In the run-up to the U.S. elections set to take place Nov. 2, the amount of money being spent and eccentricities on display have reached record levels. This has been particularly obvious in debates over energy and climate change.
The U.S. will vote on candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as well as on numerous state governorships and other issues next week. With a new court decision allowing unrestricted – and unprecedented – spending by corporations and unions in this year’s election, one emerging trend has been the huge amounts of money flowing from corporate interests – both domestic and foreign – to candidates who deny climate change or oppose legislation to combat it.
The stakes are high. The U.S. failed to pass to pass legislation to limit its industrial greenhouse gas emissions prior to the climate conference in Copenhagen last December and most expect strong legislative action to be months or years away.
Meanwhile, the issue of climate change is being used by conservative candidates to rally support from right-wing voters, such as those affiliated with the Tea Party movement.
No Republican running for a Senate seat openly supports limiting greenhouse gas emissions, as the proposal for a cap and trade system approved by the U.S. House but rejected by the Senate in 2009 would have done. Many candidates even actively deny the validity of climate change and the science behind it.
In Virginia, for example, incumbent Congressman Tom Perriello, a Democrat, has faced a tough battle from his challenger, Republican Robert Hurt, who has used Perriello’s “yes” vote for the cap and trade bill in the U.S. House to woo voters who buy the argument that the bill would have cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The issue of climate change action has been used in a similar way in races around the country.