Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio made headlines when lecturing the United Nations on climate change demanding restrictions on carbon emissions. To say he is an environmental hypocrite would be an understatement. The multimillionaire with an estimated worth of $220 million has a fleet of private jets, a small flotilla of yachts, and, of course, four spectacular homes. DiCaprio’s carbon footprint is as big as his ego. In just the past year, he’s made some twenty trips around the globe, from skiing in the French Alps to visiting Brazil for the World Cup. And I’m sure he didn’t drive a Prius or a Volt on his way to all those planes and yachts. Where would all the supermodels sit?
As an environmental activist, DiCaprio has called for the divestment in fossil fuels. He recently narrated a propaganda film called Carbon, where he said, “We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense.” Leo also sits as a board member for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The NRDC is left-wing, radical environmental organization that routinely advocates for the most draconian measures aimed at its myopic idea of “environmental protection.” Like DiCaprio, the NRDC advocates that institutions and individuals rid themselves of any investments in evil fossil fuel or carbon producing industries.
A closer look at some of the NRDC’s own leadership reveals a stunning level of “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy. Several of the organizations’ board members are profiting handsomely from the very things they claim are destroying the earth.
Frances Beinecke, the president of the NRDC, is married to Paul Elston, the founder of Long Lake Energy Corporation. In the 1980s, Long Lake Energy Corporation used dammed rivers and fossil fuels to generate energy—and they made millions of dollars on power plant projects that utilized fossil fuels and hydropower. Ms. Beinecke has criticized hydropower saying it can “cause serious harm to fish and wildlife” despite the fact that her husband profited from it.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Daniel Tischman, who serves as Vice Chairman at AECOM. AECOM’s core business is—you guessed it—oil and gas. In 2013, it was announced that AECOM won a $15 million contract from Ghana National Gas Company. In May 2014, AECOM announced that it would open Shell’s first liquefied natural gas fueling lanes for heavy-duty commercial trucks. In July 2014, AECOM acquired URS, known for their strength in the oil/gas/fracking sectors.
NRDC Board Member Adam Albright is a private investor who founded the ARIA Foundation. The foundation holds major investments in oil and gas enterprises such as Canadian Natural Resources, Noble Corp., and Transocean Ltd. The ARIA Foundation has previously held stock in Chevron, Halliburton, and Texaco.
Sarah Cogan is a lawyer with Simpson Thacher & Bartlet and has worked for the NRDC for years and is now a board member. Cogan’s clients include ClearBridge American Energy MLP Fund which has hundreds of millions invested in pipeline and fracking companies such as Kinder Morgan, Energy Transfer Partners, and Regency Energy Partners. Energy Transfer Partners bought Sunoco in 2012 for $5.3 billion. Regency Transfer Partners has major operations in the Marcellus Shale basin, the center of the fracking boom in the United States.
Mr. DiCaprio has taken an absolutists life or death moral approach to climate change. His own extremist approach raises the question of whether or not Leo is aware that his fellow NRDC leaders are getting rich off of supporting the very same companies he claims are putting “poison” in the environment. Given Mr. DiCaprio’s own carbon footprint, he may not even care.