A new report finds that climate denial is the “new crony capitalism,” with members of Congress and top policy makers lining up to profit from climate change deniers.
The report, released Monday, comes as President Donald Trump is preparing to release his climate plan that will set a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a goal the White House has long called the “most ambitious environmental goal ever.”
But the report found that the “cronies” in Washington have found ways to profit off of climate deniers, including by lobbying the president to keep federal funding for green energy programs, or “green” energy, from going to green energy companies.
“As we move forward, we are committed to making the government’s green energy investments more effective and transparent, and we are also committed to strengthening the protections for our planet and our communities,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The study found that Congress has “been the dominant and most profitable player in climate denial” over the last 30 years, with Republicans controlling the House and Senate.
“Climate denial is an important and growing problem in the United States,” Poe said.
“Its pervasive across government and corporate policymaking.
This report shows the extent to which the cronyism and political influence in Washington is taking its toll on our country.”
The report found a lot of politicians, including lawmakers, were aware of climate change denial, but only in the last decade have they gotten interested.
The “crosstown crony” dynamic has been on display over the past three decades, when lawmakers have become more willing to act on climate change.
“The ‘cros-sand crony’ model that was used by climate denier Bob Inglis to make climate change a political liability was the crutch of the climate denial lobby in the 1980s and 90s,” said Mark P. Thomas, an energy expert at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
The model made the climate change issue a “top priority,” but ultimately it led to the failure of the Paris climate accord, Thomas said.
The climate change panel’s study also found that congressional staffers were “part of the ‘cromnics'” on Capitol Hill.
“A lot of congressional staffers are in the climate denial business,” said James C. Hochberg, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Their jobs are to get the climate science wrong, and that’s the job of the cronies.
So they’re part of the game.”
The researchers found that “in the last two decades, the number of lawmakers and their staffers involved in climate change has risen from about 1,200 to about 3,000, and the number is growing at a rate of around 15 percent per year.”
Rep. Steve Stockman, R (Texas), has said he would like to cut the EPA and other environmental agencies, and has called climate change “the greatest threat to the American economy.”
The panel’s report found there is “substantial evidence that climate change is not a major threat to American workers.”
“The most egregious examples of climate denial are politicians and their cronies in Congress,” Thomas said, “and their crony cronies on Capitol House.
The more lawmakers and staffers who are part of climate-denying business, the more vulnerable the environment is to climate change and its consequences.”
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