George C. Marshall Institute was established in 1984 "to conduct technical assessments of scientific issues with an impact on public policy". It was co-founded by global warming denier Frederick Seitz and mainly funded by conservative foundations, including the Koch foundations, but has also received significant funding from ExxonMobil. Its personnel and speakers have included many climate change deniers (see diagram) including Sallie Baliunas, who was on the Institute's board, and considerable overlap with the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). The Institute was also a member of front group Cooler Heads Coalition.
According to Greenpeace researcher, Andrew Rowell, a 1989 report by a think tank, the George C. Marshall Institute, on the greenhouse effect “was used by the Bush administration to justify a more lenient approach to CO2 emissions.”
Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a lobbyist for ExxonMobil and served on the board of directors of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). He regularly writes and speaks about climate change policy and opposes government measures to deal with it.
The fact of the matter is that I do not know, nor does anyone else, whether human-induced climate change is a serious environmental threat or a scientific curiosity. I admit to not knowing and advocate policies that reflect a state of great uncertainty....The objective of Environmentalist Elites — and I stress environmental elites — is to erode healthy skepticism and ultimately persuade the public that it is a "clear and present danger" that requires dramatic action both nationally and internationally.
The current chair of the Institute, William Happer, argues that recent global warming is due "mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide". He told a Senate Environment & Public Works Committee in 2009:
I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind.... But what about the frightening consequences of increasing levels of CO2 that we keep hearing about? In a word, they are wildly exaggerated...
Matthew B. Crawford, a former Executive Director of the Institute, later wrote:
...certain perversities became apparent as I settled into the job. It sometimes required me to reason backward, from desired conclusion to suitable premise. The organization had taken certain positions, and there were some facts it was more fond of than others. As its figurehead, I was making arguments I didn’t fully buy myself.
The Institute produced The Cocktail Conversation Guide to Global Warming in 2009, which provides handy phrases to downplay the threat posed by global warming when it comes up in conversation.