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Pope Francis is making climate change a top priority. The pontiff not only sees global warming as a threat to future generations but also as a social justice issue wherein climate-denying governments and corporations are forcing billions of people to live in polluted areas in poverty.

The Pope intends to take his climate-change message to Washington, D.C. later this year, and we can’t think of anywhere it is more needed. It becomes clearer every day that the oil and gas industry is now solidly in control of what was once our democracy but is now simply a form of corporate governance based on each industry’s ability to purchase congressional votes from both parties (you go Bernie Sanders).

From a spiritual standpoint, this whole Pope/ climate thing raises an interesting question. If Pope Francis and fighting against climate change are on the side of God, then whom is Jim Inhofe, Barack Obama, John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission really working for? Just a thought. And we suspect that there may be a few inverted pentagrams floating around the offices at the EPA as well.


On Tuesday, May 12, Democrats in the U.S. Senate prevented a vote that would have granted “fast track” authority on trade to President Obama. The vote, had it taken place, would have allowed the president to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership without prior congressional debate or even a careful analysis of the trade agreement by Congress. This is particularly disturbing as the TPP has been largely written by corporations in secret and would have undermined U.S. labor as well as our environmental laws including potentially such things as local bans on fracking.

Perhaps more than any issue in recent years, this showdown over TPP demonstrates the power of the people when they band together and make their voice heard — heard as in threatening the future political careers of any Democrat who dared to vote for fast track. Hopefully we’ve learned a lesson here; namely that no matter how much money gets poured into political coffers and how much lobbying corporations do, politicians will still do the right thing when they believe that they will be voted out of office if they don’t. Here’s hoping that Americans will keep this political activism alive and start applying it to climate change, energy extraction and other areas where it is badly needed to counter the influence of the corporate bribery that is so weakening our democracy.


“The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from U.S. taxpayers,” The Guardian states. An investigation by the British newspaper found that three projects run by fossil fuel giants Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum received subsidies in the U.S. that were granted by — no surprise here — politicians who received “significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.”

The projects include a petrochemical refinery Shell proposed in Pennsylvania that could receive a $1.6 billion state subsidy doled out in tax credits of $66 million each year for 25 years; upgrades to an ExxonMobil refinery in Louisiana that is receiving a $119 million state subsidy; and 10- and 15-year tax credits worth $78 million for Marathon Petroleum offered to the company for retaining and creating jobs in Ohio.

Fossil fuel analysis organization Oil Change International found that U.S. payers provide $21 billion each year to subsidize oil exploration and production.

This in an era when politicians and real people alike raise increasing alarm over the need to take immediate action on climate change — and, apparently, real people need to take immediate action on campaign funding, too. And all of the subsidies date to Obama’s time in office. In fact, The Guardian found that federal fossil fuel subsidies have increased 45 percent since Obama’s 2009 call on the G20 to eliminate subsidies like these.

Talk about do as I say, and not as I do.

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