Trump, the Paris Climate Agreement and Scrooge McDuck

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(Image via @chelseahandler)

To understand Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Accord we only need to follow the money behind climate change denial, writes Jim Pembroke.

THE WORLD'S collective jaw dropped the other day, when U.S President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the plug on the Paris Climate Accord

Sure, we knew it was coming, but no one thought it would really happen. We figured the whole Russian thing would destroy Trump long before he got a chance to destroy the planet. 

But quicker than you can say, anthropogenic climate change, the Yanks were gone. 

And like a young war bride falling for those phoney GI charms, we were left stranded and angry at a Parisian railway station.

And we are very angry — madder than a steel worker at a robotics conference. Because, why should those forgotten people of the rust belt be allowed to condemn the entire world to a blast furnace?

But who is really to blame for this mess? Angry white men, people who didn't vote, Donald Trump and his troupe of bad impersonators?

For an answer to this we need to dip our toes – once again – into the murky waters of secret donations, clandestine organisations and fictional Disney characters. This is a tale about the unidentified rich who sit high on a stack of cash in their air-conditioned money vaults, while secretly bankrolling climate change denial. The Scrooge McDucks of this world. 

An imaginary Disney character is about as close as we'll get to the identity of these cloak and dagger contributors, because the hundreds of millions of dollars they donate to climate denial organisations are routed via third party payments. 

This “dark money” is channelled anonymously through conservative organisations, like Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, whose stated mission is a commitment to "liberty". Now that sounds fine until you realise that this includes the freedom to fund think tanks and activists who spread disinformation and confusion, scorning global warming and climate science. 

Despite all the cloak and dagger stuff, the donations of some of these wealthy birds have been well documented. The fossil fuel industry and, in particular, ExxonMobil and the Koch family, have considerable history in the climate denial space. Exxon have been accused of covering up climate change research and American businessman Charles Koch has reportedly funded climate denial activity to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

But it's not just the wealthy ducks from the fossil fuel sector feeding the mayhem. Even companies who publically declare their grand support for climate action have made political donations to climate deniers. Google, Microsoft, eBay have all contributed to politicians who oppose climate legislation, while at the same time spruiking their own climate credentials to the public. The subsequent self-serving rationalisation of these Scrooge McDucks is evidence: there's at least one thing they want more than improving the environment, their huge bank balances.

Likely, there were many factors affecting the decision to pull out of the Paris Accord. But without the confusion sewn by secretly funded denialists, it's likely that rational, scientific thought would have won the day and the U.S. might still be part of the Paris Accord. However, the Scrooge McDucks of this world could never allow their ideology of money to be threatened by regulations — whether climate change is real or not.

You see, failing crops, water shortages, or savage storm events may wreak havoc on the rest of us, but won't really affect the billionaires and corporations.

Like Uncle Scrooge, they'll be swimming high on their mountains of coins, always safe from the rising waters of global warming.

Read more from Jim Pembroke on his blog jimselbow.wordpress.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jim_Pembroke.

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