Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Climate Counts’ Fake Attack on Apple

Climate Counts - Apple
Daniel Eran Dilger
Copying the self-serving campaigns run by SVTC and Greenpeace, the group Climate Counts has made Apple, Inc. the core of its latest press releases. The group says Apple “is not yet taking meaningful action on climate change,” and is a “choice to avoid for the climate-conscious consumer,” but then points out that its “action” metrics are all based on ineffectual political posturing. And the reason for the tough critique: Apple elected not to join the Climate Counts consortium last year and throw money at the group’s ineffectual efforts to “facilitate engagement.”


A Low Score on the BS Meter.
In its company scorecard on Apple, the Climate Counts group assigned Apple a pitiful score of 11 out of 100. While it doesn’t provide any specifics on how it arrives at point ratings for all of the dissimilar companies it rates, it does provide four weighted categories:

Review, worth 22 points, ranked whether the group was able to find any “publicly available information on Apple’s efforts to measure its companywide impact on global warming (i.e., its greenhouse gas emissions or climate footprint).” The group couldn’t, so it gave Apple zero points.

As a technology company, Apple could easily present fake numbers that delegate away the climate impacts related to all manufacturing to its partner companies. Apple itself doesn’t run plants or drive many trucks around. So to ace Climate Count’s test, all the company would need to do is blow smoke. Clearly, this portion of the test is a failure for Climate Count’s methodology, an not any measure of any real action.

Reduce, worth 56 points, has some unspecified relation to the ‘analysis of the impacts of a company’s products’ and its efforts to “engage” consumers, employees, and partners on the issues.

“Climate Counts has found that Apple has completed analysis of the impact that many of its products have on global warming while being used by consumers and has engaged with its employees and other companies on climate-related issues,” but it then only gave Apple 8 out of 56 points.

“Engage” sounds like a fancy action word for more talk, but this category is as close to action as Climate Count’s scorecard gets. Again, the real failure for this section is Climate Count’s methodology.

Policy Stance, worth 10 points, looks for public policy statements that address climate change. The group didn’t find any public pontification, so it gave Apple another zero. Climate Count’s methodology again prevails over reality.

Report, worth 12 points, similarly ranks the company for the amount of “public information available on its efforts to address global warming.” Climate Counts found “some,” so it gave Apple 3 points.

Talk vs Action.
So while Climate Count’s numbers are really based entirely upon how much talk each company does, it publicly called out Apple for “not yet taking meaningful action.” Is crafting reams of policy statements “meaningful action?” Are Apple’s really meaningful, industry leading actions irrelevant because they aren’t always publicly advertised? Further, do the companies Climate Counts recommends to consumers over Apple actually follow their policy statements? And do their actual actions count for anything?

That certainly wasn’t the case when Greenpeace blew out its nearly identical “greener guide” metrics last year and the year prior, both of which spent all their focus on whether or not staffers could google together commitments to stop using specific chemicals or to advertise takeback goals. Greenpeace ranked Apple poorly for not advertising what it had already done, and congratulated HP and Dell for promising to do those things in the future, even while those companies were putting out more toxins per computer, shipping out far more instant eWaste PCs with shorter usable lifespans, and recycling less of its own products. It then turned out that HP wasn’t even living up to its vaunted commitments.

The Greenpeace Greener Guide was a complete joke. Rather than providing useful information to help consumers, it served up misinformation assembled by corporations that were shoveling money at Greenpeace. Further, the report’s attack on Apple was based on false premises and statistics invented with poor methodology.

Both Greenpeace and Climate Counts know that they can say anything bad about Apple and get away with it. The details won’t really matter, because the lazy tech media will simply post their “bad Apple” press releases without any critical review, as every media outlet is now doing. However, that doesn’t make their respective campaigns any less deceptive and meaningless. Climate Counts isn’t saving the planet, it’s really only acting to secure its own funding.

Guide to Greener Electronics

The SVTC’s “Toxic Trash” Attack on Apple
Top Secret: Greenpeace Report Misleading and Incompetent
More Secrets: The Scandal of Green Computing
Greenpeace Apologizes For Apple Stink
Greenpeace Lies About Apple

Follow the Money Trail.
It’s Climate Counts that is taking no meaningful action here. Or perhaps, its actions are lacking the meaning they suggest. Last year, the group shook down tech companies to create a funding consortium to maintain itself. Apple declined to participate, perhaps aware that the group’s “action” would be lots of expensive talk.

Apple certainly knows something about joining talk groups–and the price of not joining–after previously turning down the SVTC in 2005 and Greenpeace in 2006. Climate Counts was the 2007 version. Just as with the two previous campaign groups, Climate Counts enacted its revenge by singling Apple out as a bad company based on meaningless, invented metrics. Apple didn’t pay for expensive inaction, so it was fated to suffer the rage of an embittered consortium.

Intel, Microsoft, EMC, IBM, Red Hat, and Google all signed up. Erik Teetzel of Google, who serves as a spokesman for Climate Savers, reported, “We’ve talked to Apple and I believe Apple’s response is that energy efficiency and green computing [are important] but Apple does not do consortia.”

In other words, Climate Counts knows that Apple is taking action and is interested in taking a leadership role, it just isn’t interested directly sponsoring a group that seems to specialize in ineffectually talking about action instead of accomplishing anything.

It would be interesting to see what Apple’s score would have been had the company paid to buy into the Climate Counts policy engagement campaign.

Why is Apple shunning the Climate Savers?

I really like to hear from readers. Comment in the Forum or email me with your ideas.

Like reading RoughlyDrafted? Share articles with your friends, link from your blog, and subscribe to my podcast! Submit to Reddit or Slashdot, or consider making a small donation supporting this site. Thanks!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

47 comments

1 Jon T { 05.10.08 at 5:47 am }

I find it absolutely disgusting that these parasitic leeches carry out this kind of self aggrandising activity.

The ‘little shits’ at work. They were the Stazi informants of their time. They can’t do, or make things themselves, so they attack the ones who can and do.

Shameful frankly.

2 vikingthebrent { 05.10.08 at 7:53 am }

Always nice to see a group take an issue that is important to many people and then use the time-tested tactics of fear-mongering, misinformation, and demonization to enrich themselves. The level of corruption and hypocrisy required to engage in such sanctimonious behavior is staggering.

If this group really cares about positively affecting climate change, they would best be served by getting out of Apple’s way.

3 John Muir { 05.10.08 at 8:22 am }

@ Jon T

It’s actually just a natural product of the collapse of journalistic standards.

If the media publish any sensational nonsense handed to them, then manufacturing such nonsense becomes part of the industry. Sad but true. It says a lot of Apple that they take such a hands off role in this sort of thing, but note that “good” companies like Google take another approach, along with the epitome of media management: Microsoft themselves.

Allowing nonsense like this (and the much more spiteful Greenpeace attacks of previous years) is just the least of the problem. It’s when the media covers politics and power that distortion really counts.

4 Sennoo { 05.10.08 at 8:41 am }

Great article as always!

5 UbiquitousGeek { 05.10.08 at 10:05 am }

This is just ludicrous. First Greenpeace and now this? If I were Steve Jobs, I would be very publicly vocal about how ignorant these groups are. Anyone with half a brain can look at Apple’s products and see that they are much “greener” than the competition. From smaller packaging to less power consumption. Doesn’t Dell STILL ship CRT displays? These groups should be disbanded. They’re just a bunch of ignorant grab-asses trying to extort money from Apple. They should be exposed for what they really are.

6 blacktalonz { 05.10.08 at 10:21 am }

Just more confirmation that Green has been hijacked.

Look how many wacko groups** and The mind-numbing corporate boardrooms that are now green, just for the “GreenBack”.

What started out as an honest effort to make a difference has turned into an all out cash grab by corporate America and a few unethical extortionist groups.

** I’m not implying GreenPeace, but these groups like “Climate Counts”.

7 Rip Ragged { 05.10.08 at 10:40 am }

It is sad and unfortunate that groups like Greenpeace and Climate Counts are granted an uncritical forum. Their findings are pap. Their accusations are meaningless. It isn’t that they shouldn’t be allowed to flatulate their views, merely that a sensible press should evaluate their ranting before giving them credence.

Surely there must be a way for standards to be developed so that reasonable and fact-based information can be disseminated, and propaganda can be identified as such.

8 John Muir { 05.10.08 at 11:41 am }

@ Rip Ragged

Alas, the media comes down to one thing:

Sensation

Sensation sells. Yelling, screaming, lying, distorting, LOUD, shrill, illogical; all beat calm, logical, fact based, reason.

Although it is really the media’s fault stuff like this gets broadcast, the reason the media behave as they do is deeper than just the motives of those who own them. It is human nature itself. People like cheap thrills, quick giggles, eye catching innuendo and the like. Not all people, but most. If you aim at the mass market (or even increasingly these days if you don’t) sensation beats everything else.

People make dreadful decisions based on propaganda because the media and smart sellers play into their ignorance. It’s the popular ignorance which is the central problem. And it is why it’s only the informed and self-selecting geeks who aren’t taken in by the chorus of total baloney.

If I could figure out a fix I really would. Alas, the problem appears decidedly “nontrivial”.

9 Chandan Gupta { 05.10.08 at 12:29 pm }

Long time reader, first post. As always, another great post! It is very insightful and educating, as most of your other articles. Thank you so much!

On the topic here – I know how much of instant eWaste (in the form of various gadgets) I used to purchase before I happened to buy a MacBook about a year back. Unbelievable, but it has changed my taste and I rarely find a non-Apple product appealing. By just making a good product that has a long lifetime, Apple has done much more to protect environment than most other companies.

10 DiamondDog { 05.10.08 at 12:32 pm }

I’m seriously getting tired of these non-profits that all they do is point fingers and not actually solve problems. Unfortunately, the Bay Area is peppered with them, and there are too many people here willing to give them money. Let’s investigate these organizations and see how they actually do their work. Go and examine their 901.c3 docs and you’ll find that most of them are more inefficient and secretive than the companies they go after. They’re a new form of scam.

11 dicklacara { 05.10.08 at 1:29 pm }

Mmmm…..

I am very much against pollution and, at 68 years old, appreciate the state of the planet we inherited from our predecessors.

I believe we have a responsibility to ourselves, our children and the others who follow: to leave this planet better (or at least as good) as we found it.

As to Global Climate Change:

Before we can realistically address and resolve this issue, we must first determine:

1) Does Global Climate Change really exist (other than normal variations in climatic cycles)?

2) Is it detrimental?

3) What are the major causes?

4) Can we fix it?

5) How?

Without answers to all, and I mean all, the above questions we’re just pissin’ in the wind!

Now to these EEGs (Environmental Extortion Groups)…

I am all for free speech and the obligation to voice one’s opinion to get others to recognize and rectify a wrong.

But, often these organizations exist solely for their own own aggrandizement and self-perpetuation.

A little introspection is in order– What real (as opposed to symbolic) action does any of these organizations take to answer the requisite questions?

Without proof, or even reasonable consensus, they have unilaterally decided:

1) Climate Change Exists!

2) It’s bad!

3) Man (primarily American) is the cause!

4) Man can fix it (as opposed to nature)!

5) Only we (the organizations) know how to fix it! We will tell you what you must do! Especially, be sure to send us more money so we can continue to save you from yourself!

A tattle-tale serves no useful purpose and should not be tolerated!

12 Rip Ragged { 05.10.08 at 1:56 pm }

@ John Muir

I agree completely. Even within the context of freedom of speech, at some point, though, there needs to be some penalty for irresponsible lying at the expense of others.

Perhaps there is a way to mark the merchants of stupidity. Sensationalist Hype, Innuendo and Trivia would make an appropriate acronym.

Just wandering.

13 foresmac { 05.10.08 at 3:59 pm }

A couple of points:

1. Every Climate Counts scorecard has a link to download a detailed reports that shows the scoring breakdown.

2. Plenty of other companies received lower scores than Apple. So Climate Counts is not singling out Apple at all.

3. The scores are meant to be a tool for consumers who identify climate change as an important issue and prefer companies they support to be more transparent on the issue.

4. You’ll note that Stoneyfield Farm itself hasn’t scored at the top of the list both in 2007 and 2008. If the scoring was rigged why wouldn’t it work better in its favor?

5. Many scientists agree that global warming is happening and there is already evidence that shows it is having detrimental effects. While the available evidence isn’t conclusive that we can reverse the effects, minimizing our collective impact on the environment could only be at best beneficial and at worst make no difference. The Earth’s resources are finite and it’s clear we cannot continue to consume them at the current rate. So what harm can there be in trying to reduce that consumption?

14 lowededwookie { 05.10.08 at 5:50 pm }

I am currently working through the training material to become an Apple certified technician and without going into too much details due to disclosure stuff I can tell you that there is a section that is so important you can get 100% in the rest of the exam but fail this section and you don’t get qualified.

In this section it makes specific mention of processes needed to be carried out by the engineer after using some of the products needed to be used, e.g. thermal paste. Apparently when Apple sends replacement parts they also include a bag to store stuff like thermal paste and alcohol wipes used to be disposed of in the proper local council mandated manner. This is not the case for anyone else.

HP constantly send parts in boxes many times bigger than the part in question. A hard drive would be shipped in a box at least 3 times the size of the drive with the rest being foam which is not biodegradable and produces toxic chemicals if caught on fire.

Sure products need to be shipped so as not to break but there is no need for that much waste.

Apple has already passed many of the major OFFICIAL requirements such as Energy Star etc. so why do these idiots keep promoting this bollocks when the truth is staring them in the face?

15 ghibertii { 05.10.08 at 6:36 pm }

I don’t agree with how either of these NPO’s have conducted these campaigns but I must say that Greenpeace prompted Apple to publish more information regarding their stance on the environment than was previously available.

http://www.apple.com/environment/

Apple is one of the most recognized brands in the world, they should be held to a higher standard as many will follow but this should be done with facts.

@dicklacara sorry you can’t vote for George Bush again. Should we trust you that climate change is not occurring? or many of the worlds foremost scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), National Academy of Sciences, The American Meteorological Society, etc who have all stated that man is changing the environment. Get real. Go stick your head in the sand…

16 Moloch { 05.10.08 at 6:43 pm }

Hi Daniel

I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while, your evocations of the dark and cut-throat tech world are just superb.

But here’s something about my world… I’ve been an active part of the Green movement for more than decade and work for a conservation NGO in Queensland, Australia (www.qccqld.org.au if you’re interested).

I watched the Greenpeace/Apple debacle with sorrowful interest. Despite all their good work over many years on many issues I decided to stop donating to GP when it became clear a couple of years ago that their only interest in chasing whaling ships was not to stop whales being killed but to get good footage and images for fundraising. It was fairly clear they were attempting a similar fakery with Apple.

I have no idea who this new bunch are, frankly I can’t be arsed to go and look at their propaganda, but I’d be surprised if they have the faintest idea of what is required to truly ‘Green’ industry. They appear to be taking the ‘FUD’ line spread by lazy governments across the globe that individual (or in this case individual corporation’s) action while maintaining business as usual will be enough to make a difference. It won’t.

I have taken individual action, I’d say I’ve gone about as far as anyone on an ordinary income can. I retrofitted my 90 year old ‘Queenslander’ house in an older suburb of Brisbane to harvest rainwater and solar energy, We organically grow around 70% of the fresh fruit and vegetables for our family of three using only water that’s recycled from the house. Check it out at http://www.bellis.info .

I mention this to point out that some of us Greenies do walk the talk and don’t have expensive offices from which we transmit disdain to those who create and produce for a living! Those of us that do live as sustainably as we can usually have a perspective on sustainability that many people – sometimes even fellow conservationists – lack.

I’ve been watching Apple’s moves to wean us all off small plastic discs – probably one of the biggest components of e-waste worldwide – via iTunes and the iPod and regard it as one of the most deliciously subversive green direct actions this century. Also one of the most successful.

I hope that the brains behind Apple’s subverting of consumerism aren’t too distressed by the loud noises from these empty vessels. Apple seems to be the one company in this field that will be ready with new and greener business models when governments finally act to regulate emissions.

BTW @ dicklacara. I’m afraid you’ve fallen victim to coroprate FUD. There is no question about the reality of, causes of, or action needed to combat Global Warming. Take a look at New Scientist’s Climate Change a guide for the perplexed… http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462

17 danieleran { 05.10.08 at 7:02 pm }

@ foresmac:

The scorecard does offer some detail of how points are awarded for things like the status of published goals, but does not break down how or why points are awarded for specific actions that companies take.

Incidentally, the points Apple got were for aceing 4/4 in “Producing low/no carbon product line that realizes a reduction in carbon-intensity of the traditional line of products/services” and a 3/4 for “work to educate its employees, trade association, and/or customers on how they can reduce individual GHG emissions (through direct education programs, incentives, or philanthropic projects).”

So again, Apple scored highly in taking actual action, but was given an abysmal overall score for not publishing things like an inventory of how much CO2 it produces on its website, something that has no real impact on climate change, but a major impact on paper pushing bureaucrats who want to engage talk at great expense instead of encouraging effective action.

“Plenty of other companies received lower scores than Apple. So Climate Counts is not singling out Apple at all.” And what companies were put into a press release and dialed out into the news? Just Apple.

“The scores are meant to be a tool for consumers who identify climate change as an important issue and prefer companies they support to be more transparent on the issue.” And how is a score that is almost totally based upon publicly published data and not action going to help consumers make useful decisions? Are you really telling me that buying an HP eWaste PC in a huge box instead of a Mac is going to reduce climate change because of this ridiculous ranking? That’s total bullshit.

“Stoneyfield Farm itself hasn’t scored at the top of the list both in 2007 and 2008. If the scoring was rigged why wouldn’t it work better in its favor?” First, who knows what Stoneyfield Farm is? (Yes I know they make yogurt). And why would some unknown company’s ranking make any difference in a sensationalized press release?

“Many scientists agree that global warming is happening and there is already evidence that shows it is having detrimental effects. While the available evidence isn’t conclusive that we can reverse the effects, minimizing our collective impact on the environment could only be at best beneficial and at worst make no difference. The Earth’s resources are finite and it’s clear we cannot continue to consume them at the current rate. So what harm can there be in trying to reduce that consumption?”

Yes, I’m not at all suggesting that climate change is a controversial idea, or that steps should not be taken to analyze and take action anywhere possible. I also didn’t argue last year that that toxics weren’t toxic, or that green issues weren’t important. In each case, I’ve only pointed out that an all talk, no action campaign has singled out Apple to catch headlines, in direct response to not getting the funding that group wanted before crafting its campaign to malign Apple. SVTC, Greenpeace, and now Climate Counts. It’s a pretty clear pattern.

18 danieleran { 05.10.08 at 7:27 pm }

Incidentally, Wired ad naseum specifically compared Apple against Climate Counts’ founding members, Intel, Microsoft, HP, IBM and Google.

Choosing between Microsoft and Apple, or HP and Apple, based on the metrics Climate Counts presented makes no sense on any planet.

19 Pemulwuy { 05.10.08 at 8:13 pm }

Criticising a lobby group for lobbying does seem like an exercise in futility. I wrote a detailed comment on your criticism of ClimateCounts method, but lost it when your blog must have logged me out partway, which was rude! A waekness of CC’s methodology is that it is designed to measure progress toward reductions, rather than greenhouse gas emissions intensity per unit of product/service delivered.

I’d agree with more weight on item 16, and argue that Apple should have scored against item 13, but you’ll have to saunter over to Ars to catch up on the rest. Apple can can do better: Steve Jobs said he would share “some interesting data and issues” re “the overall carbon ‘footprint’ of our products” last year. Lets see it!

Love your writing, disagree with you on this one.

20 Bill { 05.10.08 at 8:20 pm }

According to some sources [Windows hack web sites], Apple has only a 3% market share world wide. So even if the BS was true, what’s the friggin difference? Also, extortion is bad, no matter who does it, including if it was the Pope. So these people , Climate Cunts [oops, spelling error, but I like it so it stays or gets edioted] stink.

21 dogboy { 05.10.08 at 9:10 pm }

Climate Counts is simply using the popularity of Apple to gain some cheap press. I’m too lazy to check, but I’d be curious to know if they post their own carbon footprint metrics on their website. Besides, shouldn’t Apple get some points for having Al Gore on their board?

22 Avi Learner { 05.10.08 at 10:47 pm }

…. and none of the cover articles on this story even mention that he former popularly elected President Al Gore, is on the Apple Board and significantly actively interested in making sure Apple is on the “Green” path.

23 DeltaNick { 05.11.08 at 12:17 am }

See what Al Gore started? Apple will have to spend lots of $$ defending themselves because of people like him. Kinda makes you wonder why he’s on Apple’s Board of Directors.

Be careful what you ask for. You might just get it.

[Gore didn't "ask for" a sensational press, he drew attention to global climate change. Apple put Gore on its board because he is a leader who knows how to get things done. The issue with Climate Counts is just a PR flap. - Dan]

24 harrywolf { 05.11.08 at 1:14 am }

Good journalism as usual, Dan!

Global warming isnt accepted by everyone on this planet as ‘real’.

We had the war on drugs – turned out to be a way to massively increase drug use and make society more controllable – and jailable.

We had the War on Terror, and the highly suspicious 911 incident, and we have a more fearful and controllable society since.

Now we have War on climate or whatever you want to call it, and we have the Stazi (thanks Jon T!) style behaviour making society more controllable and less ‘free’.

Fact:

Terror, Drugs, Hot Planet, are all red (green?) herrings that allow power-crazed humans to force more control on others.

Fact:

If all the oil in the world is used up in the next 20 years, it will be gone and presumably the ‘warming effect’ will be over and will then reduce.
There is a built-in safety valve on this planet – when things get too popular, they run out.
These people talk as if the oil will last forever. It wont. People will starve. That may be the real issue, not the bloody weather.

Fact:

Humans know little about nature, and Scientists seem to know even less, especially as 99% of them are paid to produce research documents of dubious veracity: (wine is good, wine is bad – same stuff, different paymaster).

Enough of the money and power-driven BS – if the military in Iraq and Afghanistan came home, the pollution from the huge waste of lives, bullets, bombs, fuel, etc. would have a great effect on the world.
Even if that effect was only a feeling of peace.

Climate Counts, Greenpeace, et al are power-hungry fools in yet another disguise.
Organisations like these are a breeding ground for the ugly and not-bright politicians that we are plagued with.

I notice GreenPeace has NO anti-war efforts at all.

Wheres the ‘peace’, Greenpeace?

25 Pemulwuy { 05.11.08 at 3:09 am }

… interesting seque by harrywolf from editorial ad hom against ClimateCounts to class ad hom against all enviro NGOs.

I don’t know about you, but I was there when Greenpeace and other NGOs fronted massive anti-war demos during the countdown to the misguided Iraq adventure which our countries governments were complicit in. If you don’t like demos, perhaps the Rainbow Warrior ferrying Medecins Sans Frontieres doctors and medical supplies to Lebanon during that conflict is more satisfactory.

Can’t speak for Greenpeace US, but I notice when Greenpeace international do their anti-war thing, there is ample criticism demanding they ‘stick to environmental issues’, ironically!

26 RobC { 05.11.08 at 4:07 am }

Hey Daniel, I’m another longtime reader, first time poster. I’m sure many readers like myself are intimidated by your insight and writing skills to the point of not wanting to sound like an idiot in comparison. Though that doesn’t seem to worry a few of your readers.

The reason I’m commenting is that while using my iPhone recently I realized what an environmentally friendly device it is. Besides the aluminum and glass construction, this small wonder replaces a cell phone, mp3 player, camera, pda, and alarm clock. By purchasing this one product I’ve eliminated the need for manufacturers to churn out yet another of the aforementioned devices and accompanying packaging materials. A similar case could be made of my all-in-one iMac. iTunes and Apple TV have eliminated my round-trip drives to local retail establishments and the need to press the hundreds of plastic discs I would have popped into the CD and DVD players that each of those products replaces. If Apple is not environmentally conscious I’m the CEO of Microsoft.

If the no-action, all-talk hypocrites want pontification from Apple, perhaps a simple “Mac vs PC” type commercial emphasizing some of those points would serve to discredit this and future environmentalist bunk.

27 Danthemason { 05.11.08 at 7:55 am }

Climate doesn’t count. We can’t make a spring shower fall in another county. The whole of the controversy is that a number of scientists on the government’s dime believe that the climate could change. Recent temperature records show that ALL their models need adjustments to account for the past few months temperature reality. A pox on all their houses.

[Actually the "number of scientists on the government's dime" are the ones churning out "evidence" that there's no action that needs to be taken. It's the worldwide scientific community that is warning about the results of failing to take action on climate change - Dan ]

28 obiwan { 05.11.08 at 8:33 am }

Not only that the guy doing the “research” seems to have little to no expertise or reputation within this field.

Not enough, that accidently his own stoned yogurt company has a top score within its group (surprise, surprise).

What bothers me most, is that they get away with putting up their CONCLUSIONS only (the score cards)
while putting up NO parts of their actual research.

Where can I check, for example Nikes GHG emission inventory ? If they found all that information publicly available, why dont they care to publish the links or whatever they have ? I could not find anything like that on their website. Did somebody else ??

Despite their numbers being pretty meaningless anyway (based on companies press releases and such),
they dont even care to backup these scores with their
research (links or whatever they found).

Every idiot can fill a dozen of these cards with random numbers within a few minutes. Without publishing the documents/links/information they refer to, the whole
thing is completely worthless.

29 Rip Ragged { 05.11.08 at 10:04 am }

@Pemulwuy

Ad Hominem attacks are the only criticisms of substance that can be made of these groups. Their attacks are ad hominem. They proclaim from the rooftops that they are reporting data, but in reality they make up numbers or base their entire attack on a lack of “reporting.” “Reporting” has no more affect on environmental activity than it has on the weather.

Oddly, the companies that fund the activities of these protection racketeers always have very good environmental “records.”

Greenpeace and Climate Counts are extortionists. No more. No less. They should be treated as such.

30 Daner { 05.11.08 at 5:14 pm }

Apple’s involvment with consortia seem to me to be restricted to those that are directly connected with the development of protocols and standards that impact specific products that they are working with or may work with in the future.

The problem with getting involved with any one of the Green (Greed) Groups du Jour is that if you pay to play that game with one of them off you end up needing to do the same with a whole slew of them. It all ends up being a holier-than-thou preachfest with each company proclaiming that virture lies in what they talk about doing (or what they have paid others to talk about what they plan to do in the future) rather than in what is actually being accomplished.

Deeds, not words.

31 Pemulwuy { 05.11.08 at 5:54 pm }

I always enjoy reading RoughlyDrafted, but in this case I don’t know if the conspiracy theory part of Daniel’s argument is true, or meaningful in terms of any skewed results. It struck a chord with the more reactionary element of his readership but beyond the obvious point that publicity can be self serving no substantive evidence of distortion of results is presented. It would be useful if Daniel pointed to an incorrect score against any of the rating criteria items as evidence but he doesn’t do this. Otherwise the argument doesn’t rise very far above the level of an ad hom counterattack.

Daniel then takes issue with the methodology: I agree with the implicit criticism that ClimateCounts ratings don’t measure Apple’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (either baseline or any reductions) directly, but in the absence of a GHG inventory I’m not sure how CC (or Apple for that matter) could do this. A weakness of the approach used by CC here is that it measures progress rather than GHG emissions intensity per unit of product/service delivered. I think it is quite legitimate to criticise this methodological weakness, and Daniel’s argument could be usefully expanded in this area.

Beyond this, however, Daniel doesn’t demonstrate understanding of the criteria or process he is criticising: the Review section of CC’s criteria (22% of the score) is reasonable and follows normal practice in GHG evaluation (GHG inventory/calculation protocol/gases included/indirect emissions included/verification/ongoing inventory) and a company of Apple’s size would need to undertake these steps. Daniel’s defense is that Apple ‘could easily present fake numbers’ but they haven’t produced a real inventory either. CC score Apple zero against 6 criteria in this section, both the criteria and the score appears to be valid: if Apple are undertaking GHG emissions inventory they should say so, if they haven’t they should start.

The Reduce section of CC’s criteria (56% of the score) also appears sound (GHG reduction goal/baseline/magnitude/management plan/support/interim progress/reductions achieved/etc). Daniel argues that CC’s criteria are all talk, but the highest rated criteria here are for interim steps and actual/verified reductions. I would give more weight to item 16 and you could argue re Apple’s score for item 13 but given the absence of a GHG reduction target or explicit process, otherwise Apple scored as well as could be expected in this section.

The Policy and Reporting sections are also reasonable (10 and 12% of the score respectively). While we care most that Apple walks the walk, given Apple’s profile and influence, it would be useful if they also talked the talk. And we would like them to tell us what they are doing.

A really solid critique of CC’s method would be useful, but, with apologies to Daniel, I can’t see it in RoughlyDrafted at the moment.

32 Pemulwuy { 05.11.08 at 6:19 pm }

@ obiwan

“What bothers me most, is that they get away with putting up their CONCLUSIONS only (the score cards)
while putting up NO parts of their actual research.

Where can I check, for example Nikes GHG emission inventory ? If they found all that information publicly available, why dont they care to publish the links or whatever they have ? I could not find anything like that on their website. Did somebody else ??”

Now we are getting somewhere. I noticed that ClimateCounts haven’t posted past report cards or, as you mention here, the data/evaluation on which individual scores are based, and emailed CC yesterday requesting this information. Normally, an enviro NGO would prepare a report on which the conclusions, represented in the scorecards in this case, are based. Naturally I’m interested in what comes back.

33 Pemulwuy { 05.11.08 at 6:22 pm }

@ Rip Ragged

“Ad Hominem attacks are the only criticisms of substance that can be made of these groups.”

As you can see, I couldn’t agree less.

34 Pemulwuy { 05.11.08 at 6:30 pm }

@ RobC

“The reason I’m commenting is that while using my iPhone recently I realized what an environmentally friendly device it is. Besides the aluminum and glass construction, this small wonder replaces a cell phone, mp3 player, camera, pda, and alarm clock. By purchasing this one product I’ve eliminated the need for manufacturers to churn out yet another of the aforementioned devices and accompanying packaging materials. A similar case could be made of my all-in-one iMac. iTunes and Apple TV have eliminated my round-trip drives to local retail establishments and the need to press the hundreds of plastic discs I would have popped into the CD and DVD players that each of those products replaces.”

This may be what Steve Jobs was referring to when he said he would share “some interesting data and issues” re “the overall carbon ‘footprint’ of our products” in his open letter (partly responding to Greenpeace publicity and shareholder concerns) on Apple’s environmental performance last year. As I said previously: lets see it!

35 tundraboy { 05.11.08 at 9:16 pm }

Will the people who keep questioning the existence oh human-induced climate change explain what it is that is needed to convince them?

The scientific community is almost unanimous that such exists. If their word isn’t good enough, then what is? Surely you don’t mean that you have greater knowledge and expertise than the scientific community?

I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a big overlap between the climate change deniers and the creationists.

36 dicklacara { 05.11.08 at 9:54 pm }

@tundraboy

Science is supposed to based on fact, scientific method, deduction… not consensus.

Be that as it may, for every scientist you can provide that claim climate change in human-induced, I can provide one that that says it isn’t.

I believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the planet… but I do not believe unproven scare-tactics further that effort!

37 danviento { 05.11.08 at 10:08 pm }

I would imagine the majority of readers of Daniel’s column have sense enough to see past the BS of the entire environmental fanaticism movement. In this context, this was just another mass media story to which we must ask, “And we should care, why?”

“global warming,” a.k.a. “climate change,” is the problem that the eco-fanatics’ solution has been looking for. There really is no viable evidence that a change in our climate ever has or even has the possibility of being induced by humans. We can’t control the sun. We can’t control the wind. We can’t control mass amounts of water vapor (the real greenhouse gas). What kind of effect do you think our miniscule output of CO2 (which pales to nothing in comparison to what the oceans give out every year) matters when it is measured in 10s of parts per million of our atmosphere?

No, this accusation, as many of us have pointed out, is just another tool of the fascists to try and blackmail America’s industry and way of life to degenerate to their ideal. The worst part is, enough people buy into the lies that it sometimes works. Of course, it helps when media outlets lever it for more sensationalist hype. Then add in the 10s of thousands of jobs that depend on people buying it, and you can see how the fallacy has taken hold.

Give it a few more years, and it will be all too obvious even to these types that most people really don’t care or have enough common sense to S.H.I.T. for what it is. Kudos to Rip for the acronym ;-).

38 Rip Ragged { 05.11.08 at 11:37 pm }

@Pemulwuy

I work in the nuclear industry in radiation safety. There are two main schools of thought on the harmful effects of radiation exposure.

One theory holds that somatic and heritable biological effects of chronic ionizing radiation exposure do not occur below a threshold value.

The other major belief is that there is no threshold and all ionizing radiation exposure poses some risk.

Intelligent, educated men have heated discussions defending their side of that argument – discussions that make a Mac/Windows flame war look like a Sunday sermon.

The same is true of the global warming debate. There is no consensus among climate scientists. When it is scientifically evaluated and the vast majority of meteorologists and climatologists are in agreement, then it will be time to evaluate what, if anything, humankind needs to do about the climate.

Between now and then it might be useful to establish what the effluent streams are, and how best to mitigate those streams should they prove to be harmful.

Actual reductions in all kinds of waste, including unnecessary energy usage, should always be a priority. If CC can’t speak to Apple’s GHG emissions or other metrics that actually relate to Apple’s environmental activities, then CC has nothing useful to say.

If they have nothing useful to say, they should say that in the mathematical equivalent of words it takes to say nothing useful.

When you choose to single out prominent companies and pillory them for failure to run a convincing line of BS, you hurt your own credibility – or possibly establish it.

39 Ephilei { 05.12.08 at 12:19 am }

Leo Laporte talked with a Greenpeace rep last year during the brouhaha who admitted in no uncertain terms that Greenpeace was picking on Apple for the publicity it could get.

40 Pemulwuy { 05.12.08 at 8:06 am }

@ dianvento

“No, this accusation, as many of us have pointed out, is just another tool of the fascists to try and blackmail America’s industry and way of life to degenerate to their ideal.”

I’d forgotten: climate change is an international jewish-communist plot … and the media are in on it!

41 Pemulwuy { 05.12.08 at 8:38 am }

@ Rip Ragged

“The same is true of the global warming debate. There is no consensus among climate scientists. When it is scientifically evaluated and the vast majority of meteorologists and climatologists are in agreement, then it will be time to evaluate what, if anything, humankind needs to do about the climate.?

That is why the precautionary principle deliberately shifts the burden of proof onto the potential polluter, on the grounds that further delay will prove ultimately most costly to society and nature, and in the longer term, selfish and unfair to future generations (the EEB position on the PP).

In the case of climate change, fringe views expressed here notwithstanding, the preponderance of evidence does not favour denial: IPCC 4 indicates this overwhelmingly. At this stage the area of reasonable doubt re the externalities of climate change is remarkably slim. The most significant question to be resolved now is the level at which carbon emissions will be taxed, or the framework in which carbon credits will be traded.

“If CC can’t speak to Apple’s GHG emissions or other metrics that actually relate to Apple’s environmental activities, then CC has nothing useful to say.”

While i indicated that this was a weakness in the ‘progress toward reduction’ framework CC use, the responsibility to prepare inventory of GHG emissions lies with Apple (and the other companies). The call for inventory, reduction target and actual reductions is quite legitimate, even if CC’s summary scorecard statements are oversimplified.

42 dicklacara { 05.12.08 at 9:13 am }

@Pemulwuy
quote:
… the responsibility to prepare inventory of GHG emissions lies with Apple…

This is fuzzy logic, CC decides that:

1) Human-induced Climate Change exists
2) It is a crime
3) Apple (or any company) is Guilty

And it is up to the accused to defend itself

Napoleanic law aside, what if the same logic were used to publicly (in your town hall) accuse you, individually, of this same “crime”. Would not the burden fall on you to expend your time snd treasure to disprove the accusation and establish your innocence?

43 Pemulwuy { 05.12.08 at 4:42 pm }

@ dicklaclara

Via a strawman arguments, you are confusing criminal law proceedings with corporate reporting and corporate social responsibility.

44 Pemulwuy { 05.12.08 at 5:30 pm }

Pressed ‘submit’ too early … where was I? … ‘time and treasure’ sounds like something from the neocon lexicon: are you channeling Condoleeza today?

Strawmen aside, one assumes Climate Counts have decided that failing to account for and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a social ill, and are campaigning on the issue. Which they have a right to do: whether from the best of motives, or not, is immaterial. Their style is simplistic, populist, a bit sanctimonious and therefore unappealing to me, but I am probably not the target audience (no point preaching to the converted).

Apple may make a profit or a loss, neither is a crime, but they are required to account for their financial activities and file tax returns, etc. If Apple have pollution licences, they presumably have to meet those requirements as well. There has been considerable rearguard action from potential losers under any new GHG reduction/carbon tax or carbon trading regime to avoid admitting GHG emissions as pollutants (climate change is unproven, is good for you, etc) but this is little different from similar tactics re cigarette smoke or ozone depleting substances.

45 chloe.landale { 05.13.08 at 12:13 am }

Apple produces the most energy efficient computers on the market. The link between computer energy consumption and climate change was apparently a little too challenging for the chaps at Stoned-field yoghurt factory to understand.

Companies that fly their CEOs to Tokyo by private jet only to sign an agreement that they will reduce emissions by 20% before 2050 have done extremely well by Stoned-field’s standards. Perhaps their score card should be called ‘Green-wash Counts’ instead of ‘Climate Counts.’

I agree with the above comments, its groups like Climate Counts that jeopardize the environmental movement with their cheap headline grabbing stunts.

46 JohnWatkins { 05.13.08 at 3:50 pm }

@ dicklacara

I certainly agree with you when you say, “Science is supposed to based on fact, scientific method, deduction… not consensus.” Sadly I don’t think Oil executives would agree with you on this issue.
But I have to express some serious doubt when you say, ” . . . for every scientist you can provide that claim climate change in [sic] human-induced, I can provide one that that says it isn’t.” The overwhelming majority of scientists acknowledge that the basic ideas of what is commonly referred to as “global warming” are quite valid.
Perhaps you should say, ” . . . for every 100 scientist you can provide, that claim climate change is human-induced, I can provide 2 or 3 that that says it isn’t. And one of them does not get paid by an oil company!”

47 rubaiyat { 05.19.08 at 12:29 pm }

Has anyone noticed that there wasn’t any global warming before some smartarse greenies started talking about it?

They clearly are making billions of dollars ripping off the gullible Joe Average who hasn’t the sense to listen to the real people in the know. Those hard working corporate types who sacrificed everything to bring you light cigarettes, 93% fat free foods, cheap credit, clean coal, life saving DDT, and safer cars despite the obstacles thrown in their path by greedy individuals like Ralph Nader.

Personally I like wearing shorts so global warming is a good thing, and any species that can’t afford air conditioning in my opinion has no right to exist and should make way for plush toys from Walmart.

You must log in to post a comment.