10 July 2015 – Three US presidential candidates have vowed not to accept campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies in response to a challenge from environmentalists.
Climate change activist group 350.org and The Nation, a left-wing magazine, have asked candidates running for president and for US Senate in 2016 to “neither solicit nor accept campaign contributions” from the politically active oil, gas and coal industries.
Bernie Sanders – a socialist candidate who is running as a Democrat and gaining steam in nation-wide polls – has reportedly accepted the challenge, as has former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has not signed on. None of the 19 Republican candidates have responded either, according to reports.
The oil and gas industry is a powerful lobby in Washington, DC. The industry contributed more than $76 million to national campaigns during the last presidential cycle in 2012, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics. Of that, 89% went to Republicans and 11% to Democrats.
The Nation and 350.org have compared the pledge to a similar campaign in the 1990s that prompted candidates of both parties to not accept money from tobacco companies.
The groups see climate change as a comparable threat to public health.
“You can’t be serious about addressing climate change and still accept checks from ExxonMobil,” a 350.org spokesperson was quoted as saying.
*Luke Johnson – Upstreamonline