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Robert J. Brulle, PhD, a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University, is leading a massive three-part project to study and understand the climate-change movement in the U.S at a national level.  The first stage of Brulle's project gathered and analyzed information on supporters of climate-change denial, including uncovering, tracking and analyzing the sources and flows of funding for climate-change countermovement organizations.

Some of Brulle's findings clearly confirm what we already know.  Conservatives have long supported organized, coordinated efforts to deny climate change.  Corporations such as Koch Industries and ExxonMobil have, unsurprisingly, been some of the largest supporters of climate-change denial, donating tens of millions of dollars over the years.

Conservative foundations have bank-rolled denial. The largest and most consistent funders of organizations orchestrating climate change denial are a number of well-known conservative foundations, such as the Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation. These foundations promote ultra-free-market ideas in many realms.
But Brulle's data also shows changes in the overall funding patterns.  The amount of spending on climate denial hasn't decreased over the years.  But it is dramatically shifting away from publicly traceable organizations and becoming increasingly untraceable:
Koch and ExxonMobil have recently pulled back from publicly visible funding. From 2003 to 2007, the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were heavily involved in funding climate-change denial organizations. But since 2008, they are no longer making publicly traceable contributions.

Funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to denial organizations by the Donors Trust has risen dramatically.  Donors Trust is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced. This one foundation now provides about 25% of all traceable foundation funding used by organizations engaged in promoting systematic denial of climate change.

Brulle's study is about as objective as any such study can be, driven by academics rather than politics.  His project's first-stage year-long research was submitted for peer review in January 2013, accepted in November 2013 and is just now being published publicly for the first time.

Part one of Brulle's research focused on climate deniers.  Part two will focus on the climate-change movement, and part three will compare the two groups.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's curious why the so-called denier faction (0+ / 0-)

    was the first to be analyzed. After all, they wouldn't exist were there not a global warming/AGW/climate change movement that stimulated it.

    It seems odd to not establish the predicate first.

    •  There is no AGW "movement" There's climate science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Redfire, Calamity Jean

      and people who deny that science, which reflects reality.

      •  So there's no denying allowed in science? n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  Science *is* the process, not paid talking heads. (0+ / 0-)

          Looks like my comment from a couple of days ago never made it.  

          Science, the scientific method, is the process of studying how things work.  Scientists argue all the time about whose idea is right.  When scientists come to a consensus conclusion, it's because the experts trained in their fields are convinced there is no better explanation.  If a better idea comes along, then that idea gets raked over the coals until it is disproved or accepted as better.  In the case of AGW, a "better" idea with real science behind it would probably win a Nobel Prize.

          On the other hand, AGW denial is not science.  It has no studies showing how CO2 is not increasing global average temperatures- no facts.  AGW denial is an advertising campaign paid by oil (ExxonMobil, etc.) and coal (mainly Koch brothers foundations) focused on spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  It's the exact same process used by the tobacco companies as they fought a retreat to delay anti-cancer campaigns so they could keep making a profit.  When the AGW deniers (a Koch group) paid a scientist who favored their cause to prove AGW was not real, Dr. Richard Muller crunched the numbers and came to the opposite conclusion.  In fact, his analysis showed warming was slightly worse than previously projected.  See his article on the NYTimes, "The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic",

          Unlike what the political talk shows would have you believe, science is not based on opinion versus opinion.  It is based on a set of facts put together into a model of reality, which is then used to make predictions.  Models which make accurate predictions are conditionally accepted, and those which do not are dropped as failures.  Unlike politics, a popularly accepted model with famous backers that does not fit with reality will be dead, rapidly.  In fact, the model showing anthropogenic global warming is caused by our output of CO2 via fossil fuel pollution fits models in basic chemistry, basic physics, astronomy, atmospherics, and oceanographics as well as climatology.  AGW deniers are mainly composed of spokespeople, publicity (ad) companies, lobbyists, with a very very few scientists all paid by groups backed by oil and coal money.  This has been tracked and published in major newspapers, not just here on Daily Kos.

          Captain, when you were in the service, who did you listen to on mission-critical issues?  Your experts who did in-depth analysis or some random person off the street?  Right now, you are choosing to disregard our own experts, people with decades of experience, in favor of propaganda artists clandestinely paid by the people who are making billions off of continuing pollution.  It really is that simple.  Now ask yourself why each side has an interest.  Ask yourself why you are backing the side denying reality.  Would you have done this on the job when lives were on the line?  Why do it now, when lives are still on the line?

  •  I just got a flash image in my head, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, Gooserock, TheDuckManCometh

    of well dressed gentle men stopping sea level rise by bailing into their boat with their top hats. I'm off seek psych help now.

    “I love a good man outside the law, 
just as much as I hate a bad man inside the law,” Woody Guthrie

    by Wood Gas on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:50:26 AM PST

    •  Hey, They Could Use the Sea to Frack Offshore (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      oil wells, and drain more of the surplus ocean water down spent oil wells.

      This is good enough for a talk radio theme.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:32:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cross-Referencing the Study (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It would be good to cross-reference the climate denial study with

    The Climate Accountability Institute's ( new study ( documenting that just 90 companies are responsible for two-thirds of manmade carbon emissions since the Industrial Revolution triggered some pushback in the blogosphere.
    I imagine a peer-learning study group on some of these ecological, economic, social, and political issues but, really, isn't that what we're doing here?

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