A network that is coordinated and very well-funded:
According to Brulle's research, the 91 think tanks and advocacy organizations and trade associations that make up the American climate denial industry pull down just shy of a billion dollars each year, money used to lobby or sway public opinion on climate change and other issues.
“The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires,” says the Guardian, “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.”
We've talked a lot here at BlueNC about the propaganda written by Civitas and JLF, and the amount of direct influence Art Pope has exerted on Republican lawmakers here. But those things are visible and often "in-your-face." The function of the Pope Foundation as part of a much broader scheme to undermine science is not so easily detected, unless you use science to detect the anti-science:
An examination of this sociogram reveals the overwhelming dominance of Donors Trust/ Donors Capital in the overall network. It occupies a central position in the network: Out of the 51CCCMorganizationsthatreceivedfoundationfundingfromthetop22foundations,Donors funded 35, or nearly 70 % of them. The other leading funders include the affiliated Scaife and Koch Foundations, as well as the Bradley, Pope, and Searle foundations.
The pattern of recipients of funding shows that the traditional conservative think tanks receive the largest sums of foundation funding. Especially prominent are the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise Institute,the Heritage Foundation,and the Cato Institute. Additionally, an unusually large amount of funding was provided to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. This was due to a large grant of $7.7 million dollars from Donors Trust. The overall finding of this network analysis of the funding patterns shows that both the organizations that receive the funding and the foundations that provide the funds are core components of the larger conservative movement. The organizational structure of the CCCM is thus fundamentally identical to that of the overall conservative movement, making it legitimate to view the former as a component of the latter. This lends increased empirical verification to previous analyses of the CCCM (McCright and Dunlap 2000).
The John William Pope Foundation spent $21.9 Million between 2003 and 2010, with about half of that going to the John Locke Foundation. We already knew that, but that other half may even be more important, as it likely helped to fund some of the pseudo-scientific "research" that was later parroted by Pope's Puppets. Some conclusions:
The debate over climate change involves a political and cultural dispute contest over the appropriate field frame that governs energy policy. The CCCM efforts focus on maintaining a field frame that justifies unlimited use of fossil fuels by attempting to delegitmate the science that supports the necessity of mandatory limits on carbon emissions. To accomplish this goal in the face of massive scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change has meant the development of an active campaign to manipulate and mislead the public over the nature of climate science and the threat posed by climate change.
This counter-movement involves a large number of organizations,including conservative think tanks, advocacy groups,trade associations and conservative foundations, with strong links to sympathetic media outlets and conservative politicians. It is without question that conservative foundations play a major role in the creation and maintenance of the CCCM. All of the available information illustrates strong links between these foundations and organizations in the CCCM, even despite efforts such as the creation of Donors Trust/Capital to conceal these funding flows. The largest and most consistent funders of organizations orchestrating efforts to defeat efforts to mitigate climate change are a number of well-known conservative foundations.These foundations promote neoliberal free-market ideas in many realms, and have extended their funding of conservative causes to encompass climate change.
The available data indicates that the Koch and ExxonMobil Foundations have recently pulled back from publicly funding CCCM organizations. From 2003 to 2007, the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were heavily involved in funding CCCM organizations. But since 2008, they are no longer making publicly traceable contributions to CCCM organizations.Instead, funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to CCCM organizations by Donors Trust/Capital has risen dramatically.
They're getting better at hiding the money trail, but not that much better. We know what's going on, but we have to tell others about it.