I have good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news first. Dr. Robert J. Brulle, professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, conducted a study which exposes the syndication and massive funding of the climate denial movement. This study is the first peer reviewed analysis ever conducted on the climate denial funders.
The Bad News
Brulle expected many well known conservative groups to be heading the mast of the climate denial ship, but he claims to have found some very unexpected sources as well. 75% of the funding turned out to be from concealed sources.
Brulle calls the money from these particular sources “dark money.” He notes that,
Koch Industries and ExxonMobil, two of the largest supporters of climate science denial, have recently pulled back from publicly funding countermovement organizations. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to countermovement organizations through third party pass-through foundations like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, whose funders cannot be traced, has risen dramatically.
The big names are starting to close the veils on us onlookers. Their climate denial agendas demand privacy!
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The amount of money that climate denial groups receive in funding each year is close to $600 million. The climate denial movement represents a collective of corporations, organizations, and politicians actively hampering and blocking the U.S. government’s ability to pass laws to lower emissions. The movement also supports and actively campaigns to destroy America’s faith in globally reviewed and accepted climate science.
A single movement isn’t something to make such a big deal out of, but this movement has a free multi-million dollar lifeline, media outlets to use as megaphones, and the backing of people in positions of enormous power. As Brulle poignantly explains,
The real issue here is one of democracy. Without a free flow of accurate information, democratic politics and government accountability become impossible. Money amplifies certain voices above others…Powerful funders are supporting the campaign to deny scientific findings about global warming and raise public doubts about the roots and remedies of this massive global threat. At the very least, American voters deserve to know who is behind these efforts.
The livelihood of the entire planet and countless generations depend on the decisions we make in the next 20 years regarding our planet and the sustainability of our lifestyles. Climate denial is dangerous, but still going strong.
The Good News (kind of)
Now for the good news. For the entire month of November all additional electricity-generating capacity added to the U.S. was from renewable sources. That’s 394 megawatts of green electrical energy added to the country’s generating capacity. Despite all of America’s climate denial, but the news gets better. In October more than 99% of the energy capacity added was also renewable. This is remarkable news, until we broaden our view a bit. (It was slightly good news at least.)
35.5% of the electricity-generating capacity added from January to November 2013 was from renewable sources. During the same period in 2012 50% of the added capacity was from renewable energy sources. That is a 30% drop from 2012 to 2013, mostly due to a colossal 86% reduction in wind power production.
Despite the oft-spoken of advantages of renewable energy, the majority of the new energy capacity in the U.S. produced in the last two years was from non-renewable sources. In light of the endless research regarding humanity’s role in climate change, climate denial is not so much worrying as it is alarming.
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In 2012 only 13.2% of the country’s energy consumption came from renewable sources. Currently only 16% of the total energy capacity in the U.S. comes from renewable sources, which makes it frustrating and strange that the country continues to expand its energy capacity with 65% non-renewable sources. To make matters worse, fossil fuel companies across the globe received $544 billion in subsidies in 2012, almost 7 times as much as renewables received the same year.
A recent study examined the cumulative amount of energy subsidies in the U.S. from 1918 to 2010. They found that historically, and to this day, the U.S. just blatantly does not care that it is spewing pollutants into everyone’s atmosphere and climate denial flourishes. The U.S. is second only to China in CO2 emissions. The difference between the energy policy of the U.S. and China is that China is currently leading the world in green energy investments. According to Chinese officials, the country invested $294 billion dollars into renewable energy over the last 5 years in an attempt to battle climate change. The U.S. doesn’t even come close.
From 1918 to 2010, the U.S. spent a total of $670.61 billion dollars in the form of energy subsidies.
- $446.96 billion to oil and gas
- $185.38 billion to nuclear
- $32.34 billion to biofuels
- $5.93 billion to renewables
Now, to be fair, oil and gas has existed substantially longer than any of the sectors listed above. So, let’s take a look at a comparison of what each sector received in the fist 30 years of their respective lives.
Renewable energy has been, and continues to be hampered, even at the federal level. Keep in mind that many companies, including Exxon-Mobil, spend a great deal of money on the climate denial movement, yet receive substantial subsidies via the taxpayers’ collective wallet.
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Unlike the 67 countries with renewable energy targets, the U.S. has no federal renewable energy targets whatsoever. Some examples of the energy targets I am referring to are:
- European Union: 20% renewable energy usage by 2020
- China: 15% by 2020
- Australia: 20% by 2020
- Canada: 90% by 2020
- Germany: 35% by 2020, 80% by 2050
While no federal targets exist, many state targets and incentives do. Thirty U.S. States currently have some type of renewable energy mandate and six other states have a renewable energy goal. Unfortunately, only half of those states are on track to meet their goal.
As usual, what you can do to alter the destructive path of the U.S. is to make sure to do research thoroughly and vote appropriately. Even more importantly, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Observe your behavior and activities. Don’t get caught up in all the hype that is climate denial. Ask yourself how you are affecting your surroundings. Be honest. Just ensure the answer you give yourself is grounded in the aforementioned thorough research you have done. Don’t join the climate denial movement.
Climate denial is bad mmm’kay?