A new report from the U.K’s Guardian newspaper has unveiled that Peabody Energy, the U.S.’s largest coal producer, was actively funding over two dozen groups that advocated a policy of climate change denial, including various trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and conservative think-tanks. While long suspected by environmental groups, Peabody’s role in climate change denial was uncovered when the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.
“These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” says Climate Investigation Center founder Kert Davies, referring to the groups funded by the coal giant. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”
Examples of entities paid by Peabody include the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide study group, of whom claims that global warming is good for the Earth, and whom also has received funding from Exxon Mobil; Global Change and the American Legislative Exchange Council, lobbying to overturn EPA industrial emissions rules; and the Oklahoma chapter of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group opposing federal environmental reforms.
Environmental scientists also on the take included the likes of MIT’s Richard Lindzen, and Willie Soon, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, both of whom are known climate-change deniers. While this is Soon’s first link to Peabody Energy, he has previously received over $1.2 million in funding from oil companies and related utilities.
This news comes in the wake of Exxon Mobil’s own research into, and knowledge of the dangers of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and legal action brought against the company by the district attorneys of numerous U.S. states, investigating the possibility that Exxon misled its investors by covering up the potential risk their product posed to Earth’s climate.
“The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” states Nick Surgey, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy.
“We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”