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Opinion: Don’t let political dollars influence climate change debate

Opinion: Don’t let political dollars influence climate change debate

The News-Herald published an editorial from USA Today in November, 2018 calling for a climate “super-lobby” to raise money to change public opinion, mobilize voters, and influence lawmakers about climate change initiatives.

We do not need more money spent toward political influence; it is excessive money — used by the fossil fuel industry — that is the problem. Those on the side of climate change solutions will never be able to compete monetarily with wealthy individuals, corporations, and industry lobbyists. It’s time to reduce their influence rather than escalating the money game.

A growing number of Americans, across all political parties, believe that climate change is happening and causing extreme weather, a shift from three years ago. When polled, 55-65 percent of Republicans support climate action. And most people believe the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a study compiled by 13 federal agencies and 300 scientists, which has warned of the dire potential impacts of climate change.

For over a decade, the Citizen Climate Lobby has been working in a bipartisan way to develop a climate solution. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR 763, is a practical and effective plan for reducing carbon emissions which is market-based and not regulatory. The Green New Deal has proposals that deserve thought and debate. Why would our lawmakers dismiss and not explore these efforts?

It is because some members of Congress have different opinions than the majority of the public. According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, there are 150 “climate deniers” out of 535 members in the 116th Congress. Those 150 members have received over $68 million in direct contributions from the fossil fuel industry. This amount represents only the publicly disclosed contributions. In total, fossil fuel industries and their wealthy shareholders have contributed over a billion dollars to legislator elections and lobbying.

This happened because the Supreme Court in 2010 allowed unlimited and hidden contributions to elections and policy-making. It is no coincidence that there now are tax cuts for industry, support for coal production, increased carbon emissions, and limited support for solar and wind energy, despite citizens’ wishes. We need to stop the unlimited and hidden money in politics so that money does not exert an influence on our government officials.

American Promise promotes a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution to correct the Supreme Court’s decision that unlimited amounts of money can be spent on elections. By passing the 28th Amendment, we will establish that the rights of individual citizens and the interests of the nation are more important than the privileges of corporations, unions, political parties, and special interest groups.

We need aggressive climate change solutions. It won’t happen until we neutralize the effect of money on our political system.

Ellen Green Bush is a resident of Port Clinton and a member of American Promise.

Ellen Greene Bush

Ellen Greene Bush (Photo: Submitted)

Source: The News-Messenger

By: Ellen Greene Bush, Guest Columnist Published 7:00 a.m. ET March 1, 2019

LINK:  https://www.thenews-messenger.com/story/opinion/2019/03/01/dont-let-political-dollars-influence-climate-change-debate/3002003002/

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