According to the Amazon Defense Coalition the petrochemical company Chevron has hired Douglas Southgate, a so called “scientist” and an “environmental economist”, who is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a climate change denying think tank.
“Based in Chicago, Heartland promotes the idea that there is a “debate” about global warming despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is responsible for it. The Institute also creates research that downplays the dangers of secondhand smoke.”
“Contributions to the Heartland Institute have flowed from the likes of Exxon, Phillip Morris, and the ultraconservative Scaife Foundation. The Institute stopped disclosing its funders in 2006 after it came under attack for producing tailor-made research in support of its industry supporters.”
The Amazon Defense Coalition says that the disclosure of Southgate’s affiliation is bound to raise questions about Chevron’s commitment to green policies. According to the coalition Chevron has fallen significantly behind its industry rivals in these matters.
“Unlike industry peers Shell and BP, Chevron has no significant human rights policy for countries where it operates and currently faces numerous environmental problems around the globe — including a potential $16.3 billion liability for toxic dumping in Ecuador’s Amazon.”
Southgate has already been busy in the news reports trying to defend Chevron’s practices. This includes the dumping of more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways and the abandonment of more than 900 waste pits gouged out of the jungle floor in Ecuador.
“The indigenous groups in Chevron’s former concession area have seen their populations decimated and ancestral lands plagued by the toxic contamination. Amazonian communities have long charged that Chevron has fabricated “junk science” to cover up the fact thousands of soil samples produced in the Ecuador trial demonstrate life-threatening levels of contamination. An independent, court-appointed expert who reviewed 54,000 chemical sampling results recently found that 100% of Chevron’s former well sites are contaminated with illegal levels of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons.”
Besides Southgate the Amazon Defense Coalition says Chevron has hired other questionable “scientists”. Ralph Marquez, a former chief lobbyist for the chemical industry in Texas, and Sara McMillen, a Chevron scientist who speaks to the media about toxicological issues without having a degree in the subject.
The Amazon Defense Coalition also criticises Chevron for their “human energy” greenwashing advertising campaign, saying that the “oil giant’s ad campaign touts a “green” image while Amazon humanitarian crisis festers.”
“Chevron’s so-called ‘green’ advertising campaign is a fraud when compared to the company’s environmental record in the Amazon,” said Pablo Fajardo, an Ecuadorian lawyer and Goldman Prize winner who leads the Ecuador case.
“Chevron is paying academics to distort research to hide a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe in Ecuador,” said Fajardo. “Their advertising budget would be better spent on solving real problems.”
Photo credit: bunnicula Al Gore writes that the next President of USA “must take immediate steps to deal with” climate change: In one week Americans will go to the polls and elect our next President. Whoever wins, (and I certainly … Continue reading
Decent, pro-Peace, pro-Environment and pro-Planet Australians were delighted with the result of the recent Australian Federal Election that terminated the incompetent, nearly 12 year rule of the climate criminal, climate change sceptic, Bush-ite Coalition and gave Labor under Kevin Rudd … Continue reading