Yet at the same time, governmental action on climate change
has been, at best, disappointing. Governments continue to pour billions of
dollars of taxpayer money into fossil fuel subsidies, allow businesses
headquartered within their borders to continue their polluting ways, and argue
(against all evidence to the contrary) that fossil fuels will have a role to
play in energy production for years to come.
So, what’s going on here? Why aren’t governments doing what
their constituents overwhelmingly want them to do? The answer is: influence.
The influencing industry
You’d be forgiven for thinking that in a democracy, the
actions that elected leaders take should broadly reflect the wishes of the
people who elect them. The reality, however, is more complicated.
Politicians are rarely subject matter experts on the many
different areas of policy they legislate on. For this reason, they frequently
rely on ‘industry experts’ for information and advice on how to craft important
laws. But how do politicians choose which ‘experts’ to listen to? Enter the