Global Warming Agenda Chills Steyer on Senate Run

San Diego, CA

Billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer will not seek to replace U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in 2016, a decision that came after Boxer announced in early January that she will not seek re-election.

In an op-ed published in the Huffington Post, Steyer writes “As I’ve long believed and as President Obama stressed again in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the global warming crisis–writ large–will define the success or failure of our generation.”

Steyer explains that he left professional investing, “because it conflicted with my growing concerns about our global warming crisis.” He goes on to call climate change a “justice” issue, drawing a connection between so-called economic and educational injustices and essentially blaming fossil fuel corporations and those with connected financial interests the causes of such injustice.

As to the Senate, Steyer writes:

“Since our wonderful Senator, Barbara Boxer, announced she would not run for re-election, I have given serious thought to what is the best way I can contribute to addressing these justice issues–environment, economic and education. Many people have generously shared their thoughts. My family and I have discussed the issue.”

Working through the decision whether to seek the seat or push his agenda from the outside, Steyer wrote he came down to one question, “How best can I fight for a level playing field at this point?”

His ultimate decision was to cede the Senate campaigning to one of many “excellent candidates” and writes, “Given the imperative of electing a Democratic president–along with my passion for our state–I believe my work right now should not be in our nation’s capitol but here at home in California, and in states around the country where we can make a difference.”

He closes stating that he plans to “redouble” his efforts, push harder in the climate change arena, and take on the journey that he says, “has just begun.”

On the Democratic side, California Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first to announce her bid to replace Boxer in 2016. Left-wing darling and expected 2016 Presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) endorsed Harris for the seat the day after Harris announced her candidacy.

Questions have also circled around whether Steyer will reconsider public office in 2018, when California Governor Jerry Brown’s term expires, according to the National Journal.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana