Nestle CEO Pooh-Poohs Global Warming Fears


Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe claimed in Davos Friday that global warming
is not really a problem. He didn't use those exact words, but he said
as much in a number of amazingly iconoclastic comments he made on a
panel at the World Economic Forum devoted to potential obstacles to
global growth.

Brabeck-Letmathe said, among other things, that
today's warming is not unusual compared to periods before the year
1000, for example, when "Greenland really was green." He also said that
around 1830 there was a warming period when the glaciers in
Switzerland, which Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth depicts
shrinking rapidly, were even smaller than they are now. He asserted
that villages now emerging from underneath the shrinking glaciers
demonstrate how much smaller they were in earlier times.

He suggested that such facts were deliberately left out of the movie by
the distorted selection of time periods in the display of charts and
graphs. "Anybody can use statistics to prove their case," he said.

The tone of his remarks was in stark contrast to those of other CEOs on the
panel and elsewhere in Davos, who are openly acknowledging the gravity
of the climate crisis. Michael Dell, for example, now talks
enthusiastically about the work being done by Greenpeace. This isn't
merely because such companies are seeking to score marketing points,
but also because increasingly their executives share the concerns of

Even the Financial Times' Martin Wolf, who was attempting impartial moderation, was impelled before the session ended to invite anyone from the audience to contradict
Brabeck-Letmathe's strident and arrogant-sounding statements. Someone
did, but too politely, it seemed to me.

Later, I ran into Vinod Khosla, the longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist now focusing on
energy-related startups. I related Brabeck-Letmathe's onstage comments
to him and asked what he thought. "You should tell him to see his
proctologist so he can find his head," said Khosla, "and you can quote