sábado, febrero 03, 2007

Green For a Day?

by James Kanter (The NY Times)

Climate change is one of the big topics at this year’s World Economic Forum, so it is no surprise that delegates are parading their green credentials. But the worthies and grandees at Davos should watch out: There are watchdogs about.

David Miliband, the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for the environment, may have taken a Swiss train to the mountain resort rather than traveling the snowy Alpine roads in a gas-guzzling sport utility vehicle. But Gerd Leipold, the international executive director of Greenpeace, cast Miliband’s green aura in a different light.

Mr. Leipold said Mr. Miliband was belatedly jumping aboard the green bandwagon now that “it’s the direct way to becoming prime minister.” Mr. Miliband acknowleged he was “no saint” but said his efforts made him “less of a sinner.” Mr. Miliband also said he wished he had done more to build more energy-efficient schools when he was a minister in the department for education.

Iain Conn, the executive director of oil and gas company BP, described the company’s investments in renewable energy and said that he would have participated in panels on climate change before it became a topic of public concern.

Maria Cantwell, a U.S. senator from Washington state, sounded unconvinced. “I watch the BP commercials,” Ms. Cantwell said. But oil companies “are only going to move as fast as their economic interest,” she said.

One delegate at Davos who is unlikely to face any charges of greenwashing is Saxby Chambliss, a U.S. senator from Georgia. Mr. Chambliss told delegates that it was too soon to decide whether the changes in the weather were “manmade” and “something we need to be totally alarmed about,” or whether those changes were just “nature taking its course.”

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