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hawk fights squirrel CHVIn the last few weeks I've picked up a sense of optimism on climate change activism within the Democratic party. From the Michigan senate race to the 90 year old activist at my local Democratic club telling us that climate change is our biggest issue, I'm finally seeing that Democrats grasp both the magnitude of the crisis we face and the ways it can help win elections. Tom Steyer's promise to put $100 million into climate-centric races has emboldened Democrats to speak on the issue.

In response, the Koch brothers now promise to spend $290 million to oppose climate activists. The Daily Beast reports on their strategy to make climate activists targets:

In the face of expanding energy regulations, stepped-up Democratic attacks and the ongoing fight over Obamacare, the billionaire Koch brothers and scores of wealthy allies have set an initial 2014 fundraising target of $290 million which should boost GOP candidates and support dozens of conservative groups—including a new energy initiative with what looks like a deregulatory, pro-consumer spin....

The energy initiative is being created under the umbrella of the largest Koch network nonprofit in apparent response to a number of developments: the commitment by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer to steer $100 million into ads in several states to make climate change a priority issue in the elections; numerous setbacks at the state level where Koch network backed advocacy groups have been fighting against renewable energy standards; and the new EPA regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The sheer amount of money being tossed around so casually has to give pause to the idea that we still are a democracy. (Note that the $290 million effort may be less than the $400 million they spent - and mostly lost - in 2012. Maybe they're beginning to catch on to the idea that money can't buy a democracy.)

Ostensibly the arms race is against Tom Steyer, who has previously promised a mere $100 million. But the money will affect all of us who care about climate change, who want to see our children inherit a decent world, who want to breathe clean air and drink clean water, who don't want to write off Miami and the Maldives to the rising seas. The Koch brothers are now targeting all of us.

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