Perhaps this should come as no surprise, but there is now definitive proof that Big Coal has been secretly bankrolling climate deniers in science, media, and the government. And they’ve been doing it for years.
According to Peabody Energy’s recent bankruptcy filings and analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, the nation’s largest coal company has funded individuals, nonprofits, and political groups that actively work to undermine government and private-sector action to address climate change. The list includes:
- Willie Soon, an aerospace engineer and go-to “climate expert” for Big Oil and conservatives alike
- Laurence Tribe, who received $435,000 to fight the Clean Power Plan in court
- ALEC, the infamous conservative lobbying network
- The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), makers of the recent climate change-denying film Climate Hustle
- The Center For The Study Of Carbon Dioxide And Global Change, whose chairman, Craig D. Idso, wrote, “Contrary to misguided assertions, political correctness, and government edicts, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.”
- Berman And Company, a public relations firm working together with conservative think tanks to release reports opposing the Clean Power Plan
- Roy Spencer, academic for-hire who received $4,000 from Peabody to testify on their behalf at a hearing on the impact of carbon dioxide
- The Republican Attorneys General Association, the Republican Governors Association, and the Democratic Governors Association
And there are many, many more. “These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, told the Guardian. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”
Despite Peabody’s best efforts to influence politics and the public discourse, the future for the coal industry is bleak. Coal production in the U.S. is now at a 35-year low, and Peabody’s bankruptcy proceedings happen alongside fellow energy giants Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, Walter Energy, and Alpha Natural Resources. Meanwhile, prospects for renewable investments have never looked better.
Big Coal is on it’s way out — let’s hope they take their dirty money, and their climate denial, with them.