Koch-Funded Tim Phillips Is Still Confused About Climate Change

Koch Oil Refinery, Rosemount MN (photo: Zach K via Flickr)

This piece was co-written by Ryan Koronowski, Alliance for Climate Protection Research Director and Josh Nelson, Alliance for Climate Protection New Media Director.

This week, CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” spoke with Tim Phillips, the head of the front group Americans for Prosperity that’s funded by the oil company Koch Industries. Mr. Phillips was up to his old tricks. While acknowledging that he is not a scientist, he said that to believe climate science isn’t “far from settled” would be “arrogance.”

Of course, his claim is the furthest thing from the truth. This was simply another attempt by an oil industry-funded, climate denial mouthpiece to try and convince Americans that climate change isn’t happening. But this particularly insidious brand of snake oil has no basis in reality. In fact, there’s overwhelming evidence that climate change is happening now and is caused by pollution from fossil fuels.

Americans for Prosperity has a seemingly harmless-sounding name, but they are heavily funded by foundations run by David Koch, co-owner of the oil refinery and pipeline company Koch Industries.

While you might not have heard of Koch Industries before they won Repower America’s Snake Oil Award for Public Deception, the Koch brothers are doing everything they can to mislead the public and influence our political leaders. And it doesn’t stop with backing third party smear machines; Koch has also spent nearly $17 million lobbying Congress in the past two years.  . . .

It’s not over yet. In January, Koch Industries executives and high finance head honchos will be meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society,” which evidently includes “climate change alarmism.” A similar meeting this year featured a presentation on voter mobilization by none other than Tim Phillips.

The fight to solve climate change is about more than just a back-and-forth debate about scientific issues that have long been settled. Instead, we should acknowledge that facts don’t have a political party, and get to work building a clean energy economy that can create millions of jobs for Americans.

Tim Phillips may claim not to believe in climate change, but as Upton Sinclair once wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Thanks to the Wonk Room over at Think Progress for first catching this story.

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