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Billionaires' Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline

By staff - International Forum on Globalization, November 2014

THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON GLOBALIZATION’S earlier report, Faces Behind a Global Crisis: U.S. Carbon Billionaires and the U.N. Climate Deadlock followed the flow of fossil fuels industry funds to find that Charles and David Koch are, in fact, the single largest financiers of efforts to stop the phase out of fossil fuels. This report reveals one reason for their spending: the Kochs’ enormous investments in tar sands could become “stranded assets” if Keystone XL, the Alberta Clipper, and other important infrastructure for tar sands expansion is not approved.

With more money (a combined net worth of $100B) than the world’s wealthiest man, Bill Gates ($86B) the Kochs outspent all other oil companies, even Exxon, in campaign contributions, lobbying expenses, denialist science, and myriad other activities since 1999 to stop solutions to today’s quickening global climate crisis.1 Unprecedented financial wealth combined with the Kochs’ fanatical belief in what they call “economic freedom” made them top spenders in the 2012 and 2014 U.S. elections. The Kochs have spent well over $22 million on traceable campaign donations since 1990, and almost four times that amount—about $76 million—on their lobbying expenditures since 1998 alone. This number does not include the vast sums of dark money moved through their web of influence, as mapped by IFG’s Kochtopus, and monitored by, online tools to follow the Koch Cash moving through their influence network.

Since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, “Koch Cash” has bought a radical faction in Congress that has seized the power of the purse, shrunk government by 8% via the sequestration, and restricted U.S. action on climate to President Obama’s narrow administrative authorities, which the Kochs are currently countering in court. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Koch-introduced legal cases have involved judges too friendly with the Kochs. These rulings undermine the legitimacy of the Court, the current composition of which is slated to continue to rule in the Kochs’ favor.

Read the report (Link).

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