Thursday, July 31, 2014

How Climate Denial Could Cost this Iowa Senate Candidate an Election

State Sen. Joni Ernst waves to supporters after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. (Credit: AP / Charlie Neibergall) Click to enlarge.
Storm clouds are beginning to gather for Joni Ernst, the Republicans' contender for Iowa's Senate seat this November.

Within the last month, several liberal and environmental groups have targeted her with campaigns aimed at highlighting her climate positions and the money she's received from the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel groups.  The latest -- a rather slick production from NextGen Climate -- promises to be the first in a series taking Ernst to task for valuing moneyed interests like Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform over the needs of everyday Iowans.  The ad buy will run for five weeks starting Wednesday in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and the Quad Cities, and will total $2.6 million.

NextGen Climate is the super PAC set up by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, and it has promised to drop $100 million this election season going after candidates in several clear races who have denied the validity of climate change.  Back in June, the group hit Ernst for opposing the Clean Water Act in a debate and for stating in May that "I have not seen proven proof that [climate change] is entirely man-made."

For Iowa and the American Midwest specifically, the recently-released National Climate Assessment predicts more extreme heat, downpours, and flooding through 2100 -- along with serious consequences for large portions of the region's economy -- thanks to human carbon emissions.

Ernst's opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), is on board with policies to tackle climate change, including new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants and the 2009 effort to pass a national cap-and-trade system. Ernst is opposed on both counts, and actually earned herself a $1 million critical ad hit in June from groups like the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Action Fund, after she promised to "abolish the EPA."

How Climate Denial Could Cost this Iowa Senate Candidate an Election

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