By Jeff McMahon
Corporate lobbying reduced the likelihood of passing the Waxman-Markey clean-energy bill a decade ago, resulting in an expected $60 billion in climate costs to society, according to economists from UC Santa Barbara and the University of Chicago.
The economists use Waxman-Markey, the most promising U.S. climate bill to date, to demonstrate a way to quantify the social impact of lobbying. Their method also shows how bills can be better written, they say, to withstand lobbying campaigns.
“We calculate that lobbying lowered the probability of enacting the Waxman-Markey bill by 13 percentage points, representing an expected social cost of $60 billion (in 2018 dollars),” write Kyle C. Meng of the University of California and Ashwin Rode of the University of Chicago in the latest issue of Nature Climate Change.
Among firms that stood to lose from Waxman-Markey, according to Meng and Rode, these spent the most on lobbying:
Fedex ($35.84 million)
Boeing ($27.74 million)
American Electric Power ($14.1 million)
Prudential Financial ($12.7 million)
United Parcel Service ($11.28 million)
Marathon Oil ($9.61 million)
Duke Energy ($9.59 million)
Walmart Stores ($9.34 million)
Ford Motor Company ($9.1 million)