Should GreenPeace attend chemical conferences?

This group was able to get in a major coal conference in New York this week using a phony name, ads and brochures (for a sponsorship fee of $8,500), according to this article from Reuters.

The organizers decided to let them stay (but beefed up their security just in case) even after they unveiled their true colors, stating that it could be a good way to engage GreenPeace and counteract their arguments – maybe besides the fact that they already paid the sponsorship fee??

Instead of the usual ceiling rappelling or chaining themselves to a speaker’s chair, GreenPeace restrained themselves from disrupting the conference and just gave away free asthma inhalers (during lunch breaks), water bottles filled with mine discharge, gift baskets filled with coal, and key chains that say “Global Warming. Coal is the key!”.

This reminds me of a round table discussion that I attended this week at the CESIO surfactants conference in Paris. When asked about the need for communications with non-government organizations (NGOs) such as GreenPeace, two chemical companies explicitly said that they don’t deal with them. Why? Because there is no reasoning with them at all.

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