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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Baumgartner F, Leech B (1998) Basic interests: the importance of groups in politics and in political science. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  2. Baumgartner F, Berry J, Hojnacki M, Leech B, Kimball D (2009) Lobbying and policy change: who wins, who loses, and why. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  3. Brulle RJ (2014) Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of US climate change counter-movement organizations. Clim Chang 122:681–694

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brulle R, Dunlap R (2015) Sociology and climate change introduction: pp. 1–31 in Dunlap, Riley, Brulle, Robert J., (eds.) Climate change and society: sociological perspectives. Oxford Press: New York

    Google Scholar 

  5. Brulle RJ, Carmichael J, Jenkins JC (2012) Shifting public opinion on climate change: an empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the US, 2002–2010. Clim Chang 114(2):169–188

  6. Burstein P (2010) Public opinion, public policy, and democracy. In: Leicht K, Jenkins J (eds) Handbook of politics: state and society in global perspective. Springer, New York, pp 63–79

    Google Scholar 

  7. Cook KS, Whitmeyer JM (1992) Two approaches to social structure: exchange theory and network analysis. Annu Rev Sociol 18:109–127

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. De Figueiredo JM, Richter BK (2014) Advancing the empirical research on lobbying. Annual Review of Political Science. (17)163–185

  9. Delmas M, Lim J, Nairn-Birch N (2016) Corporate environmental performance and lobbying. Academy of Management Discoveries 2(2):175–197

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Downie C (2017) Business actors, political resistance, and strategies for policymakers. Energy Policy 108:583–592

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Drutman L (2015) The business of America is lobbying. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  12. Edwards L (2016) The role of public relations in deliberative systems. J Commun 66:60–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Farrell J (2016) Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci 113(1):92–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Fuchs S (2001) Against essentialism: a theory of culture and society. Harvard University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  15. Grossmann M (2014) Artists of the possible. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  16. Grumbach JM (2015) Polluting industries as climate protagonists: cap and trade and the problem of business preferences. Business and Politics 17(4):633–659

  17. Gulati R, Gargiulo M (1999) Where do interorganizational networks come from? Am J Sociol 104(5):1439–1493

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kim S, Urpelainen J, Yang J (2016) Electric utilities and American climate policy: lobbying by expected winners and losers. Journal of Public Policy 36(2):251–275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Knoke D (1990) Political networks: the structural perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  20. Knoke D, Yang S (2008) Social network analysis (Vol. 154). Sage

  21. LaPira TM, Thomas HF (2014) Revolving door lobbyists and interest representation. Interest Groups & Advocacy. 3(1):4–29

  22. Laumann EO, Knoke D (1987) The organizational state: social choice in national policy domains. Univ of Wisconsin Press, Madison

    Google Scholar 

  23. McGarity TO (2014) The disruptive politics of climate disruption. Nova Law Review 38(3):3

    Google Scholar 

  24. Milbrath L (1963) The Washington lobbyists. Rand McNally, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  25. Podolny JM, Page KL (1998) Network forms of organization. Annu Rev Sociol 24:57–76

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Shove E (2010) Beyond the ABC: climate change policy and theories of social change. Environ Plan A 42:1273–1285

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Somerville I, Ramsey P (2012) Public relations and politics. In: Theaker A (ed) The public relations handbook, 4th edn. Routledge, New York, pp 38–59

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert J. Brulle.

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

(DOCX 26 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brulle, R.J. The climate lobby: a sectoral analysis of lobbying spending on climate change in the USA, 2000 to 2016. Climatic Change 149, 289–303 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2241-z

Download citation