Forbes greenwashes ExxonMobil


From Mother Jones magazine in the USA:

ExxonMobil: “Green Company of the Year?”

— By Josh Harkinson | Thu August 27, 2009 1:03 PM PS

Editors know that counterintuitive headlines sell magazines. They also know that making wildly exaggerated claims can damage their credibility. Writing a headline tends to be a balancing act between these two factors. So when you see a magazine like Forbes say that ExxonMobil is “Green Company of the Year,” as it did this month, what it’s really saying is that it’s hurting. With advertising pages way down this year, the magazine feels the need to sell off its long-term credibility with some readers for the short-term gain of boosting page views. That, at least, is my take on what Forbes was thinking. Because there’s simply no way that any serious reporter would wrap Exxon in a shroud of green. …

If that sounds a bit harsh, then consider the truly abysmal nature of Exxon’s broader environmental record:

1. Exxon has a long history of funding groups “whose position on climate change could divert attention” from the need for clean energy, the company went right on funding them.
2. Exxon is a leading opponent of the Waxman-Markey climate bill, the very legislation that would begin to price dirty coal out of the market. In May, the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation released a wildly exaggerated study claiming that an emissions cap will kill millions of jobs and send gas to $4 a gallon (The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found middle-class households would pay only $175 a year more in 2020 because of the legislation). And on August 18th, 3,500 energy workers rallied against the climate bill in a Houston demonstration organized by–you guessed it–Exxon and other energy companies, a leaked memo from the American Petroleum Institute reveals.
3. The Exxon Valdez oil spill. See dictionary entry for “environmental genocide.”
4. Exxon is an aggressive player in Canada’s tar sands, the world’s top producer of ultra-dirty oil.
5. The natural gas pumped by Exxon still contributes to climate change. Indeed, natural gas is currently responsible for about 20 percent of US carbon emissions.

See also here.

Big Oil Gets in on Right-Wing Astroturf Game: here.

It was probably only a matter of time, but the oil lobby has taken a page from the anti-health-care-reform manual in an effort to drum up opposition to climate change legislation in Congress: here.

The UN Human Rights Council has been presented with “strong” evidence yesterday linking at least 15 deaths in the Ivory Coast to pollution from a ship chartered by the world’s third-largest private oil and metals trader: here. And here.

Gag on Guardian reporting MP’s Trafigura question lifted: here.

Some days ago Labour MP Paul Farrelly tabled a series of parliamentary questions for written answer. There was nothing unusual about that. It is the daily business of the House of Commons. What was unusual was that until 2:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, when a court injunction was lifted, those questions could not be reported by any British news media, although they appeared on the parliamentary web site and had been published on the parliamentary order paper: here.

BBC removes Trafigura story after legal threat: here.

Amazonian natives say they will defend tribal lands from Hunt Oil with “their lives”: here.

Shell greenwashing video: here.

Global warming deniers, cartoon

Toxic Waters: Regulatory Absence Allows Chemical, Coal and Farm Industries to Pollute U.S. Water Supplies: here.

A grassroots organizer has quit the Nature Conservancy to head up grassroots outreach for the oil industry’s biggest trade group, a highly unorthodox career move that has set off nervous ripples in the capital’s green community: here.

BP and Shell face new shareholder revolt over tar sands: here.

A UK government checklist of claims for advertisers will fail to stop cynical greenwash without a legally enforceable framework: here.

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8 thoughts on “Forbes greenwashes ExxonMobil

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