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From Donald Trump to Theresa May: How a US-UK Network Pushes Climate Science Denial and Lobbies for a Hard Brexit — Mapped

Read time: 7 mins
Network map of US-UK climate science deniers

Donald Trump has finally come to the UK, 20 months after he won the election to make him the 45th President of the United States.

During that time, a trans-Atlantic network of business people, think tank analysts, and lobbyists have grown in influence — pushing a free market ideology and spreading climate science denial on both sides of the Atlantic.

DeSmog UK first mapped the network when Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. Things have moved on a bit since then.

Climate Science Deniers Have a New Hero and His Name Is Peter Ridd

Read time: 6 mins
Peter Ridd

Climate science deniers and conservative media have found themselves a new “free speech” hero — an academic who is suing his own university and thinks the multiple human threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are overblown.

Professor Peter Ridd might be a new name to some, but the marine geophysicist has a long association with groups pushing denial of the well-established links between human activity and dangerous climate change.

Outlets including Breitbart and Fox News have joined a steady flow of columns and interviews across Australia’s conservative media landscape covering Ridd’s case, sometimes handing over space to him in their column pages.

Each time, Ridd, of Australia's James Cook University, has been painted as a bastion of truth pushing back against the establishment. But how does that image hold up to scrutiny?

Newsweek Gives Cato Institute Climate Denier A Platform

Read time: 4 mins

In the last 30 days, the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean have played host to four hurricanes, three of which reached category 3 or higher, with Hurricane Irma claiming the title as the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

Australian Climate Denial Think Tank Picks Cat Author and Moonman Ken Ring as Climate Expert

Read time: 6 mins

Do you love cats and want to know what makes them tick?  Do you think climate change is a hoax being pushed as part of a eugenics plot?  Do you like rubber band magic?

If your answers to these questions are “yes,” “hell yeah,” and “sometimes,” then have I got the book for you? Hell yeah, I do.

Australian “think tank,” the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has launched a fundraising drive for its 2017 edition of the book Climate Change: The Facts.

How a Libertarian Think Tank Is Trying to Correct the 'Degenerate' Climate Science Debate in Washington, DC

Read time: 5 mins
U.S. Capitol Building

There are lots of attributes that seem to work as reliable predictors that a person or group will reject the science of human-caused climate change and the risks that come from it.

In recent years, for example, being a Republican or a Tea Party member has gone hand in hand with branding the science of climate change as a giant scam.

If you’re one of those conspiracy theorists like Britain’s David Icke or Infowars founder (and apparent President Trump influencer) Alex Jones, then you’ll also be placing climate change into the file marked “illuminati hoax.”

But perhaps the largest, most active, and influential group pushing climate science denial is America’s collective of so-called free-market conservative “think tanks” that want to cut the size of government and claim to be defending your freedom and liberty — examples include the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

How Donald Trump Kingmaker-Billionaires Robert and Rebekah Mercer Have Poured Millions Into Climate Science Denial

Read time: 7 mins
Headlines about Mercer family

When it comes to climate science denial, some names come easily and deservingly to mind.

There’s oil giant ExxonMobil — a company that contributed millions of dollars to organizations that told the public there was no risk from burning fossil fuels.

There are the oil billionaire Koch brothers — Charles and David — and their ideological zeal against government regulations that drove them to pour vast amounts into groups spreading doubt on the realities of human-caused global warming.

But a name that has not yet reached those heights of climate science denial infamy — but likely should — is the Mercer family.

The Koch and Exxon Funded Think Tanks Supporting, and Being Courted by, Britain’s Brexit Campaigners

Read time: 7 mins
Owen Paterson speaking at the Heritage Foundation

The Republican National Convention kicks off this week in Cleveland, Ohio and among the crowd clamouring to see Donald Trump will be one man who crossed the Atlantic to be there: Nigel Farage.

The former head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) helped lead Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) and is famous for saying last year “I haven’t got a clue whether climate change is being driven by carbon-dioxide emissions.”

But he’s made the trip this week to deliver a message to Republicans that the UK’s vote to leave the EU, or ‘Brexit’, holds lessons for America.

How US Senators’ #WebofDenial Helped Spawn and Sustain Climate Science Denial in the UK

Read time: 5 mins
Senator Whitehouse describing the Web of Denial in the US Senate

In the 1990s, personnel from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) were flying across oceans to stoke climate science denial.

In 1995, in what is thought to be the first conference promoting climate science denial in Britain, the CEI’s then president Fred Smith joined another US guest from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for a series of talks that undermined warnings about the impacts of fossil fuels on the climate.

Now more than 20 years on, Democratic Senators from across the pond have completed a blitz of speeches describing the fossil fuel funded “web of denial” – with organisations including the CEI featuring heavily in their forensic analysis.

This “web of denial” has held back action to cut greenhouse gas emissions while confusing the public on climate change. 

Jane Mayer's "Dark Money" Book Reveals Koch Brothers Paid Firm Run by Former NYPD Chief to Smear Her

Read time: 6 mins

The just-published book “Dark Money,” penned by New Yorker staff reporter Jane Mayer, reveals that the Koch Brothers hired the former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD— and his daughter, a former FBI agent  to smear her as a “plagiarist” in the months after the release of her August 2010 bombshell article on the Kochs.

That article, titled “Covert Operations,” served at the time as one of the first in-depth pieces of long-form investigative journalism on David and Charles Koch and the influential right-wing political and climate change denial Tea Party network they had Frankensteined. Mayer's book exposes that the Kochs hired the firm Vigilant Resources International, run by former NYPD head Howard Safir and his daughter Jennifer Safir (the former FBI special agent), to do dirty work on their behalf.

Republican Donor Stands by Scandal-Rocked UK Climate Denial Charity He Helped to Fund

Read time: 3 mins

Republican donor David Herro is standing by Lord Lawson’s UK climate change science denying charity – which he helped to fund – amidst allegations that its peer review process is flawed.

In December 2015, Greenpeace revealed that one of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s (GWPF) leading academic advisers Professor William Happer offered to write an academic paper casting doubt on climate change on behalf of a fictitious oil company. Happer suggested this paper be reviewed under the GWPF’s ‘peer review process’.

When asked whether these revelations have any impact on his decision to fund the GWPF, Herro responded stating: “No comment till proof is provided of an unethical behavior.”

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