Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mirror, mirror. Well, Guardian, Guardian.

There's a trendy Volvo TV commercial running at the 'mo.

It's not very good, but does embody well the trend of 'how one looks at things': 'Do you see art... or vandalism?' when referring to graffiti. 'Security... or nanny state?'. That kind of thing.

Which brings me to this press release, and the event to which it refers.


Green MEP for the South East Dr Caroline Lucas will use her speaking time at
tomorrow’s Guardian Climate Change Summit to slate energy giant E.ON's
sponsorship of the high profile event promoting responsible environmental

She commented: “While I welcome the Guardian's efforts to promote private,
public, political and campaign sector debate around climate change, and
accept that commercial backing is necessary in this instance, the decision
to allow a company like E.ON to gain a PR win by sponsoring the summit is
completely misguided.

“E.ON is currently applying for planning permission to build the first new
coal-fired power station in Britain for 30 years at Kingsnorth in Kent. The
new plant would emit more than 7 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere
each year - that's as much C02 as the world's 24 lowest emitting countries
combined - and would potentially keep doing so for 50 years.”

Earlier this month, Dr Lucas was joined by Keith Allott, head of climate
change campaigns at WWF, in writing to the Guardian to ask that E.ON’s
commercial backing be revoked.

She said: “This is not an issue of calling into doubt the Guardian’s
unquestioned reputation for unbiased reporting – I have no doubt that the
Guardian will continue to report on E.ON’s activities without fear or
favour. This is an issue of E.ON associating itself with the Guardian's
summit as a cynical move to try to repair its damaged reputation.

"It's understandable that it should try. What is not understandable is that
the Guardian should connive in its attempt.”
E.ON is the subject of a massive campaign involving a host of environmental
organisations and activist groups. The Environmental Audit Committee, Royal
Society and the Investors Group on Climate Change have also been highly
critical of the UK's preference for coal, as symbolised by Kingsnorth.

Dr Lucas will take part in an organised protest against E.ON’s involvement
in the Guardian Climate Change Summit on the morning of the event. She will
join members of the activist group Greenwash Guerillas outside London’s
Business Design Centre to highlight the company’s crimes against the

The longstanding Green campaigner will also speak on the need to forge ahead
with environmental policy in the current economic climate, as well as
outlining the urgent need to invest in a future of fossil-fuel-free
renewable energy. She will say:

“We are facing a triple crisis – the credit crunch, the climate crisis, and
the crisis of soaring oil prices, underpinned by encroaching peak oil. Some
say that we cannot afford environmental measures. But it is precisely at a
time of economic difficulty that strong measures to reduce our crippling
dependence on fossil fuels are needed most.

“What we need is a Green New Deal: a massive investment in energy
efficiency, renewable energy and wider environmental transformation in the
UK, could lead to the creation of thousands of new green collar jobs,
addressing all three aspects of the crisis at the same time.”

Those with long memories will recall I once attended this conference, having railed in this blog about the exclusivity created by the cost of attending. And I was 'rescued' to become part of the machine by the kind support of a Tesco Director who was speaking, and invited me as his guest.

He actually did pretty well, but the main sponsor, Shell, copped it as is e.on this time, as I recall. And I wonder if Boris will be there as was Ken before?

Thing is, to what extent should, or can you critique, when the needs of your job (money, publicity, etc) pretty much suck you in to being part of the very thing you are criticising, or taking others to task for being part of.

I think it is cute indeed that e.on are the main sponsors, and that The Guardian see no problem taking their money to confer a green hue upon them with all the attendant 'it's helping the climate' hoopla, but then Ms. Lucas is there too. Even if she is using it as a means to bash her hosts from within. Interesting to post the strategy in advance.

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