The White House and its environmentalist allies have begun another major push to warn the public of the dangers of global warming.
A major report released by a group co-chaired by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer highlighting the potential economic damages of global warming and a series of events planned by the White House will potentially help Democrats build support for President Obama’s climate agenda.
On Tuesday, the group Risky Business put out a report attempting to quantify the economic damages from the impacts of global warming, including sea level rises, heat waves and lower crop yields.
The day the report came out, Politico reported that the White House unveiled “a series of events this week to shine a spotlight on the economic consequences of climate change” which included a discussion with Steyer, whose group conducted the study.
The White House’s planned events mark the “one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s high-profile climate change speech,” reports Politico.
Not only is the White House planning on holding events, they will also be meeting with Steyer on Wednesday to discuss the economic impacts of global warming. Reuters reports that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House officials will meet with Steyer, former Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and others involved in the Risky Business report.
This meeting with Steyer comes after a meeting on Tuesday with White House officials and insurance industry representatives. The meeting included Obama advisers John Podesta and Valerie Jarrett who sat down with insurers and reinsurers to “discuss the economic consequences of increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather and the insurance industry’s role in helping American communities prepare for extreme weather and other impacts of climate change,” a White House official told Reuters.
But that’s not all for the White House. President Obama will give a speech Wednesday night at a dinner hosted by the environmental group the League of Conservation Voters — the group that has spent millions backing pro-climate policy candidates.
Obama’s speech will come after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz answer questions from LCV members Wednesday morning about the government’s efforts to fight global warming, reports Politico.
The White House efforts are part of its campaign to pump up public support for its climate policies ahead of the elections this fall. After a frigid winter and unveiling regulations to phase out coal-fired power, the administration is looking for ways to convince the public that the government must act quickly to fight global warming.
The Obama administration is hoping to use Steyer’s report as a way to highlight the supposed economic damages from a warming climate.
The report says, for example, that sea level rises could cause up to $507 billion in property damages by 2100. Extreme heat could mean the average American would between 27 and 50 days over 95 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century and could cause some states to lose up to 70 percent in crop yields.
The report even says that temperatures could rise so much in some reasons of the country that it may not even be healthy for humans to remain outdoors.
Steyer’s report, however, has been criticized by conservatives who say the goal of the report is to push for cap-and-trade and carbon taxes.
“Although not explicitly stated, the goal of this report is to promote a carbon dioxide pricing scheme such as a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, which, if implemented, would levy huge costs on the American people,” Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, said in a statement.
“This report is yet another PR scare tactic to convince people that our most reliable energy resources are bad for us, when in fact, the opposite is true,” Pyle said. “America’s environment, air quality, and standard of living is better in large part because of our energy use.”
Steyer is a major Democratic donor and former hedge fund manager turned environmental activist. He gained favor with the environmental left after he poured millions of dollars into opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and backing Democratic candidates who support climate policies.
The former hedge fund manager has been criticized for making much of his $1.6 billion fortune off investments in fossil fuels companies. Last year, Steyer came under fire when reports surfaced his former hedge fund held stock in Kinder Morgan, which was trying to build a pipeline that would have competed with the Keystone XL pipeline. Steyer still held investments in his former company and was opposing Keystone.
Since then, Steyer’s handlers have said he will be completely divested out of fossil fuels by the end of this month.
Steyer has also promised to raise $100 million to give to make global warming a top issue in the elections this fall. Half of this amount will come from his own fortune and the other half will come from fundraising.
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