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Huang, H. Fossil Fuels Lobby. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 11 December 2023).
Huang H. Fossil Fuels Lobby. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 11, 2023.
Huang, Handwiki. "Fossil Fuels Lobby" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 11, 2023).
Huang, H.(2022, October 27). Fossil Fuels Lobby. In Encyclopedia.
Huang, Handwiki. "Fossil Fuels Lobby." Encyclopedia. Web. 27 October, 2022.
Fossil Fuels Lobby

"Fossil fuels lobby" is a term used to label the paid representatives of large fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal) and electric utilities corporations who attempt to influence governmental policy. So-called Big Oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Total S.A., Chevron Corporation, and ConocoPhillips are amongst the largest corporations associated with the fossil fuels lobby. General Electric, Southern Company, First Energy, and the Edison Electric Institute are also among the most influential electric utilities corporations. By sector, "Energy/Nat Resource" comes fifth, behind "Misc Business", "Finance/Insur/RealEst", Health and "Communic/Electronics".

fossil fuel conocophillips fossil fuels

1. Influence of the Energy Lobby in the United States

Placard "Separate oil and state", at the People's Climate March (2017).

In the 2000 elections, over $34 million was contributed, with 78% of that money going to Republicans. In 2004, oil and gas companies contributed over $25 million to political campaigns, donating 80% of that money to Republicans. In the 2006 election cycle, oil and gas companies contributed over $19 million to political campaigns. 82% of that money went to Republican candidates, while the remaining 18% went to Democrats. Electric utilities also heavily favor Republicans; their contributions have recently ranged between $15–20 million.[1][2] From 2003–06, the energy lobby also contributed $58.3 million to state-level campaigns. By comparison, alternative energy interests contributed around half a million dollars in the same time period.[3]

During the United States elections in 2012 which includes the presidential election there was much spending by the lobbies.[4]

2. Criticisms

Refineries owned by energy companies produce large amounts of environmental emissions.

2.1. Environmental Impact of Represented Companies

Many of the most influential members of the energy lobby are among the top polluters in the United States, with Conoco, Exxon, and General Electric ranking in the top six.[5] According to the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March 2002 by former attorneys at the Environmental Protection Agency, “Companies like ExxonMobil and Sunoco keep reporting record profits while increasing emissions or more cancer causing chemicals from their refineries.”[6] The energy lobby has been criticized by environmentalists for using its influence try and to block or dilute legislation regarding global climate change.[7]

2.2. Governmental Influence in the United States

Various scandals involving prominent politicians have drawn attention to the close links between the energy lobby and the U.S. government, particularly the influence wielded by the energy lobby in the Bush administration. Lobbying continued after the Bush administration.[8] In June 2005, documents emerged that revealed that the Bush administration had consulted Exxon regarding its stance on the Kyoto Protocol. According to The Guardian , "In briefing papers given before meetings to the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004, the administration is found thanking Exxon executives for the company's ‘active involvement’ in helping to determine climate change policy, and also seeking its advice on what climate change policies the company might find acceptable."[9] In November 2005, documents revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force met with executives from large oil companies, although chief executives of those companies denied involvement before the Senate Energy and Commerce committees. Environmentalists were not allowed access to the Energy Task Force’s activities, which was responsible for developing a national energy policy.[10][11] Oil companies also participated with Dick Cheney's task force in a discussion of Iraqi oilfields, refineries and other energy infrastructure, and two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents are dated two years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and six months before the September 11 attacks (9/11).[12][13]

2.3. Global Influence

"Those corporations that continue to invest in new fossil fuel exploration, new fossil fuel exploitation, are really in flagrant breach of their fiduciary duty because the science is abundantly clear that this is something we can no longer do."

— Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change[14]

The energy lobby has a history of conflict with international interests and democratic global governance. According to the International Sustainable Energy Organization for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency the second World Climate Conference "was sabotaged by the USA and oil lobbies"[15] whereupon UNISEO proceeded to set up a Global Energy Charter "which protects life, health, climate and the biosphere from emissions." According to the organization, these same "reactionary energy lobby groups tried to boycott this Charter with the help from oil- and coal-producing nations and succeeded to keep energy out of the Rio Conference on Environment & Development (Earth Summit) in 1992, to continue this game in all Climate Conferences in Berlin, Kyoto, The Hague and Marrakech, where the USA boycotted the Kyoto protocol and still ignores the Charter."[15]

During the 14th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development Bulletin, "One minister is said to have challenged the North’s renewable energy lobby with the words: why not “light up” the dark zones of the world by “extinguishing some of the candles” in yours?"[16]

Publicly, fossil-fuel corporations say that they support the Paris Agreement aiming to limit global warming below 2 °C in 2100.[17] Internal reports of BP and Shell show that they have made contingency business models plans for warming of more than 3°C of global warming in 2050.[17]


  1. "Electric Utilities". Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  2. "Oil & Gas". Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  4. Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign 13 September 2012
  5. "PERI: Home". Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 May 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  7. Administrator. "Global Warming & the Energy Corporations". Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  8. Emmons, Alex (21 July 2016). "Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC". The Intercept. 
  9. Environment editor (8 June 2005). "Revealed: how oil giant influenced Bush". the Guardian.,12374,1501646,00.html. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  10. Blum, Dana Milbank Justin (16 November 2005). "Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force". Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  11. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s Review of the Bush Administration Energy Task Force Records
  12. Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oil Fields, Judicial Watch, 17 July 2003,, retrieved 14 November 2013 
  13. Maps and Charts of Iraqi Oil Fields, Judicial Watch, 14 February 2012,, retrieved 14 November 2013 
  14. Cited in Tim Flannery, Atmosphere of Hope. Solutions to the Climate Crisis, Penguin Books, 2015, pp. 123–24 (ISBN:9780141981048).
  15. "International Sustainable Energy Organization". 
  16. "IISD Bulletin". 
  17. Ben Chapman (27 October 2017). "BP and Shell planning for catastrophic 5°C global warming despite publicly backing Paris climate agreement". The Independent. 
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