The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Was Your Senator #Up4Climate or In Bed with the Oil Industry?

Though likely impossible to find anyone in the climate justice or environmental community to say that any sitting U.S. senator — Republican or Democrat — has been an adequate leader on the issue of global warming, 28 Democrats (and two Independents) were garnering soft applause for their overnight effort on Monday into Tuesday as they pulled an all night session focused exclusively on climate change.

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) reads excerpts from The Lorax yesterday during an all-night session on climate change.

The most striking element separating those who participated and those who stayed home: the volume of campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The numbers support those who have long said the real villain in the fight against climate change is the fossil fuel industry, which uses its deep pockets to control the debate in Washington, bankroll industry-friendly politicians, and fund climate denialism in the American population.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that climate denial is still an acceptable political position to some in Washington," said Jason Kowalski, policy director for 350.org, "but I think it’s a sign of the times that over a quarter of the U.S. Senate is prepared to side with the people over the polluters tonight.”

The message is a simple one, said Hawaii's freshman Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat who organized the event: "We're not going to rest until Congress acts on the most pressing issue of our time."

More publicity stunt than legislative maneuver, participating senators gave speeches about the impact on global warming for future generations and the economic costs of doing nothing. They warned colleagues on the other side of the aisle that history would judge them harshly for their continued denialism despite overwhelming scientific consensus on planet warming.

Many prominent Democrats, especially those with upcoming reelection campaigns or those from states with strong ties to the fossil fuel industry were notably absent from the night's proceedings. As the Guardian pointed out, those no-shows included: "Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who both represent oil-rich states. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who is facing re-election this year is also sitting this one out."

Revealingly, the Huffington Post's Paul Blumenthal looked at campaign records for the 30 senators who joined the effort versus the 70 who sat out and reports:

According to data collected from the Center for Responsive Politics, each of the 30 participating senators raised an average of $56,269 from oil and gas industry executives, employees and political action committees since 2006. The 70 senators not taking part raised an average of $289,544 over the same period.

One reason for the stark difference in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry is that it primarily funds Republican politicians. Since 1996, the industry has spent more than 75 percent of its campaign donations to Republicans.

None of the 45 Republican senators are taking part in Monday's climate action. Since 2006, each of these GOP senators has raised an average of $386,077 from oil and gas interests — far more than the average of Democratic senators. The all-night session includes two independent senators who caucus with Democrats.

There is also a substantial gap between senators taking part in the climate action and the Democratic senators who are not.

Since 2006, the 25 nonparticipating Democratic senators raised an average of $115,784, twice as much as the average of the 30 participating senators. Many of the nonparticipating Democratic senators hail from states where oil and gas is produced.

The following senators, however, did participate: Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray, (D-Wash.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Barbara Boxer, (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Both the Huffington Post and the Guardian live-blogged portions of the night and Twitter tracked statements and popular reactions across the web using the #Up4Climate:

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Stolen Solar Panels and Sabotage A Challenge for Powering India With Renewable Energy

Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg Disappointment spread across Tarun Singh’s face when he saw that parts of his solar power microgrid in eastern India’...

Suntech Parent Company Buys Majority Share of US-based Suniva

Ehren Goossens Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., the Hong Kong-based solar company controlled by billionaire Zheng Jianming,...

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Jon Queally, senior editor and staff writer, has been with Common Dreams since 2007 covering US politics, foreign policy, human and animal rights, climate change, and much in between. In addition to his role as the opinion editor, he works daily o...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 Intersolar Eu...

COMPANY BLOGS

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

One of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into a buyer is to giv...

Pushing Beyond The Cushion

Efficiency projects are all too often viewed as “optional” o...

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS