Should we boycott companies that fund climate change denial? (Pssst, that’s a yes…)

Climate Change: The Next Generation (CCNG) has been producing a steady stream of articles on Koch Industries detailing how they’ve been funding climate change denial to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.  

For those not familiar with Koch, they are one of the largest private companies in the world. DeSmogBlog has a good profile here;

“…Koch Industries, Inc. is the largest privately owned energy company in the United States, and the country’s second largest private company.  According to Forbes, in 2007 Koch Industries generated $98 billion in revenue and had 80,000 employees.

The company began in 1927 when Fred C. Koch developed a better way to convert heavy oil into gasoline.  Eventually in 1940, Fred Koch founded the Wood River Oil and Refining Company.  After Fred Koch’s death in 1967, his son Charles Koch took control of the company.  In 1968, Charles renamed the company Koch Industries, Inc.  His brother David H. Koch joined the company in 1970 and became president in 1978.

Despite its humble beginnings, Koch Industries quickly began to buy up other oil competitors. Between the years 1959 and 2004, Koch Industries purchased the Great Northern Oil Company, three oil refineries from Sun Oil, the United Gas Pipeline, and oil refineries in Minnesota and North Pole, Alaska.  Koch Industries produces 800,000 barrels of oil per day.

In recent years Koch industries has diversified its business holdings to include more than oil and gas.  Koch currently owns companies involved in pollution control, fertilizers, commodity and financial trading, forest and consumer products, fibres and polymers, and ranching.  In 2003, Koch purchased Invista, the world’s largest fibres company, for $4.4 billion.  Two years later, Koch acquired paper products giant Georgia-Pacific for $21 billion.”

Over the last 12 months it has become apparent that they have been secretly funding the “denial machine”:

“…Billionaire oilman David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” But the nearly $50 million that David Koch and his brother Charles have quietly funnelled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter.”

As a consequence CCNG has called for a boycott of the companies products:

“Koch Industries has made a fortune off the American public and has used that money to manipulate our government into stalling action to prevent the worst dangers of fossil-fuel emission caused climate change.   It is time to boycott their Georgia Pacific owned products…”

I support such a boycott, even if it is more applicable to US and European consumers than to those outside those regions.  

Still, it’s given me food for thought…  

Down Under: time to boycott companies and media outlets that support denial?  

Voyager Estate – the winery owned by a WA mining family – is one Australian company that has declared it’s support for the Institute of Public Affairs efforts to mislead the public on climate change.

Since then I’ve refused to purchase any of their wines and have informed others. I’d encourage others not to purchase any of Voyager’s wines.  

Nor do I restrict my boycott to wine: Melbourne’s Herald Sun and The Australian are two newspapers that actively wage war on climate science. Thus, I stopped buying those papers six months ago in protest.  

Perhaps we need to collate a list of (a) companies and organisations that fund climate change denial and (b) the think tanks that orchestrate the campaigns and (c) and media outlets that continue provide a platform for “deniers” such as Andrew Bolt, Terry McCrann, Miranda Divine etc.    

The Australian public sent our federal politicians a message not that long ago: take climate change seriously.  

Our media and industries also need to hear the same message.  

Getup! are you listening? Or perhaps we should just throw up a site and see what happens?


3 thoughts on “Should we boycott companies that fund climate change denial? (Pssst, that’s a yes…)

  1. adelady says:

    It’s a bit of a challenge. These folks are the sort of people that get into my bad books on a range of issues – I stopped buying The Australian back in the days of the Mabo decision.

    Having a checklist would be handy, though. Petrol companies?

  2. Yes, please. Not excited about wealth transfers to fossil fuels companies in general on top of the purely market priced services they provide – and not excited about a wealth transfer from my great-grandchildren to fossil fuels companies that leaves them the lifestyle of arctic or coastal tribal foragers (if they are lucky).

    (Don’t forget the wealth transfer needed for military protection/imperialism for the fossil fuel raw materials.)

    But care must be taken. At this moment, subsidizing pure electric cars is an indirect subsidy of coal mining companies (I am not sure if electric car technology will lead to a net drop of carbon emissions in the future). In a 360 degree/whole life-cycle analysis (including disposal), silicon solar panels are probably a boondoggle that leads to a net consumption of fossil fuels, and so are mercury compact fluorescent light bulbs.

    Along with boycotting the worst actors, it would be nice to have a calculator that outputs the correct additional cost of different products, with a rational & moral externalities tax on fossil fuels used in design / manufacture / distribution / purchase / delivery / use / standby / repair / disposal / recycle. So one would have a workable basis to make buying decisions and lifestyle decisions.

  3. concerned says:

    For me this is a resounding YES. I can’t believe there aren’t prominent boycotts already considering how serious climate change is. I’m from the states though and I think most american’s have their head up their *!@#$.

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