Koch Industries Facts: A new website about 2010’s dirtiest opponent of clean energy

Guest blogger Josh Nelson is New Media Director at the Alliance for Climate Protection and its Repower America campaign.

To spread the word about Koch Industries and its long history of working to deceive the American people about climate change, we’ve launched a new website:

Three weeks ago, we asked our members to nominate the worst corporate polluters of 2010. Our goal was to identify organizations that have hijacked our democracy, devastated our environment and denied the science of climate change “” all while reaping massive profits. The response was overwhelming. In just a few days, more than 4,000 people submitted their nominations, many of which were passionate and articulate. The next week, we introduced the top four nominees: Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, BP and Massey Energy. A few days and 13,000 votes later we had our winner: Koch Industries.

Now, you may have heard a thing or two about Koch Industries. Their role in funding climate change deniers is well documented. What you may not realize is that Koch intentionally flies beneath the radar. David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is the biggest company you’ve never heard of. They’re able to remain unknown because they hide behind shadowy front groups like Americans for Prosperity. Co-founded by David Koch, Americans for Prosperity funds advertising and public events designed to mislead Americans about climate change and energy policy.

Koch Industries knows that if Americans realized that a massive oil pipeline and refinery company was behind harmless-sounding groups that work to mislead us about climate change, no one would listen to them. They want you to think that what is good for the oil industry is good for the American people, but you and I both know what they actually care about: their bottom line.

That’s why we’ve launched a new website:

The site serves as a catalog of facts about Koch Industries and its owners, the brothers Charles and David Koch. What we’ve listed on the site is just the beginning. Click around for a bit, and if you see something that’s missing, make sure to let us know. I hope you’ll join us in highlighting Koch Industries’ worst transgressions by submitting a Koch fact of your own and passing the site along to a friend.

Josh Nelson.

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8 Responses to Koch Industries Facts: A new website about 2010’s dirtiest opponent of clean energy

  1. catman306 says:

    Thanks, Josh Nelson and Joe Romm. I used your link first thing.

    Here’s one of Koch’s offspring, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, telling us why we don’t need passenger trains.

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dear Josh

    I applaud the idea of addressing Koch, but I’d like to mention something (a small tiny thing) that seems important. The following point is not meant to be “instead of” Koch, but is meant to be “in addition to” Koch.

    As we all realize, polls sometimes have problems, and people are not always quite as well informed, or rational, as they might be. But I think it’s a slight problem if your poll missed, or overlooked, ExxonMobil.

    The fact is, ExxonMobil products, when used, generate over a Trillion Pounds of CO2 each year, and that doesn’t even include their own operations. And, they are (of course) a leading — if not THE leading — confuser of the public. Indeed, ExxonMobil is considerably larger than BP, and they are the largest single power behind the API itself, which is on your list. Because the API itself (as an entity) does not generate any GHGs, and because they are the front group for the American oil industry, and because ExxonMobil is the largest company (by far) in the American oil industry, and because ExxonMobil is larger than BP, it is analytically correct to say that ExxonMobil is responsible for more GHG omissions than the API (as an entity) and BP combined, i.e., than two of the four organizations on your list, combined.

    So, if your poll is not intended to be something that has sizable consequences, this is no matter. But if you are going to spend time and effort on one or more of the organizations, I wouldn’t spend all the time and effort merely on the basis of a single poll; and if (for some reason) ExxonMobil isn’t the top target, then it should at least be among the top two or three, no question about it. Although a quick poll might not suggest this (that only means that ExxonMobil is doing a better PR job than the others, and thus is even better at deception than the others, and also it means that ExxonMobil hasn’t caused an immediate acute disaster like BP), the actual numbers bear it out, easily. The fact is, all things considered, ExxonMobil is probably THE most immense culprit in all of the Western World, meaning that the only larger culprit might be either the national refining company, or the national oil and gas company, or the national coal company, in China, and perhaps Gazprom (Russia) is up there as well, and of course Royal Dutch Shell is the company that is the main contender with ExxonMobil for the largest oil and gas company in the world, although they seem to be a bit less active in the actual deception business, at least here in the U.S.

    In any case, I applaud your efforts with Koch, but the climate movement simply cannot afford to NOT have ExxonMobil as one of its two or three TOP TARGETS, if not THE top target, period.

    Cheers and Be Well,


  3. Raul M. says:

    If passenger trains had solar panels on
    the roofs, those trains would be more
    comfortable as the panels could take
    some of the load during the daytime.

  4. John Mashey says:

    1) I am very familair with the Kochs, ExxonMobil, Scaife, etc, i.e., see the PDF at DeSmogBlog, Table A.6.1, pp.92-95, Funders vs organizations.

    Two rows labeled Koch and Lambe show where their foundation money goes, their corporate money is harder to track. ExxonMobil is shown as well as are the Scaife-controlled foundations and many others. The family foundations have strongly outspent the Exxon foundation, although of course much of the former goes to other efforts, not just climate anti-science.. Again, corporate money is harder to trace, especially when it goes through API and other routes.

    I do observe that people are at least aware of ExxonMobil, and only vaguely becoming aware of the Kochs.

    2) Josh: you write:
    “Click around for a bit, and if you see something that’s missing, make sure to let us know.”

    I totally support every effort to put the spotlight on the Kochs.

    Maybe I’m missing something(?), but clicking around the website gave me a few facts, but I’m afraid that format of website doesn’t help me much to know if there’s anything else there.

    Between the piece I mentioned and Greenpeace, there is a huge amount of information available, with some overlap, and of course there is Sourcewatch.

    If this wants to be a main site about the Kochs, much more content is needed.

  5. Susan Anderson says:

    Courtesy of Tenney Naumer, a few possibly duplicative resources. I like the list in this one:

    A good list of all the criminals:

    This is the one I was looking for, good visual about our bought-and-paid-for Congress, visually compelling:

    Tenney’s blog, which if you scroll down to Koch Industries provides a potpourri of info. The clutter is a little intimidating, but in the process I was impressed by the range of evil actions involved:

    And a lot of this material came from here, so kudos on that. I regard this blog as “all the news that’s fit to print” but prefer to spend my energy arguing with the enemy rather than preaching to the choir. OTOH, not sure that is getting anywhere. For my fellow soldiers, good luck with that.

    I was a little chuffed to find on researching the Kochs that I had posted on the matter on DotEarth in 2009! I think my leader in that case was the excellent DailyKos.

  6. Climate Progress is doing a great job of exposing the Koch brothers, and a compilation of CP posts and other information is here:

  7. Jeff, while it is certainly true that ExxonMobil is one of the very worst, the thing about the Koch brothers is that they are secretly funding the tea baggers and are having a powerful and adverse effect on our democracy. Their agenda is no government or rather anarchy or rather survival of the richest. If they get their way, we’ll have a sort of fascist dictatorship in this country.

  8. DG says:

    Great stuff! I saw a message board for a similar click-fact website recently that recommended limiting the facts to display only once when circulating. Nothing wrong with seeing the same fact twice in one go, but as this other board pointed out, some might be inclined to stop as soon as they see the same fact or two appear twice. It makes it easier to get through and see more, too.