This is a special guest post from Climate Counts, images added.
David and Charles Koch might not be household names, but as major funders of climate denial organizations, they’re directly disrupting clean energy innovation and the future of our climate with your dollars. Let us explain.
Within the clean energy movement, Koch Industries is regarded as the leading funder of climate science distortion and needs no introduction. As leaders of one of the largest privately held companies in the world, David and Charles Koch have built a large portion of their $35 billion fortune on oil refineries and by controlling four thousand miles of pipelines in the U.S. Their motives for funding Americans for Prosperity and other climate change denying organizations become clear when you look at how they acquired their wealth – why search for low-carbon solutions if your entire fortune is based on burning fossil fuels?
In 2010 the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Political Economy Research Institute identified Koch Industries as one of the top ten air polluters in the United States for pumping out about 300 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution a year, roughly the equivalent to half of the per capita emissions of the U.S. population (the average American’s carbon footprint is 19 tons annually). It’s easy to see why eliminating the EPA’s authority to protect our air and regulate greenhouse gasses works in Koch’s favor.
Here’s a list of just a few recent Koch clean energy roadblocks:
- The Washington Post reported that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan – where Koch is headquartered) whose 2010 campaign received $79,500 from the Kochs, proposed an amendment to the Clean Air Act that would drastically cut funding for an Environmental Protection Agency’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions program. (The amendment passed in a 239-185 vote.)
- The New York Times reported that “Koch donated $1 million to the campaign to pass Proposition 23, the California ballot initiative that would suspend the state’s global-warming law” (Proposition 23 failed when Californians demanded clean energy.)
- OpenSecrets.org reports that from 2005 to 2008, Koch Industries spent nearly $25 million funding clean energy deniers and climate-denying organizations in Washington.
Koch owns an array of oil, chemical, and synthetic companies and we realize that it can be mind-numbing for consumers to decipher who’s behind every company. But if you’ve ever purchased paper towels, toilet paper, or tissue paper, you might find this interesting:
- Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, claims that dioxins aren’t really toxic or carcinogenic, even as the World Health Organization states that “dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer” (via the World Health Organization).
- Georgia-Pacific is fighting the EPA’s efforts to tighten water quality standards for stream dumping, specifically in the St. John’s River outside of Jacksonville, FL.
Georgia-Pacific owns many well-know paper brands: Quilted Northern, Soft ‘n Gentle, Angel Soft, Brawny, and Dixie to name a few. Consumer dollars spent on Georgia-Pacific products fund Koch Industries and its opposition to climate action. Simply put, if you’re buying Georgia-Pacific products you’re fighting against clean air and our clean energy future.
But there is an answer: Raise your voice to Koch brands and urge the company to rethink its stance on climate change. Or continue to buy from companies taking climate action and tell those companies what motivates you.
As part of our Green Watching campaign, Climate Counts is encouraging consumers to tweet to Georgia-Pacific demanding more climate action: “Hey @GeorgiaPacific I think @ClimateCounts. Stop funding climate change denial. I spend my $ w/ #climate in mind http://bit.ly/S8JfO” Not on Twitter? Join our Green Watching Campaign and help us raise our collective voices to businesses demanding corporate climate action.
Climate Counts is a non-profit campaign that scores companies annually on the basis of their voluntary action to reverse climate change. The Climate Counts Company Scorecard — launched in June 2007 — helps people vote with their dollars by making climate-conscious purchasing and investing choices that put pressure on the world’s most well-known companies to take the issue of climate change seriously. Launched by organics pioneer Stonyfield Farm, Climate Counts believes everyday consumers can be the most important activists in the fight against global warming. Climate Counts has currently evaluated nearly 150 companies in sixteen major consumer sectors with plans to expand the number of companies and sectors. Climate Counts’ work has appeared in many of the world’s leading media outlets, among them the New York Times, National Public Radio, The Economist, BBC World Service, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, and the Harvard Business Review. The organization launched its free iPhone app and its Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2) program in early 2010.
Images via losinghand
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