Green Watch

Climate Alarmists Hoover Up Corporate Welfare:
The Rocky Mountain Institute

Climate Alarmist Blockade Operation Hoovers Up Corporate Welfare for Insincere Solutions (full series)
The Rocky Mountain Institute | Reuben Munger
“Clean Tech” Car Trouble | Too Much Honesty

Summary: Goldman Sachs has triumphantly estimated that the so-called Inflation Reduction Act will give away $860 billion (yes, almost a trillion) in climate alarmist corporate welfare. Huge winners will be firms in the business of insincere climate solutions, such as weather-dependent, environment-hogging wind and solar energy. Many of those firms, such as an investment firm founded by climate alarmist in chief Al Gore, are also known to be very generous donors to nonprofits that have been promoting these insincere solutions for decades.

In a new essay for the September/October issue of Public Citizen News, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) denounced what he alleged was a “fossil fuel industry climate blockade operation” promoted by “far-right front groups” receiving “dark money.”

He has been selling this conspiracy theory for more than a decade, and it has always contained a glaring contradiction. How can the “fossil fuel industry” money be so dark if he knows exactly who is spending it, where it is going, and what has allegedly been purchased?

An incurious regime media never questions him. But as they look away, they fail to look in the other direction.

A climate alarmism blockade operation, made up of familiar names such as the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), has successfully advocated for oceans of corporate welfare for insincere solutions such as weather-dependent wind and solar energy. The latest example, the so-called Inflation Reduction (IRA) Act, is estimated to contain up to $860 billion (yes, almost a trillion) for these canards.

The climate alarmist advocacy groups are collectively funded to the tune of billions of dollars annually. They also admit to healthy amounts of it coming from anonymous donors. And many of the biggest known donors are corporations that have been gleefully vacuuming up the IRA’s climate pork, or people connected to those firms.

As a typical example of anonymity, the 2021 tax filings from the Arabella Advisors network’s Sixteen Thirty Fund and Windward Fund show a combined $20.4 million given to the League of Conservation Voters. Arabella’s five funds receive $1 billion annually in undisclosed donations and use the loot to enrich left-wing causes, such as the LCV.

A November 2021 profile in The Atlantic credited Arabella as the “one group” that helped Democrats get the better of Republicans in “untraceable political spending.” The report named the Sixteen Thirty Fund as the “indisputable heavyweight of Democratic dark money.”

Policy nonprofits of all ideological persuasions frequently maintain a wall of donor privacy that is both legal and understandable. On its own merits there is nothing wrong with this. Americans should have a right to support controversial causes without worrying over whether opponents of those positions will show up to harass or even threaten their families.

The Rocky Mountain Institute

Some climate alarmist nonprofits, such as the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), protect the anonymity of many large donors while publicly releasing the names of others. The names that have been revealed give us a peek through the window at the corporate donors who fund and richly benefit from the climate alarmist blockade operation.

“It’s the Inflation Reduction Act’s First Birthday,” read the headline on the RMI main web page last month. It featured a screen-wide photo of President Joe Biden checking out a Ford Lightning all-electric pickup at the September 2022 Detroit Auto Show. It sure wasn’t a surprise birthday party, as the Rocky Mountain Institute’s donors had already been opening the presents for months.

Biden signed the IRA in August 2022. Shortly afterward, former Vice President and incumbent climate alarmist-in-chief Al Gore praised it as the “largest investment in the sustainability transition we’ve seen from any country” and a “game changer.”

Gore, along with investment manager David Blood, is the co-founder of Generation Investment Management (GIM). GIM is a firm purpose built to collect climate policy pork whenever the federal government dumps it on firms peddling electric vehicles, intermittent weather-restricted wind and solar energy, and battery storage for both. “We’re not seeing any drying up of startups or even funding for these companies,” said a GIM executive, agreeing with Gore’s praise for the impact of the IRA on their business model.

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s 2020 annual report lists GIM as one of the nonprofit’s “Heroes”—an annual donor of $1 million or more.

The Rocky Mountain Institute opposes the use of both low-carbon natural gas and zero-carbon nuclear energy—an agenda identical to that of Gore.

The IRA is the “Super Bowl” of weather-restricted power pork that RMI and its richest allies have been dreaming about for decades. Goldman Sachs, a far larger investment house than the Blood & Gore firm, was thanked for giving at least $100,000 to RMI in annual reports for 2022, 2021, and 2020.

In March 2023, Goldman happily estimated the 10-year price tag for the IRA’s “carbonomics” giveaways would hit $1.2 trillion. This is three times more expensive than a $391 billion estimate released by the Congressional Budget Office in September 2022. According to Goldman, $860 billion of it will pay for subsidies to so-called clean electricity (defined as “mostly solar and wind”), electric vehicles, and batteries and other forms of energy storage.

A major winner was General Motors. The automaker was thanked as a “$500,000–$999,999” donor in RMI’s 2022 annual report.

In July 2023, a report from Good Jobs First revealed that GM, in partnership with the LG battery and electronics firm, would soak up a combined $13.1 billion in federal subsidies from the IRA. To get the loot, plus an additional $60 million in state and local government payouts, the two companies have pledged to spend $2.6 billion on a new battery plant in Tennessee and then staff it with 1,700 workers.

A left-leaning economic research nonprofit, Good Jobs First estimated this cushy corporate welfare arrangement means GM and LG are getting a taxpayer subsidy of $7.7 million per worker.

Another huge multinational, the Britain-based Shell oil company, was thanked by the Rocky Mountain Institute for annual donations of at least $500,000 in 2022, 2021, and 2020.

“To close the gap between where we are today and the future, stronger policy and regulatory support is needed,” asserted a Shell corporate statement in June 2023. “A good example of this is the Inflation Reduction Act here in the U.S., which can make our investments more resilient and competitive.”

In the next installment, Reuben Munger, the presumed head of Vision Ridge, has deep ties to the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Ken Braun

Ken Braun is CRC’s senior investigative researcher and authors profiles for and the Capital Research magazine. He previously worked for several free market policy organizations, spent six…
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