Chairman of the board of Americans for Prosperity David Koch speaks at the Defending the American Dream summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity on Aug. 1, 2015 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Koch, a major donor to conservative causes and educational groups, died Friday. He was 79.

An Associated Press article in the Journal Star gave David Koch credit for amassing an extraordinary fortune in the oil industry (“Billionaire conservative donor Koch dies at 79," Aug. 24). But it failed to mention his most important effect on those of us still alive.

For a decade, David and his brother Charles have funded huge campaigns opposing both acceptance of basic climate science and any action by government to restrain fossil fuel emissions.

They have paid for the largest registered corporate lobbying offices in the country, think tanks like the Cato Institute, university centers and Americans for Prosperity, a network promoting a “carbon pledge” opposing congressional action. Others funding lobbying to stop legislation on carbon emissions are Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil.

Where would we be now had it not been for the massive effort funded by the Kochs and other oil interests? Perhaps we would be more in line with other countries in the world, where people understand that dumping pollution from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere is destabilizing and very risky.

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Perhaps by now we would have adopted the classical economics remedy for harm, putting a price on pollution. The World Bank counts 46 national carbon-pricing initiatives implemented or soon to be implemented.

We need to wake up to the fact that David Koch and other fossil fuel interests who lobby against effective legislation like a carbon fee or tax, with all funds distributed to American households, are not thinking first about our children’s best interests. We better do that ourselves!

Marj Willeke, Lincoln

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