The bloggers over at Powerline, led in this case by the Koch-cozy John Hinderaker, are all in a tizzy this week after the New York Times reported that Tom Steyer, a major political force in the fight for climate justice, used to invest heavily in coal mining operations.
I think Powerline has either misread the Times story or has conveniently ignored the fact that Tom Steyer used to invest in coal, but since transitioning from his career as a hedge fund manager to his new role as a full-time climate action crusader, he has divested himself of interests in carbon-intensive industries.
This nothingburger story is being trumped up by Powerline and the right-wing echo chamber as proof of hypocrisy in Steyer's commitment to fighting climate change.
Powerline blogger John Hinderaker calls the Steyer story “epic hypocrisy.” The only thing epic here is that the seemingly intelligent Mr. Hinderaker does not understand what hypocrisy actually is.
To call Steyer a hypocrite would mean Steyer was saying he is committed to fighting climate change, while behind the scenes still actively investing in things like coal mines.
But he is not. As Bill McKibben points out on Huffington Post, what Steyer did was change his mind on the issue of climate change, which is exactly the right thing to do. Like anything in life, you can change course as you get more information.
While Powerline and Hinderaker are all too eager to criticize Steyer for ending his career as a multi-billionaire investor to devote his time to fighting what scientists are calling the greatest threat to humanity, they are at the same time even more happy to act as cheerleaders for David and Charles Koch, two men who are, in many ways, Steyer's antithesis.