The report is a compilation of each organization’s staffing, membership, lobbying tactics and advertising campaigns.
Caroline Jones, senior and environmental studies major, said the findings show about 15 people have been associated with all the groups the student researchers looked at throughout the past 30 years.
"Often times, one person will be in charge of multiple of these coalitions either at the same time or will form a new group immediately after one dissolves with the same message, same membership," Jones said.
The report says the groups have been spreading misinformation about climate change, one example being a video of "Frosty the Coalman" that was released in 2008 by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and have been lobbying against efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Paris Climate Agreement.
Jones says although the core advocates against climate action have been the same for decades, the country is running out of time to aggressively address climate change before it's too late.
"They have a real risk of being effective enough for long enough to keep us from doing anything to make the changes we need to make, which is terrifying,” Jones said.
The report also showed the groups receive funding from the fossil fuel industry.
Brown University professors who oversaw the report said they expect to make the findings public online within the next few weeks.
One of the active groups, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the report.
The twelve organizations focused on in the report were selected by Robert Brulle, visiting professor of environment and society and adviser to the student researchers, through a newspaper database search and an online search of progressive climate websites and a climate science blog.
Brulle said this is not an all-inclusive list of "climate change denial" coalitions.