The Axis of oil

US Presidency continues to be amazing bargain for Exxon

Feature story - 3 September, 2002
The representatives to the Earth Summit agreed a "Plan of Action" at a late-night session in Johannesburg. In doing so, they failed 2 billion of the world's poorest while failing the planet's future at the same time.

By dictating US Energy Policy, Exxon dictates world energy policy.

As Heads of State made beautiful speeches about the need for action on climate change, the 300-strong US delegation in the backrooms of the summit held the future to ransom, forcing delegates to accept that the US would only agree to stump up money for clean water if the world gave up on renewable energy. Behind that insistence was US Energy policy, authored by the big oil interests that elected Bush and Cheney.

"After over a year of debate the WSSD energy section does not represent a single step forward," said Greenpeace Climate Policy Director Steve Sawyer. "The Plan of Action is not much of a plan, and it contains almost no action. We've spent the last year and half doing damage control. We now have to move forward with a 'coalition of the willing,' those countries, communities, organisations, and people who want to deliver a sustainable energy future."

The energy section of the plan of implementation, as it was agreed:

--Delivers nothing on energy supply for the 2 billion people world-wide who have no access to modern energy services;

--Has no targets or timetables of any kind for the uptake of renewable energy;

--Delivers nothing on reducing the massive subsidies to the fossil fuel industry which continue to prop up its dominance of the global energy mix;

--Merely reiterates agreements made over the past several years.

Both the European Union and Brazil came to the Summit with proposals for firm targets on renewable energy. While varying in the degree to which they would have spurred investment in renewable energies like solar, wind, small-scale hydro, and modern biomass, either would have sent a strong signal to governments that the Summit was serious about the battle against global warming.

The pacts, and indeed any suggestion of firm targets and timelines for renewables invstment were consistently opposed by Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Australia, and Canada.

Norway, Brazil, New Zealnd, Switzerland, Iceland, and some members of the EU had pushed hard for clearer targets, but in the end could only express their dismay.

Greenpeace Executive Director Gerd Leipold said, "Many Heads of States have made fine speeches saying that climate change was the number one challenge facing our planet. What has this summit done about it? Absolutely nothing. By its own standards, the WSSD has failed. Our challenge now is to shine a spotlight so that everyone can see the forces that are responsible for that failure. And that's the unholy alliances between big business and governments that allow our planet's future and the poverty of humanity to take a back seat to the corporate bottom line.

Bush talks about the Axis of evil, but he's involved Axis of oil."