Originally shared by John Walkup
” A loose network of 4,556 individuals with overlapping ties to 164 organizations do the most to dispute climate change in the U.S….
ExxonMobil and the family foundations controlled by Charles and David Koch emerge as the most significant sources of funding for these skeptics.
He examined Internal Revenue Service data showing which groups in the network of climate contrarians accepted funding from ExxonMobil or Koch foundations between 1993 and 2013. Recipients from those two sources tend to occupy central nodes in what he calls a “contrarian network.” Groups funded by ExxonMobil or the Kochs “have greater influence over flows of resources, communication, and the production of contrarian information,” Farrell wrote.
The research was neither easy nor glamorous. One particular element of tedium was making sure that individuals were not represented more than once. Farrell analyzed the individuals, eliminated all middle initials, corrected misspellings, and deleted courtesy titles. “This was completed by hand,” he noted, “on all 4,556 names.” A supplement to the paper lists all 164 of the organizations he identified as promoting climate-change skepticism, a roster that includes the CATO Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Heartland Institute.
Once he understood the network, Farrell investigated which organizations were most successful in pushing their view. He found that groups with ties to the two big donors were more likely to see their viewpoints make it into media than those without such ties.
Farrell’s research took him through 40,785 documents from contrarian groups; 14,943 from the New York Times, Washington Times, and USA Today; 1,930 from U.S. presidents; and 7,786 from Congress.
For Robert Brulle, a sociology professor at Drexel University who has conducted research on the topic, Farrell’s research helps define how climate denial works. “Corporate funders create and support conservative think tanks,” which then pass off climate misinformation as valid. The mainstream media pick up on it, which helps shape public opinion.
“This brings up the following question,” Brulle said. “Why is the media picking up and promulgating the central themes of climate misinformation?” “