Trying to Put a Price on Big Oil’s ‘Climate Obstruction’ Efforts
by Eric Roston (Bloomberg) Oil giants and trade groups spend an estimated $115 million per year blocking climate policies — ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, and three oil-industry groups together spend $115 million a year on advocacy designed to “obstruct” climate change policy, according to new estimates released by Influence Map, a British nonprofit research organization.
The sheer fuzziness of corporate influence prompted the project. Nations hold companies to different standards—or none at all—for disclosures of how they are trying to influence public policy and what it costs.
To come up with its numbers, Influence Map first had to define what “influence” actually means. The researchers adopted a framework spelled out in a 2013 UN report written to help companies align their climate change policies with their lobbying and communications strategies. It’s a broad approach to understanding influence that includes not only direct lobbying, but also advertising, marketing, public relations, political contributions, regulatory contacts, and trade associations.
The five subjects of Influence Map’s research use those organs to the opposite ends. ExxonMobil’s “direct spending on climate obstruction,” according to the report, may be $27 million a year. Shell’s estimated spending is $22 million. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s U.S. trade group, may spend up to $65 million a year, and two smaller groups—the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association—are estimated to spend about $9 million together.
The report, “How Much Big Oil Spends on Obstructive Climate Lobbying,” is directed at investors who are starting to make more noise about the topic. READ MORE and MORE (Huffington Post) Download study