An ICIJ Investigation The Global Climate Change Lobby

The Climate lobby from soup to nuts

An array of new interests joins Washington’s climate change debate.

In this investigation

The Global Climate Change Lobby
Video: The alternative energy policy

Key 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 weaken government commitments.
  • China’s moves to hasten development of renewable energy, Brazil’s pledges to curb Amazon deforestation, and other steps to address climate change 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 or easing national commitments.
  • 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 the 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.

About this investigation

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The Global Climate Change Lobby

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Video: Meet the oil and coal lobby

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Video: Meet the BINGOs

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International climate change negotiations resume at a UN meeting in Mexico, but gains are expected to be modest and focused on narrow issues such as forest protection and climate financing for developing countries.

The Global Climate Change Lobby

European Ambitions Hit a Wall of Carbon

Business, industry pare back EU climate goals.

Think global, lobby local

BINGOs and the global lobbyist

Industry climate change reps “loitering” instead of lobbying.

Determining the influence of industry on legislation in the United States is tough. But tracking influence on an international scale can be a nightmare – and the lack of strong lobbyist registries allows special interests to flourish.

Business interests thwart carbon controls on the hottest, driest continent.

The world leader in economic growth and carbon emissions faces competing forces.

Plentiful oil, politics, in addition to fast growth, all making it tough to reduce carbon emissions.

A billion people, a growing economy, and rising emissions.

Tar sands and a tough business lobby pull Ottawa far from Copenhagen.

How Europe ended up paying industry for carbon capture and storage.

Japan’s new government proves tough to lobby.

An array of new interests joins Washington’s climate change debate.

Washington gets serious about climate, but businesses push to curb U.S. commitments.

Lowered expectations

Toward a Stalemate in Copenhagen

How industry pressures and national agendas dim prospects for a climate treaty.

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