No 248 Posted by fw, August 16, 2011
Greenpeace News Release April 14, 2011 –
One year ago, not many knew the name Koch Industries, a publicity-averse private company run by two brothers, David and Charles Koch. The Koch brothers each have an estimated net personal wealth of more than $21 billion and are now tied for the fifth richest man in America, ranking among the top 20 richest people in the world. A year ago, even reporters at major outlets responded “who?” in conversation about the Koch brothers or Koch Industries. Fortunately, the shroud of secrecy is being lifted.
In March 2010, Greenpeace released a 44-page report Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine garnering international media attention. In August, The New Yorker magazine published a ten thousand-word investigation, Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. David Koch tried to undermine the New Yorker story by placing a rare interview in New York magazine intended to offer a flattering portrait but instead adding fuel to the fire. Now, a growing awareness of these oil billionaires’ destructive agenda has led to increased scrutiny and resistance from people and organizations all over the United States.
In case you may have missed it, Greenpeace has recently released an updated report, Koch Industries Still Fueling Climate Denial: 2011 Update. Click on the linked title to download the 32-page full report or the 2-page executive summary. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s what the Ecologist magazine wrote about Greenpeace’s 2010 report in its News Round Up of March 30, 2010, US oil giant pumps $48m into climate sceptic groups
Report finds Kansas-based Koch Industries has been financing opposition to environmental regulation, clean energy and climate scepticism.
A largely unknown US oil and manufacturing company has been exposed as a multi-million pound funder of climate change opposition groups and lobbyists. According to a Greenpeace report, Koch Industries, a billion-dollar company based in Kansas, spent nearly $50 million between 1997-2008 and almost $25 million between 2005-8 on organisations including:
The privately-owned company has no branded consumer products and as such a limited public profile. However, Greenpeace says it has become a dominant figure in efforts to undermine confidence in climate science and promote opposition to clean energy both in the US and around the world:
‘This private, out-of-sight corporation is now a partner to ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and other donors that support organisations and front-groups opposing progressive clean energy and climate policy,’ says the report. ‘In fact, Koch has out-spent ExxonMobil in funding these groups in recent years. From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to organisations of the climate denial machine.’
‘It is time Koch Industries came clean and dropped its dirty, behind-the-scenes campaign against action on climate change,’ said Greenpeace US research director Kert Davies.
In response, a spokesperson for Koch Industries said –
‘[The company believed the] political response to climate issues should be based on sound science. Both a free society and the scientific method require an open and honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases. We have tried to help bring out the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate, as it’s crucial to understand whether proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will achieve desired environmental goals and what effects they would likely have on the global economy.’