Climate 'Dark Money' From Conservatives Blamed for Turning Tide

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 11:37 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A study by a climate change advocate blamed "dark money" from conservative groups for mounting a successful counter-attack against those who support the science behind climate change.

Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle, who conducted the study that was published in the journal "Climate Change," claims that 91 think tanks, advocacy groups, and industry associations have helped to successfully block action on climate change legislation, reported The Guardian.

Brulle said the organizations shield donors from exposure by not releasing their names.

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"It is without question that conservative foundations play a major role in the creation and maintenance of the (climate change counter movement)," Brulle wrote in his conclusion to the study titled: "Institutionalizing delay: Foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations."

The study said that organizations like Donors Trust/Capital have "dramatically" increased support of climate change counter efforts while Koch Affiliated Foundations and Exxon Mobil Foundation have pulled back from publicly supporting such efforts.

"A large portion of funding for CCCM organizations is untraceable," the study said. "Despite extensive data compilation and analyses, only a fraction of the contributions to CCCM organizations can be specifically accounted for from public records. The sizable amount of undisclosed funding 'dark money' involved in the CCCM obscures the resource mobilization practices of the CCCM."

The debate around climate has been brewing for years. Some, like former South Carolina state official Chester Sansbury, wrote in the Post and Courier in November that it was unfair to label conservatives as backstops to climate change regulation.

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"Under Republican presidents, landmark legislation like the Clean Air Act and its amendments were signed," wrote Sansbury. "When scientists warned of a problem that seemed insurmountable — the depletion of the ozone layer — President Reagan pushed through an international treaty to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals.

"And by developing a market-based system to trade pollution credits, Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush worked to reduce harmful acid rain. No one would call these presidents bleeding-heart environmentalists, but they faced up to problems, and applied conservative principles to find real-world solutions," Sansbury added.

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