Climate Change Denial a Billion Dollar Industry of Fabrication Says Study

Climate changeA new study out of Drexel University in Philadelphia has exposed a billion dollar industry of fabrication-a complex construction of false information created by those engaged in climate change denial and the conservative organizations that support that denial. To uncover the organized effort, researchers examined the Climate Change Counter Movement (CCCM), a structured “think tank” supported by 91 official organizations and funded by 140 non-profits. The total budget for these synchronized groups as a whole is over 900 million dollars; funds that are provided largely by corporations, conservative organizations and groups set up specifically to promote climate change denial. The study, entitled Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations includes a meta-analysis of numerous previous studies.

The study found that these organizations and non-profits, as a unified body, deliberately put forth untrue propaganda in order to purposely confuse the public and create vast misunderstanding over climate change. The CCCM also endeavors to block legislation that could potentially harm the movement’s shareholders. The study states:

A number of analyses have shown that one major factor driving this misunderstanding and an overall lack of legislative action is a deliberate and organized effort to misdirect the public discussion and distort the public’s understanding of climate change.

The study found that stockholders who could be affected by climate change legislation are major funders of the CCCM. Two big players are Exxon Mobil and Koch Enterprises, although, according to the study, both of these organizations have recently “pulled back” from making easily identifiable public donations and have shifted to “untraceable sources,” also called “dark money,” to disseminate funds to the CCCM.

While NASA has attempted to settle the climate change “debate” once and for all by publishing definitive information about an overwhelming scientific consensus on its website which maintains that climate change exists and may pose major problems for the global population in the future; the organized CCCM has poured many millions of dollars into its own message, effectively creating a billion dollar industry of fabrication centered on climate change denial. This organized campaign to dupe the public has resulted in confusion about the established science put forth by by 97% of researchers who accept climate change as a real and significant concern.

The study found that the overarching concern of the CCCM is stopping any legislation which would regulate carbon emissions. This legislation would significantly negatively impact shareholders such as executives and board members of Exxon Mobil, and result in vast negative financial consequences for them. The movement was purposely enacted, the study claims, by “conservative think tanks—the key organizational component of the conservative movement – and their backers, (who) launched a full-scale counter-movement in response to the perceived success of the environmental movement and its supporters.”

The CCCM disseminates information in the form of editorials by its representatives about climate change which are published in sympathetic media forums and disseminated by both the Republican and Tea parties. Information is also spread by “provision of Congressional testimony, publication of documents on these organizations’ websites, the publication of conservative anti-climate change editorials, and books critical of the need to address climate change,” according to the study.

The study concludes by again stating that the main objective of the people involved in the CCCM is to secure the unlimited ability to use fossil fuels and create uncapped fuel emissions by effectively stopping any legislation that would negatively affect their ability to do so, thus protecting their own financial interests. The study explains:

The CCCM efforts focus on maintaining a field frame that justifies unlimited use of fossil fuels by attempting to delegitimize the science that supports the necessity of mandatory limits on carbon emissions. To accomplish this goal in the face of massive scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change has meant the development of an active campaign to manipulate and mislead the public over the nature of climate science and the threat posed by climate change.

The study author also describes the CCCM movement as “identical” to the overall conservative movement in the United States, and illuminates the fact that the major funders of the movement are conservative non-profit organizations and Republican and Tea Party politicians, who have direct ties to the large corporations that are the primary beneficiaries of the blocked legislation.

This new study out of Drexel University says climate change denial is a billion dollar industry of fabrication, and likens the Climate Change Counter Movement to a complex play purposely scripted by well-funded writers and directors. The study suggest that just as a play is often a fabrication intended to produce a certain end result, so is the CCCM. It further suggests that the corporate financial interests behind this fabrication are the only entities that stand to benefit from the movement’s ongoing false constructions.

By: Rebecca Savastio


Science Daily

Drexel Now

49 Responses to "Climate Change Denial a Billion Dollar Industry of Fabrication Says Study"

  1. kristinagadfly   December 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    It seems people who wish to live in an overly indulgent world, want climate change to just go away so they can fill their tanks and turn their AC down to 66 in their homes without guilt.

    The reality of climate change makes people feel guilty.

  2. Rebecca Savastio   December 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Also hilarious and absurd are the people who say we’re “silencing” them while AT THE VERY SAME TIME opening their obnoxious yaps right here in the comments section to spew their hatred and ad hominem attacks all over the place because they’re upset by the data presented. By the way, the article is about the study. It’s not an article about every aspect of the climate change debate. Nothing requires me to write about anything other than the study and data I’m presenting at that time. You’re all perfectly free to publish articles about your own studies that show this study is “moronic” and publish your article all over the internet because this is America. Welcome to the US where we have freedom of speech. Feel free to exercise your mouths as much as you all want.

  3. Rebecca Savastio   December 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    @angus2100: I see what you’re saying, but it’s just odd for them to shoot the messenger. Very odd. Also odd is being accused of “bullying” when all I’ve done is write an article presenting information on a study I didn’t have anything to do with; and publishing that article as part of my assigned job. I’ve not singled out anyone personally, I’ve forced no one to read my article. It’s ludicrous to suggest that anyone simply writing an article is bullying anyone. Maybe some of these commenters would feel more comfortable if they moved to North Korea where freedom of speech doesn’t exist. These nutty comments are giving me really good fodder for my next article, though, that’s for sure.

  4. Sue   December 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Several very disturbing trends. Squelching those that disagree with you or what would have to be called “Anti-science” verbiage, unwillingness to study all sides of a theory, and corruption of the money stream, both public and private.

    Please be sure to watch this documentary before pursuing this agenda:
    The great global warming swindle – Full version

    EPA’s Secret Deals with Environmentalists

    • Angus2100   January 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      Do you appreciate that Big Oil is the most profitable industry in the history of money? Do you believe that they do their utmost, within legal bounds, to protect their financial interests?

      I have to ask: Are you part of the pro-pollution lobby?

  5. Astro   December 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    This part of the continuing ‘straw man’ argument against the people who are skeptical of anthropocentric global warming (i.e., CO2 induced warming).

    1. Pretend that the other side doesn’t believe in ‘climate change’ and then 2. Attack them for it.

    In fact, most ‘conservatives’ fully accept the notion of climate change – even of global warming. There is NO QUESTION that the Earth has warmed-up since the end of the 19th Century. There was a period of nearly 150 years called ‘The Little Ice Age’, that ended roughly in the 1880s, where the Earth was much cooler than ‘normal’. At the end of the 19th C, ~ beginning of the 20th C., the Earth emerged from the ‘Little ice Age’ and spent most of the 20th C. returning to ‘normal’. It is this return to normal that is the source of the ‘global warming’ seen in the 20th. NO ONE has been able to reliably state how much (if any) AGW warming has occurred – and significantly – the warming stopped 15 years ago. — Which is something the AGW crowd has been in denial about.

    Strawmen (arguments) perish quickly under the flamethrower of truth.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      You are dismissing scientific evidence. Genuine skeptics don’t dismiss scientific evidence, but denialists do.

      The warming has not ‘stopped’, the last decade was 0.12 deg C increase. the years since 1998 have been the hottest surface temperatures in all recorded temperature history. Don’t dismiss these facts.

      • William Payne   December 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm

        How long is recorded history? She mentioned a lot of facts that you ignored. 0.12 is statistically irrelevant and does not account for possible errors in collecting data, e.g., placement of temperature gauges and human error. The period before that was colder than normal. This is an undeniable fact, temperatures have always varied. Thankfully, ice ages were replaced by times of warming. What is the natural norm to which you opine?

  6. Rebecca Savastio   December 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    @William: You say “the aggressive nature of your article feels like bullying.” All I did was present the data found by the study. The article was about the study. It’s amazing how that could be perceived as “bullying” just because you don’t like what is being presented. Really interesting.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      I don’t think it’s surprising that there’s been such a reaction from denialist groups

  7. Rebecca Savastio   December 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

    This article is not about a “conspiracy theory,” it’s about a study. There’t not one shred of opinion in it. To those who have a beef: there is no need whatsoever to bully me and put me down personally by name-calling and saying the article is “moronic” etc. Just because you don’t like the content of the article does not make the piece “moronic.” Go take up your chagrin with the study researchers. Within this meta-analysis study, there were multiple additional studies cited. Your problem isn’t with me, the author, it’s with the data. Sorry you don’t like the data, but your not liking it doesn’t change what the studies say. Really, you should apologize for your poor behavior and ad hominem attacks.

    • William Payne   December 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      This is really a sad response and points to many of the problems with the article itself. Your article was invective, one-sided and lacked the ability to be self-critical. Excuse us for employing critical skills as we evaluate your data and your argument. Perhaps, much of the problem lies with how climate change advocates have attempted to silence opposition within and without the scientific community. The same happens with the APA in reference to the new diagnostic manual and current politics under this liberal administration. To outsiders, the aggressive nature of your writing feels like bullying. Also, I note that Drexel is adamantly non-sectarian and attempts to push civic engagement with a highly liberal bias. Besides, Drexel has not made it into the top tier of research schools in that it does not have a high national ranking. All of this merits my questioning of your presentation of data and the bias that you brought to your research.

      • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm

        Genuine scientific skepticism is healthy and is encouraged, but the arbitrary dismissal of scientific evidence obviously needs to be excluded (silenced). This is the reason behind a number of media outlets recently banning deniers from commenting

  8. Ron Plummer   December 23, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Note how these climate denier folks are forced to solely operate in a world of cloak and dagger. Real science on the has no problem putting their efforts and conclusions out for peer review. Too bad these deniers most all the time don’t have the intelligence nor training necessary to seriously critique the scientific claims being made and thus, can progress no further than being loud members of the flat-earth society.

    Equally interesting is how as human survival becomes more and more dependent on technological advances, these deniers and their ignorant, arrogant and anti-science tactics in the end will only result in their own extinction; if for no other reason they and their families inability to compete in these emerging technological marketplaces.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

      Absolutely. They are self serving and pathetic.

  9. canuckdriver   December 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    You have the gall to publish something as ridiculous as this? Take a look at the multi-billion dollar, UN and Government backed pack of utter nonsense that has been dumped on us. Take and even closer look at the grossly biased media reportage that has surrounded said pack of nonsense. Then take a really good, long, careful read of the Climategate E-mails. All of them. Both sets. Then read all the accompanying information that leaked out at the same time. Once you’ve done all that, read your nonsense again.

    NOBODY pays me. I have, however, read all the things I am telling you to read. Why am I telling you to read them? Because, very evidently, you have not. You are just like the brain-dead zombies that Greenpeace trots out all the time. They know nothing about anything, yet they go and demonstrate because Greenpeace says they should.


    • Izzy   December 23, 2013 at 12:20 am

      Wow. What’s with the bile? I HAVE read the Climategate emails. They’re not very incriminating are they?

      And greenpeace isn’t climate science. The *science* is clear.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 1:28 am

      You either don’t understand climate science or you are dismissing scientific evidence.

      Four significant media outlets have already banned posts by climate change deniers. Genuine skepticism is always welcome, but denialism has no place in any discussion of science.

  10. Thomas Laprade   December 22, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Climate change

    Recent research by Henrik Svensmark and his group at the Danish National
    Space Center points to the real cause of the recent warming trend. In a
    series of experiments on the formation of clouds, these scientists have
    shown that fluctuations in the Sun’s output cause the observed changes in the
    Earth’s temperature.

    In the past, scientists believed the fluctuations in the Sun’s output were
    too small to cause the observed amount of temperature change, hence the need
    to look for other causes like carbon dioxide. However, these new
    experiments show that fluctuations in the Sun’s output are in fact large
    enough, so there is no longer a need to resort to carbon dioxide as the
    cause of the recent warming trend.

    The discovery of the real cause of the recent increase in the Earth’s
    temperature is indeed a convenient truth. It means humans are not to blame
    for the increase. It also means there is absolutely nothing we can, much
    less do, to correct the situation.

    Thomas Laprade

  11. Roger Bird   December 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Th climate is changing, but if I were an advocate of AGW, I wouldn’t be quite so quick to use the word “fabrication”. Remember the emails, people, and all of the fabricating that those email revealed?

  12. Bill Payne   December 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Wow, the ultimate conspiracy theory released just in time to silence those who question the data and their interpretation of it. Those evil conservatives!! By the way, how much have climate change experts, green activists, renewable energy companies, one world government enthusiasts, global wealth redistributionists, policy change gurus, and the like benefited from their ability to control and manipulate the data and how it is released to the public? The scientists get unlimited funding and great power to mold the future of this world. Those who invest in them share in the rewards. Notice, the article never mentioned how much more the climate change crowd receives from its supporters. Ultimately, science is helped when the academy attempts to falsify it, question the theory upon which something is built, and re-examine the data. Before you take this article too seriously, remember Al Gore and Fahrenheit 911? They are examples of “political science” (pun), incorrect facts, alarmist propaganda, and bad science all in the name of changing the world via climate change rhetoric. Can you still see the graphs and graphics? Fortunately, they were wrong; otherwise, Florida would be under-water. Instead, the coastline has not changed. For that matter, compare satellite images of the world coastlines for the last 50 years. You will see little change. Agenda driven science turns science into a tool for political gain. That is why conservatives question how liberals use this debate for their own advantage.

    • oneandahalfcaff   December 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      The only real climate change conspiracy theory is the one your paragraph exemplifies. This notion of a giant invisible, secret leftist cabal that somehow took over an entire branch of science while nobody was looking is a wonderful example of the ubiquitous, farfetched gobbledygook promulgated by quacks and kooks the world over. You seem determined to twist your theory of geopolitics to fit your own (willful?) misconceptions. Are you perhaps in the employ of one of the organizations who would just love to see climate change quietly disappear?

      • canuckdriver   December 22, 2013 at 10:20 pm

        Please do yourself a favour. Go and read all the Climategate E-mails and their accompanying documentation. Once you’ve done that, re-read your post.

        • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 2:01 am

          I can understand that conspiracy theories are appealing; as it simplifies complex topics and gives a sense of predictability in an uncertain world.

          You are claiming it’s a global conspiracy by scientific organisations to defraud countries and implement a new world order. That’s a plot straight from a B-grade movie!

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 1:41 am

      Big Oil has made more profit than any other industry, in the history of money. That’s where incentives lie.

      Science is a typically low-paying profession. And there are literally thousands of scientists, from many countries, from many different scientific disciplines that have contributed evidence that has become part of climate science.

      Those other scientific disciplines include: oceanography, biology, meteorology, astrophysics, physic, geology, chemistry and many others. Are they part of your alleged conspiracy too?

    • Bill Payne   December 23, 2013 at 6:56 am

      Oneandahalfcaff – Your argument is all mist and has no water. Yes, the substance of this article as it relates to big money, corporate influence, and political connections applies to the liberals more than to the conservatives on this topic. Neither you nor the article actually talk about the science of climate change. Real science stands up under scrutiny. In fact, questioning the data and replication are means by which errors are shown and theory corrected. I remind you of two things; 1) all data is theory laden, and 2) consensus does not equal right interpretation. It appears that the article and your posts make unfounded accusations in an effort to shift the conversation away from the climate change theory and its failed models and misrepresentation of the data. I assume that you and those you support would like to criminalize debate on this topic so you can achieve via political science what you cannot achieve via democratic processes?

      • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 8:12 am

        What do you know about climate science? Seriously, what science relating to climate change have you studied?

        So I’ll ask you this: What is blackbody radiation? what is irradiance? what’s the absorption spectrum of CO2? How is solar variability measured? Name ten indicators of global temperature?

      • kristinagadfly   December 23, 2013 at 8:53 am

        Science is not a democratic process, your opinion, my opinion or paid for lackeys opinions do not change observable facts. As well as no one without standing can interlope into the science attempting to skew the data which is favorable to their interests or anther’s interests.

        Having standing in science is not gained by publishing a popular book, it isn’t even gained by appointment to a panel or having your work fended by a grant from government or corporations.

        Standing is given by peer review, and by peers whom have standing themselves. Science is already politically and corporately corrupt. far too many findings have been over shadowed by money and conflicted research.

        The Climate of the planet doesn’t just involved gases in the atmosphere; the complex web of interactions even involved the smallest microbes, PH, thermal layers, surface absorptions etc.

        The fact is, even the most informed scientists don’t have all the data yet and the data they do have is bleak and very concerning.

        Our entire climate relies on regional stability, and what seems like a small change in one area of our planet can equate to an extreme cascade very quickly.

        I am not a lefty, and I am not stupid; we’re seeing disturbing changes and this event cannot be made a political one.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      You easily fit into the profile of: older generation conservative, highly-individualistic, non-egalitarian, distrustful of science, highly respectful of hierarchical structures and conspiracy theorist.

  13. regbs   December 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    @david auburn Compare the balance sheets of and Fortune 500 with the GDP of the US, UK, the EU and the EU’s members. You’ll see quickly that these menacing corporations whose power to get cash is limited to paid advertisement, whilst the power of the state is pain of imprisonment and worse. The EPA has billions at its disposal. Get started on other government agencies and who they fund, the sums dwarf private, voluntary contributions. Your best line of argument is Stephen Brown’s expression of the Left’s default method: censorship. Call any disagreeable view racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, or your method just cutting to the chase and declaring it illegal.” What other speech and thoughts would you outlaw. No doubt the PRC, PRK others of your lot have it codified and ready to go.

  14. david auburn   December 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I often hear to find out who is doing what just follow the money…… a bunch of PHD’s rigging experiments in order to gain funding would come no where near the amount that Exxon, Koch Bros, etc. have at stake.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 1:52 am

      Big Oil has made more profit than any other industry, in the history of money. Denialists always discount Big Oil’s incentive to limit the implementation of CC policy

  15. regbs   December 22, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Guardian editors change posts counter to their liking to place grammatical and spelling errors where there were none. Have a look at who’s getting government funding. 1970s global cooling / noughties global warming / the teens’ err…climate change hysterics get 1000s of times more funding through confiscated taxes funding everything from East Anglia’s and Penn State’s fudging data, to official state news agencies like the BBC omitting and pimping, and “N”GOs. Then again, the Left insists that the Berlin Wall still stands tall and that North Korea’s imposed equality is a paradise.

    • oneandahalfcaff   December 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Data please

  16. ReduceGHGs   December 22, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Join the efforts to reduce emissions. Apathy advocates more of the same destructive behaviors. Our future generations are worth the effort.

  17. alice moore   December 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    humanity is stupid and everything will be safer when we are gone.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 1:54 am

      I sometimes think the same. That we should maybe offer no resistance and just allow the worst to happen

  18. kristinagadfly   December 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    These people who keep saying “the other side” is making climate change up?

    Wake up and smell the coffee, nothing is being made up, in fact, Alarming data isn’t hasn’t even been completely and thoroughly examined yet.

    Some new data suggests our planet is past the tipping point, others not so grim suggest possible reversal of effects.

    We have seen these people threw-out history, black lung deniers, the tobacco industry hiding all the data on health risks of smoking. money and power makes people insane and homicidal.

  19. Stephen Brown   December 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    The Supreme Court perverted the First Amendment with the Citizens United Ruling. But even corporations cannot yell ‘fire!” in a crowded theater, nor can they yell that there is no fire when they know that there is. If corporations and politicians knowingly participate in the false dissemination of information that results in property damage and loss of life, they are guilty of conspiracy to defraud the public and gross negligence that results in death. These corporate purveyors of misinformation and the politicians who profit from it should be criminally charged.

    • Angus2100   December 23, 2013 at 1:49 am

      I fully agree. To knowingly increase risk of harm to people for profit is morally reprehensible, and should be considered a criminal offense.

      The disinformation from the likes of Delingpole and Monckton won’t be forgotten. Whatever criticism people may have of bankers creating the financial crisis, the actions and words of those who are delaying mitigation of global climatic disruption are many orders of magnitude worse.

  20. jim   December 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    The same argument can be made for the other side as well… 100% of researchers gain their funding by convincing people they need to spend money on their pet project and if one comes down on the side of we don’t know for sure they are made to look like a crack pot and as far as I know climate change is still A theory… The “green” movement is a cash cow for a different group of folks trying to take the profits from the oil companies and others with technology that can’t keep up with what we’re used to. They can’t tell the difference between the co2 that humans make and the co2 the earth makes so why should I have pay and pay to see if their right?

    • Andrew   December 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Researchers are funded under the guidance of scientific agencies and panels and publically acknowledge their funding in every paper they publish. Anonymous billionaires are not spending their secret money to do research at all. So, who is accountable and trustworthy here?

    • david auburn   December 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      They CAN tell the difference between the types of CO2. They are different on the molecular level.

  21. Curly Tee   December 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Charles, they had to change the name from global warming which it was call for a long time when there is evidence of the climate cooling even if the cooling may be short live. So they would not have to explain why the world has cooled a little they change it to “climate change”. That way the name works both ways.
    Now I think that the globe may be warming but it has more than gone form warm to cool to warm again. There have even been an “Ice Age” or two.

    • oneandahalfcaff   December 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Curly, despite what Larry and Moe may have told you, the name “climate change” was chosen to signal that part of the overall warming pattern involves increasingly erratic weather events – violent storms, sudden extreme cold episodes. These don’t contradict the warming pattern, they punctuate it, make the temperature curve more jagged if you like. The intent was to counteract denialist claims that the increased short episodes of cold temperature are not consistent with global warming theory. In fact, episodes of cold are perfectly consistent with the overall warming trend, and were predicted long before the name “climate change” came into use. Capisce?

  22. John   December 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Charles-Eva, you can read the original study this article refers to, and you will surely see plenty of examples.

  23. Charles-Eva Manning   December 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Why not give examples of misdirection of public discussion and distortion of the public’s understanding of climate change? And shouldn’t the focus be on global warming, not just climate change?


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