A Yale researcher set out to discover how much impact mega-wealthy corporations and individuals have had on the American public’s confusion about climate change.
The answer: Just as much as, if not more than, many have claimed—but, until now, could not measure objectively.

Justin Farrell combined several kinds of statistical, semantic, and network analysis—big data, in other words—to show that over the past two decades, climate contrarians funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers’ family foundations have been the most successful at spreading talking points on uncertainty about climate-change science into the U.S. news media and political discussions.

That messaging has helped fuel the American public’s disbelief about climate change, despite the worldwide scientific consensus that global warming is a pressing and major threat to both humanity and the environment. The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.  MORE