Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

200+ Scientists Want Trump-Backer and Climate Denial Funder Rebekah Mercer Kicked Off Natural History Museum Board

Popular
200+ Scientists Want Trump-Backer and Climate Denial Funder Rebekah Mercer Kicked Off Natural History Museum Board
Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert, oversee the Mercer Family Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million to groups that deny climate science. Dgmuir / Twitter

By Julia Conley

More than 200 scientists have called on the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to cut ties with board member Rebekah Mercer, the billionaire backer of President Donald Trump who has also funded "climate denial" groups in order to protect the fossil fuel industry's pollution-causing extraction of oil and gas.


"We ask the American Museum of Natural History, and all public science museums, to end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation, and to have Rebekah Mercer leave the American Museum of Natural History Board of Trustees," wrote the group, which includes James Hansen, who first brought climate change to the U.S. government's attention in 1988, and other prominent researchers.

Mercer has held her position on the museum's board since 2013. Along with her billionaire father, Robert Mercer, she oversees the Mercer Family Foundation. The group has donated more than $2 million to organizations that deny the consensus that the earth is in a state of climate crisis driven by human activity.

The foundation's contributions include $800,000 to the Heartland Institute, which holds regular meetings promoting the denial of climate crisis, and $500,000 to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank which, as recently as this month, has published articles claiming that cold weather proves that the Earth is not warming.

"The most important asset any museum has is its credibility," wrote the scientists. "This can be damaged by ties to donors and board members who are publicly known for investing in climate science obfuscation and opposing environmental solutions."

Mercer has also sought to directly impact the Trump administration's climate policy. She reportedly suggested to the president that Arthur Robinson, who has called scientists' belief in climate crisis "a false religion" and distributed a widely-discredited petition signed by supposed experts which stated that global warming is not harmful, should be named the administration's chief science advisor.

Along with calling for Mercer's dismissal, the letter took issue with "misleading information on climate science in an Exxon-funded exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History," which environmental economist Jonah Busch drew attention to in a tweet last week.

"To its credit, the AMNH's response was swift: it committed to updating the outdated information to reflect the best available science," the scientists noted. "But the initial online public anger showed that trust in the museum is undermined by the museum's association with climate science opponents."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less