Banks Greenwash Their Billions

Sep 19 2016

bearAs Climate Week 2016 kicked off in New York City, the Rainforest Action Network has drawn attention to the enormous destructive investments of Bank of America, J P Morgan Chase, and Bank of the West – all three sponsors of Climate Week.  According to an article published today citing the Shorting the Climate report, the banks pumped well over $100 billion into coal, gas, and oil industries between 2013 and 2015. Yet, in the true spirit of greenwashing, they figured to reap public relations benefits by associating themselves with progressive climate-related actions.

Keystone pipeline leaking more than admitted by operator

Apr 13 2016

TransCanada initially told regulators the April 2016 spill totaled about 187 gallons of oil.

TransCanada later admitted the Keystone pipeline has leaked about 16,800 gallons in South Dakota, a dramatic increase from initial estimates. That first media blast couldn’t possibly have been spin control happy talk, right?

BP, Shell, Chevron Spewing Oily Lies

May 25 2010

As pointed out by Bristol (UK) Indymedia, Shell has tried to cleanse its dirty business with cultural grants. It sponsored the Bristol Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition (2007) while simultaneously menacing wildlife, like the bird pictured here. In Africa, Shell’s environmental record in the Niger Delta is the stuff of civil war. At least 6,800 spills have been recorded by the UN Development Agency.

Likewise, Chevron/Texaco has actively denied its criminal negligence. The documentary Crude depicts the attempts of indigenous people of South America to attain some measure of justice from Chevron/Texaco, which has decimated whole ecosystems and forced the relocation and near extinction of villagers in regions ‘developed’ by Texaco in Ecuador.
Meanwhile, BP, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on promoting its green image in the lead up to the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico, must answer for the inadequate precaution and cleanup associated with that disaster. What’s more, the tar sands of Canada pose an even greater threat. BP’s plans to extract oil from the tar sands pose an enormous environmental threat due to the vast amount of carbon that the project would release into the atmosphere.
All told, the virulent efforts of these companies’ marketing departments to convince the public that they’re all fine corporate citizens would be laughable if they weren’t working. Polls in the wake of the failed Copenhagen round of climate accords have found that the number of citizens in the US, UK, and Germany who are concerned about global warming has been dropping significantly. Nevertheless, it is clear that sea levels are rising, if only because BP has managed to inject millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Nuclear Broadcasting

Jan 07 2010

The Better Business Bureau demanded that the Nuclear Energy Institute pull its misleading ads from The New York Times, Washington Post, and other major newspapers and magazines, because its claims were misleading.

The NEI claims that “Nuclear energy generates electricity without polluting the air and water” and that it is “environmentally clean.”

Independent researchers, however, concluded that nuclear plants do cause thermal water pollution and that the processes needed to produce the uranium-enriched fuel for nuclear plants cause air pollution.

A few print ads are nothing compared to the 24/7 spin on the corporate controlled broadcast networks. Consider the media activities of GE, under the guise of MSNBC, NBC, etc. Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of the truce between Fox and MSNBC/GE is a measure of how corporate interests dictate programming. Issues that might otherwise have come to light as a result of the mudslinging are once again resigned to a silence by consent.

Polar Opportunism

Jan 07 2010

I often rack my brain as to why Republicans are so adamant on negating global warming. What do they stand to gain? Well, this explains a lot: The North Pole Heats Up.

There is a lot of money to be made once the polar ice caps melt. Too bad we’ll all be dead.

General Tricks

Jan 07 2010

G.E. blatantly rips off the style and content of Samurai Jack to lure people to its greenwashing site.

G.E.: Ecomagination or just bad conscience?

The company that has brought a lot of bad things to our lives, like inedible fish in the Hudson River. Byproducts of the plastics, aircraft engines, nuclear reactors haunt our environment. No wonder it’s trying so hard to convince people it is the knight in shining armor that will take us away from all of our environmental problems (G.E. “Ecomagination” website, not to mention the media spin through NBC, CNBC, Telemundo, and After years of pressure and litigation, the E.P.A. finally demanded that G.E. pay to dredge the Hudson River to clean up the tons of PCB toxins it dumped into the river. But the cleanup has not started, over two years later. That hasn’t stopped G.E. from spending lots of money promoting its questionable environmental credentials.

The videos G.E. has made about solar and wind power technology are enticing. If only their aspirations weren’t so low. They
can “imagine” that only “10 to 20 percent” of the electricty we use might come from solar power in the future. Why aim so low? Habit? If G.E. was such an agent of good, would American tax payers have had to spend millions of dollars in legal fees to get the company to comply with the E.P.A.’s mandate that it clean up the PCBs it dumped in the Hudson river? Thanks to hard work, G.E. was forced to disclose that it spent $800 million to delay the cleanup of toxic PCB discharges in New York, Massachusetts and Georgia — money that, with a bit more imagination, it could have used to clean up the Hudson.

Making animals happy

This commercial prompted the following…

Although it presents itself as being a friend to the environment, G.E. continues to delay removal of PCBs from the Hudson River. In 1977, GE dumped 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the Fort Edward and Hudson Falls. PCBs are organic and carcinogenic compounds that have been linked to the underdevelopment and damage of embryos and female reproductive systems in females. In males especially, PCB can lead to damage of the stomach, liver and/or thyroid.

Further Reading

* Cleaning up after G.E.
* PCB Article

Exxon’s Astroturfing

Jan 06 2010

Exxon corporate citizenship? Yeah, right. This is the same company that has worked tirelessly and spent freely to obfuscate the global warming science issues and convince people through bogus science that the process of warming is a natural occurrence. And what about this idea of “corporate citizenship”? The idea is clear enough, but in reality corporations are not citizens and it has been due in no small degree to this confusion that corporate power has gotten so out of control.

Exxon has also been found to be guilty of astroturfing – simulating grass roots activities for the purposes of public relations or industrial persuasion. The Wall Street Journal and ABC News nailed Exxon for producing an anti-Al Gore video and using a front to distance itself from it.


Academic Oil

Apr 06 2009

It’s great that money is beginning to flow to universities to solve climate problems with technological innovation. But this is only part of the solution because carbon levels need to be reduced immediately rather than at some future date when technology may become available. Since the 1970s when the Carter administration began pushing for energy alternatives, it has been the oil sector that has bought many promising patents, only to sit on them and continue their enormous oil revenues. It is with some skepticism, therefore, that one must view the launch of a new climate research project at Stanford, paid for by Exxon-Mobil.

For example “Due to inconsistencies in G-CEP and Exxon research project goals, a management committee formed by the sponsoring corporations can approve or reject research topics proposed by Stanford researchers.”

Is this science or an offshoot of Exxon-Mobil engineering? If scientists are not permitted to follow directions that may not be profitable for Exxon-Mobil, the value of this initiative begins to enter into the terrain of greenwashing.

Beyond Credibility

Jan 06 2009

No company has gone to such great lengths to project a green image as energy giant BP. In 2000, a year after BP ventured into renewable energy by scooping up Solarex for $45 million, it paid more than four times as much on rebranding, dropping its full name of British Petroleum to become simply BP while adopting the environmentally friendly slogan “Beyond Petroleum” and putting up billboards to promote itself as an alternative-energy company. But has the company really moved beyond petroleum? The BP website tells it straight: “Our main activities are the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas; refining, marketing, supply and transportation; and the manufacture and marketing of petrochemicals.”

Now it’s been reported that BP is planning to conduct hugely counterproductive extraction of oil in Canada, what is being described by environmentalists as the biggest environmental crime in history

Coal Front, Power Hype

Jan 06 2009

These clowns have been advertising in the New York Times and elsewhere that fossil fuels are “advanced” and “new” solutions for our 21st century energy challenges. Right. The coal industry wants us to believe “clean coal” is a smart energy solution. They don’t have anything to say about global warming, though, since fossil fuels produce the carbon dioxide that causes the greenhouse effect. While the highly publicized coal industry sites hype “clean coal” even their own best examples of the potential of carbon sequestration admit that they are years away from “A full-scale system” because “developing such a system is likely to be very expensive.”

The coal industry front “organization” called features a blog by “balanced energy” flak Joe Lucas, who cautions his readers about over-dependence on wind power (, 3/15/08)

This is the same man who, in an interview with the Advocate, said carbon dioxide — also the gas that humans breathe out — isn’t a contributor to global warming because if it were, he rationalized, “the government would have to ask us all to stop breathing.” (, 3/15/08)

This raises the question of titles. Technically Lucas is “ABEC’s vice president of communications.” Or according to another bio online, he’s “the Executive Director of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices.” Should citizens who are interested in exposing the industrial propaganda of the greenhouse gas emitting industries also adopt impressive sounding names and titles? Would it lend authority to their work?

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