Thursday, April 04, 2013

Hoping history rhymes

Before Heartland Institute made real trouble, and maybe taking a more prominent role than the US Chamber in fighting climate action, the Global Climate Coalition once united a wide range of big corporations to fight the legislative bad fight in Washington. Wiki says, wrongly, that it died in 2002 because:
A major scientific report on the severity of global warming by the IPCC in 2001 led to large-scale membership loss.
I don't think that's right - instead of beautiful science, it was a realistic alternative that killed the beast. GCC had been around since 1989, and the 1991 and 1996 IPCC reports had plenty of science sufficient to kill its mission if GCC had been open to science.  What was new and different instead was Pew Foundation's establishment in 1998 of the Business Environmental Leadership Council to engage businesses in real solutions to climate problems. BELC succeeded despite its acronym in providing a forum for climate realist companies to get involved in legislation, and then gradually peeled off members from GCC:
Some of the exiting companies, such as BP Amoco, Shell, and Dupont, joined a progressive new group, the Business Environmental Leadership Council, now an organization of some 21 corporations. This new outfit, founded by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says, “We accept the views of most scientists that enough is known about the science and environmental impacts of climate change for us to take actions to address its consequences.”
I'm sure that there was a lot more going on behind the scenes that eased companies out of GCC and into BELC. Having something like BELC around meant there were people who did this easing as their job. And now everything is perfect! Okay, it's not, but denialism at the corporate level has to hide itself quite a bit more.

The US Chamber continues to be a problem, but here's hoping that history will rhyme.