The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
200+ Scientists Want Trump-Backer and Climate Denial Funder Rebekah Mercer Kicked Off Natural History Museum Board
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.
- Who is Rebekah Mercer? - Trump Transition Executive Rebekah ... ›
- The heiress quietly shaping Trump's operation - POLITICO ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.