Texaco Leaves Global Warming Skeptics
Texaco announced this week that they will be joining the parade of companies leaving the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). This industry-funded lobbying group has spent millions of dollars to convince the public that global warming isn't a threat while lobbying Congress not to take constructive action to prevent global warming. Texaco is the first major US Oil Company to leave the GCC. Recent departures include Daimler Chrysler and Ford Motor Company, which said that membership in the GCC was "something of an impediment to pursuing our environmental initiative in a credible way."
The announcement comes after years of dialogue between Texaco and religious shareholders with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility who urged the company to take a more responsible stance on global warming. In a letter to shareholder Harry Van Buren of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Texaco Secretary Michael Rudy stated, "our withdrawal from the GCC is based on our belief that Texaco can and should speak for itself or through broader-based organizations on the important subject of climate change." Van Buren said, "The shareholders are encouraged by this positive step forward, away from a membership that is inconsistent with a responsible position on this issue." The GCC has historically maintained a high profile in the global warming arena through the stature of its members and their investment of over $63 million in political contributions over the last decade (Common Cause, "Some Like it Hot", November 30, 1999). The GCC position that there is inadequate scientific certainty regarding global warming to warrant decisive action is increasingly controversial in a political season where all of the major presidential candidates have recognized the importance of dealing with the issue.
Texaco's announcement coincides with the release of research to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on March 1 that found that the earth is now warming at unprecedented rates. The study, done by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows that since 1976, temperatures have been increasing at the rate of four degrees per century. Tom Karl, the lead scientist on the study, noted that there is only a 5 percent chance that such temperatures would not be part of a warming trend. The growing scientific evidence, combined with increasing calls for action on global warming by students, mayors, and others have led British Petroleum/Amoco, Shell Oil, Ford Motor Company, and Daimler Chrysler to all leave the GCC over the last two years. "Remaining corporations such as Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, and General Motors will clearly face growing public pressure as it becomes harder to justify spending corporate money on a coalition that fights efforts to stop global warming" said Christopher Ball, Director of Outreach for Ozone Action.
"It seems like lying about global warming has finally fallen out of fashion in corporate America."
Brian J. Ritzel
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