This is not an entirely new story, but it’s important in light of the recent opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, and also in light of recent revelations about the Koch-led takeover of the Republican party (more on that shortly).
We knew that the Koch Bros were financially involved in the Keystone pipeline, and covered that connection back in 2011. But more has come to light since then, much more.
Jared Gilmour at the Huffington Post (my emphasis):
Keystone XL Pipeline Could Yield $100 Billion For Koch Brothers
Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could generate $100 billion in profits for billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, according to a report released Sunday, which revealed the extent to which the Kochs would benefit from the tar sands development the proposed pipeline would help spur.
A progressive think tank called the International Forum on Globalization completed the study (pdf), which found that the Kochs and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, hold up to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, Canada, the proposed starting point of the Keystone XL. Several Koch Industries subsidiaries stand to benefit from the pipeline’s construction, including Koch Exploration Canada, which would profit from oil development on its land, and Koch Supply and Trading, which would benefit from oil derivatives trading.
The report also estimates that the Koch brothers have given about $50 million to think tanks and members of Congress who have pushed for the pipeline to be built.
The full report is here (pdf). This is what that looks like as Keystone carbon:
So the Koch Bros, personally, could be responsible for adding 19 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, all on their own. They should have naming rights to the next set of parts-per-million added to the air.
This represents an amazing amount of money — that’s $100 billion in profit, not just revenue — thanks in part to their ownership of tar-sand land in Canada (image via the report, h/t Meteor Blades at Daily Kos):
Nearly twice as much as ConocoPhillips; nearly ten times as much as Exxon. I’ll bet they think they’re sitting on a gold mine, the rest of the planet be damned.
Let’s do the math
The report doesn’t make clear if the Koch brothers or Koch Industries will reap that $100 billion, since it seems to merge the two. I suspect the headline is correct, but let’s say that it’s Koch Industries that will make the big bucks.
The Koch Bros, together, own 84% of Koch Industries, a privately held company:
Fred C. Koch, after whom Koch Industries, Inc. is named, co-founded the company in 1940 and developed an innovative crude oil refining process. His sons, Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and David H. Koch, executive vice president, are principal owners of the company after they bought out their brothers, Frederick and William “Bill” Koch, for $1.1 billion in 1983. Charles and David H. Koch each own 42% of Koch Industries, and Charles has stated that the company will publicly offer shares “literally over my dead body”.
Multiplying this out, 84% x $100 billion in Keystone and tar-sand profit — yes, that’s “billion” — equals … $84 billion, or $42 billion each, at a minimum. (That 16% owner is going to do pretty well too, by the way, unless my math is wrong.)
The Koch Bros are currently worth $50 billion each (Bloomberg), or $46 billion each (the report), or $36 billion each (Forbes). Let’s take the lowest number, $36 billion each (my paragraphing):
Koch brothers’ net worth: $36 billion apiece, Forbes says
Charles Koch and David Koch, the brothers at the helm of Wichita-based Koch Industries Inc., have a net worth of $36 billion apiece, according to Forbes. They’re tied for fourth on the magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in America.
Forbes’ estimate of the brothers’ wealth has been increasing. In March, on a list of the world’s billionaires, Forbes put their net worth at $34 billion apiece. Bill Gates ranked No. 1 on the Forbes list with a net worth of $72 billion. He was followed byWarren Buffett and Larry Ellison.
Together, the Koch Bros are worth $72 billion by this estimate. Add another $84 billion minimum from Canadian tar-sands exploitation (monetization) and they’re really up there — $156 billion together; almost $80 billion each. Either way that clobbers Bill Gates and his measly $72 billion.
And these are the low estimates. Take the high estimates and you’re looking at $200 billion between them. As Everett Dirksen might say, that’s real money.
It’s not about the planet; they’re just running up the score
Why does this matter? Because that’s how these guys know who’s winning. Donald Trump explains it for you:
“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”
And that — rich guys keeping score — is why the planet may cook, if we don’t stop them now. Literally why. These people are children; children with bazookas, but children.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius