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Kochtopus Strikes Again, Funding New Climate Change Denial "Science"

Kochtopus Strikes Again, Funding New Climate Change Denial "Science"
Fri, 10/26/2012 - by Connor Gibson
This article originally appeared on Greenpeace Blogs

The octopus has a remarkable ability—it can blend seamlessly with its surroundings changing its appearance to mimic plants, rocks or even other animals.

Similarly deceptive is an upcoming junk study from a Koch-funded think tank that has taken on the format and appearance of a truly scientific report from the U.S. government but is loaded with lies and misrepresentation of actual climate change science. The false report is a tentacle of the Kochtopus—with oil and industrial billionaires Charles and David Koch at the head.

The report’s disgraced author, Patrick Michaels, has made his largely undistinguished career shilling for fossil fuel interestes, including his stay at the Cato Institute, which published the counterfeit report. After admitting to CNN that 40% of his funding is from the oil industry alone, even Cato was embarrassed enough to clarify that:

Pat works for Cato on a contract basis, not as a full-time employee. Funding that Pat received for work done outside the Cato Institute does not come through our organization." Koch Industries Chairman and CEO Charles Koch co-founded the Cato Institute in 1977, and David Koch sits on Cato’s [board of directors](http://www.cato.org/people/directors.html). Both brothers are Cato [shareholders](http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/the-battle-for-cato/).

The Kochs’ combined $62 billion in wealth comes from Koch Industries operations in oil refining, pipelines, tar sands exploration, chemical production, deforestation and fossil fuel commodity trading, all of which contribute to global climate change and the types of extreme weather Americans are now starting to recognize as symptoms of global warming.

Wary of how public concern over climate change could drop demand for fossil fuel products, the Kochs have spent the last 15 years dumping over $61 million to front groups telling us that global warming doesn’t exist, or that it would destroy our economy to stop runaway climate change.

Other billionaire families like the Scaifes and companies like ExxonMobil have funneled tens of millions more to the same groups to bury climate science in public relations schemes designed to delay solutions to global warming. While Cato got over $5.5 million from the Kochs since 1997, it received over $1 million from the Scaifes, $125,000 from ExxonMobil and tens of millions more from other fossil fuel interests and ideologues in the top 1%.

In a highly public battle earlier this year between the Koch brothers and libertarians at the Cato Institute, some Cato employees didn’t want their work to become what David Koch calls “intellectual ammunition” for other Koch fronts like Americans for Prosperity. Cato’s deceptive climate report is exactly the type of fake science that AFP needs in order to continue lying to the American public about the reality of global warming.

Cato’s counterfeit report is classic global warming denial that is clearly designed to be confused for actual science. Its author, its publisher and its billionaire supporters have all been key to the coordinated public relations effort that has blocked climate policy in this country by making climate science a partisan issue and rallying the American public behind the very lies they themselves fabricated. The junk report has already been circulated by other climate science deniers and even cited in a Congressional presentation.

With climate change already contributing to 400,000 deaths each year and costing $1.2 trillion to economies worldwide, such dubious doubt-peddling should be considered criminal. If you are an elected official or a journalist and spot the Cato Institute’s bogus new report, call it for what it is: malarkey.

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