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Climate Change is NOT the Most Important Issue

Michael Hsu, News Reporter

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Climate change is an urgent issue that we all need to address because if we don’t address it soon, the next generation and generations to come will ask us, “Why didn’t you guys take enough action?”

However, there’s a bigger issue that our country needs to address.

This issue is rarely talked about, and Bernie Sanders was the only presidential candidate who fully addressed its powerful influence.

That concern is money in politics. Due to current laws, corporations and wealthy individuals are able to donate huge amounts of money to politicians for different favors.

What are those favors you may ask? Laws that corporations and wealthy individuals want, which almost always hurt 99 percent of the people in this country.

For example, corporations and wealthy individuals are able to dodge taxes by stashing their money in overseas tax havens. As a result, our country doesn’t have as much money to spend on necessary governmental programs such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Today, the role of money in our political system greatly affects how our government acts on every single issue.

For example, let’s take the issue of climate change. All of the scientists agree that climate change is man made and caused by the consumption of oil and gas, or fossil fuels.

Sanders believes that climate change is the “great planetary crisis we now face.”

“The debate is over,” said Sanders.

But why do some people, primarily Republicans in our government, believe that climate change is a hoax?

Simple. Follow the money.

According to the award-winning website OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in politics, the oil and gas industry donated almost $60 million to the campaigns of members of Congress, mostly Republicans, in 2016.

Some of the top contributors are Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron. Koch Industries is headed by brothers Charles and David Koch, who have a combined net worth of $80 billion. Exxon Mobil and Chevron are two of the largest Big Oil companies in the world.

Despite the overwhelming evidence presented, Big Oil has made constant efforts to fund climate change denial. One of those ways is to contribute to elected officials’ campaigns.

This is why there hasn’t been significant progress on climate change in this country. People can’t even agree, or don’t want to agree, on the facts and the overwhelming evidence.

In addition, even though it’s mostly Republicans who have received these contributions, some Democrats have accepted them as well.

Hillary Clinton received $862,000 from the oil and gas industries during her 2016 presidential campaign, which was the second highest amount of money donated to a politician in 2016. In addition, Sens. Ted Cruz,  Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, and Michael Bennett have also received significant contributions from the oil and gas industry.

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Climate Change is NOT the Most Important Issue