In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who's-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change.
As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage. The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy. In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.
Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on. After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.
For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.
19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) have received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil (funded 13 orgs), and/or Koch Industries family foundations (funded 10 orgs) and/or the Scaife family foundations (funded 10 orgs). See below for a full funding break-down.
|ExxonMobil (1998-2008):||$6,588,250||($389,250 more than reported in 2009)|
|Koch Foundations (1985-2008):||$17,572,210||($13,133,290 more than reported in 2009)|
|Scaife Family Foundations (1985-2008):||$16,352,000|
*The Heritage Foundation sponsored the 2009 conference and is notably absent from sponsoring the 2010 ICCC. Heritage has received $23,096,640 from Scaife, $2,417,000 from Koch and $565,000 from Exxon between 1998-2006.
ExxonMobil has backed off funding many of the groups who have sponsored global warming denial, thanks in large measure to the relentless work of ExxonSecrets.org, a project of Greenpeace USA. However, the funding gap has been filled by the private oil fortunes of the Koch and Scaife families, who continue to pump funds into the network of climate denial and "free market" groups.
"These same anti-regulatory 'free market' organizations are hell-bent on keeping us addicted to dirty oil and coal. They’ve pushed for more offshore drilling, fought improvements to fuel economy standards and stalled action on global warming through denial and deception," says Kert Davies, Research Director of Greenpeace USA.
According to the Media Transparency project, the Scaife Family of Foundations is "financed by the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune. At one time its largest single holding was stock in the Gulf Oil Corporation. [Scaife] became active in funding conservative causes in 1973, when Richard Mellon Scaife became chairman of the foundation."
The Koch foundations' money comes from the profits generated by oil conglomerate Koch Industries, the "nation's largest privately held energy company, with annual revenues of more than $25 billion. ... Koch Industries is now the second largest family-owned business in the U.S., with annual sales of over $20 billion." The Koch brothers, David and Charles, control the three family foundations that have "lavished tens of millions of dollars in the past decade on 'free market' advocacy institutions in and around Washington."
The Koch connections are the most interesting because of the lengths they go to attempt to deny their involvement. DeSmogBlog asked a Koch spokesperson if they were involved in sponsoring the ICCC and received this reply:
"In response to your question as to whether Koch is supporting the ICCC - no, Koch Industries and the Koch foundations are not supporting the International Conference on Climate Change."
"Koch companies value free speech and believe it is good to have more Americans engaged in key policy issues. That said, Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch and David Koch have no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks. In addition, no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties. Thanks for your consideration."
In both cases, Koch denies responsibility by hiding one degree of separation from the event. They claim their hands are clean, yet huge amounts of Koch money are funneled into the organizations doing the lion's share of work to organize the tea parties and the ICCC denial-a-palooza. Americans For Prosperity and its sister organization FreedomWorks (formerly united as Citizens for a Sound Economy) have received a total of over $17 million from Koch foundations between 1985 and 2008. That works out to 64% of the major funding for FreedomWorks/CSE, and 90% of the major funding for Americans for Prosperity. (Based on totals from 'major funders' compiled by MediaMatters.) The totals for 2009 aren't out yet, but there is little reason to believe funding has decreased, meaning millions more dollars have likely been pumped into this network.