Exclusive: A watchdog group finds that lobbyists in California are working for both the culprits of climate change and its victims.

By Rebecca Burns, The Lever

The same fossil fuel lobbyists pulling out all the stops to defeat game-changing climate legislation in California this month are simultaneously collecting checks from dozens of cities and counties in the state being pummeled by the climate crisis, as well as major environmental and clean-energy groups pushing state lawmakers to adopt solutions, The Lever has learned.

California wild fires

In other words, powerful California lobbying firms — including those with ties to Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state Democratic leaders — are effectively acting as double agents for both the culprits of climate change and its victims, according to F Minus, a new climate group that reviewed thousands of state registrations for a database exposing the lobbying connections.

In the final two weeks of California’s legislative session, lawmakers are preparing to vote on a climate bill that would require thousands of large companies to fully disclose their carbon emissions for the first time. That means many of the same lobbyists who take taxpayer money to represent local governments will also be working overtime to sink a climate bill with national implications.

“Lobbyists have been playing both sides of environmental issues for decades,” said James Browning, the group’s executive director and a former state director for the watchdog group Common Cause. “Now we can see the extent of it — for hundreds of local governments facing crushing climate costs, their own lobbyists are part of the problem.”

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