Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
Koch Family Foundations have spent $145,555,197 directly financing 90 groups that have attacked climate change science and policy solutions, from 1997-2018.
© Gus Ruelas / Greenpeace
Five-year Total (2013-2018): $$67,109,331
Kyoto-to-present Total (1997-2018): $145,556,729
Grand Total (1986-2018): $168,409,886
View all data and primary source documents: Koch Foundations Funding to Climate Denial Groups
Data above is sourced from annual IRS Form 990 filings by the Koch family foundations. Source documents are available in the “Source Docs” tab of the spreadsheet.
About Our Data:
Greenpeace uses 1997 as a benchmark year due to increased coordinated backlash against global climate negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol of 1998. We define climate change denial as “anyone who is obstructing, delaying or trying to derail policy steps that are in line with the scientific consensus that says we need to take rapid steps to decarbonize the economy.”
We do this to hold accountable those who do not state their intentions honestly. Most modern lobbyists do not deny the irrefutable science indicating that our planet is warming, but instead deny the need for viable solutions — such as a cost on industrial carbon pollution, energy efficiency, clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels — as demonstrated by the science.
Why focus on Charles Koch and David Koch? Many large foundations associated with corporate fortunes are active in financing climate denial groups — Anschutz, Bradley, Coors, DeVos, Dunn, Howard, Pope, Scaife, Searle, and Seid, to name a few.
Unlike Koch, most of those fortunes did not come from owning a corporation like Koch Industries, historically rooted in fossil fuel operations. And none come as close as the Kochs in terms of decades-long focus on actively building a political influence network and coordinating other wealthy executives, corporations and families to dump amounts money into politics that not even the Koch brothers could afford.
How Koch-funded Climate Denial Front Groups Work Together – Animation by Taki Oldham:
Billionaire oilman David Koch used to joke that Koch Industries was “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” Now the shroud of secrecy has thankfully been lifted, revealing the $127 million that he and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming, most of which are part of the State Policy Network.
Today, the Kochs are being watched as a prime example of the corporate takeover of government. Their funding and co-opting of the Tea Party movement is now well documented.
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s timely that more people are now aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to.
A growing awareness of these oil billionaires’ destructive agenda has led to increased scrutiny and resistance from people and organizations all over the United States.
We continue to expose the connections between climate denial front groups and the secretive billionaires who are funding their efforts.
Download Our Full Reports
- Koch Industries: Still Fueling Climate Denial, 2011 Update
- Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
- Bill Koch: The Dirty Money Behind Cape Wind Opposition
The Koch brothers, their family members, and their employees direct a web of financing that supports conservative special interest groups and think-tanks, with a strong focus on fighting environmental regulation, opposing clean energy legislation, and easing limits on industrial pollution. This money is typically funneled through one of three “charitable” foundations the Kochs have set up: the now-defunct Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation; the Charles Koch Foundation; the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation; and the Knowledge and Progress Fund, which exclusively directs Koch money to Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.
- PolluterWatch profiles of Koch Industries, Charles Koch and David Koch.
- Greenpeace is a partner on the UnKoch My Campus project, supporting student-led campaigns for transparency over Koch influence in higher education.
- Koch Brothers Exposed video series from Brave New Foundation.
- Center for Public Integrity report on Koch federal lobbying activity: Koch’s Web of Influence.
- Common Cause resources from the Uncloaking the Kochs protest during Koch’s secret strategy meeting in Rancho Mirage, California.
- Ongoing reporting on the Koch brothers from The Exiled.
- Audio recordings from inside the Koch’s 2011 secret strategy meeting in Vail, Colorado is available at BradBlog with additional reporting at Mother Jones.