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Selling Ecocide

George Monbiot writes in Monbiot.com (originally in the Guardian):

Is it time to consider a ban on the adverts which help to cook the planet?

I am sorry to be crude, but however else I try to say it, the phrase “lying bastards” comes to mind. In March I claimed that the government is fudging its figures on cutting carbon emissions, and that it is due to miss its targets for renewable energy(1,2). It denied the charges, claimed its cuts are “correctly quantified” and suggested I had got my facts wrong(3,4). Yesterday, the Guardian published a secret briefing by civil servants admitting that the government’s programmes are way off track and urging ministers to try to amend them not with new investments, but through “statistical interpretations of the target”(5).

While no expense is spared in expanding motorways, airports and thermal power stations, every possible tactic is used to frustrate the programme for installing renewable power. The reason is not hard to fathom: big business has invested massively in constructing old technologies, and wants to maximise its returns before switching to the new ones. It also demands the hyper-mobility which enables its executives and its goods and services to go anywhere at any time.

But I write all this with the blush of the hypocrite, for I have been forced to concede that I too am complicit in the strategies of corporate power. A few weeks ago I was challenged by the editors of a website called Medialens over the adverts carried by the Guardian(6). Does not part of my living ultimately come from the companies I campaign against? Why don’t I discuss this contradiction in my column?

It is a good question, and it requires an answer.

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Categories: Environment, Media
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