Cozy Financial Relationships Between Environmentalists and Oil and Natural Gas Companies
A friend who has heard me discuss my theories about the relationships between mainstream Environmental groups and fossil fuel extraction and marketing companies sent me a link to an article titled Polluted by profit: Johann Hari on the real Climategate. He included a rather amusing subject line on the email “Red meat for Rod” and addressed it to a small group of people who also have been subjected to my “wild” and somewhat contra-intuitive theories.
The article discusses how some large environmental groups decided to start taking corporate cash with the good intention of using it as a tool to do more effective advocacy for their particular issue. According to Johann Hari, the actual practice has not worked out as initially envisioned, and some organizations have lost disillusioned members as their coffers have swelled with the polluter’s contributions.
Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organisations meant to be leading the fight are busy shovelling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters – and simultaneously burying science-based environmentalism. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed.
There are some juicy bits of evidence and examples in the article. Here is a sample to whet your appetite before you go and read it for yourself.
Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for CI (Conservation International) in 2006. She told me: “About a week or two after I started, I went to the big planning meeting of all the organisation’s media teams, and they started talking about this supposedly great new project they were running with BP. But I had read in the newspaper the day before that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had condemned BP for running the most polluting plant in the whole country… But nobody in that meeting, or anywhere else in the organisation, wanted to talk about it. It was a taboo. You weren’t supposed to ask if BP was really green. They were ‘helping’ us, and that was it.”
One quibble that I have is that Johann Hari attributes the trend of accepting contributions from polluters to Jay Hair of the National Wildlife Federation. My research has revealed decisions by people like Michael McCloskey that predate Hair’s tenure with the NWF. McCloskey rose to be the Sierra Club Executive Director before the first Earth Day in 1970 and was an active leader in the organization for more than 40 years. He detailed his actions to place the organization on “firm financial footing” that included accepting corporate donations in his book titled In the Thick of It.
Rod, I would say that Johann Hari has handed you the smoking guns on the fossil fuels producers, environmentalists anti-nuclear, you have postulated. Your views have been vindicated once again. You have my commendation.
What’s ironic in this piece is that the author either doesn’t see – or is willfully blind to – the link between corporate cash and anti-nuclear bias that you point out here.
He seems to segregate environmentalist groups into the ‘good’ ones (that haven’t been tainted by cash) and the ‘bad’ ones (which have become PR frontpieces for large corporations). And then he proceeds to put some particularly egregious offenders against nuclear (greenpeace, 350.org) into the good category!
So yes, I think there is some dawning of the light here, but not a complete dawning. As far as I can tell, the truth is that lots of the ‘getting paid to protest nuclear’ bias that you saw in that meeting comes from public misconceptions about nuclear and the funding opportunities that those public misconceptions fuel. And that there is a long road before folks like Mr. Hari see this to be the case.
“What’s ironic in this piece is that the author either doesn’t see – or is willfully blind to – the link between corporate cash and anti-nuclear bias that you point out here.”
Heh … That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There is no “dawning” here and folks like Mr. Hari are not headed in the right direction.
The real irony is that this poorly written piece is essentially just a call for a return to fundamentalism in the Environmental religion … er … movement. The ironic part is that this author has the gall to use such terms as “science-based” in his fundamentalist revival rhetoric.
It’s much like a fundamentalist Christian talking about science-based creationism.
Your theories seem to be holding more and more water.
You are giving the Creationist a bad name through the comparison.
I am finally starting to understand the “science” behind the alarmist rhetoric. I guess I am slow to the table. The idea that very small percentage rises in CO2 will lead to a reduced cloud cover which will increase the level of heating more. This is at least an understandable concern. I would simply ask if the CO2 level in the past has been higher than at the present time. If it was and if clouds did not disappear then perhaps the assumptions for their models are incorrect.
I live in an island nation for the past 12 years. I go to the same beaches I have gone to for years. If the ocean can rise in Bangladesh and not here I am interested to see how that is accomplished.
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