A New Special Relationship for America and Britain Emerges with Climate Science Deniers Linked to Trump and Brexit

US-UK Climate Science Denier Network

On Friday, 20 January, fossil fuel lobbyists and climate science deniers from both sides of the Atlantic will step out of the shadows and into the White House as Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

DeSmog UK has mapped this new US-UK climate science denier network, held together in large part by conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, to shed light on this growing group of influencers. 

Since November, the president-elect has been gathering his team together; the men that will form the top positions of influence and decision making within his government.

Rather than ‘draining the swamp’, Trump has chosen to surround himself with the same actors who have long been pushing climate misinformation and lobbying against environmental protection.

Front and centre are individuals linked to well known funders of climate science denial, the Kochs, the Mercers, and the Heritage Foundation. And as our new map shows, this isn’t limited to the United States.

Over the past few months, DeSmog UK has been tracking a Brexit climate denier network and their increasingly intertwined dealings with climate science deniers across the pond. 

Nigel Farage’s many trips to see Trump may be the flashiest of these links, with their meetings frequently making headlines featuring the picture of the two men standing in front of Trump’s golden elevator.

Upon closer inspection, however, other links quickly emerge such as that between UK international trade secretary Liam Fox and the Heritage Foundation, or between British climate science denier and coal mine owner, Matt Ridley, and Myron Ebell, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team under Trump.

On the LittleSis map below we have outlined the key players that make up this special relationship. For simplicity and navigability, not every single person within this network is featured here. Instead, we chose to include the primary nodes which connect the newly formed cabinets headed-up by president-elect Donald Trump and the UK’s prime minister Theresa May.

Scroll and zoom on the map to explore all the connections.  Click on the individuals or the relationship links between the various entities to learn more about their connections.

Key Relationships

The Heritage Foundation: Perhaps one of the most crucial nodes holding this network together is the Heritage Foundation. This free market think tank, known for promoting climate science denial and previously taking funding from ExxonMobil, serves as the most direct link through which British and American administrations are connected.

Not only has Heritage been busy filling up positions within the Trump team, but it has long supported and been lobbied by several Brexit climate deniers. Just weeks after his appointment as international trade secretary, Liam Fox met with over a dozen Heritage Foundation members – including its president and former Tea Partier Jim DeMint and several individuals who now make up members of Trump’s team as shown in the map. It’s worth mentioning too that Fox’s former special advisor as Defence Secretary, Luke Coffey, now works for Heritage.

In October, the Heritage Foundation joined up with another Koch-funded think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (for which Ebell has been the head of its environment and global warming policy), and the UK's TaxPayers' Alliance to host a discussion panel on free trade at the Conservative Party Conference. And most recently in November, EU Member of Parliament, Brexiteer, and climate science denier, Daniel Hannan, also made a trip over to Heritage’s D.C. headquarters to talk trade.

Trump and Farage: Nigel Farage, former head of UKIP and one of the main leaders behind the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, has met with the president-elect on numerous occasions. In July, he attended the Republican National Convention as Trump was starting his campaign and it’s reported he’ll be attending Trump’s inauguration as well. During a November meeting between the two at Trump Tower (for which UKIP’s millionaire backer Arron Banks and his right-hand man Andy Wigmore were also present) it was reported that Trump urged Farage to continue his fight against windfarms in Scotland.

Ridley and Ebell: It turns out that Matt Ridley and Myron Ebell – both known for their efforts to misinform the public about climate change in their respective countries – are, at the very least, acquaintances. As Ridley recently wrote in an article in the Times, not only does he know Ebell but he also supports his views on climate change. And, in February both Ridley and Ebell will be speaking at an event in Brussels on the future of Conservative environmental policy (they will be accompanied by Daniel Hannan and former UK energy minister Lord Gregory Barker).

DeSmog UK’s US-UK climate science denier map is published ahead of a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation into the controversial figures surrounding Trump and their “far-reaching consequences beyond America”. The programme, “President Trump’s Dirty Secrets”, will air Monday 16 January at 8pm.

Want to explore some more? Check out DeSmog UK’s post-Brexit climate science denier map as well as DeSmogBlog’s map of the Koch allies filling up Trump’s administration.

Spot any links we may have missed out? Drop us a note in the comments below.  

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