When the oil and coal lobbies came to Athens, Ohio, they held rallies full of screaming supporters, sponsored free lunches and free concerts, and gave away T-shirts praising coal power. When the environmentalists came to Athens, they held a sedate panel discussion and handed out stickers. Environmentalists seem ill-equipped for the battle over cap-and-trade legislation, the Washington Post reports, unable to switch gears from sounding the climate change alarm to building Senate support.
Once the House passed its version of the cap-and-trade bill, “clean-energy types made a mistake and slacked off,” says one climate campaigner. “And the other side really kept making its case.” The other side also has far more resources. Oil and natural gas groups have spent $82.1 million on lobbying this year; environmental groups have spent $6.6 million. Environmentalists say that money’s behind those energetic rallies—that the crowds are more “astroturf” than grass roots.