- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another climate-change group is being accused of hypocrisy for accepting fossil-fuel funding even as its leaders call for others to divest from coal, oil and natural gas.

It turns out 350.org, founded by author and activist Bill McKibben, has long relied on donations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, according to a Thursday report in Oil Sands Fact Check.

Rockefeller Brothers joined more than 800 global institutions and individuals in announcing Monday their intent to divest a combined $50 billion in fossil-fuel investments over the next five years as a precursor to this week’s U.N. Climate Summit, the Divest-Invest coalition said.

The Rockefeller fortune is based on John D. Rockefeller’s founding of Standard Oil. Even so, Mr. McKibben acknowledged three years ago in an interview with Climate Challenge that 350.org had received funding since its inception from the foundation.

In the video interview unearthed by OSFC, Mr. McKibben appears reluctant to disclose the name of his funders, but then admits under questioning that the foundation “gave us some money right when we were starting out.”

“Rockefeller’s is one of our … is a great ally in this fight,” Mr. McKibben says.

An analysis of tax filings by Vivian Krause last year in the Financial Post concludes that, “350.org has the look and feel of an amateur, grassroots operation, but in reality, it is a multimillion dollar campaign run by staff earning six-digit salaries.”

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, founder of NextGen Climate, came under fire earlier this year for promoting climate change as a campaign issue even though his fortune was built in part on coal investments. He left his hedge-fund company in 2012 and has moved to divest from coal and other fossil-fuel interests, according to reports.

“In the end, the biggest irony of all is that not even the funders of the ‘divestment’ campaign have divested from fossil fuels,” says the OSFC report.

Oil Sands Fact Check is funded by energy and business interests, including fossil-fuel companies.

A post on 350.org’s Fossil Free blog applauds Monday’s divestment announcement, but doesn’t mention the climate-change group’s tie to Rockefeller Brothers.

“According to the Arabella [Advisers] report, 181 institutions and local governments and 656 individuals representing over $50 billion dollars have pledged to divest to-date,” the post said. “That number includes the $860 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which was built on the Standard Oil fortune — a sign of the times?”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide