Over the past few weeks, analysis of Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy documents has revealed that the world’s largest private-sector coal company has financial ties dozens of trade associations, corporate lobbying groups, and industry-backed front groups all promoting disinformation around climate change science and renewable energy.
According to both the Center for Media and Democracy and the Union of Concerned Scientists, who reviewed the current list of creditors and then a bankruptcy filing with some amounts listed to the creditors, it is now known that Peabody Energy’s involvement in efforts to deceive the public and policy makers about the reality and risks of climate change, obstruct action to limit greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and undermine the renewable energy market has been significant.
The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organizations, dozens of organizations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy, in the Guardian.
A full list of creditors can be found on the Center for Media and Democracy’s website. These groups and people include Willie Soon, who has said the CO2 is not a major driver of global warming (Soon has also received money from Southern Company); Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who has disputed climate models; James Taylor of the Heartland Institute; Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow; Energy & Environment Legal Institute (which also received money from coal companies: Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal); George C. Marshall Institute, which became the CO2 Coalition; the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.
Yet in addition to funding groups and people that have deceived the public and government officials about the reality and risks of climate change, the documents also reveal extensive funding to organizations and lobbying groups that not only doubt climate change but also actively work to prevent the development of renewable energy and fight against the Clean Power Plan.