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The big money behind GOP denial of climate change

By Laurie Bennett

June 6, 2017 at 2:59pm

Not only has Donald Trump filled his cabinet and his White House staff with people who deny or question the existence of climate change, he has adopted almost verbatim the language of the fossil-fuel industry, the New York Times noted Sunday.

Coal has had an oversized role in this administration, more for its symbolic value than its declining importance in the national economy.

Meanwhile, oil and gas, as the have acted as a money pipeline for the Republican Party. Two of the major controllers of that cash flow are brothers Charles D. and David H. Koch, owners of Koch Industries.

A Koch-funded nonprofit, Americans for Prosperity, pressured Republican members of Congress to sign a “No Climate Tax Pledge,” restricting funding of government programs to combat global warming. Koch money also went to researchers and think tanks questioning both climate change and the scientists who documented it.

As limits eased on business contributions to political campaigns, Koch Industries and Americans for Prosperity launched advertising campaigns and organized “grassroots” rallies supporting candidates who promised gentle treatment of the energy sector.

All of these efforts culminated with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord.

The success of the Kochs and other fossil-fuel industry leaders is, as Jane Mayer writes in the New Yorker, quite possibly “the most astounding example of influence-buying in modern American political history.”

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