From 2003 to 2010, hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into funding the climate change countermovement — an effort to undermine the public’s confidence in climate science and obstruct the U.S. government from regulating emissions. In the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis ever conducted on the movement’s funding sources, Drexel environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, PhD, made an unsettling discovery: approximately 75% of the income of climate denial organizations comes from unidentifiable sources.
Historically, well-known conservative groups like the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation heavily bankrolled these organizations. But since 2008, these foundations are no longer making publicly traceable contributions. Around the same time, there was a significant increase in “dark money” — untraceable funds donated through third parties.
“The real issue here is one of democracy,” says Brulle. “Without a free flow of accurate information, democratic politics and government accountability become impossible. Money amplifies certain voices above others and, in effect, gives them a megaphone in the public square…At the very least, American voters deserve to know who is behind these efforts.”