We’re out of time on climate change. And Hillary Clinton helped get us here

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by Naomi Klein

There aren’t a lot of certainties left in the US presidential race, but here’s one thing about which we can be absolutely sure: the Clinton camp really doesn’t like talking about fossil-fuel money. Last week, when a young Greenpeace campaigner challenged Hillary Clinton about taking money from fossil-fuel companies, the candidate accused the Bernie Sanders campaign of “lying” and declared herself “so sick” of it. As the exchange went viral, a succession of high-powered Clinton supporters pronounced that there was nothing to see here and that everyone should move along.

The very suggestion that taking this money could impact Clinton’s actions is “baseless and should stop,” according to California senator Barbara Boxer. It’s “flat-out false,” “inappropriate,” and doesn’t “hold water,” declared New York mayor Bill de Blasio. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman went so far as to issue “guidelines for good and bad behaviour” for the Sanders camp. The first guideline? Cut out the “innuendo suggesting, without evidence, that Clinton is corrupt.”

That’s a whole lot of firepower to slap down a non-issue. So is it an issue or not? First, some facts. Clinton’s campaign, including her Super Pac, has received a lot of money from the employees and registered lobbyists of fossil-fuel companies. There’s the much-cited $4.5m that Greenpeace calculated, which includes bundling by lobbyists.

But that’s not all. There is also a lot more money from sources not included in those calculations. For instance, one of Clinton’s most prominent and active financial backers is Warren Buffett. While he owns a large mix of assets, Buffett is up to his eyeballs in coal, including coal transportation and some of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the country.

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