Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Big Oil bet big…and lost.

Remember how scared everyone was of Big Oil in this election?  Who’s scared now?

The top candidate backed by the fossil fuel industry – big oil, gas and coal – just lost the election.

The latest data (October 15) from the Center for Responsive Politics, further refined and analyzed by Oil Change International, indicates that President Barack Obama received $769,435 from the fossil fuel industry and it’s employees in this election.

Mitt Romney received more than six times as much dirty energy money – $4,854,051 – and he lost.

The oil boys from Houston must be feeling sick as dogs this morning as they backed the wrong man. They must be feeling sick that their corrosive funding of politicians has failed. We should celebrate that today, in this historic moment, when America re-elected our first ever African-American President, the country stands with the many, not the money.

Obama’s win was all the more remarkable as it was against “an unprecedented torrent of advertising”. At least $153 million of this propaganda storm surge was funded by the fossil fuel industry – not even counting the $400 million that the Koch brothers pledged to defeat Obama and Democrats around the country.

Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute that brought you the vile and omnipresent “Energy Voter” campaign who was said to be well placed for a top job in any Romney Administration.

Gerard was a long-time admirer and fundraiser for Romney.  As the Huffington Post recently noted, “Jack Gerard is not just another big-shot oil lobbyist with ties to a GOP campaign. He’s in a class by himself. A fellow Mormon, Gerard is close friends with Romney and widely considered one of his most trusted allies in Washington.”

The article continued: “A Romney victory would put a friend and ally of Washington’s top oil lobbyist in the White House … Over the past year, Gerard has provided the Romney campaign with a gusher of financial and political support, helping lead several Washington fundraisers that raked in millions.” The two men are said to be so close that Romney even attended a fundraising dinner at Gerard’s home.

Gerard was Romney’s main man in Washington, who probably would have had a position in Romney’s administration, even in Romney’s cabinet, maybe even becoming Romney’s chief of staff.

Sorry Jack.  Not this time.

It’s up to Obama now to show true, clear, concise leadership. The President is widely reported to be very concerned with his place in history.

Having been criticized by many for his climate silence during the Presidential debate, Obama at least rectified some of the damage by making sure that climate change was mentioned in his victory speech. “We want our children to live in a world without the destructive power of a warming planet”.

Indeed we do Mr. President.   But backing an “All of the Above” energy strategy will not solve climate change – it will in fact, create it.  The President once again last night also talked about “freeing ourselves from foreign oil” – which at this point is thinly veiled code for increased domestic drilling and tar sands.  You can bet Jack Gerard is happy about that part this morning.

The President cannot simultaneously fight climate change and support an All of the Above/Drill Baby Drill energy strategy.  It would be like launching a war on cancer while promoting cheap cigarettes for kids.  Leadership on climate requires understanding this.

The oil industry was very, very loud in this election – but in the end – they were not very powerful.  Their millions didn’t buy them the Presidency, or the Senate.  This should be a huge lesson for the Democrats who have often seemed afraid of the fossil fuel industry.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the political landscape – and the public’s understanding of the threat of climate change and it’s causes –  has shifted. Obama needs to seize that initiative – and all of us who care about the climate, clean energy, and our future – need to help him.  It begins now. On day one of term two.

Fired Up.  Ready to go.

 

-This piece was written by Andy Rowell and Steve Kretzmann

Comments (8)

  1. Earl Richards says:

    If Romney had won, it would have been a total victory for Big Oil and Wall Street. With Obama winning, it is a partial victory. Obama received 50 million votes, so let’s see if he can do something with it.

  2. Hunter Cutting says:

    It’s worth noting that Iowa arguably swung to Obama in part because of Romney’s opposition to wind power, as well as the victory of climate champions across the country in this election.

    The tide in public opinion is turning on the question of which kind of energy is best for powering our country going forward.

    Democrats and Republicans alike who take fossil-fuel industry money and then vote for the fossil-fuels might increasingly find that is a serious political liability.

  3. Janet Johnson says:

    We won against the big oil companies.

  4. Alan Hoffman says:

    The People Have Spoken

    There were two conspicuous points brought up in the President’s Acceptance speech election night. The first is the direct reference to freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil and the second was his direct plea …
    for us to stay engaged. If Americans stay focused on ending the need for Petroleum, we can provide permanent solutions to the three greatest challenges facing this country and our planet.

    Climate Change
    Militarization to protect vulnerable oil supply lines.
    Unsustainable export of money for energy.

    To the President’s credit he has taken us quite a long way towards this transition that will be the greatest challenge man has ever faced. Some president’s talk and do nothing and this president did things and then for some unknown reason didn’t talk about it.

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or the “stimulus plan” was partly a stimulus but more than half was “Reinvestment” in the American industrial base. The ARRA was successful at leapfrogging over existing technologies making it financially feasible to use biological systems to replace our reliance on dwindling oil reserves. The biggest leap has been in Advanced Biofuels making it possible to cost effectively produce liquid fuels from organic waste like sewage, farm waste and solid municipal waste and the first “at scale” plants are coming on line NOW. The United States generates 1.6 Billion tons of organic waste a year costing billions to bury or burn. With the right focus we could produce enough advanced biofuels by 2018 to end the import of non-North American oil. When Pearl Harbor was bombed and we declared war, it took only 6 months to retool our industrial infrastructure for war, Americans know how to do that very well. Today is even a greater emergency.

    Now that the science is complete and the President has called it out as one of his top priorities, we must encourage, cajole and pressure him to “Declare War on Energy Dependence” and use every tool at his disposal, include the bully pulpit to make Advanced Bio-fuels Scale Up our number #1 National priority.

    We the people must also vote with our wallets and let our voices be heard to pressure corporations to use a small part of the 2 Trillion dollar horde of money they are holding to implement this Advanced Biofuels program. This would bring a Quarter Trillion dollars a year home to pay American workers to produce domestic biofuels. This will improve our national security by removing the need to have American troops around the globe to protect our energy supplies. It will bring home One Quarter of a Trillion dollars per year to pay American workers improving long-term employment opportunities and this plan has the fringe benefit of reducing pollution and carbon in our environment.

    For more information check out http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/ or Google Advanced Bio fuels.

  5. Wayne says:

    A future where my grand children can live a very HEALTHY LIFE!

  6. Gary Clark says:

    I agree with everything said here, but you need to go even further and point out the other real costs of fossil fuels. For example, I would guesstimate that the cost of our wars and other activities in the Middle East to enable the fossil fuel economy to exist must exceed $100 billion per year, not to mention the cost in lives. Each $ billion is about $3 per person in this country, so each person pays an additional subsidy of $300 per year. So a family of four pays about $1200 per each year to prop up the fossil fuel industry. Let us not forget that at its very core the fossil fuel business is crony capitalism at its very finest, so we pay more for it than it is worth! So even from a purely financial standpoint, this country is promoting fiscal insanity. It is true that we all have the right to be stupid with our money, but supporting the fossil fuel industry is really “vertically integrated stupidity” due to its negative impacts on so many aspects of our lives and health. The fiscally responsible choice is to end our addiction on fossils fuels. This goal can be readily achieved by forcing this industry to bear its true costs. Renewables could readily outcompete the fossil fuel industry under such circumstances.w

  7. Grace Adams says:

    My guess is that half our defense budget (slightly over $660 billion for 2013) is really justified for defending our own territory; about a fourth is about being the world’s biggest bully (mostly on behalf of big oil firms over oil reserves in other nations that our oil firms covet, but also on behalf of our big banks), and the final fourth is wasted on just plain pork barrel. Thus most of the $165 billion for bullying other nations is for oil firms. It would be more money but better spent if we spent what we need to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy, to buy fossil fuel as reserves from fossil fuel firms as it is displaced by all changes in public policy including a stiff tax levied as much for prohibitive tariff effect as for revenue, and for cleaning up the mess left by fossil fuel. We need to get going on all this before climate change aggravated by human activity ruins our climate for agriculture, thus destroying civilization including the fossil fuel firms.

  8. Grace Adams says:

    It is NOT politically feasible to stop or even slow down fossil fuel firms without paying for it by BUYING at full price every bit of fossil fuel they claim. They are SACRED COWS.

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