Latest Center for Public Integrity Analysis Reveals Explosive Growth in the Climate Change Lobby

For Immediate Release

Latest Center for Public Integrity Analysis Reveals Explosive Growth in the Climate Change Lobby

Washington can now boast more than four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress

WASHINGTON - The number of lobbyists seeking to influence federal policy on climate change has grown more than 300 percent in five years, with a slew of new interests from Main Street to Wall Street adding to the challenge of addressing global warming, according to a new Center for Public Integrity report, The Climate Change Lobby. The report provides a first-of-its-kind look at the universe of special interests shaping debate in the United States and how it has sharply expanded between 2003— when Congress previously voted on climate change— and 2008.

 
Among the report’s findings:
 
  • More than 770 companies and organizations hired some 2,340 lobbyists to work on climate change and spent at least $90 million lobbying in 2008. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – a group of 48 companies - topped the list of those solely focused on the issue, spending $9.95 million.   
  • In 2003, 70 percent of the interests weighing in on climate were energy companies and manufacturers. But by 2008, those sectors made up only 45 percent of the total, despite their strong growth, because so many new interests had joined in the fray.   
  • Finance, insurance and investment firms, with virtually no presence in the climate debate on Capitol Hill in 2003, last year had as many lobbyists as alternative energy firms— about 130. Their interest is in shaping the rules of a market-based “cap-and-trade” system.   
  • Cities, counties and public agencies, with a handful of lobbyists in 2003, by last year had more than 100, focused primarily on how Congress might distribute potential revenue in a climate program.   
  • Despite the huge growth in the number of environmental, health and alternative energy lobbyists, they are outnumbered by industry and other interests 8-to-1.
“This new Center for Public Integrity report shows clearly how much money is pouring into Washington on the issue of climate change,” said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. “What’s also clear is how difficult it will be for the Obama Administration to get meaningful climate change legislation through Congress in the face of such an enormous lobbying push by so many special interests.”
 
The Climate Change Lobby features a fully searchable database of climate lobbyists, using disclosure reports filed with the U.S. Senate’s Office of Public Records, as well as brief profiles of some of the most prominent lobbyists. 
 
With President Obama pledging to put the nation on course to an historic reduction in fossil fuel emissions, and Congressional leaders vowing to hold votes on climate this year, The Climate Change Lobby sheds new light on the challenge confronting policymakers. Some welcome the new voices to the climate debate as a sign of greater recognition of the issue’s importance throughout the economy, while others are alarmed that compromises among the myriad interests will forestall the sort of aggressive action needed to stave off catastrophe.
 
The Climate Change Lobby is generously supported by a grant from the Deer Creek Foundation and is part of an ongoing investigative series on “clean coal” and climate change policy issues. In addition, organizational support for the Center is provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Popplestone Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and many other generous institutional and individual donors.
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The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world.

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