Eject Elected Climate Deniers

To keep errors of fact off of the letters page. submissions that say, “… there’s no sign humans have caused climate change“, do not get printed, says Los Angeles Times editor Paul Thornton.

Elected officials should have a similar statement in their job description.  “In this job, you will determine the future ability of the earth to support human civilization. If you don’t believe in global warming and that people are the primary cause, resign now, this job is not for you”.


Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action is a political action committee (PAC) that funds campaigns for congressional and gubernatorial candidates who will prioritize development of global warming solutions once in office. NextGen COO, Dan Lashof, says that he, “doesn’t care how we reduce carbon, but we have to do it.”

NextGen applies polls, data mining, and social media to identify climate-sensitive citizens and then launches television attack ads,  door to door canvassing, and other media campaigns to mobilize these voters. To receive support from NextGen, candidates must support “bold action”, to battle global warming.  NextGen is focused on  elections in seven states, Maine, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Colorado.

NextGen’s definition of, “bold action”, is vague, but the only scalable options proposed in past Congressional sessions were a carbon tax bill and a cap and trade bill.  The 2014 Managed Carbon Price Act by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) is a carbon tax, and the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (also known as Waxman-Markey) was cap and trade. Charles Komanoff’s op-ed in today’s InsideClimateNews argues beyond all reasonable doubt that cap-and-trade is not bold action.  At the state level, renewable portfolio standards, fossil fuels regulation, solar subsidies, and increased funding for renewable energy research, are important, but are not of sufficient scale in the time frame available. A carbon tax is the only bold action that scales to the monumental size of the fossil fuels problem. Moving on.

Let’s apply the CarbonTax Workshop (CTW) metric to NextGenClimate.

  1. NextGenClimate does a good job communicating the need for bold action on global warming, but does not define ‘bold action’, which, to be quickly effective at the global scale, must be a carbon tax. Score: 4.
  2. NextGenClimate has mobilized thousands of voters to support bold climate action candidates.  Score: 10.
  3. NextGenClimate is highly visible in the press, on the web, and on TV, and has raised awareness among thousands of voters.  The organization has a paid staff of twenty and hundreds of volunteers, mostly in the key election states, mentioned above.  Score: 10.

Overall CTW score is 24.  NextGen reportedly has a budget over one hundred million dollars, which calculates to approximately $14M per candidate.  Let’s hope that is enough.


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