Factsheet: Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine

"My joke is that we're the biggest company you've never heard of." – David Koch

Page - March 29, 2010
Koch Industries, an oil supply and refining company, is one of the largest private corporations in the country. Despite being virtually invisible to the public, Koch Industries is a top lobbying spender, a massive funding source to climate-denial front-groups, and major force fighting against clean energy policies. Charles and David Koch, who own and control the corporation, drive the anti-environmental political spending.

Greenpeace Koch Brothers Climate Criminals banner

Koch Industries Background

  • Koch Industries is owned and controlled by brothers Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch. According to 2010 Forbes rankings, the Koch brothers are tied for fourth richest American at about $25 billion each--more than Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Jim and Alice Walton of Wal-Mart fortune.
  • In 2000, the EPA fined Koch Industries $30 million for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters.

Major Oil & Gas Political Influence

  • Since the 2006 election cycle, Koch's PAC has spent over $8.5 million on contributions to federal candidates, more than any other oil-and-gas sector PAC. The next three biggest contributors from the 2006 to the 2012 election cycle: Valero ($8.08 million), Exxon Mobil ($3.59 million), and Marathon Oil ($2.48 million).
  • Koch Industries spent $50.98 million on oil and gas lobbying from January 2007 to December 2011. During this period in the oil and gas sector, Koch Industries was outspent only by Exxon Mobil ($98.55 million),  ConocoPhillips ($70.8 million) and Chevron ($65.24 million).

Koch's Funding of Climate Denial

  • From 2005 to 2010, the Koch Foundations provided over $36.1 million in funding to climate denial groups; Exxon Mobil provided about $11 million to similar organizations over the same period.
  • Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP), founded and chaired by David H. Koch, received over $5.7 million from Koch foundations since 2005. AFP is known for its "Hot Air Tour" and “Regulation Reality Tour” campaigns that spreads misinformation about climate science and policy.
  • Koch Industries and the front groups it finances have attacked state-level climate laws, including through California ballot Proposition 23 in the 2010 election as well as efforts to pull northeastern states out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
  • Multiple Koch-funded organizations have repeatedly rebroadcasted the November 2009 story dubbed "ClimateGate," referring to stolen personal emails of climate experts. These organizations claim the emails prove a "conspiracy" of scientists and casts doubt on the scientific consensus regarding climate change.
  • In 2007, several prominent climate denial scientists published a non-peer reviewed article, funded by a Koch foundation, that concluded polar bears were not threatened by global warming. Multiple Koch-funded groups reiterated the article's conclusions through their websites and other media outlets.

Track funding to climate denial front groups from Koch foundations: