By ruling that corporations are entitled to exercise unrestricted political speech, the U.S. Supreme Court has just made it much more difficult for Americans to make the transition from a fossil-fuel-based economy to a clean-energy economy.
Most democracies, including, until this morning, the U.S., recognize the danger of giving corporations free rein to influence the outcome of elections and so limit or ban political spending by corporations. But starting now, the $605 billion in profits available to the Fortune 100 can now be spent on advertising during American elections. This means those who are making the most money from the existing system are in a much greater position to help determine the future than those who are marginal players.
Fossil-fuel producers are among the richest corporations on the planet and in the U.S. They will now be able to outspend upstart solar, geothermal, wind-power, energy-efficiency and conservation-oriented businesses by several orders of magnitude. If you think it’s tough to break into the energy market today, it just got a whole lot harder.
Other winners from today’s ruling:
- Carbon capture and sequestration researchers, as bringing down CCS costs (in both energy and money) will now almost certainly be needed in a world that is that even less likely to stop burning coal in time to prevent catastrophic climate change than it was yesterday.
- The advertising industry.