Alan Oxley is a man many people love to hate. Why?
Oxley, a former Australian trade ambassador, is one of the leading hired guns for environmentally damaging industries -- such as big coal miners, rainforest loggers, and oil palm producers.
Oxley's latest stunt? He's fighting the efforts of universities and other shareholders to divest from heavily polluting industries, such as massive coal mines and other fossil fuels.
Coal, after all, is just about the worst fuel imaginable from a global-warming perspective, because it has such a high carbon density. China's growing reliance on coal -- it's now building an average of one new coal-fired generating plant per week -- is a key reason why it's blasted past the U.S. to become the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Oxley's latest crusade follows notable divestment initiatives by Stanford University and, most recently, by Australian National University. That two leading academic institutions are selling off their investments in industries that drive global warming is sending a chill down the spines of those heavy polluters.
The fact that Oxley has joined the fray shows just how nervous the big polluters are becoming. Rushing to Oxley's aid was the arch-conservative Australian Treasurer, Joe Hockey, who also criticized Australian National University.
The big polluters are not really worried about losing investments from a few universities. They are, however, petrified by the thought that this trickle of divestment initiatives could become a flood -- that it could become positively unfashionable to invest in big polluters.
For that reason, the big coal miners are happy to keep lining the pockets of Alan Oxley -- the man who seems to love global warming.