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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Environment

Global Climate Coalition (GCC)


The Global Climate Coalition was a coalition of 50 US trade associations and private companies representing oil, gas, coal, automobile and chemical companies and trade associations. It was put together in 1989 with the help of PR giant Burson-Marsteller and for  several years worked out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers.


GCC logoThe GCC has been credited with the US decision not to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol. This was acknowledged in leaked documents in which US Undersecretary of State paula Dobriansky told the GCC that the President had "rejected Kyoto in part based on input from you".

The GCC spent millions of dollars in its campaign to persuade the public and governments that global warming is not a real threat. It gave over $US60 million in political contributions during the 1990s in its efforts to get politicians on side.

On its website it described its membership as representing “a broad spectrum of virtually all elements of US industry including the energy producing and energy consuming sectors” and said its concern is with the “potentially enormous impact that improper resolution [of global climate issues] may have on our industrial base, our customers and their lifestyles and the national economy”.


The GCC's’s tactics have included the distribution of a video to hundreds of journalists which claimed that increased levels of carbon dioxide will increase crop production and help to feed the hungry people of the world. In the lead-up to the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 the GCC and other industry interests successfully lobbied the US government to avoid mandatory emissions controls. Instead the Framework Climate Convention was watered down to suit the US.

It pledged to fight to block US approval of the 1997 Kyoto agreement. That year it had a budget of $1.68 million. It argued that emission reduction targets would destroy jobs, even though its members had already shed 84,000 jobs between 1992 and 1996 to cut costs and increase profits.

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Decline of the Coalition


GCC's activities began receiving unwanted publicity in 1997 and corporations began leaving it because of the adverse impact on their own reputations. First to leave was Dupont, then in 1997 BP, which argued that it was time to act to prevent greenhouse warming rather than continue to debate whether it would occur or not. Royal Dutch/Shell soon followed in 1998, then others including Ford in 1999, Daimler-Chrysler, Texaco and The Southern Company in 2000. General Motors left in March 2000, three days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a report showing that the US had experienced the warmest winter since records had been kept — 105 years.

By March 2000, so many companies had left the GCC because of its poor reputation and the increasing evidence of global warming that the GCC had to restructure itself to be a coalition of trade associations so that individual companies could participate through their trade associations and not be directly associated with the group. The GCC also softened its own public stance, arguing for voluntary measures to reduce emissions rather than disputing the need for measures.


The Worldwatch Institute has likened the exodus from the GCC to the demise of the Tobacco Institute, set up by the tobacco industry to undermine the certainty of the science that linked smoking with lung cancer and other disease. The Tobacco Institute closed shop in January 1999. The Global Climate Coalition was terminated in 2002.

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Ignored Its Own Scientists


It has since been revealed that the Coalition's own scientists advised it in a 1995 internal report:

The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.

The Coalition's technical advisory committee drew up a climate change primer which stated:

The contrarian theories raise interesting questions about our total understanding of climate processes, but they do not offer convincing arguments against the conventional model of greenhouse gas emission-induced climate change.

This sentence was removed from the final primer by the Coalition's operating committee.

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