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Big U.S. Utilities Are Undermining Climate Goals, Study Says

InfluenceMap analysis says 11 large U.S. utilities are ‘obstructive’ to climate policy.

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Almost half of the largest investor-owned utilities in the U.S. are actively pushing back against climate policy, slowing government efforts to combat global warming, according to a report by climate research group InfluenceMap.

Eleven of the 25 biggest U.S. utilities are viewed by InfluenceMap as “obstructionist” to climate measures that are aligned to international commitments of the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to an analysis by the nonprofit. Their actions included lobbying against environmental efforts, supporting anti-climate policies and advocating for the long-term role of unabated natural gas and opposing government efforts to retire coal. Four major utilities broadly support robust climate measures.

“The power sector in the United States holds immense power when it comes to the direction of climate policy, but it is also very divided over what that direction should be,” Emilia Piziak, an analyst with London-based InfluenceMap, said in a statement. “This research maps out the extensive policy engagement undertaken at all levels of government, showing that some of the most influential voices in this space are opposed to Paris-aligned climate policy.”