Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly 120 million dollars to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change. The funds, given out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of think tanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarizing "wedge issue" for hardcore conservatives.
The money was routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, both operating out of the same town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC.
Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust, assured wealthy donors that their funds would never by diverted to liberal causes. In the February 14th edition of the Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg quotes her as saying, "We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise. It won’t be going to liberals."
Goldenberg quotes Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace, as saying, "The funding of the denial machine is becoming increasingly invisible to public scrutiny. It’s also growing. Budgets for all these different groups are growing. These groups are increasingly getting money from sources that are anonymous or untraceable. There is no transparency, no accountability for the money. There is no way to tell who is funding them."
She quotes sociologist Robert Brulle as saying, "Donors Trust is just the tip of a very big iceberg."