According to a Guardian article, a small number of right-wing billionaires have dumped upwards of $120 million into over 100 astroturf groups and ideology mills (they refer to themselves jokingly as "think tanks") for the express purpose of denying climate change, fabricating doubt in accepted climate science, promoting corrupt and/or fringe scientists willing to spout outright lies for a paycheck, and opposing any and all political action on climate change.
These vast sums of money were funneled through a "generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC" by two front trusts - Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. Donors were given two ironclad assurances: (1) Their identities would not be revealed, and (2)not a single dime would be diverted to "liberal causes" (apparently including science, truth, and accountability). The woman who runs Donors Trust, Whitney Ball, said this:
We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise."Liberty" in this perverse individual's mind apparently means the power of a few ultra-wealthy people with no ethics to buy whatever scientific results they want, shout down the truth, and purchase political decisions contrary to both scientific consensus and the clear public interest. Given the death toll already inflicted not just on the people of this country, but people around the world due to human-caused climate change, it may be within the purview of governments to investigate these organizations and their donors for criminal negligence and conspiracy if it can be proven they knew the crap they were selling was a lie (which I doubt would be too hard given how they've gone about it).
Let's be clear here: These secret funds vastly outweighed the amounts contributed in the light of day to these causes, and overwhelmingly went into the coffers of Republican Party politicians as the GOP has erected an Iron Curtain of obstruction around anything even resembling environmental policy. It's not because they're ideologues - ideology is just a cover story - it's corruption. Naked corruption. Unabashedly selling their country for silver and blithely skipping over the death toll when (and if) they ever read a newspaper whose editors aren't also on the payroll. I strongly suggest that anyone with family members who have died in extreme weather events over the past few years - especially ones overwhelmingly attributed to climate change - should take this personally, and investigate both US and international court actions against these arrogant scum.
Furthermore, I think finding out and publicizing (with proof) the identities of these secret climate denier donors is a task well-suited to the internet, and one I commend to any and all groups or individuals with the skills to approach the challenge.