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And the greenwasher of the decade is …

… no, it’s not Toyota (but don’t get me started). And no, it’s not Wal-Mart (I’ll be doing a piece on them later). No, it’s not GM, though they are trying hard, really hard. No, the winner, which has all the others over the proverbial barrel, is British Petroleum.

This was pretty clear when they invested in the tar sands last year, the “biggest global warming crime ever seen.” The Guardian provides more details, explaining that the new CEO Tony Hayward, is taking the company back to the past: “The shift to renewables has been ditched for a carbon intensive future.” They write:

BP appears to be dropping a central plank of [Lord John] Browne’s strategy, the green promise to go “beyond petroleum”, in favour of going back to petroleum — a move which many believe has riled the former boss. In what some saw as a thinly veiled criticism, Browne argued at a recent conference that some energy groups were “in denial” over the need to clean up their carbon output.

Browne understands the future for “carbon billionaires” and renewable power “majors,” even if Hayward doesn’t:

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Browne has kept a low profile since he left the company, but at a recent speech to the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, he let fly, saying there was a need to “displace high-carbon options” in the choices that were made in future.

Browne said the way energy companies approached carbon in future would be a core issue for investors and it was only a matter of time before the world would see several carbon billionaires while renewable power “majors” would make it into the Fortune 500.

“Carbon is coming and it will impose costs on conventional energy sources. Energy businesses should not live in a state of denial, but work constructively with governments to ensure a smooth transition,” he said at the summit.

“The challenge is to reduce emissions against business-as-usual projections, which does not necessarily mean revolutionising existing energy infrastructure. The key is to displace high-carbon options with low-carbon options in the choices we make from now onwards about new energy capacity,” he added.

Without vision, corporations — and, far more importantly, the people — will perish.