The expansive misinformation campaign behind climate change denial is increasingly being funded in the dark, reveals a new report published Friday in the journal Climatic Change................
According to the study titled "Institutionalizing Delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations," while the largest and most consistent funders of climate change denial are a number of well-known conservative foundations and industry groups, the majority of donations come from "dark money," or concealed funding.
What Brulle found is that since 2008, many of the big name funders of climate denial including ExxonMobil Foundation and Koch Affiliated Foundations have noticeably pulled back from making publicly traceable contributions. And coinciding with this decline in traceable funding, "the amount of funding given to countermovement organizations through third party pass-through foundations like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, whose funders cannot be traced, has risen dramatically."
According to the report, Donors Trust—which Brulle calls a "black box"—now makes up about 25% of funding for organizations engaged in climate denial efforts, up from just three percent in 2003.
Using IRS data from 2003-2010, Brulle identified 91 CCCM organizations including advocacy groups, think tanks, and trade associations who accumulated over $7 billion in total income over the eight year period, with an annual average income exceeding $900 million.
Further, the vast majority of the groups—78 percent—were registered as charitable organizations and enjoyed considerable tax breaks.
“It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this,” Brulle told the Guardian. “This is a large-scale political effort.”