Major PR Firm: We Just Can’t Stomach Climate Deniers Anymore

September 16, 2015

Why have research laboratories started using lawyers instead of rats in their experiments?

3 reasons: first, there are more of them. Second, the lab assistants don’t grow attached to them.
Third, – there are some things rats just won’t do.

Old joke, but it may apply here – not to lawyers, but to a profession that is about equal in public esteem.


The world’s biggest public relations company has decided it will no longer work with coal producers and climate change deniers.

Edelman said it believes such clients pose a threat to the company’s legitimacy and its bottom line.

The exclusion of coal and climate denial, as well as fake front groups that oppose action on global warming, is outlined in internal communications obtained by the Guardian and confirmed by company executives. It signals an important shift in a company that reported earnings of $833m (£540m) and has played a critical role in shaping public opinion in the US and globally about climate change.

The new approach follows a two-year review of Edelman’s operations aimed at protecting what the company calls its “licence to lead”, following negative publicity about its work on behalf of the oil lobby and pipeline companies.

The conclusion was that coal producers and climate denial, as well as tactics such as greenwashing, were high-risk.

“On climate denial and coal those are where we just said this is absolutely a no-go area,” Michael Stewart, the president and chief executive for Europe, who led the review, told the Guardian.

The company was also taking a stand against spreading doubt about climate change, and the use of fake front groups to influence elected officials, Stewart said.

“When you are trying in some way to obfuscate the truth or use misinformation and half-truths that is what we would consider getting into the work of greenwashing, and that is something we would never propose or work we would support our client doing,” he went on. “Greenwashing, fake front groups, anything like that is completely inappropriate.”

There are, however, some thing rats can still justify.

The company made no promises on representing companies that have fought against regulations cutting carbon pollution. However, clients involved in Arctic drilling and the Alberta tar sands will not be excluded, and there was no discussion about dropping other oil and gas producers, Stewart said.

I’m still looking for an image of a rat throwing up.

All this, of course, means more work for my good buddy, Marc Morano.


11 Responses to “Major PR Firm: We Just Can’t Stomach Climate Deniers Anymore”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Thanks for again posting the video of your “good buddy” Mark Morono. It needs to appear every few months. It’s an all-time classic, and again proves what a motor mouthed moron he is as he let you play him like a fish. LMAO!

    It almost makes me want to post the Russell Cook “I am not a scientist but just a guy who walked in off the street” clip so that we can have a “Climate Change Denier Moron Film Festival”.

    Could you do that? Assemble a video with all the morons spouting their dumbest stuff? Call it the CCDMFF?

  2. jimbills Says:

    This can be taken as a sign that there are shifts within industry regarding climate change denial. It is becoming unpalatable and actually harmful to the supporting businesses of fossil carbon companies. The other takeaway from this is that placing the spotlight on a ‘susceptible’ business (a PR firm is susceptible to critique, as they have other clients and revenue, but a business that derives all its money from the questionable practice itself is more unlikely to change itself) can have a real effect.

    From the Guardian article:

    ‘The changes at Edelman follow an extensive review described by Stewart as “soul-searching” after the company itself had a run of bad PR for its business practices.

    “Clearly in 2014 we were becoming part of the headlines and not in a helpful way,” Stewart said. “We are there to help our clients tell their story and not be a part of the story.”’

    Edelman is far from being saint-like, though. They’ve dropped coal and the American Petroleum Institute, but they made quite a lot of money helping API and other groups push denial until very recently, and they urged TransCanada to push a “perpetual campaign” for building pipelines:

    They just received too much backlash with their other clients, so they did what any public relations firm would urge their own clients to do – cut ties with the (in this case, worst) offenders, get some good press, and move on.

    Edelman’s profits from API:

  3. indy222 Says:

    You’ve got incredible restraint, Peter. I wouldn’t be able to endure that Marc Moron-o blabber for more than a few seconds without blowing a gasket. Well done. You tread the perfect line letting these bozo’s wreck their own credibility and with just the right amount in incredulous satire to help the process.

  4. I thought PR companies were actually expected to fabricate “information”, after all who wants to hire a PR company that tells the truth about the plastic junk you are trying to convince the public is the best thing since sliced bread? 🙂

    Personally I despise any form of advertising, explicit as well as hidden as sublime messages or “new scientific discovery” fake reports placed in the media. Any kind of quackery should be banned.

    A while back, here in Norway we had an issue with the most popular food sold, a frozen pizza called Grandiosa – where it was discovered that there was no ham in their ham and cheese pizza! The ham was in fact soya based mixed with beef and other things in order to make it still look like ham. When they did the change was not very well marketed anywhere, and neither had they bothered to fix the ingredients list. The authorities protecting consumers had to ask them nicely over several years until they actually did change it.

    So now I just wait for the day when the cheese is not cheese anymore either. I think a good development for the future would be to have a governmentally run office of Public Information countering companies Public Relations with actual facts about products so that a consumer can base his choices upon real information and not a “feeling”.

  5. ceist8 Says:

    Factoid: Rats can’t physically vomit, so you won’t find a real image of one throwing up. 😀

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