The catastrophic climate future that many New Yorkers feared is happening now. 2023 was New York City’s hottest year on record and this year may be hotter still. Smoke from Canadian wildfires created the state’s worst air quality on record in June 2023, and the prospect of increasingly severe storms and floods has impelled environmental advocates and some legislative leaders to support the creation of a Climate Change Superfund, which would generate $3 billion annually for disaster recovery and climate resiliency projects. Gov. Kathy Hochul is also seeking to accelerate the state’s transition to renewable energy by ending subsidies for new gas hookups, as proposed in the NY HEAT Act.
But these climate proposals will face stiff opposition from fossil fuel lobbyists, many of whom continue to enjoy a positive image in Albany because of their simultaneous advocacy on behalf of prestigious cultural institutions, universities, charities, hospitals, and businesses whose activities are seen as beneficial. This report explores the extent to which these leading lobbyists are “double agents” working for fossil fuel clients at the same time they are working for victims of the climate crisis. And while this report focuses on the lobbying relationships of six prominent New York firms – Brown & Weinraub, Park Strategies, Ostroff Associates, Hinman Straub Advisors, MirRam Group, and Greenberg Traurig – which are among the top-paid firms in the state, it is important to note that many other firms working to influence policy in New York have also taken “double agent” roles. A full list of New York’s double agents can be found on the F Minus website.