Investigative journalist Kevin Mooney is out with yet another damning report for #ExxonKnew activists, this time uncovering foreign organizations who are using their funding and resources to influence U.S. climate policy and promote the anti-fossil fuel agenda.
According to Mooney’s report, a considerable amount of money was donated to US organizations by the Oak Foundation, which is headquartered in Geneva and led by UK native, Alan M. Parker, who now lives in Switzerland:
“Financial records show that between 2015 and 2020, the Oak Foundation committed $100 million to its ‘climate justice’ initiative, with grants ranging from $600,000 to $75 million.
“Under this initiative, the Oak Foundation awarded $1 million to the Center for International Environmental Law based in Washington, D.C. Matt Pawa, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys for the climate lawsuits, and Sharon Eubanks, who spearheaded the Justice Department’s tobacco litigation in the 1990s, both sit on the center’s board of trustees. CIEL is a vocal supporter of the litigation campaign against the energy industry, going so far as to set up a website and publish an accompanying report titled ‘Smoke and Fumes: The Legal and Evidentiary Basis for Holding Big Oil Accountable for the Climate Crisis.’” (emphasis added)
The grant to CIEL is specifically earmarked for climate justice programming, including advocacy, analysis, and litigation. The goals of the grant include urging “governments, corporate and financial actors to take urgent and ambitious action to secure a safe climate.” Naturally, in addition to the glossy report referenced by Mooney, CIEL is supporting the climate liability lawsuits filed by a handful of municipalities in the last year.
Mooney goes on to explain that the Oak Foundation also provides funding for several other US-based environmental groups, such as EarthRights International, which is representing Boulder City and County and San Miguel County in Colorado in their climate change lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor. While it is not clear how much the Oak Foundation has given to EarthRights (the information is not disclosed on their website), Mooney found that the Oak Foundation pledged $75 million to ClimateWorks, a San Francisco-based organization.
The Oak Foundation isn’t the only group pouring money into American environmental organizations. Mooney also found that the European Climate Foundation (ECF) is deeply involved in American climate efforts. In fact, newly unveiled emails show that Tom Brookes, Executive Director of ECF’s Global Strategic Communications Service and senior advisor to ClimateWorks, was corresponding with Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D-Wash) office to craft a communications plan for the U.S. Climate Alliance and Climate Week. The email chain also included a member of Climate Nexus and a fellow ECF employee who now leads Resource Media’s energy practice, two organizations tied to the climate lawsuits. Further, one of ECF’s projects, the Climate Briefing Service, received $2 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to launch a climate program targeting “critical governmental bodies.”
Of course, all of this comes after freedom of information investigations revealed that the Rockefellers are bankrolling the #ExxonKnew campaign. They directly lobbied New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other state officials to launch a climate investigation into ExxonMobil and coordinated a January 2016 meeting to “delegitimize” ExxonMobil. After the collusion was uncovered, David Kaiser and Lee Wasserman of the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) were forced to admit in a column published by the New York Review of Books that they “informed state attorneys general of [their] concern that ExxonMobil seemed to have failed to disclose to investors the business risks of climate change.”
Each passing day brings more information about the massive funding operation behind the climate litigation campaign to light. Mooney’s reporting exposes how shadowy foreign groups are pumping money into U.S.-based anti-oil and gas organizations, who in turn arrange meetings with and even embed within the offices of public officials, shaping the climate discussion from the inside. Which begs the question – just who are these public officials serving?