Although it has taken some time to convince many Americans that the effects of anthropogenic climate change cannot be denied, it seems a majority of people finally understand the government has to intervene. However, despite the will of the people, and President Obama’s efforts, the industry getting rich off of destroying Earth’s climate and wreaking havoc on Americans’ lives are ramping up their war to perpetuate the effects of climate change. There are two fronts in the dirty energy industry’s war on the climate with funding and legislative support from the Koch brothers on renewable energy and regulations to reduce carbon emissions.
Apparently the Koch brothers, the Heartland Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and their dirty energy cohorts have reached the end of their patience with the movement toward green and renewable energy sources in this country. Recognizing the economic growth benefits of renewable energy such as wind and solar technologies, not to mention the health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are driving anthropogenic climate change, state after state passed renewable energy standards with broad bipartisan support over the past 20 years. Now those renewable standards are falling at a record pace killing jobs, the environment, and contributing to climate change.
The Koch brothers could not allow those efforts to proceed any farther and over the past five years they have spent no small amount of money tasking Americans for Prosperity and ALEC with repealing renewable energy standards in states with Republican-dominated legislatures. To complement their attack on renewable energy, the Kochs, Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have declared war on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan proposal to reduce carbon emissions in coal-fired power plants.
It was exactly two months ago that Mitch McConnell sent a letter to the National Governor’s Association warning the nation’s governors that President Obama had no legal right to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to set new rules on power plant emissions to combat climate change because it is exactly what the Kochs told him to do. McConnell told the governors that they had damn sure better “Think twice before submitting a state implementation plan (to reduce carbon emissions) because the administration is standing on shaky legal ground and without your support, it (EPA) won’t be able to carry out such political extremism. Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give Congress more time to fight back. We’re devising strategies now to do just that.”
In guidelines to the EPA, the President gave individual states the right to tailor their own implementation plans based on their particular circumstances such as energy needs, the age of the state’s power plants in question, and the cost considerations and impact on their state’s economies. Without a state’s individualized plan, the EPA designs a plan based on the best available information according to individual state’s circumstances. Neither scenario satisfies the Kochs’ vision of unrestricted carbon emissions regardless the damage to the climate, environment, economy, or health of Americans and they took immediate action against the President and the EPA.
The Koch-Republican plan included state’s suing the EPA for interfering with state’s rights under “federalism,” and within two months of the President’s announcement of “proposed rules” Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming filed a joint motion to expedite their lawsuit challenging the EPA’s right to establish emissions rules; rules not yet in place because they have yet to be finalized according to individual states’ needs. In the interim, the American Legislative Exchange Council quickly wrote a template for Republican legislatures demanding that any state’s environmental agency that dared defy the Kochs had to seek Republican approval before submitting an implementation plan to the EPA.
The Heartland Institute has been instrumental in assisting the Kochs by, among other things, using typical fear-mongering and propaganda against the EPA such as publishing comments from a North Dakota Republican claiming that “the proposed EPA regulations will inevitably prove disastrous, and the federal government should be responsible for the devastation they will cause to the economy, especially to the poor who will suffer from higher prices or a lack of power.” These are some of the same states the Kochs, Americans for Prosperity, and ALEC are busy repealing renewable energy standards that have relieved many states of the necessity for carbon-intensive power plants driving climate change that another oil industry giant revealed is nearing catastrophic proportions.
This week it was revealed that oil industry giant Shell admitted, and is planning on, a 4-degree C short term rise in the Earth’s temperature it acknowledges eclipses the climate-killing 2C threshold and will lead to a planet-wide catastrophe of massive flooding, global famines, and desertification. Earth wide famines and “desertification” are self-explanatory, but the “massive flooding” is of sea water as sea levels will rise between 2.5 and 3.5 feet leading to widespread coastal flooding, animal and plant extinctions, and near-decimation of global agriculture.
The internal document acknowledged a global temperature rise of 4C is twice the level considered safe for the planet’s ability to sustain human life and will rapidly increase to a 6C rise in the medium to long term. The Arctic, and western and southern Africa would experience warming up to 10C that Shell’s planning document accepts as a condition of continued governmental resistance to curb carbon emissions; this according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) that Shell’s internal document drew conclusions from and used for its long term business plan. Shell also used data provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to guide the multinational oil giant’s “future business planning to account for planet-wide flooding, famine and desertification.”
At least Shell admitted that “We do not see governments taking steps now that are consistent with 2 degrees C threshold scenario,” but like the Koch brothers they intend to do nothing but add to the coming climate catastrophe. Even though Shell is not taking the extraordinary steps of waging war on the climate on two fronts of funding anti-regulatory legislation in the states and funding efforts to repeal renewable energy standards, they are no better than the Kochs because they are not making any efforts to combat what they acknowledge is a coming climate catastrophe. Where they are exactly like the Kochs is they reliably contribute to Republicans who are in the trenches doing their dirty work of killing off Americans and what is left of the Earth’s climate.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.