Environmental Protection

Climate Lobbying Grows as Bill Makes Progress

Nearly 140 new businesses and interest groups—led by a diverse array of technology firms—have joined in the already intense lobbying on climate change, according to The Climate Lobby's Nonstop Growth, a new analysis by The Center for Public Integrity.

Microsoft, Google, and eBay are among the technology firms that helped drive an increase of more than 14 percent in companies and organizations lobbying on climate in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year, Senate disclosure forms show. The 880 firms and groups that reported weighing in on climate policy are still dominated by big energy producers and users; more than half are manufacturers, power companies, or firms in the oil and gas industry.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and his energy subcommittee chair, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), marked up the American Clean Energy and Security Act recently. Their legislation seeks to curb the global warming threat through a complex cap-and-trade system. In its comprehensive analysis, the center found that the interests weighing in on this issue are more diverse than ever. Those groups include not just technology firms, but food interests like the American Meat Institute and the National Turkey Federation; consumer goods manufacturers like Levi Strauss & Co. (active in a new business coalition organized by the investor group Ceres); and alternative transportation interests like Segway.

The Center found that just 10 lobbying firms represent nearly 100 of the businesses and interest groups seeking to influence the bill, including some of the largest trade organizations and companies most active in the debate. Led by Alpine Group and Ogilvy Government Relations, the Center's Climate Top 10 have staffs replete with former government officials and are a case study in the tradition of Capitol Hill staffers graduating from their public policy posts to serve as representatives for corporations.

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