U.S. companies fervently supporting President Barack Obama’s climate regulations are also donating money to lawmakers deemed “climate deniers” by environmental groups, a Tuesday report from Reuters shows.
PepsiCo, DuPont, Google, and others present themselves as proponents of Obama’s climate agenda, Reuters stated, while simultaneously shoveling money into the reelection campaigns of lawmakers who hold skeptical positions on global warming.
Reuters added that companies usually consider several different issues when determining which campaigns are worthy of financial support.
A spokeswoman with GE told Reuters the company supports “elected officials based on a wide range of issues, but we have consistently been outspoken about the need to address climate change and have invested over $17 billion in cleaner technology R&D over the last 11 years.”
Many of those targeted agreed with GE’s position.
Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who is a global warming skeptic like other lawmakers on the “climate deniers” list, said the debate over climate change is not a clear-cut one
“It is not a black and white issue, like if you agree with Obama you’re enlightened, and if you don’t you’re in the dark,” he said. “It is more of a spectrum.”
Environmentalists meanwhile believe the report shows a need for oversight in a company’s political giving.
“There really needs to be a process that looks at these issues … at C-suite and board levels on a periodic basis,” Jon Lukomnik, head of the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute, told reporters.
Reuters looked at 30 of the biggest publicly traded U.S. companies that signed Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge” in 2015, which compels companies to enact climate-friendly corporate policies.
The review determined that 25 of the companies gave money to campaigns of lawmakers featured on a so-called list of “climate deniers,” which was constructed by Organizing For Action, a group created by a former Obama campaign aide to push the president’s climate agenda.
The list includes more than 130 members of Congress, most of which are Republicans generally opposed to policies designed to tackle so-called man-made global warming.
The review found that PepsiCo.’s political action committee (PAC) gave approximately $56,500 from the 29 donations of $2,500 and above, while DuPont’ PAC donated $40,000 from the 19 donations of $2,000 and above.
The Reuters report comes as the crusade against global warming skeptics begins to ebb. Environmentalists, media outlets and lawmakers campaigned for several months against global warming critical, at some points advocating skeptics be prosecuted.
Peter Frumhoff, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, for instance, wrote to a GMU climate scientist in May championing a letter asking the Obama administration to prosecute companies pushing global warming skepticism.
“Just so you know, we’re also in the process of exploring other state-based approaches to holding fossil fuel companies legally accountable,” Frumhoff wrote in a July 2015 email, adding “we think there’ll likely be a strong basis for encouraging state (e.g. AG) action forward, and in that context, opportunities for climate scientists to weigh in.”
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