Sunday, July 27, 2014

How One Foundation Works to Reverse the Once-Supportive Position of Environmental Groups on Natural Gas Exploration

It’s remarkable to think that just a few years ago leading environmental groups were heralding natural gas as the key to a “climate-friendly energy supply.”

In fact, that phrase is taken from a statement by Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in a 2008 speech. For at least a decade before that, green activists were hailing natural gas as being “inherently cleaner than coal or oil.”

But the rhetoric suddenly began to change a few years ago, and, according to one leading philanthropic publication, it’s traceable to an anti-fracking opposition campaign being funded by the Park Foundation, a small organization based in New York.

“Gas Heat,” an article published in Philanthropy Roundtable, concluded that “The morphing of natural gas from promising next step to ‘worse than oil and coal,’ as some activists now claim, happened almost overnight.”

The report tells the astonishing account of how the Park Foundation “uses focused academic, media and activist grants to redirect a policy debate.” (The foundation's website says that Park "supports public interest media that raises awareness of critical environmental, political and social issues to promote a better informed citizenry in the U.S.")

"Gas Heat" is a remarkable story, worth reading to understand the Park Foundation's one-sided tactics. Click here to read it on the Philanthropy Roundtable website.