Industry battles Obama energy plan

The coal, oil and gas industry in the United States has increased its lobbying budget by 50%, and key players have spent US$44.5 million in the first quarter of this year in attempting to block support for president Barack Obama’s green-energy plan, the Guardian reported. Their intention is to weaken or kill “cap-and-trade” legislation, limiting greenhouse-gas emissions.

A defeat for the proposal would have global consequences, given that other nations are depending on the United States to lead the way on emissions reduction ahead of the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in December. Without that action, the chances of a strong, workable post-2012 climate accord will be much reduced. 

Those high stakes have intensified the fight for control over the energy future of the United States, the biggest per-capita emitter of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change. “There are an awful lot of people who have an awful lot to gain and lose, and they have been acting accordingly,” Evan Tracey, founder of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, told the Guardian

Supporters of climate-change legislation say they are being greatly outspent by fossil-fuel interests. The industry reportedly will spend hundreds of millions of dollars this year on lobbyists, advertising, donations to pivotal legislators and other campaign efforts. 

Despite its global significance, the fate of the draft “cap-and-trade” bill now lies in the hands of just a dozen US congressional Democrats. Holding the balance of power, they have yet to back Obama’s energy transformation plan. 

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