Corporations are officially people now, and like people, sometimes corporations will loudly say that they believe one thing while their actions reveal another preference entirely. Like a lady who says she wants to settle down but dates only dudes who are apt to move to Hawaii at a moment’s notice, American companies having been saying they’re concerned about climate change at the same time that they have been fooling around with trade organizations, think tanks, and lobbying groups that have been working to undermine climate action.
In a new report, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) calls companies out on this behavior. Being an organization staffed by scientists with “scientists” in the name, UCS approached this in a rigorous manner: Its team identified 28 publicly traded companies that had intervened in the climate debate in some way, and looked at their lobbying, campaign donations, advocacy work, SEC filings, earning calls, funding of think tanks, and press materials. You know, basically every shred of evidence the companies had left behind.
The group found that all the companies said they were working on reducing emissions, because, hey, climate change will be bad for business and it’s the Right Thing to Do. But half of those companies were also working their butts off to undermine and misrepresent climate science — funding think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, chilling with groups like Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers that oppose climate legislation, and just generally doing the sort of work you’d do if you didn’t actually want anyone to do anything about climate change ever.
And while people, like corporations, may act hypocritically and inconsistently, they don’t have millions of dollars to play with. Corporations do. And this is what they’re using it for.