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Money Is Not King in Climate Debate

Environmental groups spend more money on climate-change and clean-energy activities and campaigns than sceptical right-wing groups, according to a report by U.S. social scientist Matthew Nisbet.

What’s the Latest Development?

A new report out of American University in Washington D.C. says that environmental lobbies have closed the financial gap with their opponents. Author of the study and Big Think blogger, Matthew Nisbet said that with the pro-environmental lobby’s ultra-wealthy donor base, “The effort to pass cap and trade legislation may have been the best-financed political cause in American history.” Yet the legislation failed to pass. The reason, suggests Nisbet, is that while spending on the issue has reached parity, attention in the media has not. A minority of climate skeptics are given disproportionate attention while cap and trade policy was framed as the only imaginable solution to climate change. 

What’s the Big Idea?

What has held the U.S. back in dealing with climate change while China has doubled our amount of investment in clean energy technologies and Europe has issued carbon trading permits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? While many scientists and pro-environmental lobbies have complained they are up against the money machine of the Republican party, data shows that the environmental lobby actually spent more money lobbying the Congress than their pro-business counterparts. Because of the way it was framed politically, cap and trade legislation became a referendum on international climate cooperation.


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