International Hoax Targets US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations!

03climatehoax533span.jpgCoinciding with the UN Climate Negotiations in Bali, this morning climate activists with Rising Tide in the US, Australia, and Europe launched a hoax website targetting the US Climate Action Partnership. Posing at spokespeople for USCAP – the spoof press release and accompanying website committed USCAP members to “90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions”, a “moratorium on new coal-fired power plants”, and a “phase out of fossil fuels”, among other statements.

The website was up for several hours before being taken down (presumably from the host bowing to USCAP legal pressure), but not before thousands of international media outlets were contacted. Dozens of interviews were done with international media, and USCAP member Duke Energy even contacted the group about the hoax. Several outlets ran stories about the initial announcement (some have already pulled the stories off their websites), and news stories about the hoax are still developing. The spoof website is expected to be back online shortly at http://climateactionpartnership.org

Read the full press release below, or check out the following news articles:

UPDATE: USCAP has hired a major PR firm specializing in “Reputation and Crisis Management” to silence any controversy over this. We had the website back up on a new server – but they threatened the new web host as well. But nonetheless – media coverage is out of control – keep spreading the word!

  • New York Times: More Climate Fakery
  • Wired Magazine: Hoax Misrepresents Corporate Consortium’s Climate Change Goals
  • Reuters: U.S. business carbon slash hoax fools some media
  • Guardian UK: Hoaxers Target Big Oil
  • Dallas Morning News: Bogus Press Release Targets Climate Group (they ran the initial hoax story, but have since deleted it)
  • Wall Street Journal: Global Hoaxing is Warm
  • Business Week: Tricks in the Climate Debate?
  • Grist: Curses, Oil Again
  • rtna-logo.jpg

    December 3, 2007

    For immediate release

    International Hoax Targets US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations

    December, 3rd – Climate activists with the international Rising Tide network embarrassed the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby group composed of 33 prominent businesses andorganizations, by distributing a spoof press release declaring that the consortium’s members hadcommitted to a 90 percent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In addition, the spoof release called for an immediate moratorium on the construction of all new coal-fired powerplants.

     

    “To stabilize our climate, reductions need to be based on science, not on creating windfall profits for the world’s largest polluters,” said Matt Leonard. “Leading scientists say decisive action must happen now to reduce our emissions. However, corporate interests have stymied substantive action and are derailing genuine efforts of civil society to adequately address climate change.”

     

    The fake press release was picked up by several media outlets, including the Dallas Morning News, UK Hemscott and several blogs before journalists realized that USCAP members would never agreet o such progressive reductions in carbon emissions or a moratorium on coal plants. Furthermore,Rising Tide activists have done dozens of interviews with media and even received calls from real USCAP member companies about the website and press release. Rising Tide used the phony website www.climateactionpartnership.org to distribute the release, which mimicked USCAP’s site, www.us-cap.org. USCAP’s members include many of the largest US corporations, including Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Dow, DuPont, Ford, General Electric, General Motors Corp., Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, PG&E, Shell and Xerox.

     

    The hoax was timed to coincide with the opening of a major United Nations climate summit in Bali in an effort to expose the disproportionate influence of large corporations on the climate negotiations and the lack of initiative from corporations on reducing fossil fuel use. Rising Tide said that they will now transition the site into an archive of environmental misdeeds and human rights abuses of USCAP’s members.

     

    USCAP says it is serious about stopping climate change, but these companies have not put their money where their mouth is,” said Brian Sloan of Rising Tide North America. “It’s time to base our policies on science and the safety of our communities, not on someone’s bottom-line.”

     

    Rising Tide is an international network of all volunteer grassroots activists who target corporations responsible both for climate change and for blocking efforts to find solutions to it. Activists in Australia, the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Indonesia participated in the hoax.

     

    Hoax press release and documentation available at http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org

     

    #####

10 Responses to “International Hoax Targets US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations!”


  1. 1 jessejenkins Dec 3rd, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Wow, how do you avoid getting arrested and charged with libel when you do that?

    You know, it’s really not USCAP partners that need to be the targets of an action like this – it’s the many many more companies who haven’t even come as far as US CAP (which to be fair does call for a 60-80% cut by 2050). Not that I’m a big fan of US CAP partner companies… it’s just that they are some of the best of a bad bunch, and targeting those who are trying to lead their pack – even if they’ve yet to come far enough – might be a misplaced priority.

    Then again, I don’t know what the real objectives/targets of this action were… So I’m going to shut up now…

    Nicely executed in any case!

  2. 2 Matt Leonard Dec 3rd, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Well, there are fairly strong first amendment protections around political satire. The Yes-Men have used similar tactics with much success over the years. And I really don’t think USCAP companies want to make this situation any bigger news than it already is.

    You raise a good question Jesse – who are the most effective targets of actions like this? What are the goals?

    I actually feel that groups like USCAP are very strategic targets of such stunts. You could view them as the “best of a bad bunch” – or you could view them as being very smart (in their own way) by creating the USCAP to ensure they dominate public discourse and have strong lobbying positions for any future climate/carbon legislation. Perhaps I’m being a cynic here (though I think I am one of the most optimistic people you’ll meet), but groups like USCAP are very much responsible for at least inhibiting, or perhaps even derailing the power and momentum of grassroots groups calling for more radical and visionary change.

    It’s telling that USCAP represents some of the biggest polluters and the companies that have the most to potentially gain economically from carbon cap-and-trade systems. And despite their rhetoric – they still have business practices that ensure massive continued pollution. From producing gas-guzzling cars to building more coal-fired power plants, to creating toxic waste disasters and simply maintaining our dependence on fossil fuels – are the members of USCAP really leading the pack? Or are they waging smart PR and lobbying campaigns to ensure that the climate movement doesn’t threaten their bottom line and fundamental business models?

    But thanks – fun action that got very positive response from allies, media, and friends in Bali. There are still a number of articles that we are hoping to see surface in the next few days as well, including some more in-depth pieces around carbon trading, fossil fuels, offsets, and global equity issues around climate initiatives.

    If anything, we helped educate some people these issues, and encouraged folks to look more critically at the role corporations are playing in determining climate policy.

    -Matt

  3. 3 Amy Ortiz Dec 5th, 2007 at 1:15 am

    This is such a sweet action.

  4. 4 Josh Knauer Dec 13th, 2007 at 1:48 am

    They should immediately contact IGC.org, a non-profit that focuses on hosting progressive (and frequently controversial) websites. If this is truly a parody site, then it should be on the web and not hosted at an ISP that will bend without a court order. There is a fair use provision under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that any competent ISP should be able to defend such a site with. IGC has done this in the past for a lot of other sites (McSpotlight, etc.) and would be a much better place. I hope this doesn’t come across as spam… but please do pass it on to whomever is doing the USCAP action.

  1. 1 Rising Tide North America » Blog Archive » International Hoax Targets US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations Trackback on Dec 4th, 2007 at 2:14 pm
  2. 2 US CAP commits to 90% reduction by 2050 & coal moratorium! « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Dec 5th, 2007 at 12:29 pm
  3. 3 Rising Tide Needs Your Help! « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Dec 13th, 2007 at 7:39 pm
  4. 4 International Hoax Targets US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations « Trackback on Apr 27th, 2008 at 5:26 pm
  5. 5 The Understory » AIG Withdraws from US Climate Action Partnership Trackback on Feb 11th, 2009 at 8:19 pm
  6. 6 AIG Withdraws From US Climate Action Partnership « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Feb 11th, 2009 at 8:30 pm
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About Matt


Matt lives in San Francisco, where he enjoys working on climate justice and energy issues, supporting direct action as a strategy for social change, rock climbing, biking, punk rock, and the plethora of vegan food options. He has been involved in radical social justice and ecological movements for over 15 years.

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