Home > Koch Juice, Politics > The Curious Case of NOVA and David H. Koch

The Curious Case of NOVA and David H. Koch

May 1, 2011

I hate to burst people’s bubble, but for months I have been quiet about the fact that one of the major sponsors of NOVA, a very well produced and popular PBS program, is David H. Koch. Yes, that Koch, of Koch Industries. Quite frankly, at first I was not sure what to make of it. He is interested in science – so am I. He donates money to a program he likes – so do I. Of course, I donate a couple hundred a year. I am sure his sponsorship is significantly more.

Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.

Now, I am wondering if the Koch effort to strip funding from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, via one of his front groups who works with House Republicans is an effort to be LAST MAN STANDING. To be the primary sponsor and therefore in the position to directly influence content, like on climate change. Knowing what I know about the Koch family and how ruthlessly ambitious David Koch is, I think this is a serious question that must be asked – and answered: Is David Koch’s interest in backing NOVA about greenwashing?

Greenwashing (a portmanteau of “green” and “whitewash”) is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

Both David Koch and his brother Charles, back front groups, lobbying groups, think tanks and astro-turf groups to promote their causes and interests. One of their pet projects is to counter scientific research about global warming and its causes: carbon pollution.

The Koch Industries Carbon Footprint Is About 300 Million Tons. With the assumption that Koch has a carbon intensity on the order of oil majors such as Chevron and ExxonMobil, each billion dollars of revenue corresponds to 2 to 4 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases. Therefore, each year, Koch Industries is likely responsible for about 300 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution every year. Flint Hills Resources, Koch’s refining subsidiary, processes 300 million barrels of oil a year. This one company — with its refining, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer, cattle, and forestry operations — is involved in up to five percent of the entire United States 7-gigaton carbon footprint. (Source: Think Progress)

The Greenpeace 2011 Update on Koch Industries
Billionaire oilman David Koch used to joke that Koch Industries was “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” Now the shroud of secrecy has thankfully been lifted, revealing the $55 million that he and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming.

A lot can happen in a year. Today, the Kochs are being watched as a prime example of the corporate takeover of government. Their funding and co-opting of the Tea Party movement is now well documented.

Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s timely that more people are now aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to. A growing awareness of these oil billionaires’ destructive agenda has led to increased scrutiny and resistance from people and organizations all over the United States.



  1. Bob Beland
    October 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Thus far I don’t see any evidence the Koch influence in NOVA’s programming but if past activities of the Koch brothers is any indication, I fear that my favourite program will go the way of American politics – bought and paid for!

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