On Friday September 14 The New York Times reported that players in fossil fuel-based industries are pouring money into the 2012 election, either in donations to Gov. Romney, or ads that attack things like Obama's support of environmental regulations and the delaying of the Keystone XL pipeline.
One advertisement paid for by the American Energy Alliance states, "Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled...Tell Obama we can't afford his failing energy policies." It should be noted that the American Energy Alliance is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, which politico reports are both partially funded by the Koch Brothers, and are run by Tom Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries.
Although the general truth skewering done in these ads is not good, what is far more disturbing are the blatant anti-green messages coming from politicians and these special interests groups alike. In 2008, when conservatives and big oil seemed to be on the ropes, many anti-green, pro-big oil groups and politicians at least pretended to care about the long-term sustainability of our domestic energy policy.
Even if the rhetoric was just to try and win some favor with the public, it demonstrated that people were actually beginning to take such issues seriously, and those who advocated unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly practices were taking notice. Chevron spent money to advertise investments in geothermal power and Sen. McCain not only acknowledged global warming, but advocated some use of solar panels and wind farms.
Now, in 2012, the estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this election season, according to an analysis by The New York Times. That is compared to $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates.
The reality is that the oil, coal, and gas lobby are creating the same problem conservatives love to accuse unions of creating, but on a larger and more devastating scale. In the perpetual chasing of their own self-interests, these fossil fuel interests are hurting America's ability to contribute to and profit from the clean energy revolution that nations like China and Germany are much better prepared for.
By paying a small minority of scientists to inject doubt into what is otherwise the universally accepted phenomenon of man-made climate change, these special interests have convinced voters to pass on the cost of our environmental policies to future generations, a scenario that would bother conservatives if it could only be kept track of by a comically large debt-clock.