Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Climate skeptics don’t hire advertising agencies to help them manage their brand. Green groups do. So tell me again which side is lavishly funded?
It’s a long weekend here in Canada. The sun in shining and my garden beckons. But here I am at my desk, catching up on the latest developments.
According to environmentalists, the climate debate is David against Goliath. They fancy themselves in the role of David and believe they’re losing ground because they’re up against a well-orchestrated, funded-by-the-fossil-fuel-industry campaign.
Anyone who thinks about this for three minutes knows it’s a foolish analysis. In the entire world there’s a grand total of one organization solely devoted to discussing climate change from a skeptic perspective: the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation. One. The last I heard its office was staffed by – drumroll, please – two people.
Yes, the Heartland Institute and other conservative US think tanks have played a role in this debate. But climate is a small part of what those groups do with their time and relatively meager budgets.
Compare that to the green side of the climate debate. I’ve mentioned previously that the David Suzuki Foundation has offices in four Canadian cities, including nearly 60 employees in Vancouver. I’ve also observed that the chairman of the board there isn’t a scientist but the head of a public relations firm.
I’ve noted that Greenpeace is now so lavishly funded it recently purchased a custom-built, £14 million ($22 million) yacht.
I’ve talked about how the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
In fact, the WWF is so stinking rich that last week we learned it has hired Clear, a strategy consultancy owned by M&C Saatchi, “to focus on developing its brand in Australia.”
M&C Saatchi is a global advertising agency. Its client list includes companies such as Hyundai, Coca-Cola, Porsche, and Reebok. Reporting on this development, an Austalian website quoted WWF employee Marni Ryan. Please note her title:
“Australians know who we are, but not always what we do,” said WWF National Manager of Brand, Marketing and Innovation’s Marni Ryan. “We want our brand in Australia to be known for the big initiatives in our own backyard and the region.” [bold added]
Like Coca-Cola and Reebok, the WWF knows it’s in the business of selling us something. Like those at Coca-Cola and Reebok, WWF employees spend time actively and consciously managing their “brand.”
I think I’ll go outside and dig some holes in the ground now. And chuckle at the fools who imagine, for one second, that people like me are playing the role of Goliath in the climate debate, that it’s people like me (getting by on book sales and the occasional, modest speaking honorarium) who have the money advantage.
If you haven’t already, please buy my book. In my universe, every sale does matter :-)