If you are a U.S. Senator or a Senate candidate, it pays to deny the science behind climate change, or at least to work against legislative action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the conclusion drawn by a report released yesterday by Climate Action Network Europe. The group combed through public campaign finance records and found that “European polluters fund anti-climate crusaders in the U.S. while simultaneously fighting against strong climate legislation in Europe.”
Follow the Climate Change Denial Money
It’s no secret that virtually all of the candidates for U.S. Senate fielded by one of our two major political parties either flatly deny that climate change is a measurable phenomenon, or advance some other argument against taking action to reduce greenhouse gasses. A couple of candidates from the other party also share the same page. Climate Action Network found that the companies behind some of Europe’s major greenhouse gas emissions, including BAYER, BASF Solvay, Lafarge, BP, GDF-SUEZ, Arcelor-Mittal and EON, have contributed a total of $240,000 to these U.S. .Senate campaigns.
And Follow, and Follow…
The overseas funding might sound like nothing more than a placeholder compared to the tens of millions that domestic business interests have spent fighting climate action, and perhaps that is what it is intended to be. While European companies support their U.S. Senate candidates with direct campaign contributions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched attack ads against Senate candidates who support climate action, for example in California and Pennsylvania. The lobbying group Americans for Prosperity has also staged elaborate campaigns against U.S. Senate climate action supporters, for example in Virginia. To top it all off, there’s the money that domestic oil companies are spending to promote California’s Proposition 23, which would effectively repeal the state’s landmark greenhouse gas legislation. Good thing there’s still one thing that money can’t buy, and that’s your vote.
Image: The Earth by aussiegal on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.