German public television story on German corporate support for the denial machine


A story on ZDF, the German national public television channel, talked about two German companies that contribute money to global warming denialists in U.S. politics. I told ZDF that a number of U.S. corporations try to have it both ways — acknowledging the reality of the climate change problem, on the one hand, while working to block policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The story aired on ZDF on March 11. Here’s a link (it’s in German) — the relevant segment starts at 7:30 of the video and goes to 10:18.

The host says that climate change in political circles in Washington, DC, appears to be as popular as socialism, and that despite overwhelming scientific evidence, the climate change denial machine is well-positioned to further undermine any – let alone effective – action on the climate policy front. The segment shows several clips from the new documentary film “Greedy Lying Bastards,” including various exemplars of the denial machine going about their shabby business and interview clips from James Hoggan at DeSmogBlog and former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

The segment asserts that two German companies – Bayer and BASF – have given money to the climate change denial machine in U.S. politics. The companies said they could not control what their employees do, but Sarah Bryner from the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets* project calls this “disingenuous” given that senior management itself contributes to the denialists. I note briefly (from a March 11 interview in ZDF’s Washington studio) that a number of U.S. corporations acknowledge the reality of climate change, on the one hand, while at the same time undermining effective action by working to oppose policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

[For more on the point about corporate two-facedness: in their report A Climate of Corporate Control (2012), the Union of Concerned Scientists noted, unsurprisingly, that “many U.S. companies are using their influence to muddy the waters—casting unwarranted doubt on the science, adding confusion to the policy discussion, and holding back or slowing down action on solutions.” The report also documented how “some corporations are contradictory in their actions, expressing concern about the threat of climate change in some venues—such as company websites, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, annual reports, or statements to Congress—while working to weaken policy responses to climate change in others.” Could Bayer and BASF be examples of this latter category?]

* is a public interest website tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.

Thanks to Erich Vogt for helping with translation.

Earlier posts:

“Greedy Lying Bastards” opens in theaters nationwide

Archive of CSW Global Warming Denial Machine posts

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