Sarbanes Connects the Dots Between Money in Politics and Congress’ Failure to Act on Climate [Video]

When It Comes to Climate Change Denial, Congressman Sarbanes Says, “Follow the Money”


Apr 9, 2019
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing today on climate change with Former Secretary of State John Kerry and Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) explained the connection between campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry and Congress’ failure to act on climate.

“When I am trying to figure out why political leaders are moving in the opposite direction from where the public is moving, or where science, in this case is moving, or where the experts are moving, I’ve found it pretty useful up here to follow the money,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “And I can tell you when you look back over this issue of climate change, you have to conclude that the position being taken by some – and I put the president in this category – is being driven more by campaign donors, by the fossil fuel industry, industry front groups, than it is by any real dispute or genuine dispute over the science…”

Sarbanes continued: “The fossil fuel industry has funded efforts, for years, to confuse and mislead the public on climate science. But here’s the interesting development: Even that industry now, I think, is increasingly persuaded – as you pointed to with some of your remarks today – and certainly motivated by the economic models that have shifted dramatically towards more renewable energy…. Even that industry is beginning to shift its position, leaving the Trump Administration and the President’s position, increasingly, as an outlier….

Sarbanes concluded: “It’s encouraging that some members of that industry are stepping up and making the argument that we have to take dramatic action on climate change, and are moving away from some of the industry groups and others that still seem to be captive to these other interests and viewpoints that I think are on the wrong side of history.”

See below for the full exchange.