Meet the Climate Lobby

| Wed May 20, 2009 3:15 PM EDT

There are now four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress -- an increase of 300 percent in just five years. But who are they working for and what do they want? The Center of Public Integrity has a new report on the climate change lobbying stampede which finds that the fight over energy policy has exploded in complexity. While big polluters still comprise more than half of the groups or companies lobbying on climate legislation, they've been joined by a diverse roster of new interests, all with complicated designs on government reforms. 

In addition to those entities that are simply trying to support or block efforts to cut carbon emissions—positions that now look increasingly retro—many companies and trade groups see climate legislation as inevitable and want to shape the resulting reforms to their own ends. The financial sector, for instance, has 130 lobbyists pushing for a cap and trade system that banks could profit from. There are city and county governments that see an opportunity to snare some federal money. And then there's the renewable energy sector and environmental groups, although they're outnumbered by everyone else by eight to one.

All of this activity has resulted in a bewildering proliferation of proposals on how to regulate pollution or encourage efficiency. Small wonder that the Waxman-Markey bill is now 900 pages long and counting, or that House Dems have hired a speed reader to keep up with GOP amendments. More on all of this to come...