On Monday, President Barack Obama said it loud and clear during his second inaugural address: We need action to fix our climate crisis, and we need it now. And, just a few hours later, as it seems like they've done at every turn over the last four years, his opponents said the exact opposite.
It wasn't just that the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) said they didn't believe in climate disruption -- they actually said they would attack Senators who took action on the climate crisis. Monday evening, the NRSC announced they would target Democrats in key states and pressure them to take positions going against the president's call for action against climate disruption.
After a year in which the lives of millions of American were harshly affected by extreme weather and climate disruption -- from droughts to wildfires to Superstorm Sandy -- it's a position that isn't just illogical, it's irresponsible. But, as with so much in politics, you only need to follow the money to understand why the NRSC is digging in on denialism.
Pretend to be shocked: oil and gas corporations are among the biggest backers of the NRSC. The committee has received almost $5 million from oil and gas special interests in just the last four years, raking in big bucks from the likes of Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries and other dirty energy companies. Those are the same companies funding the far-right organizations that have been attacking climate solutions and clean energy while propping-up anti-science climate deniers.
The fact that the NRSC is opposing climate solutions is nothing new. They've spent millions of dollars to help elect the cronies of big polluters who've stood in the way in the Senate of critically important bills that represented action on the climate crisis and an end to tax giveaways for big oil companies. But they are doing the dirty work for dirty energy at a time when the cost of the extreme weather fuelled by climate disruption is skyrocketing -- both in economic and human terms.
While doing the bidding of their big oil donors, the folks at the NRSC have drawn a line in the sand and then buried their heads in it. But its not just fossil fuel companies footing the bill for this dangerous position -- its other well-known Americna corporations paying for the attacks on climate action, knowingly or unknowingly.
Among the NRSC's top donors are companies like FedEx, Home Depot, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Wells Fargo -- companies with millions of customers, many of whom have had their lives touched by the impacts of extreme weather like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. Are they really willing to pay for attacks on anyone who wants to take action on the climate crisis?
Poll after poll shows the American people recognize climate change is very real and happening right now. But, once again, the NRSC has made it clear they think taking a position that's totally out of line with the American people and the future of our planet is a winning strategy. Do their donors believe the same thing?
Note: This post originally appeared on Sierra Club's Compass blog.