Sunday, January 05, 2014


Not Much of a Study

The left is afire with coverage of a "new study" by sociologist Robert Brulle, who teaches at a university I had never heard of previously. The study was published in a magazine I also had never heard of called Climatic Change. Unfortunately, the "study" is behind a pay wall but here is the abstract and the gate to the whole thing, for money.

Let's get back to the coverage. Big headline--Billion Dollar Climate Denial Network Exposed.

Money quote from a Guardian article linked above:

Conservative groups may have spent up to $1bn a year on the effort to deny science and oppose action on climate change, according to the first extensive study into the anatomy of the anti-climate effort.
But the reporter, Suzanne Goldenberg, contradict this claim in a later paragraph. As you can see from quotes below there seems to have been some "corrections" since the article was first published.

I'll quote the entire abstract of this "first extensive study."

This paper conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States. Utilizing IRS data, total annual income is compiled for a sample of CCCM organizations (including advocacy organizations, think tanks, and trade associations). These data are coupled with IRS data on philanthropic foundation funding of these CCCM organizations contained in the Foundation Center’s data base. This results in a data sample that contains financial information for the time period 2003 to 2010 on the annual income of 91 CCCM organizations funded by 140 different foundations. An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over 900million,withanannualaverageof64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.
I don't know why the font changes and there is no spacing when actual money is mentioned. Is this a last minute correction?

So first, $900 million is not a billion dollars. Close enough for lefty propaganda, I guess. Second, only $64 million each year, on average, is identifiable foundation support. That's a lot less than a billion dollars. Also Dr. Brulle is counting the total income of the 91 organizations he doesn't like, not the dollar amount the organizations put solely into investigating and writing about global warming. Many of the foundations and think tanks he talks about (like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation) cover a wide range of topics. Here is a refutation from Forbes which is much more interesting than my small effort here.

Money quotes from Forbes reporter James Taylor (not that one):

As an initial matter, despite what Suzanne Goldenberg and the UK Guardian claim, it is palpably untrue that “Conservative groups have spent $1 bn a year on the effort to deny science and oppose action on climate change.” Without even addressing the mathematical fact that $900 million is $100 million short of the $1 billion claimed by Goldenberg, Brulle’s paper merely tabulates the total money raised by the 91 conservative think tanks for their total operations regarding all issues they address and does not break down how much of each think tank’s resources are devoted to issues such as economic policy, health care policy, foreign policy, climate policy, etc. Goldenberg tells the lie that all money raised by all conservative and libertarian think tanks is devoted to global warming skepticism.

Between AEI and Heritage – representing fully 30 percent of the money raised by the 91 conservative think tanks – the global warming issue comprises substantially less than 10 percent of their cumulative time, money and efforts. Even if we generously assign to the global warming issue a full 10 percent of the money raised by the 91 foremost conservative think tanks, this means the 91 conservative think tanks are devoting a mere $90 million per year – rather than the asserted $900 million per year (or Goldenberg’s exaggerated $1 billion per year) – to the global warming debate.


This brings us to another whopper told by Brulle, Goldenberg and their media allies – the assertion that all the think tanks identified in Brulle’s paper actively fight against global warming activism. To the contrary, two of the three top-funded groups (AEI and the Hoover Institution) support a carbon tax. Other groups identified in Brulle’s paper have similarly expressed support for a carbon tax and global warming activism. At least 25 percent of the funding that Brulle claims goes to skeptical think tanks actually goes to think tanks supporting global warming restrictions.

Two environmental activist groups – Greenpeace and The Nature Conservancy – raise more than $1 billion cumulatively per year. These two groups raise more money than the combined funding of the 91 conservative think tanks identified in Brulle’s paper. Just as importantly, these two groups raise money solely for environmental causes and frequently advocate for global warming restrictions. Their $1 billion is not diluted addressing issues such as economic policy, health care policy, foreign policy, etc.


The long and short of it is think tanks and activist groups supporting global warming restrictions raise and spend far more money than think tanks and activist groups opposing global warming restrictions. Global warming activists may think they are scoring short-term political points by lying and misleading the public about such funding, but their lies will certainly come back to haunt them. They always do.

And the support of Greenpeace and the dozens of other pro-alarmist AGW groups is nothing compared with the governmental support for alarmist AGW research, which is, properly measured around the world, in the billions of dollars. In reality, the divide between pro and con fiscal support is just the opposite of the Brulle "study."

UPDATE: Diomedes pointed out that I added a c to Climactic (having to do with climaxes) when I should have left it out to make the word Climatic (having to do with climate) which is indeed the spelling Climatic Change magazine, or whatever it is, uses. All fixed now. Thanks, D.


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