What would you do if you learned of a small group of people actively at work on efforts that would make your children's and grandchildren's lives, and the lives of others of their generation, a living hell in the decades ahead?
Do you think that could be happening right now? Do you think there's a cabal of enormously powerful schemers and plotters doing these very types of things?
According to The Guardian and a recent study, it is indeed true. A gaggle of America's ultra-rich are reported to be spending upwards of a billion dollars a year on a disinformation campaign to thwart any effective measures to fight climate change.
The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires, often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change. Such financial support has hardened conservative opposition to climate policy, ultimately dooming any chances of action from Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, the study found.
“I call it the climate-change counter movement,” said the author of the study, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle. “It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this. This is a large-scale political effort.”
“This is how wealthy individuals or corporations translate their economic power into political and cultural power,” he said. “They have their profits and they hire people to write books that say climate change is not real. They hear people to go on TV and say climate change is not real. It ends up that people without economic power don't have the same size voice as the people who have economic power, and so it ends up distorting democracy.
“That is the bottom line here. These are unaccountable organisations deciding what our politics should be. They put their thumbs on the scale … It is more one dollar one vote than one person one vote.”
I sometimes wonder what goes through the minds of the Koch brothers, Wolfram und Hermann, when they pursue wealth they don't need and can never possibly use at any cost to society and the world. The pointlessness of their efforts speaks to a genuine malevolence. They're predators who kill for sport. Perhaps they think that they're just too old to bother worrying about what might happen twenty years from now when they'll be enjoying a tranquil dirt nap.