If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.While the researchers focus only on efforts to conceal the sources of funding regarding the denial of climate change, what I think is even of greater significance is a broader examination of the methods that major capitalists and their corporations use to influence important policies throughout society: the impacts of these foundations on the disseminators of information and shapers of opinion in the institutions of education and media. This wider view reveals one of the secrets behind the rule of the private "owners" of our economy, which the system of capitalism has made possible, and puts the lie to all their pretenses about democratic rule. (The other major secret is their funding of our representatives at all levels of government.) This view reveals the naked truth about what left critics refer to as bourgeois democracy or capitalist democracy. It is a totally fake version of democracy.
To uncover how the countermovement was built and maintained, Brulle developed a listing of 118 important climate denial organizations in the U.S. He then coded data on philanthropic funding for each organization, combining information from the Foundation Center with financial data submitted by organizations to the Internal Revenue Service.
The final sample for analysis consisted of 140 foundations making 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations from 2003 to 2010. The data shows that these 91 organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities, Brulle notes.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up