Cambridge Analytica and climate science denial

Cambridge Analytica and Climate Science Denial

Climate science denial is at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

You know that Cambridge Analytica is facing accusations that it violated US election laws as well as misused the personal data of up to 50 million Americans. You may know that the Trump Campaign paid the company $6 million to target voters during the 2016 election.

You’re less likely to know that 17 other Republican political organizations run by such well-known figures as Sen. Ted Cruz and incoming national security advisor John Bolton spent another $16 million for the company’s advanced micro-targeting services.

You probably don’t know that Cambridge Analytica played an important role in Europe’s “Brexit” campaign.

What ties all these links together? As the DesmogUK demonstrates, the connection 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 Trump, Brexit, and Cambridge Analytica are all part of the climate science denial industry:

Click on the image to open a new window on LittleSys with the full map.


In the United States, the key link is Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekkah. DesmogUK reports that they invested more than $5 million in Cambridge Analytica. They also were Trump’s most important financial backers early in his campaign, and they are major supporters of the climate science denial industry. Between 2004 and 2010, their foundation spent a minimum of $3.8 million funding the major climate science denial organizations such as the Heartland Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and the Media Research Center. In 2014 Robert Mercer also donated $2.5 million to the Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Action Fund. The Kochs, of course, have spent more than $100 million on 84 groups that deny climate science.

There’s quite a bit more in the DesmogUK article, including a lot more about Brexit. But all of this: Cambridge Analytica, Trump, the Mercers, the Koch Brothers, Brexit, and the links connecting them all, are among the signs of a global industrial civilization approaching its end game. The holders of vast wealth in fossil fuels will not go quietly into the night. They will rage, rage against the dying of the light. And if we don’t stop them very soon, our descendants will face centuries of suffering. A great storm is coming, and denial will only make the catastrophe that much worse.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

About the author

David Backes

I have always been drawn to where the wild things are: the natural world around me, and the wilderness within. As a writer, speaker, and university professor, I have for decades focused on this combination of nature and the human spirit. In recent years, my spiritual journey has added another lens: social, environmental and intergenerational justice. Put it all together and you’ve got The Earth Keeper, a blog of integral ecology and the prophetic imagination. The Earth Keeper may at times make you feel hopeful or inspired; it may make you feel uncomfortable or defensive or even angry. I hope it often will be challenging, and always interesting.

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