-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Half a trillion dollars! Does that seem enough? That's what "Green" donors have spent since 2010 on pushing their invariably destructive causes. You wouldn't think there would be so much money sloshing around among American charitable sources but there is. It has been used to fund advertising and to "buy" activists, journalists and politicians. Substantial contributions to a politician's election campaign tend to be very warmly received by the politician.
So there is a vast mechanism trying to influence American public policy towards self-destruction. Freud's warning about "Thanatos", the death instinct that is in us all to varying degrees, does spring to mind. Global Warming is a lot of hokum so they need to be spending all that money to drown out those of us who simply mention the climate facts.
So how do we know about all that spending? It's in a vast new academic journal article by Nisbet that goes through all the "philanthropic" spending line by line. It's a very thorough and authoritative article.
It is way too long for most people to read so I have just reproduced below the beginning and the end of it. Those excerpts tell you plenty, however. I have just done a rough download into text from a PDF so the formatting and word-separation is pretty scrappy but that's all I had time for. If you are a masochist you can go back to the original and read the whole thing.
A small personal note: Being Green is to be in the gravy so have we skeptics missed out? Not really. Most of us are scientists or professionals and most of us are retired. So I don't think we have missed many good dinners. Actually, in my experience, the dinners you get at conferences are of the rubber chicken variety and even dinners at expensive restaurants are often less than hearty. Ethnic cuisine beats both by a mile. Try a genuine Parsee Dhansak, some Korean egg-rolled pork or Vietnamese lemon chicken (Totally different from Chinese lemon chicken), for both novelty and taste. If you can't get such things in your neighborhood, I have recipes ...
Strategic philanthropy in the post-Cap -and-Trade years:Reviewing U.S. climate and energy foundation funding
For several decades, philanthropists in the United States have played a behind-the-scenes role in framing climate change as a social problem. These foundations havedefined climate change primarily as a pollution problem solvable by enacting aprice on carbon and by shifting markets in the direction of renewable energy tech-nologies and energy efficiency practices. Funding has favored "insider" groups thatpush for policy action by way of negotiation, coalition building, and compromise,rather than "outsider" groups that specialize in grassroots organizing. Philanthro-pists have also placed less priority on funding for other low-carbon energy sourcessuch as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, or natural gas, nor have theyinvested in actions intended to boost societal resilience, protect public health, or toaddress questions of equity and justice.
But in the years following the failure of the2010 Federal cap and trade bill, a review of available grants from 19 major founda-tions indicates that philanthropists responded to calls for new directions. Funding shifted to focus on state- or municipal-level mitigation and adaptation actions and to the needs of low-income/minority communities. Significant funding was alsodevoted to mobilizing public opinion and to opposing the fossil fuel industry.Nearly a quarter of all funding, however, remained dedicated to promoting renew-able energy and efficiency-related actions with comparatively little funding devotedto other low-carbon energy technolog ies.
The defeat in 2010 of U.S. cap and trade legislation prompted widespread discussion among climate advoc ates and philanthro-pists about what had gone wrong, and the need for new directions in funding and stra tegy. The demise of the bill, whichwould have put an economy wide cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions came just months after the wo rld's political leadersat a United Nations summit in Copenhagen, Denmark had failed to reach a binding agreement to curb emissions. Followingthese political setbacks, several analysts called for investing more significantly in building a grassroots political movement that would directly pressure U.S. political leaders and the fossil fuel industry to take aggressive steps to reduce emissions.Some urged a stronger focus on state and municipal policies, including prioritizing climate adaptation and resilience effortsand the needs of low-income populations. Others raised questions about a philanthropic strategy th at pooled vast resources onbehalf of a few strategies, energy technologies, and organizations, rather than spreading grants across a diversity ofapproaches, technologies, and groups.
Far from being passive supporters of actions to address climate change, major U.S. foundations for several decades haveplayed an active role in defining a common roadmap for their grantees and partners. By framing the challenges, defining thepriorities, and promoting specific ideas, philanthropists have actively shaped common ways of thinking that have boundtogether otherwise disconnected organizations and leaders into shared approaches and strategies (Bartley, 2007; Horvath &Powell, 2016; Morena, 2016; Nisbet, 2014). During an era of political dysfunction and polarization across levels ofU.S. government, philanthropists are able to mobilize vast financial resources to alter the public conversation relative to com-plex problems like climate change. In doing so, they serve as an "outsize megaphone, both actively shaping how people viewsocial problems and championing specific methods through which these problems can be addressed" (Horvath & Powell,2016, p. 90). For some critics, however, such influence has also led to forms of group think that overlook important alternativestrategies needed to substantially reduce GHG emissions and/or to overcome political opposition (Bartosiewicz & Miley,2013; Dowie, 2002; Nordhaus & Shellenberger, 2007).................
Finally, the findings provide valuable insights on the role of climate philanthropy in shaping public opinion, mobilizingactivists, and influencing national elections in an effort to shape climate and energy policy decisions. In th e post cap-and-tradeyears, the $151 million devoted by funders to climate change-, fossil fuel industry- and renewable energy-related communica-tion activities were complemented by a combined $150 million spent by the billionaire Tom Steyer in successive elections tomobilize climate voters on behalf of Democratic candidates (Hamburger, 2014; McCormick & Allison, 2017). Yet in 2016,despite the stark differences on climate change between Trump and his rival Hillary Clinton, Trump won a majority of theMidwest battleground states. Nationally, Republicans retained control of Congress and strengthened their hold on state gov-ernments, controlling 69 of 99 state legislative chambers and 33 out of 50 governorships (Philips, 2016).
Promote actions to limit/oppose fossil fuel industry
$69,448,046 Fossil fuel industry-relatedcommunication, media and mobilization
$3,508,000 Natural gas "fracking"-relatedcommunication, media and mobilization
$8,981,000 Renewable energy-relatedcommunication, media & mobilization
$46,582,289 Climate change-relatedcommunication,media & mobilization
$92,405,423 Promote sustainabletransportation/clean vehicles
$20,965,823 Promote sustainableagriculture, land use, protect ecosystems
$72,611,452 Promote climate mitigation &adaptation actions
$91,360,804 Promote/evaluate otherlow carbon energy technologies
*$10,513,713 Promote renewableenergy & efficiency-related policy actions &practices
Total funding $556,678,469
It remains unclear how much impact philanthropists and environmenta lists can have on the outcome ofupcoming national elections, given that climate change still ranks as a relatively low public priority in comparison to otherissues (Pew Research Center, 2018). Where climate advocates and their funders have had a clear influence is in shaping thedirection of the Democratic Party on climate change, intensifying commitment to a variety of policy actions among partyleaders, donors, and activists. In states like California, Washington, and New York where Democratic-leaning donors, activ-ists, and voters dominate, environmentalists have been able to pass major climate policies, restrict fossil fuel development,and win other commitments from governors and mayors (Tabuchi & Fountaion, 2017).
In rallying activists against the Trump administration, to broaden their traditional environmental appeals, the Sierra Club, 350.org, and other organizations have also actively embraced an "intersectional" strategy, connecting climate change to identity-based causes rel ated to racial justice,gender equality, and GLBTQ rights (Hestres & Nisbet, 2018).
Yet related to these strategies, campaigns opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline and natural gas fracking along with newcauses related to racial, gender, and identity-based justice have also likely contributed to deepening political polarization, serving as potent symbols for Republican donors and activists to rally voters around. These issues also divide liberal and centristDemocrats, and were a major point of contention during the Democratic primaries (Hestres & Nisbet, 2018; Nisbet, 2015). A carbon tax and dividend proposal coauthored in 2017 by two former Republican U.S. Secretaries of State and supported bythe Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Michael Bloomberg, leading economists, and major oil companies is notable for its assignment of blame for past divisions.
"Some advocates of renewable energy oppose nuclear power, even though both may be needed to combat climate change. Many environmentalists tend to be anti-corporate, even though any via-ble mitigation plan must rest in part on business leadership" declares the proposal. "The message of fear and austerity espoused by some on the green-left tends to alienate those at the opposite end of the political spectrum, who see climate poli-cies as a Trojan horse for a bigger and more intrusive government. Many GOP leaders, meanwhile, deny basic science and failto offer concrete solutions. We need fresh approaches able to bridge these divides"
By JR on Sunday, June 17, 2018
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