New Report Identifies “Coronavirus Climate Profiteers” Mighty Earth names top polluters exploiting the pandemic to weaken environmental protections and grab subsidies
A new report from Mighty Earth, a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change, identifies corporations and industries taking advantage of the Coronavirus crisis to profit from eased regulations and the increased opportunity to pollute cost-free.
“A lot of people are understandably furious about small-time coronavirus grifters, like the guy hoarding Purell in his garage,” reports Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz in the report. “Sure, that’s bad, but it’s nothing compared to the cynicism and public health hazards created by leading coronavirus profiteers and their enablers.”
The meat and biofuels industries, carmakers, airlines, illegal loggers in Indonesia, and the fossil fuel industry are all named as “coronavirus profiteers.” Their efforts to avoid environmental protections and attempts to siphon no-strings-attached bailout funds from more worthy recipients have already earned them the opprobrium of environmental activists.
“These bad actors are hoping the world won’t notice what they’re up to,” says Hurowitz. “They’re counting on the shadow of the coronavirus to cloak their misdeeds. We thought a bit of sunlight was in order.”
The report also praises some companies and individuals for continuing to prioritize climate action even in a time of great challenges. Auto companies Volkswagen and BMW have reiterated their support for 2020 climate standards. The European Commission is moving forward with plans that could strengthen the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, and ministers in several European countries are calling for green development as a response to the economic impact of the virus. The report also identifies some palm oil traders who have moved quickly to suspend a rogue operator responsible for deforestation.
“While these organizations may not always be climate champions – many of them still have policies and practice we strongly disagree with – it was important to give credit where credit is due,” says Hurowitz.
A paper published by The Royal Society identifies habitat loss and wildlife exploitation as causes of animal-to-human virus transmission — and as likely culprits of future pandemics.
“The companies and industries identified in this report are driving environmental destruction while taking advantage of a crisis that was caused by just this sort of reckless disregard for the natural world,” Hurowitz adds. “We cannot let them get away with it. As we build a new economy for a post-pandemic world, we must prioritize the policies that will also help us confront the twin crises of climate change and mass extinction.”
The full report is available here.