InfluenceMap has analysed the lobbying impact of over 100 key trade associations on the global climate agenda, drawing from its recognized platform tracking climate lobbying. The groups are assessed on their climate positions, the intensity of lobbying on these positions, the relative power of the group in its economy and lastly, the importance of the economy in the global climate context.
The two most powerful and oppositional trade groups are the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers which, following successful campaigns to get the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, have pursued wide-ranging strategies to undermine climate leadership and install a deeply pro-fossil fuel legal framework in the country since 2016.
Powerful sector-specific groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are close behind in terms of opposition to climate policy progress, having lobbied for and obtained key regulatory rollbacks on methane emissions and automotive fuel economy standards in 2018-19.
Outside the US, the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren), ranks highly due to its key role in pushing for a coal-focused energy policy for Japan, the world's 3rd largest economy. The Minerals Council of Australia and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are also noted as highly climate-oppositional groups that have had a significant impact in undermining climate action in key fossil fuel exporting countries.
With political concern over climate inaction mounting, evidenced by the focus on climate change among the US Democratic 2020 Presidential candidates, pressure is building on climate-blocking lobbyists, as well as the corporations that support them. In September 2019, in a move associated with Climate Action 100+, 200 major investors with over 6Tn AUM challenged US corporates to ensure their trade associations’ lobbying aligns with the Paris Agreement.
Responding to this pressure, oppositional lobby groups have found it expedient to be nominally positive on climate in their PR and top-line statements. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce’s April 2019 climate policy position, claimed: “inaction is not an option”. InfluenceMap’s analysis finds such messaging to be deflection techniques, to distract the media and politicians from their recently successful and ongoing lobbying to hold meaningful climate regulations at bay.