Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Despite her rhetoric on climate, Clinton is the only major democratic presidential candidate who has not responded to the pledge. (Photo: Hillary Clinton/ Facebook)

Despite her rhetoric on climate, Clinton is the only major democratic presidential candidate who has not responded to the pledge. (Photo: Hillary Clinton/ Facebook)

Fossil Fuel Funding Boycott Puts Spotlight on Clinton Campaign

The Nation and 350 Action call on congressional and presidential hopefuls to reject contributions from oil and gas companies

Lauren McCauley

Progressive groups have a challenge for presidential hopefuls: Put your money where your mouth is on the climate, and swear off contributions from fossil fuel companies.

To affirm their commitment to taking on the climate crisis and "standing up to the corrupting influence of fossil-fuel companies," the campaign, launched on Monday by The Nation and 350 Action, is calling on 2016 presidential and congressional candidates to sign a pledge committing to "neither solicit nor accept campaign contributions from any oil, gas, or coal company."

The Nation editors said they have asked each of the major declared presidential candidates in the the Democratic, Republican, and Green parties if they would be willing to honor the pledge.

Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, as well as Green candidate Jill Stein, have agreed to do so. Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee said he supported strong climate action but would not sign the pledge.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, along with the 14 Republican candidates contacted—13 of which deny mankind's influence on climate change—did not reply.

As Grist reporter John Light noted, the challenge puts increasing pressure on Clinton, whose failure to respond does not match up with her rhetoric on the climate crisis.

"Climate change is an issue she’ll have to engage with continually through the election cycle," Light writes, "and oil and coal companies' objectives are, presumably, at odds with those of a candidate who has called for 'decisive' action to 'head off the most catastrophic consequences' of climate change."

Like the 1990's, when politicians were pressured to deny contributions from Big Tobacco, the pledge seeks to minimize the influence of the fossil fuel industry on politics.

"The carbon barons employ their vast wealth and the political and media influence it buys to maintain the status quo, confusing the public with disinformation and cajoling or intimidating the people’s elected representatives into refusing a safer course," The Nation writes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in the 2012, the oil and gas industry contributed at least $76 million to presidential and congressional candidates; the coal industry spent an additional $15 million.

Meanwhile, the 2016 campaign is expected to attract unprecedented amounts of outside money.

The pledge pivots off the growing success of the Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign, which has seen scores of governments, universities, companies, and pension funds around the world committing to pull their funds from oil, gas and coal companies.

"Voters deserve to know whether our candidates will do what the science demands: keep the majority of US coal, oil, and gas reserves underground," the Nation writes. "And if we’re going to trust politician’s assurances, we need to know that they’re not taking campaign contributions from the very industry that’s driving this crisis."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·


40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·


FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·


'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

"Whatever our so-called 'leaders' are doing," said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, "they are doing it wrong."

Jake Johnson ·


Critics Warn Biden That 30% Methane Reduction by 2030 Not Good Enough

Following the new U.S.-E.U. pledge, climate campaigners called for an urgent end to fossil fuel extraction and major reforms of agricultural practices.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo