If a captain fell asleep at the helm of an oil tanker traversing dangerous waters, the ship owners and the public would demand that they never be put in command of a ship again. But, despite 12 years of being asleep at the wheel, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized United Nations agency responsible for international shipping, is demanding that it be re-appointed to have sole responsibility for addressing the rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector.
The British Conservative Party is offering major donors the "opportunity to discuss the party's PR strategy" in the run up to the 2010 general election. As part of its fundraising strategy, donors which contribute over £50,000 a year become members of the Leader's Group. An email leaked to PR Week reveals that Leader's Group members are offered the option of having lunch with Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, following Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.
Channel Four in the United Kingdom reports that, according to official figures, "the number of delegates and lobbyists taking part in United Nations climate change talks has trebled in the past 12 years." Olivier Hoedeman, from Corporate Europe Observatory, observed that "there has been a very substantial increase in the number of lobby groups going to these summits and it’s not as people would probably imagine – it is often business groups rather than environmental ones." At the Kyoto conference in December 1997, there were 3,66
Giovanni Bisignani, the director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is a worried man. As the head of the global civil aviation's main lobby group, which represents companies such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, Bisignani (right) has been frantically working to ensure that IATA isn't stripped of its its exemption from the Kyoto Protocol at the COP15 conference, which opens in Copenhagen next week.
A White House policy of encouraging U.S. government agencies to exclude registered lobbyists from sitting on government advisory boards has irked some business lobby groups.
According to the Associated Press, "Americans for Quality and Affordable Healthcare" (AQAH) is a "secretive" group that organizes "below-the-radar" activities to drum up opposition to health care reform. AQAH is opposed to a government-run public health insurance option, but supports a mandate to require all citizens to purchase health insurance -- views that happen to exactly match those of the health insurance industry.
A recently-released report by the World Coal Institute (WCI) on how to finance the experimental Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for power stations, reminded me of a cartoon from years ago by the Australian cartoonist, Patrick Cook. In the cartoon, a huge bloated budgie (parakeet) with the letters "BHP" emblazoned on its chest, was holding a gun to its own head while proclaiming to a cowering politician, "Hand over the loot or the budgie gets it." (At the time, BHP -- which owned iron ore mines and steel mills -- was haggling for government support for its ailing steel operations).
BHP-Billiton ditched its steel interests long ago and is now one of the world's biggest miners and exporters of coal for power stations. It is also a member of the WCI. In its report, titled Securing the Future: Financing Carbon Capture and Storage in a Post-2012 World, the WCI argue that there is an urgent need for massive funding of CCS trials by governments and with a generous slice of revenues from emissions trading schemes. Current funding, the WCI claims, is "too slow to allow necessary global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions goals to be achieved." Not surprisingly, they identify that "the appetite for this will largely hinge on public acceptance."
What the coal industry realises is that without massive public funding, CCS is dead. Without CCS, the coal industry and power companies locked into coal-fired power stations will, at best, be on life support.