Coinciding 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
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