Who is Paying for gop Climate Change Deniers?

The Oil and Gas Industry, electricity providers, primarily, and Koch Bros.’ and their groups as individuals and secret super PACS, as well as what they give directly from their energy businesses and others, that’s who. Anyone who believes that these positions are based on study, expertise, or consultation with actual experts, is greatly misguided. It is money and campaign contributions and power that fuels the “strongly held beliefs’ of gop elected officials and candidates, and nothing more, with the rare exception of some who also throw in religion, such as Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who come January, will be Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Sen. Inhofe, the most powerful and vocal climate change denier in the government, has slightly tempered his otherwise unrelenting denial of the scientific facts of climate change to say that if it were true, God would save us from the effects of extreme weather.

Let’s start with Inhofe. Year after year, his largest campaign contributors* are first and foremost, the Oil and Gas industry, followed by those electricity providers. When he ran for re-election in 2008, his largest contributors were, in order, Koch Industries, Anadarko Petroleum, and Valero Energy, and Oil and Gas and electricity providers overall contributed over $1.1 million to that campaign. This year, it was less from them, around $800,000, but his overall fundraising was down more than 25%, as he had no viable opposition to worry about.

Soon-to–be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, from the great coal-mining state of Kentucky, has been all over the media the past few days, attempting to ridicule Pres. Obama’s landmark agreement with the Chinese over greenhouse gas emission regulation, and while this is nothing new for him, his rhetoric has now been further inflamed by the sum of $1.7 million in campaign contributions from energy and energy-related companies for his recent hotly contested re-election campaign. Of course, McConnell has always gotten the bulk of his campaign funding from mega-banks, but $1.7 mil is no drop in the bucket, and he has never waivered from his undying allegiance to the quid pro quo, hence his calling the US-China agreement “rather ridiculous”.

Speaking of “Ridiculous” and gop leadership, there is also tea bagger house Speaker John Boehner, who received more than $1.5 million in campaign funding from Oil and Gas, Mining industry, and electricity providers for his re-election. His list of top-20 donors reads like a who’s who of fossil fuel providers, including the likes of Murray Energy, FirstEnergy Corp., American Electric Power, Marathon Petroleum, Jennmar Corp., Alliance Resource Partners, Drummond Co, and more. Of interest, apart from his massive base of energy companies, is the fact that he also receives major contributions from cigarette and cigar companies, such as Hay Island Holding and Altria Group, owner of Philip Morris. Boehner this week said that he will fight the President “tooth and nail” on such issues.

These guys, and most of the gop hierarchy, are at least consistent in their purported beliefs and public statements. But, then there are the two-faced creeps like Louisiana governor and 2016 gop presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal, who one day will say that he does believe that human activity is effecting climate, but then he goest to a Heritage Foundation gathering, and tells them that such concepts are merely excuses for unnecessary left-wing regulation. And of course, he demonstrated his overpowering stupidity when he called the Obama administration a group of “science deniers” for opposing construction of the obscene Keystone XL pipeline and for not “eviscerating the Environmental Protection Agency into oblivion”.

So, where does Jindal's money come from, you ask? Well, Jindal has set up an interesting method of extorting, uh, … soliciting, that's it, soliciting, funds from the oil and gas industry, and others. He asks for and receives donations to his campaigns from all the usual suspects, but he and his wife have set up a separate "foundation", ostensibly for charity, but which receives big bucks from major contributors. A couple of years back Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reported on the "foundation" and how it was being used to get around Louisiana campaign
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laws that limit both individuals and corporations from contributing more than $5,000 to a political candidate per election cycle. The report showed how the same contributors who were giving Jindal’s campaigns a few thousand dollars where also giving the foundation a few hundred thousand dollars. This included the likes of Marathon Oil, which runs a major oil refinery in Garyville, La.. and which through various subsidiaries, saw a 20-fold return of $5.2 million in various state funds paid back to them.

These few guys represent the vast number of the gop’s elected officials who unilaterally stick to the party-donor line of climate denial. But what of the “scientists” who issue their phony reports, which the politicians use to make their lies sound at least 1% credible? Go no further than the Drexel University report of late 2013, conducted by environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, that found that over a seven year period of 2003 to 2010, 140 third-party, pass-through foundations like Searle Freedom Trust, the John Williams Pope

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Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, DonorsTrust, and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, paid the sum of $558 Million to organizations for the purpose of producing climate denial materials. He also found that Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were "heavily involved" in funding climate change denial efforts that used scientists as the front men, voicing the words and data prepared by "an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers."**

Here is an excellent article from 2010 detailing many of the efforts being done then by the Koch Bros. to fund and disseminate bogus information for the purpose of discrediting the established science of climate change: “Koch Industries multibillionaire Koch brothers bankroll attacks on climate change science and policy”

Another great article, “Dealing in doubt: how big oil funds climate denial” by Cindy Baxter, contains this passage, which sums if all up:

“We give special attention to perhaps today’s poster child of the climate denial machine’s free market think tanks, the Heartland Institute, which is about to launch a new version of its “NIPCC” or “climate change reconsidered” report next week in Chicago. Unlike the real IPCC, with thousands of scientists involved from around the world, the Heartland Institute’s handful of authors is paid. Several of them claim fake scientific credentials

They start with a premise of proving the overwhelming consensus on climate science wrong, whereas the real IPCC simply summarizes the best science to date on climate change

This multi-million dollar campaign has been funded by anti-government ideologues like the Koch brothers, companies like ExxonMobil and trade associations like the American Petroleum Institute.”

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*Figures are drawn from several sources, but primarily from OpenSecrets.org and VoteSmart.org
**For more details see “Dark Money” Funds Climate Change Denial Effort”, ScientificAmerican.com, Dec. 23, 2013

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