We the people? Yeah, right. The United States of America has been replaced by the United Corporations of America. Americans today are just worker bees whose job is to support the unlimited expansion of corporate influence, power, and wealth.
How do we know this? Because some of the largest corporations in America — many of whom have made pious pledges to address the existential threat of an overheating planet — are fighting tooth and nail to defeat the $3.5 trillion Biden infrastructure package that contains many provisions for dramatically lowering America’s contribution to carbon dioxide emissions.
According to The Guardian, those companies have sicced their
trained seals corporate lobbyists on the US Congress to slow down or halt completely the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill proposed by the Biden Administration that includes some of the most far reaching carbon reduction strategies ever enacted by any government. That bill has been called the “the most significant climate action in our country’s history” by Chuck Schumer, the Democrat who is the Senate majority leader.
Hypocrisy In High Places
“Major corporations love to tell us how committed they are to addressing the climate crisis and building a sustainable future, but behind closed doors, they are funding the very industry trade groups that are fighting to stop the biggest climate change bill ever,” Kyle Herrig, president of watchdog group Accountable.US, tells The Guardian. “Hiding behind these shady groups doesn’t just put our environment at risk — it puts these companies’ household names and reputations in serious jeopardy,” Herrig adds.
The US Chamber of Commerce has vowed to “do everything we can to prevent this tax raising, job killing reconciliation bill from becoming law.” Its board of directors includes executives from Microsoft, Intuit, United Airlines, and Deloitte — all of whom give lip service to their commitment to carbon reduction goals.
The Business Roundtable says it is “deeply concerned” about the passage of the bill because it raises taxes on the wealthy. It includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods. The Guardian reached out to all those companies and was told they have no intention of reining in the organizations they belong to.
And we’re not done. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group that includes Bayer and AstraZeneca among its members, has run ads attacking the proposed bill. The Rate Coalition, another lobby group that has Disney, FedEx, and Verizon as members, is also planning an advertising blitz to help kill off the legislation while the National Association of Manufacturers — backed by Johnson & Johnson, Dow, and Goodyear — has said it is attempting to upend the bill “in every way you can imagine.”
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
What is so distressing about all this opposition is that so many of these companies say they take climate change seriously. Microsoft has promised to be “carbon negative” within a decade and Disney says it will use only electricity from renewable sources by then.
Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people in the world, has pledged $1 billion a year to the Bezos Earth Fund. This is the same fellow who recently flew into space and said he was shocked, shocked to see first hand how thin the atmosphere that protects the Earth really is. Actually, anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the Apollo program knows that, but Jeff had to see it for himself before he could believe it.
Now the company Bezos owns is actively opposing legislation that would help preserve that tiny sliver of atmosphere that protects life on Earth as we know it. Way to talk out of both sides of your mouth, Jeff!
Bill Gates made a few bucks form Microsoft and has put a bunch of money into the Breakthrough Energy fund, yet the company he founded is opposed to taking serious action to slow global heating. Another fine example of saying one thing and doing the opposite.
Our Last Best Chance
As the first major attempt at climate legislation in more than a decade, the bill pending in Congress comes at a time when scientists warn the world is rapidly running out of time to avoid catastrophic climate change. The legislation’s failure would not only wound Biden politically, it would also likely hinder attempts to prod other countries into more drastic action at crucial upcoming UN climate talks in Scotland.
“This is a historic chance to end fossil fuel subsidies and invest in a livable future,” said Lukas Ross, climate program manager at Friends of the Earth. “We can’t waste this opportunity to pass meaningful climate legislation because there might not be another.”
One can only wonder who Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Disney, and the rest will sell their products to when most of their customers are dead or dying. At CleanTechnica, our readers know we are on the brink of a climate disaster and yet the corporate scions of the world want to party like it’s 1999. Such shortsighted attitudes will condemn us all to extinction, but Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates couldn’t care less. They got theirs, people, and they really don’t give a damn about you. That’s the bottom line.
Unfortunately, the way politics is done in America today, corporations have all the power and the people have none. Since corporations believe their only obligation is to create shareholder value, the result of this power imbalance is easy to predict.