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Sierra Daily

Aug 31, 2010


Wait! Don't put aside last week's New Yorker for the current issue before reading Jane Mayer's magisterial takedown of the Koch brothers, the billionaire oil-baron funders of global warming denialism and the Tea Party

100830_r19927_p465movement (amid much else). For example, David and brother Charles provided funding to launch the libertarian Cato Foundation, which Mayer notes had been "peculiarly energetic" in promoting the so-called "Climategate" scandal regarding hacked emails from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia in England. Numerous independent reviews exonerated the researchers, but the climate denial industry was able to use the affair to turn the public against climate legislation in Congress.

Another Koch project is the group "Americans for Prosperity," which has carried on the campaign against climate legislation. "Americans for Prosperity has held at least eighty events targeting cap-and-trade legislation, which is aimed at making industries pay for the air pollution that they create. Speakers for the group claimed, with exaggeration, that even back-yard barbecues and kitchen stoves would be taxed. The group was also involved in the attacks on Obama’s 'green jobs' czar, Van Jones, and waged a crusade against international climate talks."

Newcomer Kochologists will also want to check out Greenpeace's invaluable report, "Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine." And don't forget Sierra's own early contribution to the genre, Curtis Moore's 2002 "Rethinking the Think Tanks." Next time you hear some "expert" from a think tank with a bland, good-government sounding name explaining why environmental regulation will kill jobs, hurt agriculture, and promote sharia law, ask yourself who's paying his or her salary. Odds are good it's a guy named Koch.

-- by Paul Rauber 

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