BURNING THE PLANET FOR PROFIT.....(originally published 19 years ago/even more relevant today!)

Dec 2016
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BURNING THE PLANET FOR PROFIT (Revisited • A Media Lens exposé)

After 4.6 billion years of planetary history, we may become the first species to monitor our own extinction. In impressive detail, humankind is amassing evidence of devastating changes in the atmosphere, oceans, ice cover, land and biodiversity.​
And yet mass media, politics, the education system and other realms of public inquiry demonstrate a stunning capacity to focus on what does not really matter. Meanwhile, the truly vital issues receive scant attention to the point of invisibility: the parlous prospects for humanity’s survival and the root causes underlying the global environmental threat.​
Current patterns of ‘development’ and consumerism, fuelled annually by billions of advertising dollars, are unsustainable. Huge corporations and powerful investors have governments and societal institutions in a stranglehold, delivering policies that demand endless ‘growth’ on a finite planet.​
The Corporate Killers
Take the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the most influential business lobby group in the UK. Friends of the Earth (FoE) note that the core objective of the CBI, and other “corporate lobby groups who favour short-term profit over sustainable development”, is to promote endless opportunities for business ‘growth’, and to do so by bending the ear of the UK government. (Friends of the Earth, ‘Hidden Voices: The CBI, corporate lobbying and sustainability’, June 2005)​
FoE reported: “many companies are using their influence over Government to promote public policies that are bad for communities and the environment.” As years of New Labour in power have shown: “the Government seems to readily accept the CBI arguments at face value.” A major consequence is that the government “is failing to reach its targets to reduce greenhouse gases because it is promoting policies that encourage more pollution, such as significantly expanding airports following intense lobbying by big business lobby groups.”​
As we have noted before, the corporate media industry is a vital component of the business world. It is therefore not surprising that journalists working in the business sections of the media – indeed, throughout the news media as a whole – promote corporate aims.​
Corporate Defenders of Climate Myths​
There are other corporate groups which, like the CBI, are determined to prioritise short-term greed. One of them is the Cato Institute, a US “non-profit public policy research foundation” which “seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate” to promote the “traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace.”​
This perspective satisfies the Institute’s sponsors who mainly consist of “entrepreneurs, securities and commodities traders, and corporations such as oil and gas companies, Federal Express, and Philip Morris that abhor government regulation.” (‘”Evidence-based” research? Anti-environmental organisations and the corporations that fund them’, October 19, 2005; www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=2099)​
Among Cato’s sponsors are ExxonMobil, Chevron Texaco, Tenneco gas, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc. and Merck, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and many others, including those with business interests here in the UK. Shell Oil Company, a sister company of Shell in Europe, is a past sponsor of the Cato Institute.​
One of the Institute’s “adjunct scholars” is Steven Milloy who publishes a website devoted to exposing “junk science.” Milloy has a background in lobbying for the tobacco industry. John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, analysts of the ‘spin’ industry, explain that “junk science” is the term that “corporate defenders apply to any research, no matter how rigorous, that justifies regulations to protect the environment and public health. The opposing term, ‘sound science,’ is used in reference to any research, no matter how flawed, that can be used to challenge, defeat, or reverse environmental and public health protection.” (Corporate Watch, ibid.)​
The Institute has published reports with titles such as ‘Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Global Warming’, and ‘Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.’ In May 2003, in response to a report by the Worldwatch Institute which linked climate change and severe weather events, Jerry Taylor, the Cato Institute’s “director of natural resource studies” retorted:​
“It’s false. There is absolutely no evidence that extreme weather events are on the increase. None. The argument that more and more dollar damages accrue is a reflection of the greater amount of wealth we’ve created.” (www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=21)​
Another major US-based lobby group whose tentacles of influence extend across the Atlantic is the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful trade association for the US oil industry – an industry which has sister companies in many other countries, including the UK. Among the API’s members are Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, BP Amoco and Shell. Researcher Robert Blackhurst has described how the API has “sustained a long guerrilla campaign against climate scientists.” A memo leaked to the New York Times in 1998 exposed its strategy of investing millions to muddy the science on climate change among “congress, the media and other key audiences.” (Blackhurst, ‘Clouding the atmosphere’, The Independent, September 19, 2005)​
The API recently funded a scientific paper in the journal Climate Research denying that 20th century temperatures had been unusually high, giving well-publicised ammunition to climate sceptics. After finding the paper’s methods and assumptions had been flawed, five of the journal’s editors resigned.​
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), an Amsterdam-based research and campaign group, notes that “Shell and BP Amoco, both formerly ardent critics of global warming theory, have shifted their strategies dramatically.” CEO continues:​
“These masters of climate greenwash have undergone expensive corporate makeovers and now present themselves as leaders in reducing CO2 emissions and supporting renewable energy.” (www.corporateeurope.org/greenhouse/greenwash.html)​
Shell and BP Amoco employ a sophisticated public relations approach:​
“Expensive TV and newspaper advertisements portraying an environmentally-friendly image are at the heart of this strategy. In many cases, small-scale environmental projects which the companies fund are used to justify the green credentials of the corporation as a whole – projects which often cost less than the advertisements used to showcase them to the general public… Both Shell and BP Amoco continue to increase oil production year after year and have no intention of changing that in the next decades.” (CEO, ibid.)​
Corporate news media rarely report the influence of corporate lobby groups on governments, or expose their expensive PR campaigns, and how detrimental these business activities are for the climate stability of the planet.​
The news media also take capitalism as a given, much like the laws of physics. What rare discussion there might be is only permitted to reinforce the corporate prejudice that the system is irreplaceable...............................................................................continued at:​
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/06/19/burning-the-planet-for-profit-revisited-%E2%80%A2-a-media-lens-expose/


Almost 20 years later, the drivers of capitalism are destroying the planet more ruthlessly and faster than they were in 2005, yet big green environmentalist talkers won't challenge the system itself and still advocate incremental change...at least until the wheels finally fall of the wagon1
 
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May 2019
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Business will move to wherever the market offers the best return on investment. It is already happening. The government needs to be more concerned about softening the blow when green energy starts creating more problems than it solves.

I participated in a Cato Institute research project and I am a progressive. I was asked by one of my professors who was associated with them. I didn't find that they were trying to push a paid agenda. They have a perspective on many things I do not share, but I felt the people I had contact with were genuine as far as the research they were doing went that I was involved with.
 
Mar 2013
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11,902
Middle Tennessee
Business will move to wherever the market offers the best return on investment. It is already happening. The government needs to be more concerned about softening the blow when green energy starts creating more problems than it solves.

I participated in a Cato Institute research project and I am a progressive. I was asked by one of my professors who was associated with them. I didn't find that they were trying to push a paid agenda. They have a perspective on many things I do not share, but I felt the people I had contact with were genuine as far as the research they were doing went that I was involved with.
You “claim” to be a progressive but here and in other posts I’ve noticed that your words betray you. This is not the first time you’ve made a point of stating “I’m a progressive” while simultaneously expressing or supporting ideas that are anything BUT progressive.

What is it ? Attempt at good old reverse psychology ? Claim to be progressive in the hopes that no one will notice your right wing views ??
 
Mar 2013
10,732
11,902
Middle Tennessee
Excellent article and even more valid today.

What I don’t understand is even if you don’t totally buy climate change, the truth is we, the U.S. are just 5% of the worlds population yet we consume 20%-25% of the world’s energy supply This is simply unsustainable even with our own rather slow population growth. China and India EACH have 1.4 billion people. Their emerging middle classes each have more people than we do in total population. The world’s resources are finite. Sooner or later we will be in conflict with other countries over those resources. We can either continue to invest in an ever larger military to protect those resources for ourselves OR we can invest in renewable and sustainable energy.

We’re already, for the first time at least since the Great Depression, seeing a decline in living standards. For all the whining about the millennials from the boomers, the fact is their generation is the first that has NOT out earned or enjoyed a better standard of living than their parents.

It’s simple logic that seems to completely elude our politicians and frankly much of the population. I guess they figure they won’t be here to see it for themselves and aren’t too worried about future generations.

40 years ago Jimmy Carter told us THE greatest threat to our national security was dependence on foreign oil. He was of course echoing the words of his mentor Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy.

When I was young and first starting out as an auto mechanic I was like everyone else. I thought the emissions devices and gas mileage standards were surely the end of the automobile as we knew it. Today as a former factory instructor I love the notion that I can walk into my local Chevy dealer and buy every day cars that make 300 plus horsepower and sports cars making as much as 750 horses yet still get decent gas mileage (when not driven like a raving lunatic) and don’t pollute the air. Yet here we are with a president they wants to UNDO the standards and turn back the clock.

Not only have we stopped making any forward progress towards a greener future, we’ve started going backwards. There’s a whole contingent of the population that is cheering on the politicians and doing everything they can to hasten our ultimate doom.

I just don’t understand it.
 
May 2019
417
79
USA
You “claim” to be a progressive but here and in other posts I’ve noticed that your words betray you. This is not the first time you’ve made a point of stating “I’m a progressive” while simultaneously expressing or supporting ideas that are anything BUT progressive.

What is it ? Attempt at good old reverse psychology ? Claim to be progressive in the hopes that no one will notice your right wing views ??
There is nothing conservative or non-progressive in wanting to mitigate loss. Progressiveness is not a monolithic ideology. On a number of issues it can have rather libertarian like results. As for me pointing it out this time, it was a reference to the criticism of the Cato Institute's as if they had sold themselves to big oil. Environmental groups take money from solar/wind all the time. Just how the world works.
 
May 2019
417
79
USA
Excellent article and even more valid today.

What I don’t understand is even if you don’t totally buy climate change, the truth is we, the U.S. are just 5% of the worlds population yet we consume 20%-25% of the world’s energy supply This is simply unsustainable even with our own rather slow population growth. China and India EACH have 1.4 billion people. Their emerging middle classes each have more people than we do in total population. The world’s resources are finite. Sooner or later we will be in conflict with other countries over those resources. We can either continue to invest in an ever larger military to protect those resources for ourselves OR we can invest in renewable and sustainable energy.

We’re already, for the first time at least since the Great Depression, seeing a decline in living standards. For all the whining about the millennials from the boomers, the fact is their generation is the first that has NOT out earned or enjoyed a better standard of living than their parents.

It’s simple logic that seems to completely elude our politicians and frankly much of the population. I guess they figure they won’t be here to see it for themselves and aren’t too worried about future generations.

40 years ago Jimmy Carter told us THE greatest threat to our national security was dependence on foreign oil. He was of course echoing the words of his mentor Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy.

When I was young and first starting out as an auto mechanic I was like everyone else. I thought the emissions devices and gas mileage standards were surely the end of the automobile as we knew it. Today as a former factory instructor I love the notion that I can walk into my local Chevy dealer and buy every day cars that make 300 plus horsepower and sports cars making as much as 750 horses yet still get decent gas mileage (when not driven like a raving lunatic) and don’t pollute the air. Yet here we are with a president they wants to UNDO the standards and turn back the clock.

Not only have we stopped making any forward progress towards a greener future, we’ve started going backwards. There’s a whole contingent of the population that is cheering on the politicians and doing everything they can to hasten our ultimate doom.

I just don’t understand it.
Perhaps you should decide which you prefer. Those fuel standards have driven the price of cars so high many people cannot afford them, thus the living standard you bemoan is impacted. You cannot continue unbridled consumerism and have a "greener future" . Techno-optimism is not realistic. We have to draw down the economy as we draw down carbon.
 

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
71,522
32,072
Colorado
Excellent article and even more valid today.

What I don’t understand is even if you don’t totally buy climate change, the truth is we, the U.S. are just 5% of the worlds population yet we consume 20%-25% of the world’s energy supply This is simply unsustainable even with our own rather slow population growth. China and India EACH have 1.4 billion people. Their emerging middle classes each have more people than we do in total population. The world’s resources are finite. Sooner or later we will be in conflict with other countries over those resources. We can either continue to invest in an ever larger military to protect those resources for ourselves OR we can invest in renewable and sustainable energy.

We’re already, for the first time at least since the Great Depression, seeing a decline in living standards. For all the whining about the millennials from the boomers, the fact is their generation is the first that has NOT out earned or enjoyed a better standard of living than their parents.

It’s simple logic that seems to completely elude our politicians and frankly much of the population. I guess they figure they won’t be here to see it for themselves and aren’t too worried about future generations.

40 years ago Jimmy Carter told us THE greatest threat to our national security was dependence on foreign oil. He was of course echoing the words of his mentor Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy.

When I was young and first starting out as an auto mechanic I was like everyone else. I thought the emissions devices and gas mileage standards were surely the end of the automobile as we knew it. Today as a former factory instructor I love the notion that I can walk into my local Chevy dealer and buy every day cars that make 300 plus horsepower and sports cars making as much as 750 horses yet still get decent gas mileage (when not driven like a raving lunatic) and don’t pollute the air. Yet here we are with a president they wants to UNDO the standards and turn back the clock.

Not only have we stopped making any forward progress towards a greener future, we’ve started going backwards. There’s a whole contingent of the population that is cheering on the politicians and doing everything they can to hasten our ultimate doom.

I just don’t understand it.
Two things: the love of money, and the lust for power.
 
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imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
71,522
32,072
Colorado
Perhaps you should decide which you prefer. Those fuel standards have driven the price of cars so high many people cannot afford them, thus the living standard you bemoan is impacted. You cannot continue unbridled consumerism and have a "greener future" . Techno-optimism is not realistic. We have to draw down the economy as we draw down carbon.
Please provide figures to substantiate that allegation.

Drawing down the economy, please explain that concept.
 
Nov 2013
3,058
1,455
NM
...

40 years ago Jimmy Carter told us THE greatest threat to our national security was dependence on foreign oil. He was of course echoing the words of his mentor Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy.

When I was young and first starting out as an auto mechanic I was like everyone else. I thought the emissions devices and gas mileage standards were surely the end of the automobile as we knew it. Today as a former factory instructor I love the notion that I can walk into my local Chevy dealer and buy every day cars that make 300 plus horsepower and sports cars making as much as 750 horses yet still get decent gas mileage (when not driven like a raving lunatic) and don’t pollute the air. Yet here we are with a president they wants to UNDO the standards and turn back the clock.

Not only have we stopped making any forward progress towards a greener future, we’ve started going backwards. There’s a whole contingent of the population that is cheering on the politicians and doing everything they can to hasten our ultimate doom.

I just don’t understand it.
Carter told us what we needed to hear; Reagan told us what we wanted to hear (& the Reagan administration's first act, I believe, was to dismantle the [symbolic] solar array that Carter had installed on the White House. Nuthin' but good times ahead, yeehaw!) The sale of SUVs & massive pickups continues unabated, & McMansions fill the gated communities. It's all unsustainable - & in a few decades, we may have to use that expensive military to defend our poor lifestyle choices - but the poor will always be with us.

The Carter administration had synchronization issues - I don't know that that administration ever did manage to work comfortably with Congress & the federal bureaucracy. But give Carter credit - he was willing - eager, even - to drill down through the reports & briefings to understand what the big issues were. He more than did his duty.
 
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