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Let’s be real. As much as we love to hate them, most politicians aren’t stupid. Then why, when 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real, do so many lawmakers fail to act against it or flat out deny its existence?

The Cost of Denial offers an answer to that inquiry. Focused on 10 candidates that were up for reelection in November 2018, the project places each candidate’s campaign finance data next to one of their climate-denial quotes or votes. And the coincidences are striking.

All this is illustrated in images heavily influenced by Soviet propaganda. Celebrating that artistic form’s lack of subtlety and abundance of ulterior motives, The Cost of Denial highlights the hidden bias of each politician’s stance. It does so while depicting them standing serenely amidst the effects climate change is having, or very soon will have, in their districts.

Perhaps these lawmakers are genuinely acting in the best interest of their constituents. It’s possible. It’s also possible that Elvis is still alive and is covertly cavorting down the streets of Nashville.

Either way, it’s not worth fracturing our future to find out.

Register to vote here, and let’s vote all fossil-fuel-fueled fossils out of office.

“I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.“ - Donald Trump on political donations


What’s the backstory here?

Anything else I should know about those dollar amounts?

So glad you asked. The amounts featured in The Cost of Denial are lowball estimates. Since dark money was given the green light by Citizens United in 2010, increasing amounts of oil and gas money are sliding into politicians’ pockets through publicly untraceable avenues, like shell companies and non-profits (who don’t have to disclose donors). Since I’ve yet to develop ESP, I did not include these political donations in this project.

Why so many Republicans, you stinkin’ liberal hippie?

I would have liked to make this project completely bi-partisan. With a nod to that desire, I have included a Democrat, Collin Peterson, whose environmental voting record is poor. That said, climate change has unfortunately become a partisan issue (even though it wasn’t always). When, you look at where fossil fuel industry money goes in Congress, it’s not hard to see why.

Is this whole money issue isolated to climate change?

Nope. I could have looked at a number of issues, from net neutrality to financial reform, to private prisons and big pharma. I chose to focus on climate change because it’s the most urgent. Not only is it largely irreversible, it will have a disastrous domino effect on other issues, like rampant inequality and accessibility healthcare to name two.

Thanks, now I’m depressed. Tell me something funny.

Err, here’s a joke I like:

Q: Does running out of a burning barn make a cow unusual?

A: No, only medium rare.

(You’re welcome.)

Meh. That almost made me feel better. Just tell me all this information is made up, and I’ll leave you alone.

No can do, sorry. Sources cited below. Take a look!


General Sources

Ted Cruz

Andy (Garland) Barr

Steve Chabot

Jeff Denham

Keith Rothfus

Ann Wagner

Pete Sessions

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Collin Peterson

John Culberson

Made it this far? Bravo! Here’s a little bonus image for you. I made it early on in this project, before solidifying the project’s fine-tuned focus.

SM - Rohrabacher Poster.jpg