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Trump and the Republican Party are doing Big Oil's bidding

Posted on 14 September 2016 by dana1981

Trump hires advisers with fossil fuel ties

Last month, Donald Trump added Brooke Rollins and Kathleen Hartnett-White to his economic advisory council. Rollins is president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), while Hartnett-White has worked for the TPPF and the CO2 Coalition (formerly the George C. Marshall Institute), all of which are part of the “web of denial” receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry.

Hartnett-White told POLITICO in an interview that rather than listen to the conclusions of the world’s foremost climate science experts as summarized in the IPCC reports, she favors a commission that would develop an “alternative scientific methodology” and would include the voices of the less than 3% of climate scientists who reject the consensus on human-caused global warming. 

She believes “the sun had a powerful role” in global warming. However, the sun has had an overall cooling effect on global temperatures over the past 60 years, as the IPCC reports have shown. She also loves fossil fuels and seems entirely opposed renewable energy and efforts to cut carbon pollution.

Hartnett-White co-authored a book with Trump’s senior economic adviser Stephen Moore, as part of a TPPF effort to “explain the moral case for fossil fuels” and undermine the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Moore has compared fracking to the cure for cancer, is a frequent Fox News and Wall Street Journal contributor, and was a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation – another fossil fuel-funded member of the web of denial. Moore has been encouraging Trump to push hard in favor of fossil fuels and against renewable energy. As a resultTrump’s “economic vision” includes goals like:

Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.

And in the 2016 Science Debate, although he did pay brief, vague lip service to renewable energy, Trump entirely dodged the question about climate science, devoting a single dismissive sentence to one of the most important issues we face today:

There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of “climate change.”

Hillary Clinton’s detailed answers provided a stark contrast to Trump’s brief and vague responses.

Republican AGs take Big Oil donations, attack the Clean Power Plan

Meanwhile, investigative journalists at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) uncovered a blatant example of the fossil fuel industry buying influence to undermine government efforts to tackle climate change:

Fossil fuel giants Murray Energy and Southern Company paid for meetings with Republican attorneys general to discuss their opposition to the Clean Power Plan less than two weeks before the same GOP officials petitioned federal courts to block the Obama administration’s signature climate proposal, according to private emails

Coincidentally, Trump’s newest adviser is a former lobbyist for Southern Company.

These fossil fuel companies were offered the opportunity to meet with GOP attorneys general in exchange for financial donations to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) to help fund their re-election campaigns. The documents revealed that the attorneys then discussed “the future of the fight to stop the Clean Power Plan.”

According to materials reviewed by CMD, since 2015 RAGA has received at least $100,000 from ExxonMobil, $350,000 from Koch Industries, $85,000 from Southern Company, $378,250 from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), and $250,000 from Murray Energy. In total, fossil fuel interests, utilities and their trade groups have given more than $2.25 million to RAGA since 2015.

Subsequently, 15 Republican attorneys general took the Clean Power Plan to court to stop the Obama Administration’s efforts to cut carbon pollution. As CMD research director Nick Surgey put it:

State attorneys general are supposed to enforce the law and serve the public interest, but instead these Republican officials have hung a ‘For Sale’ sale on their door, and the fossil fuel industry proved to be the highest bidder. It’s no coincidence that GOP attorneys general have mounted an aggressive fight alongside the fossil fuel industry to block the Clean Power Plan – that appears to be exactly what the industry paid for. Together, these documents reveal a sustained pattern of collusion between the fossil fuel industry and the Republican attorneys general on climate change obstructionism.

The situation is not dissimilar to Trump’s donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who soon thereafter decided against pursuing an investigation intoTrump University’s allegedly fraudulent activities. The Miami Herald suggested that Bondi was “bought and paid for” in the Trump University case. Bondi is also among the Republican attorneys general taking the Clean Power Plan to court.

Big Oil calls the shots for the GOP in all branches

And of course just a few months ago, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a Resolution condemning a carbon tax for no apparent reason, except for possible pressure from fossil fuel industry campaign donors.

Big Oil thus appears to be calling the shots for Republican Party leaders at their highest levels in all three branches of US government

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Is big oil influencing the Republicans? Donald Trump does indeed appear to listen closely and surround himself with the fossil fuel lobby, and climate denialism people. Big oil is influential, and is implicated in attempts to discredit science, and this is all so reminiscent of the tobacco wars. The suggestion of an alternative “scientific method” shows how addicted people are to oil, and how desperate they will become.

    We have lobby groups and corporations funding election campaigns, so obviously they have huge influence over politicians, and the Republicans in particular seem extremely eager to please. The limits in the past on campaign funding in America have been weakened over the last 20 years, due to constant business lobbying, to give the lobby groups absolute power as below. This is the context that empowers climate change denialism.

    I came across this recently. Currently Trump claims climate change is just a hoax by the Chinese to damage American industry, which is of course totally ludicrous. However 7 years ago Trump called for urgent action to stop climate change, as below

    Trump is constantly changing his mind on too many things, and this does not seem like good leadership to me. Trump is possibly making climate change science a sort of expendable tool, to be manipulated or discarded to further his other agendas. This is really dangerous for humanity, and shows his contempt for science.

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  2. At the latest rally in PA(2 Oct, 2016), Trump clarified what his credo for US is about. Ignoring teleprompter, he repeatedly roared highly emmotionally loaded slogans, among others:

    "You're unsuspecting," Trump said. "Right now, you say to your wife: 'Let's go to a movie after Trump.' But you won't do that because you'll be so high and so excited that no movie is going to satisfy you. OK? No movie. You know why? Honestly? Because they don't make movies like they used to - is that right?"

    and finishing with:

    "You have 38 days to make every dream you ever dreamed for your country come true," Trump said. "Do not let this opportunity slip away or be wasted. You will never ever have this chance again. Not going to happen again - You have one magnificent chance."

    That's not just ignorance of science we're concerned about here. That's simply ignorance of the reality. A nostalgic appeal to "movies of the past" plus a narcistic "dream" and "magnificent chance" but nothing of substance. He might as wwell say to the crowd: put your head in the sand and dream on.

    Pepole like to dream, that's why such speach is liked. Even if reality clearly points out the dream to be pure illusion. IMO, the same mechanism applies in a norrower sense to the problem of burning FF which puts us living closer to the dream of living with boundless energy, be able to fly accrosss the ocean, drive your SUV, etc. Even though the reality tells us very loudly now that such lifestyle is unsustainble.

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