RN:Rachel’s on global warming, tobacco, solutions…


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,     Jan. 23

It is likely that many of you on this list already subscribe to the Rachel's
newsletters, as they are certainly worthwhile.

I am sending you this one in particular because the information it provides
on two particularly offensive industries, the oil and gas industry and the
tobacco industry, fits in well with two other postings that RN subscribers
have forwarded to me that I want to share with you. 

So, today you will, exceptionally, be getting 3 postings from me.

Reading the Rachel's newsletters prompted me to wonder if Peter Montague and
the Environmental Research Foundation have proposed solutions to all the
problems they are so good at documenting. It turns out that, yes, they have,
in Rachel #629. Here is an excerpt:

We have said before and we say again: We know of only one
organization committed to tackling every part of the
"sustainable development" problem: Sustainable America.  We urge
all our readers to join and support Sustainable America.  This
is important.  Please do it.  Telephone (212) 269-9550; fax
(212) 269-9557; or www.sanetwork.org.

I visited the web site and it seems this organization does indeed provide a
good networking service for a whole host of locally-based social justice and
environmental groups. However, they are all US groups (and I did not notice
any groups on the list whose mandate was to redefine "defence", something I
feel is an essential part of moving towards a sustainable society).

all the best, Jan

Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 15:57:35 -0500 (EST)
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Rachel #634: Liability for Global Warming?

=======================Electronic Edition========================
.                                                               .
.           RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #634           .
.                    ---January 21, 1999---                     .
.                          HEADLINES:                           .
.                 LIABILITY FOR GLOBAL WARMING?                 .
.                          ==========                           .
.               THE RAW POWER OF THE CORPORATION                .
.                          ==========                           .
.                         LIFE IS SWEET                         .
.                          ==========                           .
.               Environmental Research Foundation               .
.              P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD  21403              .
.          Fax (410) 263-8944; E-mail: •••@••.•••           .
.                          ==========                           .
.  Back issues available by E-mail; to get instructions, send   .
.   E-mail to •••@••.••• with the single word HELP   .
.        in the message; back issues also available from        .
.   http://www.rachel.org .  To start your free subscriprion,   .
.       send E-mail to •••@••.••• with the words       .
.       SUBSCRIBE RACHEL-WEEKLY YOUR NAME in the message.       .


For the past decade a small group of physicists, funded partly by
oil and coal companies, has been denying that the earth is being
warmed by humans burning oil, coal and gasoline. In the face of
overwhelming evidence, they have insisted that global warming may
not be happening at all.

For evidence they have relied chiefly on satellite measurements
of the temperature of the lower atmosphere, measurements that
have revealed a pattern of cooling, not warming, during the past
20 years.

In 1998 Dr. Frank Wentz of Remote Sensing Systems in Santa Rosa,
California, reported that those satellite measurements contain a
systematic error. Everyone involved had neglected to correct for
the fact that the satellites were slowly falling to earth, at
about one kilometer per year. With the systematic bias
corrected, the data no longer indicate that the atmosphere is

Now that the main scientific evidence against global warming has
disappeared, it will be interesting to see what arguments the
energy corporations come up with in 1999 to continue to evade
legal liability for global warming.[1]

There is much to evade: 1998 was by far the warmest year
recorded during the past 600 years (by thermometers, tree rings
and ice cores) -- nearly one degree Fahrenheit warmer than the
second-warmest year, which was 1997. The extreme warmth of 1998
was accompanied by the following signs of "climate chaos" (as
reported by the British NEW SCIENTIST magazine): record-setting
forest fires in Florida, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, and southern
Europe; bush fires in northern Australia; floods and
accompanying mudslides in California and coastal Peru and
Ecuador (where 50,000 were left homeless); major flooding in
east Africa; Hurricane Mitch, which killed more than 20,000
people in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador and devastated
the economies of central America; drought in New Guinea; intense
drought and famine in southern Sudan; drought in central America
that left the Panama Canal too shallow for many ships to pass
through; failed coffee crops in Indonesia and in Ethiopia;
failed sugar and rice crops in Thailand; failed cocoa and rubber
crops in Malaysia; cotton crop failure in Uganda; and warm ocean
currents that reduced the Peruvian fish catch by 45%.[2]

The NEW SCIENTIST reports that "human disease is emerging as one
of the most sensitive, and distressing, indicators, of climate
change." (See REHW #466, #467, #528.) As temperatures rise,
mosquitoes that carry disease are moving into new territory.
Dengue fever -- also called "break bone fever" because it is so
painful -- is spreading throughout the Americas and has reached
Texas. In Kenya, the worst floods in years unleashed an epidemic
of water-borne cholera; and in Kenya's capital city, Nairobi
(headquarters of the United Nations Environment Program),
mosquitoes are now transmitting malaria to humans.

We favor the idea, floated early last year, to stop naming
hurricanes after individual humans and start naming them after
oil companies. In place of hurricane Alice or hurricane Hugo, we
would have hurricane Mobil and hurricane Exxon. A headline like
"Exxon Kills 10,000, Leaves 50,000 Homeless" would have a certain
salutary ring of truth to it.


During 1998, Americans were treated to a demonstration of the
raw power of the corporation. Corporations prefer never to flex
their political muscle in public, but sometimes it can't be

During 1998, some 30 million pages of secret tobacco-industry
documents became public, revealing the following:

** According to an internal memo dated 1987, R.J. Reynolds
designed a fatter cigarette, intending to addict new customers
as young as age 13.

** Another internal document revealed that Philip Morris
investigated the smoking habits of children as young as 12,
hoping to addict as many of them as possible.

** Brown and Williamson, owned by the British American Tobacco
Company, once considered a plan to produce cigarettes with a
"cola-like taste."

** NEW SCIENTIST uncovered a plan by Philip Morris to hire
scientists as consultants to start a new scientific society to
provide a forum favorable to the tobacco industry's views. (The
Tobacco Institute was already functioning in that capacity, but
its name clearly linked it to the industry it served; evidently
the tobacco corporations felt the need for a new scientific
society with a more independent appearance.)

** The St. Paul PIONEER PRESS revealed that the Tobacco
Institute had paid scientists to submit letters and articles to
journals, to cast doubt on studies linking second-hand smoke to
disease. Scientists willing to participate received $2000 to
$5000 per letter and $10,000 per article. The articles and
letters were edited by tobacco industry lawyers prior to

** It was shown conclusively during 1998 that, for years, the
tobacco companies have routinely manipulated the nicotine levels
in tobacco leaves to give smokers a bigger "hit,"[3] to keep
them addicted.

** It was also revealed that numerous tobacco corporation
executives had lied openly and repeatedly to the media, the
public, and while testifying under oath to Congress. None of
them was impeached or even asked to apologize.

On the contrary: during 1998, the tobacco companies summoned the
attorneys general of 26 states to meet with them, negotiated
with them for five months in total secrecy (all public health
specialists were excluded from the negotiations), announced a
deal on November 14, 1998, and on that date gave the attorneys
general of all the states one week to take it or leave it.[4]
The tobacco companies promised to pay $206 billion to the states
over a 25 year period. Within the required 7 days, the states
all sniveled into line and took Big Tobacco's money.

Let's see what a payment of $206 billion might mean for the big
4 tobacco companies, RJR Nabisco, Philip Morris, Lorillard, and
British American Tobacco (owner of Brown and Williamson
Tobacco). Together the four firms presently enjoy combined sales
of roughly $38 billion per year.[5] Here is a "worst case" from
the viewpoint of the tobacco corporations. Suppose they have 25
bad years and their earnings grow at just 5% above the rate of
inflation (which, historically, has been 3.1% per year[6]). Over
the next 25 years, they would earn a total of $3085 billion, of
which they will donate $206 billion, or 6.6%, to the states.
Naturally the states will be worried that they won't get their
money (Maryland alone stands to get $4 billion), so they will be
reluctant to interfere with the business practices of the
tobacco companies during the 25-year period.

Of course the tobacco companies intend to increase their
earnings substantially faster than 5% above the rate of
inflation. For example, after the $206 billion settlement became
public, Philip Morris said it expected next year's earnings to
exceed this year's by 9.5%. Wall Street analysts have announced
their consensus that Big Tobacco is a good investment: buy and
hold, they say. Big Tobacco is a good investment because tobacco
corporations have a carefully-thought-out plan to addict several
billion people in the Third World during the next 25 years.
That's where the states' $206 billion will come from.

The BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL estimates that tobacco today is
killing four million people each year, half in the rich nations
and half in the Third World. (In the U.S. today, 33% of all
deaths of people between the ages of 35 and 69 are attributable
to tobacco.[7]) By the year 2030, tobacco is expected to be
killing 10 million people each year, 70% of them in the Third
World. As time goes on, the killing fields will expand
substantially. In China alone, 100 million young men alive today
will die at the hands of a tobacco company, according to the

So 7% of sales -- or perhaps far less, if Third World business
develops as planned -- is the total penalty the tobacco
corporations will pay for intentionally addicting hundreds of
millions of children and young adults to a product that kills
nearly 50% of everyone who uses it as directed.

In sum: with abundant evidence of criminal conduct and criminal
intentions on the public record for all to see, the combined
power of half the attorneys general of these United States could
not bring Big Tobacco to justice. Instead, Big Tobacco bought
them off, all of them.

Now THAT is a convincing demonstration of raw corporate


[1] "Falling hero breaks sceptics' hearts," NEW SCIENTIST Vol.
160, No. 2165/6/7 (December 19 & 26, 1998, and January 2, 1999),
pg. 32.

[2] Fred Pearce, "Can't stand the heat," NEW SCIENTIST Vol. 160,
No. 2165/6/7 (December 19 & 26, 1998, and January 2, 1999), pgs.

[3] David Concar, "The Smoking Gun," NEW SCIENTIST Vol. 160, No.
2165/6/7 (December 19 & 26, 1998, and January 2, 1999), pgs.

[4] Saundra Torry and John Schwartz, "Big Tobacco, State
Officials Reach $206 Billion Deal; Pact Needs Approval of Dozens
of States," WASHINGTON POST November 14, 1998, pg. A1.

[5] Data from the Yahoo finance web site, www.yahoo.com.

(Chicago, Ill.: Ibbotson Associates, 1998), pg. 31. ISBN

[7] Alan D. Lopez, "Counting the dead in China," BRITISH MEDICAL
JOURNAL Vol. 317 (November 21, 1998), pg. 1399.

[8] Bo-Qi Liu and others, "Emerging tobacco hazards in China: 1.
Retrospective proportional mortality study of one million
deaths," BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL Vol. 317, No. 7170 (November
21, 1998), pgs. 1411-1422. And Shi-Ru Niu and others, "Emerging
tobacco hazards in China: 2. Early mortality results from a
prospective study," BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL Vol. 317, No. 7170
(November 21, 1998), pgs. 1423-1424.

[9] I-Min Lee and Ralph S. Paffenbarger Jr., "Life is sweet:
candy consumption and longevity," BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL Vol.
317, No. 7174 (December 19-26, 1998), pgs. 1683-1684.

[10] Richard Doll, "One for the heart," BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
Vol. 315 (1997), pgs. 1664-1668.

[11] A.L. Waterhouse and others, "Antioxidants in Chocolate,"
LANCET Vol. 348 (1996), pg. 834.

Descriptor terms: global warming; climate change; oil
corporations; coal corporations; fossil fuels; floods; famines;
forest fires; mudslides; hurricanes; crop failures; malaria;
dengue fever; global warming and human health; tobacco; candy;
chocolate; diet and health;

Environmental Research Foundation provides this electronic
version of RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY free of charge
even though it costs our organization considerable time and money
to produce it. We would like to continue to provide this service
free. You could help by making a tax-deductible contribution
(anything you can afford, whether $5.00 or $500.00). Please send
your tax-deductible contribution to: Environmental Research
Foundation, P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD 21403-7036. Please do
not send credit card information via E-mail. For further
information about making tax-deductible contributions to E.R.F.
by credit card please phone us toll free at 1-888-2RACHEL, or at
(410) 263-1584, or fax us at (410) 263-8944.
                                        --Peter Montague, Editor

Creo que el mundo es bello, 
que la poesía es como el pan, 
de todos. 

(I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone)

Roque Dalton

Jan Slakov, Box 35, Weymouth, NS, Canada B0W 3T0  (902) 837-4980
 CDR (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance) home page ->


        To subscribe to the cyberjournal simply send an empty message to:

         To keep posted on the democratic renaissance send an empty message to: 
Note: Besides the renaissance network list, I also moderate a peace and
human rights list called "Bruna's list", a Canadian oceans protection list
and a list for Nuclear Abolition activists. 
                Green Web Home Page