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How Big Business Is Fueling the Climate Emergency
Follow the money and you'll discover corporate greenwashing and hollow net-zero pledges.
I want to bring your attention to three related media reports that demonstrate how big business is exacerbating the climate emergency.
First, from the Guardian’s climate justice reporter Nina Lakhani:
American private equity tycoons are profiteering from the global climate crisis by investing in fossil fuels which are driving greenhouse gas emissions, a new investigation reveals.
Oil and gas pipelines, coal plants and offshore drilling sites linked to Indigenous land violations, toxic leaks and deadly air pollution are among the dirty energy projects financed by some of the country’s largest private equity firms, according to an investigation by the corporate accountability non-profits LittleSis and the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (Pesp).
Next, here’s a quote from a story posted on CNN Business titled Major banks pledging net zero are pouring money into the dirtiest fossil fuel:
Financial institutions channeled more than $1.5 trillion into the coal industry in loans and underwriting from January 2019 to November 2021, even though many have made net-zero pledges, a report by a group of 28 non-government organizations showed.
The coal sector is responsible for nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions. More than 40 countries pledged to end coal use following climate talks in Glasgow in November, though major consumers such as China, India and the United States did not sign up.
Finally, from Popular Info:
The NewClimate Institute recently released a report that evaluates the climate pledges of 25 multinational corporations. The results are not encouraging. Specifically, while all 25 companies have pledged to reach "net zero," they've collectively made specific commitments to reduce just 20% of their current carbon footprint by 2040. 12 of the 25 companies have made no specific carbon emissions reductions whatsoever.
The companies all claim their plans are consistent with policies to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius but their plans contain "subtle details and loopholes" that undermine these claims. Many companies rely on dubious carbon offsets or "renewable energy certificates" that do not actually contribute to carbon emissions reductions.
These stories are a perfect illustration of how capitalism kills. The relentless drive for profits outweighs any concern for human life. And don’t look to America’s ruling parties for help.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I wrote about how the game was played during California’s record-breaking February heat wave. I noted that both major parties are beholden to the fossil fuel industry and remain unserious about confronting the climate emergency. For example:
Just days after pledging to cut fossil fuels at international climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, the Biden administration held the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history. On Thursday, a federal judge invalidated that sale in the Gulf of Mexico, saying the administration didn't adequately consider the costs to the world's climate.
As I’ve argued repeatedly, the resources corporate Democrats have allocated to the climate emergency are pathetically inadequate considering the existential threat. A handful of billionaires pocketed more money during the pandemic than Democratic leaders want to spend on the climate emergency over ten years.
We’re long past the point of empty pledges and corporate greenwashing. Life on earth is in danger. And capitalist greed is killing us.
We’re literally going to have to fight for our lives: