Biotech giant Monsanto, which is headed by Glaswegian Hugh Grant, an adviser to Scottish Enterprise, has been awarded the Angry Mermaid Award 2009 for making the greatest effort to sabotage attempts to tackle climate change.
Announced by award-winning writer and journalist Naomi Klein announced today at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen that Monsanto won with 37% of the total vote .
Oil giant Shell took second place (18%) in the Award for lobbying to sabotage effective action on climate change, followed by the American Petroleum Institute (14%).
Ten thousand people voted in the Angry Mermaid Award, named after the iconic Copenhagen mermaid who is angry about corporate lobbying on climate change.
Eight candidates were put forward for public vote at www.angrymermaid.org and individuals at the Klimaforum were also invited to vote .
Agriculture giant Monsanto was nominated for promoting its genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to climate change and pushing for its crops to be used as biofuels. The expansion of GM soy in Latin America is contributing to major deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) of which Monsanto is a member, is helping to promote the company’s cause by allowing GM soy to be labelled as “responsible”. Monsanto also wants GM soy to be funded under the Clean Development Mechanism .
Speaking for the award organisers, Paul de Clerk from Friends of the Earth International said:
“Monsanto has attracted thousands of votes from individuals who are outraged that such an environmentally-damaging form of agriculture should be put forward to tackle climate change.
“Big business must not be allowed to sabotage action against climate change by promoting their vested interests. All the candidates for the Angry Mermaid Award have lobbied to protect their own profits and prevent effective action to tackle climate change. Governments need to stop listening to them and choose real solutions to the climate crisis.”
Juliet Swann, Head of Projects and Campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland said:
"The Scottish Government is rightly opposed to GM crops, so it is somewhat embarrassing that someone so closely associated with Scottish Enterprise is receiving this award for trying to divert EU funding into GM soy in the name of tackling climate change.
"Friends of the Earth Scotland would urge the Scottish Government to stand by their opposition to GM crops and to examine closely Mr Grant's role."
The Angry Mermaid is organised by Attac Denmark, Corporate Europe Observatory, Focus on the Global South, Friends of the Earth International, Oil Change International and Spinwatch.
Davina Shiell, Friends of the Earth Scotland 0131 243 2719
Nina Holland, Corporate Europe Observatory + 45 5268 5295
Paul de Clerk, Friends of the Earth International 32 494 380 959
Dorothy Guerrero, Focus on the Global South +45 5010 8908
Helen Burley, Corporate Europe Observatory, + 45 5399 5927
 Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.
 The eight nominees for the Angry Mermaid Award were:
• American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
• American Petroleum Institute (API)
• European Chemical Lobby (Cefic)
• International Air Transport Association (IATA)
• International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
 Monsanto was nominated for lobbying for carbon credits for their RoundupReady crops, which are being grown for agrofuel. RoundupReady soy doesn’t need ploughing because it can be heavily sprayed with herbicides. Not ploughing the fields leaves more carbon dioxide in the ground, but the vast spread of soy monocultures in Latin America have caused deforestation, the displacement of people, and massive amounts of toxic weed-killer being used instead.
Monsanto also wants GM soy to be funded under the Clean Development Mechanism which would allow polluting industry in the developed world to offset their emissions by buying credits from GM soy projects. Offsetting is a false solution to climate change and does not lead to emissions reductions in developed countries.
Full details of all the nominations at www.angrymermaid.org