The problem with studying the rich (well, one of many) is that access is hard. So you end up relying on leaks and whisteblowers. Both can be deeply problematic. But every so often the curtain DOES get pulled back. With Australia and climate change two great examples are
a) the leaking of the minutes of the 2004 meeting where then Prime Minister begged big fossil fuel companies to help him kill off the pesky renewable energy target which was working too well
b) the PhD of Guy Pearse, who had talked to fellow lobbyists. They explained how they had captured and ‘reverse engineered’ Australian energy policy.
Now there is another, short and sharp example. In an article called “Can we be honest about the damage we are all doing?” a chap called Andrew Craig-Bennett dishes it out to the shipping industry’s various trade associations, which have tried to shoot down a recent expose of their activities.
“if you are not influencing the [International Maritime Organisation] and others, there is no point in paying you,and we can all save a few bucks. What we want you to do is to influence the IMO is a less brain dead way.”
(Later he writes “we can feel nothing but contempt and disgust at the prostitutes employed by our racket to try to put one over on the general public.”)
Craig-Bennet then says he recalls an incident from more than three decades ago
“I saw a carefully drafted, science-based, regulation, which would have improved safety and been simple to enforce, turned into a pile of scientifically unsound but ‘commercially helpful’ garbage by, in that case, the Australian mining industry, who were pretending to be the Australian government.”
He goes on to extol the virtues of disruptive technologies (“the available means of ship propulsion without emissions are nuclear, solar and wind.”)
It is a fascinating article, that concludes (so, you know, spoiler alert, obvs)
“We all know this change is coming. We can lead it, get rich and be on the side of the angels or we can share the fate of the other rust belt industries. Simple.”
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