Contributed by Joe Montero
London based climate advisory firm, InfluenceMap exposed big companies active in thwarting moves to reduce carbon emissions. This came out during the Glasgow summit last year. Leading companies called out are Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Toyota.
The is only a small piece of the whole picture. InfluenceMap’s revelation showed the outsourcing to a network of social media platforms to manipulate public opinion. Vast amounts of money are channelled through peak business organisations and Chambers of Commerce. Their activity aims at buying politicians and raising prejudice against scientific evidence.
Two Australian lobby groups working for the fossil fuel industry have also been included in the list of the world’s most obstructive organisations. They are the Minerals Council of Australia and Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.
Both deny the charge of thwarting carbon reduction and insist that they support carbon reduction. But this pales beside the reality that they continually press for a minimalist approach that fails to make significant cuts.
On the one hand Minerals Council of Australia purports to champion action on climate change. On the other, it insists on protection of the industry and its exports. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association advocates clear guidelines form government over an essentially self-regulated system, which pushes its version of climate action through so-called greener oil and gas.
Neither genuinely support climate action, and the pretence suggesting otherwise, is no more than a public relations exercise.
Both companies show their close relationship to the policies of the Morrison government.
Image by The New Daily
Those expecting a corporate led climate recovery are deluding themselves. We saw in Glasgow, the corporation representatives and lobbyists outnumbering other groups. They walked away with a deal that pretended action on climate, while securing windfall profit opportunities for investors – Not meaningful climate action.
Glasgow is where Scott Morrison went armed with his government’s policy and looked like a joke, after exposing that Australia is lagging far behind the rest of the world, even when the world is itself inadequate. And this is the policy related to the stand of the two peak industry organisations.
Pressuring relevant businesses to not pollute is one thing. Looking up to them to lead is another. Environment protectors must see through the sugary words and judge by performance.
There is the added reality that in Australia the fossil fuel industry is mostly in the hands of American based investors. Even Adani has now sold a substantial part of his company to investment multinational Blackrock. This means the industry operating in Australia is subject to decisions made in that country.
In fact, a closer inspection reveals that the biggest shareholders in the fossil fuel industry are the financial institutions, and they are the ones to supply the capital needed for its operation. In Australia, the big four banks combine with overseas banks to be the decisive owners on the industry.
Only by making it politically impossible to continue in the same way, will it be possible to bring about the needed change to keep the global temperature rise around 1.5 degrees centigrade. This means campaigning on the ground to change public opinion and secure the involvement of millions.