US Billionaire David Koch, the man possibly most responsible for the growth of climate change denialism, the tea party, the war on poor people and the election of Donald Trump, has died.
The internet is responding appropriately as comment after comment about the real accomplishments of his life flood in. Like this from Emily Atkin at the New Republic who in very simple terms describes the effects of his life’s work:
When billionaire libertarian David Koch died this week following a decades-long battle with prostate cancer, the Arctic was rapidly melting. The Amazon rainforest was on fire. And the Earth had just experienced its hottest month in recorded human history.
These planetary conditions mimicked closely what scientists had tried to warn the public about 30 years ago, when they first sounded the alarm on climate change. They were also the warnings Koch worked most of his career to make sure the American public never accepted, nor did anything about.
At the time of his death, David Koch was one of the richest men in the world, having amassed a fortune of approximately $49 billion through his part-ownership of his oil tycoon father’s business, Koch Industries. Along with his brother Charles Koch, he used that fortune to fund a powerful yet secretive right-wing libertarian movement, known by its critics as the Koch network.
And she quotes Christopher Leonard on the effectiveness of Koch’s activity:
There’s no question that the Koch political network has played a vital and even unparalleled role in delaying government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Now, they would claim they have done the world a favor, by reducing the power of the federal government. But critics would definitely say that, due to the lack of action, it is undeniable that the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has increased over the last eight years. We’ve passed thresholds that people said were extremely risky ten years ago.
Twitter has been having fun. This is Emily Atkin’s slightly less careful tweet about her article:
There were also these:
That last tweet was particularly appropriate. I think I might do the same and donate $79 to Greenpeace.