Lobbying Against Climate Change Progress Multinational, Powerful, and (Apparently) Successful
National emissions; interactive version of this map: The Center for Policy Integrity
Throughout the summer and we saw all sorts of citizens campaigns in opposition to the climate bill winding its way through Congress, most of which turned out to be in fact organized by one or the other fossil fuel group. Now, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has completed a study showing that that sort of obstructionist lobbying and activism isn't just taking place in the United States, or even just in developed nations, but is taking place throughout the world:After conducting hundreds of interviews, and examining lobbying and campaign contribution records, ICIJ has found that the "entrenched interests worldwide are thwarting the steps the scientists say are needed to stave off a looming environmental catastrophe."
So tell us something we don't already know, the jaded TreeHugger reader might say. Fair enough, but all of this just adds more weight to the case.
Some of the interesting finds of the investigation include:
No Rich/Poor Divide When it Comes to Lobbying
Both developed and developing nations are under pressure from energy industry lobbyists to maintain the status quo, slow progress on climate change negotiations, and weaken government commitments. At least in this aspect, "the clash cannot simply be framed as one between richer and poorer nations," the study concluded.
That said, the most intense lobby decidedly takes place in developed nations. In the US for example there has been a 400% increase in the number of climate lobbyists, with five lobbyists for every member of Congress -- that's up from earlier in the year.
Similar tactics are deployed worldwide: A focus on fear tactics such as saying massive blackouts and job losses will occur from climate legislation. Some corporations, such as Peabody Coal and ExxonMobil are now fielding multinational lobbying efforts -- in Australia and the US in the former case, and in Canada, the EU, and the US in the latter.
Green Efforts Opposed Wherever They Happen
Whenever a nation tries to green up its act -- more renewable energy in China, or stopping deforestation in Brazil are the examples given -- there has been significant pushback from domestic interests intent on keeping things business as usual.
Less Denial, More Foot-Dragging
Rather than was the case in pre-Kyoto days, there is less lobbying trying to deny the science of global warming, rather the focus is on watering down climate change commitments.
Here's the full report: Towards a Stalemate in Copenhagen - The Global Climate Change Lobby
American Petroleum Institute Pays Newsweek to Hold Climate Change Discussion
Want a concrete example of this: Talking Points Memo (hat tip to Change.org) shows how the American Petroleum Institute is teaming up with Newsweek to host a panel discussion on climate change. As Change.org points out, the whole thing is a thinly veiled lobbying effort given an air of objectivity by being placed under the umbrella of journalistic sponsorship:
The problem is that API is paying Newsweek to co-host the event in order to make it look like an unbiased "discussion" and not an industry-backed lobbying effort. What sort of "discussion" about climate change happens at an event sponsored by the oil industry where the only confirmed panelist is the CEO of the biggest oil lobby?
API has been a long-term opponent of action on climate change, has been involved in several astroturf energy rallies, and has spent more than $3 million lobbying against the Waxman-Markey climate bill.
Global Climate Change
Revealed: 5 'Grassroots' Groups Funded by Dirty Energy
Big OIl Plans of Staging 'Energy Citizens' Rallies to Oppose Climate Bill
Forged Letters Urging Opposition to Climate Bill Sent to Virginia Congressman by Lobbyists