Atlas Network (Atlas Economic Research Foundation)
The Atlas Network is a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization that describes itself as working to support a growing network of more than 500 “free market” organizations in nearly 100 countries promoting free market ideas.
Many of the member think tanks of the Atlas Network have supported climate science denial and have campaigned against legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (AERF) was founded by Antony Fisher in 1981 with the goal of spreading “innovative, market-based perspectives to issues of public policy” globally.
In 1955, Fisher had founded the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), after conferring with free-market economist F.A. Hayek. Fisher and Hayek were part of the Mt. Pelerin Society’s early efforts. IEA became an influential London-based think tank promoting neoliberal ideas of limited government and low regulation.  It has been embroiled in controversy over its influence on Brexit, its secretive funding–including funding from U.S. dark money operations Donors Trust and Donors Capital–and the disclosure of substantial funding from oil giant BP.
Atlas Network is the trading name of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. Previous names have been the Atlas Foundation and the Atlas Research Foundation. The International Policy Network (IPN) in the UK, also founded by Fisher, is effectively a UK variant of the Atlas Network.
According to UK Charity Commission filings (PDF), The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (UK) was working as the International Policy Network, and is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 262982. In April 2001, with the consent of the Charity Commission, it adopted the working name of The International Policy Network, ‘IPN’, and in December 2004, ‘UK’ was added to the name. The UK Atlas Economic Research Foundation and the IPN UK are no longer listed among UK Charities. and the UK branch was most recently operating with a new name, “Network for a Free Society.” The U.S. Atlas Network appears to be a separate entity from the International Policy Network US Inc., although Atlas Network’s 2010 financial records reveal that they continued to provide support to IPN. 
The stated vision of the Atlas Network is to “win the long-term policy battles that will shape history, we need freedom champions to create credible institutes – well-managed and independent of vested interests – that use sound business practices to advance sound public policy ideas.”
SourceWatch describes the Atlas Economic Research Foundation as “The Johnny Appleseed of antiregulation groups […] on a mission to populate the world with new ‘free market’ voices.” The mission of Atlas, according to John Blundell (president from 1987 to 1990), “is to litter the world with free-market think-tanks.” 
The Atlas Network has played a role in the work of a varity of conservative think tanks including the Manhattan Institute in New York, the National Center for Policy Analysis in Texas, Instituto Libertad y Democracia in Peru, the Acton Institute in Michigan, Fundación Libertad in Argentina, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Instituto Libertad y Desarrollo in Chile, the Centre for Civil Society in India, Istituto Bruno Leoni in Italy, and the Association for Liberal Thinking in Turkey, among others. 
Atlas identifies, screens, and offers initial support to individuals and groups who want to create local think tanks. Atlas “strives to provide personal assistance to individuals who are starting a free-market institute” and offers online training programs “that will walk you through the early stages of starting a think-tank.” 
Stance on Climate Change
Atlas has cosponsored numerous Heartland Institute events dedicated to the proposition that climate change is not a crisis.
In a November 2014 commentary, Atlas CEO Brad Lips wrote: “The Kyoto Protocol – signed by President Clinton in 1998 (but never ratified by the U.S. Senate) – now appears to have been the high-water mark for the Global Warming movement (since coincidentally that was that last year of measured “warming”). Even those who believe global warming is a catastrophic, man-made problem now struggle to make a case that global energy austerity is a practical or cost-effective course of action.” 
According to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation Website, 
“Atlas Network is not endowed and it does not accept government funding. It does not support political candidates or parties, or otherwise involve itself in partisan politics.
We are grateful to those generous individuals, philanthropies, and businesses that entrust us with financial resources to build a greater public consensus around the ideas of a free society by advancing the Atlas Network mission.”
According to their financials page, “Atlas Network is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Atlas Network is not endowed and does not accept government funding. All of its programs depend upon the generosity of foundations, individuals, and corporations.” 
The following totals are based on data collected by the Conservative Transparency database combined with additional information from publicly available 990 tax forms. See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on Atlas Network funding by year (.xlsx). 
Atlas Network as Recipient
|John Templeton Foundation||$9,669,538|
|Sarah Scaife Foundation||$2,365,000|
|George Edward Durell Foundation||$715,000|
|The Carthage Foundation||$710,000|
|Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation||$595,369|
|Chase Foundation of Virginia||$588,820|
|Donors Capital Fund||$459,000|
|Schwab Charitable Fund||$419,250|
|William H. Donner Foundation||$415,000|
|The Roe Foundation||$362,500|
|Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking||$340,000|
|Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation||$338,000|
|Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation||$325,000|
|The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation||$293,890|
|The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation||$293,000|
|John William Pope Foundation||$255,000|
|Searle Freedom Trust||$235,000|
|Ravenel and Elizabeth Curry Foundation||$200,000|
|National Philanthropic Trust||$189,000|
|Smith Richardson Foundation||$183,000|
|Charles and Ann Johnson Foundation||$135,000|
|Charles Koch Institute||$121,600|
|Center for Independent Thought||$94,125|
|Jaqueline Hume Foundation||$93,000|
|Diana Davis Spencer Foundation||$92,000|
|The Randolph Foundation||$73,700|
|The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation||$72,000|
|The TWS Foundation||$60,000|
|Americans for Tax Reform Foundation||$55,400|
|Robert P. Rotella Foundation||$55,000|
|Paul E. Singer Foundation||$50,000|
|International Policy Network||$49,191|
|Same Line Foundation||$33,700|
|Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation||$28,500|
|Thomas W Smith Foundation||$24,000|
|State Policy Network||$17,894|
|Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation||$17,000|
|National Christian Charitable Foundation||$12,460|
|Bradley Impact Fund||$10,000|
|Philip M. McKenna Foundation||$10,000|
|The Rodney Fund||$8,000|
|William E Simon Foundation||$5,000|
|The Opportunity Foundation||$2,000|
|Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation||$1,000|
|Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice||$1,000|
Atlas Network as Donor
Tobacco Industry Funding
According to PR Watch, Philip Morris contributed over $475,000 to Atlas in 1995 alone. 
According to ExxonSecrets, Atlas has received a total of $1,082,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998. 
According to data collected by Greenpeace USA, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation has received $348,560 in combined donations from Koch-related foundations between 1998 and 2015. 
*Original tax forms prior to 1997 are no longer available for verification. If you include these values, the grand total jumps to $408,560 in Koch funding from 1987 to 2015. 
|Year||Charles Koch Foundation||Charles Koch Institute||Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation||Grand Total|
June 13, 2016
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch) reports that the Atlas Economic Research Foundation was named as a creditor in Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy filings. 
While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy’s financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. 
Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie Soon, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for Prosperity, American Legislative Exchange Council, CFACT, Institute for Energy Research, State Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. 
The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: 
“These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”
The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]
Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]
“The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.
“We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”
Notable organizations listed in the initial documents include:
- 60 Plus Association
- The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
- American Energy Alliance
- Alliance For Energy And Economic Growth
- American Energy Alliance
- American Legislative Exchange Council
- Americans For Prosperity Oklahoma
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Berman And Company, Inc
- Consumer Energy Alliance
- Center For Clean Air Policy
- Center for Energy and Economic Development
- Center For The Study Of Carbon Dioxide And Global Change
- Coalition for Responsible Regulation
- Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow
- Council on State Taxation
- DCI Group AZ, LLC
- Ducks Unlimited
- Energy & Environment Legal Institute
- Edison Electric Institute
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Free Market Environmental Law Clinic
- Frontiers Of Freedom Institute
- George C. Marshall Institute
- Hill Knowlton Strategies
- Hill Knowlton, Inc
- Hudson Institute
- Hunton & Williams
- Independence Institute
- Institute For Energy Research
- Institute for Liberty
- National Association of Manufacturers
- National Black Chamber of Commerce
- National Conference of State Legislatures
- National Mining Association
- National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
- NextGen Energy Council
- PACE (May refer to Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy)
- Science & Public Policy Institute
- Sidley Austin LLP
- State Policy Network
- Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Western Business Roundtable
Notable individuals named in the initial documents include the following:
- Kelly Forbes Mader
- Heather A. Wilson
- Roy W. Spencer
- Willie Soon
- Richard Lindzen
Atlas announced that Australian think tank the Institute of Public Affairs was a finalist in its flagship Templeton Freedom Awards for a campaign against the country’s laws that had put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
IPA executive director John Roskam described the laws as “the greatest threat to the free market in Australia since bank nationalisation in 1947.” The laws, introduced despite a toxic anti-science campaign promoted by the IPA, were repealed in July 2014.
The IPA’s campaign included organising and funding speaking tours and promotions for climate science deniers, including former Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus, mining industry figure and geologist Professor Ian Plimer and writer and anti-wind farm activist James Delingpole.
May 16–18, 2010
Atlas Economic Research Foundation was listed as a Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4). 
The conference’s theme was “Reconsidering the Science and Economics,” and its purpose was “the same as it was for the first three events: to build momentum and public awareness of the global warming ‘realism’ movement.”
DeSmogBlog concluded 19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) had received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil (who funded 13 of the organizations), and/or Koch Industries family foundations (funded 10 organizations) and/or the Scaife family foundations (funded 10 organizations). 
June 2, 2009
Atlas Economic Research Foundation was listed as a Co-Sponsor of the Heartland Institute’s Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC3) hosted in Washington, DC. 
The conference’s theme was “Climate Change: Scientific Debate and Economic Analysis,” to reflect Heartland’s belief that that “scientific debate is not over.”
Greenpeace reports that Atlas gave over $100,000 (among other donations) to fund a “Danish study,” prepared by Danish think-tank CEPOS, that “provides clean energy opponents a means of raising questions about the viability of renewable energy and a means of directly criticizing President Obama for his statement that Denmark produces almost 20% of its electricity through wind power.” 
“[T]he study contains factual errors, its conclusions have been misrepresented and to boot, its findings are not particularly relevant to the US,” Greenpeace concluded. 
March 8–10, 2009
Atlas Economic Research Foundation was listed as a Co-Sponsor of the Heartland Institute’s Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2). 
DeSmogBlog researched the funding behind Heartland’s Second International Conference on Climate Change and found that sponsor organizations had received over $47 million in funding from energy companies and right-wing foundations. 
Paul Driessen, a senior fellow at Atlas, published his book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death.
February 5–8, 1998
The Atlas Economic Research Foundation hosted a conference in Orlando Florida on “Poverty and the Environment.” 
According to the conference event description, “This Atlas Economic Research Foundation conference will bring together scholars and government officials from the Americas, to discuss the interrelationships between poverty, human health and environmental quality. For two days, speakers, panelists and commentators will examine deep-rooted problems … evaluate how nations have sought to solve them with central planning and governmental mandates … explore market-oriented alternatives to command-and-control approaches … and address the pros and cons of international treaties and protocols that often involve one-size-fits- all ‘solutions’ to narrowly defined environmental problems and concerns.” 
The event included a tour of Disney World’s waste management facility, followed by speaker discussions on “global treaties and local solutions in the areas of packaging, solid wastes, wastewater treatment, air quality and related issues.” Speakers included the following: 
|Alejandro Chafuen||Atlas Economic Research Foundation||USA|
|Hernan Büchi||Instituto Libertad y Desarrollo||Chile|
|Lynn Scarlett||Reason Foundation||USA|
|Sally Pipes||Pacific Research Institute||USA|
|Calvin Beisner||Covenant College||USA|
|Jo Kwong||Atlas Economic Research Foundation|
|Harry Teasley||Former President, Coca Cola Nestle Refreshments Company||USA|
|Roy Mecklenburg||Walt Disney World||USA|
|Monica Ozores-Hampton||University of Florida||USA|
|Moderator: Deroy Murdock||Atlas Economic Research Foundation||USA|
|Fred Smith||Competitive Enterprise Institute||USA|
|Harvey Alter||Chamber of Commerce||USA|
|Henry Miller||Hoover Institute||USA|
|Roger Bate||Institute of Economic Affairs||United Kingdom|
|Roberto Fendt||Instituto Liberal||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Patricia Vasquez||Fundacion Republica||Argentina|
|Harvey Alter||Chamber of Commerce||USA|
|Charles Stitt||Former Deputy Mayor, City of Indianapolis||USA|
|Luis Diaz||CalRecovery, Inc.||USA|
|Doug Reichlan||United Water Services||USA|
|Maria Isabel Di Mare||Universidad Autonoma de Centro America||Costa Rica|
|Fernando Von Zuben||CEMPRE||Brazil|
|Ana Maria Garmendia||SUSTENTA||Mexico|
|Hon. Armando Ribas||Former Member of Congress, Argentina||Argentina|
Atlas Network Members/Partners
As of 2022, the Atlas Network no longer listed individual partners in other countries on its website, however noted that “Atlas Network actively partners with over 500 wholly independent, nonprofit organizations spanning almost 100 countries around the globe because they share our commitment to the principles of a free society.” 
While more recent directories have listed groups as “partners” of Atlas, older versions of Atlas’s “Freedom Directory” suggested not all groups may be direct members of Atlas. 
For example, a 2005 version of the directory included the following description: 
“The Atlas Economic Research Foundation maintains this Freedom Directory as a service to market-oriented institutes and their interested constituents. It provides contact and program information about think tanks that have shared in Atlas’s work or that pursue a similar vision.”
It also adds this disclaimer:
“Atlas’s Freedom Directory compiles information on more than 450 think tanks worldwide. The Directory’s default settings assume users want to search our broadest universe of active think tanks. This may result in listings of institutes that Atlas has not worked with in the past, which may differ in important ways from most market-oriented think tanks.”
The below Atlas Network list is based on a combination of member listings still available on the Internet Archive. There may be gaps in data given not every year was captured by the Internet Archive.
The Atlas network had 454 members as of April, 2016, up to a total of 479 as of July 2017. Also see DeSmog’s prior analysis of of Atlas Network members 2015 to 2017 (.xlsx). , 
Atlas Network Contact & Location
As of June 2016, the Atlas Network listed the following contact information on its website: 
1201 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Chelsea Schick, 202-449-8434
Daniel Anthony, 202-449-8441
- International Policy Network UK (IPN) — Same entity as Atlas Economic Research Foundation (UK). The U.S. organization does not appear to be directly affiliated.
- Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)
- Network for a Free Society — New name for International Policy Network (UK)
- @AtlasNetwork on Twitter.
- “Atlas Network” on LinkedIn.
- “Our Story,” Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Archived August 11, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/G4CKh
- “Network for a Free Society (previously Atlas Economic Research Foundation (UK) working as The International Policy Network UK) Annual Report and Financial Statements” (PDF), Year ended 31 December 2010. Charity no: 262982. Retrieved from UK Charity Commission.
- “Atlas Economic Research Foundation,” SourceWatch profile.
- “FAQ,” Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Archived August 11, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JHRYb
- “Annual Reports & Financials,” Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Archived August 11, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ofbBB
- “Atlas Economic Research Foundation,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 11, 2015.
- “Atlas Economic Research Foundation: the think-tank breeders,” PR Watch, Third Quarter 2004, Volume 11, No. 3. Archived February 13, 2006. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/caslg
- ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Atlas; AERF. Archived June 28, 2017.
- “People: Atlas Network,” Archived August 11, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/faqY2
- “Board Members,” Atlas Network. Archived December 23, 2011. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/O3EPh
- 4th International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute.
- Brendan DeMelle. ” Denial-a-palooza Round 4: ‘International Conference on Climate Change’ Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries ,” DeSmog, May 13, 2010.
- “Co-Sponsors,” Third International Conference on Climate Change. Archived July 14, 2010. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/7M3LQ
- (Press Release). “Recipients of 2009 Fisher Venture Grants,” Atlas Network, April 15, 2009. Archived January 22, 2011. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/zQWwR
- “Koch Industries Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine” (PDF), Greenpeace, March, 2010.
- “Co-Sponsors,” The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. Archived April 28, 2011. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8pEf7
- “Heartland Institute’s 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors,” DeSmog.
- Brad Lips. “Defeating Piketty’s Charge – A working paper” (PDF), Atlas Network, November, 2014. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
- “Global Directory,” Atlas Network. Archived April 13, 2016. Archived .pdf (2016-05-10) on file at DeSmog.
- Nick Surgey. “Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate Denial Network Funding,” PRWatch, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/a73wj
- “In re: Peabody Energy Corporation, et al. Debtors,” United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division, Case 16-42529, May 27, 2016. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.
- Farron Cousins. “Court Documents Show Coal Giant Peabody Energy Funded Dozens Of Climate Denial Groups,” DeSmog, June 13, 2016.
- Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson. “Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change,” The Guardian, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pw7On
- “Contact,” Atlas Network. Archived June 29, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/urCJz
- “Atlas Network: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived March 14, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Uw3F4
- “Global Directory,” Atlas Network. Accessed July 8, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
- “Poverty and the Environment: Global Lessons – Local Solutions,” Atlas-fdn.org. Archived February 4, 1998. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ckbbb
- “Over 500 partners in almost 100 countries around the globe,” Atlas Network. Archived January 14, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/E4iLQ
- “Global Directory,” Atlas Network, Archived December 19, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qBwpL
- “Freedom Directory,” Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Archived April 11, 2005. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/51fM9
- “Atlas Economic Research Foundation – Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace. Archived May 5, 2012.
- Greenpeace research documents for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.