Dangerous Insanity

Climate change denialism has become much more difficult lately, as evidence in the form of heat waves, increasingly strong hurricanes, wildfires and the like continue to grow. And in most countries, as a recent article from the New York Times notes in its opening paragraphs, political fights over efforts to combat global warming are focused on the “how”–not on the immediacy or existential nature of the threat.

But then there’s the good old USA, and the GOP.

The article’s headline is “Weaponizing Public Office Against Climate Action,” and it documents yet another drawback of American federalism–the ability of Republican officeholders in Red States to actually bolster fossil fuel companies at the expense of the climate. It isn’t just in Texas, where we’ve become used to the deranged antics of Gov. Greg Abbott. (Abbott has actually prohibited state agencies from investing in businesses that have cut ties with fossil fuel companies.)

The Times investigation revealed a “coordinated effort by state treasurers to use government muscle and public funds to punish companies trying to reduce greenhouse gases.

Nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers around the country are working to thwart climate action on state and federal levels, fighting regulations that would make clear the economic risks posed by a warming world, lobbying against climate-minded nominees to key federal posts and using the tax dollars they control to punish companies that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the past year, treasurers in nearly half the United States have been coordinating tactics and talking points, meeting in private and cheering each other in public as part of a well-funded campaign to protect the fossil fuel companies that bolster their local economies.

Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, announced that several major banks — including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — would be barred from government contracts with his state because they are reducing their investments in coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

This is–rather obviously– insane. It’s as if an immensely wealthy patient diagnosed with terminal cancer were to decree that none of his monies could ever be used for cancer research or for the production of cancer treatments–and should instead be invested in Roundup and other cancer-producing products.

Mr. Moore and the treasurers of Louisiana and Arkansas have pulled more than $700 million out of Ti, the world’s largest investment manager, over objections that the firm is too focused on environmental issues. At the same time, the treasurers of Utah and Idaho are pressuring the private sector to drop climate action and other causes they label as “woke.”

 And treasurers from Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma joined a larger campaign to thwart the nominations of federal regulators who wanted to require that banks, funds and companies disclose the financial risks posed by a warming planet.

Reporters traced these efforts to a little-known nonprofit organization based in Shawnee, Kansas, identifying the State Financial Officers Foundation, an organization that once focused on cybersecurity, as the “nexus” of these actions . Following the election of President Biden, who pledged to make addressing climate change a significant element of his agenda, the Foundation began pushing Republican state treasurers–elected officials responsible for managing their state’s finances–“to use their power to promote oil and gas interests and to stymie Mr. Biden’s climate agenda, records show.”

The Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute and the American Petroleum Institute are among the conservative groups with ties to the fossil fuel industry that have been working with the State Financial Officers Foundation and the treasurers to shape their national strategy.

The Times notes that Democratic treasurers in Blue states support efforts to combat climate change; they  encourage banks and investment firms to acknowledge the risks that climate change poses to returns for retirees and others. But they haven’t created anything like the national campaign being orchestrated by the State Financial Officers Foundation.

Rational people–a category that rather clearly excludes these Republican treasurers–understand that  global warming is already damaging agriculture and causing extreme weather events that devastate communities and cost taxpayers billions in recovery and rebuilding. Instead, they insist that efforts to reduce emissions threaten employment.

These GOP treasurers have turned climate science into yet another issue in the Republicans’ unrelenting and suicidal culture wars.

But here’s the thing: It’s one thing to recognize that the economic health and quality of life in Blue states is superior to that of Red States. Americans can shrug–or move. However, we can’t create environmental silos–the stupidity and/or cupidity of these GOP officeholders affects the future livability of the entire globe.

The GOP proudly asserts that it isn’t “woke.” (We’ve noticed.)

The opposite of wakefulness, of course, is sleep. In this case, it’s a coma…..


  1. But finally the FBI is moving against Trump. Maybe the time of BS will wind down. Maybe America can get past the BS and get back to reality.

  2. patmcc; watching CNN and MSNBC spotlighting the FBI “moving against Trump”, Republicans have referred to the action as “weaponizing the Justice System”. The news article “Weaponizing public office against climate action” struck me as a new catch phrase to add to “Stop the Steal” and we can expect accusations of “weaponizing” all Democratic actions, or inaction, to begin appearing in Trump’s Republican party.

    The government removed other boxes of government documents illegally removed from the White House to Mar-A-Lago shortly after Trump left office. Little was made of that action or the contents; in the current warrant removal of what is being referred to “classified” documents, maybe – but only maybe – much will be made of this find. I doubt few here on the blog are surprised by anything illegal related to Trump; we have been “woke” long before the FBI raid of our most famous criminal politician since Nixon.

  3. JoAnn,

    Those documents that Trump took from the White House probably contain exculpatory evidence that he has been grifting the nation for all four years of his time in office.

    Why is anyone surprised at Republican governors and state treasurers are penalizing individuals and companies that are trying to protect our planet from fossil fuels? The fossil fuel industries PAY these corrupt bastards very well, although cheaply compared to the profits yielded. We’ve been saying on this blog and elsewhere that the Republican party if utterly corrupt. Todd will probably bring up his memes about the Democrats, but no Democratic state treasurer is weaponizing their office for the sake of those who bribe them.

    This episode in corruption is yet another reason why ALL Republicans must be removed from office at EVERY level before they complete the job of destroying our country, and by extension, the planet’s ability to heal itself.

  4. There is a cult of Christians who believe it is the duty of Christians to bring about “The End Times”. Given the extreme beliefs of many of the so called Christians on the far right, who value maximized profits over everything except their beliefs in the republican Jesus ( ie: rode a velociraptor into Jerusalem not a donkey and he carried a M-16 ) I have to wonder if this effort is aimed at bringing about the end times. hey certainly seem dedicated to killing the planet.

  5. Previewing another “national” difference between the future “RSA – Red States of America” and “BSA – Blue States of America” – states rights taken to the extreme…

  6. I wonder what the Republicans think of companies like Exon, who are expanding their own investment in clean energy? Those companies are paying lots of money to keep their tax benefits from fossil fuel production. They depend on the stupidity of their paid for state officials, but they aren’t stupid and they understand that fossil fuels are a limited resource. I’ve had many people try to tell me that we are constantly creating new fossils, so we can’t possibly be limited. As an old fossil myself, I have to laugh at their complete misunderstanding of both history and science.

  7. Invest = increase in value over time. Maintain = prevent a decrease in value over time. Harvest = remove value now.

    Governments own infrastructure for public safety, education, transportation, government, health and safety and environmental protection, military, border maintenance, etc.

    Why do conservatives want to remove value from it now?

  8. Kari Lake is a Trump Republican running for governor of Arizona. She continues to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
    Corporations supporting her run through the Republican Governors Association include 3M ($50,000), Anheuser-Busch ($50,000), Anthem ($500,000), Boeing ($200,000), Chevron ($260,000), Cisco ($148,500), CVS ($280,000), Deloitte ($250,000), DoorDash ($455,000), Exxon Mobil ($60,000), Google ($120,000), Johnson & Johnson ($50,000), Koch Industries ($500,000), Pfizer ($250,000), Publix ($300,000), Sherwin Williams ($100,000), Toyota ($50,000), United Airlines ($50,000), United Healthcare ($600,000), Verizon ($50,000), and Visa ($50,000).

  9. The State Financial Officers Foundation is headquartered in Kansas? Hmmm, surely the Kochs had no involvement at all in convincing and/or funding this org to protect the fossil fuel industry.

  10. It is no surprise that the State Financial Officers Foundation is based and arose in Kansas, the world headquarters of Koch Industries, Inc. in Wichita. Dark money from the Koch network of oligarchs continue to uncut any efforts to regulate their drive to rule by default, control the world’s wealth and amass power to themselves. Regulation of any kind threatens their worldview of free market capitalism.

  11. Instead of demanding the government take action against Climate Change, and ultimately acting out ineffectual online hissy fits ,what is everyone doing within their own lives to truncate their carbon footprint(s)? Cancelling trips? Selling away extra properties? Getting rid of your automobile? Using less electricity?

    The electricity generated to provide everyone this particular blog is sourced from coal. It is.

  12. According to Joseph Campbell, the “end times” are not meant as a date, any date, but that, in response to a question about Eden, by Bill Moyers, in their
    book length interview, he said:
    “Eden is. ’The kingdom of the Father is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it.’ When you see the kingdom spread upon the earth, the old way of living in the world is annihilated. That is the end of the world. The end of the world is not an event to come, it is an event of psychological transformation,
    of visionary transformation. You see not the world of solid things but a world of radiance.” “The Power of Myth,” p.230.
    Of course, if we can not stop the GOPIGGIES, and their masters, from destroying the planet, THAT sort of end time will come, for the human race,
    and those other species we take with us. So, as much as I believe that humans are awful at predicting the future, was Stephen Hawking right, that
    the human race will not survive this century.
    One does have to hand it to Kari, none but the best masters.

  13. When I read this NY Times piece a few days ago, I almost sent you a link Shelia. I glad to know you read it.

    And once again there is a shadowy organization on the right that is working literally on the destruction of the planet, and indirectly the destruction of our democracy all in the name of Conservative Republican values.

    I guess to be a modern Conservative Republican, all you have to do is check your morals at the door.

  14. Dan – et al

    It is not just ONE “shadowy organization” – it is an ecosystem that works together without a similar opponent. Hit one, whack a mole….

  15. How come Inmissed seeing him? I thought It was a woman? Why do we Men automatically thing Gognwho nobody had ever him/her. If He She exists why pick s politician to decide.

  16. I am tempter, oh so tempted, to demand that congress not waste my tax dollars on disaster relief for states that promote global warming.

    Tempted, but that is something Trump GOP would do, and Mama Farber, the original unrepentant bleeding heart liberal, would haunt me from the grave (i.e. I can already hear her voice in my head – think of the poor innocent children who would suffer).

    Today’s GOP –
    Article of Faith #1: The Donald is allowed to do anything he wants and criticism is always an unfair, evil attempt to undermine the savior of America
    Article of Faith #2: Our sole policy is to oppose anything and everything that “liberals” or any Democrat supports.

    That sort of explains it, along with “money now, the hell with the future”.

  17. This country cannot handle four more years of TFG! You thought it was awful then and couldn’t possibly get any worse? Well….

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