Lobbying & the Art of Climate Change Denial
Imagine you’re at the doctor.
“Doc,” you say, “I have constant headaches and—“
“—they keep getting worse! I need help.”
The doctor looks at you. “Why is this man hitting you with a tennis racket?”
“Oh, Sam? He helps me stay—”
The doctor pauses, staring at you. “Don’t you think the headaches might be from Sam hitting you with a tennis racket?”
“Sure, but Sam says there are plenty of other explanations.”
“Anyway, these headaches are killing me. Could I get some painkillers?”
“Sure, I can prescribe medication, but it won’t work unless Sam stops hitting you in the head with a tennis racket.”
That’s when Sam chimes in. “Respectfully, doctor, that’s a one-sided way of looking at things. Let's exclude me from conversations about headaches until we explore all our options.”
Letting Loser Lobbyists Linger
Some things are complex, but not climate change. The two biggest contributing factors stick out like a sore thumb: fossil fuel emissions and animal agriculture. And the solution is equally simple: divest from fossil fuels and shift to a plant-based diet. That’s it! Ever since the IPCC released their 2021 climate report, the message has been clear, but you wouldn’t know that reading recent comments from government and corporate lobbies.
What are we talking about? This. After the UN released a draft of their plans for climate action, lobbyists with glaring conflicts of interest demanded the removal of restrictive language that wasn’t friendly to their industries. Some went so far as to deny that our problem isn't at all related to fossil fuels or animal agriculture. They’re grasping at straws, and they do it without the slightest inkling of shame.
Our Beef Is with Oil & Beef
Earth is getting hotter, no matter how you look at it. Not all countries or companies have trouble stating the problem in such clear terms, but the ones that do leave little to the imagination as to why.
“If warming is to be restricted to 2°C, about 30% of oil, 50% of gas, and 80% of coal reserves will remain unburnable”
They speak the truth. Since every burnt fossil fuel takes us a step further in the wrong direction by putting more carbon in the atmosphere, drastic action must be taken immediately if things are to change. That means abandoning the course we’ve been on for the last century. Will there be losers? Yes, but this comes as no surprise to fossil fuel companies — remember, Exxon knew CO2 emissions would warm the planet as far back as 1979! They kept milking their cash cow with full knowledge of the harm they were doing to our health and safety. They deserve a lot of things, but pity isn’t one of them.
Big Oil isn’t the only culprit, either. Brazil and Argentina, the world’s foremost beef producers, are also unhappy with the report suggesting that plant-based diets could slow global warming, calling them “biased concepts.”
“Shifting diets towards a more vegetarian balance do not guarantee a reduction in GHG emissions”
Frankly, the amount of bad faith in these arguments is stunning. Forget all the people whose water supplies are drying up and whose food supplies are withering due to corporate greed — these companies won’t be able to profit anymore! They’re lucky to get away with lost profits. They should be facing criminal charges.
Countries Built on Dirty Industries
One would expect objections from an oil-rich country like Saudi Arabia or a beef-dependent country like Brazil, but they weren’t the only ones trying to alter the language of the UN’s climate plan. Other countries include Japan, Australia, Iran, Venezuela, UAE and more.
However, plenty of other countries — even ones that compete with those listed above — had no problem with the solutions laid out by the UN. In fact, Uruguay made it clear that responsible beef production was crucial to preserving our future. Other nations have thrown their support behind UN climate resolutions, so these objections only show us which nations value profits more than our survival.
There’s another thing though: green energy is good for the economy. Solar power is the cheapest form of energy in the world, and harnessing more of it means producing more equipment. That means jobs and revenue. It’s a no-brainer, but industries that bring in trillions of dollars in revenue will stop at nothing to keep the gravy train running.
COP26 starts on Halloween this year. Will the UN’s climate plan survive the butchering of all these lobbyists? Can we expect drastic action to finally be taken? At Waste-Ed, we’ve got our fingers crossed.