International

Timberland Sweats For a Change

Back in September 2007 Jeffrey Swartz, the CEO of the outdoor wear company Timberland, explained on a conference call said that he didn't want the company's latest corporate social responsibility (CSR) report to come across as "corporate cologne." Swartz said that he wanted to "seduce consumers to care." Jeffrey Ballinger, a labor rights and anti-sweatshops advocate, took up the challenge and be

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The Coal Industry Wants Your Cash to Save Them

A recently-released report by the World Coal Institute (WCI) on how to finance the experimental Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for power stations, reminded me of a cartoon from years ago by the Australian cartoonist, Patrick Cook. In the cartoon, a huge bloated budgie (parakeet) with the letters "BHP" emblazoned on its chest, was holding a gun to its own head while proclaiming to a cowering politician, "Hand over the loot or the budgie gets it." (At the time, BHP -- which owned iron ore mines and steel mills -- was haggling for government support for its ailing steel operations).

BHP-Billiton ditched its steel interests long ago and is now one of the world's biggest miners and exporters of coal for power stations. It is also a member of the WCI. In its report, titled Securing the Future: Financing Carbon Capture and Storage in a Post-2012 World, the WCI argue that there is an urgent need for massive funding of CCS trials by governments and with a generous slice of revenues from emissions trading schemes. Current funding, the WCI claims, is "too slow to allow necessary global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions goals to be achieved." Not surprisingly, they identify that "the appetite for this will largely hinge on public acceptance."

What the coal industry realises is that without massive public funding, CCS is dead. Without CCS, the coal industry and power companies locked into coal-fired power stations will, at best, be on life support.

A None Too Happy Mermaid

Mermaid holding protest signAhead of the COP15 negotiations over a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, a coalition of groups have unveiled a short list of nominees for The Angry Mermaid Award for the "company or lobby group is doing the most

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Ian Plimer's Mining Connections

Since the publication in May of his book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science, Ian Plimer has been the darling of conservative media commentators and the global network of climate change skeptics. Plimer, an Australian geologist, has been strongly criticized by climate scientists for errors in his book. More recently, he has been in the news over his challenge to British journalist, George Monbiot, for a debate over climate science. Monbiot agreed, subject to Plimer answering some questions in writing ahead of a debate, but Plimer retreated.

While a few news stories have made a passing mention that Plimer is a director of several mining companies, none have looked with any detail at which companies he is involved with, and how substantial his interest is. Recently, a volunteer editor on SourceWatch (hat-tip to Scribe), did some digging into Plimer's directorships with three mining companies, Ivanhoe Australia, CBH Resources and Kefi Minerals.

Hill & Knowlton's Carbon Two-Step

In a media release, the PR firm Hill & Knowlton (H&K) boasts that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded the company a short-term consultancy for "an information campaign to encourage climate conscious behavior by delegates and others to help reduce GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions" related to the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen in December.

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U.K. Government Backs Self-Regulation for Lobbyists

The U.K. government has rejected a parliamentary committee's recommendation for the mandatory registration of lobbyists and the disclosure of their meetings with civil servants. The Cabinet Office dismissed the recommendation claiming that this “would involve collating a huge amount of information and divert significant resources within departments”. Nor did the Cabinet Office support the establishment of a mandatory register of lobbyists.

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Flooding Chile's Media with Pro-Dam Ads

With opposition mounting to the proposed US$3.2 billion HidroAysen hydropower scheme in southern Chile’s Patagonia, the project proponents have launched a "multi-million dollar public relations campaign to sell their project to Chile." The HidroAysen project, which involves five major dams, is being proposed by a consortium of the Chilean utility ColbUn and the and Italian-owned electricity utility Endesa.

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