Climate study group gets big oil cash

Washington - A reputable US think-tank that seeks solutions for climate change has lost most of its charitable donations and will now take funding from big oil and energy interests, it said on Wednesday.

Formerly known as the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions will be funded by Shell, General Electric, Bank of America and others.

The changes came after The Pew Charitable Trusts decided to stop giving $3.5m per year to the group, which made up almost 80% of its $4.4m annual budget, as part of structural changes in the philanthropic organisation, a spokesperson said.

The climate group's president, Eileen Claussen, a former climate negotiator under former president Bill Clinton, will carry on as head of the new group, self-described as an "independent, nonpartisan centre".

'Transition'

"As C2ES, we bring the same team and the same commitment to fact-based analysis and pragmatic solutions," Claussen said in a statement.

"We are deeply indebted to The Pew Charitable Trusts for its many years of extraordinary support. Without Pew, we could not possibly be the organisation we are today," she added.

"But it's time we stand on our own two feet, and thanks to our many supporters, we can. We're especially thankful that, even amid such economic and political uncertainty, so many in the business and philanthropic communities are so deeply committed to our mission."

The statement named three "strategic partners" as Entergy, HP and Shell, adding that they had made "substantial multi-year funding commitments to the new organisation".

"Major contributors" were listed as the Alcoa Foundation, Bank of America, GE, The Energy Foundation, Duke Energy and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

"This is about protecting the environment, our communities and our economy. And it is about building the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable future," Claussen said.

A spokesperson for the Pew Environment group said the change came as part of a transition that has been in the works since 2004, when The Pew Charitable Trusts became a public charity instead of a family foundation.

"As part of that transition, we are no longer a grant-making agency and so it has been in the works for quite some time," she said of the grants that had funded the group since 1998.

"Once the Pew Centre for Global Climate change was at a point where it could stand on its own, we would cease our funding of the organisation."
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