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The climate lobby: a sectoral analysis of lobbying spending on climate change in the USA, 2000 to 2016


  • Robert J. Brulle

    (Drexel University)


Lobbying is considered to be an important factor in the success or failure of climate change legislation. This paper provides an estimate of lobbying expenditures related to climate change legislation in the U.S. Congress from 2000 to 2016. During this time period, over $2 billion was spent on this activity, constituting 3.9% of total lobbying expenditures. Major sectors involved in lobbying were fossil fuel and transportation corporations, utilities, and affiliated trade associations. Expenditures by these sectors dwarf those of environmental organizations and renewable energy corporations. Levels of expenditures on lobbying appear to be related to the introduction and probability of passage of significant climate legislation. Future research should focus on tying particular positions on climate legislation and lobbying expenditures at the corporate level.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Brulle, 2018. "The climate lobby: a sectoral analysis of lobbying spending on climate change in the USA, 2000 to 2016," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 289-303, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:149:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10584-018-2241-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-018-2241-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Brulle & Jason Carmichael & J. Jenkins, 2012. "Shifting public opinion on climate change: an empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the U.S., 2002–2010," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 169-188, September.
    2. Elizabeth Shove, 2010. "Beyond the ABC: Climate Change Policy and Theories of Social Change," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 42(6), pages 1273-1285, June.
    3. Robert Brulle, 2014. "Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 122(4), pages 681-694, February.
    4. Kim, Sung Eun & Urpelainen, Johannes & Yang, Joonseok, 2016. "Electric utilities and American climate policy: lobbying by expected winners and losers," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 251-275, June.
    5. Downie, Christian, 2017. "Business actors, political resistance, and strategies for policymakers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 583-592.
    6. Grumbach, Jacob M., 2015. "Polluting industries as climate protagonists: cap and trade and the problem of business preferences," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 633-659, December.
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