Monbiot's climate lobbyists involved in anti-organic attacks (26/9/2006)

1.Monbiot's climate lobbyists involved in anti-organic attacks - GM Watch
2.Pundits who contest climate change should tell us who is paying them - George Monbiot

1.Monbiot's climate lobbyists involved in anti-organic attacks

The latest article from George Monbiot on the climate-change denying lobbyists, backed by industry, operating in the UK (see item 2 below), identifies individuals and organisations who to a man have been in the thick of attacks on organic agriculture and of pro-GM lobbying.

Take Julian Morris - the director of the International Policy Network (IPN). Morris is among the contributors to an IPN book which attacks the Kyoto protocol. The book's other contributors include several who connect to Morris and who have been active in the GM debate, including Martin Livermore, a Fellow of the International Policy Network.

Livermore is a former PR flak on GM for Dupont who now directs the Scientific Alliance, which has coauthored a climate-change denying report with the IPN. The Scientific Alliance's Advisory Forum is stuffed with GM supporters, such as the organic-hating GM scientist, Tony Trewavas FRS.

Also contributing to the IPN book were Barun Mitra* and Philip Stott**, both of whom have also been heavily involved in promoting GM and attacking sustainable agriculture.
** http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=126

In 2003 IPN co-sponsored a debate on GM food held at PR firm, Hill and Knowlton. The seminar was introduced by Greg Conko of the Monsanto-backed Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an organisation which also gets money from Exxon and which has been at the very heart of climate change denial in the US. Conko and the CEI are the co-founders of CS Prakash's GM-promoting AgBioWorld campaign.

Julian Morris has been a key contributor to several BBC programmes raising questions about organic food. One of these programmes ('Counterblast', BBC 2, 31 Jan 2000) was presented by Morris's sidekick Roger Bate, who George Monbiot also focuses on in his article on climate-change lobbyists below. Other contributors to the programme included Tony Trewavas and Philip Stott.

Bate and Morris also co-edited a book, Fearing Food: Risk, Health and the Environment, amongst whose contributors is Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute. Avery has been at the very heart of the anti-organic campaign. Bate and Morris appear unembarrassed by the dubious nature of Avery's claims, repeating them in the BBC programmes they contributed to and using them in a publicity stunt to launch their book in which they claimed, "organic food may well present a danger to children, the elderly and the sick... such people should be discouraged from eating so-called 'organic' or 'natural' foods." (Londoners demand regulation of potentially deadly organic food) http://ngin.tripod.com/rightwing.htm

Bate also claimed in an article for Tech Central Station that Zambia's ban on GM food aid had killed tens of thousands. According to Bate, aid workers in Zambia had had to take "food away from the mouths of starving children" and "perhaps as many as 20,000 Zambians died as a result." In reality, the GM food aid was replaced by non-GM food and nobody died as a result of Zambia's GM ban. (Fake blood on the maize)

It's revealing that while Bate weeps over phantom deaths caused by GM bans and sounds the alrm over "potentially deadly" organic food, he has had absolutely no qualms about opposing restrictions on smoking or, as George Monbiot makes clear, soaking up funding from Big Tobacco.

2.Pundits who contest climate change should tell us who is paying them
Covert lobbying, in the UK as well as the US, has severely set back efforts to combat the world's biggest problem
George Monbiot The Guardian, September 26 2006

On the letters page of the Guardian last week, a Dr Alan Kendall attacked the Royal Society for "smearing" its opponents. The society had sent an official letter to Exxon, complaining about the oil company's "inaccurate and misleading" portrayal of the science of climate change and about its funding of lobby groups that deny global warming is taking place. The letter, Kendall argued, was an attempt to "stifle legitimate discussion".

Perhaps he is unaware of what has been happening. The campaign of dissuasion funded by Exxon and the tobacco company Philip Morris has been devastatingly effective. By insisting that man-made global warming is either a "myth" or not worth tackling, it has given the media and politicians the excuses for inaction they wanted. Partly as a result, in the US at least, these companies have helped to delay attempts to tackle the world's most important problem by a decade or more.

Should we not confront this? If, as Kendall seems to suggest, we should refrain from exposing and criticising these groups, would that not be to "stifle legitimate discussion"?

There is still much more to discover. It is unclear how much covert corporate lobbying has been taking place in the UK. But the little I have been able to find so far suggests that here, as in the US, there seems to be some overlap between Exxon and the groups it has funded and the operations of the tobacco industry.

The story begins with a body called the International P

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive