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Thursday 14 February 2013

The Climate Denial Dark Money Trail

James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole eagerly recycled an article from a senior advisor to the Heartland Institute back in November 2011, because it gave him the answer he wanted to hear. The subject was “Green charities”, and the article rubbishing them had appeared in the American Thinker. Had Del Boy plucked these organisations out of thin air?

No way he's fair and balanced

Well, no he hadn’t. Heartland has recently moved on from pretending that passive smoking can’t harm people to becoming a pillar of the climate change denial movement. The American Thinker is described as a “Conservative online magazine”. The two had been cited by Del because they are as reliable to his mind as Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

So what was Delingpole’s verdict on “Green charities”? As if you need to ask: these were held to be “way more evil and dangerous than Exxon or the Koch Brothers”. This is the usual Del Boy line, but is also a way of telling those gullible enough to believe him to “look over there”. The climate change denial lobby does plenty of its own charity fundraising.

That has been thrown into sharp focus by the deeply subversive Guardian, with an article about donor trusts and the sharply increasing amount of money estimated to be passing through them en route to funding climate change denial groups. Under US law, donations made this way can be kept secret, but it appears that one recipient is the so-called Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).

CFACT, in turn, runs a website called Climate Depot, a repository of robustly expressed climate change denial, and here – for instance – there was a point-by-point rebuttal yesterday of anything climate related in Barack Obama’s latest State Of The Union address. This was enthusiastically trailed by Delingpole, who with customary subtlety called it a “fisking” of the President’s “eco-bollocks”.

Thus the climate change denial circle jerk in microcosm. The donor trusts also have the advantage that people like the Koch Brothers can slip the conservative and libertarian fringe a few million greenbacks this way too, and thus make it look as if they’re not really involved any more (the estimated amount of direct Koch donation more than halved between 2006 and 2010).

And this parallels the kind of non-transparent funding structure of UK organisations like the so-called Global Warming Policy Foundation, the premier British repository of climate change denialism. This is something to think about the next time you see a conservative or libertarian lobby organisation popping up in the media claiming to be “non partisan”. He who pays the piper, and all that.

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