Actually, We Don’t Agree

Chevron's cynical ads spurred funny parody.

We’ve been bombarded with half-page Chevron ads in the Los Angeles Times for over a month and a half now. I guess with the current financial state of the Times, any ad is a good for them. At least Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s hokey-looking award announcements can’t fill up the entire front section.

The ubiquitous ads highlight common-sense advice about  energy policy with compelling stills of indigenous people, children and everyday people like you and me.  Then the “We Agree” tagline follows with signatures from Chevron’s CEO or some other corporate executive. (Who knew Karl Rove was moonlighting as a copywriter?)

The campaign spawned a brilliant parody from The Yes Men working with The Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch.  There’s even a contest for the public to come up with even funnier parody ads.

The spot featuring the little girl and the tag line “It’s time oil companies get behind the development of renewable energy” pisses me off the most.  After all, Chevron, along with Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco, bankrolled Proposition 26.  So I guess Chevron is behind the development of renewable energy as long as it is voluntary and maximizes shareholder profits.

As Chevron knows well, the passage of Prop. 26 could be crippling for implementation of the state’s global warming measure, AB 32, if the courts determine that basic fees for processing permits fall under the Prop. 26 prohibition.  The Air Resources Board will have a difficult time developing and implementing enforceable greenhouse gas rules and market mechanisms without adequate revenues.

I guess the next step is for Chevron to donate to California the equivalent cost of its “We Agree” campaign (easily in the $100 million range for a national print and TV campaign) to “get behind the development of renewable energy.”  Such a generous donation would jump-start AB 32 implementation with the ARB.

With its largesse driving the Prop. 26 campaign, Chevron has demonstrated a capacity to give generously to causes its execs believe in.  Given their stated beliefs, it is time for Chevron brass to follow through with a generous holiday gift of future energy sustainability to California.

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