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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.
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.
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.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”