Oregon Universities Funding Anti-Climate Groups Break Ties

An investigation by The Oregonian revealed that two both the University of Oregon (UO) and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) were dues-paying members of the Alliance of Western Energy Consumers (AWEC), a group opposed to Governor Kate Brown’s climate change agenda.

In a recent interview, an AWEC leader reportedly downplayed the role of fossil fuel emissions in climate change, referring to potential cap and trade policies as a “threat.”

Public records requests by the Climate Investigations Center revealed that, despite protests to the contrary, UO officials were aware their relationship with AWEC could prove controversial. At least one university official who initially agreed to be interviewed by reporters was then prevented from doing so by UO.

Both universities, as well as Microsoft, cited AWEC’s expertise with utility costs and rates as the reason for their membership. Now, in its statement announcing the end of its membership in AWEC, OHSU said, “Regrettably, AWEC’s information-gathering process can no longer be separated from its advocacy efforts.”

Both OHSU and UO have ended their memberships with AWEC, two days after details of their relationship was reported publicly. Private companies like Microsoft and Intel are still members, though Microsoft now says its membership is “under review.”

By Ian MacRonald