Climate Denial Is Corruption, and the GOP Is Captured By It

Dave Johnson

While the world warms, the climate deniers are out in force, trying not only to sabotage American efforts to fight climate change but also to undermine international talks.

We are witnessing a spectacle of corruption, and the stakes literally could not be higher. It is an astonishing spectacle. The Republican party is working to sabotage efforts to fight climate change and is doing this because the fossil-fuel industry – and billionaires whose fortunes came from that industry – funds so much of their messaging and campaign infrastructure, and their candidates. This is not ideology; it is flat-out corruption.

Republicans are working to undermine President Obama’s – and the world’s – climate agenda. Obviously Republicans have been working to obstruct efforts to control carbon output through legislation and regulation, to block government efforts to trigger new technologies like electric cars, to kill tax incentives that promote alternative energy sources such as solar and wind – and to literally derail efforts to build U.S. high-speed rail routes. Not as obviously, they are working to derail international climate talks as well.

Republicans are approaching other countries before the upcoming Paris climate talks, telling them it will do no good to come to an agreement because they will kill anything that comes before the Senate and any future Republican president. And they are working on strategies to get courts to require that any agreement does come before the Senate.

Politico reported the story Tuesday, “GOP to attack climate pact at home and abroad“:

The GOP strategy, emerging after months of quiet discussions, includes sowing doubts about Obama’s climate policies at home and abroad, trying to block key environmental regulations in Congress, and challenging the legitimacy of the president’s attempts to craft a global agreement without submitting a treaty to the Senate.

… McConnell himself warned foreign leaders last spring to “proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal” with Obama, noting that “two-thirds of the U.S. federal government” — Congress and the Supreme Court — hasn’t signed off on the president’s plans.

There is one and only one interest that wants the climate talks to fail – fossil-fuel companies. There is one and only one interest that wants people to believe that there is no need to fight the climate change their industry’s pollution is causing. It is simply remarkable to see a political party working so obviously in the service of an industry like we see today. This level of blatant, obvious corruption for all to see is unprecedented.

Climate denial is not “ideology”; it is simply corruption. You can’t have an “ideology” that says one plus one equals three, but you can have a wealthy interest that wants it to be three and pays a political party to say so. When we finally see this as nothing more than corruption, we will understand how it should be dealt with.

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