Nature News 
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Environmental groups and their supporters spend more money on climate-change and clean-energy activities and campaigns than sceptical right-wing groups and their industry supporters, according to a report by a US social scientist, who questions some of the most common reasons given for US political inaction on global warming.
According to the report, conservative think-tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations raised some US$907 million during 2009, and spent a total of $787 million on their activities, with $259 million of that devoted specifically to climate and energy policy issues. Over the same period, national environmental groups had revenues of $1.7 billion and spent $1.4 billion on their programmes, which included $394 million devoted to climate and energy issues.
“Propelled by an ultra wealthy donor base and key alliances with corporations and other organizations, the environmental movement appears to have closed the financial gap with its opponents,” says Matthew Nisbet, associate professor of communication at American University in Washington DC, who wrote the report.
This became obvious in the almost equal amounts spent by each side on political lobbying in 2009, when cap-and-trade legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions was moving through the US Congress. Whereas the opponents of the legislation, including Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries, spent a total of $272 million on all their political lobbying in 2009, the report says, environmental groups forged a network of organizations that spent a total of $229 million on lobbying in the same period. The legislation was eventually defeated in the Senate in 2010.
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