Climate Lobbying is a 2 billion dollar industry — Money talks, but this report has no idea what it is saying
In one of the more pointless and inane “scientific” publications of the year, Brulle et al has added up climate lobbying dollars across the years and sectors, but missed the two largest sectors and blended friend and foe unto homogenised pap. (See Fossil fuel industry spent nearly $2 billion to kill U.S. climate action, new study finds) Even Brulle admits that gas companies lobby for climate legislation, while coal companies lobby against it, yet Brulle still lumps them all into the archetypal ogre called “Fossil Fuels”. Let’s perpetuate a mindless stereotype, eh?
Was that an accident or an aim?
Thus and verily do “fossil fuels” predictably outspend environmental organizations:
“Unsurprisingly, sectors that could be negatively affected by bills limiting carbon emissions, such as the electrical utilities sector, fossil fuel companies and transportation corporations had the deepest pockets. Their lobbying efforts dwarfed those of environmental organizations, the renewable energy industry and volunteer groups.”
Fossil fuels didn’t just outspend enviromentalists, they might as well have been them. Shell leaned on World Bank to nobble the competition. It begged for Big-Green subsidies to sequester carbon and lobbied for carbon trading. BP committed to a low carbon world, and went so far as to join Greenpeace and lobby the BBC itself.
Gas companies benefit from climate change because coal is the enemy, and more unreliable generators means the grid needs more gas or oil. The only reason to blend these together under the block category “Fossil fuels” is to feed the hate-tweet memes. Go Brulle.
Carbon lobbying peak days are over
The two largest lobbyists of all don’t even get a mention.
The biggest players in this debate are Big-Government itself and Big-bankers. Government departments and grant-getting scientists have an obvious vested interest in increasing the size of their government department and their budgets. Let’s talk real money: when the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act4 was signed into law, it contained some $110 billion5 in clean energy investments in the bill. Do we think none of that money went right back into lobbying? The EU by crikey, gives 20% (sic) of their budget to climate change.
As for Bankers, the numbers are extreme. Brulle gets excited about two billion dollars spent on lobbying over 16 years, but Bank of America is spending $50 billion to save the world. Citigroup committed $100 billion to “climate change”. DeutscheBank built giant clocks of doom and wrote 50 page scientific reports. And the list goes on… in the end, climate change is potentially a $7 Trillion dollar money making venture for bankers. You can see why they might be interested. What we can’t see, is why Brulle et al aren’t even aware they exist?
There was no “financial sector”, no bank mentioned. But then, perhaps Citigroup just spent $100b, but didn’t think to lobby on Capital Hill? Could be…
Which lobbyists are the most desperate?
Perhaps I missed it, but I saw no mention of the desperation levels of the various sides. Those selling an essential commodity have the security of knowing that demand for their products will still be running strong even if the government changes the rules tomorrow. Those selling an uncompetitive, esoteric product designed to change the weather in a hundred years are desperate. It’s do or die for them. When the government changes the rules, their market evaporates.
That’s why, one day when someone does a meaningful study on funds for climate lobbying, they’ll find it stacked heavily for “climate change”.
In this debate there are a thousand vested interests and only a few vested losers. Apart from coal, the losers are export industries and most of the population. Who lobbies for them?
- Robert J. Brulle. The climate lobby: a sectoral analysis of lobbying spending on climate change in the USA, 2000 to 2016. Climatic Change, 2018; DOI: 10.1007/s10584-018-2241-z