A nondescript climate-focused organization with heavy anonymous financial backing and extensive work in China has quietly established itself as a key player in the push to electrify the U.S. economy.
The San Francisco-based Climate Imperative Foundation was founded in 2020 by Hal Harvey, a well-known climate activist who has repeatedly argued in favor of aggressive electrification policies. According to the Climate Imperative Foundation’s most recent tax filings, the organization reeled in a staggering $221.5 million from eight anonymous donors, a 167% year-over-year increase, while reporting $127.1 million in net assets.
The foundation spent $101.7 million of its revenue doling out large grants to dozens of eco groups actively engaged in pushing for a wide range of climate policies including natural gas-powered stove bans and electric vehicle mandates, its tax filings show. The remainder of its expenses, another $7.9 million, were funneled to Energy Innovation, a for-profit research firm founded by and wholly-owned by Harvey.
Some of the far-left environmental groups financed by the Climate Imperative Foundation maintain direct contact with the Biden administration, including on appliance matters that could potentially affect everyday Americans, internal emails obtained by Fox News Digital show. Harvey’s deep ties to several left-wing organizations and behind-the-scenes push on electrification have largely flown under the radar outside the environmental advocacy world.
“This is all very disturbing to say the least and shows not only how deep-pocketed the left is, but also how far they are willing to go to advance their agenda,” Institute for Energy Research President Tom Pyle told Fox News Digital. “The left cries about dark money on the right, but they should be pointing the finger at themselves.”
“What is imperative based on the amount of money being moved in and out of foundations and for-profit businesses including in China is that the Climate Imperative Foundation should be investigated by the IRS,” Pyle said. “Our national security, our energy security, our economy, and our personal freedoms are all at risk from the left’s green agenda.”
In its tax documents, the Climate Imperative Foundation said its accomplishments include “educating government officials” about low-carbon development, clean vehicle standards, green energy alternatives for powering the grid and “economy-wide carbon reduction goals.”
“Climate Imperative Foundation granted to organizations and institutions that, through research, education, analysis and outreach, advanced low-carbon policies in the U.S. and other countries,” its tax form state.
As part of its funding, the Climate Imperative Foundation sent $400,000 to Rewiring America, a White House-connected group that maintains Americans must broadly electrify their homes in an effort to combat climate change and has advocated for massive-spending climate programs that rival those introduced during the Great Depression and World War II.
Rewiring America research associate Talor Gruenwald was listed as the lead author of a study published in December linking childhood asthma to gas stoves. The study was promoted by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and used to justify greater restrictions on the appliance. Granholm introduced standards a month later that would wipe out 50% of current stove models on the market.
“Just to talk quickly about the benefits of electrification — from our count, 42% of all emissions come from decisions that are made at kitchen tables. That is the cars we drive as well as how we heat our homes, heat the water in our homes, cook our food and dry our clothing,” Rewiring America co-founder and executive chairman Alex Laskey said during a White House event last year.
In March, Rewiring America announced that twice-failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams would join its team as senior counsel to help spearhead a “national awareness campaign and a network of large and small communities working to help Americans go electric,” according to a press release.
The Climate Imperative Foundation further wired $2.4 million to the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund to assist the group with a “federal expansion of climate action.” The League of Conservation Voters is a climate activist group that has privately consulted with both Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, Fox News Digital previously reported.
Climate Imperative Foundation also gave $800,000 to the New York-based WE ACT for Environmental Justice for “federal regulatory EPA work and CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] policies and New York buildings.”
Emails obtained by Fox News Digital show that Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the four-person CPSC, consulted WE ACT for Environmental Justice last summer about the legal justification for gas stove regulations.
“I would like to follow up on our discussion that took place on June 2, 2022,” WE ACT for Environmental Justice policy manager Yuwa Vosper wrote in an August email to Trumka and other CPSC officials. “During the call, Commissioner Trumka suggested for us to evaluate the legal rationale for gas stove standards and labeling within the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA).”
“Since our call, I have been heavily researching to make the connection and find the legal support that Commissioner Trumka was referencing within the FHSA,” Vosper continued.
Months later, in early January, Trumka made headlines when he told Bloomberg in early January that a gas stove ban was “on the table” given the product’s purported impacts on health. The White House later denounced a ban, but the CPSC moved ahead anyway in March with taking public feedback on gas stove safety.
Additionally, an internal CPSC memo from Trumka dated Oct. 25, 2022, and titled “NPR Proposing Ban on Gas Stoves (Indoor Air Quality),” includes various references to research conducted by organizations funded by the Climate Imperative Foundation.
For example, it cites a study titled “The Emissions in the Kitchen: How the Consumer Product Safety Commission Can Address the Risks of Indoor Air Pollution from Gas Stoves.” That study was conducted by the New York University Institute for Policy Integrity which Climate Imperative Foundation gave $230,000 to for its U.S. buildings initiative.
The memo also references a Consumer Reports article titled “Is Your Gas Range a Health Risk?,” which includes an editor’s note stating that it was funded by a grant from Climate Imperative Foundation. The Climate Imperative Foundation reported giving $325,000 to Consumer Reports for “gas stoves and indoor air quality.”
That transaction caught the attention of Republican Kentucky Rep. James Comer, head of the House Oversight Committee, and Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The duo cosigned an April letter addressed to Climate Imperative Foundation executive director Bruce Nilles seeking answers about the money while posing other questions regarding the Consumer Reports article, according to a letter posted online.
Trumka’s internal emails reviewed by Fox News Digital also show the CPSC commissioner examined a study from the Rocky Mountain Institute about induction stoves in September. The Climate Imperative Foundation gave more than $2 million to the Rocky Mountain Institute over its first two years.
“The green movement should rename itself Big Green, Inc. because that is what they have become,” the Institute for Energy Research’s Pyle told Fox News Digital. “This just proves it.”
Harvey and the Climate Imperative Foundation, meanwhile, boast significant connections to Chinese entities.
Over the course of its first year, the Climate Imperative Foundation pushed $250,000 into supporting clean energy outreach in China and $8.6 million to an undisclosed recipient to help produce the so-called 14th five-year plan, a Chinese energy industry report published in early 2022 by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and National Energy Administration.
During the Climate Imperative Foundation’s second year, it gave $400,000 to the Asia Foundation to support carbon neutrality in China, $300,000 to the Institute for Sustainable Communities to “accelerate” China’s green energy transition and $2.9 million to the Natural Resources Defense Council to decarbonize China’s power sector.
Additionally, the Climate Imperative Foundation gave a whopping $23.3 million to the Energy Foundation, a San Francisco-based group Harvey helped found and previously led as CEO, to push electrification of China’s transportation sector.
While the Energy Foundation is technically headquartered in California, most of its staff are based in its Beijing office. The Energy Foundation split from the United States Energy Foundation in 2020, but it retained the original tax identification information and the two groups both continue to report sharing the same San Francisco office as their headquarters.
Energy Foundation CEO and President Ji Zou previously served as the deputy director general of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy, an agency within the Chinese government’s National Development and Reform Commission. Liu Xin, who heads the group’s environmental management division, previously served in a high-ranking role at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Harvey also has apparent personal ties to China. In a 2015 email shared with Fox News Digital by Energy Policy Advocates which obtained it via a State Department information request, Harvey told then-Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern that he would be meeting with a series of Chinese government officials.
“I would be happy to talk,” Harvey told Stern in the May 5, 2015, email. “I am around this week, in Beijing next (meeting the usual suspects, Minister Xie, Su Wei, but also China Development Bank and som of the air quality officials).”
“Minister Xie” is likely a reference to Xie Zhenhua, a Chinese Communist Party official who has served as China’s top climate envoy. Su Wei has also served as a top Chinese climate negotiator.
Meanwhile, Harvey’s company, Energy Innovation, maneuvers separately in the policy realm and includes a China focus as part of its operations. The business has also proved lucrative. The company collected $13.7 million from the Climate Imperative Foundation since its inception in 2020. It also accumulated large sums from other environmental groups, including $20 million from the Aspen Global Change Institute over nine years, according to a Fox News Digital scan of multiple groups’ financial documents.
Energy Innovation’s multipronged “policy programs” includes a “China program team” consisting of six individuals.
“A ‘Four Zeros’ strategy of a zero-carbon grid, zero-emission vehicles, zero net-energy buildings, and zero-waste manufacturing guides our work in China,” the group writes on its website. “In each of these four sectors, Energy Innovation’s China Program collaborates with other program teams and partners to provide technical support to the nation’s policymakers.”
Harvey’s tentacles in the environmental world expand beyond the Climate Imperative Foundation, the Energy Foundation and his company. He is also the founder of the ClimateWorks Foundation, a nonprofit that passes anonymous donor cash to environmental groups worldwide.
Throughout 2021, ClimateWorks reported an astronomical $366 million in contributions, according to its tax filings.
ClimateWorks’ grants that year included $2 million to the Rocky Mountain Institute, whose gas stove study made its way to Biden’s administration, and $250,000 for “program support” to the Windward Fund, a nonprofit that hosts Rewiring America, whose study was bolstered by Biden Energy Secretary Granholm.
Washington, D.C., business records show that Rewiring America is the only “trade name” currently registered to the Windward Fund. While there could have been other registered names in 2021, the Windward Fund has never publicly reported an abundance of groups at any one time in recent years. Rewiring America, meanwhile, was established one year before the grant.
Harvey also acts as president and executive director of the New-Land Foundation, whose board appears to consist of several of his family members, according to tax documents. The nonprofit disburses tens of thousands of dollars to several organizations, including those that push for environmental policy reform, which ultimately could also benefit his for-profit Energy Innovation company.
Harvey did not directly answer Fox News Digital’s questions regarding the Climate Imperative Foundation’s funding of groups pushing for the likes of gas stove bans, Energy Innovation and both groups’ ties to China initiatives. Instead, he forwarded the inquiry to individuals at the Climate Imperative Foundation, according to a spokesperson.
“All our work is aimed at practical solutions to make energy systems reliable, affordable, and clean,” the Climate Imperative Foundation spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “Fortunately, a growing list of technologies can meet these three challenges. Clean energy development is benefiting red and blue states alike, and by the jobs that smart policy creates.”
“Climate change is a national security risk. If we do not reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, we will see severe impacts from rising sea levels that threaten our military bases and cities,” the spokesperson added. “The U.S. military says climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ that will continue to have worsening implications for national security.”