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Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters

Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian
Midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites DeMint and Inhofe have received over $240,000

BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama’s energy agenda, the Guardian has learned.

An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.

The report, released tomorrow, used information on the Open database to track what it called a co-ordinated attempt by some of Europe’s biggest polluters to influence the US midterms. It said: “The European companies are funding almost exclusively Senate candidates who have been outspoken in their opposition to comprehensive climate policy in the US and candidates who actively deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by people.”

Pdf: Read the full Climate Action Network report
(24 October 2010)
BP, other European polluters, pump money into Senate campaigns (Grist)
European dollars fund American climate deniers (Mother Nature Network)

Texas oil companies pump new round of cash into California climate fight

Todd Woody, Grist
With a week to go until Election Day, a gusher of Texas oil money is flowing once more into California to support Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would suspend the state’s global warming law.

Tesoro and Valero, the Texas oil companies that are largely funding Prop 23, contributed $1.5 million to the campaign on Friday. It was the first seven-figure donation since Sept. 2, when the billionaire Koch brothers dropped $1 million into campaign coffers, according to California Secretary of State records.

But in the intervening months, when contributions from the petrochemical industry dwindled mostly to a few five-figure donations, the No on 23 campaign revved up its fundraising efforts and now has taken in more than $30 million to the Yes forces’ $10.6 million.

Just in the last few days, San Francisco-based utility Pacific Gas & Electric has given another $250,000 to the No campaign while teachers and public employees unions donated a combined $300,000. (Tellingly, even an East Coast power company with coal-fired power plants in its portfolio, AES Corp, donated $25,000 to the No campaign on Friday.)
(25 October 2010)

Caught! EU business lobby funding climate legislation blockers in US Senate

Press release, CAN-Europe
Today CAN Europe [1] released a new report [2] based on an analysis of publicly available campaign finance records, definitively proving that polluting European companies are funding climate legislation blockers in US politics. Their overseas support is all the more galling because the same companies argue that additional emissions reductions in Europe cannot be pursued until the United States takes action.

“It’s disturbing that these European polluters fund anti-climate crusaders in the US while simultaneously fighting against strong climate legislation in Europe,” said Tomas Wyns, CAN Europe Senior Policy Officer. “This newly released data proves the anecdotal rumours about European companies that have been circulating for some time.” The report was created using information that became available throughout the month of October, based on data released by the US Federal Elections Commission and accessible via the Open Secrets database [3]. CAN Europe uncovered what appears to be a clear pattern of European polluters influencing United States climate and energy policies through targeted donations to candidates who oppose action on climate change.

Big European emitters BAYER, BASF, Solvay, Lafarge, BP, GDF-SUEZ, Arcelor-Mittal and EON supported senators blocking climate change legislation in the US for a combined total of $240,200. To put it in perspective, in 2009 these seven firms emitted 130 million tones of greenhouse gas pollution, roughly the same as the annual emissions of Belgium. Support from these European companies is going to numerous US candidates who not only block climate legislation, but also actively deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by humans.

CAN-Europe is calling for an immediate and clear response from the companies involved and the European Business Federations of which these companies are members, such as Business Europe, CEFIC, EUROFER, CEMBUREAU, EURELECTRIC and EUROPIA. We call on these federations to denounce the actions of the companies that have been exposed and create a system for accountability and transparency for their members.

The exposure of these actions highlights the need for enforceable rules for proactive transparency for both lobbyists and EU institutions.

Editors’ notes:
[1] Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe unites 130 European environmental and development NGOs working to fight dangerous climate change.
[2] CAN-Europe, October 2010. CAN-Europe, October 2010. Think globally, sabotage locally. How and why European companies are funding climate change deniers and anti-climate legsilation voices in the US Senate.

Jurassic Ballot: When Corporations Ruled the Earth

Rebecca Solnit,
This country is being run for the benefit of alien life forms. They’ve invaded; they’ve infiltrated; they’ve conquered; and a lot of the most powerful people on Earth do their bidding, including five out of our nine Supreme Court justices earlier this year and a whole lot of senators and other elected officials all the time. The monsters they serve demand that we ravage the planet and impoverish most human beings so that they might thrive. They’re like the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, like the Terminators, like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except that those were on the screen and these are in our actual world.

We call these monsters corporations, from the word corporate which means embodied. A corporation is a bunch of monetary interests bound together into a legal body that was once considered temporary and dependent on local licensing, but now may operate anywhere and everywhere on Earth, almost unchallenged, and live far longer than you.

The results are near-invincible bodies, the most gigantic of which are oil companies, larger than blue whales, larger than dinosaurs, larger than Godzilla. Last year, Shell, BP, and Exxon were three of the top four mega-corporations by sales on the Fortune Global 500 list (and Chevron came in eighth). Some of the oil companies are well over a century old, having morphed and split and merged while continuing to pump filth into the air, the water, and the bodies of the many — and profits into the pockets of the few.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision this January, they have the same rights as you when it comes to putting money into the political process, only they’re millions of times larger than you — and they’re pumping millions of dollars into races nationwide. It’s like inviting a T. rex into your checkers championship — and it doesn’t matter whether dinosaurs can play checkers, at least not once you’re being pulverized by their pointy teeth.

The amazing thing is that they don’t always win, that sometimes thousands of puny mammals — that’s us — do overwhelm one of them.

Gigantic, powerful, undead beings, corporations have been given ever more human rights over the past 125 years; they act on their own behalf, not mine or yours or humanity’s or, really, carbon-based life on Earth’s. We’re made out of carbon, of course, but we depend on a planet where much of the carbon is locked up in the earth. The profit margins of the oil corporations depend on putting as much as possible of that carbon into the atmosphere.

So in a lot of basic ways, we are at odds with these creations. The novelist John le Carré remarked earlier this month, “The things that are done in the name of the shareholder are, to me, as terrifying as the things that are done — dare I say it — in the name of God.” Corporations have their jihads and crusades too, since they subscribe to a religion of maximum profit for themselves, and they’ll kill to achieve it. In an odd way, shareholders and god have merged in the weird new religion of unfettered capitalism, the one in which regulation is blasphemy and profit is sacred. Thus, the economic jihads of our age.

They Fund By Night!

In the jihad that concerns me right now, most of the monsters come from Texas; the prey is in California; and it’s called our economy and our environment.

… With Proposition 23, two out-of-state oil corporations, Valero and Tesoro, and right-wing oil billionaires based in New York and Kansas are trying to use the California initiative process, originally intended to allow citizen intervention in the governance of this state, to countermand AB 32 and set policy for us. “According to data from the California Secretary of State’s office,” Kate Sheppard recently reported in Mother Jones magazine, “more than 98% of contributions to the pro-Prop. 23 campaign are from oil companies. Eighty-nine percent of the contributions come from out of state… Valero contributed $4 million, Tesoro gave $1.5 million, and a refinery owned by the notorious Kansas-based billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, of Koch Industries, kicked in another $1 million. Just last week, Houston-based Marathon oil contributed $500,000.”
(25 October 2010)