Global Climate Coalition

Global Climate Coalition (GCC)


The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was an outspoken industry group based in the United States opposing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the coalition disbanded in 2002, some members including the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute continue to lobby against emissions reductions. [1]

The GCC was formed in 1989, after the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). GCC operated until 1997 out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Early members included Amoco, the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute (API), Chevron, Chrysler, Cyprus AMAX Minerals, Exxon, Ford, General Motors, Shell Oil, Texaco, the United States Chamber of Commerce and more than 40 other corporations and trade associations[2], [8]

The EOP Group and E. Bruce Harrison Company were employed as lobbyists on behalf of the GCC, which heavily lobbied international climate negotiations and distributed videos to journalists suggesting that increased carbon dioxide would be beneficial to increasing crop yields. E. Bruce Harrison has been described as “the founder of green PR” for his work for the pesticide industries in the 1960s, where he led opposition to Rachel Carson and her landmark book Silent Spring[2][8]

According to GCC‘s mission statement, “Existing scientific evidence does not support actions aimed solely at reducing or stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions. GCC does support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to increase greenhouse gas sinks that are justified for other economic or environmental reasons.” [3]

GCC Efforts to Undermine IPCC

Documents released in April 2019 by the Climate Investigations Centre, in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News, revealed GCC’s extensive efforts to manipulate the UN’s official scientific advisory body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). [22]

The group focused on trying to limit the strength of the IPCC’s statements about human causes of climate change in the run-up to the UN’s climate summit in 1997, at which the Kyoto Protocol was signed.

The GCC canvassed its member organisations for nominations from their companies to become IPCC authors and contributors. GCC representatives also regularly met with IPCC scientists to lobby the panel to accept industry language in its reports. [23], [24]

While the GCC had only partial success at influencing the IPCC, officials from President George W. Bush’s administration later credited the GCC with influencing Bush’s decision to abandon the landmark Kyoto treaty in 2001. The US was one of only three UN members not to ratify the treaty, with Canada later withdrawing. [16]

The GCC filled UN meetings with its members, with some attending meetings transparently, as GCC members, and others registering with alternative organisations. Often GCC members outnumbered delegates from developing nations at the annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings. [17]

Stance on Climate Change

In a scientific “backgrounder” (PDF) published in the early 1990s, the Global Climate Coalition argued that “The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood.”

This was at a time that their own scientists had concluded the opposite, finding “The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.” [1]

While they later distributed a version of their backgrounder that agreed with the scientists’ conclusion, the amended version still disagreed on “the rate and magnitude of the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ (warming) that will result.” [1]

A 1996 “Overview” document outlining the GCC‘s position on climate change said:

“The GCC believes that the preponderance of the evidence indicates that most, if not all, of the observed warming is part of a natural warming trend which began approximately 400 years ago. If there is an anthropogenic component to this observed warming, the GCC believes that it must be very small and must be superimposed on a much larger natural warming trend.” [25]

1996 GCC Overview and Reports (Text)


The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was not registered as a nonprofit organization, which means its finances are not under public scrutiny. According to the Los Angeles Times, GCC spent over $13 million on its 1997 ad campaign opposing the Kyoto Protocol. [4]

PR Watch reports that the GCC spent more than $1 million per year between 1994 and 1997 to downplay the threat of climate change. They report that those efforts were coordinated with separate campaigns by its members including the National Coal Association which spent over $700,000 on the climate change issue in 1992 and 1993. In 1993, the American Petroleum Institute paid Burson-Marsteller $1.8 million for a successful computer-driven “grassroots” letter and phone-in campaign to stop a proposed tax on fossil fuels. [8]

Between December, 1999, and March, 2000, the GCC was deserted by Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Texaco, the Southern Company and General Motors, although the companies reported that their stance on the Kyoto Protocol had not changed at that time. [5]

When Ford left in 1999, a Ford spokesman noted their reasoning for leaving: “Over the course of time, membership in the Global Climate Coalition has become something of an impediment for Ford Motor Company to achieving our environmental objectives.” [9]

According to Sourcewatch, members of GCC made more than $63 million in contributions to politicians from 1989-1999. This doesn’t include separate campaigns organized by members of GCC at the time like the National Coal Association and American Petroleum Institute which also paid significant funds on the global warming issue. [2]

Key People [2]

  • William O’Keefe — Chairman.
  • Gail McDonald — President.
  • Glenn Kelly — Executive Director.
  • Frank Maisano — Media Contact. Member, Potomac Communications Group.



According to documents obtained by The Guardian, President George Bush’s decision not to sign up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was influenced by pressure from ExxonMobil. [10]

Briefing papers given  before meetings to the US under-secretary of state, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004, the administration is found thanking Exxon executives for the company’s “active involvement” in helping to determine climate change policy, and also seeking its advice on what climate change policies the company might find acceptable. [10]

“Potus [president of the United States] rejected Kyoto in part based on input from you [the Global Climate Coalition],” says one briefing note before Ms Dobriansky’s meeting with the GCC, the main anti-Kyoto US industry group, which was dominated by Exxon. [10]


The GCC ceased operation, claiming that it had “served its purpose by contributing to a new national approach to global warming,” with its success evident in the fact that “The Bush administration will soon announce a climate policy that is expected to rely on the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse emissions, a concept strongly supported by the GCC.” [6]

March 2000

GCC announced a “strategic restructuring” designed to “bring the focus of the climate debate back to the real issues.” Individual companies would no longer be asked to join the GCC and membership would be limited to “only trade associations” and “other like-minded organizations.” [2]

Potentially, this would give GCC‘s supporters a layer of protection if they chose to support GCC‘s climate change activities while avoiding public ridicule for their support.


The GCC responded to international global warming treaty negotiations in Kyoto, Japan by launching an advertising campaign in the US that advised against any agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions internationally.  [5]

The campaign was run through the Global Climate Information Project (GCIP), an organization sponsored by the GCC and the American Association of Automobile Manufacturers, among others. GCIP‘s ads were produced by Goddard Claussen/First Tuesday, a California-based PR firm whose past clients included the Chlorine Chemistry Council, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, and the Vinyl Siding Institute.  [5]

The anti-Kyoto ads claimed “It’s Not Global and It Won’t Work,” and that “Americans will pay the price… 50 cents more for every gallon of gasoline.” Notably, no actual government proposals had suggested this “50 cent” tax that the GCC warned of.  [5]

With a growing consensus regarding global warming at the time, a number of GCC supporters parted ways with the group, likely top avoid negative PR. In 1997 these included BP/Amoco, and other prominent companies including American Electric Power, Dow, Dupont, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Southern Company, Texaco and General Motors.  [5]

In a speech on climate change at Stanford University, the CEO of BP, John Browne, said: [15]

The time to consider the policy dimensions of climate change is not when the link between greenhouse gases and climate change is conclusively proven, but when the possibility cannot be discounted and is taken seriously by the society of which we are part. We in BP have reached that point.”

December 1997

In a report titled “Astroturf Troopers“ Mother Jones (MJ) reported that William O’Keefe kickstarted the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) in 1996 when he hired former lobbyist Susan Moya to set up a national network of “grassroots” groups that included industry-funded groups across the states. MJ found that GCC was “ coordinating a secret coalition of extreme right-wingers and astroturf groups—fake grassroots lobbyists funded by conservative foundations and corporations.” [12]

While Moya denied the existence of the astroturf network, an internal memo (page 1, page 2) obtained by Mother Jones  suggested otherwise. Mother Jones  wrote that “some of the corporate-funded astroturf groups named in her memo, including Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy and People for the West, confirmed that they were part of Moya’s network of ‘state grassroots leaders,’ and that they received this memo.” [13], [14]

Representatives named in the memo as “available for contact” included: [14]

Eric LichtAlliance for America
Diane SteedCoalition for Vehicle Choice (CVC)
Ron DeforeCoalition for Vehicle Choice (CVC)
Jeff MillerCoalition for Vehicle Choice (CVC)
Bruce VincentAlliance for America
Steve MillerThe Center for Energy & Economic Development
Susan ChristyPeople for the West
Michael CoffmanSovereignty International
Cindy MorphewTexas Oil & Gas Association
Floy LilleyUniversity of Texas @ Austin
Randy EmingerThe Center for Energy and Economic Development
Lydia RobertsonCVC-Arkansas
John FedericoCVC-Kansas
Don MorrisonCVC-Missouri
Bob LinderwoodCVC-Ohio
Pat NolanCVC-Tennessee
Chuck CushmanAmerican Land Rights Association
Senator Malcolm Wallop (former)Promises of Freedom Institute
H. Sterling BurnettNational Center for Policy Analysis
Peggy M. VenableTexas Citizens for a Sound Economy
Duggan FlanakinEnvironmental Compliance Reporter, Inc.
David R. PinkusSmall Business United of TX
Carole Keeton RylanderTexas Railroad Commission
Steve ReevesGreater Houston Partnership
Carol JonesTexas Citizens for a Sound Economy
Genie ShortTexas Citizens for a Sound Economy

September 19, 1996

Exxon gave a presentation to the GCC entitled “Purported Impact of Climate Change on Human Health,” offering guidance on how to counter evidence linking climate change to human health impacts. [18]

May 1996

The GCC circulated a briefing entitled “The IPCC: Institutionalized ‘Scientific Cleansing’?” alleging that Ben Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, had manipulated the IPCC’s peer-review process to make unsubstantiated claims. [19]

In 1994, as a lead author of a chapter of the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report, Santer and his colleagues had written: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” [19]

December 1995

A draft GCC primer on science from 1995 written by Lenny Bernstein of ExxonMobil admitted that: [20]

the scientific basis for the greenhouse effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on the climate is well-established and cannot be denied.”

Lenny Bernstein, who co-chaired the GCC’s committee on science and technology assessment, called the work of climate deniers Richard Lindzen and Patrick Michaels “not convincing” in a draft document in 1995. However, the final copy of that document excluded any mention of these comments and the GCC continued to cite the two. [20]


The GCC distributed a pamphlet to the public entitled “Climate Change: Your Passport to the Facts,” which stated that: [21]

While many warnings have reached the popular press about the consequences of a potential man-made warming of the Earth’s atmosphere during the next 100 years, there remains no scientific evidence that such a dangerous warming will actually occur.”

The following corporations were part of the Global Climate Coalition: [2], [7]

Global Climate Coalition Contact & Addresss

As of February, 2005, the Global Climate Coalition’s contact information was listed as follows: [11]

Global Climate Coalition
1275 K St, NW
Washington, DC 20005

Email: [email protected]

Media Contact:
Frank Maisano


  1. Andrew Revkin. “Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate,” The New York Times, April 23, 2009. Archived January 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  2. Global Climate Coalition,” SourceWatch.
  3. The GCC‘s position on the climate change issue,” Global Climate Coalition website. Archived August 15, 2000. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  4. Maggie Farley. “Showdown at Global Warming Summit,” Los Angeles Times, December 7, 1997. Archived January 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  5. GCC Suffers Technical Knockout,” The Heat Is Online, March, 2000. Archived January 18, 2016. WebCite URL
  6. Global Climate Coalition homepage. Archived April 8, 2003. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  7. RIPGlobal Climate Coalition (March, 2000): INDUSTRY DEFECTIONS DECIMATE GLOBAL CLIMATE COALITION,” The Heat is Online. Archived January 16, 2016. WebCite URL
  8. Bob Burton and Sheldon Rampton. “Thinking Globally, Acting Vocally: The International Conspiracy to Overheat the Earth,” PR Watch Vol. 4. No. 4 (Q4 1997). Archived January 11, 2011.
  9. Lester R. Brown. “The Rise and Fall of the Global Climate Coalition,” Earth Policy Institute, July 25, 2000. Archived February 2, 2002.
  10. John Vidal. “Revealed: how oil giant influenced Bush,” The Guardian, June 8, 2005. Archived April 13, 2016.  WebCite URL
  11. Contact Us,” Global Climate Coalition., Archived February 3, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  12. Keith Hammond. “Astroturf Troopers,Mother Jones, December 4, 1997. Archived March 25, 2017. Archive. Is URL:
  13. Astroturf Memo, page 1,” Mother Jones, December 4, 1997. Archived November 1, 2005. URL
  14. Astroturf Memo, page 2,” Mother Jones, December 4, 1997. Archived November 2, 2005. URL:
  15. Elizabeth L Malone. “Debating Climate Change: Pathways Through Argument to Agreement – p75,” Earthscan, 2009. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.]
  16. 2001 State Department Briefing for Global Climate Coalition Meeting,” United States Department of State, June 20, 2001. Archived April 23, 2019. URL:
  17. July 1996 COP 2 NGOs,” Climate Investigations Center. Archived April 23, 2019. URL:
  18. Purported Impact of Climate Change on Human Health,” Exxon Biomedical Sciences. Archived April 23, 2019. URL:
  19. Ben Santer. “Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind,” RealClimate, February 24, 2010. Archived April 23, 2019. URL:
  20. 1995 Global Climate Coalition Draft Climate Change Science Primer,” Climate Files. Archived April 23, 2019. URL:
  21. Climate Change: Your Passport to the Facts,” Global Climate Coalition. Archived April 23, 2019. URL:
  22. Mat Hope, Karen Savage. “Global Climate Coalition: Documents Reveal How Secretive Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Manipulated UN Climate Programs,” DeSmog, April 24, 2019.
  23. 1997 GCC STAC January Meeting Minutes – p21,” Global Climate Coalition. Archived April 25, 2019. URL
  24. 1996 GCC STAC September Meeting Minutes – p91Global Climate Coalition. Archived April 25, 2019. URL
  25. Global Climate Coalition: An Overview,” Global Climate Coalition, November 11, 1996. Archived April 25, 2019. URL

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