Corporate Funding Used Extensively to Amplify Climate Change Doubt in Public Mind

Thursday, November 26, 2015
(graphic: "Merchants of Doubt," Participant Media/Sony Pictures)

It’s no accident that a large minority of Americans don’t believe the scientific evidence on climate change. According to new research, corporations have spent the past two decades funding studies and research that have sown the seeds of doubt in many Americans’ minds.


A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reviewed 20 years of data in other studies that raised doubts about global warming and its effects.


“We sort of always suspected that this was the case, that the funders were building and creating this effort, but this really demonstrates it empirically,” Robert Brulle, a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University who was not involved in the study, told ThinkProgress. “This is a very, very robust and interesting paper.”


Billionaires Charles and David Koch and ExxonMobil, among others, were found to have funded efforts to polarize the debate on climate change.


“The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” Yale University sociologist Justin Farrell, who authored the report, said. Farrell found what he called an “ecosystem of influence” coming from corporate-backed groups producing anti-climate change messaging.


Corporate funding made it possible to create “a united network within which the contrarian messages could be strategically created.”


“This counter-movement produced messages aimed, at the very least, at creating ideological polarization through politicized tactics, and at the very most, at overtly refuting current scientific consensus with scientific findings of their own,” according to Farrell.


ExxonMobil is currently being investigated by New York’s attorney general to find out what the company knew about climate change and whether it withheld facts about it to protect its profits.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Why Are So Many Americans Skeptical about Climate Change? A Study Offers a Surprising Answer. (by Joby Warrick, Washington Post)

Scientific Proof That Exxon and the Kochs Distorted the Public’s Understanding Of Climate Change (by Natasha Geiling, ThinkProgress)

Corporate Funding and Ideological Polarization about Climate Change (by Justin Farrell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) (abstract)

ExxonMobil May Only Be First of Oil Giants to Be Investigated for Obscuring Climate Science (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

ExxonMobil Accused of Deceiving Public on Climate Change Risks to Protect Profits (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Climate Change Denial Gets Billions in Dark Money from Conservative Groups (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Mitch Bupp 8 years ago
Say what you want ... the data associated with global warming is being manipulated. The tree ring studies prove it... see for facts about AGW you can not ignore ... BTW, everyone knows that the earth has been warming since the end of the last mini-ice age .. we are talking about the AGW issue

Leave a comment