Polluted by profit: Johann Hari on the real Climategate

Global warming – and the worst environmental disasters – will only be tackled when green lobbyists in the US stop taking cash from Big Oil and Big Coal

Why did America’s leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen to lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests – and runaway global warming? Why are their staff dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as “unworkable” and “unrealistic”? Why are they clambering into corporate “partnerships” with BP, which is responsible for the worst oil spill in living memory

At first glance, these questions will seem bizarre. Groups such as Conservation International (CI) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) are among the most trusted “brands” in the world, pledged to protect and defend nature. 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.

[….bizar onware opening over klimaatcrisis weggelaten…]

US environmental groups used to be funded largely by their members and wealthy individual supporters. They had only one goal: to prevent environmental destruction. Their funds were small, but they played a crucial role in saving vast tracts of wilderness and in pushing into law strict rules forbidding air and water pollution. But Jay Hair – the president of the National Wildlife Federation from 1981 to 1995 – was dissatisfied. He identified a huge new source of revenue: the worst polluters.

Hair found that the big oil and gas companies were happy to give money to conservation groups. Yes, they were destroying many of the world’s pristine places. Yes, by the late 1980s, it had become clear that they were dramatically destabilising the climate – the very basis of life itself. But for Hair, that didn’t make them the enemy; he said they sincerely wanted to right their wrongs and pay to preserve the environment. He began to suck millions from them, and his organisation and others gave them awards for “environmental stewardship”. Companies such as Shell and BP were delighted. They saw it as valuable “reputation insurance”: every time they are criticised for their massive emissions of warming gases, or for events such as the massive oil spill that has just turned the Gulf of Mexico into the “Gulf of Texaco”, they wheel out their shiny green awards to ward off the prospect of government regulation and to reassure the public that they Really Care.

Lees hele artikel -> independent.co.uk

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