The Huffington Post reports that billionaires Robert and Rebekah Mercer are making a massive commitment to American ignorance by upping contributions to climate change denial.
The spending is notable not only for the large amounts, but because it seems to mark a shift in the world of climate-denial funding, which was once bolstered mainly by fossil fuel titans like Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil Corp. but has now become too extreme even for some of its original benefactors.
Those companies have not only found that their companies have been hurt by playing with the fake-science “institutes” that the Mercers are now funding, but many have found that their own profits are better supported by shifting toward renewable energy. While still riding out the fracking boom in oil and gas, Exxon has been devoting a great deal of time and attention to where it goes next.
One of the world’s biggest oil companies is working on hundreds of low-carbon energy projects, from algae engineered to bloom into biofuels and cells that turn emissions into electricity.
But the Mercers have not just stepped in to pick up the slack, they’ve actually increased the funding over previous levels, as well as funding new fake science groups that exist only to create confusion and spread the impression that there is dispute among scientists. The Mercer’s donations for many groups represent the majority of their budget. Meaning that these groups are nothing less than additional mouthpieces for Mercer—and for Donald Trump.
While climate change may be the obvious connection, what the Mercers are really buying is expertise: A network that adds a whole new set of propaganda tools to a growing stable.
Rebekah Mercer is considered the most powerful woman in Republican politics. From telling Donald Trump who to hire for his campaigns staff, to funding alt-Reich attacks at every level, she and her father have wielded outsized influence because of one simple factor—they have billions, and they are willing to spend them.