Media Disguise Liberal Billionaire Steyer As ‘Climate Change Crusader’

Behind ‘green hero’ mask is a rent-seeking crony capitalist.

After helping his brother launch a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Center for the Next Generation in 2011, Steyer decided to create a new entity that would focus solely on climate change and environmental issues. In 2013, Steyer officially launched his new PAC, Nextgen Climate. Although Nextgen claims its goal is “exposing those who deny reality and cater to special interests,” it serves to advance Steyer’s personal agenda, which in turn benefits his financial interests.

But Reuters referred to Steyer’s climate work as a sort of penance that he was paying for his past fossil fuel investments, and praised him for devoting “time and millions of dollars to philanthropic causes.”

Even some of the experts Nextgen touted on its site had criticized Farallon investments.

James Hansen, whose global warming hysteria is promoted in four different places on the Nextgen Climate site as coming from an “ACTUAL SCIENTIST,” (emphasis theirs) criticized Whitehaven Coal for destroying the environment. According to Greenpeace Australia, Hansen said that 'Kicking Australia's coal habit is the greatest gift Australians could give to everybody's children, future generations and other life on the planet,” in regards to Whitehaven’s extensive Maules Creek coal mining operation.

Despite Nextgen’s ringing endorsement of Hansen, Hansen himself has had a less than stellar track record.  In 1988, Hansen predicted that global temperatures would rise by 0.45 degrees Celsius. This was not the case. However, Hansen began an Aug. 3, 2012, opinion piece by saying that his predictions that year were too optimistic. Despite his own inconsistencies, in a speech before Congress in 2008 Hansen called for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for “high crimes against humanity,” according to the U.K. news outlet the Guardian.

Of course, he didn’t mention trying major investors in these companies.

Another radical environmentalist promoted by Nextgen is Bill McKibben, the founder of the climate change alarmist group According to The Washington Post, Steyer has credited McKibben with convincing him in the summer of 2012 to divest from fossil fuels and devote himself to a life of environmental activism. McKibben, taking a page from Ebenezer Scrooge’s handbook, spoke out against Christmas presents in 2007, arguing that society would be better served if people didn’t spend any money on Christmas, and instead gave gifts like “a coupon for a back rub, or a trip to the museum, or a dinner prepared someday in the future.” He added that the “problem with Christmas” was that “no one much likes it anymore.”

In 2009, McKibben called for the U.S. to pay “about a good $10 or $20 billion-with-a-B” each year to combat climate change.

Nextgen has faced criticism, even from the left, for political ads that Politico aptly dubbed “bizarre.” The Washington Post criticized a Nextgen ad targeting the Keystone Pipeline, giving it “four Pinocchios,” the most scathing falsehood rating that the Post can give to something (you can read an explanation of the Pinocchio rating system here). The ad claimed that the Keystone Pipeline, rather than benefiting U.S. and Canadian interests, would primarily benefit China at the expense of the U.S. The hit job even included an out of context quote from Alexander Pourbaix, the Executive Vice-President and President of Development for TransCanada.

According to the Post, that ad in particular “does not even meet the minimal standards for such political attack ads. It relies on speculation, not facts, to make insinuations and assertions not justified by the reality.” The Post, which is neither conservative nor in favor of the pipeline, called the ad “especially disturbing, even by the standards of attack ads.”

Yet, Steyer defended that same ad to the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 12, arguing “"I have not seen anything ... that I did not think was supportable.” (Ellipses theirs).