Pew Center Turns to Industry Funding for Climate Change Research

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, which seeks market-based solutions to global warming, is turning to corporate sponsors after losing $3.5 million a year in support from a charitable trust.

The center will announce the change and its new name, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, at a press briefing today, said Eileen Claussen, founder and president of the group. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Entergy Corp. are stepping in with long-term funding for the group, Claussen said.

Since its founding in 1998, the Arlington, Virgina-based group has produced almost 100 peer-reviewed reports on climate science, economics, policy and solutions and testified before Congress 30 times. The University of Pennsylvania named it the world’s top environmental policy research group in 2009.

“The real issue is how wide they make the tent in terms of who they can bring to the table to mobilize attention on low-carbon strategies and related climate issues in the current political landscape,” Merribel Ayres, president of Lighthouse Consulting Group LLC in Washington, an energy and environment adviser, said in an interview.

Today’s announcement marks the end of support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which supplied $3.5 million of the center’s current $4.4 million annual budget, Claussen said. Industry sponsors must agree that the center maintains independent judgment, Claussen said.

Things They Don’t Like

“Every one of these companies does some things that we don’t like,” Claussen said in an interview. “They’ve got trade associations to do their bidding and they’ve got lobbyists. They view their association with us as different because we are in fact independent.”

Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, part of the charitable trust, said diversifying funding sources would strengthen the center’s work to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. Other contributors include Bank of America Corp., Duke Energy Corp. and General Electric Co.

“The scope of the energy and the CO2 challenge is huge, and it demands what we would think of as both an integrated and a collaborative approach,” Graeme Sweeney, Shell’s vice president of future fuels and CO2, said in an interview. “The center can be very helpful in addressing those kinds of things.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE