Paris Exit Was 'Victory Paid and Carried Out' by Republican Party for the Koch Brothers
The 22 Republican senators who sent a letter to President Donald Trump last week urging the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement received more than $10 million dollars in campaign funds from fossil fuel interests.
The two-page letter was signed by a number of Republican heavyweights from coal/gas/oil-rich states, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Ted Cruz of Texas.
The Guardian calculated that the 22 senators received a total of $10,694,284 from oil, gas and coal money in just five years. (See the breakdown below.)
However, that sum does not even come close to the amount of undisclosed funds coming from the deep pockets of Charles and David Koch's coal, oil and gas conglomerate, Koch Industries, and other outside groups.
As the Guardian explains:
"Visible donations to Republicans from those industries exceeded donations to Democrats in the 2016 election cycle by a ratio of 15-to-1, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And that does not include so-called dark money passed from oil interests such as Koch industries to general slush funds to re-elect Republicans such as the Senate leadership fund.
"At least $90m in untraceable money has been funneled to Republican candidates from oil, gas and coal interests in the past three election cycles, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics."
Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, shared recently his views on Trump's climate walkout.
In an interview with Bloomberg Surveillance, Sachs referenced the senators' letter and specifically cast blame on the billionaire oil barons for pulling the strings of Republican party leaders such as McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who both supported exiting the Paris accord.
"This is the victory paid and carried out for 20 years by two people, David and Charles Koch," Sachs said. "They have bought and purchased the top of the Republican party. Trump is a tool in this."
Notably, most of the Republican signatories of the letter do not support the belief that human activity contributes to climate change.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts explained why he thinks his Republican colleagues do not believe in the science of climate change.
"This Conservative party in the United States is funded by the Koch brothers [and] it's funded by the coal industry," Markey said. "[They] insist that Scott Pruitt—the Attorney General of Oklahoma that actually sued the EPA 19 times on clean air, clean water, soot, mercury issues—becomes the head of the EPA in our country."
The 22 Republican signatories' funding from Big Oil, Gas and Coal in the past three election cycles (2012, 2014 and 2016):
James Inhofe, Oklahoma
Oil & gas: $465,950 + Coal: $63,600 = $529,550
John Barrasso, Wyoming
Oil & gas: $458,466 + Coal: $127,356 = $585,822
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
Oil & gas: $1,180,384 + Coal: $361,700 = $1,542,084
John Cornyn, Texas
Oil & gas: $1,101,456 + Coal: $33,050 = $1,134,506
Roy Blunt, Missouri
Oil & gas: $353,864 + Coal: $96,000 = $449,864
Roger Wicker, Mississippi
Oil & gas: $198,816 + Coal: $25,376 = $224,192
Michael Enzi, Wyoming
Oil & gas: $211,083 + Coal: $63,300 = $274,383
Mike Crapo, Idaho
Oil & gas: $110,250 + Coal: $26,756 = $137,006
Jim Risch, Idaho
Oil & gas: $123,850 + Coal: $25,680 = $149,530
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Oil & gas: $276,905 + Coal: $15,000 = $291,905
Mike Rounds, South Dakota
Oil & gas: $201,900 + Coal: none = $201,900
Rand Paul, Kentucky
Oil & gas: $170,215 + Coal: $82,571 = $252,786
John Boozman, Arkansas
Oil & gas: $147,930 + Coal: $2,000 = $149,930
Richard Shelby, Alabama
Oil & gas: $60,150 + $2,500 = $62,650
Luther Strange, Alabama (Appointed in 2017, running in 2017 special election)
Orrin Hatch, Utah
Oil & gas: $446,250 + Coal: $25,000 = $471,250
Mike Lee, Utah
Oil & gas: $231,520 + Coal: $21,895 = $253,415
Ted Cruz, Texas
Oil & gas: $2,465,910 + Coal: $103,900 = $2,569,810
David Perdue, Georgia
Oil & gas: $184,250 + Coal: $0 = $184,250
Thom Tillis, North Carolina
Oil & gas: $263,400 + Coal: $0 = $263,400
Tim Scott, South Carolina
Oil & gas: $490,076 + Coal: $58,200 = $548,276
Pat Roberts, Kansas
Oil & gas: $388,950 + Coal: $28,825 = $417,775
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From Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, the headline-grabbing climate change activists and environmentalists of today are predominantly white. But like many areas of society, those whose voices are heard most often are not necessarily representative of the whole.
1. Wangari Maathai<p>In 2004, Professor Maathai made history as the <a href="https://www.nobelpeaceprize.org/Prize-winners/Prizewinner-documentation/Wangari-Maathai" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize</a> for her dedication to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She started the <a href="http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Green Belt Movement</a>, a community-based tree planting initiative that aims to reduce poverty and encourage conservation, in 1977. More than 51 million trees have been planted helping build climate resilience and empower communities, especially women and girls. Her environmental work is celebrated every year on <a href="http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/node/955" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Wangari Maathai Day on 3 March</a>.</p>
2. Robert Bullard<p>Known as the 'father of environmental justice,' Dr Bullard has <a href="https://www.unep.org/championsofearth/laureates/2020/robert-bullard" target="_blank">campaigned against harmful waste</a> being dumped in predominantly Black neighborhoods in the southern states of the U.S. since the 1970s. His first book, Dumping in Dixie, highlighted the link between systemic racism and environmental oppression, showing how the descendants of slaves were exposed to higher-than-average levels of pollutants. In 1994, his work led to the signing of the <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/albert-huang/20th-anniversary-president-clintons-executive-order-12898-environmental-justice" target="_blank">Executive Order on Environmental Justice</a>, which the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/27/executive-order-on-tackling-the-climate-crisis-at-home-and-abroad/" target="_blank">Biden administration is building on</a>.<br></p>
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Pollution has a race problem. Elizabethwarren.com
3. John Francis<p>Helping the clean-up operation after an oil spill in San Francisco Bay in January 1971 inspired Francis to <a href="https://planetwalk.org/about-john/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stop taking motorized transport</a>. Instead, for 22 years, he walked everywhere. He also took a vow of silence that lasted 17 years, so he could listen to others. He has walked the width of the U.S. and sailed and walked through South America, earning the nickname "Planetwalker," and raising awareness of how interconnected people are with the environment.</p>
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4. Dr. Warren Washington<p>A meteorology and climate pioneer, Dr. Washington was one of the first people to develop atmospheric computer models in the 1960s, which have helped scientists understand climate change. These models now also incorporate the oceans and sea ice, surface water and vegetation. In 2007, the <a href="https://www.cgd.ucar.edu/pcm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Parallel Climate Model (PCM)</a> and <a href="https://www.cesm.ucar.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Community Earth System Model (CESM)</a>, earned Dr. Washington and his colleagues the <a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2007/summary/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Nobel Peace Prize</a>, as part of the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change</a>.</p>
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5. Angelou Ezeilo<p>Huge trees and hikes to pick berries during her childhood in upstate New York inspired Ezeilo to become an environmentalist and set up the <a href="https://gyfoundation.org/staff/Angelou-Ezeilo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Greening Youth Foundation</a>, to educate future generations about the importance of preservation. Through its schools program and Youth Conservation Corps, the social enterprise provides access to nature to disadvantaged children and young people in the U.S. and West Africa. In 2019, Ezeilo published her book <em>Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders</em>, co-written by her Pulitzer Prize-winning brother Nick Chiles.</p>
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