Billionaire activist to meet with White House officials
June 24th, 2014
08:32 AM ET
5 years ago

Billionaire activist to meet with White House officials

Washington (CNN) – Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist who’s pledged to spend millions in this year’s midterm contests, will discuss climate change with top White House officials and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew this week, according to officials.

At the Wednesday meeting, Steyer will also sit down with former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros to confer on a forthcoming report assessing the economic effects of climate change.

The Steyer-funded outside advocacy group, NextGen Climate, pledged in May to spend $100 million in midterm election races to go after so-called “science deniers” who reject claims humans are responsible for global warming and climate change.

Steyer has set himself up as the chief adversary to the Koch brothers, the billionaire industrialists who fund a web of conservative groups. He's a fierce opponent of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which is still under consideration by the Obama administration.

Last week President Barack Obama went after Republicans who deny man made climate change, saying they posed a “serious threat” the country’s future and comparing their claims to suggesting the moon is made of cheese.

The White House embarked upon a major environment effort starting in early June, when Obama unveiled proposed new restrictions on coal plants. This week other members of his administration will discuss the effects of climate change that scientists say are already being seen, including extreme weather.

The President himself will address the issue Wednesday at the League of Conservation Voters’ annual dinner in Washington.


Filed under: climate change • Global Warming • Tom Steyer
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Gunderson

    Whazzat?,
    Some 10 thousand years ago there was an Ice Age. Man those humans are a bad bunch! Now that things are warming up you want another Ice Age? OK.

    June 24, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. apetra

    You can't compare a guy like Steyer, buying activist government policies that favor his own companies, with the Koch Brothers, libertarian advocates of smaller government, investing based on principle in campaigns that would free up markets to compete with established companies, including both Steyer's and Koch Industries. What the Koch Brothers have done is put their free market beliefs ahead of their own personal interest, which is admirable.

    June 24, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. S.B. Stein

    I would hope that people would understand the science and do what we can to keep the climate from changing to something we can't live in anymore. Those that deny the changing climate, where are you getting your information? Is it from those that are funded by the fossil fuel industries? If it is, then you really need to rethink what they have been telling you.

    I wonder if we can use the systems that clean sea water to drink to also filter out the plastics that we have been dumping in the oceans as well as the CO2 that the ocean has been absorbing. It would be great.

    June 24, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    June 24, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am
    “This week other members of his administration will discuss the effects of climate change that scientists say are already being seen, including extreme weather.”

    Does sub-zero temperatures for months on end count as “extreme”? The good news: we are finally experiencing rather comfortable temperatures in Minnesota (minus too much rainfall flooding in certain areas). The bad news: winter is right around the corner. Brrr.

    Copy that Lynda. This past winter here in Michigan was the worst since they began keeping track back in the 1890's. Months and months of sub-zero temps, snow, snow and more snow. Like you we're finally feeling some better weather but fall is just around the corner.

    June 24, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They want regulations out of the way to make more money."

    I am old enough to remember the pre-EPA days, and no, we DO NOT want to reverse course. Ever.

    June 24, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Bob

    A hedge fund guy just like Soros and all the sudden he is a saint to all this libs here. Hypocrisy has no bounds. You know when the media uses the word environmentalist he us a real nutter but evidently an exceptional earner.

    June 24, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Like you we're finally feeling some better weather but fall is just around the corner."

    We finally were able to assess the damage to our cabin when the furnace pilot light went out during the worst of the sub-zero temps. Broken water pump, broken holding tank, and a few spit pipes. Thank goodness the pilot light stayed on under the water heater. All is well now (finally have a working toilet again) and yes we dodged a bullet ... it could have been much worse. So, no. I'm not looking for a repeat this winter and am very much enjoying what we have now.

    June 24, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Ah, Gundy, it must be because of that century of liberal rule you keep prattling about. Now, where is your nanny to tell you which science is acceptable to conservatives? Is it the science that has cavemen and dinosaurs together?

    June 24, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. smith

    @Silence-Cows are worse for the enviroment than cars, do you want to kill them off? Earth is on a life cycle just like all living beings and it will grow old and die someday. You can`t stop the cycle and no matter what US does it won`t change a thing until the entire planet gets on board. Even if that happends it will simply just slow the process of death.

    June 24, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. HenryMiller

    "...will discuss climate change with top White House officials..."

    So this will be a discussion of religion?

    June 24, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Bob,its interesting that you refer to him as a nutter simply because he recognizes that the industry he made his money in is a dead end. A real entrepreneur goes out and makes things happen and makes money in the process, something that the Right always has a problem with because it upsets the established order. What you refer to as hypocrisy is simply good business, unlike his counterparts on the Right who, not only rig the system to be in their favor, but deny that their industries have any harmful side effects whatsoever. The deniers on the Right have been proven wrong over and over again by people smart enough to understand that the status quo is never acceptable.

    June 24, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "What the Koch Brothers have done is put their free market beliefs ahead of their own personal interest, which is admirable."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! Oh man, wow...I think I peed a little....that has to be the single most ridiculous thing I've ever read on the Ticker and I've been frequenting this dump since the Obama ran against McCain.

    June 24, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. salty dog

    Smith, do they all support trickle down economics? You see the Koch brothers threaten their puppets on any and every issue, tow the line or they publicly announce your going to have a primary Challenger, that sounds like someone telling you who's in charge to me, this, I don't hear from the left side. And since when are paid protesters, told what to say, signs made for them, a grass roots effort? Your party preys on the stupid, the Democrats aren't saints, but I have no choice, the gop has explained their plans well enough for me, kill social security, and Medicaid, and give the savings to the rich" job creators", problem is were in record inequality, and they have created no jobs

    June 24, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    June 24, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am
    “Like you we’re finally feeling some better weather but fall is just around the corner.”

    We finally were able to assess the damage to our cabin when the furnace pilot light went out during the worst of the sub-zero temps. Broken water pump, broken holding tank, and a few spit pipes. Thank goodness the pilot light stayed on under the water heater. All is well now (finally have a working toilet again) and yes we dodged a bullet … it could have been much worse. So, no. I’m not looking for a repeat this winter and am very much enjoying what we have now.

    Glad you guys got it together and it wasn't as bad as it could have been! I'm enjoying ours too, in between rainfall. We've been getting a lot of that too. But our overall temps are about 75-80, mostly sunny and not too humid.... Yet. The weekends have been gorgeous.

    June 24, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Those that deny the changing climate, where are you getting your information?"

    I can't be certain, but those that deny the changing climate are most likely those that don't care what happens to this planet we depend upon for our very survival. Perhaps the brothers Koch think they can simply hop a spaceship to another planet and rebuild society as they want it (and until such time as they utter destroy that planet as well).

    What on earth they ARE thinking is completely beyond comprehension. Theirs and mine.

    June 24, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Lets be honest, our friend smith has a problem with anyone taking a stand on anything that would require others to make a change. From gun control to abortion to climate change, the stance seems to be " lets not do anything that smacks of having to do something for the common good". We can all argue about what is the common good, but inaction seems to be the one thing that smith supports because someone might have to give something up. There is such as thing as taking individualism to such an extreme that we all suffer as a result.

    June 24, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    When you read this headline........doesn't it ever occur to dimwitted Dems........that their OWN party is doing exactly, what they try to demean the Republicans for?????

    June 24, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Steve, New York City

    @ Gunderson:
    There have been several ice ages // interglacial periods over the last 100,000 years. Yes, there is a natural long-term cycle that the planet follows. . .unlikely to include an ice age in our lifetimes, but your comments truly fail to address the unprecedented level of industrial pollutants currently in our atmosphere (fact), rising sea levels (fact) and statistical abnormalities that are out-of-sync with the planet's long-term trends, with respect to the atmosphere's ability to trap heat (fact).

    Some on the far right would rather have their imbecile followers focus on why five year-olds should be allowed to carry concealed weapons, or why watching reruns of Duck Dynasty, Hee Haw or Jersey Shore are more intellectually stimulating than science lessons.

    June 24, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Someone a while ago made a point of saying the Koch Brothers have given millions away for hospitals and other charitable works. Thats' absolutely true. However, they have also spent millions to affect legislation that benefits them personally. People who become billionaires have every right to do with their money as they see fit, but don't expect people to give them a moral blank check to do things that hurt the rest of us while they line their pockets with brass at the expense of our well-being. This is not the statement of a person who is jealous of them or their wealth: its the statement of someone who does not expect them to be treated better than the rest of us simply because they donate money to hospitals.

    June 24, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "the stance seems to be " lets not do anything that smacks of having to do something for the common good". "

    But but but...Tom...didn't you know?

    "Freedom" means "Everyone has to leave me alone unless and until I want something from them"
    and
    "Liberty" means "I get to do whatever I want no matter the consequences or how it affects others"

    June 24, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "There have been several ice ages // interglacial periods over the last 100,000 years."

    Comes and goes, right? Tide comes in, tide goes out, eh? And yet it appears to be a constant that a significant percentage of the human race truly can't stand science, doesn't understand it, will never understand it and, out of fear and resentment, will rationalize it all away with crazytalk whenever given the opportunity.

    June 24, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @smith
    @Silence-Cows are worse for the enviroment than cars, do you want to kill them off? Earth is on a life cycle just like all living beings and it will grow old and die someday. You can`t stop the cycle and no matter what US does it won`t change a thing until the entire planet gets on board. Even if that happends it will simply just slow the process of death.
    -----------–
    You are parroting Rush nonsense. Nice try, but human contributed CO2 has tipped the balance as shown by NASA, geographical survey and other data. I hate to break it to you but NASA scientist know more about science the Rush. Just saying "how about all those stinky cows" is not really science. You are a shiny example of how the US citizens and our "all I know is..." gee-whiz approach to serious science are becoming a joke in the world.

    What kind of engineers and scientists are we going to be turning out after suffering under media-speak, conspiracy theory, Creationist, science denier, nonsense? From a bumper sticker I saw: "Oh Evolve!"

    June 24, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. Tom l

    "Common good". Wow. Just what would that be and who determines what is best?

    Silence, would you google Koch donations and charities please. You will find those numbers extraordinary

    June 24, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Someone a while ago made a point of saying the Koch Brothers have given millions away for hospitals and other charitable works. Thats' absolutely true. However, they have also spent millions to affect legislation that benefits them personally. People who become billionaires have every right to do with their money as they see fit, but don't expect people to give them a moral blank check to do things that hurt the rest of us while they line their pockets with brass at the expense of our well-being"

    Look up what an "indulgence" is in the context of the catholic church and I think you'll agree that these "charitable works" are in many ways a modern day basic version of it designed to help purify the knowing commission of all their other sins.

    June 24, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. smith

    @The Real Tom P- Im pro-choice and have no interest in that pointless debate besides to call it out as a waste of time. You say inaction and I say people need to face the truth even if its bad. If your actions make no change in the outcome then why waste time, energy, and treasure?

    June 24, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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