Support by ExxonMobil Spurs Questions by Climate, Clean Energy, and Divestment Groups
Today, Checks and Balances Project and representatives of seven allied organizations sent a letter to Columbia University President Dr. Lee Bollinger, asking that he compel Jason Bordoff, founding director of Columbia’s Global Center on Energy Policy, to release the names of the Center’s funders and amounts donated since its inception. Previous inquiries to Mr. Bordoff over 15 months have been ignored.
Recently, it was revealed that ExxonMobil donated, through its foundation, $25,000 to the Center on Global Energy Policy in 2014. We also know that the Center, formerly known as the Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy, received at least $875,000 from ExxonMobil before its rebranding several years ago.
Across the country, we have seen numerous examples of the integrity of lesser institutions that have been compromised by funding from fossil fuel industries. This funding rarely comes without strings attached. Despite recent attempts to include climate issues in its overall program, the slant of the Columbia’s Global Center on Energy Policy appears to be out of step with the 196 nations that approved the historic Paris Climate Accord.
Despite its mainstream reputation, an examination of the Advisory Board of the Global Center on Climate Policy reveals that nine of 19 members have ties to fossil fuel industries. These include:
- John Knight, EVP Statoil
- Ed Morse, Citi Commodities, former president of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly
- Bill White, former Houston mayor, on numerous public energy company boards
- Paul Joskow, member of Exelon board, previously TransCanada
- Mike Tusiani, global energy broker
- Lady Barbara Judge, former board member of coal company Massey Energy
- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-winning author of oil industry bestseller and industry consultant
- Zachary Schreiber, chief investment officer, PointState Capital
- Michael D. Tusiani, chair of Poten & Partners, a major oil and LNG shipper.
The letter to Bollinger was signed by Ken Cook, co-founder & president, Environmental Working Group; Ross Hammond, US Campaigns director, ForestEthics; Mike Tidwell, director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Jane Kleeb, founder, Bold Nebraska; Tyson Slocum, director, Public Citizen; RL Miller, cofounder, Climate Hawks Vote; Columbia Divest for Climate Justice; and myself. You can read the entire text of the letter HERE.
Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from pro-clean energy philanthropies and donors.