Peabody Energy, the United States largest coal company, has been bankrolling think tanks, corporate lobbyists, trade associations, and individual scientists at the heart of the climate denial movement, a new Guardian investigation reveals.
Fossil fuel companies aren t exactly a progressive bunch when it comes to climate action, but few have manipulated the facts of global warming as consistently and egregiously as Peabody, which refers to carbon dioxide in glowing terms and asserts that by cranking up its concentration in our atmosphere, the company is fertilising the planet for the benefit of mankind.
The more than two dozen beneficiaries include: the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, which calls carbon emissions an elixir of life ; the George C. Marshall Institute, which claims there is not the slightest evidence that more CO2 has caused more extreme weather or accelerated sea level rise ; and Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics who, it was revealed last year, has received over $1.2 million £850k in funding from the fossil fuel industry.
While the filings obtained by The Guardian don t list amounts of money or dates of individual contributions, the evidence places Peabody at the centre of a widespread misinformation campaign — which is not terribly surprising given the company s previous attempts to rebrand coal as the cure to global poverty.
America s coal industry is quickly losing ground to natural gas, which last year became the US's most popular energy source for electricity.
It would be heartening to see a fossil fuel enterprise acknowledge this reality and take a leading role in developing the energy sources of the future.