.
posted by Vindaloo at 4:52 PM on April 2, 2010


Ultimately we all are. It's just so damn vexing when it seems that we're purposefully accelerating it.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:33 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Matthew Yglesias:
Kock [sic] is also a major donor to certain legitimate scientific enterprises, including recently a lot of endeavors related to researching human evolution. Most specifically, he funded a new Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History.

I love primates, so I went to check it out a couple of weeks ago. It’s full of interesting stuff. But coincidentally enough, the exhibit also takes a number of slightly bizarre detours that seem calculated to confuse people about the science pertaining to present-day climate change. There’s even an interactive game near the end of the exhibit that basically has nothing to do with human evolution, but does just bluntly assert that investing money in mass transit will harm a nation’s economy.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 11:01 PM on April 2, 2010


Climate scientist sues newspaper for 'poisoning' global warming debate
posted by homunculus at 7:54 PM on April 23, 2010


« Older April Fools 2010: The Definitive List from TechCru...  |  Suicide bombers from Lebanon, ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments