Donor’s Trust: ATM for Climate Denial

February 19, 2013

Democracy Now:

While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist group Greenpeace reveals Donors Trust has funneled more than one-third of its donations — at least $146 million — to more than 100 climate change denial groups over the past decade. In 2010, 12 of these groups received between 30 to 70 percent of their funding from Donors Trust. We’re joined by Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian, who has written a series of articles detailing the ties between Donors Trust and opponents of climate change science. “The goal here is to create this illusion that there is a really strong movement against the science of climate change and against action on climate change,” Goldenberg says. “And in fact, that has become a reality now: You see that opposition to action on climate change is essential to Republican thinking.”

Suzanne Goldenberg in The Guardian:

Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m (£77m) to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned.

The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of thinktanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarising “wedge issue” for hardcore conservatives.

The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and theDonors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Donors Capital caters to those making donations of $1m or more.

Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust told the Guardian that her organisation assured wealthy donors that their funds would never by diverted to liberal causes.


The piece mentions The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, which is behind the website Climate Depot, a repository for the climate denial ramblings and attacks of Marc Morano.  Sounds like his new theme will be warnings about “eco-terrorists” .

For the record, I interviewed Morano at the recent Heartland Institute climate denial conference in Chicago, and gave him full latitude to state his case.


8 Responses to “Donor’s Trust: ATM for Climate Denial”

  1. Valuable post! Thanks.

  2. johnmashey Says:

    And if you want to learn more about DONORS, try:
    Appendix I (and part of H, about Barre Seid/Heartland) in PDF @ Fakery 2. See Figure ES-1 for the relationships.
    Also, look at the spreadsheet attached there, which has all the 2002-2010 donations from DONORS, sorted in descending order. (Spreadsheet is wide, I recommend HIDEing middle columns to just show the grantees and the 2002-2010 numbers for DONORS TRUST + DONORS CAPITAL FUND (the large of the two).

    DT and DCF Move money back and forth:
    #10 DT from DCF is $6.4M
    @27 DCF from DT is $2M

    Note also: #13 George Mason U $3.9M,
    #21 Institute for Humane Studies $2.4M (Chaired by none other than C. Koch)
    #33 Mercatus $1.8M.
    If those were all added together ($7.1M, GMU would be #8.

    That leads to GMU: see Appendices A.5 and A.6 in See No Evil…, most of which is about Ed Wegman, but has some information on GMU funding and relationships.

    The Vice-Rector of GMU is Nancy Mitchell Pfotenhauer, mentioned there and TEA Party: Tobacco Everywhere Always … because she was a Koch employee and a key executive in CSE and AFP, interlocking this story with the tobacco one.

    At the LTDL, try searches for “George Mason University” .. only 5300 hits.

  3. […] Democracy Now: While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist grou…  […]

  4. Those of us who care about this need to be very loud about the hypocrisy displayed by the likes of Exxon in their efforts to muzzle anyone who uses the same tactics against them. Today’s example being the cease and desist order on the video about Exxon hates your children. In fact, I think there needs to be another video, speaking directly to these organizations’ distortions in the media, and their efforts to change the curriculum in our grade and high schools.

    Freedom of Speech for all, including those of us who don’t have a million bucks in our back pocket.

  5. Martin Lack Says:

    So then, Shell’s Evert Wesker’s early work for the American Petroleum Institute clearly was not wasted…

    In 1998, the API was spending millions of USD annually to do all the same things as the Donors Trust. The only difference is that now they – and all the others funding reality inversion – are doing it anonymously.

    However, I believe we are now approaching the time that trying to turn residual uncertainty into unreasonable doubt regarding climate science will literally become incredible… At that point hopefully climate change deniers will disappear up their own anachronistic @rses.

  6. […] 2013/02/19: PSinclair: Donor’s Trust: ATM for Climate Denial […]

  7. MorinMoss Says:

    Has Tony Watts commented on this?

    He and his crew have written a long list of articles about the vast funding of alarmists and the fine morals and meagre money of the cooligans, contrarians and deniers.

    I’m quite curious to learn what his ospinion might be.

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