Campaign 2016: nobody cares about climate change

Will Sen. Sanders "feel the Bern" of Tom Steyer's bankroll?

walletFrustrated that nobody seems to care about climate change, “the country’s biggest individual political donor during the 2014 election cycle,” has pledged even more in 2016. Tom Steyer spent nearly $75 million in the 2014 midterms, reports Politico. He intends to “open his wallet even wider” now.

But just what do his millions get him in this “crucial election”? Based on history, not much.

In 2014, his NextGen Climate Action group specifically targeted seven races. Only three went his way—to Democrats.

In Iowa, the group “invested in billboards and television and radio, newspaper, and webbillbads,” to target Republicans and “agitate for more conversation about the topic in debates.” According to Politico, NextGen “attempted to convince Iowans to caucus for a candidate based on that candidate’s energy plan.” They “identified over 42,000 voters in the state who tapped climate change as a voting priority”…“over 1,500 were registered Republicans.” With 357,983 people participating the Iowa caucus, Steyer’s efforts reflect just 11.7% of voters and less than 1% of Republicans.

cruzcornSteyer’s millions were spent trying to get people to vote based on “energy plans.” Only one candidate’s energy policy got any real media coverage: Ted Cruz’s opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard, also known as the ethanol mandate. He won the Republican caucus, ahead of Donald Trump who pandered to the powerful lobbying group: America’s Renewable Future. (Since then, Archer Daniels Midland, the biggest proponent and producer of ethanol, may be scaling back, which according to the Financial Times, “suggests the reality for this industry has changed.”)

Perhaps Steyer needs to realize his reality has changed.

On February 11, Politico released survey results from “a bipartisan panel of respondents” who it claims are “Republican and Democratic insiders”…“activists, strategists, and operatives in the four early nominating states” who answered the questions anonymously. The results? As one Republican respondent from South Carolina (SC) put it: “Climate change is simply not a front burner issue to most people.” A Nevada Democrat agreed: “I don’t believe this is a critical issue for many voters when compared to the economy and national security.”

One SC Republican said that no “blue-collar swing voter” ever said: “I really like their scjobs plan, but, boy, I don’t know about their position on climate change.” Over all, the Republicans don’t think that opposing public policy to address the perceived threats of climate change will hurt their candidates. The topic never came up in the recent SC Republican debate.

Steyer sees that on the issue of climate change, “the two parties could not be further apart.” However, the “insider” survey found that Democrats were split on the issue. When asked if “disputing the notion of manmade climate change would be damaging in the general election,” some thought it would, but others “thought climate change isn’t a major issue for voters.” One SC Democrat pointed out: “The glut of cheap energy sources makes Green technology less of an immediate priority for Congress, investors, and the voting public.”

While we are far from the days, of “drill, baby drill,” when asked about increasing production, Republicans see that their pro-development policies are unaffected by “price fluctuations.” A SC Republican stated: “Most Republicans view this issue through a national security lens. Low prices might diminish the intensity, but GOP voters will still want America to be energy independent regardless of oil prices.”

On February 12, Politico held a gathering called “Caucus Energy South Carolina” that featured several of the SC “insiders” among whom the host said are “influential voices,” who offer “keen insight into what’s going on on the ground.”

mikemckThere, Mike McKenna, who has consulted a wide variety of political and corporate clients with respect to government relations, opinion research, marketing, message development, and strategies, and who has served as an external relations specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy, declared: “Energy is a second tier issue. Climate change is fifth tier. Nobody cares about it. It is always at the bottom.”

The climate change agenda has been the most expensive and extensive public relations campaign in the history of the world. Gallup has been polling on this issue for 25 years. Despite the herculean effort, fewer people are worried about climate change today than 25 years ago. Pew Research Center has repeatedly found that when given a list of concerns regarding the public’s policy priorities, respondents put jobs and economy at the top of the list, with climate change at the bottom. Polling done just before the UN climate conference in Paris, found that only 3% of Americans believe that climate change is the most important issue facing America.

Even Democrat Jane Kleeb, an outspoken opponent of the Keystone pipeline, acknowledged that climate change, as an issue, doesn’t move people to act.

David Wilkins, a former U.S. Ambassador to Canada who has worked on issues such asinez energy, national security, and the environment, said that voters are “not going to let the environment trump the economy.” He believes there will be a reapplication for the Keystone pipeline and that eventually it will be built. Another insider, Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, disagreed, saying: “People don’t want to be energy dependent.” To which Wilkins quipped: “All the more reason to get oil from our friends.”

When it comes to energy, there are clearly differences between the parties, but strangely both agree that climate change isn’t “a major issue for voters.”

But don’t tell Steyer—or Senator Bernie Sanders. Steyer has praised Sanders for his public stand on climate change saying that he’s brought it up “repeatedly,” calling it a “national security issue” and “the number one issue facing Americans”—despite the fact that polling indicates otherwise.

As if he were channeling Steyer, in his New Hampshire victory speech, Sanders declared: “We will not allow back into the White House a political party … that cannot even acknowledge the scientific reality of climate change.” He continued: “The debate is over. Climate change is real. It is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems in this country and around the world. We have a moral responsibility to work with countries throughout the world to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”

Since nobody cares about climate change in the 2016 presidential campaign, except for Sanders and influential Democrat billionaire donor Steyer (who stands to gain financially from his advocacy), unfortunately one can easily guess where a chunk of his millions will go. Sanders will no longer be able to claim that all his donations are small.

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About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita Noon

CFACT policy analyst Marita Noon is the author of Energy Freedom.,

  • DMA

    Climate action is on the top of my list of important issues. I will not vote for someone who denies that currant spending on an undefined problem predicted by faulty models and unsubstantiated by any correctly analyzed data is a waste and a moral outrage.

    • Ian5

      What undefined problem are you referring to? The mechanism and science behind human-induced climate change is well understood and accepted by virtually every major American and international scientific academy. What exactly is the source of your moral outrage?

      • FortSteve

        http://www.cfact.org/2016/02/17/propaganda-top-mit-climate-scientist-trashes-97-consensus-claim/

        The consensus argument is false Ian. If meteorologists cannot make an accurate 10 day weather forecast, how are we to believe scientists can draw accurate conclusions on climate change and it’s causes? Most of the doomsday predictions by the Al Gore types have failed to come true. NOAA/NASA has fiddled with their temperature data to support their agenda, despite contradicting the more accurate satellite temperature readings. CO2 levels have increased even thought there has been a nearly 20 year pause in warming. The glaciers are adding ice, not melting. AGW theories expect us to ignore a pre-industrial age history of warming and cooling. They also expect us to believe they can pull a 150 year period out of the history of our planet, ignore past trends, and make an accurate prediction of future climate change.
        When AGW supporters call those who refuse to buy into the scams “climate deniers”, they have lost the debate. The poll numbers show that Americans are not worried about climate change because most of us understand that our politicians just want more money. I don’t want my energy costs to increase to support wind and solar power that are inefficient and lose money. If Obama truly cared about clean energy, he’s had seven years to push building a nuclear plant. Instead, he throws silly scare tactics about climate related wars and terrorism. The biggest threat to our planet is not global warming, it is power hungry liberals.

        • Ian5

          Complete rubbish intentionally aimed to mislead and misinform. For starters, you are confusing climate and weather and then go on to state a whole series of outrageous untruths like “the glaciers are adding ice not melting”. Based on what evidence? Then you conclude by revealing your political bias which has nothing to do with science.

          • FortSteve

            Ian, I’m not going to do your research for you. There is more than enough evidence to cast considerable doubt on AGW claims. Climate and weather are interrelated. The only bias I have is on the side of actual science done by those who do not feel the need to push a left wing agenda in order to obtain funding. The next time you are standing on an asphalt parking lot in the sun, pull out your thermometer and check the temperature. Then check the temperature off the parking lot in a grassy area. NOAA/NASA temperature readings are tainted by their location. There are more than enough sensors located in urban heat sink areas to have a statistical influence on averages.
            You can keep beating your self righteous chest about your claims, but fewer and fewer people are listening.

            • Ian5

              Silly talking points. You are just gullible or purposely aiming to mislead and misinform. For example you made the outrageous statement that glaciers are adding ice not melting but you can’t back that up with any evidence can you? Just more fluff. You can’t accept the science of climate change because it doesn’t fit with your narrow ideology.

              • FortSteve

                http://iceagenow.info/90-percent-of-the-worlds-glaciers-are-growing/
                http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/151103-antarctic-ice-growing-shrinking-glaciers-climate-change/

                The fact is Ian, you cannot prove that glaciers are melting due to AGW and not from normal climate change that has been occurring for billions of years. As I said before, I do not accept the “science” of AGW because the research is suspect and most of the gloom and doom predictions have failed to come true. The only misleading going on is from people like you who cannot defend your science and resort to name calling. You continue to waste time and money coming up with theories to explain way your pseudo-science. There is more correlation between sun cycles and climate change than there is between CO2 levels and climate change. Maybe you should ask why your fellow AGW alarmists aren’t demanding more nuclear power plants as they produce far more energy and kill far fewer birds than wind and solar power.
                Now go beat your CO2 drum somewhere else because I am done suffering your ignorance.

                • Ian5

                  That you begin your comment by providing a link to the rubbish site iceagenow is laughable. And even the national geographic story that you link to concludes that “the consensus view seems to be that Antarctica is experiencing melting in important ways and will likely contribute more to sea level rise in the coming centuries”. But you only read the headline. Moreover, Antarctica is not the only place on the planet.
                  The data and science indicate that with few exceptions glaciers around the world have been retreating at unprecedented rates and that much o the retreat is directly attributable to human caused climate change. National snow and ice data center.
                  http://nsidc.org

                • Ian5

                  Maintaining reliable and secure energy supplies while rapidly decarbonising our energy systems certainly presents challenges. I don’t hear many reasonable people arguing against that. Basically we can reduce GHGs in two ways. (1) by lowering CO2 emissions on the supply side by moving our energy systems away from fossil fuels (eg, renewables, nuclear, carbon capture and storage) and (2) by lowering emissions on the consumption side through reduced consumption and substitution. The solution is going to have to involve a combination of strategies many of which are being deployed now. Get used to it.

                  • Tomko Kubianca

                    Do you think closing the coal plants in the US which are arguably the cleanest and most efficient in the world, Then shipping the coal to China & India (using millions of tons of petro fuel, where it will be burned in the least cleanest and least efficient coal plants in the world) is a good idea?

                    • Ian5

                      As a policy response to climate change, no I don’t. But I would also qualify that by stating that the transition away from fossil fuels is not going to be easy — it will take time but it is already underway. Even industry cheerleader Marita Noon will acknowledge that US coal production is on the decline and is likely to continue declining as alternative energy sources – including renewables and cleaner burning natural gas displace existing demand.

                • Tomko Kubianca

                  With $75 million in the 2014 midterms, and the promise of even MORE to come, Ian5 doesn’t have to worry about wasting his OWN time and money.

                  • Ian5

                    Physics doesn’t really care about how much money is spent in election campaigns.

              • Tomko Kubianca

                When someone says “You are purposely aiming to mislead and misinform.” you can usually bet that it is THAT person that is aiming to mislead and misinform.

                • Ian5

                  Maybe but if you actually read the thread, you’ll see that FortStevey was asked to provide some evidence to back up his ridiculous statement about glaciers and he provided none.

                • Dano2

                  When someone says you can usually bet that it is THAT person that is aiming to mislead and misinform, you can bet it is that person who is aiming to mislead and spread FUD.

                  Best,

                  D

            • Dano2

              Good comedy: There is more than enough evidence to cast considerable doubt on AGW claims.

              I LOLzed!

              Best,

              D

          • Tomko Kubianca

            “Tom Steyer spent nearly $75 million in the 2014 midterms, reports Politico. He intends to “open his wallet even wider” now. ” How much of that money are YOU getting to come to these forum and spew your hatred and bull$hit?

      • Tomko Kubianca

        “The debate is over. Climate change is real.” BULL$hit! There has been NO debate. We’ve just been handed this crap and told that “The science is settled” by scientists that are employed by the government paid to prove this crap exists. Any scientists that disagree, soon find themselves out of work.

  • Billy Bangle

    Sanders as far as I can see, is the only candidate with a policy that will actually increase the CO2 emissions of the USA because of his anti-nuclear stance, and is thus worse than any of the Republicans. I hope I get to vote for Hillary, but if I don’t I will be voting against Sanders.

  • moran

    Campaign 2016 Issues: Although “global warming/climate change” may be of lower priority, is it possibly animating to the more liberal social Democrats?