Energy, Climate and Politics

Let’s Play Connect The Dots

That's Scottby Scott Lewis
Brightworks CEO

Thursday, January 21, 2010 was quite a day.

Three seemingly unrelated news reports:

Dot 1

“a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.”

Source: New York Times

President Obama calls this “a major victory for big oil, … and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,”

Source: Reuters

What is he talking about? you might ask…

Dot 2

Same day as the Supreme Court announcement on campaign spending, NASA reports:

  • 2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record
  • in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.
  • The past year was only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the hottest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years — 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 — as the second warmest year since recordkeeping began.
  • January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record.

“There’s always an interest in the annual temperature numbers and on a given year’s ranking, but usually that misses the point,” said James Hansen, the director of GISS. “But when we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find that global warming is continuing unabated.”

Source: NASA


Dot 3

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s top political contributors, last 5 years:

  • Edison Chouest Offshore
  • Constellation Energy
  • Southern Co
  • Exxon Mobil

Amount raised by Murkowski from energy industry and energy lobbiests, last 5 years: Over $500,000.

Total contributions to all elected officials, Oil & Gas industry, last 10 years: $245,561,974

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Dot 4

The New York Times reports  “In a direct challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, introduced a resolution on Thursday to prevent the agency from taking any action to regulate carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases.”

Source: New York Times

Consider the possibility that the most important leverage point to stopping climate change is campaign finance reform.

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