The career trajectory of Nicolas Loris demonstrates the life cycle of an individual in the Koch-funded advocacy network. Groomed at two Koch educational programs, Loris is now deployed as an “expert” from a third, Koch-linked institute and argues against clean energy investment before the United States government and in the media.
A fellow at The Heritage Foundation, we found Nicholas Loris fighting a rear-guard action in his commentary, College Republicans Misguided Support for a Carbon Tax. Ignoring a multitude of scientific studies on the effect of global climate disruption on human health, he writes,
“The purpose of taxing carbon dioxide is not because of its impact on human health, but because of its alleged contribution to climate change. Taxing carbon dioxide emissions, however, will not result in any meaningful abated warming.”
Training in Koch Thought
Loris began his career in 2007, when he was hired as a Research Associate at the Heritage Foundation. That same year, he also began an intensive, year-long immersion in Market-Based Management at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. There, he was drilled in the fundamentals of Charles Koch’s ideology.
Regarding his proprietary set of ideas, Koch goes so far to make the dubious claim that he has discovered the “fixed laws” that “govern human well being”:
“As an engineer, I understood that the natural world operated according to fixed laws. Through my studies, I came to realize that there were, likewise, laws that govern human well-being. It seemed to me that these laws are fundamental not only to the wellbeing of societies, but also to the miniature societies of organizations. Indeed, that is what we found when we began to apply these principles systematically at Koch Industries. Through our observation of how they could create prosperity in an organization, I began to systematize my beliefs into Market Based Management®.”
Armed with Koch dogma, Nicholas Loris graduated from George Mason University (GMU) in 2008 with a master’s degree in economics. Koch Family Foundations have donated, through the GMU Foundation, $114 million from 2005 to 2017, primarily benefiting the College of Economics, the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies and the Antonin Scalia Law School. GMU has received more Koch-linked funds than any other college or university in the nation. The contracts for these donations are secret and come with demands, as seen in this GMU contract uncovered by the New York Times.
Positioning Climate Disruption as “Myth”
Loris has testified before the U.S. Congress at least eight times and published more than 120 reports, studies, and articles arguing against clean energy policies, the supposed “myth” of climate change and government authority to cut carbon pollution.
He has testified on Capitol Hill on alternative vehicles, fuels markets and clean energy financing. He published articles lamenting the Obama administration’s funding for solar panel installations for low- and moderate-income households and in opposition to the administration’s Clean Power Plan. He has also advocated for the Keystone XL pipeline and in favor of fracking on government lands. (Koch Industries has major investments in Canadian tar sands.)
In the spring of 2013, Loris published an article in the Duke Law & Environmental Policy Forum entitled, “The Wind Production Tax Credit and the Case for Ending All Energy Subsidies.” The piece argues that the government should eliminate government support for commercializing technologies and that U.S. coal and natural gas supplies can provide electricity in North America for 500 years at current consumption rates.
Loris published more than 15 attacks on the landmark Paris Climate Accord from April 16, 2016, through September 28, 2017, playing a major role in the Trump Administration’s decision to abandon the agreement — which made the United States the only nation in the world not to be a part of that historic accord.
In a recent profile, Meet the Man Behind the Trump Energy Budget, Nicholas Loris summed up his work by saying, “It’s fun…. We certainly are writing what we’re doing for a purpose.”
As his benefactor, we suspect Charles Koch would agree.
Checks and Balances Project is an investigative watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors.
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