Brussels, 7 December 2010 – Funding for the European think tanks promoting denialist views on the science of climate change remains clouded in secrecy, a new investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) published today has revealed .
CEO asked eight prominent European climate sceptic think tanks to disclose their sources of funding for climate-related activities, but all refused. Eleven EU companies, all heavy polluters with an interest in limiting legislation to tackle climate change, were then asked whether they funded the eight think tanks. Only one, BP, declared any funding – for the UK-based free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
BP boasts a decade-long track record of advocating and taking precautionary action to address climate change. Given that the IEA clearly promotes the denial of climate change, the report asks how BP can defend its support for such a group. BP is effectively supporting the promotion of some of the most reactionary publications on climate change and radical deniers among its ranks. BP and IEA both refused to disclose how much BP contributed.
The report also gives a snapshot of some of the most influential climate denying think tanks in Europe and the web of connections with US groups . All the other think tanks surveyed (the International Policy Network (IPN), the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), Spanish Instituto Juan de Mariana, Danish CEPOS, French Institut Économique Molinari, the Austrian Hayek Institute and Germany based CFACT Europe) refused to give details of their funding sources. None are registered in the EU Commission’s transparency register.
CFACT Europe coorganised a gathering of climate sceptics in Berlin last weekend, supposedly promoting ‘scientific findings’ which challenged the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
How such events are funded remains a secret. Current EU transparency rules do not oblige lobbyists to disclose their funding.
CEO researcher Belen Balanya commented:
“Climate sceptics play a prominent role in Europe, influencing both the media and the wider public debate – yet the public have no way of knowing who is paying for the promotion of these views. In the US, industry has been found to be behind many of these think tanks. Who funds the EU’s think tanks should also be exposed.”
The Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell and steel giant Arcelor Mittal refused to give any information about who they funded. Spanish oil company Repsol and GDF Suez did not reply.
French oil giant Total did respond, saying it did not fund any of the think tanks listed – although it said it did contribute to other groups such as European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), which the report notes does lobby on climate change policy.
Lafarge, E.ON, Solvay and BASF also said that they did not contribute to any of the eight think tanks, but all acknowledged membership of industry associations working on climate change – including the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, the International Emissions Trading Association and ERT. Bayer said it did not give any money to think tanks for work on climate change.
Belen Balanya, email@example.com
 See Concealing their sources – who funds Europe's climate change deniers? Corporate Europe Observatory, December 2010.