Web of Power: Cambridge Analytica and the Climate Science Denial Network Lobbying for Brexit and Trump


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This is a& re-post from DeSmogUK by Mat Hope

It has been a heck of a few days in the spotlight for Cambridge Analytica& —& a ‘political consultancy’ that confesses it likes to operate in the& shadows.

Revelations continue to& emerge& about its practices, including allegations of& illegal use of Facebook data& and& corrupting foreign elections.

While the company denies any illegal behaviour, what we do know is that it has been behind& seismic political shocks on both sides of the Atlantic: Brexit, and the election of Donald& Trump.

Tied to those is a climate science denial agenda that seeks to slash regulation, and line the pockets of those with a vested interest in fossil& fuels.

This& map& shows how Cambridge Analytica lies at the heart of a network of operatives pushing climate science denial in the name of Brexit and& Trump:

View the& full interactive map on LittleSis. For more information and profiles of all the organisations and individuals, see& DeSmog& UK’s Disinformation Database.

From Cambridge Analytica to Trump, via the Mercers and a web of climate science& denial

On the& US& side,& Robert Mercer& and his daughter& Rebekah Mercer& are the key links. The Mercers& invested approximately $5 million& in Cambridge& Analytica.

The Mercers are also well known funders of climate science denial, and its current global posterboy& Donald Trump.

Robert Mercer emerged as the “single most influential donor to Trump” ahead of his election, according to the& Center for Public Integrity (CIP).& Robert Mercer's super& PAC, while not endorsing Donald Trump directly, would focus '”solely on attacking Clinton”,& Bloomberg reported.

Mercer's strategists, super& PACs, and other political organizations as well as his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, “emerged to play a pivotal role in Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign”, according to& The New York Times.

The Mercer Family Foundation also& spent at least $3,824,000 between 2003 and 2010& directly funding groups& opposing climate change action. That money went to organisations including& The Heartland Institute,& Manhattan Institute,& Media Research Center, and& Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM).

The Mercers are also linked to other major funders of climate science denial including the& Koch brothers. In 2014, Robert Mercer made& a $2.5 million contribution& into the Koch's& Freedom Partners Action Fund.

The Koch’s have& spent at least $100,343,292& on 84 groups denying climate change science between 1997 and 2011, according to Greenpeace — crucial years for international climate change& talks.

Another of Cambridge Analytica’s funders (and co-founders) is& Steve Bannon, former chief strategist for& Trump.

Prior to joining Trump, Bannon has been the figurehead of alt-right propaganda machine, Breitbart News. He returned to the organisation after his ignominious depature from the White& House.

Both Bannon and Breitbart are& well-known for their climate science denial. Bannon hired infamous& UK& climate science denier columnist& James Delingpole& as a Breitbart& editor.

For more information, see& DeSmog& UK’s map of a transatlantic network& politicians and lobbyists pushing for Trump and& Brexit.

From Cambridge Analytica to Brexit, via the& UK& government and anti-climate science& lobbyists

Cambridge Analytica also has well-publicised ties to Brexit. It was involved with unofficial anti-EU& campaign, Leave& EU, having been& hired by the group’s main funder,& Arron Banks.

Arron Banks infamously shared a photo opp with Donald Trump and chief Brexiteer& Nigel Farage& in a golden lift. Farage has& spoken at a number of events& hosted by right-wing lobby groups in the& US, including the anti-climate action& Heritage Foundation.

Banks is also& a political ally& of Conservative politician and current Leader of the House of Commons,& Andrea Leadsom. Leadsom, who has a slightly& shaky grasp of climate science, was a committee member of the official Brexit campaign group,& Vote Leave.

Vote Leave was also supported by two& members of the Conservative party, North Shropshire& MP& Owen Paterson& and hereditary peer& Matt Ridley. Both are well-known allies of the the& UK’s most prominent climate science denial campaign group, the& Global Warming Policy Foundation.

In October 2017, Paterson delivered& a speech& to an invited audience at the& Competitive Enterprise Institute& — a& US& thinktank infamous for spreading climate disinformation. He also& signed a& letter to the& BBC& complaining its coverage of the Brexit referendum was biased to the ‘remain’ side, and& declared his& support for Andrea Leadsom& in the Conservative party leadership contest following David Cameron’s& resignation.&

Cambridge Analytica also has ties to the party currently propping up Theresa May's government, the& Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), through its pro-Brexit& ties.

Infighting between the Leave& EU& and Vote Leave groups in the run up to the referendum spawned campaign group& Grassroots Out, which was fervently supported by& DUP& MP& and renowned climate science denier,& Sammy Wilson.& The& DUP& itself didn't have a single mention of “climate change” in its election manifesto, and has& hindered climate action in Ireland.

For more information, see& DeSmog& UK’s map& of climate science deniers pushing for Brexit based out of 55 Tufton& Street.