(MintPress) – A recent Greenpeace report is exposing a funding operation that has funneled $146 million from oil companies to organizations that support an anti-climate change policies.
The two shadow organizations, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, have been the source of funding for more than 100 of the “climate-denial” organizations for more than 10 years. The recipients of the funds have included the Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute and the James Partnership, to name a few.
A Guardian report published Feb. 15 indicated that Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund were behind a campaign against wind farm and solar projects. The sister organizations were linked to the campaign through the Franklin Center for government and Public Integrity, an organization that was created in 2009, presumably by Donors Trust, to push an anti-environmental, pro-industry agenda.
In 2011, the Franklin Centre increased its presence in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Nevada, Virginia and Illinois for the purpose of representing the anti-climate change cause, according to another report released by the Center for Public Integrity.
Both reports — those released by Greenpeace and the Center for Public Integrity — show similar trends. Oil companies and other large corporations that stand to lose through policies that attempt to combat climate change allegedly give private donations to organizations that, in turn, fund research beneficial to businesses’ bottom line.
Greenpeace report highlights secretive funding scheme benefiting Big Oil
The report indicates that the main sources of funding have come from Exxon and Koch Industries, citing a spike of anonymous large donations made to Donors Capital Fund, the sister company of Donors Trust which processes donations that exceed $1 million.
Greenpeace points to two key sets of statistics to illustrate the funding scenario of Donors Capital Fund — oil funding from Exxon and Koch Industries has declined since 2002, while anonymous donations through Donors Trust have skyrocketed. This scenario leads to the obvious question: Where is the money coming from?
“Since the late 1990s, Greenpeace has tracked and exposed the funding to climate denial front groups from big oil donors, including ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers foundations,” according to a Greenpeace statement. “As these funding connections have been revealed, the publicly traceable funding to these groups has slowly declined,while the overall revenue and budgets of these groups has increased in many cases.”
Donors Trust makes it easy to donate anonymously. The Greenpeace report includes an excerpt from the organization’s website, including the answer for those interested in whether they can give a private donation while still receiving the tax deduction:
“You wish to keep your charitable giving private, especially gifts funding sensitive or controversial issues. Know that any contributions to your Donors Trust account that have to be reported to the IRS will not become public information. Unlike with private foundations, gifts from your account will remain as an anonymous as you request,” the site states.
Who is receiving the money?
Greenpeace highlights four “key” recipients of Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund: Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Dr. Willie Soon, the Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity (AFP).
In 2011, 40 percent of all funding, amounting to $1.2 million, received by CFACT was through Donors Trust. This means nearly half of its budget was created through anonymous donors providing more than $1 million apiece. The entire existence of CFACT is to disprove and refute climate change arguments. As noted by Greenpeace, its “FAQ” portion of its website includes the following statement: “While some continue to insist that human ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions are causing potentially catastrophic changes in climate and weather, growing numbers of scientists say nature, not man, rules the climate.”
Soon, another key player, is a Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory aerospace engineer who has notoriously worked for oil companies. Between 2011 and 2012, he received $115,000 from Donors Trust. A Greenpeace Freedom of Information Act request revealed the same man has received more than $1.3 million (separately) from ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute, Texaco, Southern Company, Donors Trust and the Koch Brothers, among others, since 1994 for climate-denial research.
The Heartland Institute was responsible for the anti-climate change billboard that caused national outrage. Its advertisement included a photo of Ted Kaczynski. accompanied by the message, “I still believe in global warming. Do you?” The Heartland Institute major donors include those linked to the oil, coal and tobacco industries, according to leaked documents in 2012. From 2002 to 2011, Heartland received more than $14.5 through Donors Trust.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), another influential conservative organization, accepted $7.7 million from Donors Trust in 2010 — oil billionaire David Koch is its chairman and founder. AFP considers itself more of a grassroots operation, regularly present at Tea Party events where it makes the argument that green energy is subject to “special tax treatment.” AFP was also the host of the “Hot Air Tour,” a national traveling campaign directly targeted at undermining climate change science. Its motto? “Global Warming Alarmism: Lost jobs, higher taxes, Less freedom.”
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