Last week, a UK judge ruled that “An Inconvenient Truth” - Al Gore’s Oscar winning documentary – was packed with so many errors and exaggerations that it can only be shown in schools if it is accompanied with guidance notes that will allow teachers to balance Gore’s “one-sided” analysis.
In the ruling, Justice Michael Burton of the High Court in London listed nine specific instances where Gore’s claims were wrong and were presented in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration.”
The ruling was a result of an effort to block the Government’s attempt to include the film in the British school system curriculum.
Assigning a motivation for the distortion, a BBC report concluded Gore made the movie one-sided to deny skeptics any opportunity to challenge the relationship between human activity and global warming.
Even though the political agenda behind “An Inconvenient Truth” is now exposed, it’s hard to estimate the damage caused by Gore’s alarmism. To what degree has public opinion been molded by the film’s shock and awe deception and exaggeration? How many individuals were motivated to take political and social action because of the films false claims of impending doom?
Fear not only sells newspapers and contributes to movie sales but it also affects those in positions of power – especially those who are concerned with public image. Among the most susceptible to these fears are CEOs who don’t want to be held responsible for climatic catastrophe.
This is particularly true for CEOs who are under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) spell. Because CSR requires companies to take responsibility for their environmental footprint – direct and indirect consequences of its business practices beyond legal requirements – global warming policies are a litmus test for a “responsible” company.
Unfortunately for shareholders and advocates of limited government, frightened CEOs make bad business decisions, many of which also contribute to the growth of government. Take for example the consequences of PepsiCo’s global warming strategy.
Under the leadership of Indra K. Nooyi, President and CEO of PepsiCo, the company has gone over the CSR deep end. “Performance with a Purpose” is PepsiCo’s sound bite to describe its role in society. According to Ms. Nooyi, this means, “delivering superior financial performance at the same time we improve the world.”
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