A bombshell new report identified more than 1,500 registered lobbyists who play “double agent,” working for the fossil fuel industry at the same time as they take a paycheck from organizations, companies, and governments fighting the climate crisis.
This veritable army of hired guns simultaneously working both sides results in ironies like the same lobbyist being hired by the city of Baltimore, which sued fossil fuel companies in 2018, and ExxonMobil, one of the defendants in that case. Insurer State Farm, which cited growing wildfire risk in its decision to no longer issue new homeowner policies in California, employs lobbyists that also represent Exxon, Occidental Energy, and other oil and gas companies whose products bear the lion’s share of the blame for the climate crisis that has made wildfires increasingly common and more damaging. At the same time, those oil and gas companies are vigorously lobbying California’s government in an effort to weaken or kill the state’s potentially game-changing climate legislation.
It’s not clear if any of the companies, organizations or governments with fossil fuel lobbyists on their payrolls have plans to cut ties with these problematic consultants, despite what would seem to be an obvious conflict of interest.
Having a lobbyist that also has a fossil fuel client is “not, in itself, an automatic disqualification,” a spokesperson for one major environmental organization told The Guardian. “In some cases it can actually help us find productive alignment in unexpected places.”
For more on this depressing (if not totally surprising) research, check out today’s Denier Roundup.