Home > Musings, Political Goings-On > Summary: “Big Oil’s Relentless Lobby” – The Montréal Gazette, 4 Dec. 2009

Summary: “Big Oil’s Relentless Lobby” – The Montréal Gazette, 4 Dec. 2009

Here is the first of what may, depending on response, become a MUAG usual – article summaries. Basically, I’ll take articles from what I judge to be reputable sources that I think have important bearing on issues. This has two purposes: first, it will help “get the word out”, and second, I will be helping myself organize my ideas. As this is a summary, expect it to be a little disjointed – these are expansions on point-form notes, after all.

So with that out of the way, the inaugural issue of MUAG Summaries: “Big Oil’s Relentless Lobby”, from the Montréal Gazette, 4 December 2009. The topic today is, as you may have guessed, climate change.

Big Oil’s Relentless Lobby

Since 1996, there have been 1570 climate change lobbyists in Ottawa. Over the  years, their client list has grown from just 13 to 109 organizations, companies, industry associations, and other groups.

34 of these are fossil fuel producers and these 34 organizations have employed approximately one-third of all climate change lobbyists. The other employers of climate change lobbyists include manufacturers, power utilities, agriculture, transportation, environmental groups, and health groups.

According to Stéphane Dion, the environmental minister for the previous Liberal government from 2004 to 2006, the pressure to weaken climate change legislation is “almost daily”. We have yet to take any measurable action to curb GHG emissions – in 2007, Canada’s GHG emissions were 32% above Kyoto targets.

Most of our emissions problems are centred in Alberta. It contains 10% of Canada’s population, 70% of Canada’s oil production, and produces approximately 33% of our GHG emissions.

Says a 20-year veteran lobbyist employed by Suncor and Shell Canada: “lobbying the province of Alberta is virtually unnecessary since the government is entirely on the industry’s side.” This means that the most powerful climate change lobby in Ottawa is Alberta. In addition, big oil executives have access to highest government officials, while environmental groups are often dismissed out of hand as being “leftists”.

Four of Suncors’ six registered consulting lobbyists are former senior policy advisors to the government. Furthermore, an anonymous senior government official says there is an “unspoken link [between big oil and government]”: “the oil executive can call (the Prime Minister) and say, ‘You don’t do this or else you will suffer. We’ll beat you in your riding’ type of thing.”

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has “enjoyed access to the highest officials”, the record shows. Of the total 51 active lobbyists registered by CAPP, 17 previously worked for the government – one of whom was a senior aide to Harper when he was leader of the opposition. CAPP members Suncor and Shell Canada, despite CAPP’s climate-change-denialist position, are seen as being “more progressive” than other oil companies due to their acceptance of climate change science.

The lobby to secure financing of big oil’s carbon capture project (as a means to reduce emissions), the Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N), is made up of six lobbyists, three of whom were senior policy advisors to Harper. Carbon capture could reduce canada’s emissions by 2.6 per cent, says ICO2N’s website. The expected cost of the national push required for such a reduction: about $16 billion.

And there ends the summary… This is really an important article – the role of lobbyists in both Canada and the US is little understood, despite lobbyists having a big hand in shaping political goings-on.

The article is a Gazette collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and part of their project: The Global Climate Change Lobby. The entire series is located here.

LOL,

Tim

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: