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Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations


This paper conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States. Utilizing IRS data, total annual income is compiled for a sample of CCCM organizations (including advocacy organizations, think tanks, and trade associations). These data are coupled with IRS data on philanthropic foundation funding of these CCCM organizations contained in the Foundation Center’s data base. This results in a data sample that contains financial information for the time period 2003 to 2010 on the annual income of 91 CCCM organizations funded by 140 different foundations. An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.

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  1. Pew Research Center Poll - October 2012

  2. The coding sheet, procedures, and list of selected organizations are provided in the Supplemental Material, Tables S-1 to S-3, pages 2–4.

  3. For a full explanation of the funding data analysis, see the Methodological Appendix, page 117 in the Supplemental Material.

  4. IRS Category Descriptions:

    501(c)(3) Religious, educational, charitable, scientific, or literary organizations; testing for public safety organizations. Also, organizations preventing cruelty to children or animals, or fostering national or international amateur sports competition

    501(c)(4) Civic leagues, social welfare organizations, and local associations of employees

    501(c)(5) Labor, agriculture, and horticultural organizations

    501(c)(6) Business leagues, chambers of commerce, and real estate boards

  5. The detailed data is provided in the Supplemental Material. Table S-6 (pages 39-42) lists grant totals by year made by foundations. Table S-7 (pages 43–44) lists recipient organizations of grants by year. Table S-8 (45–78) lists foundation grants to specific organizations, and Table S-9 (pages 79–112) lists organizations that received grants by foundation.


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Correspondence to Robert J. Brulle.

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Brulle, R.J. Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations. Climatic Change 122, 681–694 (2014).

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  • Carbon Emission
  • Social Movement
  • Trade Association
  • Anthropogenic Climate Change
  • Resource Mobilization