Green Activists the Real Goliaths in the Climate Change Debate


By Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris

A common misconception among many in the public is that climate change activists are the ‘Davids’ in the war with the Goliath industrial complex. Authors Ron Arnold and Paul Driessen (Cracking Big Green: To Save the World from the Save-The-Earth Money Machine (2018)), show clearly that this is not the case.

Arnold and Driessen use information derived from the annual reports of non-profit organizations, as revealed in the Internal Revenue Service IRS form 990s, to show the true wealth of ‘Big Green.’ Focusing on the year 2012, which was readily available, they discovered the staggering annual incomes of various environmental groups, some of which are listed as follows:

The Sierra Club: took in $97,757,678
The Sierra Club Foundation: $47,163,599
The Environmental Defense Fund: $111,915,138
Natural Resources Defense Council: $98,701,707
National Audubon Society: $96,206,883
National Wildlife Federation: $84,726,518
Greenpeace USA: $32,791,149
National Parks Conservation Association: $25,782,975
The Wilderness Society: $24,862,909
Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection: $19,150,215
But those are just the medium sized incomes. Here are some large ones:
The Nature Conservancy: $949,132,306 (yes, nearly $1 billion)
Greenpeace International: $406,000,000
Wildlife Conservation Society: $230,042,654
World Wildlife Fund: $208,495,555

Yet green groups portray energy companies like Exxon-Mobile and BP as spending gigantic sums of money lobbying to keep the government on its side. That too is false. They do not spend more than a tiny fraction of the sums listed above in an effort not to be driven out of business. In fact, these companies and their competitors, rather than battling the Green Ideology, often spend money in support of the climate scare by embracing wind and solar energy, energy from bacteria and wholly nonsensical efforts to pump carbon dioxide emissions underground.

But the extraordinary wealth of environmental groups is only part of the reason they have such influence on public policy. They work their magic through a program of law suits against the government which the government settles rather than going to court, thereby giving the groups success in their goals without reducing the funds in their coffers.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s report Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Closed Doors, shines a long overdue light on the back-room manipulations that are now common between Big Green and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This has become a significant part of their legal strategy. It works like this: 

A private environmental group sues the EPA to issue new regulations by a certain date. The agency and group meet behind closed doors. The government then usually agrees to do whatever the activist group wants. This is because, for decades, the EPA has been staffed by people who support extremist green ideology. There are no messy congressional hearings, no public comment period, no opportunity for parties that will be adversely affected by the deal to have their day in court. Making the situation even more egregious, in most cases the taxpayer foots the bill for the suing groups’ legal fees.

Dozens of philanthropic funds set up by conservative industrialists of yesteryear have been hijacked by radical liberals who now battle the industries that initially spawned them. Their founders would turn over in their graves if they knew how their money is being spent. Not one of these staggeringly wealthy groups objects to the climate change delusion that has gripped our nation.

But there is much more supporting Big Green. The international banking community is turning over gigantic sums of money to finance the world’s rush to solar and wind projects. The San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative showed that, of the more than $1 billion USD spent every day around the world on climate finance, the largest single part of it goes to ‘renewable energy’ schemes. This despite the fact that they have no chance of providing the abundant, plentiful energy the world needs. Germany’s Deutsche Bank, Switzerland’s Credit Suisse, America’s Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and nearly all its competitors are knee deep in the billions of dollars of the global warming industry with apparently no concern about where and when the fraud finally comes to roost with an economy smashing to the ground. And we must not forget the $76 billion that the U.S. government has invested in the delusion over the past 20 years.

Big Green holds public policy captive to a scientific-technological elite of climate mongers, ecology gurus, land grabbers, lawyers and computer fortune tellers. And, in so doing, the fanatical supporters of the ‘Save The Earth Money Machine’ have now strangled our freedoms as well as our economic well-being. Our fear is that many of their ideas will become law, further eroding our freedom.

Educating true believers is a hopeless task. So, one of our major objectives now should be to limit their power. We must also battle their wrong ideas by loudly publicizing better ideas so that the public can come to understand the degree to which they have been misled. We have to help the public realize that environmental extremists are not attempting to solve problems. They are primarily promoting a political doctrine, an ideology, a mix of myth, philosophy and science that goads supporters to action as representatives of the ideology’s attitudes and beliefs. This endows its adherents with a sense of respectability and self-righteousness.

Today’s environmental activists call for changes in present political systems, in the reach of the law, in the methods of agriculture and industry, in the structure of capitalism, the profit system, international dealings and, of course, in education.

Global warming and climate change just turned out to be the very best mechanism to achieve these goals.

They must be stopped!

Portions of this article were excerpted with permission of the authors and publisher of Cracking Big Green by Ron Arnold and Paul Driessen. It is a stunning expose of the modern environmental movement and its hidden financial masters. It tracks the dark money machine of wealthy foundations and individuals that even give instructions along with their cash. It explores how donors manipulate eco-ideology, sponsor attacks on selected industries and influences regulations by promoting agreeable experts as advisors to powerful government agencies. We cannot recommend Arnold and Driessen’s book too strongly.

Dr. Jay Lehr is Senior Policy Advisor with of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute which is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Tom Harris is Executive Director of ICSC and a policy advisor to Heartland.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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