The Supreme Court ruled to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, saying Congress should have that power. It was a 6-3 decision, with all six justices in the majority being Republican nominees.
Corporations, including fossil fuel companies, make hundreds of millions of dollars in political contributions to elect sympathetic politicians. These politicians, along with the same big donors, support the nomination and confirmation of sympathetic justices, including Supreme Court justices.
Corporations are spending millions more on advocacy groups that push their agendas before the politicians and judges they helped set up. This is the first of many ongoing cases funded by these corporations and brought by Republican attorneys general who are also funded by corporations. Congress, which has little experience in climate change action, has delegated that decision-making to the EPA, which has the required expertise.
Despite the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists, including Exxon’s own climate scientists, and the sharp increase in the frequency and severity of disruptive weather events, federal action on climate change may be in limbo, helping only the fossil fuel companies.
Ordinary people make little or no political contributions. Fossil fuel companies focus solely on their profitability, even when it threatens the habitability of our planet. They have wildly outsized influence in elections and politics through unlimited contributions that were allowed by the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Citizens United precedent in 2010, also decided by Republican appointees.
The United States is the only western country whose dominant conservative party denies climate change. It’s also the only such nation that allows unlimited political contributions, which the Koch Group, which has a history of fundraising for the Republican Party, takes full advantage of.
As Senator Mark Hanna so aptly put it in 1895: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second is.
If we want decisions to be based on merit and on a habitable planet, we need to replace big money with publicly funded elections.