The Alliance, and how it Protects the Climate

I got to reading about Al Gore today, and started wondering about his Climate Reality Project (CRP). So I looked up the background of the company on Guidestar.

The official name of the CRP is the Alliance for Climate Protection. The purpose of the Alliance is as follows:

The Alliance’s single purpose is to ignite public action to solve the climate crisis.

Now, of course this raises questions, like what is the evidence for the climate “crisis” of which they speak, and how does one “protect” a climate, but let’s leave those questions to sleep in peace. I wanted to look at the public accounts of the CRP, the most recent set of which (2010) I’ve posted up here (PDF, 1.7 Mb). I’ve usually found it fruitful to “Follow the Benjamins”, as the saying has it, which means to follow what is happening with the money.

Figure 1. An old-school Benjamin, in this case showing a certain John J. Knox, from 1902. The current US $100 bill features a picture of Benjamin Franklin. Photo Source: WSJ Article 

So what do the accounts of the Alliance for Climate Protection, also called the Climate Reality Project, tell us? No great revelations, but a few interesting things.

First, the accounts show that protecting the climate pays quite well. The CEO of the Alliance makes over a quarter million dollars a year. There are six other officers of the company making over $160,000 per year.

Al Gore is the Chairman of the Board of the CRP. He serves without a salary, although I assume that they pay his expenses if he is fronting for the company. Some of the company documents call him “Chairman Gore”, which I found hilarious … but I digress.

Now, people talk a lot about the mythical “Big Oil” money that is supposed to inspire and impel and motivate us climate skeptics. Me, I’ve never seen any Big Oil bucks. I’ve done all of this on my own dime, just like Steve McIntyre and many of the major players on the skeptical side. Anthony got some money for one specific scientific research project, but other than that it’s been funded out of his own pocket. Money is simply not a factor on the skeptic side.

But I will assure you that if I were getting a quarter of a million dollar salary, and my job was based entirely on the idea that we are headed for thermal meltdown, I would defend that idea with everything I had. People say that the skeptics are motivated by the money? Pffft. At most that’s a few bucks here or there. But if you are making a quarter of a million per year based on the idea that CO2 is dangerous, you are very strongly motivated by the money to spread that meme to as many people as possible. If people stop believing that CO2 is the magical control knob for the climate, you’re out of a job. At that point, you are committed, you have to shout about the impending long-rumored but somehow not yet visible Thermageddon.

Second, there is a site called the Charity Navigator that ranks non-profit organizations from 0 to four stars, based on a variety of metrics. Charity Navigator gives the Climate Reality Project two stars.

The Charity Navigator folks also compare the CRP to what they consider to be similar projects (Alaska Wilderness League and three others). The CRP comes in … well … not to put too fine a point on it, of the five, they come in dead last in the overall rating.

The most interesting finding, however, was how much of the money goes to overheads, and how much actually goes to their work. I used to run a non-profit, and I have kept the books and dealt with all the grant madness and all of the accounting requirements. The usual division for a well-run non-profit is on the order of 15% or less going to overheads, and 85% going to the work of the non-profit.

According to the Charity Navigator, only 74% of the money raised by the Climate Reality Project goes to projects, with the rest going to overheads. No bueno. The CRP is the worst of the five comparable non-profits by that metric as well. All of the comparison non-profits spent more on projects and less on administration than did the CRP.

Now, that’s bad enough. But if you take a look at the accounts I linked to earlier, they break down their expenses as follows:

ACCOUNT, 2010 Expense

Grants USA, $3,725,209

Grants Overseas, $155,310

Salaries Officers, $1,387,906

Salaries Staff, $7,251,182

Benefits, $992,182

Payroll Taxes, $466,680

Legal, $41,738

Accounting, $30,257

Lobbying, $13,408

Fundraising, $255,022

Other Expenses, $2,960,738

Advertising, $1,135,090

Office Expenses, $229,111

Info Technology, $547,260

Occupancy, $1,434,612

Travel, $553,737

Conferences, $291,713

Interest, $3,531

Depreciation, $428,292

Insurance, $27,506

Bad Debt, $2,000,032

Events, $1,030,059

Email List Purchase, $378,699

Pubs/Subscriptions, $189,949

Other Exp, $151,178

Misc. Exp, $7,385

TOTAL, $25,687,786

Used for Projects, $14,142,300, 55%

Used for Administration, $11,545,486, 45%

I’ve marked the line items that I would say were project related in red, and left the administrative expenses in black. Perhaps there are some other project related expenses, although if so I can’t see them. According to the Climate Navigator, they spent just over nineteen million dollars on projects, and I’m short about five million. But even by the numbers from the Climate Navigator, the Climate Reality Project is spending too much money on their overheads and not enough on projects.

What does all of this establish? Not a lot, other than that:

• The officers are making quite nice money off of climate alarm, thank you very much, and

• Al Gore is not very good at running a non-profit, and

• The people giving their hard-earned money to Al et al. are getting a bad deal, they’re getting very little bang for the Benjamin.

Best to all,

w.

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Jolly farmer

All climate alarmism is about the money. I just spent a week in Spain. Serious poverty, and the country is littered with wind turbines.

Nicely done, the facts and figures speak for themselves. It would be sweet to see where the funding actually comes from though. If any of it is nickles and dimes from members of the public I’m sure they’d be delighted to know how Al spends their hard earned donations!

PaulH

JunkScience.com notes a grist.org interview with Chairman Gore:
http://junkscience.com/2012/11/22/gore-doubles-down-claims-to-give-all-his-kleiner-perkins-income-to-climate-charity/
Gore states, in part: “I have given, and do give, every year, 100 percent of my salary and 100 percent of distributions from Kleiner Perkins to the Climate Reality Project.”
OK, fine. Whatever. Although this sounds like “Lazy Susan” accounting where someone hands money to someone else, who hands it back and around it goes. The question is, should CRP qualify as a charity when it clearly is a political lobby organization?

Snotrocket

I guess that ‘Chairman Gore’ is the control knob for the climate.
Seriously, where the heck does such an organisation – that doesn’t manufacture anything that people can buy -get its money??? (Perhaps Ponzi/Madof still lives…)

Durr

What do you expect of an organization “chaired” by a guy who spent 8.2 million on a villa in Montecito which, if his own predictions are correct, will soon be under water?

Edohiguma

I’m working in the wrong area. I need to come up with something similar.

ConfusedPhoton

Shouldn’t Climate Reality Project (CRP) really be Climate Reality Al’s Project (CRAP)?

davidmhoffer

How many people are in this organization? 100? 200?
They spent $547K on “info technology”?
Seems out of proportion. Oh wait….thousands of bots logging into Al’s presentation. Never mind, makes sense now.

I have a feeling that this horrible waste of money will be ignored by liberals and their beloved media helpers.

John West

All their projects are failures:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_for_Climate_Protection#section_2
Gotta love this tidbit:
“We Campaign released a television advertisement demanding that American leaders give the American people “truly clean energy” within ten years”
Might as well demand Santa deliver peace on Earth.

Willis Eschenbach

ConfusedPhoton says:
November 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

Shouldn’t Climate Reality Project (CRP) really be Climate Reality Al’s Project (CRAP)?

Scatological references aside, there’s a curious historical precedent for the CRP acronym. This was the “Committee to Re-elect the President” under President Nixon. It also had the CRP acronym, but in common parlance it was called “CREEP” …
w.

Two additional things look funky. Why does this organization have over $2 million in bad debts in one year?
Also, for the size of the total payroll, over $8.5 million, their payroll tax number of $466k is absurdly low.

davidmhoffer

Willis Eschenbach;
there’s a curious historical precedent for the CRP acronym. This was the “Committee to Re-elect the President” under President Nixon. It also had the CRP acronym, but in common parlance it was called “CREEP”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
There was a time in Canada when we had two right of centre political parties, the Conservatives and the Reform. They merged, and announced themselves as the “Conservative Reform Alliance of Canada”.
24 hours later, they changed it….

David Ball

Many are coming to realize the charitable status of these “organizations” is misplaced. As PaulH pointed out a “lobbyist group” should not have charitable status.

cui bono

Nice can of worms you’ve found there, Willis!
Looking through some of the statistics from Charity Navigator, they say that under ‘Environment and Environmental Protection and Conservation’ there are 232 charities, of which 85 are 4-star, 93 3-star, 44 2-star and 9 1-star. So another Gore fail, falling into the bottom quartile.
Also, take a look at ’10 Highly-paid CEOs at Low-Rated Charities’. The lowest gets $266,371 for a 2-star charity, while Maggie Fox of CRP gets $283,078.
CRP don’t seem to have an official representative with this site. Perhaps Kenji could login and use the facilities to Gleick the CRP. 😉 (Er, not that we would stoop to those tactics).
“Are you the representative for this organization? If so, click here to access the application form. As an official representative you will have the ability to update some of the information on this page.”

Baa Humbug

Thanx Willis. Maybe this should have been titled “Human Nature Reality Project”.
Come to think of it, most people understand the phrase “follow the money”. Would it be a good idea to start a reference page about the millions/billions going to the AGW proponents side of the ledger?
It would be useful when the oft used meme “funded by big oil” is trotted out.

Just read an article stating that Hewlett Packard have written down their company value by $5 billion!!!
Let’s hope that means they donate less to the Warmist Cause eh?

Bryan A

Looks like Al is getting a hefty tax break from his Donation to the Non Profit then getting his untaxable compensation for running that same non profit. Sounds like a LEGAL? money laundering scheme.
Oh and by the by, for a corporation to pay $8.6M in compensation to its salaried workers but only $466.8k in taxes to the gov’t???… that is a mere 5.4% witholding tax. I have over 30% withheld from my paycheck
That can’t be kosher

davidmhoffer

“Conservative Reform Alliance of Canada”.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
My fingers are disconnected from my brain again:
“Conservative Reform Alliance Party of Canada”
Making them the CRAP of Canada.

Lewis P Buckingham

The provision for bad debts of over two million dollars looks very odd.Could this relate to unpaid loans to ‘associated’ persons or companies.In Australia this was called a ‘bottom of the harbour scheme’?

beesaman

It is the same in most scams, those at the top of the pyramid cash in on the foolishness of those at the bottom, funny how it’s never the other way around.
Odd as well how doubters are never listened to, but I’m sure everyone will become. hyper intelligent with hindsight once it becomes painfully obvious that we have been scammed.
The difference with this scam is that the internet has allowed us to keep a track of those who, scientifically, should have known better and questioned the validity of CAGW more closely…

mrmethane

Did anyone click on the “environmental” category link? Up comes a short essay outlining the scary stuff, including threatened polar bears etc. I’d be inclined to question the neutrality of the rating organization.

Steve Vandorne

Socialism is a huge hoax it only works in the imagination
Socialism = Greed

lowercase fred

When I was young I would tell my wife that if I wanted to be rich I would just get a tent and start preaching.
This is a better scam.

How much in the way of grants went to other “organizations” that also have their own overhead expenses? Setting up a “non-profit” in many areas can be a very lucrative operation.

oldseadog

Lobbying, Thirteen and a half thousand
Projects, about three fifths of their income. (Fourteen Million plus).
I thought that Al was lobbying Governments and the public to make sure they remain convinced that AGW is true and a Bad Thing.
Maybe failed politicians don’t quite understand what lobbying really is/tries to do.
Or maybe he is just a very astute business person who sees where he thinks the main chance is and cynically just goes for it.
If the latter he’s not making a bad job of it.

Mike McMillan

Lewis P Buckingham says: November 24, 2012 at 11:29 am
The provision for bad debts of over two million dollars looks very odd.

Possibly a loan to the Presidential campaign of Chairman Gore.

PiperPaul

But I will assure you that if I were getting a quarter of a million dollar salary, and my job was based entirely on the idea that we are headed for thermal meltdown, I would defend that idea with everything I had.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”
– Upton Sinclair

Gary D.

Bad Debt $2M
That tells me they have made loans that they don’t expect to be repaid. Wonder who they made the loans to? Why weren’t they grants?

pat

perhap prince charlie helps out with $$$ –
(VIDEO) 24 Nov: Daily Mail: ‘World is committing suicide on a grand scale’: Prince Charles warns of doomed planet unless we solve green issues
He claims world is heading towards ‘terrifying point of no return’
Future generations facing ‘unimaginable future’ if we don’t act
Prince says he was written off as a crank over his green views
By Daily Mail Reporter
His comments came in a pre-recorded video speech accepting a lifetime achievement award at the 7th International Green Awards at Battersea Power Station in London…
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2237776/World-committing-suicide-grand-scale-Prince-Charles-warns-doomed-planet-unless-solve-green-issues.html
the meme remains the same…

ConfusedPhoton

Willis
“CREEP”
Strangely enough every time I see Al Gore I think of Richard Nixon – perhaps it is just me

Adrian

I’m no accountant, but…
Total Revenue: 16,374,635
Total Expenses: 25,637,786
Net: – 9.313.151
Previous Net: 16,022,357
At that rate, they would be bankrupt within a year!
They got most of their money in 2008, $87,448,111
DaveMHoffer says:
‘They spent $547K on “info technology”?’
That is just that year, With the depreciation of $428,292 and the fact they are renting, I would guess they spent a lot more in the past?

I don’t have the source or the exact quote, but a year or so ago I read that Uncle Al has accumulated over $100 million in personal income since he was “retired” from official politics and began his climate crusade. Anyone believe that, come what may, Gore will never admit personal error, even if Jesus Christ himself came down and told Al he was full of it?

the1pag

“davidmhoffer says:
November 24, 2012 at 11:19 am
Willis Eschenbach;
there’s a curious historical precedent for the CRP acronym. This was the “Committee to Re-elect the President” under President Nixon. It also had the CRP acronym, but in common parlance it was called “CREEP”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
There was a time in Canada when we had two right of centre political parties, the Conservatives and the Reform. They merged, and announced themselves as the “Conservative Reform Alliance of Canada”.
24 hours later, they changed it….”
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well, lets see — CREEP had too many letters in the acronym, CRAC may have been mising a “N” and a “Y”, Is there a vowel missing from Gore’s “CRP”?

Willis Eschenbach

My thanks to those following up. Two interesting points that I hadn’t picked up on.
1. The issue of the tax withheld. As someone pointed out, that’s only 5.4%. However, that may only be quarterly.
2. The more important issue of the bad debt, for two million and thirty two dollars. $2,000,032 … as someone pointed out upthread, that seems quite odd. It would seem to indicate that they loaned someone two million dollars (plus some kind of fees), and then wrote off the debt.
But why (and to whom) would a non-profit be loaning two megabucks?
Hmmm … the info might be available by combing through past statements.
Onwards,
w.

What jumped out at me was
Email List Purchase, $378,699
That is a shed load of emails, what exactly did he email to them? Or is this actually buying a long list of bot’able accounts? Can someone FOIA it out of them???
There is a lot about this breakdown that just doesn’t add up in all senses.. Also I think the tax man needs to have a few words with Al. Something certainly does not smell right in the house of Al.

Wills
Another thing to look deeper at is “Other Expense” of almost $3 million dollars, over 12% of their expenditures for the year…

Willis Eschenbach

Further research shows that they list “Pledges and Grants Receivable” among their assets, with a value of thirteen million at the start of the year and $125k at the end of the year. So if someone backed out of a pledge, I assume it would be written off as a “Bad Debt”. That seems the most likely explanation.
w.

CRP is also a major farm program – Conservation Reserve Program – which pays farmers to not farm marginal land.

The-Booky-and-The-Real-Book!

Looks like Big Al Gore is plagiarizing the work of Big Al Capone! They both deal in the perception of Fear; one in Climate the other in Insurance. That 55:45 split I would say is to mislead the Feds. The numbers given like in Al Capone organizations are fake; the real book and the real numbers are hidden away out of site of the Feds, or else the Feds are being payed off to look the other way.
Al Capone never made a dime from his organizations either … hardy har har. And he strutted around Chicago like he owned it … which he did at the time.
So the real investigation will need to be done by Treasury. Sadly it is likely that Gore has leverage on Treasury, IRS and Department of Justice.
So his racketeering will be … ignored, for a price. But each year the ‘price’ goes up! So we will have to see how long Al Gore’s ‘Ponzi Scheme’ can maintain sustainability.
Bubble bubble baby. 😉

DR

Is this connected to ‘Climate Central’ and their book?
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/a-look-at-our-first-book-global-weirdness/

Bob Kutz

Their accounting is all messed up. They have two separate accounts titled ‘other expenses’, one of which is almost 3 million?
Further; bad debt of 2 million? Okay, you might have a bad account when you sell something and record an a/r, but if someone doesn’t honor a pledge then it’s not really revenue in the first place. Unlike a normal business you reverse the revenue entry, not record bad debt. If its not that, but actual bad debt, then who did they loan the money to? Why are they in the business of writing loans?
And what in creation is ‘occupancy expense’? Most companies would record a ‘rent expense’ but I’m not sure what they are referring to by the term ‘occupancy’.
My thoughts.

Steve from Rockwood

davidmhoffer says:
November 24, 2012 at 11:25 am
“Conservative Reform Alliance Party of Canada” or CRAP.
——————————
They are running the country now 😉
@Willis. Interesting post.

Go Home

Payroll taxes in this case most likely mean social security and medicare payments by the company, and does not represent what comes out of the paycheck of employees. So 5.4% is in line with their accounting. Medicare is 1.45% of total salaries. Social security for the past two years is 4.2% of all salaries up to $110,000 for each. So I see this as no issue.

Steve from Rockwood

I just read on the Internet that Al Gore discovered the Higgs Boson in a bag of Fritos. There is no end to this man’s work.

Gary D.

Occupancy is a common category header for Rent, nothing unusual there.
What also strikes me is the Lobbying expense is only $13,408 while for this organization I would expect it to be higher than that. Perhaps that is what the $2.2M Other Expense below it really is. As noted above there are two Other Expenses which probably means they are in different parts of the financial statements.
That leads me to believe the Lobbying and Other Expenses are in the same section. And Other is something similar to Lobbying.

clipe

Full-time staff #101
Avg. Compensation $74,727
Top 10 Staff Salary Range
$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 1
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 3
$80k - $120k 6
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2010
Charity Intelligence Canada

http://www.charityintelligence.ca/charity-details/36-world-wildlife-fund-canada

Gunga Din

The goal isn’t money. It’s control. Gore is a stooge.

davidmhoffer

Adrian;
DaveMHoffer says:
‘They spent $547K on “info technology”?’
That is just that year, With the depreciation of $428,292 and the fact they are renting, I would guess they spent a lot more in the past?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Technology has about a 3 to 5 year life cycle. So as a rule of thumb, if they spent $500K in a single year on info technology, then they’ve probably got about $1.5 to $2.5 million in gear lying around. That is WAY out of proportion for the size of the organization (and I’m assuming technical expertise is an operating expense and so should not be part of the figure).
I’m not saying this is what happened in this case, but I am familiar with an incident some years ago in which a charitable organization was buying computer technology from a corner retailer at about 3 times what it was actually worth. The corner retailer of course turned out to be owned by the brother of the organization’s chairman. They also had some “bad debt” in that they’d lent a large sum of money to another organization which folded right afterward. That organization turned out to have a single person in it, and you guessed it… chairman’s sister. Since it was a “loan” she didn’t declare it as income….
Once you have large sums of money flowing through these organizations, there is very little oversight (why would you need oversight of an organization swaddled in the cloak of morality?) and plenty of ways to sneak the money out the back door into the pockets of family and friends.

Go Home

Seems 3.4M of there money went to Glover Park Group. From WIKI>>>
“The Glover Park Group was founded in June 2001 by Michael Feldman, Carter Eskew, Joe Lockhart and Chip Smith. The company was named after the Glover Park area of Washington, D.C., where its first offices were located.[11] Prior to forming The Glover Park Group, the founders had served as officials in the Clinton White House and on the presidential campaign of former vice president Al Gore.”
Scratching backs i see.