Green Watch

Climate Alarmists Hoover Up Corporate Welfare:
Too Much Honesty

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

Too Much Honesty

Speaking of this shady enterprise almost a decade ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett committed too much honesty. “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” he said. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

A 2023 presentation from Berkshire Hathaway Energy, one of Buffett’s investment firm subsidiaries, demonstrated the concept. “The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides significant long-term benefits for Berkshire Hathaway Energy and keeps costs low for our customers,” crowed the report.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy is credited with a donation of “$1 million and above” in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s 2021 annual report.

Also, in the “too much honesty” bucket, British climate pork investor Jeremy Grantham joked after the IRA was approved that people would accuse him of bribery because it was so favorable to his bottom line. “I’m worried that people will suspect that we’ve bribed politicians because this bill could not possibly have been better for the Grantham Foundation that has half its money, half its principal in early-stage green tech, all of which will benefit,” said Grantham, in a November 2022 interview.

Grantham’s recent financial affiliation with the Rocky Mountain Institute has been massive. The 2022 RMI annual report credits both the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust with separate donations in the “$1 million and above” section. Grantham and the donor foundations affiliated with him are credited with minimum million-dollar-plus grants to RMI in every annual report from 2015 to 2022.

Similarly, the Dinwoodie-Meservey Family is credited with donations of at least $100,000 in almost every RMI annual report since 2013 and more than $1 million for each report from 2015 through 2019. Thomas Dinwoodie was listed as the chairman of the board of the Rocky Mountain Institute in tax returns covering the year ending June 2012 through the year ending June 2014, and he remained on the board as late as the year ending June 2022.

Dinwoodie is the founder of SunPower, a California-based solar energy provider.

Smaller examples of weather-dependent power firms that have recently given money to RMI include Engie, Envision Energy, CWP Global, and HyStor Energy.

The 2021 RMI annual report thanks Engie for a donation of $100,000 to $499,000. The firm’s main website proclaims that “ENGIE North America is part of the solution to the climate crisis” and encourages potential customers to consider the IRA to be “the most significant clean energy legislation ever enacted.”

Envision Energy manufactures wind turbines and was yet another $100,000-plus donor for 2021. CWP Global builds large wind and solar energy projects, plus hydrogen storage facilities for same, and gave RMI at least $100,000 in 2022.

In May 2023, HyStor Energy, another hydrogen storage provider for weather-dependent power systems, applied for a Department of Energy grant with a price tag that one media report placed as high as $1 billion. RMI’s 2022 annual report credits HyStor with a “Market Movers” donation of at least $100,000.

Those listed thus far are only a representative sample of some of the beneficiaries (or potential beneficiaries) of IRA climate pork that have donated to RMI. For the sake of brevity, many of the known ones have not been listed.

In the 2022 annual report alone, 13 “anonymous” donors are also credited with giving $100,000 or more—four gave more than $1 million. Given what is known of the named donors, it is reasonable to conclude that some of the 13 have also benefited directly from the IRA corporate welfare for weather-dependent power and storage.

Part of a Larger Issue

As mentioned above, Arabella Advisors channels anonymous funding to the League of Conservation Voters, and at least one of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s major supporters—one that has a direct interest in IRA climate pork—is also a board member of LCV.

Given what RMI has voluntarily revealed, it is reasonable to suspect that similar financial connections exist between similar businesspeople and all other major climate alarmist groups. It may be just as reasonable to presume that stronger and more lucrative connections exist where donor privacy protection is strongest—what Sen. Whitehouse would call “dark money.”

In May 2020, the Sierra Club board of directors renewed a donor policy which held that the nonprofit would “honor all requests by donors for anonymity” but would “not accept anonymous gifts from corporate entities.” This presumably means the Sierra Club will accept anonymous personal donations from executives and founders of corporations that benefit from climate alarmism pork.

Some of the multi-million-dollar RMI donors discussed earlier fit that description.

Anonymity exists at other climate alarmist nonprofits. Seven anonymous donors were credited on a recent World Resources Institute list of donors giving more than $750,000. The Environmental Defense Fund list of those giving more than $100,000 concludes with “37 anonymous donors.”

The Rocky Mountain Institute has been discussed in this report because it is a good example of a far larger issue. Who is giving is important, but only because of what they are receiving.

The World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters each have annual revenue comparable to or exceeding that of RMI. Put together, the most recently reported annual revenue of just those six other nonprofits exceeded $1.4 billion.

All six share RMI’s climate alarmism agenda, and like RMI they each heavily promote replacing the use of hydrocarbon fuels with unreliable, weather-dependent, land-consuming wind and solar energy projects. All six (and hundreds more smaller groups on the climate left) also oppose the use of nuclear power, which is by far the most reliable source of electricity ever created, one of the safest ever created, the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the U.S., and a tiny consumer of the environment.

The best that can be said of this is that it is ironic. More likely and harshly, it is a cynical movement to promote corporate welfare for a wasteful wind and solar agenda.

The big climate nonprofits behind it have something else in common.

In a November 2013 speech to the Senate, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spoke of the “armies on our side” opposing what he denounced as “carbon polluters,” and the first armies he listed were “environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, or National Wildlife Federation.”

In July, Whitehouse hosted an LCV representative on his official podcast so they could discuss what he alleged was the Supreme Court’s “willingness to destroy precedents to the advantage of wealthy, far-right special interests.”

Sen. Whitehouse has recently and incessantly used his position as chair of the Senate Budget Committee to explore his conspiracy theory regarding in which he alleges the “fossil fuel industry” is using “dark money” to fund a “climate blockade operation.” All the while a climate alarmism blockade against the best possible solution to carbon emissions has been within the armies he says are on his side.

Perhaps he should schedule a hearing and look into it.

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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