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Campaign contributions suggest dead-end for Congressional action on climate

Analysis of sources of campaign contributions to members of Senate suggest Congress will be unlikely to take action on comprehensive climate legislation, indicates data collected by MapLight, a group that tracks money’s influence on politics.

Industries with interests in maintaining the status quo on greenhouse gas emissions — including chemicals, oil and gas, coal, airlines, and transportation — gave $25.1 million to Senators between January 1, 2009—December 31, 2012. Meanwhile interests in the environmental policy, alternate energy production and services, and nuclear energy sectors contributed $4.2 million during the period. In other words, top carbon-emitting industries gave near six times as much as industries that would support market-based climate legislation.

U.S. carbon emissions are second only to those of China. Historically, the U.S. is the world's largest carbon emitter. To date, the U.S. has no federal legislation to reduce its carbon emissions. Click image to enlarge.

The findings, which are based on data from OpenSecrets, suggest that President Obama will have to follow through on this threat to advance climate policy without the help of Congress.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change,” Obama said during a climate change policy speech today. “But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”

Contributions to Senators from Interests That May Not Benefit from Market-Based Climate Legislation, as defined by MapLight

Gas & electric utilities $3,185,646
Electric power utilities $2,807,445
Chemicals $2,162,603
Coal mining $2,143,406
Independent oil & gas producers $2,061,058
Major (multinational) oil & gas producers $1,920,807
Oil & gas $1,540,206
Oilfield service, equipment & exploration $1,383,057
Natural gas transmission & distribution $1,270,501
Petroleum refining & marketing $1,242,672
Trucking companies & services $1,225,107
Airlines $1,196,573
Livestock $1,162,062
Forestry & forest products $1,048,825
Steel $779,041
TOTAL $25,129,009

Contributions to Senators from Interests That Would Benefit from Market-Based Climate Legislation, as defined by MapLight

Environmental policy $2,877,671
Alternate energy production & services $1,092,770
Nuclear energy $262,660
TOTAL $4,233,101

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