Climate change is the most pressing challenge of our time, yet meaningful action to address this global threat seems increasingly elusive. What’s standing in the way? There are numerous individuals, organizations, and corporations that actively work to obstruct attempts to cut our carbon emissions, advance clean energy, and prepare communities for the devastating impacts of climate change. Here is a list of just a few of these thwarters who stood out in 2013.
When a heavy spate of bushfires erupted around Sydney early in the bushfire season, Abbott denied any links to climate change, going as far as to get in a public debate with U.N. Climate Chief Christiana Figueres and Nobel laureate Al Gore. Causing a further international row, he shunned the November U.N. climate talks in Warsaw by opting not to send a senior elected member of his government — a purely political move with little regard for the dire need for international cooperation in confronting climate change.
The rise in emissions that accompanies developing the tar sands means that Canada won’t be able to meet its 2020 targets for overall greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The Koch Brothers
The Koch brothers have also been pushing a “No Climate Tax Pledge” on politicians since 2008 through their front group, Americans for Prosperity. While unabashedly devised to promote their own self interests over those of the public or the environment, the Koch brothers wield so much money and power that over 400 politicians had signed the pledge as of July.
House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
American Legislative Exchange Council
Rather than admit defeat, and give in to common sense, ALEC appears to be doubling down on anti-clean energy efforts in 2014. One way the group plans to do this is target net metering policies, which allow solar owners to get credit for the energy they feed back into the grid (which angers large utility companies and their increasingly antiquated business model). In 2014, ALEC will also be pushing legislation that opposes President Obama’s nationwide Climate Action Plan, especially when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Joseph Bast, President and Co-founder of the Heartland Institute
Earlier this fall, after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its major study on climate science, (spoiler: global warming is unequivocal and it’s our fault), Bast said, “The IPCC — and all the mainstream media and environmental extremists who cite it uncritically — really have become a joke in the scientific community.”
Considering 97 percent of scientists believe the planet is warming and humans are causing it, one would think the scientific community would think similarly of Bast.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Thomas Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently told a meeting of business executives that attempts to put regulations on hydraulic fracturing are “undermining freedom” and hurting the economy.
Recently Lomborg wrote an editorial in the UK Times that asserts that, “global warming has mostly been a net benefit so far” and will be for decades. So while Lomborg does not deny that climate change is happening, he might be considered a confusionist, as Climate Progress’ Joe Romm recently labeled him. With Lomborg holding such a high perch from which to espouse his confusing — and even confounding — views, the potential negative impact he could have on combating climate change stands to be tall.
Source: Climate Progress. Reproduced with permission.