Climate Change Talks Spark Global Backlash by Business, Industry

For Immediate Release

The Global Climate Change Lobby
Contact: 

Sue Dorfman

o: 202-481-1256

c: 202-812-ICIJ (4245)

sdorfman@icij.org

Climate Change Talks Spark Global Backlash by Business, Industry

Eight-Country Investigation Reveals Forces Moving to Undermine Copenhagen

WASHINGTON - Global
attempts to craft a pivotal new climate treaty in Copenhagen this
December are being stymied by a far-reaching, multinational backlash
led by fossil fuel industries and other heavy carbon emitters,
according to The Global Climate Change Lobby,
a new project by the International Consortium of Investigative
Journalists (ICIJ). Employing thousands of lobbyists, millions in
political contributions, and widespread fear tactics, entrenched
interests worldwide are thwarting the steps that scientists say are
needed to stave off a looming environmental calamity, the investigation
found.

Beginning November 5,
the ICIJ series will be released on the web and in partner media
outlets in the weeks leading into the December 7, 2009 global summit in
Copenhagen. The Global Climate Change Lobby (www.icij.org) will roll out investigative stories from around the world, as well as blogs, "tweets" (@climatelobby), and interactive graphics. This series by ICIJ, an arm of the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, builds upon the Center's groundbreaking Climate Change Lobby reports, which examined how special interests have shaped the climate bill debate in Washington, D.C.

The Global Climate Change Lobby
focuses on those economies expected to play a key role in the talks
leading up to a treaty: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European
Union, India, Japan, and the United States. Among the project's
findings:

  • Both developed
    and developing countries are under heavy pressure by fossil fuel
    industries and other carbon-intensive businesses to slow progress on
    negotiations and ease government commitments. The clash cannot simply
    be framed as one between richer and poorer nations.
  • China's moves to
    hasten development of renewable energy, Brazil's pledges to curb Amazon
    deforestation, and other climate steps in the developing world have
    prompted a strong pushback from domestic in-country interests
    determined to maintain the status quo.  
  • Instead of a
    broad frontal assault on the climate science that marked the pre-Kyoto
    battles, lobbyists seeking to dilute the Copenhagen treaty have changed
    strategy, acknowledging there is a problem while focusing on slowing
    and weakening national commitments.
  • The intensity of
    the lobbying can be seen most clearly in developed countries, where
    official registers reveal that thousands of industry representatives
    have attempted to influence climate legislation. In the United States,
    there are now about 2,810 climate lobbyists - five lobbyists for every member of Congress

    - a
    400 percent jump from six years earlier. And in Australia, Canada, and
    the European Union, hundreds more lobbyists are at work attempting to
    block or water down strict limits on carbon emissions.

  • Powerful
    corporations are fielding multinational efforts to influence the
    debate, such as Peabody Coal, the world's largest coal company, in
    Australia and the United States; and oil giant Exxon Mobil in Canada,
    the European Union, and United States.  Although largely operating at a
    national level, opponents of a strong climate change treaty are
    employing similar fear tactics worldwide, including threats of massive
    blackouts and job losses.
  • The voices of
    scores of business advocates for stronger climate change policy,
    including alternative energy companies and would-be players in the
    carbon market, can barely be heard above the clamor of the older,
    well-capitalized, and deeply entrenched industries that have been
    lobbying on climate change for more than 20 years.
  • As a result of
    the forces arrayed against stricter emissions limits, no developed
    nation has made a firm pledge for the kind of emissions cut scientists
    say will be needed within the next decade to stave off catastrophic
    climate change.

"The ICIJ investigative
team is uniquely positioned to show how powerful forces around the
world are working to influence the treaty negotiations," observes David
E. Kaplan, director of ICIJ. "At a time when serious journalism is
under siege worldwide, when investigative teams are being disbanded and
foreign bureaus closed, ICIJ is one of the few media organizations able
to offer in-depth, global reporting on an issue as critical as the
fight over climate change. Using state-of-the-art technology,
computer-assisted reporting, and dogged on-the-ground journalism, ICIJ
reveals in country after country the interests attempting to weaken the
most important environmental treaty of our time."


For more information about arranging interviews, placing The Global Climate Change Lobby
stories in your publication or on your website, or downloading the
climate change maps, please contact Sue Dorfman at 202-481-1256
(office) and 202-812-4245 (mobile) or at sdorfman@icij.org.
Our multinational team is available to be interviewed in English,
Chinese, Danish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
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