Donald Trump has finally come to the UK, 20 months after he won the election to make him the 45th President of the United States.
During that time, a trans-Atlantic network of business people, think tank analysts, and lobbyists have grown in influence — pushing a free market ideology and spreading climate science denial on both sides of the Atlantic.
DeSmog UK first mapped the network when Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. Things have moved on a bit since then.
It is 20 years since Northern Ireland’s leaders signed the Good Friday Agreement. After decades of conflict, the deal laid out how the country would be governed and has proved fragile over the last two decades.
That fragility has been exacerbated over the past 10 months, ever since UK prime minister Theresa May signed a “supply and confidence” pact with Northern Ireland’s pro-Brexit, socially conservative, climate science denying, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up her Conservative government.
The DUP ’s presence as a governing partner threatens the Good Friday Agreement, as the party has regularly criticised the deal's requirement that both of Northern Ireland’s main parties rule in coalition.
The DUP says this effectively gives their opponents Sinn Fein a veto over major political decisions. Northern Ireland has been without an executive since January 2017 when Sinn Fein resigned from government in protest over the handling of a bungled biomass energy scheme.
The DUP’s new found power also amplifies the influence of a network of Brexiteer climate science deniers with ties to the party. Together, this network is pushing to roll back the UK’s climate commitments through a ‘hard’ Brexit, while also threatening Northern Ireland’s fragile governing arrangements.
It has been a heck of a few days in the spotlight for Cambridge Analytica — a ‘political consultancy’ that confesses it likes to operate in the shadows.
While the company denies any illegal behaviour, what we do know is that it has been behind seismic political shocks on both sides of the Atlantic: Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump.
Tied to those is a climate science denial agenda that seeks to slash regulation, and line the pockets of those with a vested interest in fossil fuels.
The World Economic Forum in Davos is a very weird event, with billionaire business leaders, heads of state and select policy wonks all mingling at a swanky Swiss resort.
But the chat isn’t just focused on how one percent of the world’s population can keep 82 percent of the world’s wealth — glasses of prosecco are occasionally downed to discuss technology, trade deals and gender inequality, with a smattering of talk about climate change and the fossil fuel industry thrown in for good measure.
After a day of speculation about who would move where, prime minister Theresa May has revealed her new cabinet - and like the majority of departments, not much has changed for the climate and energy sector.
1. Theresa May
What a year the prime minister has had. An election she won but also basically lost, Brexit negotiations that she’s pretty much losing but claims she’ll ultimately win, and a climate action agenda that despite her recent strong words still seems pretty uncertain at best.
As May is keen to point out, on her watch the UK has reaffirmed a pledge to phase-out coal by 2025, the UK had a coal free day for the first time since the industrial revolution, and the government has made some positive noises about electric vehicles.
But at the same time, members of her party having been busy meeting with climate science deniers in the US, and continue to push disinformation about climate change in the national media. And that’s not to mention what Brexit could do to the UK’s environmental regulations.
Two of Prime Minister Theresa May’s special advisers met with a libertarian US think tank founded by climate science denial funder Charles Koch last winter, but Number 10 Downing Street will not say why.
The failure to disclose the details of the meetings with the Cato Institute raises questions about whether there is a loophole regarding disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.
DeSmog UK can reveal that on February 16 special advisors Chris Brannigan and Jimmy McLoughlin attended a lunch hosted at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. According to the think tank, trade issues were discussed.
On June 23 2016, 46 million voters merrily skipped to the polls to have their say about whether the UK should remain in the European Union. Early the following morning, it was revealed that 52 percent of the population had voted Leave.
Most were shocked, a small majority were joyous, the rest were dismayed — including many who were concerned Brexit would mean the UK’s climate policy and environmental regulation coming under attack.
One year on, the negotiations have formally started and things have progressed… a bit.