"Q. If an inaugural gala is sponsored by ExxonMobil, can it still be green?"
The NYT reported yesterday on tonight’s two big “Green Galas”:
The first gala is being held by Al Gore, the former vice president and Nobel laureate. His event is also joined by a no-compromise crowd long frustrated with the Bush administration. Among them, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council….
[No, I'm not attending. I'm going to the "traditional" energy & environmental inaugural ball tomorrow.]
The second gala is being held by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, comprising the goliaths of international and animal wildlife conservation like the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Federation.
[Note to NYT, on climate at least, WWF is more no-compromise than NRDC (see "NRDC and EDF endorse the weak, coal-friendly, rip-offset-heavy USCAP climate plan)."]
Inexcusably, “Exxon Mobil is a prominent sponsor of the event.” The oil giant has spent millions of dollars over the years as a principal sponsor of the global warming disinformation campaign aimed at stopping efforts to conserve a livable climate — even after they said they stopped such funding. Chris Mooney has an excellent piece on ExxonMobil‘s two-decade anti-scientific campaign (see also posts on Heritage and CEI and AEI).
It is simply unconscionable for any major conservation-based event (or group, for that matter) to take money from them. ExxonMobil is one the world’s greatest enemies of conservation for three reasons:
- The entire oil production and delivery system is a major destroyer of wildlife and ecosystems, as ExxonMobil has demonstrated more famously than any other oil company with the Valdez spill.
- Unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases — driven by the use of oil itself and by the company’s disinformation campaign — is the single greatest threat to the goals of conservation. On our current emissios path, we are on track to wipe out 40% to 70% of the planet’s species (as the IPCC concluded in 2007), turn the ocean into a hot, acidic dead zone and generally ruin the planet for all (surviving) species, including ours (see “Hadley Center: Catastrophic 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path“).
- Strong action on global warming is probably the best way — make that, the only way – to drive the level of funding and action needed to directly save the tropical forests. Only a high price for CO2 that correctly values the carbon-sink benefit provided by the vegetation and soil can provide a viable alternative to simply cutting down every last tree in the name of economic growth.
But here is the list of event sponsors proudly displayed on the ICCF website:
Yes, a few of the other sponsors might trouble some, but none of them are in the league of ExxonMobil — the Al-Qaeda of anti-conservation.
The non-green gala has other non-green elements:
Roses will be flown in from Ecuador. Marinated beef is being flown in from Texas to Virginia, where it will be grilled and then trucked to the auditorium.
Wow, that’s a two-fer — beef and air shipment!
While in general I don’t think individuals or groups should obsess about these kind of individual actions, it’s absurd for an environmental or conservation organization to flaunt unsustainability:
“We are not into symbolism,” David H. Barron, the caucus president, said unapologetically. “We are focused on a much bigger impact.”
Mr. Barron says that personal efforts to lower energy use are admirable; he himself uses low-energy LED’s at home. But more gets done to protect the environment, he says, when big corporations get involved in a committed way.
This may explain why Exxon Mobil is a prominent sponsor of the event.
Has any company had a bigger negative impact on conservation efforts? I don’t think so.