When infamous industrial billionaire Charles Koch funded a study to review the science of global warming, it’s very likely he didn’t expect the chief scientist, Richard Muller, to conclude that “humans are almost entirely the cause” of an accelerating warming trend.
So will Charles Koch ignore the study he supported? Greenpeace’s Executive Director Phillip Radford sent a letter to Charles Koch yesterday, asking him if the science he funded is enough to convince him of the urgency of climate change. Here’s the letter in full:
As you know, one of your grant recipients — Dr. Richard Muller of University of California Berkeley — recently published an op-ed in the New York Times about his “total turnaround” from climate skepticism based on the results of his latest study. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation granted at least $150,000 to Dr. Muller’s Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study. Dr. Muller’s results are consistent with decades of scientific evidence, fully convincing him that global warming is happening and “humans are almost entirely the cause.”
Based on Dr. Muller’s evidence and the views of virtually all climate scientists, I am writing to inquire about the influence of these findings on your previously expressed skepticism about climate change.
Dr. Muller explained in a recent Greenpeace Radio interview that he spoke directly with you about the BEST project and your personal interest in his analysis:
“I did talk to Charles Koch. He emphasized from the beginning that he was concerned about valid issues in the science. He wanted us to straighten out those issues. He didn’t know what answer we would get. He just wanted it to be put on a solid, firm foundation. That’s what we’ve done.”
For years, you and your brother, David Koch, have directly provided over $61 million to organizations that deny science and cast doubt on global climate change, in addition to millions more in hidden funding through your “Knowledge and Progress Fund.” This includes support for the Heartland Institute, which is currently supporting a project run by the retired TV weatherman Anthony Watts in attempts to discredit the results of the BEST study. You may recall that the Heartland Institute ran the infamous billboard comparing the Unabomber with those who acknowledge the existence of global warming.
Organizations you finance continue to delay action to curb global warming even as the United States is experiencing unprecedented heat records, drought, wildfires, and violent storms. Your own home state of Kansas is at the center of the summer’s extreme drought, which has led to prairie fires and forced ranchers to sell their cattle due to lack of grass and water. Your oil and gas business activities, not to mention the political funding you can afford, have helped ensure that these all-too-real disasters will become more frequent as the global climate continues to warm.
Our country desperately needs to reduce carbon pollution in order to take a lead on the global stage, and you have an opportunity here to stop obstructing such leadership. Please tell us, Mr. Koch: do you now consider anthropogenic global warming to be on a “solid, firm foundation” as Dr. Muller does? Will groups that deny climate science continue to receive support from Koch Industries and its associated foundations? If so, will you urge them to discontinue such unscientific and unproductive interference in policy-making focused on addressing climate change?
We look forward to your response and urge you to take this inquiry seriously. Too much is at stake to continue delaying solutions to civilization’s largest challenge.
Meanwhile, Charles and his brother David say they plan to raise and spend nearly $400 million this election season — with most of those millions going toward ads designed to cut down the clean energy industry.