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Clean Power Climate Action Network reports that european companies fund U.S. senate climate change deniers

Published on October 26th, 2010 | by Tina Casey

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U.S. Senate Climate Change Deniers Get a Little Help from Their Friends

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October 26th, 2010 by
 
Climate Action Network reports that european companies fund U.S. senate climate change deniersIf 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.

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About the Author

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. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Tina Casey

    Note to James Fuller: I did not post your comment because it included name-calling and profanities. If you would like to represent your position in a more convincing manner, please engage in a more civil and thoughtful discussion of the scientific record, and include links to your sources. I will be happy to post it.

  • http://www.earthfacts.net Joe Earth

    I’m not sure why this is considered surprising. Industries that are affected by climate change are often multinational. Of course they would want support for their position in both the US and in Europe.

    I agree with Myles Kehoe that interest groups are funding both sides of the argument. Not surprising, either.

    • Tina Casey

      Nobody said there was any surprise here. The key question, aside from who is spending how much money, is which ones among these “interest groups” are interested in promoting the general welfare over the long run, and whether your definition of general welfare includes a safe and healthy environment.

  • Tina Casey

    Myles Kehoe: I believe that your central point is that we should be focusing on renewable energy and pollution control based on their own merits. I agree. However I disagree strongly regarding your secondary point, which seems to be that there are no other merits. In addition, your secondary point contradicts your main point. Excess greenhouse gases are pollutants (an otherwise harmless substance can be a pollutant when it occurs in excess), so they fall into that category of “keeping pollution out of our waterways ets.” that you argue should be the focus of our efforts. The IPCC reports (I believe that’s what you mean — I don’t know what IPPC is) consist of the “real science that is peer reviewed” regarding the connection between human activity, greenhouse gasses and global warming. Denying the existence of a measurable phenomenon will not make it any less measurable.

    • Don WV

      Tina, The scientific reality is that even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been unable to demonstrate a cause-and-effect scientific connection between rising human CO2 emissions and dangerous warming. To support global limits on CO2 emissions, in the absence of real-world data showing clear cause and effect, is scientific and policy incompetence on the highest order.

      Imagine a drug company seeking FDA approval for a new drug, based on an analysis that says simply: “Our supercomputers say the drug is safe and effective. We have no clinical data to support this, but can think of no reason actual results would contradict what our computers predict. Moreover, failure to license the drug will be disastrous for patients suffering from the targeted disease.” Failing to demand actual dose-and-response studies, before licensing the drug, would be gross negligence on FDA’s part.

      Between 2007 and 2009, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped approximately 10%, to their lowest level since 1995, largely because of reduced energy consumption during the recession. Similar CO2 emission reductions occurred in Britain, Germany, France and Japan.

      Have their climates gotten better or less dangerous? Are they now a better place, for having a lower intensity carbon energy diet? Have global temperatures been statistically unchanged since 1995 because, or in spite of, Chinese and Indian carbon dioxide emissions increasing far more than the aforementioned countries reduced theirs?
      The central issue is not whether rising CO2 levels will cause a warmer planet. The fundamental concern is whether globally warmer temperatures are factually worse (or better) for human societies — and more (or less) damaging to the environment — than colder temperatures (like those experienced during the ice ages and Little Ice Age).
      Al Gore and Bill Gates need to consider the likelihood that, driven by changes in solar activity and ocean circulation, Earth will cool significantly over coming decades. Damaging the global economy with ineffectual carbon dioxide controls, in a futile quest to “stop global warming,” looks stupid now.

      • Tina Casey

        Don: Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your civility (except for your last paragraph) even though you clearly disagree with my point of view. However, your first paragraph demonstrates that you will never accept any evidence that human activity is linked to global climate change. Such evidence exists now and you choose to ignore it. In the second paragraph, your FDA analogy is off the mark. Computer modeling is a valid method of scientific investigation and in any case, the scientific consensus on climate change is also based on what you call “clinical data,” not only on modeling. In the third and fourth paragraphs you confuse short term weather trends (2007-2009) with long term climate trends. In the fifth paragraph you raise a straw man. No-one is predicting that global efforts to control C02 emissions will risk bringing on colder temperatures in any region. Your sixth paragraph is simply insulting. This is not about two individuals, however influential they may be. Millions of far from stupid people are engaged in the effort to manage and reduce global C02 emissions, including many who are involved in business, finance, engineering, science, and any number of other skilled fields.

  • myles kehoe

    dont worry about the money both sides are being funded by seld interest groups
    be smart and follow the science
    the real science that is peer reviewed
    not the rubbish that comes from the IPPC scientists whos actions in diseminating false information is misleading
    who pays their salary
    real debate on the science does not get a chance because of the interest groups pushing their own barrow

    the the debate and effort should be on renewable energy ,keeping pollution out of our waterways ets
    not this mindless discussion on carbon pollution which does not make sence
    co2 is not the cause of dangerous global warming
    there are so many other threats to the environment that the real issues are being forgotton

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