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« A lack of self-awareness | Main | The perils of over-promotion »

The Guardian backs big oil

Barry Woods points us to the transcript of a most amusing Guardian podcast on the subject of that organ's latest bit of posturing. It seems that the divestment campaign has yet to actually have any impact on the Guardian's own investments:

Amanda Michel: You know, there are big questions about asking people to do something that we ourselves have not done.

Aleks Krotoski: What Amanda is talking about is sorting out the Guardian's own pots of money, their investments.

Amanda Michel: It will seem like hypocrisy.

Alan Rusbridger: We have about £600 million invested at the moment, and I don't think our fund managers could say exactly how much was invested in fossil fuel. But it is there, we haven't said that it shouldn't be, so we have got money invested. And so, if we're going to be calling on people to divest, people are bound to ask "Well, is that what the Guardian's going to do?"

I have to say I agree with Ms Michel: it will indeed seem like hypocrisy for the Guardian to keep backing big oil in this way.

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Reader Comments (34)

You should campaign for them to divest.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterGubulgaria

It shoudl also be noted that the Grauniad is a fully capitalist company that pays dividends to its shareholders.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Where can I buy up some of the cheap investments in big oil that the greens want everyone to flog off?

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Well done Barry.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

But if the Grauniad' private trust fund had been invested in green sustainable companies, the Grauniad would have gone bust.

Fortunately for Grauniad employees, the Grauniads financial advisers, do not take heed of all the crap written in the Grauniad.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Alan Rusbridger: So, a powerful argument against that would be: carbon is much worse for you than tobacco. So that's a completely irrational thing for a scientific trust to...

If he believes that he's a moron.

What does he think he's breathing in and out?

If he's arguing that climate model predictions are as certain as the link between tobacco and cancer then he's clearly in the pay of Big Tobacco.
Even the IPCC doesn't claim that.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

hypocrisy! you mean like having your tax base offshore so you can 'manage it efficiently' but having countless articles attacking others for doing the same thing?

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Thanks is due to Alex Cull, for the transcript..

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

You get this, "do as I say, but not as I do", all the time with lefties.

It chimes in with my belief that modern progressives are just mentally the same as Victorian hypocrites. As long as they say the right thing, in public, amongst their friends, they can do what they like in private.

Its religious belief.

There has to be some way of explaining away the cognitive dissonance required for someone like Martin Freeman to appear in a Labour Party broadcast. The same Martin Freeman who is worth 10 million quid. The same Martin Freeman who sent his child to £13,000 a year boarding school.

It's not that they do these things, it's that they are so secure in the knowledge that nobody (that matters) will ever call them to account for it.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

The podcasts are delightfully funny and slightly alarming at the same time, like a very funny person having a mental breakdown. In this episode, where they talk to the money people, there’s lots of nervous laughter. The reality of putting their money where their mouths are is clearly a novel and scary prospect. What a pity they’ve also ruled out seriously cutting their CO2 or the whole thing might push them into scepticism by accident.

Am I odd? Every time I intend to commit to something, I work out if I’m ready to pay the real price and if I discover I’m not, I don’t sign up. It’s why I’m a sceptic. I know that I’d need a lot more persuading to do what’s necessary to seriously reduce our national foot print.

Mar 31, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I did start using a hashtag #GuardianMeltdown on the back of those podcasts,, Monbiot and Mckibbens ego/vanity are pushing Rusbridger to do this.

2nd transcript

Aleks Krotoski: To the rescue, the fine mind of George Monbiot. He suggests a global political solution.

George Monbiot: First, there has to be a global recognition of the issue.

Aleks Krotoski: Then...

George Monbiot: You have to have a global agreement that we will decide to leave two thirds or more...

Aleks Krotoski: ... in the ground. So, for George, in practice that means we need to -

George Monbiot: - set up, probably, a global auction system, which would reflect the carbon density of those fuels...

Male voice: ... so you'd allow however many millions of tons of fossil fuels to be extracted, and then auction those off.

Aleks Krotoski: An auction system that will hit the wallets of the producers. And that's a free-market economic solution. Limit what's coming out, and let the producers fight with cold, hard cash over what's left.

George Monbiot: It should appeal to the right-wing capitalists as much as it does to the left-wing greens like myself.

Aleks Krotoski: It's an idea which needs political consensus and global action.

George Monbiot [talking to the team]: If we want to change the world, and I think this is why Alan has brought us together today, then we've got to actually deploy the measures which are going to change the world. And that's only going to happen through acting at the political level, to lay down regulations which say those fossil fuels are going to stay in the ground. Everything else is prodding around at the edges of the problem and not actually grasping that problem.

1st transcript:

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

"it will indeed seem like hypocrisy for the Guardian to keep backing big oil in this way."

Not sure I agree!

If you are already a blatant hypocrite like the Guardian, is it more hypocritical to be a hypocrite or not to be one?
Because to my way of thinking a proper hypocrite should always be a hypocrite and if the Guardian were to start to be non-hypocritical, wouldn't that in itself be hypocritical for a hypocrite?

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"The same Martin Freeman who is worth 10 million quid"

Also the same MF who won't pay his ex-wife's tax bill, preferring her to be made bankrupt...

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Aleks Krotoski: An auction system that will hit the wallets of the producers. And that's a free-market economic solution. Limit what's coming out, and let the producers fight with cold, hard cash over what's left.
Classic instance of a man who essentially does not understand free market economics.
The minute you start by rationing something you no longer have a free market.
Add to that the idea that by permitting (say) 1 million tons of coal to be mined each year and you then expect producers of electricity, medicines, anything else for which coal is an essential/preferred raw material to bid for it and you have a recipe for pricing it out of the reach of the average consumer,
Since I don't seriously think Krotoski is malevolent (at least not by design) I have to assume he hasn't a clue what he's talking about. Though like many of his kind he probably loves the sound of his own voice and his own bien-pensant ideas being played back to him.
He's probably a wow at Islington dinner parties. Just, please, don't let him near the levers of power. He and Monbiot are essentially (to use the polite version) two sides of the same coin.

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, if the Grauniad just limited its output, to what it was able to produce, using Green sustainable energy, the UK, if not the world, would be a better place.

The Grauniad could set an example for the rest of the Green Blob to follow, and Rusbridgers place in history, would be fondly remembered, for countless generations to come.

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

The Guardian website also keep taking money from the carbon-burning travel industry, eg visit Singapore. This is something Alan Rusbridger has control over, does he not? Or does he think tourists now travel by container ship?

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCW

Holy Crap! Downloaded the podcast audio and just started listening in the background. I can't take it! Those people are nuts!

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

Monbiot sounds like he is someone who fantasizes about having the levers of power, someone so clever that only he has the answer, and an adoring group of acolytes hanging on his word...

Most of us grew out of such ideological wet dream power fantasies by the time we left school. Some people never do. Ed Miliband and his Climate Change Act and attack on power companies whilst supporting "renewable subsidies" strikes me as another individual lost in the puerile world of excitable sixth form debating and never having had a real job in the real world. The only difference between someone like Monbiot and someone like Miliband is that fortunately no-one would ever be stupid enough to vote for Monbiot...and God save us from those stupid enough to vote for Miliband (or Ed Davey etc etc).

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

The Martin Freeman issue reminds me of Jimmy Carr, comedian, who got caught with his account for tax avoidance. I was staggered how silent the entertainment world was when that blew, not a peep from any of them because if the truth were known, most if not all were at the same game, they just didn't get caught!

Mar 31, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Alice in Wonderland was able to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

I'm sure that the leading lights of the Völkischer Gruniad can combine being capitalists while arguing for the der untergang of capitalism.

Mar 31, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Hypocrisy is endemic in all left-wing posturing.

Like Prince Charles preaching for The Religion and its Earth Day then taking a helicopter flight for 80 miles. (the Sun newspaper today).

Mar 31, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterEd Moran

Rick Bradford, the Grauniad believes in, and preaches many impossible things, every day before breakfast, all made possible by the financial security of a capitalist trust fund, that for some strange reason, not understood by Rusbridger, does not invest in his 'brilliant' ideology.

Rusbridger and Co do very nicely out of it though.

'Alice in Wonderland', morphs into 'Alan in Wonderful Animal Farm'.

'Let them eat gateau' twittered the Queen of Polly, to the Mad Hippy George, dunking a chocalate dormouse, into a fine burgundy, as they discussed third world poverty.

Mar 31, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

…I don't think our fund managers could say exactly how much was invested in fossil fuel. But it is there, we haven't said that it shouldn't be…
Well, yes, Mr Rusbridger, you have said other people shouldn’t have such investments, so why the difference when it is your investment?

Only one thing worse than a liar is a hypocrite, and you are an out-and-out hypocrite, Mr Rusbridger.

Mar 31, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


delusional otherworldlyness - i think explains it better..

that and Rusbridger's £491,000 Guardian package - includes 21,000 benefits in kind?!, and a 75k pension contribution....

And Monbiot gets £65k a year to indulge his student fantasies.. but look at the transcripts, it's Monbiot, Mckibben egging AR on.

Mar 31, 2015 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Radical Rodent and Barry Woods,

I think Rusbridger is out to prove that Red/Green Hypocrisy can be just as lucrative as Tory/Green Hypocrisy, as demonstrated by Yeo and Gummer/Deben.

It is not the size of the snout, but the size of the trough, that is the limiting factor. Therefore Rusbridger, Yeo, Deben and their greedy co-conspirators, are working together, to increase the size of the trough.

The ungrateful swine never thank the poor peasants that feed them.

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Mike Jackson.

It is worse than that.

"Producers pockets" never get "hurt". Producers simply reduce output or even stop production.

That means no demand for labour, no return on capital (interest on you bank account or return on your pension savings).

Utter utter morons.

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Everyone is on a roll today.

l would like a debate on the morality of paying the licence fee.

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

@jolly farmer

..l would like a debate on the morality of paying the licence fee....

Who pays TV license fees any more? I haven't for 5 years now...

Mar 31, 2015 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Alan Rusbridger: So, a powerful argument against that would be: carbon is much worse for you than tobacco. So that's a completely irrational thing for a scientific trust to...

"Carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon are probably the most talked about substances in the world today. We hear the term "carbon footprint" every day and fossil fuels are routinely described as "carbon-based energy." True believers speak of CO2 as if it is the greatest threat we have ever faced. Perhaps our CO2 emissions will have some negative effects. But in my view CO2 is one of the most positive chemicals in our world. How can I justify this statement given that the US Environmental Protection Agency has declared CO2 and other greenhouse gases are "pollutants" that are dangerous to human health and the environment?

"What about the undisputed fact that CO2 is the most important food for all life on earth? Every greem plant needs CO2 in order to produce sugars that are the primary energy source for every plant and animal. To be fair, water is also essential to living things, as are nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and many other minor elements. But CO2 is the most important food, as all life on earth is carbon-based, and the carbon comes from CO2 in the atmosphere. Without CO2 life on this planet would not exist. How important is that?

Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout; Dr. Patrick Moore; Ch21, p360

Nothing new here to us, but the good doctor made the 'mistake' of thinking. His book (just finished it) has little that most sceptics would disagree with

My next question is: What sort of a stitchbrain does it take to edit a national "newspaper?" The man has clearly been making successful efforts to reduce his carbon brainprint.

Mar 31, 2015 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

A startling realisation by Rusbridger near the end of the transcript:

"And that, sort of, raises an interesting question about what journalism is, you know - if you're working for the Guardian, do you have to, sort of, think "Oh well, are we morally pure, ourselves?" before we write about this? "

He is wondering allowed whether the 'moral' journalists of the Guardian should be moral and non-hypocritical!!

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

More hypocrisy from the HSBC Beano

Captured Guardian

Update 15 February – it has just been stated by HSBC in the Treasury Select Committee meeting today that the Guardian is the biggest recipient of digital advertising revenue from HSBC.

I have been saying for some time that the reason the Guardian don’t report this massive fraud is because of their financial connections with HSBC. The Chair of the Scott Trust, owners of the Guardian is Liz Forgan. She is also a patron of charity St Giles Trust, which recently benefited from a £30m donation by HSBC. That of course may be purely coincidental.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Dodgy Geezer : Fear of having a criminal record, and a heavy fine to pay.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

Apr 1, 2015 at 1:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

less than 3% of Guardian was invested in fossil fuels and they habve already announced a total divesture.
And Alan did you see that good Doctor on TV He was saying how safe the herbicide Roundup is. He said that people gave tried to commit suicide with it with no ill effects and that " you could drink a whole quart with no ill effect"
However when challenged to drink a glass he ended the interview and stomped off stage

Apr 3, 2015 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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