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U.S. companies tout climate policies, fund climate skeptics

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U.S. companies that have expressed the most fervent public support for President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda are also funding its biggest enemies – the scores of U.S. lawmakers who are climate change skeptics and oppose regulation to combat it, according to a Reuters review of public records.

Ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential and congressional elections, the donations from companies including PepsiCo, Dupont, and Google reveal a disconnect between how these companies present themselves to the public on environmental issues, and how they manage their political contributions to support business-friendly policy.

 Many companies active in U.S. politics spread their political donations broadly on both sides of the aisle and consider multiple issues when deciding whom to support.

But inconsistency between a company’s environmental positions and its political giving may point up a need for better oversight, according to Jon Lukomnik, head of the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute.

“There really needs to be a process that looks at these issues … at C-suite and board levels on a periodic basis,” Lukomnik said.

The Reuters review covered donations made during the 2016 election cycle by the political action committees (PACs) of 30 of the biggest publicly traded U.S. companies that signed Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge” in 2015, a public promise to enact climate-friendly corporate policies and support strong climate change oversight like the global climate accord signed in Paris.

The review found that 25 of the 30 companies are funding the campaigns of lawmakers featured on a “climate deniers” list that was put together by Organizing For Action, a non-profit created by former Obama campaign aides to advocate his agenda.

The list includes more than 130 members of Congress, nearly all Republicans, and is a who’s who of the biggest opponents of Obama’s plan to combat climate change. Some of those on the list dispute the label “denier” and describe themselves as climate change “skeptics”.

The list includes Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, an energy advisor to presidential candidate Donald Trump who once argued the Earth was cooling not warming, and Republican U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who last year held up a snowball on the Senate floor as evidence global warming does not exist.

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