Peabody Energy’s recent bankruptcy filing piqued the attention of a national watchdog group. Within the filing, a document containing a list of the company’s current creditors has shed an unflattering light on their financial and ethical dealings. The Center for Media and Democracy is responsible for uncovering the world’s largest private-sector coal company’s bankruptcy papers listing creditors of multiple organizations, individuals and scientists that are known for climate change denial.
At least ten political party organizations are listed as getting paid. And yes, eight of them are Republican, the party most likely to oppose scientific consensus on the subject and even more likely to start and feed conspiracy theories about it. Remember The Great Hoax by Republican Senator James Inhofe? James isn’t on the list, but the Republican Parties of Arkansas, Kentucky and New Mexico are. Other notable creditors include, Missouri Right to Life, Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute and Berman and Company, a Washington, DC. public affairs firm headed by former lobbyist Rick Berman (or Dr. Evil) and known for being hired by companies to attack environmental groups.
And that’s not all. Name after name is listed behind the title “Dr.” — indicating that researchers are receiving money from Peabody Energy.
Dr. Willie Soon is one climate change skeptic with a PhD. who admits that much of his research has been funded by the oil and gas industry. U.S. oil and coal companies, including the giant ExxonMobil, contributed over $1 Million and Dr. Soon has been linked to various think tanks that dispute human-induced global warming. In 2003, he testified at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that the climate of the 20th Century was neither unusual or extreme.
Maybe this discovery isn’t terribly surprising, as much as it is disheartening and probably more widely practiced than we will ever know. It’s also a reminder to consider the facts and where they are coming from before determining your stance on an important issue.