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Out-lobby the lobbyists

There was an interesting article in today's quoting Rajendra Pachauri's prediction that 2010 would see an increase in climate scepticism. Following hard on the heels of the largely failed COP15 talks in Copenhagen, this might seem strange, but is less so armed with these facts:

Last year the Centre for Public Integrity found that 770 companies and interest groups hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence US policies on climate change, while America's oil, gas and coal industry increased its lobbying budget by 50%.

Most of the companies that are paying lobbyists are doing so to increase returns for their shareholders - the yous and mes of the world represented by our pension funds (if we have one) and insurance companies (almost everyone has some). Most of the time, we take no time to get our voices heard by those companies or their representatives. There may have been 2340 lobbyists hired to influence policies on climate change, but that's a small number compared to the 300m or so population of the US. It's about 1/100,000th of the size. Sure, they may have knowledge and more time, and get paid for it, but that doesn't make them omnipotent.

Here's a little Do for your first week back at work: commit to writing 10 letters this year to people who provide you with products or services (Tesco, Walmart, AXA insurance etc) and ask them for information on the actions that they are taking on climate.

It's time to out-lobby the lobbyists. There are more of us.

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