Michael Bloomberg, Why are You Supporting Climate Denial?

October 13, 2014

There are so many facets to climate change that make it difficult to address – but when an issue is important – and when it has life or death consequences – you don’t give up just because it’s difficult.  You work harder.  You press further. – Micheal Bloomberg, former Mayor New York City, really rich guy.

MLive:

LANSING, MI — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving another assist to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican running for re-election against Democrat Mark Schauer.

Bloomberg’s Independence USA political action committee is starting to air pro-Snyder “issue advertisements” in the run-up to the November 4 general election.

The full size and scope of the ad buy is unclear — the treasurer has not yet responded to a request for comment — but it is believed to be significant. Public records show the Super PAC is running spots on broadcast television stations beginning this week in the Detroit market.

Bloomberg, a former Democrat who won elected office as a Republican and independent, held a fundraiser for Snyder in New York earlier this year and personally gave a maximum $6,800 to the governor’s re-election campaign.

The Super PAC’s new Snyder ad highlights some of the same accomplishments his campaign touts — including private sector job growth and a falling unemployment rate — and casts him as “the governor that put partisanship aside” and delivered results.

ClimateProgress:

We’re all familiar with climate deniers — the politicians who proudly declare that 97 percent of climate scientists are wrong, and human carbon emissions aren’t driving up global temperatures to a potentially catastrophic degree. Opposing them are what Grist’s David Roberts termed “climate hawks” — people who think climate change is real, it’s extremely dangerous, and civilization’s use of fossil fuels is behind most of it.

But in between, a strange twilight figure has risen for whom there is no term, but with whom climate activists will have to grapple if America is to do its part in keeping the world under 2°C of warming.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) probably represented this odd creature best back in August: “[Climate change is] a concern in terms of both its impact and the volatility it’s having on our weather patterns,” he said. But when reporters dug into whether humans are causing it, Snyder dodged: “I don’t get into how we got there because that tends to go off into a discussion that I don’t think has real value.”

“Is that relevant or not?” Snyder continued. “No. We have an issue. We need to address it.”

Similar sentiments have been expressed by other politicians. “I’m not qualified to answer that question,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) told Real Clear Politics in June when asked if humans are the main drivers of global warming. “Let me tell you what we’ve done, without getting to whether it’s human-caused or whatever that may be.”

OK, fair enough. Bloomberg is a former Democrat, turned Republican, wants to support the delicate green shoots of sentient thought within the hostile environment of his formerly rational party.

So, why am I getting mailers from the Snyder campaign, two in the last week, that look like this?

shauer

shauerclose

ClimateProgress again:

“You won’t convince a whole group of conservative right-leaning and right-wing people [on climate change],” admitted Larry Ward, the executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF). “It becomes your scientists versus our scientists.”

But Ward thinks there are other ways to gain support for green energy without hanging the argument on climate change, and he and his fellow conservatives in the MCEF are trying to demonstrate that in Michigan. The MCEF formed in the last months of 2013, to give a voice to conservative support for renewable energy. Their polling found that 53 percent of Michigan voters “strongly” supported requiring the state’s utilities to move off coal and onto renewable sources of energy, while 25 percent “somewhat” supported it. When asked to design their own energy mix, Michiganders wanted 57 percent of their electricity to come from renewables. And the results cut across partisan and ideological lines: two-to-one, Republicans said they would favor a candidate who supported renewables and energy efficiency over coal.

OK, so we know very well that climate change is a problem. We know, or think we know, that Rick Snyder has a sneaking suspicion that his party might be ill-advised to walk away from the whole science-modern civilization-rational thought thing. (Snyder has an accounting background, worked in the computer industry as an exec, proudly calls himself “a nerd”.)
(Full disclosure: I gave a raucously well received climate presentation at an exclusive private high school in southeast Michigan 2 years ago, and was told that the Guv’s daughter was sitting in the front row. So, possible he’s been hearing about the issue at home.)

We also know that Michael Bloomberg’s PAC has joined billionaire Tom Steyer in supporting Democratic Senate Candidate Gary Peters, whose campaign has gotten national attention for making climate a front and center issue, with ads like these.

We know that the program called “Cap and Trade”, vilified in the Snyder attack mailer above, has actually been a great success in the northeastern US, where a group of contiguous states have applied those principles, in an effort known as the RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative).

Bloomberg’s own publication notes that “..Carbon dioxide emissions have declined dramatically in the region..”, while economic growth in the region has been “outpacing the rest of the country.”

Environment Northeast:

During five plus years of operations, RGGI has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other dangerous pollutants from the electric power sector. At the same time the program has generated significant economic benefits in the region.
RGGI demonstrates that emissions can be reduced faster and at lower cost than typically assumed. Fuel switching, improved energy efficiency, and growing renewable energy output have caused emissions
to drop by 29% since RGGI launched, while electricity prices are lower than they were before RGGI took
effect. The rate of pollution reductions continues to outpace expectations, with emissions falling 5% below a more stringent cap set just last year.

The fact that CO2 pollution is already dropping below the new cap reinforces a historic trend of underestimating the capacity of flexible markets to meet
environmental goals. Against this backdrop of declining emissions, RGGI state economies have outpaced the rest of country, showing that the link between economic growth and emissions has broken in the region and demonstrating that we can address the threat of climate change while promoting continuing prosperity.

So the conclusion I come to is, that while Michael Bloomberg may have been snookered into supporting this image of “moderation” or nuance in the Michigan governor’s race, the far right, science-free, Koch-funded, fossil fueled engine of the the climate denial machine is only taking advantage of this naive city slicker’s good intentions – ignoring real world experience and data, demonstrating that even good economic policy does not trump the relentless agenda of carbon burning and planetary destruction that still owns a once-great political party.

6 Responses to “Michael Bloomberg, Why are You Supporting Climate Denial?”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Nice post. Two key takeaways for me.

    “……demonstrating that even good economic policy does not trump the relentless agenda of carbon burning and planetary destruction that still owns a once-great political party”.

    Which leads into “…. a strange twilight figure has risen for whom there is no term, but with whom climate activists will have to grapple if America is to do its part in keeping the world under 2°C of warming”.

    And that’s why you get those kinds of mailers. Here in VA, which used to be a bigger coal state but is slipping to the bottom of those charts, our two Senators are constantly in fear of the money behind (supposedly) saving 5,000 coal miner’s jobs and the 25,000+ jobs they support, while ignoring the fact that many better jobs could be created by pushing renewables and efficiency. Grimes faces the same battle in Kentucky.

    It’s going to have to get worse before it gets better, I’m afraid. Hope I live long enough to see it.


  2. I suspect that the growing sea ice around the Antarctic is due to the melting of fresh water on the continent flowing into the ocean & being lighter than salt water, it floats & it freezes at a higher temperature than salt water. The warmer salt water is also eroding the base of the glaciers causing them to break off from the continent & add to sea rise.

    We are digging our own grave with the burning of fossil fuels & overpopulation fed by FF.
    Renewables cannot & will not support the current excess human population. No matter what we try to do, we are headed for a massive population & economic collapse if not outright extinction.


  3. […] There are so many facets to climate change that make it difficult to address – but when an issue is important – and when it has life or death consequences – you don’t give up just because it’s diff…  […]

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    [b]”Renewables cannot & will not support the current excess human population. “[/b]

    Really? Why not?

    Tell me why renewables can not support our current population. I am dying to know why we are doomed to keep increasing greenhouse gases.

  5. dumboldguy Says:

    Yep, you (and every other living thing on the planet) will be dying because of increasing greenhouse gases IF we don’t do something to stop and reverse the trend to use more fossil fuels. Have you not noticed that reductions in GHG caused by increases in the use of renewables are in many place being matched and exceeded by increases in GHG because of increased burning of fossil fuels?

    It’s the old economic growth thing that dooms us, and the populations in China and India and those places where there is no electricity are going to continue to drive fossil fuel use. It’s not that renewables can’t do it, it’s that the evidence says they’ll never get there in time. Look at the projections for renewables, fossil fuel use, and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The lines are not going to cross in time for us avoid exceeding the “carbon budget” and the 2 degree temperature rise that so many scientists think will lead to CAGW.

    Sheila may have overstated it it a bit, but she (and I and a lot of others on Crock) get it—why don’t you?


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