Climate week – brought to you by RBS, EDF, Tesco…
The week after next is climate week. This will be a chance for community groups across the country to celebrate all of the great work being done everywhere on climate change.
Or will it? Becuase unfortunately, the warm sheen of satisfaction that people will deservedly feel has been somewhat undermined by the organisers. For some reason, they thought it would be a good idea to allow some of Britain’s biggest polluters to be the sponsors of the week. In my day job at People & Planet, we’ve launched a poll so you can vote on which sponsor you think has secured the biggest PR coup by being allowed to cover up their crimes with a bit of community greenery. So, let’s have a quick look at who a few of the sponsors are:
The Royal Bank of Scotland have worked hard for this award. Not long ago the world’s biggest company (by assets), they are famed for their profligacy and demands for taxpayer bailouts. But they are also major contributors to the climate crisis. Once upon a time, not so long ago, they called themselves ‘the oil and gas bank’. But once people pointed out that this might somewhat offend those who, erm, are suffering from the effects of climate change, they quickly changed their tune. No longer are they proud to be Europe’s biggest financiers of fossil fuel extraction. Now, they are much more socially aware than that! No longer are they proud to prop up those delivering more emssions than the whole of the UK (pdf), now, they have leanrt to cover up what they do. So instead of broadcasting their massive carbon emissions, the fact that they are one of the world’s biggest drivers of climate change – instead of publicising these facts, they work hard to deny them. And thank God that climate week was there to help them do that. Remember, you own RBS, so a vote for them in this poll, is a vote for yourself!
Oh Tesco! The world’s second most profitable retainler – Tesco! What could make you more proud to be for our historic island? Oh, wait a sec, Tesco may be a proudly British company, but its stores are actually owned in, erm, the tax haven of The Caymen Islands. But, every time anyone makes a specific allegation, they sue the pants of them. And who can afford lawyers to stand up to the second most profitable retailer on earth? Not Bright Green. So we won’t say anything about that. Instead, let’s talk about the destruction of local shops – how Tesco forces them out of business, and, on average, costs the average High Street they move into more than 100 jobs. Or look at their massive open freezers, counterweighted by huge blast heaters – if you ever want to see how much of our climate one building can burn, go stand in a Tesco… But that’s all OK, coz Tesco are sponsors of climate week. So they must be the good guys, right?
If you like nuclear power, you will love Électricité de France – owned by the French Government, and the world’s biggest utility company. 75% of the power they generate around the world is nuclear. But don’t panic, climate week fans! For they are also (.xls) owners of more coal power station capacity than any other UK based company – owning as they do the Cottam and West Burton stations. These guys are real experts in covering their tracks though, and they were delighted that the nice folks at Climate Week were happy to help them knock us all off their sulpher/uranium filled stench.
Please do vote in the “Greenwash coup of the year” poll.