Letter writer: Oil industry doesn’t fund climate groups

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Pete Kuntz, an activist with Citizens Climate Lobby, the group he promotes in his letter [“Climate-change Deniers Lack Scientific Authority,” Aug. 19, Xpress], writes that the “NIPCC [Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change] gets its funding clandestinely from ExxonMobil and the fossil-fuel billionaire Koch brothers. So does Tom Harris’ impressive-sounding International Climate Science Coalition.”

The NIPCC Web site says, “None of the NIPCC reports — ZERO — have been funded with corporate money. They are funded by family foundations that have no interest in the energy sector.“

Similarly, ICSC has never had funding from the oil sector, let alone ExxonMobil or the Kochs. Since I started with ICSC in 2008, we have kept donors’ identities confidential to protect them from attacks from groups such as CCL.

Kuntz cites British Columbia as an example of successful implementation of the sort of policies promoted by CCL. On June 11 at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change in Washington D.C., economics professor Cornelis van Kooten, University of Victoria, British Columbia, explained that this makes no sense since British Columbia generates 97 percent of its electricity from hydro, which emits no carbon dioxide. Van Kooten described how the government’s Pacific Carbon Trust was closed by the auditor general because of corruption.

“British Columbia is expanding its production of coal and selling overseas. Why? Well, we need money. So, if that’s success, yah, we’re very successful,” said van Kooten.

Aid agencies can’t properly help people affected by climate change because, of the $1 billion spent globally every day on climate finance, only 6 percent of it goes to adaptation support. Because of the success of groups like CCL, the rest is spent vainly trying to stop climate change that might someday happen. This is immoral, valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.

— Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

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30 thoughts on “Letter writer: Oil industry doesn’t fund climate groups

  1. bsummers

    The NIPCC Web site says, “None of the NIPCC reports — ZERO — have been funded with corporate money. They are funded by family foundations that have no interest in the energy sector.“

    I’ve searched ‘www.nipccreport.org’. and cannot find anything like this statement anywhere on their website. If you google it, the only places that I can find that it appears is in letters from Tom Harris, and the original, on a blog on the Heartland Institute website.

    http://blog.heartland.org/2014/04/response-to-a-critic-of-climate-realists-and-the-nipcc-reports/

    In any case, since you insist on keeping your funding sources secret, I find no reason to believe any of it.

  2. bsummers

    It’s hard to know where to start in the layers of deceit and misinformation in this letter. Obviously, the pathetic bob & weave over where the ‘ZERO’ statement actually resides is the biggest giveaway.

    But if you want to see how brutally insane these climate-change deniers are, don’t ignore the last paragraph:

    Aid agencies can’t properly help people affected by climate change because, of the $1 billion spent globally every day on climate finance, only 6 percent of it goes to adaptation support. Because of the success of groups like CCL, the rest is spent vainly trying to stop climate change that might someday happen. This is immoral, valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.

    The “$1 billion” figure comes from tallying up all the money that is being spent on “climate finance”, the vast majority of which is spent on developing solar, wind, and other renewables, which will hopefully “mitigate” the harmful climate change that fossil fuel use is bringing down on us. This is truly insane – attacking individuals, governments, NGO’s and private corporate interests that are trying to mitigate climate change through renewable fuels, etc. by suggesting that they are immoral, harming people by selfishly diverting those funds that could otherwise be used for “adaptation”, ie. giving up and letting climate change sweep over us. As if: the immoral renewable-energy zealots would surrender and stop trying to wean us off coal, gas, and oil, that entire $1 billion per year would be available as free money to save lives that are currently being lost to naturally-caused climate change.

    Tom Harris, Faux Tom Harris, whoever wrote this abomination, this is a genuine, sociopathic argument, and now I understand why people like Pete Kuntz are dead-set on exposing you.

    http://climatepolicyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Global-Landscape-of-Climate-Finance-2013.pdf

    • Peter Robbins

      Not that this diversion matters, but the story says Julie Mayfield received a $250 personal contribution from the vice president of Biltmore Oil, the local company that runs the Eblen Short Stops. But full disclosure: In a moment of weakness, I myself once bought a bag of potato chips at an Eblen Short Stop. And I make no apologies — it was delicious!

  3. bsummers

    I wonder if the reason that “Tom Harris” can’t really point to a verifiable denial of oil interest money, is because these groups are registered non-profits, and may come under some sort of sanction if they openly lie about where their funding comes from. So they leave it to a paid dissembler to throw chaff into the discussion, which never constitutes a real denial, but which he and they can claim constitutes a real denial.

    In fact, thanks “Tom Harris”, for the helpful clues verifying that the funders of these “reports” are affiliated with Koch/oil interest monies. The “Science and Environmental Policy Project” that you point to, according to Sourcewatch, along with starting out with funding from various oil companies, once worked out of the very same offices as the Koch Charitable Foundation.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Science_and_Environmental_Policy_Project#Contact_information

    But as we all know, only a handful of us are reading this far into this deception. The vast majority of people who hear anything about it will be the readers of the XPress print edition, and they’ll go: “Huh. So he’s proved that there’s no oil money behind these climate-change deniers.”

    XPress: how many times will you let this paid “dissembler” mislead your readers?

    • Tracy Rose

      Actually, this letter is running online only, since the discussion has veered so far afield of any local connections. (The original letter that prompted the climate discussion a few weeks back was about the local chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.)

      • bsummers

        Thanks, Tracy. Good to know.

        Do you have any info on why there are two active, alternating “Tom Harris” XPress accounts? Sockpuppetry, or corporate “astroturfing” is deliberate poison thrown into discussion forums. This guy really appears to be at least two different people.

        • Tracy Rose

          I’m not sure how the two accounts got started, but as of a couple of weeks ago, there should only be one active account.

  4. Stewart

    Thanks, Barry, for taking the time to expose the facts behind this well-funded, clandestine movement to deceive the public.

    • Peter Robbins

      Ditto. Mark Twain would have been impressed with the speed of your boot lacing.

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