Groups aligned with big business on climate change and GM (21/9/2005)

"For decades, corporations have known that, if they lobby for their own interests, public opinion won't take them seriously," begins the Independent article below on the "most influential" third party groups that have aligned with businesses to oppose action on climate change.

We've selected out some of the groups featured in the article which have also had a big focus on promoting GM. In the GM debate they claim to represent the scientific establishment, with climate change they pour scorn on the scientific consensus.

To read GM Watch's profiles of the same groups see:




You can also find GM Watch profiles for many individuals, or their institutions, that are connected to these groups. For instance, CEI co-founded AgbioWorld which has CEI's Greg Conko as Vice President to CS Prakash's President.

Or take the scientific advisory committee of the UK's climate-sceptical Scientific Alliance.

It includes scientists from the John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research and Horticulture Research International, as well as such well-known individual contributors to the GM debate as:

Martin Livermore
former Dupont PR man

Professor Vivian Moses
the industry-funded CropGen's chairman

Professor Anthony Trewavas
lurid attacker of GM critics and organic ag

Professor Michael Wilson

Bill Durodie
part of the LM network
etc., etc., etc.

All profiled here:

Also check out Robert Vint's excellent article:
Why do the key GM advocates oppose Kyoto?

Clouding the atmosphere
The Independent, 19 September 2005

One reason why Western governments have been slow to respond to the climate crisis is that they are under constant pressure from lobbying groups that defend the interests of eco-unfriendly industry. Robert Blackhurst identifies a selection of the most influential

For decades, corporations have known that, if they lobby for their own interests, public opinion won't take them seriously. Whatever their sugar-coated words, we'll be aware that they are speaking not out of public-spiritedness but to protect the share-options of their boards.

That's why companies with a bad press are increasingly keen to use sympathetic organisations to help make their cases. These range from rarefied think-tanks to respectable industry associations either way, they tend to be given a better hearing than a spokesman wearing a corporate logo.

The strategy works. In the US, Exxon Mobil has pumped millions into more than 40 think-tanks, media outlets and consumer, religious and even civil rights groups in order to spread scepticism about climate change. And they have largely won round American public opinion, despite the massive scientific consensus that global warming is man-made. Now big businesses and groups in their pay are fighting back everywhere, with the same techniques of grabbing press attention, rubbishing official reports, and organising publicity stunts that eco-warriors once used against them.

The selection of groups profiled here gives you some idea of how corporate money and politics mix.


Where are they based?
New York

What do they believe?

... in their inalienable right to burn as much carbon as they like. The Congress for Racial Equality are the " shock troops" of the civil rights movement who played a leading role in the "freedom rides" of the Sixties. Since then, they have taken a sharp rightward turn: they have accepted funding from Exxon Mobil to assist with "global climate outreach". This helps pay for publications such as Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death which pictures a starving African child on a recent cover.

Notorious for...

Staging a counter-demonstration to shout down environmentalists picketing an Exxon Mobil shareholders meeting.

Telling quote

"We all want to protect our planet, but we must stop trying to protect it from minor or illusory threats and doing it on the backs, and the graves, of the world's most powerless and impoverished people." Niger Innis, spokesman


Where are they based?

What do they believe?

... that environmentalists use " illogical, emotive and flawed" arguments on everything from GM crops to nuclear power. Scientific Alliance are 200 sceptical scientists who have imported wholesale the views of right-wing think-tanks in the US. On climate change, they quote research from the Competitive Enterprise Institute to argue that Britain should take a "delayed approach". In December, they published a paper in collaboration with the American (Exxon-funded) George C Marshall Institute that emphasised "uncertainties" in the science. A leading member is Philip Stott, Britain's foremost academic scourge of "eco-fundamentalists".

It may not be just the strength of their convictions that uni

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