Here's another "I knew that but couldn't prove it" moment. At least, I couldn't prove it before now. If there was any doubt about the ill intentions of foreign oil companies, it should be laid to rest now. Via the Guardian, a new report just released by Climate Action Network Europe which links up donations by foreign oil companies with climate-change deniers like Jim Inhofe and oil company handmaiden Jim DeMint.
Big European emitters1 Lafarge, GDF-SUEZ, EON, BP , BASF, BAYER, Solvay and Arcelor-Mittal supported climate change deniers in the US senate in 2010 for $107,200. Their total support for senators blocking climate change legislation in the US amounts to $240,200, which is almost 80% of their total spendings in 2010 senate race. This is why those funds are seen as systemic. This amount is higher than the same type of spending of the most notorious US climate denier and Tea Party funder: Koch Industries ($217,000).
It is also evident that those same companies supported key democrats (e.g. Blanche Lincoln, Dem, Arkansas) in the Senate responsible for breaking a majority supporting binding targets reduction targets and a national cap and trade system. We conclude that the support of European companies is not only targeted at deniers and blockers but that the ﬁnancial streams are also very strategic. Another example is the support for Lisa Murkowski (Rep.), the brain behind a resolution which would take away the possibility of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This resolution, which was defeated in the Senate, would have removed an important stick from the US administration to push for cap and trade legislation.
The question is, what are we going to do about it? If the outcome of this election is consistent with the pundits' claims, the House will be lost and the Senate majority will be retained by just a tiny hair. If
eight nine Senate seats go to Republicans, look for Lieberman to be the player everyone loves to hate on every single piece of legislation out there.
A Guardian editorial attached to their story on the Climate Action Network Europe report is dismal, but true. In their estimation, Obama lacks both the room and collective will to effect lasting change:
A winner-takes-all voting system where both main parties are sustained by corporate financing, the congressional districts are openly gerrymandered and 40% of the upper chamber can block anything, is never going to be a benign vehicle for radical reform. Virtually every enduring progressive development in US politics since the war has been sparked either by massive mobilisations outside of electoral politics that have forced politicians to respond, or through the courts.
BP and other foreign corporations strategically funding climate change deniers speaks volumes about our broken system of campaign financing, and affirms the disaster that Citizens United has wrought (though I will note that the contributions in their report were disclosed and publicly available on OpenSecrets.org).
Bailout recipients shoveling cash to Republican candidates. Foreign oil companies giving to climate change deniers. Tea parties funded by corporate interests planned in secret meetings attended by press, Supreme Court justices and rich guys who want to be richer.
I cannot recall a time since Nixon where such blatant abuses of power have been used to hijack our politics, our livelihoods, and in this case, our planet.
It's going to get worse before it gets better, since they're not only in our elections, but in our courts, too.
Foreign interest does not stop with the elections. The Guardian reported earlier this year that a Belgian-based chemical company, Solvay, was behind a front group that is suing to strip the Obama administration of its powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.