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Tom Steyer

Liberal Billionaire Tom Steyer is putting his money where his mouth is to the tune of millions of dollars. Steyer is backing an effort with the group NextGen Climate to take the fight to climate change deniers at the polls.

Steyer has said he believes the academic debate on climate change is over and that climate change is “here, it is human-caused, and it is already having a devastating impact on our communities.” Therefore it is time for those concerned about the environment to move past debating deniers and into the electoral process to promote and defend candidates who will advocate policies designed to take on the issue.

NextGen Climate’s strategy, as told to Firedoglake, is to focus on statewide races in Michigan, Iowa, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. The campaign will highlight the candidates in those races that qualify as “anti-science” for their climate positions.

Part of the campaign will be to expose financial connections between anti-science candidates and the fossil fuel industry and demonstrate the local implications for communities that anti-science positions and policies can bring.

The amount of money Steyer is committing to the effort is substantial with estimates ranging from $50 to $100 million with the potential for even more. Serious money to contend with, even after the Supreme Court ripped the limits off of campaign contributions for Corporate America.

The question remains as to how many Americans truly care about the climate change issue, or rather, are open to caring if a candidate or group makes a compelling case. Public polling on climate change has been volatile as the fossil fuel industry’s PR campaign to convince people the dangers of climate change are being hyped or that the scientific consensus is based on an outright hoax has had an impact on public opinion.

Can Steyer and NextGen Climate disrupt and help defeat the climate deniers?