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August 09th 2014 print

Tony Thomas

Big Green Hypocrites — Part I

When you next notice a green group waging war on some or other Big Carbon outfit don't for a moment believe that the motive is altruism. Follow the money and you're likely to find that donations from one vile corporate polluter are underwriting those eco activist assaults on a competitor

greenpeaceGroups like Greenpeace ooze virtue.  They save whales, pet the pandas and strive to lift the world’s poor out of poverty. Oh, better strike that last bit.

India’s federal Intelligence Bureau has reported that Greenpeace-led anti-development activists are currently harming that nation’s economy to the tune of 2-3% of GDP, or $US125 billion, per annum. There are about 370m Indians living in poverty, and they are hardly being helped by Greenpeace campaigns against cheap coal-fired power, nuclear power, giant new industrial complexes, genetically modified foods, palm oil imports, and Indian (but not American) IT firms, as described by the Intelligence Bureau.

The government responded last month by effectively stopping foreign money coming in to fund Greenpeace. The   Intelligence Bureau report was  headed, “Concerted efforts by select foreign funded NGOs to ‘take down’ Indian development projects”. In the first paragraphs, the Bureau highlights Greenpeace International as a leading instigator. “The negative impact on GDP growth is assessed to be 2-3% p.a.,” the Bureau says in bolded type. The text suggests that Greenpeace and its allies are knocking India’s GDP growth down from 8-9% to the actual 6-7% p.a.

The Bureau accuses Western NGOs of pretending to be care about poverty, human rights etc., while noting that Greenpeace  openly devotes its whole agenda to campaigns that wreak economic harm. “Anti-coal activism is spearheaded by US-based ‘green’ organisations and Greenpeace, which have formed a ‘Coal Network’  to take-down India’s 455 proposed Coal-Fired Power Plants (520GW),” the Bureau alleges. For comparison with that 520GW, know that total Australian capacity is about 60GW.

As well as attacking industry, Greenpeace in 2014 moved to attack India’s thriving information technology sector by campaigning against IT firms e-waste disposals. According to the Bureau, Greenpeace first campaigned against IT firms e-waste in 2007, but that effort failed in terms of both PR and eroding the companies’ earnings. “Greenpeace has now renewed its campaign … in order to internationally highlight that Indian IT firms are yet to be on par with global standards with regard to e-waste management and disposal…”

Big Green Hypocrites — Part II

Interestingly, as the report continues, Greenpeace Bangalore has focused its attention only on Indian IT firms, while raising no fuss in regard to MNC (multi-national) IT firms such as Dell, Cisco etc, which also generate e-wastes of similar magnitude in India.

The Bureau describes a complex, India-wide web of anti-nuclear GOs as “one ‘Superior Network’ prominently driven by Greenpeace and renowned activists.” It continues: “Greenpeace has been growing exponentially in terms of reach and impact, volunteers, movements it supports and media influence. Activists have been focused on ways to create obstacles in India’s coal based energy plans and methods to pressure India to use only renewable energy.”

As a curiosity, the Bureau alleges that the anti-GM-food campaign in India was initiated in 2003 by a Greenpeace Australia consultant.

Greenpeace worldwide is  such a giant that one “well-intentioned, if reckless” employee  lost $US5 million of Greenpeace funds last year on currency speculation. So what? Greenpeace last month spent $US22m on a new mega-yacht. Its fleet of six ocean-going ships is bigger than the navies of some island states.

Greenpeace has 3 million supporters/donors. Over 12 years, it has raised $US2.4b, or $US200m a year. Its 2013 global income was $USD400m.

In June, Greenpeace’s  international programme director, Pascal Husting, was outed for flying several times a month from his home in Luxembourg to offices in Amsterdam, a distance of 360km, equivalent to Melbourne/Swan Hill. UK Greenpeace head John Sauven defended Husting, saying it was a justified compromise to emit some  extra CO2 emissions “in your efforts to try to make the world a better place.”

Greenpeace donors probably don’t comprehend how much their dollars fund politics, rather than animal conservation. An  example of Greenpeace’s political  influence involves how the BBC presents its climate coverage. In January, 2006, BBC reps met with 28 supposed “best scientific experts” who persuaded the Beeb to abandon the impartiality enshrined in its charter and dump all skeptic views.  There followed a seven-year struggle by BBC lawyers to prevent the public learning who those 28 scientific “experts” were. The names finally emerged by accident. They included Greenpeace’s Blake Lee-Harwood, head of campaigns, and Li Moxuan, another of the organisation’s professional campaigners. The others represented a heap of activists (e.g. from “Stop Climate Chaos”) and conflict-of-interest candidates (such as BP and traders in CO2), and even a rep from the US Embassy (blush, Great Britain). Only three of the 28 were climate scientists. Is it any wonder the BBC had put so much effort into the attempted cover-up of the influence Greenpeace and other green groups exerted on its news coverage and operations.

Until the Climategate email saga of 2009, the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia was a top player in the warmist world, but has had a lower profile since its director Professor Phil Jones was exposed for his curious ways of doing science. In a neat pairing, British Petroleum and Greenpeace International are both acknowledged on the unit’s website as funders. Greenpeace makes a show of rejecting and condemning  government and corporate money. Greenpeace does, however, take licks of money from the Rockefeller Foundation, beneficiary of the Standard Oil fortune.

Greenpeace also has no objection to working in tandem with the World Wildlife Fund and WWF’s government/corporate money. The stock accusation thrown at climate sceptics is that they’re funded by the Fossil Fuel Barons. By contrast, or so the stock line goes, people saving the planet from carbon dioxide work selflessly while shunning money from dastardly Big Oil.

Let’s look a little deeper. The main sceptic think-tank in the US is the Heartland Institute. The accounts of this Goliath, “the heart of the climate denial machine” were exposed in 2012 by environmentalist Dr Peter Gleick, chair of a science ethical taskforce, who got the internal documents by fraudulent emails in which he impersonated a Heartland board member. He also distributed an extra Heartland “document” which proved to be a forgery. Gleick issued a groveling apology and was reinstated to his day job by a forgiving employer, the Pacific Institute, of which he happened to be a co-founder.

Heartland’s 2011 revenue proved to be $US4.6m, of which maybe a third, or $US1.5m,  was spent on climate-skeptic issues — Heartland also deals with many topics like health, education and deregulation. US Government budget funding alone for the Catastrophic Human-Caused Global Warming Hypothesis   totaled $US131 billion in the period between  2001-14 (as reckoned in 2012 constant dollars), and tax breaks for anti-CO2 energy initiatives totalled $US176 billion (in constant 2007 dollars), according to the Congressional Research Service. Budget spending is now running at $US11 billion a year, and tax breaks at about $US20 billion a year.

Global spending on CO2 abatement is now about $US1 billion per day — repeat, per day — which green group Climate Policy Initiative says is “far below even the most conservative estimates of investment needs”. Comparing these various numbers, could anyone seriously suggest that Heartland’s $1.5m a year promoting sceptic views is significant?

But what’s this? The venerable US anti-CO2 and environmental group Sierra Club took $US25 million in gas-industry funding just from 2007-10, mainly from gas-fracker Chesapeake Energy. So, why would Chesapeake donate to a premier US green group? To help the Sierra Club campaign against Chesapeake’s rivals in the coal industry, that’s why. Oer roughly the same period, BP  donated $US10m to The Nature Conservancy environmental group.

These days Royal Dutch Shell is proud to say it is  lobbying the World Bank and US Export Import Bank against coal-fired power  for developing countries, in favor of its own plentitude of natural gas. It justifies this commercial agenda – which directly attacks poor people needing cheap power – on the basis that gas  power will reduce CO2 emissions. The two banks in turn have cut back their subsidies to coal-fired plants – a great success for the Big Oil/Big Green alliance.

WWF, headquartered in Gland, Switzerland, is the most powerful environment group in the world, hauling in revenues of about $A720m a year. The US head of WWF, Carter Roberts, was paid $US486,394 in 2008, and we can probably assume he has pocketed more pay rises since. WWF has 5 million members, including 80,000 in Australia, who give their savings to the organisation with the cuddly-panda logo. But don’t get dewy-eyed. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was WWF founding president. According to Der Spiegel, the Prince recruited oil multinational Shell as his first major sponsor, getting 10,000 pounds, or $US663,000 in today’s money. In 1967, thousands of birds died after a tanker accident off the coast of France, and yet the WWF forbade all criticism. That could “jeopardize” future efforts to secure donations from certain industrial sectors, WWF officials said during a board meeting.

In 1970 the Prince established the WWF’s “1001 Club”. Each of  the 1001 donated $US10,000,  creating a $US10m WWF trust.

Ann O’Hanlon, of the Washington Monthly, wrote: “The secret list of members includes a disproportionate percentage of South Africans, all too happy in an era of social banishment to be welcomed into a socially elite society. Other contributors include businessmen with suspect connections, including organized crime, environmentally destructive development, and corrupt African politics. Even an internal report called WWF’s approach egocentric and neocolonialist.” Der Spiegel helpfully named arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and former Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko as 1001 Club donors.

WWF took oil money for the next 40 years. Worth noting: John Loudon was president of Shell for 15 years, then moved on to become  president of WWF International for four years. In addition, WWF got so much in grants from the German government that, in the 1990s, it decided to limit its government funding, lest people think it part of the public service. All the same, WWF in the two years between 2007-08 received $US212m  from governments and aid agencies. Companies pay million-dollar-plus fees just to use the WWF logo on their ‘green’ products. One backer is agri-chemical giant Monsanto, a great Satan to eco activists, which has kicked in $US100,000.

WWF raised $US3.1b just between 2003 and 2008, equal to $US500m a year.   It employs armies of lawyers, IT and PR people, ad agencies and strategists, and operates from glitzy buildings. Last year it hired Clear, a strategy consultancy owned by M&C Saatchi, “to focus on developing its brand in Australia.” According to its Australian  website, WWF employs Marni Ryan as “National Manager of Brand, Marketing and Innovation”. In Canada, WWF ran an ad last year featuring a four-year-old child, Quinn, whose parents gave him, as a  birthday present, a $C110 WWF voucher  to help animals. Investigator Donna Laframboise doubts the kid or his activist parents knew they were indirectly contributing to the salary of a “WWF National Manager of Brand, Marketing and Innovation”.

WWF cash also goes to the private research institute, TERI, of IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, TERI’s founder and chief executive. Pachauri is meant to run the IPCC as an impartial arbiter of science. Yet his institute took the WWF money even after the IPCC’s 2007 report came out containing the melting Himalayan glaciers howlers based on a WWF report which, in turn, was based on third-hand speculation.

Some green organisations practice hypocrisy on stilts. One of them is the curiously-titled Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which has 400,000 members. These members comprise anyone prepared to pay $US35   (at least one dog, named Kenji Watts, has been signed up – UCS wrote to Kenji saying, ‘Your passion about the issues helps motivate policymakers and business leaders to take positive steps…”).

In 2012 UCS issued a 72-page report, “A Climate of Corporate Control: How Corporations Have Influenced the U.S. Dialogue on Climate Science and Policy”. The report lambasted GE among others, for funding four skeptic groups, including the Reason Foundation.  It turned out that GE – latest net earnings $US13 billion -  merely had a policy to match employees’ charity donations. In the case of Reason Foundation, GE’s total subsidy in 2008 was $US225 and in 2009, $US100. Wow. However, similar GE matching money to the tune of $US6,980 went to UCS itself,  21 times more than   Reason Foundation received.

It gets better. The UCS report was a project of its ‘scientific integrity program’, part-funded by the Grantham Foundation. This foundation is the child of hedge-fund tycoon Jeremy Grantham, whose fund, as of 2011, owned $1.5 billion of fossil-fuel shares, along with another swag of stock in tobacco giant Phillip Morris.

So, what we have here is a critique of corporations, such as GE, influencing politics, but written by a group taking funds from Big Oil and Big Tobacco and GE.