Yearly Archives: 2008

The Best Moments of Corporate Watchdog Radio

CWR Watchdog

On this, the last-ever episode of Corporate Watchdog Radio, we take a stroll down memory lane to revisit the best moments in CWR’s history. The exchanges that had us on the edge of our seats, straining into our headphones to hear every syllable. We hear from a crotchety Barney Frank, a reflective Frances Moore Lappe, a tentative but ultimately optimistic Bill McKibben, a hopeful George Monbiot, and an eloquent Paul Hawken. Starting in 2009, CWR is changing its name to Sea Change Radio to cover the shift to social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

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The Future of Climate Policy

John Holdren
John Holdren

Over the weekend, President-Elect Barack Obama appointed John Holdren as his Science Adviser, a move applauded by many environmentalists. Holdren is director of the Woods Hole Research Center and teaches at Harvard.  Corporate Watchdog Radio has featured him twice. We aired part of his opening address at the 2008 UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk. And in September 2006, he talked with us about the pros and cons of nukes as a low-carbon solution to the climate crisis.  This week, we reprise these shows to give a sense of Holdren’s opinions.

John Holdren

John Holdren’s Presentation at the 2008 UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk: “Global Climatic Disruption: Risks and Opportunities”

CWR March 26, 2008: “Field Report from the UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk”

CWR September 6, 2006: “Will Nuclear Power Save Us from Global Warming?”

CWR News Analysis: Nick Robins of HSBC Analyzes the Poznan Climate Talks and the EU Climate Legislation —

Nick Robins
Nick Robins

As head of the Climate Change Centre for Excellence at the major UK bank HSBC, Nick Robins attended the recent climate talks in Poznan, Poland. This was the last step for the Kyoto Protocol before talks in Copenhagen in late 2009 negotiate post-Kyoto climate agreements. And, as world leaders met in Poznan, European Union Commissioners hammered out new climate legislation. Robins, co-author with Cary Krosinsky of the new book Sustainable Investing, weighs in on these as well from the HSBC offices in the UK.

CWR ViewPoint: Real or Fake — Christmas Tree, That Is!

Ellipsos Study: Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Artificial vs Natural Christmas Tree

The Sustainability of the War Economy?

Eugene Jarecki
Eugene Jarecki

Today’s show focuses on the intersection between sustainability and war — sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Eugene Jarecki, author of The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril, certainly thinks so. Jarecki explains to CWR Co-Host Francesca Rheannon how the mission of the military, to protect and defend the United States, gets subordinated to the enrichment of military contractors.

CWR News Analysis:

Hunter Lovins
Hunter Lovins

Natural Capitalism Solutions Founder Hunter Lovins analyzes the sustainability of the military, focusing on the 2007 US Army Sustainability Report released in September 2008.

CWR ViewPoint :

Linda Bilmes
Linda Bilmes

Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes, co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of The Three Trillion Dollar War, discusses her blog post this week about the report issued by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. She says it calls the US reconstruction effort in Iraq “a massive, unmitigated fiasco and waste of taxpayer money.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Turns 60

UDHR60_page_logoOn December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling on member country governments to promote the UDHR. Now, on the Declaration’s 60th anniversary, responsibility for promoting human rights protections has expanded to include the business community. The UN codified this link in 2005 when it issued a mandate for a Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, and this year it extended the appointment of Harvard Professor John Ruggie to the post for another three years.

Annabel ShortThe year 2005 also saw the launch of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre as a web platform covering both positive and negative news on corporate conduct around human rights. Today, we speak with Annabel Short, Head of Programme at the Resource Centre, about its innovative work promoting improvements in companies’ policies and practices on human rights.

Annabel Short of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UDHR 60th Anniversary

In October, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre launched the world’s first online portal profiling human rights lawsuits against companies. We caught up with the Resource Centre’s Head of Research Greg Regaignon from its California offices to describe the Corporate Legal Accountability Portal.

Listen to the complete interview with Greg Regaignon

Corporate Legal Accountability Portal

CWR News Analysis — Labor Rights are Human Rights

Wall Street Journal: “When Will That Bailout Money Trickle Down Exactly?”
Jobs with Justice: People’s Bailout Week
Coalition of Immokalee Workers Press Release: “Subway Signs Agreement with CIW to Improve Tomato Harvester Wages, Working Conditions in Florida”
International Labor Rights Forum Press Release: “Working for Scrooge — 5 Worst Companies for the Right to Associate”
Listen to the complete interview with Jon Weissman of Jobs with Justice

CWR ViewPoint — Mandatory Human Rights Regulations for Companies

arvind ganesanWe’re excited about our new commentary partnership with Human Rights Watch. We inaugurate this collaboration today with the opinion of HRW’s director of the Business and Human Rights Program Arvind Ganesan.

The End of Food?

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

The 18th century British author Jonathan Swift wrote that under the enclosure movement in Britain, “sheep eat men”. That’s because large landowners threw thousands of tenant farmers off their land to make way for raising sheep on an industrialized scale, in order to feed the textile mills of the new industrial age. Something of the same could be said of our current system of producing food. It was supposed to solve the problem of hunger in the world. The so-called “green revolution”, with its massive use of herbicides and pesticides, did usher in the era of cheap, abundant food. But Paul Roberts says that era is coming to an end. In his book, The End Of Food, Roberts says the technologies meant to end hunger don’t fit the conditions in the very countries they were supposed to feed. Small farmers are squeezed off the land, their families go hungry, and suicide sweeps their ranks. Rich countries are vulnerable, too. In a globalized food system, plant diseases could wipe out major food crops like wheat, fish stocks are crashing, and antibiotic resistance threatens both our meat animals–and ourselves. Roberts says the global industrialized food system is overextended, under threat of disruptions and unsustainable.

CWR News Analysis — The 24th Anniversary of Bhopal:

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
EarthRights International: Bano v. Union Carbide Case History
Press Release: “Victory Against Union Carbide Corp.: Court Reverses Dismissal of Pollution Claims”
Second Circuit Appeals Court Decision in Bano v. Union Carbide
Press Release: “Chevron Found Not Liable for Killings, Shootings, and Torture of Nigerian Peaceful Protesters”
FindLaw: “Chevron Wins an Alien Tort Statute Case – But the Victory May Be Less Important than It Might Seem”

CWR ViewPoint — Are NGOs and Corporations Too Cozy?

Marc Gunther
Marc Gunther

On Monday, the Washington DC offices of the NGO Environmental Defense were “invaded” by grassroots climate activists from Rising Tide North America. Dr. Rachel Smolker, daughter of a co-founder of Environmental Defense, protested ED’s collaboration with corporations, particularly its involvement in the US Climate Action Partnership, an alliance of NGOs and big companies that advocates for carbon cap-and-trade. The activists label this a “false” solution to the climate crisis, and lampooned the NGO with “Mr. Green” and “Mr. Wash” scrubbing the ED offices clean.

Last month, Fortune magazine’s Sustainability Columnist Marc Gunther blogged and wrote an article on the “cozy” relationships between NGOs and corporations. For the Corporate Watchdog Radio ViewPoint, we caught up with Marc from his home office in Bethesda for his take on this issue.

How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth

Herve Kempf
Herve Kempf

While some view the negative impacts of economics and environment as separate, Herve Kempf sees financial inequality and environmental destruction as inextricably linked. The author of How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth, Kempf explains how the wealthy of the world are living unsustainable lifestyles, and everyone else is trashing the earth too trying to keep up with the rich Joneses. The solution? Move away from materialism and growth.

CWR News Analysis — The Greening of Wal-Mart?:

Sources:
CSRwire: “Wal-Mart Celebrates Thanksgiving by Sourcing Local Food, Supporting Hunger-Relief, and Buying Wind Power”
GreenBiz: “Wal-Mart’s New CEO: What Does it Mean for Green?”
The Green Wave Marches On: Wal-Mart in China
Grist: “Wal-Mart Comes to the Farmers Market”
Press Release: “Walmart Gives Consumers Opportunity To Support Local Economies Through Locally Grown Program”
Cornucopia Institute: Wal-Mart Organics: Market Expansion or Market Delusion?
Press Release: “Wal-Mart Makes Major Commitment to Renewable Wind Power”
Wal-Mart Carbon Disclosure Project Response, 2007
Lee Scott Message in Wal-Mart Sustainability Progress report, 2007

CWR ViewPoint:

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil

Bloomberg Columnist Jonathan Weil, the first journalist to expose Enron’s cooked books in 2001, recently criticized President-Elect Barack Obama’s appointments to the Transition Economic Advisory Board, pointing out that almost half hail from companies that fried their financial statements or fueled the market meltdown — or both. CWR Co-hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon chat with Weil about his critique.

“Obama’s Bailout Bunch Brings Us More of the Same”

“Rubinomics Recalculated”

A Global Green Deal

Michael RennerBruce Kahn

At the G-20 Summit addressing the global financial crisis this weekend, the government leaders of the world’s largest economies essentially twiddled their thumbs, punting on setting ambitious goals until April 2009 — when the Barack Obama Administration, which is dedicated to addressing the financial crisis and the climate crisis, is in office. Before the Summit, Worldwatch Institute Senior Researchers Michael Renner and Gary Gardner proposed that the G-20 enact a Global Green Deal, evocative of FDR’s new deal but more audacious in scope and vision. CWR co-hosts Francesca Rheannon and Bill Baue speak with Renner about the proposal’s 5 strategies, including transitioning to a renewable energy economy, launching an efficiency revolution, and investing in green infrastructure.

And speaking of green infrastructure, Deutsche Asset Management issued a report calling for the establishment of a “green” National Infrastructure Bank. Bill Baue speaks with Deutsche Climate Change Investment Research Director Bruce Kahn about the report, a followup on the Investing in Climate Change 2009: Necessity and Opportunity in Turbulent Times report CWR covered recently.

Listen

“Building a Green Economy: It’s Time for the G20 to Focus on a Global Green Deal”

Michael Renner

Report: Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world

Bruce Kahn

Deutsche Asset Management Report: Economic Stimulus: The Case for “Green” Infrastructure, Energy Security and “Green” Jobs

CWR News Analysis: Listen

News Sources:
Pew Research Center on the People and the Environment “A Deeper Partisan Divide Over Global Warming”
Schwarzenegger Blames Global Warming for Elongated Fire Season
BBC: “Emissions up in developed nations”
NY Times: “Pollution Has Leveled Off, but the Figures Have Holes”
Pam Solo: “Saving Detroit from itself”
Marketplace: “Obama meant it about C02”

CWR ViewPoint: Listen

The Top BENNY Award for 2008, given to activist campaigns holding corporations accountable by the Business Ethics Network (BEN), went to the Clean Up Ecuador campaign for bringing Chevron to justice for decades of pollution in the Amazon. The campaign is led by the Amazon Defense Coalition and Amazon Watch. Mitch Anderson of Amazon Watch has our commentary today, produced in partnership with BEN.

Amazon Watch

ChevronToxico

Business Ethics Network

Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging

Jill Stein

What’s behind the rise in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? Lifetime exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment such as fossil fuel pollution, as it turns out. This according to a new report from the Science and Environmental Health Network and Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility. Today, CWR co-host Francesca Rheannon speaks with the report’s lead author, Jill Stein, who heads the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. Dr. Stein also ran for governor of the commonwealth in 2002 on the Green-Rainbow ticket, as well as Secretary of State in 2006.

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities

Report: Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging

Jill Stein

Listen to the complete 40-minute interview with Jill Stein

Joe Romm

CWR Headlines:

Today’s CWR Headlines feature an interview with ClimateProgress blogger Joe Romm of the Center for American Progress.

Bush Deposits a Parting Gift on the Environment’s Doorstep
Democrats Go to the Mat on Control over Energy and Commerce Committee

Building a Local Sustainable Economy that Works for All

Prakash LauferFelice Yeskel

As icecaps and global markets melt down, localism is rising up as a solution to our ecological and economic crises. United for a Fair Economy and Class Action, two national nonprofits based in Massachusetts that address the inequitable distribution of resources, are sponsoring a workshop entitled “Building a Local Economy that Works for All.” Today, we speak with Class Action Executive Director and United for a Fair Economy co-founder Felice Yeskel, and current United for a Fair Economy Board Chair Prakash Laufer about how the workshop weaves together economic, social, class, and environmental solutions to build a local sustainable economy. We at CWR have spoken with Felice in the past about her book, Economic Apartheid in America. Prakash is former CEO of Motherwear, a catalog company providing clothing for breastfeeding mothers that he co-founded in part on the principles of PROUT, or progressive utilization theory, which envisions a post-capitalist economy that is sustainable and just.

Class Action

United for a Fair Economy

Building a Local Economy that Works for All

Listen to more of our interview with Felice Yeskel and Prakash Laufer

February 15, 2006 CWR w/Felice Yeskel and Sam Pizzigati: “Economic Apartheid and Excessive Executive Compensation”

CWR Headlines:

“Barack Obama — a Sustainable President?”
The Carbon Footprint of Obama’s Campaign
Obama May Put Renewable-Energy Plan Ahead of Climate Package
Obama’s potential green team

Hazel Henderson

CWR ViewPoint:

On September 26, 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy,president of France and the European Union, said, “we must rethink the financial system from scratch, as at Bretton Woods.” On October 22, US President George Bush announced that Bretton Woods II, as it was called, would be held in Washington DC on November 15. The new summit seeks to fix the broken economic order created at the summit of world leaders held in a small New Hampshire ski town as World War II wound down. In today’s ViewPoint, we speak with Hazel Henderson of Ethical Markets about her recent CSRwire commentary, “Advice for Summitteers on Reforming the Global Casino.” This continues our series with Hazel commenting on the market meltdown.

Hazel Henderson

Ethical Markets

“Advice for Summitteers on Reforming the Global Casino”

Foreign Exchange Transaction System

United Nations Security Insurance Agency

Bretton Woods II

Joe Romm Compares Presidential Platforms on Environment and Energy

Joe Romm

We reported last week that Barack Obama will regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act if elected. Not so for John McCain. Today writer and scientist Joseph Romm wrote on his blog Climate Progess, that a McCain-Palin administration would use a voluntary or incentive-based approach, one that “has never worked in any country to restrain emissions growth.” Today, we talk to Joe Romm about how Barack Obama and John McCain differ on their approaches to the climate crisis and alternative energy. Romm is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he maintains its blog, Climate Progress. It was named one of the top 15 green websites by Time Magazine. Romm is also the author of the 2006 book Hell and High Water: Global Warming–the Solution and the Politics–and What We Should Do. He was Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration.

Joe Romm

Climate Progress blog

Hell and High Water

CWR Headlines:

BPA is OK — According to a Chemical-Friendly FDA
Scientists Blast FDA report on BPA Safety
Phthalate-Laden Toys Flooding the Market
The Other Debt Crisis — How we’re Overspending Our Ecological Budget