For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2016

David Sanders
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a non-profit watchdog group, released a report, The Rockefeller Way: The Family’s Covert ‘Climate Change’ Plan.  The report provides a short history of the family’s undue influence in U.S. policy making and details how the they have used their vast influence over the climate change movement to organize an aggressive media campaign and legal strategy aimed at taking down ExxonMobil and the rest of the fossil fuel industry.  A short video accompanies the report.

The report commences with a brief history of how the Rockefeller’s, beginning with J.D. Rockefeller, have perfected the art of using charitable organizations and foundations to steer public policy in a direction that opens significant business opportunities for them and their various holdings and investments.  Their highly complex integration of hedge funds, interlocking boards positions, and non-profit organizations has provided them with foreknowledge of emerging markets and access to the developing worlds’ natural resources for a century.

As the report notes, since the 1980s, the Rockefeller’s have helped fund, launch, and direct a seemingly fringe social movement which has now turned mainstream, aided by their significant investment: global warming, which is now called ‘climate change.’

In recent years, the Rockefeller family hosted and led two closed door meetings with prominent climate activists – one in 2012 and one in January 2016 ­­­­­­– in which they planned how best to publicly smear fossil fuel companies through the same narrative used against Big Tobacco in the 1990’s.  The agreed upon method was to target a major oil company simultaneously through the legal system and the press.  At both summits, ExxonMobil was repeatedly mentioned as a possible target, while New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was mentioned as the possible catalyst.

On November 5, 2015, Eric Schneiderman launched an unprecedented investigation into ExxonMobil to determine if the company had defrauded investors by not disclosing the risks that climate change could have on its business.  This occurred only weeks after the Columbia Journalism School’s (CJS) Energy and Environment Reporting Fellowship accused Exxon of misleading the public through its Los Angeles Times article, “How Exxon went from leader to skeptic on climate change.”
Revealingly, through their various foundations, the Rockefellers had not only bankrolled Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Fellowship, but are funders of InsideClimate News, which regularly disparages Exxon.  Notably, Eric Schneiderman cited reports from both outlets as the bedrock of his crusade.  However, the Rockefellers did not keep their connection with Schneiderman a secret, as they publicly admitted to “long urging” the New York Attorney General to investigate Exxon.

Moreover, the Rockefellers are closely tied to known Exxon critic, Columbia Journalism School’s dean, Steve Coll, and have donated millions to Columbia University over the years.  Coll was appointed Dean of the Columbia Journalism School in 2013, less than a year after the Rockefellers’ plan was crafted.

Although their fortune was built on fossil fuels, the Rockefellers have been the leading benefactors of the green movement since the 1980s, using their wealth to increase their clout in the energy sector by influencing federal energy policy, pushing international energy accords such as the Rio Treaty and Kyoto Protocol, and contributing tens of millions to major green foundations.
“The Rockefeller’s avid opposition to the very fossil fuel industry that made John D. Rockefeller America’s first billionaire and themselves one of the wealthiest families in U.S. history shows that their public position doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal President.  “Once again, the family are merely opportunists supporting a social cause they helped create in order to enhance their leverage in the economic and public policy arenas domestically and around the world, and this is the Rockefeller way.”

About EE Legal

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.