Trade Groups and their Carbon Footprints

An InfluenceMap Report
September 2019

US Lobbyists Dominate the List of the World's Most Influential and Negative on Climate

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See media coverage in Newsweek, The Ecologist, Desmog, The Guardian, E&T Magazine.

  • New InfluenceMap research finds US organisations dominate the list of the most impactful climate policy opponents, with 7 out of the 10 most negative and influential business associations globally based in Washington DC. The finding reflects the extent to which US lobbyists have stoked, harnessed, and guided the Trump Administration's deregulatory agenda to undermine climate policy progress since 2016. The NY School of Law determined the subsequent rollbacks in policy will add 200 Mn tons of CO2 equivalent emissions a year by 2025, placing the US on a pathway consistent with 4°C+ warming globally according to thinktank Carbon Action Tracker.

  • InfluenceMap has analysed the lobbying impact of over 100 key trade associations on the global climate agenda, drawing from its recognized platform tracking climate lobbying. The groups are assessed on their climate positions, the intensity of lobbying on these positions, the relative power of the group in its economy and lastly, the importance of the economy in the global climate context.

  • The two most powerful and oppositional trade groups are the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers which, following successful campaigns to get the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, have pursued wide-ranging strategies to undermine climate leadership and install a deeply pro-fossil fuel legal framework in the country since 2016.

  • Powerful sector-specific groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are close behind in terms of opposition to climate policy progress, having lobbied for and obtained key regulatory rollbacks on methane emissions and automotive fuel economy standards in 2018-19.

  • Outside the US, the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren), ranks highly due to its key role in pushing for a coal-focused energy policy for Japan, the world's 3rd largest economy. The Minerals Council of Australia and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are also noted as highly climate-oppositional groups that have had a significant impact in undermining climate action in key fossil fuel exporting countries.

  • With political concern over climate inaction mounting, evidenced by the focus on climate change among the US Democratic 2020 Presidential candidates, pressure is building on climate-blocking lobbyists, as well as the corporations that support them. In September 2019, in a move associated with Climate Action 100+, 200 major investors with over 6Tn AUM challenged US corporates to ensure their trade associations’ lobbying aligns with the Paris Agreement.

  • Responding to this pressure, oppositional lobby groups have found it expedient to be nominally positive on climate in their PR and top-line statements. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 climate policy position, claimed: “inaction is not an option”. InfluenceMap’s analysis finds such messaging to be deflection techniques, to distract the media and politicians from their recently successful and ongoing lobbying to hold meaningful climate regulations at bay.

We are at a crucial time for climate action. But against a backdrop of huge public concern around climate change and increasingly dire warnings from scientists, these trade groups continue to frustrate progress on climate policy, especially in the US, which should be leading the world in terms of climate ambition.

Ed Collins
Project Lead, InfluenceMap

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