Since I was traveling at the time, I failed to note an interesting story that got covered in the science press about the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement.

As reported in articles in Scientific American, The Guardian, and elsewhere, a recent peer-reviewed study published in Climatic Science by sociologist Robert Brulle supports many claims that have been made by environmental scientists and activists documenting the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement — a close to $1 billion a year machine of nearly 100 organizations.

Most revealingly (or rather, obscuringly), denialism has been able to cloak its funding sources behind what have effectively become “money laundering” operations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, “donor-directed foundations” whose funders cannot be traced, but which account for about a quarter of all “traceable” (!) foundation funding used by organizations that actively spread the climate denialist message.

Among the study’s findings, as summarized in this Drexel University press release

  • “Conservative foundations have bank-rolled denial. The largest and most consistent funders of organizations orchestrating climate change denial are a number of well-known conservative foundations, such as the Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation. These foundations promote ultra-free-market ideas in many realms.
  • “Koch and ExxonMobil have recently pulled back from publicly visible funding. From 2003 to 2007, the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were heavily involved in funding climate-change denial organizations. But since 2008, they are no longer making publicly traceable contributions.
  • “Funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to denial organizations 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 climate change.
  • “Most funding for denial efforts is untraceable. Despite extensive data compilation and analyses, only a fraction of the hundreds of millions in contributions to climate change denying organizations can be specifically accounted for from public records. Approximately 75% of the income of these organizations comes from unidentifiable sources.”


Figure 1


For more on the climate change denial machine, see DeSmogBlog’s Global Warming Disinformation Database, and Greenpeace’s extensive 2013 report Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science.

And for climate news more generally, the list of links from the Society of Environmental Journalists web site is as good a place to start as any.


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