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Policy & Politics COP21 Paris (vintage Fox News photo)

Published on December 2nd, 2015 | by Tina Casey


Fox Leads The Charge To Support — Yes, Support — President Obama At COP21 Paris Climate Talks

December 2nd, 2015 by  

21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News Channel, is first on the list of 73 major companies that have just signed on to President Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Pledge.” The new group of 73 was just announced on Tuesday in support of a strong outcome for this week’s COP21 Paris climate talks, and it brings a total of 154 major US and global companies front and center into climate action leadership.

A strong global agreement on climate change is precisely the outcome that certain US elected leaders don’t want, which makes Fox’s appearance on the list particularly weird. Fox News Channel has gleefully functioned as the nation’s leading amplifier and churner of deliberate obfuscation on climate change since the early days of the Obama Administration, so what’s going on here?

COP21 Paris (vintage Fox News photo)

Yes, Fox Is Leading The Charge To Support COP21

Though we don’t really expect Fox News Channel to change its tune, its advocacy for climate change denial stance is now way out of step with the official position of its parent company.

By dint of having a name with a relatively low number at the beginning, 21st Century Fox nailed the first spot on the list of new pledges, giving it the spotlight position directly following the text of the Climate Pledge cited by the White House earlier this week. That would be these lines:

We applaud the growing number of countries that have already set ambitious targets for climate action. In this context, we support the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.

We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.


How Much Does Fox Heart COP21 Paris? This Much!

The Climate Pledge requires its members to list their concrete actions rather than just pay lip service, and 21st Century Fox certainly comes through on that score. Here’s their full contribution:

21st Century Fox is committed to minimizing our environmental impacts, growing sustainably, and inspiring others to take action. Since 2006, we have carefully measured and managed our impacts through our company-wide sustainability program and continue to drive industry-leading sustainability practices in film and television production. We work to raise awareness among audiences through pioneering content like Cosmos, Avatar, Breakthrough, Rio, and National Geographic. In the next 5 years, we pledge to:

Reduce carbon emissions by 25% compared to 2013, normalized by revenue.

Reduce carbon emissions from Fox feature film productions by 15% per shoot day

Achieve zero waste to landfill at Fox Studios in Los Angeles.

Implement a sustainable lumber use policy for all Fox feature film and scripted television production.

Disclose our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions annually. We have reported this data through CDP since 2006, and we have been recognized on the S&P500 Disclosure Leadership Index for seven consecutive years for the thoroughness and transparency of our reporting.

Continue to invest in clean and renewable sources of energy. Since 2010, we have invested more than $30M in on-site renewable energy and installed 5.5MW of new solar power.

Continue to improve the efficiency of our studio operations, including through programs like the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Partnership, which has helped us reduce our carbon footprint by over 1000 tons and save 2.6 million kWh per year in energy use.

That’s pretty impressive, right? Even more helpful would be a pledge to stop deliberately misleading the voting public about climate science. Oh well, baby steps.

On a side note, the Fox–National Geographic connection has been going on for about 18 years and it was expanded this fall, with these words from current Fox CEO James Murdoch:

We are privileged to have the opportunity to expand our partnership to continue to bring to audiences around the world, ‘The world and all that is in it,’ as National Geographic Society’s second president Alexander Graham Bell stated more than a century ago. We believe in the Society’s mission of bringing the world to audiences through science, education and exploration.

With that in mind, we were particularly interested when The National Geographic Channel introduced its six-part Breakthrough series last month, covering innovative technology including clean tech. A few weeks ago we got a sneak peek at the upcoming Energy on the Edge episode and it’s a full-throated call for climate action.

Energy on the Edge is also a nifty piece of Hollywood cliffhanger storytelling and (plug alert) you can catch the premier this Sunday December 6 at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time on The National Geographic Channel.

Yes, Fox Is Serious About Energy Efficiency

We can’t let go of this just yet because the 21st Century Fox list of climate actions includes something we didn’t know, which is its involvement with the US Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Partnership.

That’s a pretty odd pairing considering that the Energy Department and its successful clean tech loan program have been favorite targets of the fossil fuel lobby, as faithfully reported by Fox News.

It’s especially odd considering that the public-private partnership is aimed at providing leadership models for other businesses to follow:

The three-year projects will provide comprehensive business and technical case studies for broad publication, including actual energy performance data from the completed projects, to help spur wider adoption of energy-efficient building practices across the industry.

Nevertheless, Fox was an early adopter of the Clean Buildings Partnership initiative. It launched in 2010 with $21 million in Recovery Act funding for 24 projects, one of which was 21st Century Fox, so go figure.

Whatever Happened To The Party Of Big Business?

As for those aforementioned US elected leaders who are aggressively working to undermine President Obama’s position at the COP21 talks, all of them are affiliated with the Republican Party, formerly known as the “party of big business.” In consideration of the Climate Pledge membership, the party’s grip on that title appears to be slipping, leaving us to wonder exactly who or what the party represents.

The Climate Pledge launched only four months ago on July 27 with a roster of just 13 companies, but this baker’s dozen carries a big stick: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart, representing “more than $1.3 trillion in revenue in 2014 and a combined market capitalization of at least $2.5 trillion.”

Now at 154 strong, the Climate Pledge represents more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue with a market capitalization topping $7 trillion. Senator Inhofe better have plenty of snowballs in his ice chest for COP21.

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Photo: Fox News truck at Thorncliffe Race Track Photographer: William James ca. 1929 City of Toronto Archives Fonds 1244, Item 8050 via flickr.com. 


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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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