Tim Cook, Apple's CEO and successor to Steve Jobs, is generally known as a man who, unlike his predecessor, has a cool head and does not let his emotions influence his decisions or his behavior on the job. But that is apparently not the case when it comes to global warming. Nothing seems to get him steamed up more than a group of climate deniers, like the group that recently attended Apple's annual shareholder meeting last Friday.
In attendance were representatives from the National Center for Public Policy Research (NPCCR), a self described “conservative think tank and policy institute,” that issued a statement before the meeting suggesting that the company renounce any environmentally-based activities that don't contribute directly to the bottom line.
The proposal, which was submitted by NCPPR General Counsel Justin Danhof, said: "We object to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental standards. This is something [Apple] should be actively fighting, not preparing surrender."
Danhof went so far as to suggest that this proposal be taken up as a pledge to be voted on by shareholders in the meeting. The proposal was voted on and soundly rejected, but not before Cook took the opportunity to comment. "We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive," he said. "We want to leave the world better than we found it."
Those objecting to the company's principled stand on the environment, said Cook, were welcome “to get out of the stock.”
Danhof was quick to issue a response on the NCPPR website.
"Mr. Cook made it very clear to me that if I, or any other investor, was more concerned with return on investment than reducing carbon dioxide emissions, my investment is no longer welcome at Apple,” Danhof said.
Danhof's suggestion to amend “Apple's corporate documents to indicate that the company would not pursue environmental initiatives that [don't] have some sort of reasonable return on investment--similar to the concession the National Center recently received from General Electric,” was “greeted by boos and hisses from the Al Gore contingency in the room.”
Danhof summed the situation up as follows: “Apple is as obsessed with the theory of so-called climate change as its board member Al Gore is. The company's CEO fervently wants investors who care more about return on investments than reducing CO2 emissions to no longer invest in Apple. Maybe they should take him up on that advice."
Of course, this shows nothing of the kind. What it does show is that executives like Tim Cook can now safely make statements like this, recognizing the extent that climate change deniers like Mr. Danhof are becoming increasingly marginalized. They no longer represent anything resembling a majority of Americans and are instead increasingly recognized as a fringe element, clinging tenaciously to narrow self-interests, completely out of touch with reality at a time of global crisis.
This outburst from La-La Land occurred on the same day that a joint document from the National Academy of Science and the United Kingdom's Royal Society came out, stating that these top-ranked scientists are more certain than ever the human role in climate change is substantial and real. The document states that: “Climate change is happening. We see it in temperature, we see it in the melting ice, and we see it in sea-level rise.”
Meanwhile conservatives in Mr. Danhof's camp have found themselves really stretching to contort the news to spinoff statements like, “ObamaCare is causing a catastrophic change to our health care climate and Harry Reid is denying it. Denier!” in a somewhat desperate attempt to remain relevant in yet another losing battle.
Image courtesy of Apple
RP Siegel, PE, is an inventor, consultant and author. He co-wrote the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water in an exciting and entertaining format. Now available on Kindle.
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RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work has appeared in Triple Pundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, Grist, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering, Design News, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, Environmental Science, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Eniday, and engineering.com among others . He is the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 53 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP was the winner of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week blogging competition. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org