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What Does an "Intellectually Honest Debate" About Climate Change Mean to Koch Industries?

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After Greenpeace released the report "Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine" a few days back, the Koch damage control team sent the New York Times a thin PR response that read like a libertarian textbook on environmental policy. Not surprisingly, Koch's response fails to address our report's detailed examination of oil billionaires David and Charles Koch and their family foundations' legacy of funding and forming the climate denial infrastructure.

In fact, their response only raises further questions, so we delivered a letter to David and Charles Koch seeking what should be easy answers to a few questions and offering an opportunity for the Koch brothers to explain their association with multiple organizations that distort climate science and oppose positive climate and clean energy policies.

If David and Charles Koch are truly interested in stimulating an "intellectually honest debate" on climate science, as they claim, we think answering a few simple questions would be a good place to start.

Here's the text of our letter to the Koch brothers:

April 6, 2010

Dear Charles and David Koch,

I am pleased to hear that you received word of our report detailing your company's and foundations' efforts to fund climate denial organizations and think tanks. However, the response from Koch Industries' spokesperson, as printed in the New York Times "Green Inc." blog, does not address key concerns detailed in the report (http://www.greenpeace.org/kochindustries) and indeed prompts further questions, the answers to which I believe your customers and the American people deserve to know.

I hope you will consider these questions and provide a prompt and public response:

  • Do you personally deny the scientific consensus on climate change, including the peer reviewed work of thousands of scientists and statements by major scientific academies and associations worldwide, that global warming is principally caused by human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels?
  • Do you stand by the words, deeds and positions of organizations that you fund (and in some cases founded), such as the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity, including their overt and continuing efforts to cast doubt and confusion on climate science?
  • Do you believe that the Americans for Prosperity "Hot Air Tour"or "Regulation Reality Tour" is an example of the "intellectually honest debate" that you mention in your response to our report or is intended to obstruct the environmental regulatory process?
  • Could you please provide examples to support the statement: "Koch companies have long supported science-based inquiry and dialogue about climate change"?
  • In addition, would you provide examples to support the statements: "We've strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases." And "We have tried to help bring out the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate."
  • Given your interest in an "intellectually honest debate", are you willing to participate in an open debate at the National Press Club on your role in funding climate denial organizations and think tanks?

I am sure you will agree that these questions are straightforward and simple to answer. I look forward to your response.

Respectfully,

Kert Davies
Greenpeace Research Director