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A Snapshot of the Big Money Behind Climate Change Denialism

Is your mind just blown to fucking next year to learn that Koch Industries tea party tool/PAC Americans for Prosperity has been "making a sport": of bullying Republican lawmakers into positions of climate...

by Michael Byrne
Dec 10 2011, 8:05pm

Is your mind just blown to fucking next year to learn that Koch Industries tea party tool/PAC Americans for Prosperity has been making a sport of bullying Republican lawmakers into positions of climate change denialism? Like, think of how unprecedented this is, politicians answering to industry. Insane in the membrane I say.

Media Matters’ Political Correction lays it down in a blog post:

Three years ago, prominent Republicans including Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Tim Pawlenty, and Sarah Palin all expressed belief in human-caused climate change. Several even voiced strong support for policies to cap and reduce carbon pollution. Today, all six of these leaders have joined the rest of the Republican Party in a sudden and near-unified retreat to silence or denial.

When contacted by the National Journal, only 65 out of all 289 GOP lawmakers in Congress would agree to be interviewed on the topic. Of those interviewed, only 19 said they believed that human activities are at least partly responsible for climate change. Of the 19, only five (or fewer than 2 percent of GOP lawmakers) attributed a “significant amount” of climate change to human activity.

Weird! Year after year the science behind global warming gets better and better. It doesn’t get a whole lot more certain: the planet is warming up and humans are behind it. You might well be arguing against the Earth orbiting the Sun. Hey, the Koch brothers should get Republican lawmakers to start arguing that position next. Just for fun. Anyhow, this is the key quote, from AFP’s Tim Phillips via the National Journal:

“If you look where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there’s been a dramatic turnaround. … We’ve made great headway. What it means for the candidates on the Republican side, is if you … buy into green energy or you play footsie on this issue, you do so at your political peril. … And that’s our influence. Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it.”

So, to recap: the Koch brothers make tons of money off fossil fuels, pass on a ton of that money to its political arm, the AFP, which then ensures that right-wing politicians don’t say or do anything to fuck with the fossil fuel industry, even if it means ignoring science, e.g. what is actually real. Or, as a politician, you could show some amount of backbone and embrace actual science — and be rewarded by losing your next election. This is how democracy actually works in our country.


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Via Think Progress. Image: Gus Ruelas/Greenpeace.