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What we are up against

As ICSC wrote in The Washington Times on December 8, 2010, billions of dollars are still pouring into promoting the climate scare. Besides corporate and public donations, there are two main sources of support:

  1. First and foremost is the massive funding from governments. For example, here is a listing of U.S. taxpayer-funded support of policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks, over the past two decades.
  2. Foundations continue to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the alarm as well. The Foundation Center's Statistical Information Service lists the top 50 Recipients of Foundation Grants for Environment, circa 2008, here. ICSC summarized some of the Foundation funding being directed to groups that are focused on climate change. This documents shows that ClimateWorks Foundation received twice as much in 2008 (latest numbers available) from foundations as did the World Health Organization and over seven times as much as UNICEF.


To give an idea of what such funding is going to support, the below is a sample of grants in 2008 of over $100,000 for specific, pro-IPCC, climate projects (total funding for each project is typically much higher than the amounts listed below—these are just single donations to the projects in question for one year):

Pro-IPCC grant samples 

Granting agency




Alcoa FoundationResources for the Future


“For U.S. Leadership on Global Climate Change for Climate and Technology Policy Program, and seminar series on climate change for President's Annual Initiatives Program”
Carnegie Corporation of New YorkNatural Resources Defense Council


“Toward new policy project on nuclear security and climate change”
Blue Moon Fund, Inc.CERES


“To support the effort to build investor and corporate support for climate change solutions”
The Nathan Cummings Foundation W G B H Educational Foundation


“For FRONTLINE: “Heat”, a television documentary about the roles of powerful American institutions in world's climate crisis [see here].  “The global investigation will include world's largest coal mine, oil refinery, off-shore oil rig, utilities, and car manufacturers to explore technological, political, and economic challenges facing business. It will report from China and India to examine impact that these rapidly developing economies are having on environment and from Africa to illustrate how climate change is affecting major ecological systems. The broadcast will be complemented by a content-rich web site and extensive promotion and outreach.”
The Argosy FoundationICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability USA


“For a climate change initiative”
Blue Moon Fund, Inc.Enterprising Environmental Solutions


“To support the Center for Climate Strategies climate change migration processes in Florida and Arkansas”
The Nathan Cummings Foundation *CERES


“For Investor Strategy on Climate Change, enlisting investors to get companies they own to take positive action to address global warming by using power of large institutional investors to pressure corporate management to take business costs and risks associated with warming seriously, and to act to minimize those costs and risks.”

The Nathan Cummings Foundation**

Civil Society Institute


“For Global Warming Litigation Project **, in cooperation with Natural Resources Defense Council. The Project facilitates efforts of State Attorneys General in tort cases against companies responsible for major greenhouse gas emissions, litigating to require that companies internalize costs and risks associated with climate change. Begun four years ago, most prominent case against five major electric utilities awaits a decision from Second Circuit Court of Appeals, with hopes that it will soon be remanded to District Court for discovery. In the meantime, Project is playing a key role in developing litigation strategies that have helped establish legal foundation for successful tort litigation.” 

Total of above small list of individual donations for one year: $2,000,000.

Notes related to starred items in the above table: 

* This project, the Investor Strategy on Climate Change, works with investors holding assets worth trillions of dollars to try to make "climate risk" a priority for corporations.

** The Global Warming Litigation Project is designed to hold corporations legally accountable for supposed "damage" caused by their greenhouse gas emissions. The intent is to increase the pressure on state and federal politicians, as well as corporations that emit large quantities of CO2, to take more serious action on "global warming.” See the New York Times piece, The most dangerous litigation in America. Here is the court case briefing, in which is written:

“The Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively “Kivalina”), bring this case for damages seeking compensation for the harm to which defendants – electric utilities, oil companies and the nation’s largest coal company – have contributed by their massive emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”) and production of fossil fuels. Defendants’ GHG emissions have directly contributed to global warming, a public nuisance that is rapidly melting the sea ice that formerly protected the village from harsh fall and winter storms. Both the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the General Accounting Office (“GAO”) have determined that Kivalina needs to relocate immediately, at a cost of between $95 million and $400 million, or be destroyed.” and “Further, it brings a conspiracy claim against certain defendants who have conspired to sow doubt about global warming science and create a false “scientific debate” about the causes and consequences of global warming so they could continue emitting GHGs.”

Native Village of Kivalina et al. vs. ExxonMobil Corp. et al., is pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco (as of Feb. 27, 2011).

In 2010, Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest and most diversified reinsurers, compared these kinds of lawsuits to those that eventually bankrupted asbestos producers, predicting that “climate change-related liability will develop more quickly than asbestos-related claims” (Ref: "One Step Ahead of the Carbon Cops -- by Terry Tamminen").

There are other signs that such cases will increase unless the wind can be quickly taken out of the climate scare. In February 2011, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) "ruled that publicly-held companies must disclose their exposure to potential losses from climate change, including carbon emissions that are the subject of growing regulation in the US (and already highly regulated in Europe)" (Ref: ditto above).

The future of these sorts litigations will become clearer once we have seen how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in American Electric Power Co. Inc. et al. vs. State of Connecticut et al., a case that will decide whether plaintiffs can use the common law tort of “nuisance” to file such suits. A decision is likely in the coming months.

State of the Union address disguises Obama Administration's continued climate change focus

It is interesting to note that, in the The Nathan Cummings Foundation Annual report 2009 (the most recent available; see p. 16, "Ecological Innovation Program") that the foundation's desired focus on the supposed benefits of low carbon dioxide (CO2) energy sources, instead of direct CO2 restrictions on conventional power plants, is precisely the tack taken by President Obama in his January 25, 2011 State of the Union address. The is clearly indirect climate policy in contrast to the confrontational approach of the EPA. Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) referenced how their "grantees" had been working for years for exactly this development but went off the rails in 2009 by overly emphasizing direct CO2 emission reduction and other costly measures to address climate change. NCF discussed how this left the organizations they support open to damaging attacks from their opponents.

ICSC records indicate that between 2005 and 2010, NCF has provided at least $10-million in direct funding to climate change campaigns.

NCF concluded, however, that by the end of 2009, they had learned important lessons and their grantees were ready to reframe the debate to focus on the supposed economic and political benefits of "green" innovation investments. The idea was to change the paradigm of the discourse in America – instead of making conventional energy sources more costly, the objective was to present low CO2 emitting energy sources as inexpensive, "in order to engage many more people". The January 2011 Rasmussen public survey ("Support for Renewable Energy Resources Reaches Highest Level Yet") suggests that such efforts have been successful during 2010 and so we can expect a continuation of this approach. This has informed ICSC's strategy as well and is one of the reasons we have expanded our goals to include more emphasis on publicizing the very serious dangers inherent in trying to replace significant amounts of conventional energy with "low carbon" sources.


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