A new study revealed that “dark money” or concealed funding has been increasing on studies denying climate change.

Robert J. Brulle, lead author of the study and an environmental sociologist from the Drexel University, is bound to make a controversy as he discovered that most of the sources of funding of several studies related to climate change denial were hidden.

The researchers mentioned two large companies that might have been involved in providing “dark money.” These were Koch Industries and ExxonMobil which have been strongly against the report that industrial companies were great contributors of global warming. Both of them have withdrawn their fundings on earlier studies but researchers were able to trace their involvement. They noticed that when these two companies retracted their participation in their sponsored studies, non-profit organizations such as Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund had significant increases in their funds.

This might sound like mere coincidence but Brulle’s team provided more evidences. He listed 118 climate change denial organizations in the U.S and attempted to trace their source of fundings with the help of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

They found that 91 organizations have received a total of $558 million from 2003 to 2010. However, they clarified that these amount were not all spent on climate change studies. However, 75 percent of their funds were “dark money.”

“The climate change countermovement has had a real political and ecological impact on the failure of the world to act on the issue of global warming," said Brulle. "Like a play on Broadway, the countermovement has stars in the spotlight -- often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians -- but behind the stars is an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations. If you want to understand what's driving this movement, you have to look at what's going on behind the scenes."

Other organizations involved were Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

The study was published in the December 22 issue of Climatic Change.