A new report by the International Forum on Globalization details the role of David and Charles Koch in undermining international talks to address the rapidly escalating problem of climate change. As the United Nations meets in Doha, Qatar this week, the goal is to create a framework in which the governments of the world make internationally binding commitments to cut carbon emissions fast enough to keep climate change within the agreed threshold of 2C.
In an email to its supporters, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a national trade group for companies involved in solar energy projects, joined ALEC earlier this year to promote bipartisan energy policies, but has decided not to renew its membership. According to the email, ALEC "adopted a stance that intends to take us backwards. The fact is, Americans overwhelmingly support the growth of the solar energy industry and ALEC is clearly out of touch with the way Americans feel. We have not renewed our membership to ALEC and we will work with state legislators to push back on these efforts."
This morning, a group of students and alumni delivered over 1,000 signatures to University of Wisconsin Foundation President Mike Knetter demanding that the university divest its holdings from the fossil fuel industry.
An effort to stomp out state renewable energy mandates across the country has roots in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As reported by The Washington Post, the Heartland Institute wrote the bill, had it passed through ALEC, and is now targeting the 29 states and the District of Columbia, which have passed renewable energy requirements in some form.
--Sara Jerving and Mary Bottari
The election is over, but the fight to save the planet from the rapacious fossil fuel industry is just gearing up. Hurricane Sandy reminded us that our slowly warming planet will continue to produce bigger and more dangerous monster storms, coupled with other types of severe weather, until we begin to address climate change with the urgency it deserves.
At the Mt. View gas station in Wausau, Wisconsin last week, some motorists were able to secure a gallon of gas for $1.84, thanks to a subsidy from David Koch's Americans for Prosperity. These astroturf publicity stunts have taken place at gas stations around the country in recent weeks as part of AFP's effort to mobilize votes for Mitt Romney by drawing attention to an alleged rise in gas prices since President Barack Obama took office. But since most experts attribute the rise in gas prices to long term trends and crude oil commodity speculation, AFP's hijinks only underscore the role of Wall Street speculators -- including the Kochs themselves -- in jacking up critical commodity prices on average Americans.
-- by Mary Bottari and Sara Jerving
The fossil fuel industry has paid a hefty price for the privilege of framing the political discourse about America's energy future. Hundreds of millions have flowed into campaign coffers from energy companies attempting to purchase complete freedom to drill, frack, and burn. Huge "dark money" groups, the Koch's, Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, join dozens of oil and gas industry associations in pouring money into television ad campaigns demanding "energy independence," while trashing wind and solar.
Officials in New York have indicated that the decision on whether to lift the moratorium on new "fracking" wells may be delayed. The hotly contested issue of whether to allow the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" to expand in New York has put substantial pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration with thousands of concerned citizens publicly expressing their desire for a ban on fracking in the state. Many have even signed a pledge committing to engage in civil disobedience if Cuomo were to lift the moratorium he put in place for additional study.
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.