CO2 Coalition

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The CO2 Coalition is a 501(c)(3) organization with the stated mission "to engage in an informed and dispassionate discussion of climate change, humans’ role in the climate system, the limitations of climate models, and the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions." It was founded in 2015 by Roger Cohen, William Happer and Rodney W. Nichols in succession to the George C. Marshall Institute (GMI)"[1][2][3]

Happer told E&E that GMI had "found it difficult to get funding in recent years because of its association with climate change contrarianism," suggesting that was the reason that the CO2 Coalition was formed as a separate entity. The founders are all active in the "climate skepticism" world. Happer has no formal training in climate science but is notorious among climate scientists and environmentalists for his staunch denial of climate change and the science supporting it.[4] O'Keefe is a former executive vice president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. Nichols signed a “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” letter."[5]

Greenpeace calls the CO2 Coalition a "Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group" due to a reported $232,409 in contributions from the Charles Koch Foundation, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and Charles Koch Institute. Additionally, the CO2 coalition received $420,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation.[6]

News and Controversies

Happer Leading Trump Climate Committee

In February 2019, the Donald Trump administration announced that CO2 Coalition founder William Happer will lead the "Presidential Committee on Climate Security." A committee which is tasked with assessing "whether climate change poses a national security threat” according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.[7]

Caught by Greenpeace Sting

E&E News reported that the CO2 coalition is willing to take contributions in exchange for testimony. Happer was reported as admitting that had happened with a Peabody Energy Corp contribution to the CO2 Coalition.[3]

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Charles Koch has also given to CO2 Coalition but as a Center for Media and Democracy investigation points out: "an examination of IRS filings raises some questions. Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) details $32,409 to CO2 Coalition in 2016 and 2017 and Charles Koch Institute (CKI) $10,000 in 2017 on their individual IRS filings, but CO2 Coalition’s detail no contributions from CKF and $46,409 from CKI in 2016 and 2017."[8]

Ties to the Mercer Family

Between 2016 and 2017 The Mercer Family Foundation gave the CO2 Coalition $320,000,[8] "making the foundation the top donor of this small, Virginia-based nonprofit that promotes the benefits of climate pollution." according to Buzzfeed News.[9]

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

The Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation contributed $100,000 between 2016-2017 to the CO2 Coalition. In an internal Bradley Foundation grant proposal record for CO2 Coalition dated 6/14/2016, Bradley staff writes, “Through strategic public discourse techniques, it will use science to counter the campaign demonizing the use of fossil fuels — a campaign that has effectively replaced scientific inquiry in the climate change debate.”[8]

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at


According to tax filings, the following groups have funded the CO2 Coalition:[10]

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $571,728
  • Total Expenses: $401,730
  • Net Assets: $734,432


  • Total Revenue: $663,100
  • Total Expenses: $611,484
  • Net Assets: $564,434


  • Total Revenue: $671,833
  • Total Expenses: $489,451
  • Net Assets: $512,772


  • Total Revenue: $404,384
  • Total Expenses: $74,164
  • Net Assets: $330,220


As of February 2020:[1]


Executive Director

Board of Director

  • Jan Breslow
  • Bruce Everett
  • Gordon Fulks
  • William Happer
  • Patrick Moore
  • Norman Rogers
  • Jeffrey Salmon
  • Leighton Steward

"Former Board Members"

  • Richard Lindzen
  • Harrison Schmitt

Coalition Members

  • D. Weston Allen
  • Charles Battig
  • Larry Bell
  • Samit Bhattacharyya
  • Ken Billman
  • Edward Bohn
  • Howard Thomas Brady
  • Roy Buchanan
  • David Burton
  • Lorraine Yapps Cohen
  • Col. Walter Cunningham
  • Rupert Darwall
  • Donn Dears
  • David L. DeBertin
  • John Droz
  • Don Easterbrook
  • Leslie P. Eastman
  • Neil Frank
  • Martin Fricke
  • Laurence "Larry" Gould
  • Amanda Gunasekara
  • Kathleen Hartnett-White
  • Charles Hohenberg
  • Jim Hollingsworth
  • Craig Idso
  • Hugh Kendrick
  • Captain Todd Kiefer
  • Payne Kilbourn
  • Richard Lindzen
  • Wallace Manheimer
  • Gene McCall
  • Patrick Michaels
  • Alex Miller
  • Mark Mills
  • John Moore
  • John P. Neafsey
  • Trueman Parish, PhD
  • John Parmentola
  • James Podruski
  • Frank P. Rumak
  • Lars Schernikau
  • Harrison Schmitt
  • William Hayden Smith
  • Roy Spencer
  • Jim Steele
  • William D. Stewart
  • Frederick W. Ward Jr.
  • Terry E. Winters

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings





Sourcewatch Pages

External resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 CO2 Coalition about organizational website, accessed March 21, 2019
  2. DeSmog Blog [ CO2 Coalition] DeSmog, accessed Mach 21, 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gayathri Vaidyanathan Think tank that cast doubt on climate change science morphs into smaller one E & E News, Dec. 10, 2015
  4. David Armiak Trump Taps Climate Denier to Lead a Secret White House Climate Panel ExposedbyCMD March 12, 2019
  5. Many Authors No Need to Panic About Global Warming Wall Street Journal January 27, 2019
  6. Greenpeace CO2 Coalition (formerly George C. Marshall Institute) profile, accessed March 21, 2019
  7. Juliet Eilperin and Missy Ryan White House prepares to scrutinize intelligence agencies’ finding that climate change threatens national security The Washington Post February 20, 2019
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 David Armiak Trump Taps Climate Denier to Lead a Secret White House Climate Panel Exposed by CMD March 12, 2019
  9. Zahara Hirji [1] BuzzFeed News January 25, 2018
  10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CMDhapper
  11. CO2 Coalition 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, February 25, 2019.
  12. 12.0 12.1 CO2 Coalition 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, July 17, 2017.
  13. CO2 Coalition 2015 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, April 04, 2016.