Green billionaire puts $100M political muscle behind climate push

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer is planning to spend at least $100 million during the 2014 races, applying pressure to federal and state lawmakers on climate change measures.

Steyer's NextGen Climate PAC plans to target select races including incumbent Republican Rick Scott for Florida's governor's race, The New York Times reports. Scott is a known climate denier, a stance Steyer plans to attack this year.

ADVERTISEMENT
Steyer's group is also keeping an eye on the Senate race in Iowa, where he plans to funnel his political muscle behind Democratic candidate Bruce Braley in an attempt to help shape the 2016 presidential election.

The former hedge fund manager turned environmentalist isn't shying away from targeting candidates in his own party.

This month, Steyer's group asked its online community which lawmaker it should target next in an anti-Keystone XL ad; Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is an option.

Steyer wouldn't confirm how much money total he plans to funnel into races this year but the number is likely high.

“Is it going to take $100 million? I have no idea,” he told the Times, before adding that might be a lowball number. “I think that would be a really cheap price to answer the generational challenge of the world.”

“Our feeling on 2014 is, we want to do things that are both substantively important and will have legs after that,” Steyer said in an interview. “We don’t want to go someplace, win and move on.”

When asked by the Times if control of the Senate is key to advance his climate policies, Steyer said yes.

"As long as we have this partisan divide on energy and climate, it's got to be important," he said. 

Steyer mainly targets Republicans but his possible move to hit Landrieu on Keystone could hurt Democrats' chances of keeping the Senate.

When asked by the Times if control of the Senate is key to advance his climate policies, Steyer said yes.

"As long as we have this partisan divide on energy and climate, it's got to be important," he said. 

More in Energy & Environment

Steyer group raises $68M

Read more »