The Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00467 Corporate Green

Key concepts:
corporations, capitalism, environmental damage, mega-catastrophes, the impossibility of making any serious money in a wrecked civilization.
Attention Conservation Notice:
What if the world becomes "green" and yet is even more ruthlessly liberal-capitalist than it is today?


Making fuel cells in fabricators. Huh. That sounds like it oughta be good for something-or-other.

Meanwhile, in Europe, they're turning "wine lakes" into fuel. Top it off with Chardonnay, please.

The aesthetics of wind farms.

World's largest and oldest known living creature. Seaweed.

GE is making rather a lot of money from its "Ecomagination" pitch, which wasn't too difficult, given that fossil energy costs have skyrocketed since they first foresightfully proposed this.

You have to wonder why lefties are still anachronistically concerned with 'corporate dominance' when fundie lunatics run Washington and guys like Mike Davis are championing tomorrow's 'planet of slums' swarming with billions of starving, heavily armed terrorist lumpenproletariat. The "gods of chaos" are on their side! Thanks for the tip, Mike! Even peak-oil guys must quail at this dire prospect.

So, when the next "megacat" hits the Gulf Coast, who would you most want to see next door: Bush's entire FEMA, or one functional Wal-Mart?

Both Pentagon and Wal-Mart are way into RFID, but Wal-Mart is strangling its competition block by block, while the Pentagon is way over budget and conspicuously failing to deliver the cheap oil. I mean, uh, the freedom.

If James Lovelock is right and humanity is doomed to become a thin scattering around the planet's poles, then daily life will likely resemble these eerie pics by Mary Mattingly. Scarcely a corporate logo left in sight! Enjoy!

(((A "megacat" is a mega-catastrophe. They're not happening sixty years from now, when it's all somebody else's problem. They're happening today. They're happening to the Fortune 500. And to their insurers.)))

US Hurricanes May Wipe Out 20-40 Insurers – AM Best

US: June 2, 2006

"NEW YORK – The US hurricane season kicked off Thursday with another gloomy prediction: major storms could cause US$100 billion worth of property loss, and wipe out 20 to 40 insurers. (...)

"'This will take a bigger bite out of the industry than the 1906 San Francisco earthquake,' Williams said. Insurance costs from last year's major catastrophes, or "megacats" – Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma – have already reached US$58 billion, with some claims still in court. In addition, federal aid to rebuild areas such as New Orleans, which was flooded by Katrina, will top US$100 billion, Best said."


"ANALYSIS – Is Corporate America Going Green?

(((In a word, no, and in a lot of words, they're going green in their own very corporate way.)))

Story by Scott Malone

US: June 5, 2006

"BOSTON – Corporate America, which once dismissed fears about global warming as unfounded, appears to be changing its mind, publicly acknowledging its influence on climate change and striving for a greener image.

(((The interesting part comes when "corporate America" starts striving, not for some "better image," but striving not to be blown away at hurricane wind speeds topping 170 miles an hour. Business can't very well ask the government to help them, because they already acquired all the regulatory bodies. Besides, neocons and fundies clearly have no idea what to do about climate change. They literally can't see it, any more than the antebellum South could see slavery as a problem.

((So the megacorps are not going green in order to suck-up to adbusters, Seattle 99ers and the LOHAS contingent. They'll have to do it in order not to see their markets and infrastructure physically destroyed.)))

"Major companies such as General Electric Co. and chemicals maker DuPont Co. are taking steps to make their plants and products more energy efficient and to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

"To be sure, US companies have heavily promoted their change of heart in slick marketing campaigns such as Ford Motor Co.'s 'I guess it is easy being green' television advertisements for its Escape hybrid sport utility vehicle.

What's good for America is good for GM, "a crack dealer looking to keep his addicts on a tight leash."

"Environmental activists say the changes go beyond lip service but they urge lawmakers to prod companies along even faster through tougher environmental regulations. ((("Environmental activists" always want to hustle business through the tongs of the EPA, in order not to actually get any capitalism splattered on themselves. Why not just go explain to Wal-Mart that they, Wal-Mart, are a tender, vulnerable, overextended network that is sure to die in any serious climate chaos? Looks like Wal-Mart may have caught on to this fact already.))) Link:

"'We've barely just begun, but what we've begun is real,' said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of institutional investors and environmental groups that manages more than US$3 trillion in assets. ((Three trillion for the time being, that is. A hundred billion loss here, a hundred billion loss there, hey, that adds up.)))

"Many scientists (((come on, Planet Ark, it's perfectly okay to say "all of them." All the scientists. If they say otherwise, they're not scientists))) say a build-up of greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal are raising temperatures around the world and could bring catastrophic changes – from severe heatwaves to rising seas.

(((The severe heatwaves are already years old. That's not a change that CO2 "could bring." We're simmering in it. The Fortune 500 is smack in the middle of it. It's not like they get to offshore into a walled Wal-Mart bunker on another planet. Unless they've somehow got "Halliburton SurvivaBalls.")))

"For many years, major US corporations asserted that natural swings in temperature made it impossible to tell whether greenhouse gas emissions were influencing the climate. With some notable exceptions – including oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. – US companies have noticeably changed their tune.

(((It wasn't "companies" per se who were into Greenhouse denial. Specifically, was the oil, gas, chemical, and auto industries who logjammed Kyoto in the US Senate. They were heartily joined, by the way, by US labor unions who figured that Kyoto would export American jobs. Now the unions don't have the jobs OR the climate. The oil and gas guys are knee-deep in blood. The American auto guys can't find customers for their ludicrous SUV behemoths. Ace way to run an economy, fellas. You cats are real capitalist geniuses.)))

"Fairfield, Connecticut,-based GE – the world's second-largest company by market value – last year unveiled its 'Ecomagination' initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase sales of energy-efficient products.

"Sales of 'Ecomagination' products, ranging from washing machines to jet engines, reached US$10.1 billion last year and GE aims to double that by 2010. (((That goal oughta be pretty easy if the dollar hyperinflates and a Yankee GE washing-machine costs a dozen euros.))) It also aims to double its research spending on such products to US$1.5 billion by 2010.

"'Our customers are heavy energy users, customers that have fuel issues, that are seeking energy efficiency,' said Lorraine Bolsinger, a GE vice president who heads up the Ecomagination program. 'When we talk to our customers, they tell us, 'This is what we need.' ((("Or we, uh, die.")))

"Fears that a warmer, wetter planet would spawn devastating storms like Hurricane Katrina, which flooded much of New Orleans and killed more than 1,500 people in Louisiana alone, have also caused insurers to shift thinking on global warming.

(((Caused them to "shift thinking"? It's caused them to go broke.)))

First storm of the season already heading for Florida. Buy your own private Internet satlink for weather= shredded telecom and power systems, $5000!

"American International Group Inc., the world's top insurance company by market value, said in May – after losing US$2 billion after tax from Katrina and other disasters last year – that it would develop projects to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

Instead of federal enviro inspectors, AIG has got "carbon disclosure projects." Same diff, only you can't buy your own Senator and get out of it.

Naturally these insurance agents prefer "market- based environmental policies." Do those sound warmer and cuddlier than government regulation, somehow?

"REGULATION THE NEXT STEP? (((Why even bother?)))

"A tripling in oil prices to record highs above US$70 a barrel is also accelerating the drive for greater efficiency. (((Blowback from that effort to "regulate" Iraq.)))

"DuPont has cut its energy bill by about US$3 billion since kicking off an emissions-reduction campaign in the early 1990s, said Edwin Morgan, director of energy and environment at the Wilmington, Delaware,-based company. It has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 72 percent over that time. (((Dupont has therefore beaten the Kyoto Accords by something like a factor of seven. Do you suppose that the US Senate has reduced its emissions that much? I know I haven't.)))

"Ceres, in a March study, ranked DuPont's efforts to reduce global warming second only to British petroleum firm BP Plc among major global companies. US greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise since the White House declared in 2001 that the US would not abide by the terms of the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol to cut such emissions below 1990 levels by 2008. (((Well, if the US suffers massive storm damage, plus currency hyperinflation, a real-estate bubble and a military defeat, that trifling Kyoto problem will pretty well take care of itself.)))

Iraq War already out-spends the wildest estimates of the cost of Kyoto:

"While observers lauded the steps taken by US companies in industries ranging from chemicals to electric utilities, they said the only reliable way to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions would be regulation. (((Okay: name one "reliable" regulation that has happened in American governance in the last six years. If there were greenhouse regulations in the US, who would enforce them? Halliburton. Who else?)))

"'One company doesn't want to go alone. They want to move forward as industries,' said Brendan Bell, global warming analyst at the Sierra Club, a major US environmental group. (((This sounds like "oligopoly" and "conspiracy in restraint of trade," which is, of course, completely doable.)))

"Some investors have begun petitioning companies to fight global-warming-related regulation. The Free Enterprise Action Fund, a US$6 million mutual fund, through proxy proposals asked GE and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. this year to fight such regulation.

(((With a name like that, "Free Enterprise Action Fund" have got to be another Exxon-Mobil sock puppet. Yep. They are. Took me and Google all of 15 seconds to find that out.)))

"'Global warming activists are using these guys to get these laws passed. And once the laws are in effect, they are going to get more and more intrusive, and they're not going to be able to control them,' said Steve Milloy, a portfolio manager. (((Steve Milloy is not a "portfolio manager," he's into climate denial, among a host of other weird things.))) Link:

Steve Milloy's amazing anti-conscience investment fund:

"Bolsinger said GE would be able to compete even in a tighter regulatory environment.

"'Without some kind of legislation, we don't see that there's going to be significant progress made,' Bolsinger said. 'We're not afraid of whatever regulation will come.'

(((It doesn't make any sense to wait for political reform before tackling climate change. Even if Gore were President and the USA went whole hog for Kyoto, the day is long gone when the Washington Consensus swayed the world and there was any tacit notion that the world would do what the UN said. There's not enough talent, authority or technical capacity left in the planet's political class. The ultra-rich and the marketeers are the only people who can move fast enough to save their own skins. Where they can make it, it'll be Corporate Green and haute-green. Where they can't make it, but can't give up, it'll be Ninth Ward and Khaki Green. Where the failure is total, it'll be Long Emergency and Planet of Slums.)))

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