Doing Something About the Weather in Washington

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In his speech last night to Congress, President Barack Obama put addressing climate change on the top of his agenda:

…to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.  So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.  And to support that innovation, we will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America." 

Energy drives the economy, period. So not surprisingly, a lot of people are very interested in just how climate change policy is shaped and, most especially, in getting their share of government energy largesse. The Center for Public Integrity has just issued a report detailing the enormous growth of Washington's "Climate Change Lobby." As the report notes:

A Center for Public Integrity analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows that more than 770 companies and interest groups hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence federal policy on climate change in the past year, as the issue gathered momentum and came to a vote on Capitol Hill. That's an increase of more than 300 percent in the number of lobbyists on climate change in just five years, and means that Washington can now boast more than four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress. It also means that 15 percent of all Washington lobbyists spent at least some of their time on global warming in 2008, based on a tally of the total number of influence-peddlers on Capitol Hill by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Based on the data, the Center estimates that lobbying expenditures on climate change last year topped $90 million. About 130 businesses and interest groups spent more than $23.5 million on lobbying teams solely focused on climate, but that vastly understates the money devoted to the effort.

Let the rent-seeking begin

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  1. so i guess now with Cali trying to legalize and the renewable power initiatives. although i do not agree with them, i will not, not take it, lol. finally my dream of a LED powered building utilizing solar panels and other power gen/saving items to run Americas first Cofeeshop/Nightclub with a seedbank and dispensiary connected to it, may just be coming inot a relity. but i wont hold my breath as i do not look good cold and blue.

  2. Most members of Congress would probably fail an average 10th-grade level test in math or any science.

    And they’re supposed to understand the issues surrounding global warming? Right.

  3. T. Boone Pickens ad campaign paid off. Do we write him checks directly?

  4. Is this really the time to bury the economy in funding all of the Democratic wish list? I mean, can’t we at least wait until the recession is over? I thought we were going to reduce the deficit. Maybe I misheard.

  5. I still can’t believe anybody watched this. The new futurama movie came out! Jeez. Gluttons for punishment the lot of ya.

  6. I didn’t watch it, Boston. But when was the Futurama movie? Was it on Comedy Central?

  7. Global Warming will keep the kids in school.
    We win!

  8. And to support that innovation, we will invest start with fifteen billion dollars a year to develop subsidize unprofitable technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels giveaways to ADM, clean coal (WTF? He’s speaking of climate change and subsidizing new ways of burning coal in the same effin’ speech?), and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America. (Don’t get me started on the realities of fuel efficient cars and trucks. Really, don’t.)

  9. Watch an hour of political posturing, and empty feel-good rhetoric?

    Not when it interferes with my drinking.

  10. I really can’t be bothered about any amount of money less that $1 billion these days.

  11. Epi, the new one, possibly the last, came out on DVD yesterday.

  12. we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy

    *grinds teeth, bangs head on desk*

  13. There is no global warmings. It is just a liberal plot to keep the US for fighting for our rights in Iraq. The Iraqi terrorists are the ones that started the rumor. There is an infinite supply of oil on the earth. We need cheep oil so we can all drive big SUVs, it is the American way. The American way of life is not negotiable, that is why the oil supply doesn’t matter, it must last forever. Even if the Iraqi terrorists want the global warmings we need to fight for our rites in iraq.

  14. Ah, I see. I’ll wait until they play it on Comedy Central.

  15. Wow.

    I guess I have made it as a Reason commentor now. Someone is spoofing me. I am speechless. I would just like to thank all the little people who helped me get to this moment. Thank you. No THANK YOU!!

  16. Yeah, but John, your spoofer screwed up by spelling most words correctly.

  17. “Yeah, but John, your spoofer screwed up by spelling most words correctly.”

    Amateur.

  18. We shall be energy-independent–by making energy as expensive as possible! If we’re forced to spend our disposable income on energy, we won’t have any left to buy stuff from foreigners or ruin the environment!

    It’s like Juche or something.

  19. The coward didn’t mention nuclear.
    In other words: he’s not serious.

  20. Oxymoron of the day:

    “a market-based cap”

    That is all.

  21. Nuclear isn’t renewable until we can make reactor-grade uranium from corn, or pin it to something omnipresent but unreliable like the summer’s breezes or sunny days.

  22. The coward didn’t mention nuclear.
    In other words: he’s not serious.

    QFT. Politically, Obama has displayed no courage that I’ve detected. Anyone?

  23. we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

    Just because they’re called “laws” of physics, economy, etc. doesn’t mean Congress can amend them.

    Is this really the time to bury the economy in funding all of the Democratic wish list?

    The Democratic wish list will improve the economy. It sez so on the label.

    I did think it was fitting that the speech was on Fat Tuesday. It’s going to be a long Lent.

  24. J sub D,

    Maybe nuclear is the one rigorously regulated, federally subsidized, and thoroughly centralized industry upon which the Administration is courageous enough not to plan to increase spending by multiples.

  25. It is difficult to spoof John’s tone.

    Try TallDave if you want a Republican who is easy to spoof.

  26. Politically, Obama has displayed no courage that I’ve detected. Anyone?

    What, Mr. Voting Present, the Parsin’ President, the one who sold out a reformist challenger to Mayor Daley and was the protege of one of the panjandrums of the most corrupt legislature in the land? That Obama?

  27. Oh! Nuclear power is popular in France, too.

    It takes courage for this Administration to see something being done in Europe and not assume we are hopelessly behind the times for not doing the same.

  28. some fed, actually nuclear is close enough to renewable/infinite if we build breeder reactors. Hazel is right: Obama is ignoring the one way we know that we can reliably produce large amounts of energy domestically without producing much CO2. Thank you, “environmentalists”!

  29. Sigh. Maybe we should just roll the dice and throw the entire trillion into fusion research. If we fail completely, can’t be any more wasteful than what we’re doing with the money, anyway. If it works, we’re going to laugh and laugh and laugh as we bestride the world like a colossus. Literally, because we’ll be able to build that space-elevator/statue I requested some time ago.

  30. That’s a perfectly fair point, PapayaSF.

    Actually, I was largely mocking Obama’s positions.

    Who knows! If nuclear power weren’t as much a creature of federal intervention as the interstate highway system or the Newport News shipyard, we might find it to be a competitive form of power generation.

  31. we’ll be able to build that space-elevator/statue I requested some time ago.

    The one shaped like Obama?
    That would be a really skinny long neck.

    But hey … artistic license.

  32. If nuclear power weren’t as much a creature of federal intervention as the interstate highway system or the Newport News shipyard, we might find it to be a competitive form of power generation.

    If it wasn’t subjected to endless site-permitting and contruction delays, due to public hearing processes that are easily manipulated by environmental activists, the plants might not cost ten times the original estimates.

  33. Obama is so 2008. No one will want to build a giant statue of him now.

  34. But cost due to onerous regulation would be the last thing to deter the Obama Administration!

  35. Maybe we should just roll the dice and throw the entire trillion into fusion research.

    Why not just send a manned expedition to the sun, to mine a piece of its core; when they bring it back, we’re good to go.

    Profit!

  36. Watch an hour of political posturing, and empty feel-good rhetoric?

    Not when it interferes with my drinking.

    Interferes? My dear sir, it enhances it!

  37. P Brooks,

    I meant if we’re going to waste the money, anyway. For a trillion, maybe we could do some fusion in something less than 20 years. There’s at least a chance it would produce a workable fusion reactor, in which case we’d get a tremendous boost and could send endless e-mails to the OPEC nations telling them we’ll be reducing our oil purchases in the very near future.

    Naturally, I advocate the government not spending the damned money in the first place. On anything.

  38. I wonder if Obama’s mentioning the words “clean” and “coal” in proximity means the environmentalists somewhere are calling him a traitor.

  39. We got a turd sandwich AND a big giant douche to wash it down with.
    Good times,aaahhh, good times.

  40. Is this really the time to bury the economy in funding all of the Democratic wish list? I mean, can’t we at least wait until the recession is over? I thought we were going to reduce the deficit. Maybe I misheard.

    Tomorrow. We’re going to reduce the deficit tomorrow. Along with free beer.

  41. As I understand it, the Dems will grunt and strain for four years to reduce the deficit in 2012 to something more than the last bloated Bush deficit.

  42. 2,340 lobbyists?! Let’s assume everything Al Gore says about climate change and the need for government solutions is true; with 2,340 lobbyists there’s no hope whatsoever that the government will do the right things to solve the crisis.

  43. “I thought we were going to reduce the deficit. Maybe I misheard.”

    That was before it was necessary to save the economy or else civilization will collapse and we’ll be forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.

  44. “2,340 lobbyists?!”

    To find the value of government spending:(value of money spent-deadweight losses (for tax revenue) or interest (for debt)-waste)/(number of legislators*number of lobbyists)

  45. Obama has saved me from cannibalism? Well then, he’s my hero.

  46. I meant if we’re going to waste the money, anyway. For a trillion, maybe we could do some fusion in something less than 20 years.

    Bussard Fusion anyone?

    http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/11/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html

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