NEW YORK: Cynics are scanning the skies for flying pigs following Rupert Murdoch's announcement that he will henceforth instruct his far flung media empire to support environmentally friendly issues.

Hitherto a pronounced skeptic on global warming and environmental issues, the News Corporation chairman's apparent Damascene conversion is attributed to his son James, currently ceo of NewsCorp's UK satellite TV operation BSkyB.

Speaking at last week's environmental conference organised by former US president Bill Clinton, Murdoch declared: "We're going to be absolutely carbon neutral [across NewsCorp businesses]." He said he is "examining" how to eliminate emissions "in every country where we are".

His decision, he said, was influenced by son James who in May implemented a 'carbon neutral' policy at BSkyB without consulting his father. Murdoch senior admitted he learned of the scheme only after it had been implemented.

Although his fine words have yet to be translated into action, the media mogul's 'greening' is seen as a sign that James is beginning to influence his father, strengthening belief that he is now heir apparent to the NewsCorp empire.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff