Ford Motor Company Revealed As Funder of Climate Denial Group ALEC
Ford Motor Company, despite its much-hyped commitment to the environment, has been quietly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group widely criticized for its promotion of climate change denial and for its opposition to the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.
A Ford spokesperson, Christin Baker, confirmed the ALEC grant to the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch, but said that the funding was not intended to be used by ALEC to block action on climate change.
"Ford participates in a broad range of organizations that support our business needs, but no organization speaks for Ford on every issue. We do not engage with ALEC on climate change," said Baker.
Major Corporations Flee ALEC Over Climate Denial
Center for Media and Democracy is breaking the story of Ford funding of ALEC as other major international corporations have continued to withdraw financial support for the organization. Since Center for Media and Democracy first launched the ALEC Exposed investigation in 2011, revealing the extensive agenda of the corporate lobbying group, more than 100 corporations have left ALEC, including BP, Occidental, Yahoo, Visa, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Walmart and McDonalds.
In September 2014, Google announced that it would end its ALEC funding. "I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake, and so we’re trying to not do that in the future," Chairman Eric Schmidt told National Public Radio.
Schmidt then slammed ALEC for the deceptive claims it has showcased on climate change, even though "the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they’re just, they’re just literally lying."
Most recently, Shell Oil announced it would withdraw support for ALEC in August 2015, telling the Washington Post: "ALEC advocates for specific economic growth initiatives, but its stance on climate change is clearly inconsistent with our own."
As part of its UNGC commitment, Ford boasts that it "is committed to doing our share to prevent or reduce the potential for environmental, economic and social harm due to climate change."
Ford's funding of ALEC is inconsistent with that aim.
At a session held during the 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, ALEC legislators were repeatedly told: “There is no scientific consensus on the human role in climate change.” At another session during the same conference, legislators heard that: "The idea that there is a "scientific consensus" [on climate change] does not hold up." ALEC counts more than 2,000 legislators as members and it has touted its reach in Congress with former House Speaker John Boehner plus several GOP members of the Senate and House who have publicly denied climate change.
Despite ALEC's efforts to promote climate change denial among U.S. politicians, there is in fact wide consensus that the earth is warming because of human activity. Respected scientific bodies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, along with 97 percent of climate scientists agree on this point.
Earlier this year, CMD/PRwatch co-launched a new website that documents the teaching of climate change denial to legislators at ALEC conferences: ALECClimateChangeDenial.org.
ALEC's next meeting is in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the same time as the UNFCC's COP21 meeting on climate change will be taking place in Paris, France.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.