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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Astroturfing the Climate and Energy Bill In Colorado

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I expect by now SquareStaters are well aware of the astroturfing efforts that multi-million dollar lobbying firms have sponsored, organized and staffed in response to health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations’ wishes. Recent posts about them can be found here, here and here.

I also expect that most of us have heard or read somewhere that a similar approach to fostering debate fear and hatred is being put together by dirty fuel corporations. They want to set the tone and control the debate over the Senate’s consideration of climate and energy legislation:

An oil-lobby funded rally will come to Greeley on Tuesday to sway residents against upcoming climate change legislation.

That’s correct: the same clowns that profited the most from $4.00 gas last year are trying to scare people into believing that this year’s Climate and Energy legislation (ACES) will bring back $4.00 gas and cost thousands of more jobs. These same folks were involved with forging letters that were sent to Representatives prior to their vote. Let me count the ways to smack this nonsense down…

Actually, I want to point out only two ways in which these actions are immoral. The first is the subversion of small-d democracy that is going to be continued by corporate interests. If constituents in Greeley, CO-04 or Colorado are really against ACES (H.R. 2454), that’s fine. They have that right. But as we’ve seen in the health care mess this month, corporations aren’t about to allow citizens to decide for themselves whether they like legislation. They’re going to spend what seems like a lot of money to most of us to stuff the legislation with things they want. The reason is easy to figure out: if they get their way, they’ll make a huge return on their lobbying investment.

In reality, the planned demonstration, again funded, organized and likely staffed by dirty energy corporations, isn’t about the climate or energy legislation at all. No, this demonstration will really be about profit: will dirty energy and fuel corporations continue to make record profits at our expense or not? It’s actually pathetic that otherwise good people will turn out for this little act of political theatre.

Secondly, the question that needs to be answered is what do the people of Greeley, CO-04 and Colorado have to gain or lose by the passage or failure of ACES? If ACES fails, and the U.S. doesn’t take any meaningful action on energy or the climate this year, gas prices will rise in the future (anybody who doesn’t think so isn’t based in reality) and dirty fuel corporations will continue to chalk up billions of dollars of profit every quarter. That’s bad enough.

But it will get much, much worse. On top of those two, average temperatures in Colorado will warm up by at least 11°F by the end of the century (which will work to desertify the state), wildfire burn areas in CO will increase by up to 175% by 2050, glaciers will continue to melt faster, and sea level will continue to rise faster.

That is literally what the corporations are fighting for. Is that what Greeley, CO-04 or Colorado residents really want? Do farmers really not want to be able to farm by the middle of this century when temperatures rise year after year and reliable precipitation decreases year after year? Do Coloradans really want water tables and water flow to disappear? Do we want to have to fight massive, uncontrollable fires for years on end?

Because here is how Coloradans are being manipulated [emphasis mine]:

API President Jack Gerard reported in his memo to other API members that when people hear that the legislation could increase the cost of gasoline to $4 a gallon and lead to significant job losses, audiences changed their opinions of the bill.

Of course they did. But how likely are $4.00 gas or job losses if ACES passes? Not very. Gas won’t shoot up to $4.00 per gallon because of a weak carbon cap being implemented in a few years time. Jobs won’t be shed if we shift from dirty fuels to clean fuels – the result would be quite the opposite.

I have a question for Jack, his minions and his blind supporters: How have petroleum corporations kept the price from reaching $4.00? How many jobs have they created this year? No, Jack, your industry is undergoing a bust right now – and it has nothing at all to do with energy or climate legislation. It has to do with corporations sheltering their obscene profits: they made plenty of money and at the first sign the market was slowing down, thousands of good Coloradans were put out on their butts. Listening to your lies and propaganda isn’t going to get them their jobs back or prevent $4.00 gas.

(h/t rnoboa who sent me the article link)

Cross-posted at SquareState.

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