In the early-1950s, when it became widely known that smoking caused cancer, giant tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Industry Research Council (TIRC). Its main goal was to deny the harmful effects of tobacco and confuse the public.
The tobacco lobby wormed its way into the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), wreaking havoc and slowing the WHO’s efforts to reduce the growing number of cancer deaths.
Realizing that the tobacco corporations were obstructing progress, the WHO finally built a firewall between public health officials and industry lobbyists. Only then was it possible to better control tobacco.
Flash forward to Paris and the 21st annual UN Climate Conference, November 30 to December 11 The 190 participating countries are charged with trying to hold carbon emissions to liveable limits between the years 2020 and 2030.
But – just like when the tobacco lobby was powerful – the fossil fuel lobby is strongly influencing decisions to be made in Paris.
Pointing to the struggling world economic situation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) says climate change is important, but it should not jeopardize economic growth.