Carbon King David Koch Thinks Climate Action Will ‘Damage the Economy’, but Sandy Underscores Inaction is Much Costlier
Koch Industries billionaire David H. Koch is the wealthiest man in New York City, with a net worth of $31 billion. His fortune is built on polluting the climate system, from refining, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer, cattle, and forestry operations. The rising seas and superheated oceans made Hurricane Sandy into a monster that has caused upwards of $50 billion of damage to the greater New York area, by early estimates. Constructing a sea barrier to defend against future sea level rise will cost another $10 billion.
Not only has Koch Industries dumped billions of tons of carbon into the air, David Koch has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting climate deniers and Tea Party ideologues who fight regulation of carbon pollution.
In 2010, Koch told New York Magazine that global warming should be welcomed, even as coastlines dwindle from the rising seas:
Koch says he’s not sure if global warming is caused by human activities, and at any rate, he sees the heating up of the planet as good news. Lengthened growing seasons in the northern hemisphere, he says, will make up for any trauma caused by the slow migration of people away from disappearing coastlines. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he says.
In January 2011, ThinkProgress reporter Lee Fang confronted Koch as he left the swearing-in ceremony for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Fang questioned why Koch’s Tea Party front group, Americans for Prosperity supported climate denial and what his own position on climate science was:
FANG: Why does Americans for Prosperity focus so much on the science of climate change? I’m just curious why they spread so much information that denies the existence of climate, of global warming?
KOCH: Well… I think it’s uh, regulating CO2 excessively is going to put — uh really damage the economy.
FANG: Do you believe in climate change yourself? [...] Do you believe in climate change yourself, Mr. Koch?
KOCH: Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.
FANG: But do you believe carbon pollution affects climate change? [Koch shrugs]
David Koch should pledge his fortune to pay the government of New York City for all necessary repairs and investments to guard against future sea level rise and fossil-fueled storms.