Friday, December 27, 2013

Funding denialism, documented

From the Dec 2013 issue of the journal Climatic Change:

Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations

Robert J. Brulle


This paper conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States. Utilizing IRS data, total annual income is compiled for a sample of CCCM organizations (including advocacy organizations, think tanks, and trade associations). These data are coupled with IRS data on philanthropic foundation funding of these CCCM organizations contained in the Foundation Center’s data base. This results in a data sample that contains financial information for the time period 2003 to 2010 on the annual income of 91 CCCM organizations funded by 140 different foundations. An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over 900million,withanannualaverageof64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.

The journal is peer-reviewed, I believe.

The full paper, sadly, costs a lot of money to see, but there is a bunch of supplementary online material (PDF) available for free.

The Guardian has a good article about the paper. Here's how it begins.

Conservative groups may have spent up to $1bn a year on the effort to deny science and oppose action on climate change, according to the first extensive study into the anatomy of the anti-climate effort.

The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires, often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change. Such financial support has hardened conservative opposition to climate policy, ultimately dooming any chances of action from Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, the study found.

News of the unsurprising, and mighty discouraging news at that, but a shoutout to Prof. Brulle for making the effort to document the atrocities, and a vote of sympathy to him for the character assassination he will doubtless be suffering in the next few weeks.

(h/t: Wired UK, via Ars Technica)

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