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As Evidence of Man-Made Global Warming Hits 'Gold Standard,' Robert Mercer Continues Funding Denialists

Mercer’s denial is eroding our future and that of our children, too

Robert Mercer

Robert Mercer, a major backer of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, continues to fund efforts to deny the human-caused climate crisis. (Photo: Oliver Contreras for the Washington Post via Getty Images)

One of the world’s most secretive billionaires is still pouring millions into climate denial, despite scientists concluding we have reached the “gold standard” linking human activity to climate change.

Indeed, this week Australia has just experienced its hottest summer ever and the U.K. has just experienced its hottest winter day ever.

As the record temperatures continue, this week new scientific research concluded that the so-called “gold standard” level of certainty has been reached, with scientists now 99.9 percent convinced that human activity is causing climate change.

The scientists are saying that there is only a one-in-a-million chance that recent global warming is not the result of human activity.

“Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,” the scientists concluded in the journal Nature Climate Change, having analysed 40 years of satellite measurements of rising temperatures.

Benjamin Santer, lead author of the study, from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, told Reuters, “The narrative out there that scientists don’t know the cause of climate change is wrong. We do.”

But some diehard climate deniers refuse to accept the scientific consensus and continue to pour money into climate denial. And one of those is Robert Mercer.

Last year I blogged how: “for years now, Mercer has been shaping the political and public arena in the U.S. by pouring tens of millions into causes that resonate with his libertarian views, which include climate denial. The Mercer Foundation spent nearly $4 million directly funding groups funding climate denial between 2003 and 2010. Others have the figure much higher.” At the time, Desmog estimated that the Mercers had pumped at least $22 million into climate denial organizations.

And to that list add another $5 million.


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A new investigation by the Climate Investigations Centre and HuffPost, found that in 2017, Robert Mercer and his family foundation donated nearly $5 million to nonprofits and think tanks that “that oppose federal regulations targeting greenhouse gas emissions, challenge the scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is an immediate crisis, or promote or funnel cash to denial proponents.”

This included $170,000 donation to the CO2 Coalition, which was co-founded by William Happer, out of the ashes from the now defunct George C. Marshall Institute.

Happer has recently been nominated by Trump to lead a so-called national security panel on climate. As I blogged last week:

Happer’s contention that CO2 is good for ‘mankind’ and the atmosphere is the same sentiment that I heard a prominent climate denier give to an OPEC conference in the mid-nineties. The argument hasn’t changed for twenty five years. CO2 is good in a greenhouse as it makes tomatoes grow bigger, was the line. That may be true, but it is simplistic nonsense in the real world away from a lab. We know that CO2 is heating the atmosphere, with devastating consequences that have become more apparent by the day. It is not rocket science to understand.

And actually the scientist I was talking about speaking at the OPEC conference in Vienna in the nineties was Richard Lindzen, who surprise, surprise, is on the board of the CO2 coalition. The group’s members also include numerous long-term climate deniers, such Craig Idso, and Patrick Michaels, who have decades of climate denial and scepticism behind them.

In the book Green Backlash, published in 1996, I wrote how “Michaels and Idso receive funding from the fossil fuel lobby,” with Michaels at the time being funded by utility and coal companies.

For the second year in a row, the new figures reveal that the Mercers also gave $800,000 to the Heartland Institute, another leading climate denial organisation, which organises the annual get-together of international climate skeptics and deniers.

Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center, who has spent decades exposing the climate deniers, told HuffPost: “It appears that climate denial is a priority of the Mercer family.”

And Mercer’s denial is eroding our future and that of our children, too.

Andy Rowell

Andy Rowell is a staff blogger for Oil Change International in addition to working as a freelance writer and investigative journalist who specializes in environmental, health and lobbying issues. Follow him on Twitter: @andy_rowell

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