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New CDL Report: Who's Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts

A new report from a CDL research team, in conjunction with the Climate Social Science Network (CSSN) and the Institute at Brown for Environment & Society (IBES), analyzes climate and energy lobbying records details the actors working against climate action in Massachusetts.

A CSSN research team at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society collected 1,187 pieces of testimony and 4,072 lobbying records from Massachusetts climate and clean energy legislation. The study reveals four lobbying coalitions against climate action, and that utilities are uniquely powerful on Beacon Hill. The study provides insights for state level climate action and a new set of tools to research them.

Key findings

  1. Four distinct industry coalitions lobby against environmentalists

  2. Testimony in legislative committees is nine to one in support of climate action

  3. On lobbying, clean energy advocates are outspent 3.5 to one

  4. Renewable energy interest groups stick to narrow industrial interests

  5. Utilities lobby against solar energy, but support large hydro & wind power

  6. Utility companies are uniquely successful throughout the legislative process

  7. AIM (Associated Industries of Mass.) lobbies and speaks against rapid climate action

  8. The fossil fuel industry lobbies heavily against pipeline rules, divestment, and carbon pricing

  9. The real estate industry resists residential energy efficiency bills

  10. Power generators fight hydro and wind supply

  11. Opponents no longer deny the reality of climate change, but focus on cost and reliability

  12. Climate action is tightly controlled by State House committees and leadership

“If you went to the hearings, you got one picture,” said Timmons Roberts, a co-author of the report and director of the climate and development lab at Brown University’s Institute for Environment and Society. “But if you look at the lobbying records, it’s quite the opposite picture.”



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