Environment

Budweiser: The Beer of Climate Change Deniers?

Will Budweiser become the brew of choice for the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd?

When Whole Foods CEO John Mackey revealed himself to be a climate change skeptic in a New Yorker profile last month, he drew attention once again to the disconnect between his own libertarian ideology and the sensibilities of the ecologically and ethically-minded eaters who form Whole Foods' core constituency. Coming on the heels of his Wall Street Journal op-ed opposing health care reform, it may have been the proverbial last straw; shortly after the article hit the newstands, Mackey resigned from the chairmanship of Whole Food's board.

Mackey's resignation suggests that carbon footprint-conscious foodies have the power to influence a corporation. Now, it's time for all the lager-lovers who support low-impact living to step up to the plate -- or, rather, the bar -- to demand better from Anheuser-Busch.

If you're still drinking Budweiser, Michelob, Rolling Rock, or any other brew marketed by Anheuser-Busch, you're inadvertently bankrolling a company that continues to stand by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce despite its ongoing efforts to thwart any efforts to address global warming. Will Budweiser become the brew of choice for the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd?

Progressive beer-drinkers who'd like Anheuser-Busch to rethink its position can flout their clout at the cash register, for a start, but you can also send a message by signing this petition from CREDO and Living Liberally asking Anheuser-Busch to step down from the board of the Chamber of Commerce.

Anheuser-Busch, which currently claims about fifty percent of the beer market in the U.S., proudly touts its record of "environmental stewardship." And yet, the behemoth brewer refuses to use its weight to compel the Chamber of Commerce to stop blocking progress at a critical juncture in the climate crisis.

Rolling Stone has declared U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohoe one of its 17 "Climate Killers," the "polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming." As Al Gore told Rolling Stone:

Not only has the Chamber spent decades denying the existence of the climate crisis, now it is dedicating a significant quantity of resources and money attempting to prevent Congress from taking action.

This stubborn stance has cost the Chamber of Commerce such key supporters as Nike and Apple. Rolling Stone noted that "Even the California utility PG&E resigned from the Chamber, blasting Donohue for his group's "disingenuous attempts to distort" the dangers of climate change."

As historian Doug Brinkley told Living On Earth's Jeff Young last week:

If global warming continues and we don't address it history will wonder, what were these people thinking? They were given every alarm bell. It's like fire bells going off in a theater and everybody kept sitting and watching the movie.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce is threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over its stated plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. They've already filed a lawsuit against the Yes Men, who held a fake press conference last October to announce that the Chamber of Commerce was ready to reverse course, i.e. stop steering us off the climate change cliff, and instead embrace legislation to curb carbon emissions.

Such pranks help shame the climate change cranks, but there's more we can do. Can Anheuser-Busch really afford to remain aligned with the Chamber of Commerce? The brand may already be in serious trouble, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which notes that "Bud Light and Budweiser -- Anheuser-Busch's No. 1 and No. 2 brands, respectively -- are suffering drops in sales," due, analysts speculate, to "a loss of identity and appeal among cash-strapped drinkers."

It's not even in Anheuser-Busch's own interests to ignore global warming, given the fact that climate change is already hurting hops yields. And as more and more brewers strive to genuinely lower their carbon footprint (as opposed to greenwashing), environmentally conscious beer drinkers now have plenty of other brews from which to choose.

So, maybe it's time to ask yourself whether this Bud is really for you? And ask Anheuser-Busch to step down from the board of the Chamber of Commerce.

 

Kerry Trueman is the co-founder of EatingLiberally.org. You can follow her on Twitter.