Intro look at why 2014 is so important and how the enemies of climate science are real and not giving up. We can't fight them dollar for dollar, but we have voters on our side.
Resolving to Combat $1 Billion Per Year
The December 20 headline screamed, "Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change." It's not exactly the "happy new year" message that a clean energy professional likes to hear as she looks ahead to the dawn of an election year. I always like to think that the environmental community is sort of small and mighty, but $1 billion sure is daunting. Luckily, it's the season of hope, of possibility and of resolutions -- and I know that our clean energy activists are resolved in their commitment to address climate change.
The headline referred to a new study, published in the journal Climatic Change, which looked at the funding of "91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change." Over the course of the eight years studied, the groups received about $900 million per year. While some of that funding may have been directed to other non-climate projects, many of those dollars went directly to fund activities like skeptics conferences and witch hunts and insults against climate scientists and to pay the salaries of climate deniers who could spout anti-climate change talking points to cable news pundits.
It would be easy to feel discouraged by seeing the numbers laid out in black and white. And I won't pretend that these billions haven't had an impact -- inaction in Congress is evidence that they've had some success. There's no question that we can't compete dollar for dollar with these denying billionaires. But, they can't seem to penetrate the place that really matters: the brains of American voters. Despite their billions, Americans persist in accepting the science and favoring action. For example, one recent poll found that three of five Americans say global warming is a very serious global problem, and two of three say it will hurt future generations either a lot or a great deal if nothing is done to reduce it. Even in deep red states, Americans support action to address climate change.
It's a new year and it's an election year. The deniers have failed to turn the public against climate science. But we have yet to fully succeed at mobilizing the public that so strongly supports climate action. I know many people would say that New Year's resolutions are meant to be broken. But, we just can't afford to let this one go. My resolution for 2014 is to make sure that every politician in America understands what their voters believe and to make sure they vote and campaign accordingly. Will you help us?
Help us fight the deep pockets of billionaire climate change skeptics.
Follow Heather Taylor-Miesle on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NRDC_AF