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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
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”