Aviation industry in the mix as climate lobbyists chase their causes on Capitol Hill
Wed 25 Mar 2009 – Since January, US politicians have introduced more than 20 bills mentioning climate change compared with only 60 or so in the two-year period from 2005 to 2006. This has led to an ever-burgeoning number of climate lobbyists flooding Capitol Hill, with the aviation industry strongly represented, reports a New York Times article. The focus is on cap-and-trade legislation as well as securing funding for alternative fuels development and the upgrade of the air traffic control infrastructure.
Climate lobbyists fall into two camps, said one lobbyist. Businesses worried they may be harmed by a cap-and-trade bill tend to appear in front of traditional energy committees, while those seeking to advance a product or technology are more likely to want to branch out. Airlines, according to another, also focus on transportation bills.
Lobbying documents filed in the US Senate show that many businesses mentioning climate change on recent forms are in the aviation sector, reports the newspaper, including Boeing and JetBlue Airways.
Last week, Congress passed a six-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s authorization, giving lawmakers and lobbyists additional time to shape a larger bill in the months ahead.
Many groups want an ultimate package to contain extensive funding for the Continuous Low Energy, Emissions and Noise programme, which among other things would support development of alternative aviation fuels. There is also a push for supporting the multimillion-dollar upgrade of the present air traffic control system to a satellite-based one, which could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 to 15 percent, according to Nancy Young of the Air Transport Association.
Kyle Simpson, a policy director at law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, says the real lobbying squabble on global warming may come after any cap-and-trade bill gets passed. “Once we’re actually trading carbon, everything moves into the litigation stage,” he said. “That’s going to be a madhouse. Everyone will be arguing over whether a ton of carbon is really a ton.”
A recent report from the Center for Public Integrity found that the number of climate lobbyists has tripled in the past five years to at least 2,340 individuals, says the article.