Green Watch

The Sequoia Climate Foundation: Funding of Anti-Energy Radicals

The Sequoia Climate Foundation and America’s Secretive Climate Colonialist (full series)
The “Secretive U.S. Vulture Fund” | Following Fred’s Money
Funding of Anti-Energy Radicals | Climate Colonialism

Funding of Anti-Energy Radicals

During those three years of the Sequoia/Wellspring funding, a cumulative total of at least $76.9 million was sent out to 18 of the most strident, anti-energy zealots in the climate alarmism movement. What makes each of them so strident is that they oppose not just conventional hydrocarbon fuel such as oil, coal, and natural gas, but also the use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear power is the largest single source of carbon-free electricity used by the United States and other nations over many decades. There are non-crazy conservation groups, such as the Nature Conservancy, that promote a significant increase in nuclear energy output.

The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund received $14.7 million through the three years from Sequoia. Along with more than 100 other climate extremist groups, the LCV was a signatory on a November 2020 letter to Congress that claimed “nuclear energy amplifies and expands the dangers of climate change.”

Similarly, Wellspring granted $3.5 million to the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2020, and this was followed by an additional $7 million from Sequoia for 2022. NRDC cheered the closure of New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant in 2021, and during that same year boasted that it had been “working for years” to close California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. (Pro-nuclear conservationists later lobbied successfully to keep Diablo Canyon open).

The Sierra Club Foundation received $8.1 million combined from Wellspring and Sequoia during the three-year period. Although nuclear power is by a wide margin the safest and cleanest form of reliable energy in use, the Sierra Club’s extremist position is that nuclear power is “a uniquely dangerous energy technology for humanity.”

The anti-nuclear, anti-everything, serially crazy Sunrise Movement Education Fund received $1 million from Wellspring in 2020 and then another $1.5 million from Sequoia for 2022. All of this funding flowed in after the Sunrise Movement became the main proponent of the Green New Deal (GND), an idea that would be so economically ruinous that it should have scared away the smart money.

The GND was introduced in Congress in February 2019 by Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-OR). The grab bag of the climate alarmist movement’s most extreme demands was swiftly derided by then Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the “green dream, or whatever they call it.”

Background material provided by Ocasio-Cortez’s office promoted the Green New Deal as a 10-year plot to bring about a “massive transformation of our society.” Eliminating hydrocarbon energy, phasing out carbon-free nuclear power, and replacing air travel with supposedly “high-speed” rail were just some of the radical pieces. It also promised full employment with union jobs, guaranteed paid vacations for everyone, and even an end to monopolies.

In response to the obvious “How do we pay for all this?” concern, the FAQ provided this ironic comparison: “We invested 40–50% of GDP in our economy during World War 2 and created the greatest middle class the US has ever seen.”

Well, yes, we used that money to crank out a disproportionate share of the weapons, bullets, and bombs for a historically unprecedented global conflict. That war shattered the industrial spine of the rest of the planet and killed off tens of millions of civilian workers. It’s true that this did provide a silver lining for Americans who were able to work in highly efficient, undamaged factories and get well paid to rebuild the rest of a badly broken world.

(So, Mrs. Lincoln, other than that loud interruption, did you enjoy the play?)

In April 2019 the American Action Forum, run by the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, estimated the Green New Deal’s 10-year price tag at $5.4 trillion.

Other examples of anti-nuclear, anti-energy nonprofit recipients of Wellspring and Sequoia loot during at least two of the three years from 2020 through 2022 included the Rocky Mountain Institute ($4.8 million total), Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis ($4.5 million), ($2.5 million), Public Citizen Foundation ($2.2 million), the Center for International Environmental Law ($2.1 million),  Climate Justice Alliance ($2 million), and the Environmental Defense Fund ($2 million).

In the next installment, total Sequoia/Wellspring funding of anti-energy radicals since 2020 may exceed $1 billion.

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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