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Global Netwar 2019

Global Netwar 2019

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October 24, 2019

By Jay Taber

 

 

INTRODUCTION

In 1994, an indigenous movement emerged that would forever change the face and the language of resistance. The Zapatista were arguably the first grassroots movement to utilize the full potential of a decentralized communications structure known as “netwar”, which is shorthand for networked psychological warfare.

Effective netwar as demonstrated by the Zapatista relies on the strategic use of all available forms of communication–including street art, public gestures, signage, text and audio/visual expressions, all of which relate to an overall theme that is apparent and memorable. Such communications must also stand in sharp contrast to those of the opposition, in order to clearly distinguish your values from theirs.

Mobilization of netwar is more complex. It relies on time and place, the kinds of resources you have, and the challenges in front of you. Through their own mobilization, the Zapatista were able to maintain a discourse that would not be replaced by the opposition.

The most profound outcome of the 1999 WTO protests is the appearance of the netwar construct in American politics. The “Battle in Seattle” was fought not only in the streets, but also in the infosphere. The WTO protests were the first to take full advantage of the extremely dense and wide-reaching alternative media network which uses the internet. The use of “media special forces” is one of the hallmarks of netwar and informational conflicts.

The WTO protests were the Chiapas insurrection come to America. Like the Zapatista netwar, the conflict was one of networks versus markets. 

On January 1st, 1994, to coincide with implemetation of the NAFTA free trade agreement, the then unknown Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) launched an armed insurrection in Chiapas state against the Mexican government.

The flexible and improvised communications infrastructure used by the Direct Action Network was a significant feature in the protests. One of the dictums of netwar is that netwar actors have a much greater interest in keeping communications working, rather than shutting them down. The dense and diversified communications used by the Direct Action Network could not have been significantly harmed by any action less than a total media and communications blackout in Seattle. Not only is such an action impossible for the economic and social costs which would result, but a blackout of the required magnitude would be the informational equivalent of unconditional surrender by the establishment. Future protests will be even more information intensive. Both protesters and their opponents will have to come to terms with the implications of netwar and the struggle for information, understanding and “topsight.” Because the ultimate prize in a netwar conflict is understanding, not opinion, it is the quality of information, not the quantity, which determines the final outcome.

The essential conditions for victory in a netwar conflict are also the conditions which make waging netwar possible: the shared understanding of a situation which demands direct action. In many ways, the victory of the Direct Action Network was implicit in the fact that so many people understood the conflict and were willing to act on that understanding.

The streets of Seattle showed what democracy looks like.

NETWORKS

In 2001, RAND analysts David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla wrote in their seminal paper Networks and Netwars and the Fight for the Future, that the deep dynamic guiding their analysis is that the information revolution favors the rise of network forms of organization–the next major form of organization to come into its own to redefine societies–and in so doing, the nature of conflict and cooperation. The rise of networks, they argued, means that power is migrating to nonstate actors, and that whoever masters the network form stands to gain the advantage.

In 2003, their colleague Paul de Armond, research director for the Public Good network, observed,

“We are on the cusp of the biggest movement of social transformation that has hit this country in a generation. Among other things, that means the number of potential recruits is more than we’ve seen since the 1960s.”

Building on the work of Ronfeldt, de Armond, and Arquilla, I remarked in my 2005 book War of Ideas, “The challenge for those devoted to training and nurturing agents for social change is in providing programs that focus on the specific tools these agents will need–to develop research and analysis capacity in a manner similar to intelligence and security capabilities conducted during military warfare.”

With the hostile takeover of all mainstream media by private equity investors early in the 21st Century, investigative journalism died in mainstream newsrooms. This void in mass communication has since been supplanted with propaganda created by public relations (PR) firms hired by transnational corporations.

To counter this demise of reporting on vital issues, volunteer citizen journalists and a handful of independent reporters have taken up this essential task. Simultaneously, activist scholars turned to blogging about social conflict online. The challenge for these volunteers and independents is learning the principles of communications in conflict, which is not taught in journalism school, nor commonly understood.

As an example, citizen journalists, reporters and bloggers routinely violate the core principle of social conflict, which is to never repeat the talking points of your opposition. For some reason, they almost always begin their articles by stating their opposition’s talking points, and then refute them. Unfortunately, this means that everyone is discussing their opponents’ position—not theirs. Long story short, repetition sinks in.

NETWAR

  • Storytelling is of special significance to network organizations because it is the means by which they encourage members to identify with and act on behalf of the network.
  •  

  • When network organizations compete in storytelling with other organizations, they engage in narrative netwar.
  •  

  • In traditional wars, if one disables the leadership or normal channels of communication, the war is won. In netwar, the network adjusts quickly, continuing on the offensive on some fronts, and establishing alternative channels of communication.
  •  

    The central feature of informational conflicts is the struggle for understanding and knowledge, as opposed to more traditional conflicts which focus on controlling territories or resources. Netwar conflicts are struggles for understanding and information. The more inaccurate the assessment of opposing forces, the greater the advantage to the side which possesses “top-view”—comprehensive and realistic understanding.

    Netwar refers to social conflict in which the protagonists use network forms of organization and related doctrines, strategies, and sometimes technologies. Netwar players are likely to consist of dispersed organizations, small groups, and individuals who communicate, coordinate, and conduct their campaigns in a consultative and collaborative manner without a central command.

    Netwar is inherently less violent than other forms of conflict, particularly when it involves non-governmental organizations dedicated to human rights and peace causes. One of the first full-blown manifestations of netwar was the Zapatista conflict in Chiapas. The networked intervention of international groups placed very real limits on the use of violence by the Mexican government in suppressing the insurrection.

    Research separates facts from misinformation by finding the evidence that enables judgment. Information is the facts that matter; knowledge is information in a framework. Research and analysis is using what you do know to find out what you don’t.

    The use of political diplomacy for purposes of constraining political violence is not only ineffective; it is inappropriate and signals those who use violence that their opponents lack the moral disposition to counter aggressiveness.

    Misguided or cowardly reformers who engage them thus, do so at grave risk to a community.

    PUBLIC HEALTH MODEL

    In the body politic, social pathogens of aggression that surface in the form of such things as racism, fascism, homophobia, and xenophobia can be viewed and approached in a manner similar to public health.

    Each of these ideological diseases have origins, histories, distinct characteristics, and can be studied, monitored, and analyzed asking the same basic questions used by the Centers for Disease Control and the Institutes for Public Health:

  • Where does it come from?
  • What conditions allow it to prosper?
  • How is it transmitted?
  • What is its life cycle?
  • What causes it to become dormant?
  • Can it be eradicated?
  •  

    To make room for democracy, it is first necessary to circumscribe political violence. The Public Health Model of community organizing defines political violence as the suppression of free and open inquiry. The remedy of rendering ineffective the agents who practice political violence requires both training and structured reflection.

    INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY & TACTICS

    Concerned citizens and good government groups are frequently blind-sided by an opposition playing by a different set of rules. Part of this is put down to the fact that the models they bring to these situations don’t work. Often, their response to a problem is in a complete vacuum of information. While it’s real easy to get a lot of people involved in a community response, it’ll usually be ineffective because they don’t know what they’re up against.

    Research provides the facts and builds a knowledge base. That knowledge is filtered through analysis to determine strategy. Operational research guides the tactics used to accomplish the strategy. In netwar, multiple groups adopt their understanding of the situation to develop the strategy and tactics most favorable to their situation.

    The creation of discursive monoculture—intended to dominate all discussion of vital issues—is the result of a strategy by the power elite to prevent counter-power narratives from entering mainstream consciousness. Through hostile takeovers of government, media, and the non-profit industrial complex, the financial sector in the last decade has accomplished what official censorship and political repression could not: the mobilization of progressives in support of neoliberal fascism.

    The financial sector capture of media, academia, and civil society indicates a future of diminishing consciousness—a future where fantasies about political power enable the murder of indigenous activists and unembedded journalists with impunity. In A World of Make Believe, I elaborated on the fact that privatized mass communication now dominates public opinion to such a degree that all public discussion of vital issues is choreographed by PR firms.

    In Controlling Consciousness, I observed that the donor elites that set the civil society agenda benefit from Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness, allowing them to fabricate news, as well as to integrate advertising with government propaganda. In order to maintain credibility, the non-profit PR firms subservient to the power elite, i.e. Avaaz, need to first establish a noble reputation, often using the tried-and-true method of poverty pimping—an effective and largely undetected tool in the art of social engineering.

    As I remarked in R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe, under the neoliberal model of global conquest, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose, and Amnesty International function as stage managers for the power elite in choreographed productions where neoliberal heroism can be enacted. These constructed events–that urge neoliberal military interventions in countries like Mali and Burundi—then draw in civil society as participants of moral catastrophe, where they actually become complicit in crimes against humanity.

    The ulterior strategy of Avaaz as the ‘Great White Hope’ in other venues, subsequently allowed this social media marketing agency to easily herd so-called progressives to line up behind the neoliberal imperial campaigns in Libya and Syria–where Avaaz literally designed and managed the PR campaign for NATO and the US–in order to present the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra as the good guys in ‘white helmets’. Networked psychological warfare (Netwar) is not hard to grasp; it just isn’t discussed anywhere, making communication the invisible environment.

    CONCLUSION

    In 1991, Amnesty International eagerly acquiesced to the $11 million Wag the Dog public relations campaign–devised for the Pentagon by the Hill & Knowlton PR firm–to generate support for the US invasion of Iraq, and in 2012, AI was an enthusiastic cheerleader in support of the escalated bombing of Afghanistan by NATO.

    In 2015, Amnesty International–in one of the most egregious examples of the nihilism that now characterizes the human rights industry–endorsed the organized crime initiative to freely engage in human trafficking of women and children for sex slavery through the decriminalization of the prostitution industry–rather than choosing to support the Nordic model of decriminalizing the victims, but not the perpetrators.

    In 2015-2016 Amnesty International supported–and continues to support—US and NATO military aggression in countries like Libya and Syria, which is bolstered by the public relations campaigns of Avaaz and Purpose–Wall Street-funded marketing agencies with deep ties to the very heart of the military industrial complex. By unthinkingly supporting AI, these ‘peace and justice’ centers become complicit in these war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Many so-called ‘peace and justice’ centers in the United States are still oblivious to the ongoing betrayal of human rights by Amnesty International (AI), which—like Human Rights Watch– has become increasingly corrupt over the past two decades. This brief overview is intended to help dispel the mistaken notion that AI is sacrosanct, and to prompt the pious poseurs–that comprise the purity networks in the US–to begin basing their policies, programs and associations on facts, rather than on outdated fantasies about the Human Rights Industrial Complex.

    In order to transition from these preconceived fantasies to research-based reality regarding human rights, these ‘peace and justice’ centers will need to reorient themselves to doing research related to digital netwar, rather than reflexively responding to press releases by Amnesty International, or to the social media propaganda by AI public relations associates Avaaz and Purpose. Until these local nodes of ostensibly noble causes do research, they will remain a notably unconscious milieu—infantile consumers, rather than informed and engaged citizens.

     

    For further reading, see The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico.

     

     

    [Jay Thomas Taber is a retired journalist whose investigations exposed institutional corruption, organized crime, and media complicity. In 2000, he was presented the Defender of Democracy award for his work that led to the convictions of Christian Patriot militia members in Seattle for making bombs to murder human rights activists.

    Jay received his MA in Humanities and Leadership at New College of California, where he designed the graduate program Activism and Social Change. He was a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal from 2005-2017, and communications director of the Public Good network (US and Canada) for 22 years.

    Jay is the author of Communications in Conflict–published by IC magazine in 2013–and Anti-Indian Movement on the Salish Sea, a six-part special report published by the Center for World Indigenous Studies in 2018. Shining a Light, an interview with Jay for SHIFT magazine (Australia), was published in 2015. He is the creator of INSiGHT.]

    I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt

    I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt

    Popular Resistance

    October 16, 2019

    By Cliff Willmeng

    “I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt”

     

    The Natural Capital Coalition, that seeks the assigning of monetary value to nature, global in scale, promotes the Green New Deal.

    The Natural Capital Coalition, that seeks the assigning of monetary value to nature, (the financialization of nature) global in scale, promotes the Green New Deal.

     

    A Response to Ralph Nader

    We do the work.

    Well-known political commentator and activist Ralph Nader was recently featured in a Truthdig article titled, “Why Aren’t the 99% Revolting?”. The points made in the article sharply illustrate the scale of growing crisis and conflict across the US and globally. It covered issues as wide-ranging as medical care, climate change, and the titanic disparity of global wealth distribution. It concluded with the following, hollow statement. “I could go on and on. Pick up the pace, readers. Senator Elizabeth Warren has correctly called for “big structural changes.”

    Of course, we are all asking ourselves the same thing. How bad does it have to get before widespread rebellion? How many unarmed people of color will be gunned down by police? How many civil rights are going to be stripped? How rich can the elites get off of our labor? How much pain do we all need to feel before we rise up? It’s a natural question to ask by anyone suffering the nature of US capitalism. Unfortunately, Nader’s article rings tone-deaf. Like so many liberal arguments, it places the burden of rebellion on working class people while ignoring the mechanisms that kill revolt wherever and whenever it threatens to spark into life.

    Although the elements that prevent substantial rebellion are many, they really boil down to just three. They are the not for profit industry, the leaders of what is currently mislabeled as, “The union movement”, and the Democratic Party. These three elements, all loyal to each other and working in unison, act as the front-line protective mechanism for US capitalism and the political class that serves it.

    Many of you will be tempted to flail at this stage of the discussion. Aren’t the Republicans so much worse? Why would anyone attack the forces that are on our side after all they have done, even if they have some traits we may disagree with? The answer is quite simple. These forces are not allied with the types of changes our world desperately needs. They are not there to build, nor even prepare the ground for those types of changes. They act, instead, as the professional brokers of negotiated surrender for communities, workforces, and the environment. They are not building movements; they are preventing them.

    What is a Movement?

    What is a movement anyway? We hear the term tossed about as often as references to Martin Luther King Jr in every venue from the election of politicians to online petitioning. Although movements have changed the course of US politics for centuries, the essential qualities of movements are nearly forgotten today. In the 50 years that have passed since the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, the definition of “movement” has become the possession of the same institutions that have been most consistent in keeping new movements from forming.

    Let’s look at some basic qualities of movements throughout history:

    1. Although movements may build their own leadership, they do not look for change to come from above. Instead, movements build politically independent power from below.
    1. Movements understand that injustice is not an accidental or coincidental outcome of the political system, but the system working according to design.
    1. All movements, recognizing the systemic nature of the problem, will organize ways to break the rules of that system, not simply appeal to it.
    1. Through building independent political power and organized mass disobedience, movements force the system to do things it was otherwise unwilling to do.

    All of these qualities, synonymous with victories and grassroots power historically, are omitted from the dominant and promoted activism of today. Let’s take a look at who is writing the current narrative.

    The Not For Profit Industrial Complex

    Alongside any injustice taking place nationally, a cottage industry of professional activists and organizations arises. This occurs as soon as any outrage, protest, or other grassroots formation builds to the point of exerting even a minor amount of uncontrolled political power. As soon as sufficient people and attention are involved, not for profit organizations will be dispatched to commandeer, tame, and control the process. The not for profits are funded by foundations, dark money donors, or otherwise politically connected individuals. It’s easy to see why communities or other efforts fall into their influence. They have staff, networks, and resources that we don’t normally possess at the grassroots level. But in the end, they will lead people into the predictable forms of activism that have been the hallmark of the last 50 years of retreat before Wall Street and Washington D.C. The not for profits help you feel better about negotiating the terms of your defeat. They will not lead an effort, however, that threatens the political and economic elites in any meaningful way.

    The Union Leadership

    The US working class has been on a downward spiral for generations. Once a power that shook the ground and terrified the rich, and sent their politicians scrambling for ways to save US capitalism, the unions have seen decades of defeated strikes and retreat. Today, despite historic popularity, unions continue to lose strikes and membership, all the while handing hundreds of millions of dollars of hard-earned dues money over to politicians. What happened to the thunderous power of the labor movement? Was this what rank and file workers wanted?

    After record-setting strikes in the 1930s and 1940s, US financial interests were able to gain dominant influence within union leadership. Throughout the 1950s revolutionaries were expelled from locals as the labor bureaucracy strengthened its ties and acceptance of the generalized dominance of the rich and powerful. The unions became a force that negotiated better conditions of exploitation and traded their power for a comfortable relationship with the bosses and political class. It became so dominant of a strategy that union officials coined the Orwellian term, the “Team Concept”, which promotes the idea that CEOs and workers can overcome their opposing interests and work together. It has meant ruin for the American working class and an unparalleled race to the bottom for workers globally.

    Today the strategies of major victory are all carefully avoided within the union hierarchy. Even when places like Puerto Rico show definitively the effectiveness of efforts like a general strike, any discussion around such an idea is opposed by union leaders in the US. Why? Because it would risk the relationship of the union leaders and the owners of industry and government.

    The result is that 13 million union members, who could collectively bring the functioning of the largest capitalist economy to a halt, have been reduced to scripted measures and political spectatorship.

    The Democratic Party

    All resources, assets, time, labor, money, ideas, organizing and initiative are offered to and consumed by this dominant organization of US business interests. The Democratic Party, we are informed, is the alpha and omega of our efforts to organize for justice. The power of the Democratic Party is so accepted that conventional activism has come to mean a simplified lobby effort aimed to influence their operations or talking points. No movement in history started out with the hope that electing the right politicians would save us. No movement ever exploded onto the world stage with the position that powerful interests were open to moral persuasion. But this is the promoted conclusion and focus leveraged upon all grassroots formulations.

    When we accept this conclusion, that we can’t build a movement independent of the Democratic or Republican parties, by what force do we expect that they will change? And, even more, if we accept that the Democratic Party is our only political path forward, what specifically are the costs of maintaining that relationship? Given the nature of the Democratic Party, its owners, its ability to co-opt and control entire populations, what is the opportunity cost to staying within its good graces? It can only be one thing: The disarming of our power and any real threat of revolt. That is the price to ride.

    The consequences of this are not academic nor intellectual. Simply look at the state of the environment, the conditions in any major city, the US prison population, the decline of the working class, the wars, systemic racism, poverty and deepening crisis everywhere and you will see the objective consequences of a people outsourcing our power to politicians.

    The potential for forceful and effective revolt will be defined by its relationship to these three political forces. The more ties that exist between threatened rebellion and these forces, the more predictable and inert that rebellion will become.

    Is There Any Other Way Forward?

    Yes. Organized revolt has built occupations, urban insurrections, general strikes, and formed politically-independent organizations throughout history. The labor movement, the abolitionists, and the civil rights struggles all created political power sufficient to throw the system onto its heels and compel deep changes to government and industry. The examples aren’t confined to history either. In places like Kentucky and Virginia, rank and file teachers defied all convention and organized statewide strikes resulting in historic wage increases. Within the last five years, rebellion against racism and police brutality erupted in cities after the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson. Standing Rock saw a historic assembly of First Nations to protect the water of the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Just this year a general strike in Puerto Rico removed Gov. Ricardo Rosselló from power. And let’s not forget that the work stoppage of rank and file airline attendants that defeated Trump’s attempt to keep the US government closed. It took all of 48 hours for that victory.

    In every moment throughout history, forces from below threaten to find expression. It means the system has had to develop elaborate mechanisms to keep these forces in check, predictable, and historically inert. The role of regular people then, the working class, has to be to recognize how we are being maneuvered and by whom, and to overcome those mechanisms so we can build something powerful, independent and existentially threatening to the old order. If we can achieve that, revolt is only a moment away. And when it happens, it will rise to the level of the crisis that compelled it.

    References:

    Ralph Nader: Why Isn’t the 99% Revolting?

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/ralph-nader-why-isnt-the-99-percent-revolting/

     

     

    [Cliff Willmeng is a registered nurse, writer, and activist in grassroots labor and environmental struggles. Born in Chicago, Cliff co-founded the Chicago Direct Action Network after participating in the historic uprising against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, 1999. As a union carpenter in UBC Local 1, he was in the leading body of Carpenters For a Rank and File Union which organized successful fights for building trades members across Chicago. After moving to Colorado, Cliff was at the center of the fight against oil and gas drilling known as “fracking”, and helped to found Labor For Standing Rock in 1996. He ran for Boulder County Commissioner as an independent socialist and union official in 2018, receiving nearly 13,000 votes. Cliff lives with his wife and two children today in Minneapolis, Minnesota.]

     

    Perfect Distractions and Fantastical Mitigation Plans

    Perfect Distractions and Fantastical Mitigation Plans

    October 19, 2019

    By Michael Swifte

     

     

     

    The recent UN Climate Action Summit in New York delivered both spectacle and much ignored signifiers of political will. I would say it was a failure in terms of any meaningful or effective action to deliver anything like a fossil fuel phase out. At the centre of the spectacle was Greta Thunberg, the perfect distraction, urging us to honour Paris targets, recognise ‘the science’ and act on climate. Greta laments inaction from world leaders like most of us do – this is a continuing theme. And like most of us, Greta sees inaction as a result of the political will failing to deliver on decades of rhetoric. Sadly though, the mitigation plans of the powerful, the key signifiers of political will for continued relentless extractivism never enter the public conversation.

    Perfect distractions come with talking points and bring framing to the issue they come to embody. Like the Extinction Rebellion leaders, and Green New Deal proponents, Greta, under advice from a range of experts, leaves the fantastical assumptions in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation plans well alone. Kevin Anderson, who has given Greta advice in the past, despairs at the “technical utopias”, unfathomable quantities of biomass burning, and as-yet-not-invented air capture machines that fill three of the four IPCC mitigation ‘pathways’. I’m astonished that even the one pathway commissioned by the IPCC that could be called a ‘degrowth’ pathway is also rarely discussed.

    While the IPCC present fantastical mitigation plans supposedly representing the global consensus but with little basis in reality; the statements, networking activities, and research & development investments of fossil fuel giants tell another story. Events held, messages provided, and statements released during the UN Climate Action Summit show that the oil and gas industry are getting exactly what they want. Relentless extractivism in service of the consumer economy was the big winner around which climate action plans will be built.

    Political will and the UN Climate Action Summit

    On September 22, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) met for a dinner at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Emily Atkin reported on this event in her ‘Heated’ newsletter providing a transcript of a message presented by the Special Adviser to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

    The transcript of Guterres’ message is the primary source for a significant moment. It wasn’t till the next day, the same day Greta was giving her “how dare you” speech that the substance of the OGCI mitigation plans was revealed.

    Chris Lang from Redd-Monitor laid out how the summit failed saying “Obviously, none of the “action plans” involved leaving any fossil fuel in the ground.”, and noting that the OGCI also support the #NaturalClimateSolutions (NCS) campaign promoted by George Monbiot and Greta Thunberg.

    The International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Ministerial made public an embargoed media release from the OGCI at 12.01am on September 23 announcing their “Kickstarter” initiative in partnership with the OGCI to “unlock large scale investment” in CCUS with an emphasis on “low carbon industrial hubs” for CO2 export. [SOURCE]

    Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

    Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

     

    On September 19, just in time for the summit George Monbiot and Greta Thunberg became spokesfaces for #NaturalClimateSolutions on the Guardian News, YouTube channel.

    Stephen Corry from Survival International responded to the new video in worthy style pointing to the corporate relationships and big philanthropy behind the hashtag. In a September 20 Twitter thread, Corry takes Monbiot to task pointing to corporations that partner with the Big Conservation NGOs behind the NCS campaign.

    On September 21, International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, Gary Graham Hughes from Biofuelwatch and Souparna Lahiri from Global Forest Coalition sounded a warning to Greta and those who would meet under the banner of #NatureBasedSolutions at the summit. They made their position, a challenge to Greta and summit attendees very clear saying “Acres of monoculture plantations, bioenergy, and offsets are false solutions – bad for climate, undermining real solutions and bad for humanity.”

    On September 26, Cory Morningstar published her detailed write up of the the extensive networks behind #NaturalClimateSolutions. The networks explicated demonstrate the deep connections between the corporate world, big conservation, environmental NGOs, media, governments and the global consensus apparatus of the United Nations.

    Any well resourced emissions wonk at the summit would have known what the fossil fools want to do. Our global corporate energy leaders reveal certain details of their plans and they have to spruik their plans to particular people in particular ways. I suspect they’re grateful for the lack of scrutiny from the mainstream media and the NGO aligned press who routinely fail to report or unpack the political will.

    When the Atlantic Council hosted the 2019 Global Energy Forum in January, it was made very plain that CCS was necessary for any future energy plans. A panel discussion included representatives of the International Energy Agency, OGCI, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, The Institute of Energy Economics-Japan, and Saudi Aramco. Saudi Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer, Ahmad Al Khowaiter, made a statement at this panel discussion that really stuck out for me. “CO2 is a valuable feedstock, we should not forget that”. It’s a statement that acknowledges a barely understood reality: the oil industry has retained latent demand for liquefied CO2 for decades. [SOURCE]

    It stands to reason that the oil industry would fight to access liquefied CO2 as the best means to do enhanced oil recovery to get the last remaining drops of oil from depleted oil fields and get paid a subsidy to sequester CO2 in the process. The global consumer market demands throughput of oil for the full range of products derived from oil, not merely the transport fuel products.

    National Defense Authorization Act

    On April 10, I watched the C-SPAN live stream of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) as it met to discuss and vote on the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act). The USE IT Act is crucial to the expansion of the 45Q tax credit which is an effective subsidy for CO2 enhanced oil recovery and the full gamut of carbon capture and storage projects including ‘clean coal’ and ‘clean hydrogen’.

    The meeting began with chair John Barrasso outlining the purpose of the meeting before offering an opportunity for members to comment on the bills before the committee. Ranking member Tom Carper spoke to the bills before John Barrasso called a recess so that Democrat members could make quorum at which point Tom Carper said “I’ve asked my staff to reach out far and wide to get as many  Democrats here as quickly as we can so thank you for your patience.”

    While C-SPAN may provide livestreamed content, the archive of video, audio and transcripts available on the their website is subject to the discretion of the individual committee chairs. The EPW committee did not provide video to the C-SPAN archive preferring to post an edited video to their YouTube channel and archived webcast on their website. They did however provide audio of the complete proceedings of the April 10 meeting. [C-SPAN audio] [Archived webcast]

    In April, a WKOG member called the EPW Committee office to check the attendance records for both the February 27 and April 10 meetings. They discovered that on February 27, three of the Green New Deal cosponsors were in attendance, but Bernie Sanders was absent. None of the three Green New Deal cosponsors spoke to the USE IT Act on February 27. On April 10, all four Green New Deal cosponsors were absent. This means that Bernie Sanders was absent for both meetings. Was the absence of the four Green New Deal cosponsors the cause of the recess called by John Barrasso at the April 10 meeting? Were the four Green New Deal Resolution cosponsors absent to manufacture the eventual unanimous vote for the USE IT Act?

    On June 27, the USE IT Act passed the Senate 86 votes to 8 as part of S. 1790 National Defense Authorization Act 2020. The four Green New Deal cosponsors, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders voted against the bill.

    In an amendment to S. 1790 before it was voted up in the House of Representatives on September 17, Sec. 6001 which contained the USE IT Act provisions was removed.

    [SOURCE]

    On August 30, the Carbon Capture Coalition sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services asking that USE IT Act provisions be included as an amendment to HR. 2500. National Defense Authorization Act 2020.

    It is time to pass this important and widely-supported climate and energy legislation, and the NDAA provides an appropriate opportunity to do so.

    [SOURCE][SOURCE]

    The vote on the House of Representatives NDAA will likely take place on November 20 or 21.

    If the USE IT Act provisions pass then it will unleash an unstoppable wave of CCUS projects including fossil hydrogen projects and CO2 enhanced oil recovery projects. The success of the USE IT Act provisions will ensure the success of the 9+ bipartisan bills designed to deliver R&D, new pipelines and a raft of bureaucratic measures to support the implementation of 45Q tax credits. Cory Morningstar outlines most of these bills in her detailed investigation into the ‘Design to Win’ philanthropies.

    Mitigation plans and technology

    The truth about the mitigation plans of the powerful is masked in the public discourse by language, conflated logics and expansive silence. The political will that has been demonstrated for carbon capture and storage for fossil fuel extraction and refining should be held in contrast to the ‘pathways’ developed through the global consensus building processes of the IPCC.

    Three of the four IPCC pathways rely heavily on what are called ‘negative emissions technologies’ (NETs). The ‘technology’ on which the IPCC rely most heavily is called BECCS, or biomass with CCS applied. Biomass is currently being used in Europe in place of coal, and is regarded by some as a ‘renewable energy’. Biomass is used as an offset against emissions created when it is burned in place of coal as it is regarded to have sequestered carbon when it was part of a plant. When you read articles about renewable energy beating out fossil fuel energy in the UK or Germany, you can be sure biomass offsets helped. The implementation of BECCS will require access to geological storage of CO2, the preserve of fossil fuel extraction companies like Equinor, Chevron, Woodside and Shell.

    A ‘negative emissions technology’ is not a technology as such, but rather it is a collection of processes that upon the application of certain accounting can be said to have produced zero emissions. Geological storage of CO2 is a crucial process in transforming biomass burning into a negative emissions technology. If any implementation of the IPCC pathways were to take place any time soon then access to geological storage of CO2 would be absolutely necessary for BECCS to be effective.

    On September 5, the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Borge Freiburgh called for “international support” to amend the London Protocol to allow for under sea geological storage and export infrastructure to support the implementation of CCS. The full title of the London Protocol is the ‘London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter’. It is an international agreement to assist in making regional agreements. Amendments to the London Protocol have long been seen as the last regulatory hurdle to large scale under sea storage of CO2. [SOURCE]

    The IPCC has three working groups covering three key areas: science and carbon budgets, social and ecological impacts, and mitigation. As observed by Kevin Anderson on Twitter, Greta Thunberg does not speak about the mitigation pathways presented by Working Group 3 on mitigation, rather she focusses on Working Group 1 on “physical science”. Having followed the discourse on mitigation pathways following Thelma Krug’s unheralded presentation at last year’s GHGT-14 conference in Melbourne, I can say with certainty that none of the four pathways have ever been discussed by XR leaders, Greta Thunberg or Green New Deal proponents. Indeed, the climate justice friendly media mouthpieces have rarely if ever examined the IPCC pathways.

    [SOURCE: Thelma Krug]

    Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change, holding a joint chair in the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester and in Centre for Sustainability and the Environment at Uppsala University

    Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change, holding a joint chair in the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester and in the Centre for Sustainability and the Environment at Uppsala University

     

    One of the unexamined pathways presented by the IPCC Working Group 3 is called P.1. or Grubler et al ‘Low Energy Demand’ scenario, which is the only degrowth scenario they provide. Grubler LED is also the only scenario/pathway not reliant on BECCS. Jason Hickel writing in Real-World Economics Review outlines degrowth as a radical and positive strategy for tackling climate targets. It is highly significant that so very little has been said about the Grubler LED pathway as it is the only pathway that provides any opportunity to deliver a fossil fuel phase out, which is, at least through suggestion, a principle objective of all climate justice groups including XR leaders and Green New Deal proponents.

    People should study what Kevin Anderson has to say about IPCC scenarios. He is very concerned about the abundance of negative emissions technologies. He can’t see how the three BECCS and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) ‘technologies’ can deliver enough mitigation in time. In a video entitled ‘Delivering on 2 degrees,’ he notes that the IPCC scenario data base is loaded with NETs reliant scenarios.

    In his response to the UK government’s “net zero” proposal following its declaration of a ‘climate emergency,’ makes it very clear that the fantastical quantities of BECCS and reliance on undeveloped air capture machines were already damaging the possibility of decisive action.   

    Already the tentative potential of NETs is being used to undermine the requirement for immediate and widespread decarbonisation, passing further unacceptable burdens and risks onto the next generation.

    [SOURCE]

    Shortly after announcing a ‘climate emergency’ the UK’s Committee on Climate Change indicated that they would much prefer to produce ‘clean’ hydrogen from steam reforming LNG than through renewable energy and electrolysis with water. Steam reforming is a process where fossil gas is coverted into hydrogen and other gases producing a stream of pure liquefied CO2 for enhanced oil and gas recovery, geological storage or other commercial applications. Clearly the renewable option was being discarded by the Committee on Climate Change, but this was not a concern for the XR leaders who don’t appear to be doing what it takes to keep fossil fuels in the ground.  

    Our scenarios assume that hydrogen production at scale is done via gas-reforming with CCS rather than electrolysis

    [SOURCE]

    Here is a remarkable interview with the Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 4 (on mitigation) of the IPCC AR6 Special Report, Heleen de Coninck. It is remarkable because it reveals how the language and framing of technologies and extractive processes has shifted around carbon capture and storage over several IPCC reports. The interviewer was compelled to ask a rather absurd sounding question that highlights how IPCC reports have framed and reframed technologies and extractive processes in producing mitigation scenarios.

    Ah, so you’re saying in AR3, CCS was still weird?

    [SOURCE]

    Rob Urie is one of the few writers to take an honest look at the technologies that the IPCC modelling requires. I think this is one of the most important pieces of writing that any informed person can read to understand where we are right now and where we are likely to be heading in the near future.

    Three of the four scenarios to keep the rise in global temperatures at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius presented by the IPCC in their 2018 paper require ‘negative emissions’ technologies—methods of actively removing carbon from the atmosphere. Some of these, like reforestation, are superficially attractive to the environmentally inclined. The problems come both through the fine print and the focus on climate rather than the environment.

     

     

    [Michael Swifte is an Australian activist and a member of the Wrong Kind of Green critical thinking collective.]

     

     

     

     

     

    To Adapt to the Escalating Climate Crisis, Mere Reform Will Not Be Enough

    To Adapt to the Escalating Climate Crisis, Mere Reform Will Not Be Enough

    Greanville Post

    October 16, 2019

    “To Adapt to the Escalating Climate Crisis, Mere Reform Will Not Be Enough”

    By Rainer Shea

     

     

    As I’ve watched young people around the world take part in the climate actions of the last month, I’ve gotten the sense that I’m watching a spectacle which has been orchestrated to create the illusion that we’re still in an earlier, more stable time for the planet’s climate. Legitimate as the passion and commitment of this generation of teen climate activists is, their efforts are being packaged by the political and media establishment in a way that encourages denial about our true situation. These ruling institutions neither want us to recognize the real solutions to the crisis, nor do they want us to see the irrecoverable and massive damage that’s already been done to the climate. We’re told that if we restructure capitalism with the help of the “green” corporations and NGOs that are backing Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, a catastrophic outcome can be prevented. Supposedly radical politicians like Bernie Sanders promise that by making an appeal for corporations to partially reduce emissions within a capitalist framework, we can save the world. People want to believe the claims of these “green” capitalists because they want to believe that our living arrangements won’t fundamentally need to change in order for humanity to survive.

     

    Sustainable Brands website, August 30, 2019 [Source] [Extinction Rebellion website]

    These sources of false hope let Western capitalist society continue to ignore the primary role that imperialism and militarism have in the climate crisis, to view the capitalist governments as legitimate, and to not try to break away from the philosophy of capitalism and endless growth. The lifestyle tweaks that we’re told will save the planet—eating less meat, carpooling, flicking off the light when you leave the room—won’t be able to solve the problem even if society were to largely adopt them. The climate solutions that the capitalists present to us are designed to make us feel better while we keep letting the system move us closer to apocalypse.

    To survive, we must recognize two truths about this crisis: that it’s no longer possible to avert a substantial catastrophe, and that global capitalism must be toppled in order for the human race to have a future. Once we understand the former fact, it becomes easy to accept the latter.

    When you examine the state of the world, it’s not hard to see that something needs to drastically change. Extreme inequality amid neoliberal policies and rampant corporate power has made the Western countries in many ways part of the so-called Third World. As American power declines, the imperialist wars are continuing and tensions between the most powerful countries are escalating. Another global recession looms at the same time as a stable and comfortable life has become impossible even for most Americans to attain. Refugees are fleeing the worst dangers in their home countries, and are being met with inhumane treatment by the reactionary governments of the core imperialist nations. All of these capitalist crises are intertwined with the climate collapse that’s threatening the foundations of civilization.

    The goals of the Paris climate agreement, which require reducing emissions by around 45 percent before 2030 so as to avoid a 1.5 degree Celsius warming, most definitely aren’t going to be met. Global greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in 2018, indicating that we’ll be at 1.5 by 2030. The climate feedback loop will quickly turn this into 2 degrees in the following years, which will turn into somewhere between 3 and 5 degrees by 2100. It’s estimated that with just 2 degrees of warming, sea level rise will engulf 280 million people, earthquakes will kill 17 million, and over 200 million will die from droughts and famine.

    Just ten years from now, this transition will be far enough along that the basic structures of capitalist society will no longer be stable. In June, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights issued a report which said that more than 120 million people could be forced into poverty by 2030 due to the destroyed property and resource scarcity that climate change-related disasters will cause. In response, more social services will be cut, society will become more militarized, and more immigrants will be deported, imprisoned, or left to die in disease-riddled concentration camps.

    Such cruelties against the victims of climate change are realistic, and are all already being carried out because in a world that’s falling to pieces, the feeling of desperation drives a survival instinct that makes people devalue the lives of their fellow human beings. Capitalism, with its fixation on competition, is a key driver behind this impulse to exclude and eliminate the immigrants who seek to share in the West’s relative stability. This is why Philip Alston, the author of the U.N.’s June report, said that barring radical systemic change, “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.”

    As the warming continues, increasing food and water scarcity, flooding, deadly heat waves, epidemics, and inequality will set off wars and civil unrest. Where stable states still exist, the prevailing paradigm will range from heightened government vigilance to outright martial law. Otherwise, borders will become less clearly defined and the existing governments will lose their power, making for a global version of the Middle East in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Syria. The vacuum will be filled with militant groups. In the Arab world these new monopolies on violence have been ISIS and Al Qaeda, and in North America they could easily become white supremacist paramilitaries.

    None of this can be prevented by voting for Democrats, or changing one’s personal lifestyle, or participating in climate demonstrations that are sanctioned by the corporatocracy. The momentum of the climate’s destabilization is unstoppable, and the fascistic political forces that have emerged amid the crisis aren’t going away. However, my message with this essay isn’t to become apathetic in the face of what’s happening to us, but to embrace a worldview of realism that allows us to actually combat the problem.

    We in the Western world must take guidance from the colonized people who are struggling for their liberation from imperial control and the capitalist carbon economy. Our goal should be not to reform capitalism, but to overthrow the capitalist centers of government and replace them with ecosocialist power structures. This is what the Chavistas are trying to do in Venezuela, which is moving towards an ecosocialist revolution where the country weans itself off from dependence on oil markets. Bolivia, whose socialist president Evo Morales has given the environment legal protections that are equivalent to human rights, provides further inspiration for the new systems that we’re capable of building.


    The path to taking over the power of the state and seizing the means of production, as the socialists in these countries are trying to do, requires building mass movements that aren’t co-opted by the influence of the capitalist class. Our objectives need to be unambiguous: an end to capitalism and an end to all forms of imperialism, which entails decolonization.

    The people of Venezuela and Bolivia are lucky to have been able to use electoral means to install a government that attempts to pursue these goals. In the U.S., where electoral politics are rigged against third parties and a deadly police state has been created, freedom will only be gained by working to usurp the authority of the capitalist state. India’s Maoist gurriellas (or the Naxalites) are doing this by taking territory away from their region’s government, as are Mexico’s communist Zapatistas. These groups are building strongholds for the larger movements to take down capitalism, which gain greater potential for victory the more that capitalism’s crises escalate; capitalist regimes that are under threat of being overthrown can already be found in Haiti and Honduras, whose U.S.-backed governments may well soon be ousted through sustained proletarian rebellions.

    To replicate these liberation movements worldwide, we must stop denying the extremity of the crisis and fight capitalism with the knowledge that we’re fighting for our survival. To commit to their battle against India’s corporate-controlled government, the Naxalites have had to experience the desperation of living in a severely impoverished underclass that’s increasingly suffering from water shortages amid the climate crisis. We Westerners can’t be kept complacent by the fact that our conditions are marginally better than theirs.

    In the coming years, we’re not going to be living out a scenario where capitalism changes itself into something sustainable. We’re counting down to the collapse of civilization’s current configuration and, in my view, all that can save us now is the construction of a new ecosocialist civilization in its place.

     

    [Rainer Shea uses the written word to deconstruct establishment propaganda and to promote meaningful political action. His articles can also be found at Revolution Dispatch]

    A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign

    A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign

    October 6, 2019

    By Cory Morningstar

     

    “To even embark on a strategy of rebuilding and realization-to renew a liberating vision of justice and human rights – we must be clear about the strengths of state power and be prepared to defend ourselves against that power. The repressive apparatus is powerful, with its fingers stretched into every crevice or crack in the state’s hegemony it can find.”

     

    — Marilyn Buck

     

    “They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want.”

     

    — Malcolm X

     

    We Mean Business, April 2019 Newsletter

    We Mean Business, April 2019 Newsletter

     

    We must learn how the unprecedented wealth accumulation among the very few ends up protected by layers and layers of moneyed social institutions co-ordinating to perpetuate the system, while progressively oppressive financial pressure and state violence against the already oppressed keep herding people into the capitalist framework. When we face the sad reality of the public embracing policies that allow the powerful minorities to exploit and subjugate them over and over, what we need is not a popular mobilization guided by vague slogans easily subsumed by the imperial framework. Such a method would lead to draconian enforcement of corporate “solutions” according to their definition of “problems”. It is a recipe for bringing about a fascist order. What we need is openness and willingness to learn how we are domesticated by the authoritarian framework so that the actions are guided by the interests of the people in forming a society that allows our true liberation in a mutually respectful and harmonious manner.”

    — Hiroyuki Hamada, artist

     

    On August 20, 2018, Ingmar Rentzhog, the founder and CEO of We Don’t Have Time posted the “lonely girl” tweet. The tweet featured Greta Thunberg. This was the first day of her climate strike. She sat on a sidewalk and said nothing beside a sign. Just two months prior, social media accounts had been created in her name. Rentzhog, whose tech corporation is partnered with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, tagged five Twitter accounts: Greta Thunberg, Zero Hour (youth movement), Jamie Margolin (the teenage founder of Zero Hour), Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the People’s Climate Strike Twitter account.

    The third person to respond to Rentzhog’s tweet was We Mean Business co-founder Callum Grieve. Grieve responded to Greta with a personal message adding the hashtag #WeDontHaveTime. We Mean Business represents 477 investors with 34 trillion USD in assets. [July 4, 2019] The founding partners of We Mean Business are BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), and the WBCSD. Together, these organizations represent the most powerful – and ruthless – corporations on the planet, groups salivating to unleash 100 trillion dollars to fuel the fourth industrial revolution. To save a global economic system teetering on collapse.

    September 22, 2019: "Rebooting the entire world and creating a new economy", We Mean Business Twitter account

    September 22, 2019: “Rebooting the entire world and creating a new economy”, We Mean Business Twitter account

     

    The Climate Group, co-founder of We Mean Business. July 19, 2018, #WeDontHaveTime hashtag, tagged: This Is Zero Hour

    The Climate Group, co-founder of We Mean Business. July 19, 2018, #WeDontHaveTime hashtag, tagged: This Is Zero Hour

     

    Grieve is the co-founder and director of Counter Culture, a brand development firm specializing in behavioural change campaigns and storytelling. He created Climate Week NYC for The Climate Group which launched in 2009. He has also coordinated high-level climate change communications campaigns and interventions for the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and several Fortune 500 companies. He also manages the Every Breath Matters campaign founded by Christiana Figueres, the former UNFCCC executive secretary credited with the Paris Agreement.

    In response to the Thunberg tweet, Grieve added the following accounts to Rentzhog’s original tweet: The Climate Museum, Youth Climate March LA, This is Zero Hour Ft. Lauderdale, Greenpeace International, and the UNFCCC, the “official Twitter account of UN Climate Change”.

    [Further reading: ACT IV: They Mean Business]

    Suffice to say that tweet was code for “it’s started”. Covered by media on day one, within 12 days Thunberg would be featured in The Guardian. The rest is history.

    The NGOs and foundations learned how to “herd cats” successfully for the People’s Climate March in September 2014, but never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that in September 2019 they would so easily herd millions.

    September 30, 2019: We Mean Business Post-Climate Week Newsletter

    September 30, 2019: We Mean Business Post-Climate Week Newsletter

     

    On September 25, 2019, the United Nations answered the global strikes with the call for a Global Green New Deal. It is quite fascinating that none of the groups and leading proponents who have mobilized the populace to demand a “Green New Deal” are sharing the UN announcement with the corresponding 201-page report. Perhaps it is because with this report, in which the word “growth” appears 392 times, it will be difficult to convince a populace that this is anything but what it actually is – a desperate attempt to save the global capitalist economic system destroying our planet.

    UN calls for ‘Global Green New Deal’ to boost world economy:

    “In a fresh report, the UN trade, investment and development agency (UNCTAD) called for countries to join forces and enable trillions of dollars in public sector investments to help reboot the global economy… What is needed, he told journalists, is to apply the same ambitious model used in the United States to overcome the Great Depression in the 1930s and apply it “at a global scale”… Looming global recession… UNCTAD’s flagship Trade and Development report painted a bleak picture of the global economic outlook, warning that the world risks slumping into recession next year… Even ignoring the worst downside risks, the report projected that global growth would fall to 2.3 percent this year from 3.0 percent in 2018, cautioning that global recession in 2020 was now “a clear and present danger“. [Emphasis added]

    Even the reference to “climate” within the report is recognized as both a means and justification for global growth. (“A climate for change: The case for a global green expansion”)

    One must wonder when the marchers and strikers will be notified.

     

    “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

     

    — Malcolm X

     

    Volume I:

    ACT I: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [https://bit.ly/2XkVrTR]

    ACT II: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Youth Co-optation [https://bit.ly/2VibAYp]

    ACT III: The Most Inconvenient Truth: “Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart” [https://bit.ly/2tBHp2B]

    ACT IV: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue [https://bit.ly/2TZyUKd]

    ACT V: The Green New Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature [https://bit.ly/2TZyOlP]

    ACT VI: A Decade of Social Manipulation for the Corporate Capture of Nature [Crescendo] [https://bit.ly/2U7YBbx]

    Addenda I: The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — By Any Means Necessary [https://bit.ly/2kpDDIv]

    Volume I in book form: https://amzn.to/2kV6Jj9

    Volume II:

    An Object Lesson In Spectacle [An introduction to Volume II] [https://bit.ly/2kKLAZc]

    ACT I: A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment [https://bit.ly/2mjmYXF]

    ACT II: Controlling the Narrative [https://bit.ly/2msdlpP]

    ACT III: To Plunder What Little Remains: It’s Going To Be Tremendous [https://bit.ly/2m61flO]

    ACT IV: They Mean Business [https://bit.ly/2mkPZSP]

    ACT V: The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything” [https://bit.ly/2mr3pwL]

    ACT VI: Natural Climate Manipulations [https://bit.ly/2MjT1zZ]

    [ACT VII forthcoming]

     

     

    [Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

    Wind Energy Development, Conflict & Resistance

    Wind Energy Development, Conflict & Resistance

    Colloquium

    September 20, 2019

    Featuring Alexander Dunlap, interviewed by Professor Mariel Aguilar-Støen

     

    MAS: Could you start by telling us a little bit about you?

    AD: Ouuuhhh… I am a dirty skateboarder turned academic who now has a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Development and the Envrionment, University of Oslo. I am proudly a part of the Rural Transformations group, which you lead.

    MAS: I found something you wrote in the book I would like you to explain. It is this adaptation of Michel Foucault, where you say: “How do you expect over a thousand wind turbines-operating, planned and placed in the lands of Mexico-to have survived, and to have established and actually maintained permanent power generation in the coastal Istmo? (p. 21).” How does this tie into what the book’s about?

    AD: So, yes, this is a play on Foucault’s words when he was giving a lecture on colonial conquest, meanwhile really raising the question: How does a lesser number of people — a minority invader population — take over, settle and control another land and people? And this book really is asking the same question: How do a bunch of certain elite or business actors move into a territory, build this infrastructure and begin accumulating energy when there is a well-known and strong opposition towards these projects — at least near the Lagoon. This book really examines how the projects come to exist, how they continue to exist and generate power in a context where they are popularly opposed. It is really trying to look at the way how development projects — even if they are unpopular — can enter a region and begin to control the territory, make the population acquiesce to the project and start controlling land, but also harnessing the vitality of wind resources in that area. So, it is really looking at how megaprojects enter a region, but also the dynamics that begin to form. This includes the divisive tactics employed by companies that makes it more difficult for people to organize themselves to resist these projects adequately.

    “My fieldwork would have been considered risky if I proposed what happened with an ethical review.”

    MAS: It is also interesting that you start your book with a critique of anthropology and that you mention ethics in relationship to anthropological research. Can you explain what you mean by this?

    AD: Yeah… I guess the short answer is that in many ways I am embarrassed to be an anthropologist. The legacy and history of anthropological research is extremely negative by my account. Despite all the “nuance” and “reflexivity” in the discipline, structurally speaking I do not think much has changed in terms of the purposes of knowledge generation, the institutional control and privatization of that knowledge and the subjectivities-or the implicit socially accepted types of biases-that underline research design. Of course, there are exceptions, but radical critique regarding the statist forms of organization and the development of industrial infrastructures are not questioned to the degree that they should be. Modernist infrastructure and computational technologies still condition and dominate our academic lives, which is increasingly normalized and integrated into universities with little opposition. But also, a lot of the knowledge being generated — while there might be liberatory intentions for a lot of the researchers — I think a lot of the banal knowledge being collected and organized can benefit many different extractive companies, marketing agencies and repressive forces. Not to forget turning villagers into poster children in power point presentations. In the book, there is a subsection, responding to discussions in anthropological ethics, called “For Anthropologists Against Anthropology.” The purpose is to really stress that, as anthropologists, we should be extremely critical of our discipline, but also ask ourselves why we are even researchers in the first place and what type of knowledge we want to generate. Because, as it says in the book, knowledge is a double-edged sword and it will often cut both ways. It is important to think critically in how one organizes their research.

    A lot of this is a response to the norms in anthropology, because I ended up embedding in a policia comunitaria (Communitarian Police) who were more-or-less a lightly armed group of fishermen and farmers with slingshots, machetes and their hunting rifles. They organized themselves to keep out the wind companies and the politicians that they saw as grabbing their land and destroying their livelihoods and culture. My fieldwork would have been considered risky if I proposed what happened with an ethical review committee at most institutions, but I did not know I was going to fall into the situation this way, even if it makes sense given how the research started, which is narrated in the beginning of the book. At the end of the day, it is all fun and games for anthropologists to go work for the military and police; it’s okay for anthropologists to go work for marketing agencies; it’s okay for anthropologists to go work for resource extraction companies, which is surprisingly more common than I expected as the research presented in the book shows. But when it comes to anthropologists actually embedding and conducting observant participation in environmental struggles to try and get a better idea of what is going on at the frontiers of the green economy, where people are trying to protect their land and sea, then these things are often frowned upon.

    MAS: I believe that goes beyond anthropology and anthropologists. As you present in your book, you mention the case where some geographers organized mapping indigenous communities to provide information to the Mexican state and paid by the US military, so perhaps it is an interesting reflection that goes beyond anthropology?

    AD: Yeah, most certainly. It raises the wider question that we have to ask: What is the purpose of the university? What is the purpose of research? A lot of people might think it is to make the world a better and happier place, but these broad words have different meanings that can be used in different ways. For me this means that the soil quality is being enriched, there are higher qualities of food, higher qualities of water, air and social relationships. In actuality, this “better,” or worse “improvement” is usually designed around spreading market-oriented perspectives and values systems or affirming institutions that prioritize their own existence over the issues they claim to be concerned with or working to fix. The support offered by state institutions and corporations for example are often token and serve branding or the purpose of market expansion. I think it is imperative that research is organized to address — in very honest ways — how “we,” industrial humans, can have better relationships with our environments. How we can create environments that nurture and support life: the trees, the cats, the animals, the water, the air and everything around us. Governments, universities and people need to really start reconciling… I guess we can say, “climate debt.” I do not really like that terminology, but the widespread ecological catastrophe that has been spread by industrial development and capitalism. We really have to switch our priorities: our research priorities, our institutional priorities and our own lives in how we can make them better, but also address socio-ecological crises.

    Photo by John Cameron

    “You need special types of coal to even smelt the metal for wind turbines.”

    MAS: Your book reads as a critique of the green economy, and you put forward this notion of “Fossil Fuel+” . In my head I started associating it with REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), REDD+ and then REDD++, which is an indication of REDD saving the forest with money which was renegotiated, and then renegotiated and renegotiated…. Is something similar happening with wind energy or “green” energy?

    AD: Well, yeah. There are two topics there. First, I think it is an understatement to say that this book is a critique against the green economy — it most certainly is. Maybe it is even hostile towards it, instead of offering the care necessary for critique. Second, this comparison with REDD+ and Fossil Fuel+ are very different, even if they are both trying to communicate something regarding the environment. REDD+ is trying to implement a program that can control land and (indigenous) populations in each context slightly differently, but for the most part it is a land control and market based strategy designed to commodify the environment and prepare habitats for carbon banks and things like this. Fossil Fuel+, on the other hand, was a term designed for my climate justice friends and other people involved in mainstream environmental activism who believe in this dichotomy between fossil fuels and renewable energy. That dichotomy is false. It is a marketed one. It is one that is very surreptitious and manipulative. Because the fact is, every single aspect of renewable energy development, whether wind or other programs — and of course I am referring to industrial and utility-scale — is based on hydrocarbon extraction and various industrial technologies.

    You need special types of coal to even smelt the metal for wind turbine towers or other steel infrastructures. You need to make the machines, that run on gasoline, that then do the mining. You need the factory to make those machines that do the mining, you need the transportation of these infrastructures, the processing facilities — every single aspect, I cannot stress enough — requires large-scale hydrocarbon and mineral extraction and processing. This distinction is misleading and it is a huge and undeniable weakness of environmental movements. It is paving the way for the new trap of “climate infrastructure” and other green economic schemes related to the inaccurate and reductive quantifications of carbon accounting that REDD+ and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) are dependent on and are metrics responsible for spreading conflict and ecological degradation, of which my book is another resource documenting this in detail. So, the term Fossil Fuel+ is a way to say: “Hey, we really need to break this dichotomy if we are going to be honest about the situation facing the planet,” because we are just drinking a repugnant old wine re-marketed in new bottles with green labels.

    Photo by Vitor Pinto

    MAS: Don’t you think there is some type of disconnect between the laywoman and all this knowledge you are talking about? I see a lot of people with the best intentions — even climate engaged academics — buying their Tesla, putting solar panels on their houses or moving towards other “greener” and “cleaner” energies. Do you think your book could contribute to raising awareness as to how everything is interconnected?

    AD: Yeah, the book is very specific case study that gets into three different phases of wind energy development revealing the different types of hopes people had and its impacts. I think the way large wind energy projects even gain some type of legitimacy in Oaxaca was through this kind of marketing of “green,” that it is sustainable and you will be “doing good.” This really opened people up to the idea. Second, people thought that not only it was good, but that they would be able to make money in the northern part of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Therefore, this “green” marketing, state and elite support that organized and managed it — reflecting back on that Foucault adaption — allowed the companies to gain a foothold in the region.

    This is precisely the issue when we talk about Tesla in Norway as well, where they cannot stop subsidizing and importing them from California. And people buy what is sold, what is marketed. We live in a situation where consumer consent is structured and manufactured. The subjectivities of people — their dispositions and desires — are already accounted for and manipulated in a certain way, maybe with the help of marketing anthropologists and sociologists. Tesla are great for the consumer to minimize their paying money at the gas pump, but from an ethnographically grounded supply chain and life-cycle perspective they are a nightmare. How are they getting the energy to charge the car; the minerals for the batteries, the mineral processing and manufacturing facilities, the various transportation of components and so on. People are not thinking — or feeling for that matter — they are buying what they are sold. It is disconcerting because, other than an ambiguous rhetoric, there is not a single thing about the green economy that actually suggests it wants to repair and restore the ecological degradation and serious ecocidal harm that has been created by industrial society. People in Oslo still love McDonalds, Starbucks’ are popping up like mushrooms and I did not expect that before I moved here. People buy what they are sold and what is available, thus bearing serious responsibility on these businesses and the state institutions that structured human habitation this way.

    So, instead of doing the right thing in the face of ecological and climate catastrophe, the state and its business associates are just intensifying and doubling down on this capitalist path of mass blind production and consumption. At face value it is making it less destructive, but if you look past the veil down the supply chain you will find extractive violence is just being exported to rural areas where black, brown and, most of all, materially poor communities face natural resource extraction and have less protections and opportunities than countries like Norway. Political and extractive violence are spreading at increasing rates in general and green technologies. If they are not already central players, they will be in a matter of years.

    MAS: I think you do a very good job in your book of not only presenting all the “shades of grey” in terms of resistance, but also recognizing the people who want these projects to happen. Can you explain a bit more about that?

    AD: Yeah, yeah. I do not think there is a more interesting topic — I guess I have thought this for a long time — than the idea of manufacturing desire. I guess you can link it to earlier stuff with Thorstein Veblen’s “emulation,” Edward Bernays’s “engineering consent,” Gills Deleuze, and Félix Guattari’s “desiring-machines” or Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “manufacturing consent.” Ultimately, a lot of people want to emulate and become what they are seeing on television. They want to be rich, they want to have the American Dream. Thinking of Arturo Escobar, the dream of development or, at the very least, surviving any way they can in a capitalist system. People want to believe that the green economy is going to work, people want to believe that wind turbines (and their supply chains) are not that “bad,” but the fact is that on so many levels: resource extraction and processing; land contracting: environmental impacts: energy use; and decommissioning these infrastructures are causing immense social dissatisfaction and ecological degradation. So yeah, there are definitely politicians and elites who are benefiting from this, and people allured by the marketed benefits. Even people who have collaborated with these wind projects have seen what they have done to the area. I remember speaking with a landowner who cared deeply for the mountain lions that would come onto his ranch. He observed the way the wind turbines have affected their relationship with the mountain lions, with their habitats and travel patterns were completely altered and the area became inhospitable for them. While this person had benefited from the projects, putting two of his sons through college, he also saw how nonhuman populations were affected and at least on some level regretted this to a point of tears in an intense conversation. This is a specific instance that is not mentioned in the book, but it was a very meaningful conversation. There are various shades of grey. There are plenty of people, however, that just want money and take what is offered, even if it disadvantages entire areas in the mid-to-long run. That said, in places like Oaxaca there are a lot more people who still have a connection with the land, sea and do not want to have this level of economic integration and dependence, but it is imposed on them in various ways.

    “Wind turbines are just the latest structure to slowly try to break indigenous cultures to the imperatives of the state and capitalist development.”

    MAS: You also draw a line from colonialism. From colonialism to wind energy development or “green” colonialism. Can you explain how you conceptualize this idea?

    AD: I guess this leads into one of the more inflammatory aspects of the book. I knew the situation was not ideal before I went there, but I found myself in far more violent and conflictual situations than I expected. Talking with research participants, words and phrases like “genocide”, “they are killing all of us”, “this is ethnocide” and “this is ecocide” kept coming up. By the end of the project the words kept coming up in interview transcripts and I said: “Wow… What am I going to do with this?”

    I really tried to honor this contention and embarked on a review of genocide studies to see how this was represented in the academic literature. It turns out that there is a long history of this in the “post-liberal” reading of genocide, which is closer to Ralph Lemkin’s definition of the term. Preventing semi-subsistence groups with distinct land-based cultures the means of subsistence-preventing them from accessing the land or sea-very much falls in line with the long-term and slower forms that hollows out the feelings and traditions of indigenous populations, all the while forcing them by various means into different types of jobs or ways of living. So yes, there is a lot to say that what is going on in the Isthmus and elsewhere in Latin America is a continuation of the colonial project, and that wind turbines are the latest intervention that are slowly hollowing out and pushing towards cultural extinction of Ikoot and Zapotec populations. Obviously, people are resisting in whatever ways they can, slowing down and subverting this trajectory mapped out for them, but this is a long struggle that indigenous people have been engaged in, since Spanish colonialism. Then it is more complicated than this, the Zapotecs were a colonizing imperial force in the Isthmus before the Spaniards. The point is, wind turbines are just the latest structure — among others — that are slowly trying to break indigenous cultures to the imperatives of the state and capitalist development.

    MAS: From what you write in the book and many chapters, there are a lot of things that are familiar or well known about extractive industries, let’s say mining or oil companies — even palm oil. There are patterns that are recurring across all these different types of extractive industries. This has been discussed in different places all over Latin America, but what about other contexts? I am thinking specifically about violence, the way people are repressed and silenced. School kids on climate strike in France who were beaten by the police or the case of a Sámi reindeer herder who was forced to kill his animals. Of course, you cannot compare or say that the violence is the same, but there is some form of violence in forcing someone to kill half of their animals. Do you think there is a common thread in what we are seeing in all these different parts of the world?

    AD: Yeah, yeah, of course. And what you asked before about global solidarity, it is a reaction to state control and further marketization of life. It is usually the exact same type of projects, but they are shaped by different cultural specificities and socio-historical processes that make the current political contexts. People across the world are dealing with the same impositions. Some acts of violence are more politically feasible than others in certain contexts. Whether it is wind energy development in the Isthmus with different “soft” and “hard” forms of coercion deployed to pacify the population or in the Hambach forest in Germany-which has a lower intensity of violence-but the same dynamic is in place with tons of surveillance, beatings and people being sprayed with water hoses in freezing temperatures.

    Photo by Warren Sammut

    Or as you mention here in Norway, there are also attacks on indigenous territories with wind energy development here, with land grabbing that is displacing reindeer migration and habitation patterns, which our colleague Susanne Norman is investigating. Now as you mention, the call for culling reindeer based on claims of a certain biological carrying capacity, which was imposed on the Sámi. A cull that is now being compared to the extermination of buffalo during the plain wars in the US, which exemplifies this idea of the genocide-ecocide nexus. It’s the same game of state control and divide and conquer in the name of economic development and market expansion, which recklessly disregards existing lifeways, other ways to live with ecosystems or, as they say in the post-development school, “alternatives to development”. Can the state support reindeer herding and culture as opposed to other forms of development? It’s the same game in different contexts. One is more bureaucratic and dispenses a type of epistemic violence like in Norway, another is a more overt political violence as in the Americas, yet there is a whole assemblage that makes this violence and the ecological catastrophe possible.

    “People do not necessarily know what carbon accounting is being used to justify.”

    MAS: Towards the end of the book, you quote Ivan Illich, referring to the crisis of imagination. I think this is an interesting point to consider, especially for environmental activists and all the people concerned about the climate catastrophe that we are experiencing. Do you have any thoughts about that?

    AD: Yeah. I do not think there is a more important thing than to get creative with your political actions, or life for that matter. Get creative, do things differently — create new and different types of situations in which to stop these projects or to live a better way within your everyday life. We have to be more than this predictable civil disobedience movement that is organizing a data collection dream for authorities. As much as I appreciate it in some ways, a lot of it has been turned into corporate activism that is conditioning environmental movements. There is a lot of big money trying to “roll-out” these kinds of green economic structures that people are not prepared to understand what they imply in practice, because people do not necessarily know the flaws or reductionism of carbon accounting. People do not necessarily know what carbon accounting is being used to justify. Therefore, the flowery and fiery environmental rhetoric from “youth leaders” sounds good, but they are not questioning the market-based mechanism and private sector profiteering that is implied with the internationally agreed upon climate change mitigation strategy. People are not aware of payment for ecosystem services (PES) and the environmental relationship it promotes, not to mention the land grabs-fast and slow-that are being executed under the banners of these programs. And the PES product diversifies with increasing complications, which keeps academics busy and in a job. The green economy requires an immense amount of bureaucratic and financial knowledge, becoming an academic specialty on its own. Understanding what is being “rolled-out” as a “solution” to mitigating ecological catastrophe is a job in itself. Really, it is just the repackaging of the same capitalist program, but now it is “green” with new technologies and justifications.

    Photo by Harrison Moore

    So when you hear Greta Thunberg and others dispensing great words — and they are great — if you actually look at the people behind her or the different UN programs that are being “rolled out,” then it is clear we are witnessing nothing more than the renewal of capitalist expansion. Consequently, green capitalist trap doors are being constructed everywhere — “climate infrastructure” — for people who genuinely want to see the restoration of ecological destruction and climatic patterns. Hopefully, this book is clear in demonstrating that what is the so-called “solution” is really not the solution it is sold to be, at least in the area of wind energy development. This extends very well, as you know very well from your over a decade of work, to conservation. There have been ideas of convivial conservation and things like this reacting against these market-based programs. I guess now, as much as ever, it is important to imagine alternative futures-to do different things, to press the boundaries of how one thinks about subversion and resistance against destructive developments in the hopes to create spaces where people, animals, trees and everyone can co-exist without destroying each other and the planet. Supporting each other, instead of separated and alienated from each other. So maybe now we can start living better lives and not worry about rising water, erratic weather patterns, food shortages or the rapid spread of forest fires or our shitty jobs.

    MAS: Thank you. What is your next project? What are you working on and how do you intend on using this idea of fossil fuel+ to expand your research?

    AD: Right now, I am looking at the formation of transnational energy super-grid between North Africa and the EU. I am examining this specifically through a ZAD in southern France that is resisting the construction of a mega-transformer on farmland grabbed through bureaucratic means. This energy transformer locally will lead to the rapid increase of wind and solar projects that have been colonizing the Aveyron region-even if the region is near energy self-sufficient through hydrological resources. The people are trying to resist ecological destruction for mass consumption-the expansion of green capitalism. They do not want wind turbines in this area if it continues alongside the expansion of nuclear and hydrocarbon consumption and development. Therefore, they are saying the energy transition is a joke and they do not want to see their countryside colonized like the Isthmus in Oaxaca, even if it is already heading in that direction. The equally interesting part is that this transformer is part of a forming energy corridor bringing energy from North Africa to meet renewable energy benchmarks set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. There are other conflicts or land grabs taking place in other indigenous territories in North Africa and arising from environmental and climate change policy. So I will be examining what energy infrastructure and renewable energy systems are creating across continents. This is what I’ve got ahead of me, and it looks tough.

    MAS: Okay, thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

    [Alexander Dunlap holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His PhD thesis examined the socio-ecological impact of wind energy development on Indigenous people in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Alexander’s work has critically examined police-military transformations, market-based conservation, wind energy development and extractive projects more generally with coal mining in Germany and copper mining in Peru. Current research investigates the formation of transnational-super grids and the connections between conventional and renewable extraction industries.]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: Natural Climate Manipulations  [Volume II, Act VI]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: Natural Climate Manipulations [Volume II, Act VI]

    September 26, 2019

    By Cory Morningstar

     

     

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent series has been written in two volumes. [Volume I: ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VIAddenda I] [Book form] [Volume II: An Object Lesson In SpectacleACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT V]

     

    “I’m convinced of my disagreement with the counterrevolution – imperialism – fascism – religions – stupidity – capitalism – and the whole gamut of bourgeois tricks – I wish to cooperate with the revolution in transforming the world into a classless one so that we can attain a better rhythm for the oppressed classes.”

     

    — Frida Kahlo

     

    “The oppressors do not favor promoting the community as a whole, but rather selected leaders.”

     

    Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

     

    “Capitalism, a vicious system, does not merely seek to rip off our labor and resources but it seeks to confound our thinking. It seeks to make us think we’re thinking when in fact we’re not thinking but merely reacting to stimuli.”

     

    Stokely Carmichael

     

    September 20, 2019, Business for Nature, Twitter

    September 20, 2019, Business for Nature, Twitter. Launched on July 2, 2019, the coalition founders are We Mean Business, the World Economic Forum, The Nature Conservancy, WWF, the Natural Capital Coalition, the World Resources Institute, the IUCN, The Food and Land Use Coalition, Confederation of Indian Industry, Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EpE), Tropical Forest Alliance, and the International Chamber of Commerce

     

    Greta Thunberg’s video on natural climate solutions, done with George Monbiot, has reached more than 1 billion people in less than 24 hours.  More than a third of the events of Climate Week focus on nature-based solutions, demonstrating the huge amount of innovation and progress taking place on the ground.”

     

    Nature4Climate, September 22, 2019

    On September 19, 2019, a short film featuring Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot was launched in advance of the September 20 global climate strikes organized by GCCA NGOs. The film (trending and recommended on YouTube), emphasizing the urgency of funding “natural solutions”, was paid for by Conservation International and the *Food and Land Use Coalition, with “guidance” provided by Nature4Climate (The Nature Conservancy, We Mean Business, WWF, UN-REDD, et al.) and Natural Climate Solutions. [*Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill.]

     

    YouthWashing

    Here, Greta Thunberg becomes the official face for, and of, corporate capture. The rebranding of REDD (the UN “reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation” market mechanism), and the coming New Deal for Nature – under the auspices and brand of “natural climate solutions”.

    To understand how this transpired, we need to step back in time to April 3, 2019.

     

    Business For Nature co-founders

    Business For Nature co-founders. Further reading: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: They Mean Business [Volume II, Act IV]

    September 19, 2019, Callum Grieve, co-founder, We Mean Business, Twitter

    September 19, 2019, Callum Grieve, co-founder, We Mean Business, Twitter. Further reading: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything” [Volume II, Act V]

    “It all sounds so simple and reassuring. No one needs to change anything. The airline industry can continue to expand. The oil industry can continue drilling. We can stop worrying and leave it to the experts. Just a few techno-fixes, and nature will solve climate change for us. Obviously, this is bullshit. It’s a form of climate denial – pretending that we can address climate breakdown without even talking about keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

     

    March 3, 2019, Chris Lang, The REDD Monitor, “Natural Climate Solutions: ‘It really is time that governments stopped trying to find more ways to offset their fossil fuel emissions'”

    April 3, 2019 – The Launch

    Illustration: Al Boardman

    Illustration: Al Boardman

    April 3, 2019. The launch of the Natural Climate Solutions project by George Monbiot and The Guardian

    April 3, 2019. The launch of the Natural Climate Solutions project by George Monbiot and The Guardian

     

    On April 3, 2019, The Guardian published an open letter entitled “A Natural Solution to the Climate Disaster – Climate and ecological crises can be tackled by restoring forests and other valuable ecosystems, say scientists and activists”.

    The letter, written by The Guardian’s George Monbiot, is co-signed by establishment-endorsed eco-celebs Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, and other “leaders”/celebrities associated with the liberal climate “movement”. The “movement” that evades all systemic drivers of climate change and ecological devastation (militarism, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, etc.).

    The letter –  addressed to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments and NGOs – is republished on the Natural Climate Solutions website.

    Launched on April 3, 2019 (coinciding with The Guardian coverage), the Natural Climate Solutions project was created “for the promotion of an important and exciting environmental initiative, led by journalist and author George Monbiot.” [Source]

    The said mission of Natural Climate Solutions (website created March 15, 2019) is to “catalyse global enthusiasm for drawing down carbon by restoring ecosystems: the single most undervalued and underfunded tool for climate mitigation.”[Emphasis added]

    In real life, this mission to “catalyse global enthusiasm” effectively serves the United Nations carbon market mechanism UN-REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation). In addition, it is a construct being created that will build the acquiescence required for the coming “New Deal For Nature” to be adopted in 2020. That is, the privatization, commodification, and objectification of nature, global in scale. That is, emerging markets and land acquisitions. That is, “payments for ecosystem services”. That is the financialization of nature, the corporate coup d’état of the commons that has finally come to wait on our doorstep.

    Mark R. Tercek is the former president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy stepping down June 7, 2019. [A #MeToo scandal engulfs The Nature Conservancy]. He is co-author of the book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature

    Mark R. Tercek is the former president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy stepping down June 7, 2019. [A #MeToo scandal engulfs The Nature Conservancy]. He is co-author of the book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature

    [A #MeToo scandal engulfs The Nature Conservancy].

    To be clear, as this research will demonstrate, the very same NGOs which set the Natural Capital agenda and protocols (via the Natural Capital Coalition, which has absorbed TEEB) – with the Nature Conservancy and We Mean Business at the helm, are also the architects of the term “natural climate solutions”.

    Monbiot has consistently and publicly voiced disapproval for “putting a price on nature”. [One such example: May 15, 2018]. Yet, consider that Monbiot has never utilized his influential platform to oppose the coming “New Deal For Nature”.

    The said purpose of Natural Climate Solutions is to “direct public attention towards this issue and champion the work of others.” [Emphasis added]

    The “work of others” that Natural Climate Solutions seeks to direct the public’s attention to takes one to the “Our Allies” page:

    There are several wonderful organisations already working hard to highlight and implement Natural Climate Solutions. Please follow these links and support their efforts.” [Emphasis added]

    The allies (“wonderful organizations”) that Natural Climate Solution highlights [1], which it encourages people to follow and support, include many at the helm of the “New Deal For Nature” such as WWF, Conservation International, Avaaz, Greenpeace, Nature Needs Half, etc.

    Photograph by Ron Poling

    Photograph by Ron Poling

     

    “Conservation: The Quiet Spread of Imperialism.”

     

    — Mordecai Ogada

    Here, we find perhaps the most grotesque aspect of the Monbiot/Guardian project of all. The deliberate endeavour to rally support for and redirect citizens to WWF. As both Monbiot and The Guardian are fully aware, WWF bears responsibility for decades of human rights violations including torture, rape and murder, a direct result of “conservation” schemes. In March 2019 in part 1 of an investigative series, BuzzFeed News revealed that WWF, “funds, equips, and works directly with anti-poaching forces that have beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted, and killed people living near wildlife parks across Asia and Africa.” Part 4 of the investigation (published July 11, 2019) reported that “WWF-Backed Guards Raped Pregnant Women And Tortured Villagers At A Wildlife Park Funded By The US Government.”

    Such “conservation projects” have been consistently displacing Indigenous peoples under the guise of conservation while inflicting misery. This has been meticulously documented by Survival International and others. By presenting WWF as an “ally” amongst many “wonderful organizations” Monbiot demonstrates a complete disregard for the decades of work by conservationists such as Mordecai Ogada, Noga Shanee, Reclaim Conservation, and Stephen Corry, executive director of Survival International. By extension, Monbiot turns a willful blind eye to the plight of Indigenous peoples who have been separated from the land they defend. Whose lives and tribal communities have been completely destroyed by these very organizations to which Monbiot directs his followers.

     

     

    [Watch: WWF – Silence of the Pandas, © Wilfried Huismann, Germany 2011]

    [Further reading: The Big Conservation Lie, The Untold Story of Wildlife Conservation in Kenya, John Mbaria & Mordecai Ogada, 2017]

     

    Natural Climate Solutions allies

    Natural Climate Solutions allies

     

    “Guardian joins growing chorus for natural climate solutions –N4C is delighted that the Guardian and in particular George Monbiot has catalyzed so many diverse voices to champion the cause of natural climate solutions”

     

    – Nature4Climate News, Guardian joins growing chorus for natural climate solutions, April 3, 2019

    Upon its launch on April 3, 2019, the Natural Climate Solutions project had 29 allies (today it lists 48). The most important one to look at, to demonstrate the leveraging of market solutions via the branding and terminology of “natural climate solutions”, is the first ally listed: Nature4Climate, an initiative created by The Nature Conservancy.

    Nature4Climate

    April 3, 2019, "Guardian joins growing chorus for natural climate solutions." Promotion of Monbiot's "Natural Climate Solutions", by Natural Climate Solutions "ally" Nature4Climate. Prior to April 3, 2019, the branding of "natural climate solutions" was already well-established by institutions, corporations and NGOs. Demonstrating solidarity to Nature4Climate, this tweet was "liked" by Monbiot

    April 3, 2019, “Guardian joins growing chorus for natural climate solutions.” Promotion of Monbiot’s “Natural Climate Solutions”, by Natural Climate Solutions “ally” Nature4Climate. Prior to April 3, 2019, the branding of “natural climate solutions” was already well-established by institutions, corporations and NGOs. Demonstrating solidarity to Nature4Climate, this tweet was “liked” by Monbiot

     

    April 4, 2019, Conservation International (CI) expresses its support for "natural climate solutions".  Fast facts: 2018 revenues for CI were in access of 145 million USD (145,013,840.) Wes Bush, CEO of Northrup Grumman, one of the world's largest weapons manufacturers, serves on the board of Conservation International, while Rob Walton, from the Walmart empire, serves as chairman of the executive committee. [2018 Form 990]

    April 4, 2019, Conservation International (CI) expresses its support for “natural climate solutions”.  Fast facts: 2018 revenues for CI were in access of 145 million USD (145,013,840.) Wes Bush, CEO of Northrup Grumman, one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers, serves on the board of Conservation International, while Rob Walton, from the Walmart empire, serves as chairman of the executive committee. [2018 Form 990]

     

    Conservation International, A New Deal for Nature: "Countries are in the process of negotiating a new global biodiversity framework through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which has been called a “New Deal for Nature.” This pact, expected to be agreed in Beijing in late 2020, will lay out the global strategy for protecting nature through 2030." Identified in the Level 2 Actions for "mainstreaming biodiversity" is "incorporating the value of biodiversity into national accounting processes". [Source]

    Conservation International, A New Deal for Nature: “Countries are in the process of negotiating a new global biodiversity framework through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which has been called a “New Deal for Nature.” This pact, expected to be agreed in Beijing in late 2020, will lay out the global strategy for protecting nature through 2030.” Identified in the Level 2 Actions for “mainstreaming biodiversity” is “incorporating the value of biodiversity into national accounting processes”. [Source]

    The Nature Conservancy’s Nature4Climate

    Nature4Climate partners

    Nature4Climate partners

     

    Launched on June 20, 2018, (on the first day of the two-day Ministerial on Climate Action) as a five-year initiative, the Nature4Climate initiative was created as an instrument for strategic communications to escalate the “solutions” (i.e. market solutions) sought by the Nature Conservancy, WWF, We Mean Business et al:

    “Nature4Climate (N4C) is a new campaigning vehicle which is supported by a multi-stakeholder coalition. Its purpose is to use strategic communications to drive action on natural climate solutions.”

    “Nature4Climate (N4C) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN-REDD, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Woods Hole Research Center, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), We Mean Business (WMB) and WWF that aims to increase investment and action on natural climate solutions in support of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The N4C partners work together to catalyze partnerships between governments, civil society, business and investors that use nature-based solutions to climate change.” [Source]

    Here, we can add that We Mean Business (co-founder of the Nature4Climate initiative as stated above) was formed with the assistance of both Greenpeace and Purpose, the public relations arm of Avaaz specializing in behavioural change. [Further reading: They Mean Business, Volume II, Act IV].

    “We bring voices from governments, IGOs, NGOs, and business – underpinned by a steering group with communications and advocacy representation currently from CBD, CI, TNC, the UNDP, WHRC, WRI and WWF.”

    The NGOs and institutions represented on the Nature4Climate steering committee include CBD (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity), CI (Conservation International), TNC (The Nature Conservancy), the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), WHRC (Woods Hole Research Center), WRI (the World Resources Institute) and WWF (World Wildlife Foundation). All of the aforementioned are leading “natural capital” architects and advocates of the “New Deal For Nature” – that is, the financialization of nature, global in scale.

    “Countries are in the process of negotiating a new global biodiversity framework through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which has been called a “New Deal for Nature.” This pact, expected to be agreed in Beijing in late 2020, will lay out the global strategy for protecting nature through 2030. Conservation International will contribute our expertise to this process, to ensure the recognition of the value of nature for all aspects of human well-being.”

     

    — DEAL FOR NATURE, Conservation International and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework [Source][Emphasis added]

    Here again, we have the same high-level institutions, NGOs and individuals corralling millions of people toward a fourth industrial revolution sought by the ruling classes. A “New Climate Economy“, largely targeting the Global South. A new era of “green” colonialism, under the guise of saving the planet.

    “It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism.”

     

    Malcolm X, 1964, speech at the Militant Labor Forum Hall, New York City, May 29, 1964 [In response to the Harlem “Hate-Gang” scare]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Paul Polman: served in senior leadership roles at both Nestlé and Procter & Gamble prior to becoming CEO of Unilever (2009-2018), B Team chair, chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, appointed to the U.N. Secretary General’s High-level Panel responsible for developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), founding member of the World Business & Sustainable Development Commission, U.N.-appointed SDG Advocate, leading member of Financing Capitalism for the Long-Term (FCLT), the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and the Food and Land Use Coalition (which he chairs), counsellor and chair of the Global Advisory Board of One Young World (co-founded by “B Team expert” David Jones), named an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for services to business in 2018, a non-executive director of Dow since 2010. Stern also serves as commissioner to the Energy Transitions Commission and has been selected to serve as a One Planet Lab member, the aforementioned high-level advisory group steered by the French Government. [Further reading: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature, Volume I, Act V and A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment, Volume II, Act I]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Paul Polman: served in senior leadership roles at both Nestlé and Procter & Gamble prior to becoming CEO of Unilever (2009-2018), B Team chair, chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, appointed to the U.N. Secretary General’s High-level Panel responsible for developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), founding member of the World Business & Sustainable Development Commission, U.N.-appointed SDG Advocate, leading member of Financing Capitalism for the Long-Term (FCLT), the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and the Food and Land Use Coalition (which he chairs), counsellor and chair of the Global Advisory Board of One Young World (co-founded by “B Team expert” David Jones), named an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for services to business in 2018, a non-executive director of Dow since 2010. Stern also serves as commissioner to the Energy Transitions Commission and has been selected to serve as a One Planet Lab member, the aforementioned high-level advisory group steered by the French Government. [Further reading: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature, Volume I, Act V and A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment, Volume II, Act I]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Christiana Figueres: former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) from 2010 to 2016, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, ClimateWorks Board Member, World Bank Climate Leader, B Team leader, leader of Mission2020, and board member of both the World Resources Institute and Unilever. Figueres is also identified as a “distinguished member” of Conservation International. [Further reading: To Plunder What Little Remains: It’s Going To Be Tremendous, Volume II, Act III]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Christiana Figueres: former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) from 2010 to 2016, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, ClimateWorks Board Member, World Bank Climate Leader, B Team leader, leader of Mission2020, and board member of both the World Resources Institute and Unilever. Figueres is also identified as a “distinguished member” of Conservation International. [Further reading: To Plunder What Little Remains: It’s Going To Be Tremendous, Volume II, Act III]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Nicolas Stern: international advisor to the Global CCS Institute, co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate overseeing The New Climate Economy, chair of SYSTEMIQ board of directors, former World Bank chief economist. [Further reading: A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment, Volume II, Act I]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Nicolas Stern: international advisor to the Global CCS Institute, co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate overseeing The New Climate Economy, chair of SYSTEMIQ board of directors, former World Bank chief economist. [Further reading: A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment, Volume II, Act I]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Achim Steiner: UNDP Administrator, and former advisory board member of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB - now the Natural Climate Coalition, i.e. the financialization of nature), voice for the 2009 Green New Deal [Further reading: They Mean Business [Volume II, Act IV]

    Nature4Climate Voices, Achim Steiner: UNDP Administrator, and former advisory board member of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB – now the Natural Climate Coalition, i.e. the financialization of nature), voice for the 2009 Green New Deal [Further reading: They Mean Business [Volume II, Act IV]

     

    April 3, 2019: Nature4Climate promoting Monbiot's project. Demonstrating solidarity, Monbiot "liked" the tweet

    April 3, 2019: Nature4Climate promoting Monbiot’s project. Demonstrating solidarity, Monbiot “liked” the tweet

     

    August 30, 2019: Delivering on the Paris Agreement. From the paper This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality authored by Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria: "Unfortunately, many environmental non-governmental organisations have bought into this illogical reasoning and justify their support as being pragmatic. Neoliberal language is rife across their reports and policy recommendations and their adoption of natural capital, ecosystems services, offsetting and market trading. These new environmental pragmatists believe, without justification, that the financialisation of Nature will help prevent its destruction."

    August 30, 2019: Delivering on the Paris Agreement. From the paper This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality authored by Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria: “Unfortunately, many environmental non-governmental organisations have bought into this illogical reasoning and justify their support as being pragmatic. Neoliberal language is rife across their reports and policy recommendations and their adoption of natural capital, ecosystems services, offsetting and market trading. These new environmental pragmatists believe, without justification, that the financialisation of Nature will help prevent its destruction.”

     

    April 3, 2019: Justin Adams promote Monbiot's project on the morning of its launch hashtag: #theforgottensolution

    April 3, 2019: Justin Adams promote Monbiot’s project on the morning of its launch hashtag: #theforgottensolution

     

    One of the first individuals to promote Monbiot’s Natural Climate Solutions on the day of its launch was Justin Adams. Adams joined The World Economic Forum to lead the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) [2] in November 2018. [Nature Conservancy, Our People: “Executive Director, Tropical Forest Alliance (Currently seconded to the TFA from The Nature Conservancy)]. Prior to the TFA, Adams spent five years as the Global Managing Director for Lands at the Nature Conservancy where he launched and led all the organisation’s work on Natural Climate Solutions and set up the nature4climate partnership.” Adams served as an advisor to the World Bank from 2012 to 2014 supporting the design and fundraising for the $300M BioCarbon Fund. [Source][Bio] The first initiative launched by TFA 2020 was the Africa Palm Oil initiative, currently ongoing, targeted at the development and implementation of regional principles for “responsible” palm oil development in West and Central Africa. [Source]

    Here we must add that there is no such thing as “responsible palm oil” at industrial scale. Almost 20 years ago (2001), WWF and partners began designing the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). It launched in 2004. Yet, in the past 25 years as much as 76 million acres of forest in Indonesia alone has been cut down for palm oil plantations. In 2013, Mongabay cited the global deforestation accredited to palm oil at 136 million acres. Now it moves to encroach on and decimate Africa. RSPO is just one of many billion dollar certification schemes initiated by WWF. Certification is a means to pay to destroy – under the guise of sustainability. It is a lie. The global palm oil industry (production at scale) is not and can never be sustainable.

    The Nature Conservancy, Nature 4Climate and “The Forgotten Solution”

    February 17, 2016: "The Forgotten Climate Solution", "Natural Climate Solutions", The Nature Conservancy

    February 17, 2016: “The Forgotten Climate Solution”, “Natural Climate Solutions”, The Nature Conservancy

     

    In 2018, Nature4Climate launched the “The Forgotten Solution”(conceptualized in 2016, see image above) – a glossy advertising campaign featuring a Hollywood-esque movie trailer. Featuring its own newsroom, The Forgotten Solutions website utilizes the 350.org font that has proven to resonate with the public.

    “THE FORGOTTEN SOLUTION (2018) – Official Trailer [HD] – Movietrailers” [Running time: 1m:18s]

    Corporations, institutions and NGOs promoting “The Forgotten Solutions” include Connect4Climate (the World Bank), UN-REDD+, WBCSD, We Mean Business, UNREDD+, the Global Landscapes Forum, Shell, the Ford Foundation, and billionaire Richard Branson (The B Team, We Mean Business), to name but a few.

    September 3, 2018, Global Landscapes Forum. During the closing remarks of the Global Landscapes Forum on December 9, 2018, at COP24, Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International stressed that in addition to shifting global focus from the oil and transportation sectors to land and forests, additional co-operation was required to reach consensus on the New Deal for Nature.[Further reading: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue, Volume I, ACT VI] The GLF was formed in 2013 by the World Bank, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the United Nations Environment Programme

    September 3, 2018, Global Landscapes Forum. During the closing remarks of the Global Landscapes Forum on December 9, 2018, at COP24, Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International stressed that in addition to shifting global focus from the oil and transportation sectors to land and forests, additional co-operation was required to reach consensus on the New Deal for Nature.[Further reading: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue, Volume I, ACT VI] The GLF was formed in 2013 by the World Bank, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the United Nations Environment Programme

     

    September 8, 2018, Connect4Climate (World Bank)

    September 8, 2018, Connect4Climate (World Bank)

     

    September 11, 2018, The Ford Foundation promoting both "natural climate solutions" and "the forgotten solution"

    September 11, 2018, The Ford Foundation promoting both “natural climate solutions” and “the forgotten solution”

     

    December 10, 2018, Achim Steiner promotes the "Forgotten Solutions". Steiner will appear this week at the Social Good Summit (founded and/or financed by the UN, Purpose, Gates Foundation, etc.) with Greta Thunberg and Christiana Figueres. Steiner, UNDP Administrator is a former advisory board member of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). TEEB, initiated in 2008, and officially launched in 2012, hosted by UNEP and backed by the European Commission and countries including Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, has since been absorbed/rebranded into the Natural Capital Coalition. The Natural Capital Coalition is working with the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions for the implementation of the financialization of nature.]

    December 10, 2018, Achim Steiner promotes the “Forgotten Solutions”. Steiner will appear this week at the Social Good Summit (founded and/or financed by the UN, Purpose, Gates Foundation, etc.) with Greta Thunberg and Christiana Figueres. Steiner, UNDP Administrator is a former advisory board member of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). TEEB, initiated in 2008, and officially launched in 2012, hosted by UNEP and backed by the European Commission and countries including Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, has since been absorbed/rebranded into the Natural Capital Coalition. The Natural Capital Coalition is working with the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions for the implementation of the financialization of nature.]

     

    December 11, 2018, We Mean Business, promoting We Mean Business co-founder, WBCSD: "Bring natural climate solutions into your business today" #TheForgottenSolution

    December 11, 2018, We Mean Business, promoting We Mean Business co-founder, WBCSD: “Bring natural climate solutions into your business today” #TheForgottenSolution

     

    December 11, 2018, Shell, WBCSD, "the forgotten solution" as promoted by We Mean Business

    December 11, 2018, Shell, WBCSD, “the forgotten solution” as promoted by We Mean Business

     

    December 11, 2018, Justin Adams for The Nature Conservancy, as promoted by We Mean Business

    December 11, 2018, Justin Adams for The Nature Conservancy, as promoted by We Mean Business

     

    December 12, 2018, UN-REDD+

    December 12, 2018, UN-REDD+

     

    June 28, 2019, Richard Branson promoting the celebrity-endorsed "Forgotten Solution". The utilization of celebrity, fetishized in the West, is a much-used tool as a means to expand capital, build brand recognition and break through market resistance

    June 28, 2019, Richard Branson promoting the celebrity-endorsed “Forgotten Solution”. The utilization of celebrity, fetishized in the West, is a much-used tool as a means to expand capital, build brand recognition and break through market resistance

    • Nature4Climate partners

    One of the first institutions to highlight Monbiot’s Natural Climate Solutions launch (April 3, 2019) was the Food and Land Use Coalition. This coalition was initiated under the Business and Sustainable Development Commission leadership led by Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO, and Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who conceptualized the International Crisis Group in 1993 (with Mort Abramowitz), where he serves as chair. Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill. [Source][Board] [Further reading: Controlling the Narrative,Volume II, Act II]

    The Food and Land Use Coalition is supported by partners, including the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (housed at SYSTEMIQ), the EAT Foundation, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the New Climate Economy (housed at World Resources Institute). [Source] SYSTEMIQ, is advancing the blended finance vehicle (leveraging public funds for private investments into emerging markets) for the Climate Finance Partnership.

    April 3, 2018, Food and Land Use Coalition promoting the freshly launched "Natural Climate Solutions" campaign and website. Tagged users included SYSTEMIQ, EAT, New Climate Economy, SDSN, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) WBCSD, IIASA, World Resources Institute, Unilever, and Yara International

    April 3, 2018, Food and Land Use Coalition promoting the freshly launched “Natural Climate Solutions” campaign and website. Tagged users included SYSTEMIQ, EAT, New Climate Economy, SDSN, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) WBCSD, IIASA, World Resources Institute, Unilever, and Yara International

     

    November 27, 2018, Food and Land Use Coalition congratulating We Mean Business co-founder, WBCSD, on winning an award for its film on "natural climate solutions"

    November 27, 2018, Food and Land Use Coalition congratulating We Mean Business co-founder, WBCSD, on winning an award for its film on “natural climate solutions”

     

    December 3, 2018: Food and Land Use Coalition promoting "natural climate solutions" and "The Forgotten Solution"

    December 3, 2018: Food and Land Use Coalition promoting “natural climate solutions” and “The Forgotten Solution”

     

    January 27, 2019, Food and Land Use Coalition promoting "natural climate solutions"

    January 27, 2019, Food and Land Use Coalition promoting “natural climate solutions”

     

    As the corporate social media accounts demonstrate, the branding of the term “natural climate solutions” was already well established prior to Monbiot’s project launched on April 3, 2019, with a surge in its promotion in December 2018 for COP24 (following the launch of Nature4Climate in June 2018). In fact, the term was being promoted by The Nature Conservancy in 2016 to highlight a parallel revenue stream generated from carbon offset permits.

    In the 2016 video below by The Nature Conservancy, Justin Adams remarks:

    In many other parts of the world you have forest dependent communities, you have indigenous communities, who know very well how to protect their natural environment. They see the natural world and their own world as much more integrated.”

    The Nature Conservancy, February 8, 2016 [Running time: 4m:5s]:

    The question here is why those in the Global South should be expected to retain their critical roles as protectors of the natural world, simply because the Western societies are too unaware, or too insatiable, to do so. The “other” – are expected to continue protecting their natural environment so the white man in the West can continue to pollute. We can also observe that these communities, in many parts of the world Adams speaks of, do not inflict war, displacement or any misery whatsoever on other communities in the world.

    November 24, 2017, The term "natural climate solutions" in reference to the "Natural Climate Solutions" study, published on October 16, 2017 and introduced by The Nature Conservancy the same day. The study suggests that "nature's mitigation potential is estimated at 11.3 billion tons in 2030—the equivalent of stopping burning oil globally." Here holds the promise for corporate polluters: the continued burning of fossil fuels, coupled with land acquisition (theft) via carbon markets/offsets - all under the guise of stewardship

    November 24, 2017, The term “natural climate solutions” in reference to the “Natural Climate Solutions” study, published on October 16, 2017 and introduced by The Nature Conservancy the same day. The study suggests that “nature’s mitigation potential is estimated at 11.3 billion tons in 2030—the equivalent of stopping burning oil globally.” Here holds the promise for corporate polluters: the continued burning of fossil fuels, coupled with land acquisition (theft) via carbon markets/offsets – all under the guise of stewardship

    The Big Sell

    The Monbiot Natural Climate Solutions “plan” (“by supporting the efforts of others, we want to help bring together two issues that have mostly been considered in isolation: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown”) lends itself as a vehicle for “herding cats”. This is an expression attributed by Forbes, to the efforts of the GCCA alliance in 2014. It was used in reference to the method in which GCCA mobilized the populace for 2014 the People’s Climate March. A march orchestrated to serve the interests of those that financed and organized it (the trial version of what we witnessed on September 20, 2019), with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the helm. The herding is essential in order to attain acquiescence and, even demand, for something so ugly it requires the utilization of extraordinarily beautiful imagery, holistic linguistics, coupled with celebrity power, Hollywood trailers, slick marketing and emotive imagery to bring it into policy. Natural Climate Solutions deliberately stays at arm’s length from any direct association with a “New Deal For Nature” (the financialization in nature to be implemented in 2020) and instead sends the new supporters it “herds” into the clutches of the big “conservation” NGOs that are privatizing nature. From the Natural Climate Solutions website:

    Our plan is to generate the publicity and enthusiasm required to bring this issue to the front of people’s minds. In doing so, we hope to catalyse and accelerate the work of the excellent organisations already operating in this field.”

     

    —Natural Climate Solutions website [Emphasis added]

    Like magic, with the sleight of hand, the very corporate term “natural capital solutions”, is transformed into the benevolent “natural climate solutions”. In the transition from the corporate boardroom, into the public realm, the two terms are thus entwined and at once largely indistinguishable. What we have is a rebranding exercise. Thus we have George Monbiot, The World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the UN REDD Programme, The Nature Conservancy (via Nature4Climate), Conservation International, Natural Capital Partners, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), WWF – all sharing the identical branded term.

    Here it is imperative to highlight the fact that Conservation International, WWF, IUCN, WBCSD, are all founding members of the Natural Capital Coalition. [Natural Capital Coalition founders]

    The architects of the financialization of nature enjoy the penthouse suite of what constitutes a five-star de facto clearing house for institutions, corporations and “conservation” NGOs that serve capital.

     

    July 29, 2019, World Economic Form (now partnered with the United Nations) promoting #NaturalClimateSolutions

    July 29, 2019, World Economic Form (now partnered with the United Nations) promoting #NaturalClimateSolutions

     

    September 18, 2019, World Economic Forum, partner to the United Nations and Voice For The Planet, promoting the #NewDealForNature (created by WEF and WWF)

    September 18, 2019, World Economic Forum, partner to the United Nations and Voice For The Planet, promoting the #NewDealForNature (created by WEF and WWF)

     

    September 8, 2018: James Lloyd promoting the People's Climate March in tandem with "The Forgotten Solution"

    September 8, 2018: James Lloyd promoting the People’s Climate March in tandem with “The Forgotten Solution”

     

    September 8, 2018, GCCA/TckTckTck promoting "The Forgotten Solution"

    September 8, 2018, GCCA/TckTckTck promoting “The Forgotten Solution”

     

    August 24, 2018: James Lloyd: "Scientists call on California governor to OK carbon credits ..."

    August 24, 2018: James Lloyd: “Scientists call on California governor to OK carbon credits …”

     

    James Lloyd , project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy, Twitter, April 3, 2019

    James Lloyd , project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy, Twitter, April 3, 2019

     

    September 19, 2019: James Lloyd , project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy, pinned Tweet

    September 19, 2019: James Lloyd , project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy, pinned Tweet

     

    April 18, 2019, Natural Climate Solutions, The Forgotten Solution

    April 18, 2019, Natural Climate Solutions, The Forgotten Solution

     

    The Art of Playing Obtuse

     

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

     

    On the first day of the launch, Monbiot announces: “We’ve launched a website explaining #theforgottensolution and directing people to the wonderful organizations seeking to help nature to help stop #ClimateBreakdown.”

    Yet nature doesn’t need man’s “help” to “help stop climate breakdown”, she simply needs to be left alone. Released from the corporate chokehold killing her. And she certainly does not need help from egregious “conservation” NGOs notorious for land acquisitions (in servitude to corporations and ruling classes), and displacement of Indigenous peoples which has been long documented.

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

     

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

     

    Natural Climate Solutions google search – which is which?

    Natural Climate Solutions google search – which is which?

     

    Natural Climate Solutions google search – which is which?

    Natural Climate Solutions google search – which is which?

     

    Following the April 3, 2019 launch of “Natural Climate Solutions” Monbiot is challenged by a person who understands the intent behind the branding of “natural climate solutions” by institutions, corporations and “conservation” NGOs that serve capital. Monbiot, a recognized influencer with global reach, responds as follows: “Just because some people hijack this approach for their own ends does not invalidate it. It’s like saying that because David Cameron cynically promoted his Big Society as a substitute for government, all community projects “played into his hands”. Perspective please.”

    The individual who challenged Monbiot responds: “Some people”? You’re evidently unaware that this concept has already been thoroughly co-opted by the WBCSD, Shell, Equinor, the International Emissions Trading Association, International Paper etc.”

    Monbiot’s response? – “All the more reason to reclaim it from them.”

    Monbiot’s weak defense does not hold water.

    This would be akin to anti-imperialists “reclaiming” the term “responsibility to protect” – to protect citizens of targeted states. While at the same time, US-led NATO forces are preparing to annihilate a sovereign state for resources – building consent by using the identical term. If this were to take place, the said “anti-imperialists” repetition of this term would expose them as fraudulent, as individuals deliberately in servitude to empire.

    “As the cognitive linguist George Lakoff points out, when you use the frames and language of your opponents, you don’t persuade them to adopt your point of view. Instead you adopt theirs, while strengthening their resistance to your objectives.”

     

    George Monbiot, The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it, May 15, 2018

    In the same article cited above, Monbiot writes: “…Tony Juniper – who in other respects is an admirable defender of the living world – says he will use his new post as head of campaigns at WWF to promote the natural capital agenda.”]

    Today, Monbiot is essentially herding the populace to WWF. The most important campaign of both WWF and Conservation International is the “New Deal For Nature” (also marketed as “Voices or the Planet”). Finance, corporations, government, industry, institutions (UN, IPBES, CBD), and those at the helm of the non-profit industrial understands exactly what it is. Everyone that is, except the public.

    Trondheim, Norway, 2 July, 2019WWF issued a rallying cry for an urgent New Deal for Nature and People for halting biodiversity loss by 2030 at conference for Biodiversity in Trondheim Norway which starts today. [Emphasis added]

    Monbiot informs his audience that “new scientific studies reveal #rewilding has a much greater potential for carbon drawdown than almost anyone imaged” – yet Monbiot did not call his project “Rewilding the Earth” or “Rewilding for Climate” or any other name with the word rewilding.

    “The Panda Bare”, on Twitter, further elucidates: “The vast majority of what is typically described as #NaturalClimateSolutions” has got nothing to do with rewilding – in fact massive areas of new plantation.”

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, Twitter

     

    As the launch day wears on, Monbiot again reiterates his desire for people to follow the groups he lists. He writes: “Usually writing and thinking about #ClimateBreakdown is pretty soul-destroying. But these new discoveries thrill and delight me. Please help us to spread the message, by RTing this thread, directing people to the site and encouraging them to support the group we list.” Tagged users include Greta Thunberg, Margaret Atwood, Philip Pullman, Michael Mann, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, RSPB, Tim Christopherson, and Nature4Climate.

    September 13, 2019, Twitter: Tim Christophersen coordinates the work on forests and climate change at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), including UNEP’s role within the UN-REDD Programme, a collaborative initiative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNEP

    September 13, 2019, Twitter: Tim Christophersen coordinates the work on forests and climate change at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), including UNEP’s role within the UN-REDD Programme, a collaborative initiative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNEP

     

    April 3, 2019, George Monbiot, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, George Monbiot, Twitter

     

    April 23, 2019, Natural Capital Solutions promoting "The Forgotten Solution"

    April 23, 2019, Natural Capital Solutions promoting “The Forgotten Solution”

     

    On social media (Twitter) Monbiot feigns aggravation that, despite a concerted effort working with a public relations firm, his campaign is being ignored by broadcast media. This is fairly ironic considering his access to and subsequent exposure from The Guardian alone. It also reveals the privilege and entitlement held by white liberal “activists” who have been deemed safe for public consumption by the establishment. Most legitimate grassroots groups are given zero exposure for new campaigns by mainstream media, let alone colossal exposure by The Guardian.

    April 3, 2019, George Monbiot, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, George Monbiot, Twitter

     

    April 3, 2019, George Monbiot, Twitter

    April 3, 2019, George Monbiot, Twitter

     

    Other tweets accompanying the launch included one in which Monbiot tagged “some wonderful people whom I think will love this approach:” who could help spread the word. The tagged individuals (influencers) included Caroline Lucas, Chris Packham, Avaaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, Mark Lynas, Russell Brand, and Ai Weiwei. If only we could all be as environmentally conscious as Leonardo DiCaprio, especially those in the Global South, perhaps then we could save the planet. [Further reading: The Age of Storytelling, Volume II, ACT II]

    April 3, 2019: The tagged individuals (influencers) included Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, and Avaaz. Avaaz/ Purpose: utilizing the behavioural economics of hatred to wage wars on sovereign states in servitude to empire, while deploying emotive campaigns to "save the planet". The fact that war is a key driver of both ecological destruction and climate change appears to be lost on it's followers

    April 3, 2019: The tagged individuals (influencers) included Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, and Avaaz. Avaaz/ Purpose: utilizing the behavioural economics of hatred to wage wars on sovereign states in servitude to empire, while deploying emotive campaigns to “save the planet”. The fact that war is a key driver of both ecological destruction and climate change appears to be lost on it’s followers

    • March 20, 2018: The Nature Conservancy "working hard on 'natural climate solutions'" with the McDonald's corporation

    The Natural Climate Solutions Project

    The first "follows" chosen by for the Natural Climate Solutions Twitter account

    The first “follows” chosen by for the Natural Climate Solutions Twitter account

     

    The first “follows” chosen by for the Natural Climate Solutions Twitter account are its three founders (inclusive of Monbiot who is #1). The next accounts chosen to follow are Wetlands International (#4), followed by Nature4Climate (#5) and the aforementioned James Lloyd (#6), the project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy. [“Working at the interface of strategic communications and external affairs for nature and climate change. [Nature4Climate Steering Committee] The fifth is Youth4Nature, which is partnered with Nature Conservancy.

    May 3, 2019: Recruiting the youth. Partners: The Nature Conservancy & Nature4Climate

    May 3, 2019: Recruiting the youth. Partners: The Nature Conservancy & Nature4Climate

     

    Following the April 3, 2019 launch of Natural Climate Solutions, we see Extinction Rebellion, YouthStrike4Climate, and those flying under the “grassroots activism” banner, in unison with the most egregious corporations and “conservation” NGOs on the planet (which work in servitude to these very corporations) all sharing the same branding meme #naturalclimatesolutions.

    This is yet another step forward in the engineered evolution of “together” – an orchestrated effort to bring corporations and civil society together as one. The employment of soft-power to give the illusion that class divisions no longer exist.

    “It’s odd, to say the least, to hear a spokesperson for Shell promoting natural climate solutions, and to hear George Monbiot apparently promoting the same thing.”

     

    Chris Lang, The REDD Monitor, April 5, 2019

    In the same way that global “green new deals” are setting the stage for the “new deal for nature” which is slowly and cautiously being introduced to the public, “natural climate solutions” can help achieve public acceptance for the “new deal for nature”. These are the applications of behavioural change strategies as outlined by Avaaz/Purpose founder Jeremy Heimans. Akin to “killing green” to build the “green economy”, [“we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”] today corporations, states and financial institutions intend to fully privatize and monetize every aspect of nature – to build the “new” capitalist economy. They just won’t talk about it and they won’t say that they’re doing it.

    This is the new agenda.

    September 16, 2019, The Financial Times, "Protect the future of free enterprise and wealth creation by pursuing profit with purpose. This is the new agenda."

    September 16, 2019, The Financial Times, “Protect the future of free enterprise and wealth creation by pursuing profit with purpose. This is the new agenda.”

    “However, while the critique of capitalism is the starting point, the analysis cannot simply stop there; it must confront the reality of generalized monopoly-finance capital now operating on a world scale and the deep, systematic division of the world into center and periphery, global North and global South—a division only worsened by climate change. It is in this larger imperialist context that capitalism exists as an actual historical system in the twenty-first century, and it is this that must be opposed.”

     

    Imperialism in the Anthropocene, May 21, 2019

    The methodology of marketing “natural climate solutions” is this: We will “kill market solutions – to save market solutions”. Here, it can be added that Purpose and Greenpeace assisted in the creation of Nature4Climate co-founder, We Mean Business.

    The ruling classes have devised a marketing strategy to sell us the unthinkable (the monetizing of nature, global in scale) by not divulging what lies beneath the surface.

    Patterns appear as branding to target youth broadens its scope. [Nature4Climate, YouthStrike4Climate, Fridays4future, Youth4Nature.]

    Branding that appeals to corporations

    Branding that appeals to corporations

     

    Branding that appeals to corporations and governments

    Branding that appeals to corporations and governments

     

    Branding for an already established conservative audience

    Branding for an already established conservative audience

     

    Branding to reach a liberal and youth demographic

    Branding to reach a liberal and youth demographic

     

    Leads on the Natural Climate Solution project led by Monbiot include Charlie Latimer (Charotte Lattimer, Charlotte Martineau), consultant (clients include UNDP, UNICEF, UN OCHA and UNRWA), Patrick Sterling, former director of product for The Guardian, and Al Boardman, a graphics designer whose clients include “some of the most respected international brands, organisations and agencies in the world; the likes of Apple, Google, Twitter, IBM and BBC amongst them.”

    Further, we have Sandrine Dixson-Declève, John Elkington, Paul Simpson, all identified as members of the advisory panel of Guardian Sustainable Business. Dixson-Declève served as the chief partnership officer for UN Agency Sustainable Energy for All. Prior to this position, she served as the director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (also referred to as EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, a corporate partner of GCCA/TckTckTck in 2009); vice chair, European Biofuels Technology Platform; board member, We Mean Business; and the advisory board of the oil and gas major Sasol. [Bio] Today Dixson-Declève serves as co-president of the Club of Rome. [Further reading: “Emerging From the emergency: Harnessing the momentum”]. Elkington is the founder of Volans, a B Team expert and Extinction Rebellion Business Signatory. Paul Simpson is the CEO of CDP, a co-founder of We Mean Business.

    Here we can add that The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Leadership section is sponsored by Xynteo, a group that includes Shell, Woodside, and Statoil. Xynteo: “We are reinventing growth”. [Source]Dixson-Declève serves as special advisor to the Xynteo & Energy Transition Commission (ETC). [Source]

    The Guardian Sustainable Business (GSB) Australia advisory council membership has included representatives of WWF, ClimateWorks, 350.org, and Greenpeace (2015) [Source] [An inquiry submitted on September 1, 2019, to The Guardian on members and status of Guardian Sustainable Business advisory panel/panels was unanswered.] Greenpeace International director Jennifer Morgan clearly supports the “new deal for nature” as demonstrated in ACT VI, Volume I of The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent series, while Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard has co-founded Earth Economics which aims at “identifying, monetizing, and valuing natural capital and ecosystem services”. All hands are on deck.

    Earth Economics branding : "We Take Nature Into Account" - "What Is Your Planet Worth?"

    Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard has co-founded Earth Economics which aims at “identifying, monetizing, and valuing natural capital and ecosystem services”. Earth Economics branding : “We Take Nature Into Account” – “What Is Your Planet Worth?”

     

    The Natural Climate Solutions “call to action” page offers holistic proposals and states that it is opposed to offsets. Yet on April 8, 2019, the carbon certification corporation Verra (formerly the Verified Carbon Standard) was added to the list of allies on the Natural Climate Solutions website. Further, the REDD projects that Shell purchases carbon credits from are certified by Verra. [Source] The Natural Climate Solutions-Verra alliance was disclosed by the REDD Monitor on April 9, 2019. On May 21, 2019, Verra disappeared from the list of allies.

    REDD+ (the UN’s program to “Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation”) was devised as a strategy to enable business as usual to continue in the face of irrefutable evidence of the role of fossil fuel emissions in driving climate change.

    Rather than cut emissions at the source, forests and their ability to store carbon became the sole focus of the UN and the World Bank.  The REDD+ scheme allows corporations and states to buy the carbon stored in forests elsewhere to supposedly “offset” the fossil fuel emissions they are producing.  However, because the carbon stored in the forest has to be verifiably protected, anyone living in the forest – including those who historically protected it in the first place – have to be removed to ensure they do not use any of that carbon.  On the other end of the equation, people living around the polluting industry’s that have “offset” their emissions continue to suffer the health impacts of living in a toxic environment.  Finally, there is no legitimate scientific evidence that temporarily stored biological carbon, in the form of forests, can “offset” fossil carbon, which is a highly condensed permanent form of carbon that was previously locked underground for millions of years. [Learn more at the Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP). GJEP explores and exposes the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction, and economic domination.]

    What Natural Climate Solutions does not reference, or oppose, is the “new deal for nature”. In fact, this “new deal”, which is advancing quickly, is not opposed by any environmental “leaders” that have been placed at the vanguard of the spectacle by the ruling classes. This is the foundational structure of the system, functioning exactly as intended.

    Consider that while earlier this year, over 100 NGOs publicly condemned Shell’s launch of a 300 million USD “natural climate solutions” carbon offsetting scheme, there is no dissent whatsoever over Shell’s major partnership in the Natural Capital Coalition. There is practically little to no dissent to the Natural Capital Coalition, its “conservation” partners, nor its plans to commodify the global commons. For the past decade; The Natural Capital Coalition (which absorbed TEEB, initiated in 2008) has been developing the tools and protocols for a new global system of finance where all nature will be assigned a monetary value. It is now time to present the unthinkable to the public in a manner in which it will not only be accepted, but demanded. This requires building global acceptance which will only be possible utilizing unprecedented global behavioural change strategies, methods and manipulations.

    [Natural Capital Coalition advisory council][Natural Capital Coalition partners]

    October 29, 2015: Dow Chemical, The Nature Conservancy, "Nature's Fortune"

    October 29, 2015: Dow Chemical, The Nature Conservancy, “Nature’s Fortune”

     

    The NGOs & institutions that developed the Natural Capital Protocol

    The NGOs & institutions that developed the Natural Capital Protocol

    Natural Capital Coalition organizations

    Natural Capital Coalition organizations

    Natural Capital Coalition promoting IPBES, 2019

    Natural Capital Coalition promoting IPBES, 2019

     

    Chris Lang of the REDD Monitor asks the question: “Natural Climate Solutions – in whose interest?” This is the fundamental question given that the massive advertising campaign behind this effort – and foundations (with investment portfolios in the billions) do not invest in any solutions other than market solutions, or solutions that serve to expand their influence and power (such as societal behaviour modification). “Natural climate solutions” must not be perceived as altruistic or holistic – it is a branding term to increase profits and land acquisitions for corporations.

    Monbiot cites “three crucial opportunities over the next two years for ensuring that Natural Climate Solutions receive the global attention they deserve”. [1) The UN Climate Summit this month, 2) COP 15 of the Convention on Biodiversity in 2020, and 3) the UN COP 26 in 2020, at which countries are supposed to put forward their new Nationally Determined Contributions.] [Source]

    Yet, as pointed out by the Redd Monitor, “Two-thirds of the countries who signed on to the Paris Agreement have already included Natural Climate Solutions in their Nationally Determined Contributions. More than 100 countries include natural solutions in their adaptation plans, and 27 countries include them in their mitigation plans. They are doing so in order to allow continued pollution from fossil fuels – either in their own country or elsewhere.” [Source]

    This clearly demonstrates that the intent of the campaign is hardly to influence states, rather the purpose is to influence and shape public perception.

    Monbiot, June 26, 2019, “Shell is not a green saviour. It’s a planetary death machine”:

    “But the company’s strategy is working. A remarkable number of people who should be fighting Shell instead see it as a green alternative to Exxon, persuaded by what is, in comparison with the company’s filthy investments, a tiny sop. Shell has longstanding relationships with four “environmental partners”: the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Nature Conservancy, Wetlands International, and Earthwatch. I believe it is just as wrong for these groups to take its money as it is for the RSC to take money from BP. It surprises me that there is not as much pressure on them to break their links as there has been, for example, on the British Museum, whose relationship with BP is becoming a national embarrassment.

    Monbiot places quotation around “environmental partners” in reference to the NGOs – two of which are “allies” of his own project, and one, that being Nature Conservancy, which created Nature4Climate, led by The  Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy. The British Museum should be embarrassed, but Monbiot should be embarrassed even more.

    The final paragraph:

    “But naivety about Shell is not confined to its partners. Plenty of well-intentioned organisations and people, who share my enthusiasm for natural climate solutions, appear so desperate to clutch at any straws of hope that they are prepared to see this company as part of the solution. Shell is not our friend. It is an engine of planetary destruction.”

    And here we can paint Monbiot’s “allies” with the identical brush. And so desperate are the citizenry, that they will clutch the “natural climate solutions” straw that has been produced for mass consumption.

    • In 2018, Nature4Climate launched the “The Forgotten Solution”(conceptualized in 2016) – a glossy advertising campaign featuring a Hollywood-esque movie trailer. Featuring its own newsroom, The Forgotten Solutions website utilizes the 350.org font that has proven to resonate with the public.

    From Strategy to Implementation

    The WWF-WEF campaign for the New Deal For Nature (Voice for the Planet) is supported by Nature4Climate.

    The Voice For The Planet campaign is a vehicle to build public support for the "New Deal For Nature" in 2020. Created by WEF "Global Shapers" and WWF

    The Voice For The Planet campaign is a vehicle to build public support for the “New Deal For Nature” in 2020. Created by WEF “Global Shapers” and WWF

     

    The overlap between the New Deal For Nature public partners (Voice For the Planet) and the Natural Climate Solutions partners is as follows: WWF, Conservation International, International Union For The Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme, Nature4Climate, Royal Society For The Protection of Birds and Birdlife International.

    And while The Nature Conservancy (Voice for the Planet partner) is not listed as an “ally” of Natural Climate Solutions, as demonstrated, it remains at arm’s length. A single degree of separation made possible by the creation of Nature4Climate, the primary ally of Natural Climate Solutions.

    The research for this article was compiled on September 1, 2019. Since this time, we can observe how this branding strategy has been implemented, in real time.

    Corporate Knights – The Voice for Clean Capitalism, April 20, 2015

    September, 19, 2019, Climate Change and Nature-based Solutions: Top 30 Influencers and Brands:

    “Onalytica have analysed an audience of 3.5k sustainability influencers to understand current perception and awareness of Nature-based solutions within the Climate Change debate and how organisations can leverage those influencers to drive policy change.”

    Onalytica’s report opens with an introduction from Lloyd [“This conversation needs to be reflected in the real economy.”]It then identifies the top 100 influencers on the Twitter for “nature-based solutions”. The number one influencer identified is George Monbiot with an influencer score of 100%. Second to Monbiot is Greta Thunberg with an influencer score of 67.56%. Onalytica directs its readers to the nature4climate website for more information.

    Chart: "This data was collected from our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM). If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click below to request a demo!"

    Chart: “This data was collected from our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM). If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click below to request a demo!”

     

    The top 30 “brands” identified by Onalytica in driving the most engagement on the “nature-based solutions conversation” include the World Resources Institute [Volume I, Act IV], The World Bank, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, WWF, C40 Cities and Extinction Rebellion. [Full list]

    At this juncture we can recall the question imperative put forward by John Elkington, founder of Volans and initial signatory to Extinction Rebellion Business (which quickly disappeared after its public launch).

    John Elkington, founder of Volans, B Team expert and Extinction Rebellion Business Signatory

    John Elkington, founder of Volans, B Team expert and Extinction Rebellion Business Signatory

     

    Global Strike

     

    September 19, 2019: Conservation International Website

    September 19, 2019: Conservation International Website

     

    On September 19, 2019, the United Nations, the Government of Norway, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy celebrated that the California Air Resources Board adopted the Tropical Forest Standard, a new vehicle for the expansion of carbon offsets into tropical forest regions. Prior to approval by California Air Resources Board (CARB) the standard was narrowly reviewed by a self selected group state legislators through an exclusive stakeholder process dominated by Conservation International, TNC and EDF. [“The purpose of the California Tropical Forest Standard is to establish robust criteria against which to assess jurisdictions seeking to link their sector-based crediting programs that reduce emissions from tropical deforestation with an emissions trading system (ETS), such as California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.”]

    “Forest carbon offsets neither protect forests nor reduce emissions. Forest carbon offsets are an unjust false solution to climate change that enables business and pollution as usual, condemning forests and communities globally to its devastating impacts. If what is proposed as a solution to catastrophic climate change jeopardizes other people or ecosystems it cannot claim to be just or sustainable.” [Source]

     

    The Thunberg-Monbiot film, emphasizing the urgency of funding “natural solutions”, was paid for by Conservation International and the aforementioned *Food and Land Use Coalition, with “guidance” provided by Nature4Climate (The Nature Conservancy, We Mean Business, WWF, UN-REDD, et al.) and Natural Climate Solutions. [*Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill.]

    The Thunberg-Monbiot film, emphasizing the urgency of funding “natural solutions”, was paid for by Conservation International and the aforementioned *Food and Land Use Coalition, with “guidance” provided by Nature4Climate (The Nature Conservancy, We Mean Business, WWF, UN-REDD, et al.) and Natural Climate Solutions. [*Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill.]

     

    September 20, 2019: The Nature Conservancy promoting the film with term "natural climate solutions". Tagged are Thunberg and Mobiot. Note the utilization of the "Spredfast" software

    September 20, 2019: The Nature Conservancy promoting the film with term “natural climate solutions”. Tagged are Thunberg and Mobiot. Note the utilization of the “Spredfast” software

     

    Spredfast: "Seamless interactions and a 360-customer view, now possible with our @salesforce Social Care integration."

    Spredfast: “Seamless interactions and a 360-customer view, now possible with our @salesforce Social Care integration.”

     

    Marc Benioff: Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce, one of the fastest-growing cloud-based software corporation in the world. He is a member of the board of trustees, World Economic Forum and inaugural Chair, World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

    Marc Benioff: Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce, one of the fastest-growing cloud-based software corporation in the world. He is a member of the board of trustees, World Economic Forum and inaugural Chair, World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

     

    January 24, 2019: Marc Benioff: Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce, WEF

    January 24, 2019: Marc Benioff: Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce, WEF

     

    September 19, 2019: Conservation International promoting Thunberg-Monbiot film with #NaturalClimateSolutions hashtag

    September 19, 2019: Conservation International promoting Thunberg-Monbiot film with #NaturalClimateSolutions hashtag

     

    September 20, 2019: Billionaire Richard Branson, founder of The B Team, promoting Thunberg-Monbiot film. The B Team is a co-founder of We Mean Business - overseeing the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit with WEF

    September 20, 2019: Billionaire Richard Branson, founder of The B Team, promoting Thunberg-Monbiot film. The B Team is a co-founder of We Mean Business – overseeing the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit with WEF

     

    March 20, 2018: McDonald's corporation "working hard on #naturalclimatesolutions"

    March 20, 2018: McDonald’s corporation “working hard on #naturalclimatesolutions”

     

    September 18, 2019

    On cue, We Mean Business co-founders – united with NGOs, global institutions, and media – coordinate their efforts in promoting the video, ensuring it will go viral. At once, We Mean Business co-founders – united with NGOs, global institutions – and the hundreds of corporations they represent, are now affiliated with Thunberg. The citizenry is encouraged to “love thy enemy”, “changing together” in order to save the power elite. [The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything”, Volume II, Act V]

    At once, a united front is projected. Corporate power and society are united as one. Effectively erased is the dividing line between corporate “conservation” NGOs and the citizenry. The enemy is at once made friendly and wholesome by aligning itself with Thunberg and Monbiot, presented as icons for the environment by the establishment they serve. If Greta Thunberg trusts Conservation International, then you can too. This is no different from Thunberg doing an ad for a vegan menu at McDonalds – while it continues to participate in the cruel and grotesque livestock production industry that pollutes and destroys land, forests, and ecosystems.

    September 19, 2019: Amazon announces partnership with The Nature Conservancy for the implementation of "natural climate solutions" initiatives

    September 19, 2019: Amazon announces partnership with The Nature Conservancy for the implementation of “natural climate solutions” initiatives

     

    September 20, 2019: The Nature Conservancy

    September 20, 2019: The Nature Conservancy

     

    Financial Times, September 16, 2019 launch: "CAPITALISM. TIME FOR A RESET. THIS IS THE NEW AGENDA. This is "the Financial Times' biggest campaign since the 2008 global recession."

    Financial Times, September 16, 2019 launch: “CAPITALISM. TIME FOR A RESET. THIS IS THE NEW AGENDA. This is “the Financial Times’ biggest campaign since the 2008 global recession.”

     

    In the same way that Hitler and Goebbels, in the 20th  century, utilized youthwashing as a means of psychological warfare in order to  carry out a genocide on a population they believed as inferior, today the ruling class, in conjunction with corporate power, have restored youthwashing for the 21st century as an effective means to continue an ongoing genocide of the natural world, and all life which she graciously sustains. Life, believed to be inferior, by those committing the atrocities. By those seeking societal consent to continue.

    September 18, 2019: The Nature Conservancy promoting #GlobalClimateStrike in conjunction with the "New Deal For Nature and People"

    September 18, 2019: The Nature Conservancy promoting #GlobalClimateStrike in conjunction with the “New Deal For Nature and People”

     

    The “New Deal For Nature” is a scheme so grotesque that it can only be sold to the public by utilizing the most effective tools for cutting through market resistance – that being celebrity. The NGOs comprising the non-profit industrial complex, coupled with the deployment of celebrity, are literally banking on the successful manipulation of the citizenry.

    A natural climate solution would be the end of the military industrial complex. The end of the relentless assault on our Earth, our brothers and sisters, and all life, waged by the US Pentagon. A natural climate solution would be discontinuing the production of all superfluous “goods“. A natural climate solution would be returning stolen lands to those from whom they were stolen.

    Stokely Carmichael asked the pivotal question in 1966:

    “And that’s the real question facing the white activists today. Can they tear down the institutions that have put us all in the trick bag we’ve been into for the last hundreds of years?”

    On September 20, 2019, millions of people went to the streets. Those walls could have been torn down. Instead they were propped up.

    I quote Carmichael, as what constitutes mainstream activism in the West, has become nothing more than a parody. We must stop identifying with the ruling class. We are not part of it. And all the luxury consumer brands that one can buy on credit, will not make it any less so. Emulating the rich is a devised marketing stratagem that creates a false sense of belonging in a system designed and protected to serve the rich.

    The question is, will we break away from the clutches of manufactured false demigods and align ourselves with revolutionary grassroots groups, or will we continue to uphold those that protect the very system destroying our natural world? Although the outlook looks bleak, the future is not yet written.

    Clive Spash

    Clive Spash

     

     

     

     

    Further Reading:

    [REDD Monitor: Offsetting fossil fuel emissions with tree planting and ‘natural climate solutions’: science, magical thinking, or pure PR?, July 4, 2019]

    [REDD Monitor: Shell and Natural Climate Solutions: US$300 million for carbon offsets, April 4, 2019]

    [REDD Monitor: Is the new Natural Climate Solutions campaign a distraction from the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground?, April 5, 2019]

    End Notes:

    [1]

    • NATURE4CLIMATE
    • ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF BIRDS
    • UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME*
    • REWILDING BRITAIN
    • FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
    • AVAAZ
    • GREENPEACE
    • LEONARDO DI CAPRIO FOUNDATION
    • NATURE NEEDS HALF
    • DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION
    • WILDERNESS SOCIETY
    • REWILDING EUROPE
    • WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
    • EQUATOR INITIATIVE
    • FOUNDATION EARTH
    • CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL
    • TREESISTERS
    • CLIMATE LAND AMBITION AND RIGHTS ALLIANCE
    • THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP ON FOREST AND LANDSCAPE RESTORATION
    • GLOBAL LANDSCAPES FORUM
    • WILD FOR LIFE
    • WWF | WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE
    • GLOBAL PEATLANDS INITIATIVE
    • SIERRA CLUB
    • NATURE BASED SOLUTIONS INITIATIVE
    • FERN
    • EU BIOMASS LEGAL CASE
    • HEALTH IN HARMONY
    • EUROPEAN OUTDOOR CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
    • SANCTUARY ASIA
    • SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE
    • PLAN VIVO
    • NORTHEAST WILDERNESS TRUST
    • WILD FOUNDATION
    • BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL
    • JOHN MUIR TRUST
    • IUCN | INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR THE CONSERVATIONS OF NATURE
    • WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL
    • URBAN BIODIVERSITY HUB
    • PUBLIC PASTURES – PUBLIC INTEREST
    • GO CONSCIOUS EARTH
    • OCEANSWELL
    • PLANT-FOR-THE-PLANET
    • ALLIANCE FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY IN AFRICA
    • AFRICAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
    • TRUE NATURE FOUNDATION
    • A ROCHA
    • THE EUROPEAN NATURE TRUST

    [April 4, 2019][April 6, 2019][June 13, 2019]

    [2] “The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 was founded in 2012 at Rio+20 after the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) committed to zero net deforestation by 2020 for palm oil, soy, beef, and  paper and pulp supply chains in 2010. The CGF partnered with the US government to create the public-private alliance with the mission of mobilizing all actors to collaborate in reducing commodity-driven tropical deforestation.

    In support of the commitments of TFA 2020 partners to reduce deforestation in tropical forest countries, TFA 2020 has throughout the years grown its partner members and continues to bring on board those key actors committed to tackling deforestation. Since June 2015, the Tropical Forest Alliance Secretariat is hosted at the World Economic Forum offices in Geneva, with financial support of the governments of the Norway and United Kingdom.” [Source]

    In Defense of Cory Morningstar’s Manufacturing for Consent Series

    In Defense of Cory Morningstar’s Manufacturing for Consent Series

    September 20, 2019

    By Hiroyuki Hamada

     

     

     

    Good investigative journalism doesn’t only reveal hidden mechanisms of our time; it also exposes those who refuse to confront the mechanisms. Remember when the late Bruce Dixon courageously and cogently called Bernie Sanders “a sheep dog candidate”? Remember when Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and others truly stood with Syrian people in opposing the western intervention? I do. Those who could not face the reality came up with all sorts of profanities and ill conceived theories to demonize the messengers.

    Cory Morningstar has been a dedicated environmental activist with a sound track record, who has closely worked with various NGOs. She is a mother. She is an avid gardener. She is an honest person with empathy, passion, love for people, love for our fellow creatures and love for nature. Her human character and sense of justice has culminated in her keen insights, observations and analyses. Her writings have inspired many of us to see the depth and scope of capitalist institutions as part of the social dynamics affecting our consciousness. Her meticulous pursuit of facts in illustrating mechanisms of our world evokes a sense of awe. She is a respected colleague in our struggle toward a better tomorrow.

    While her latest series, The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg—for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Volume I and Volume II, has been wildly praised as a ground-breaking milestone in depicting the vast mechanism of exploitation and subjugation involving the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, it has been also maliciously misrepresented.

    One of the very common, yet blatantly erroneous criticisms, centers around the series’ focus on the young activist Greta Thunberg. Why do they attack the author as a child abuser? The series does not attack the 16-yearold activist at all. It points out those organizations and individuals which closely surround her in forming a momentum for their agenda. It delineates how the mobilization fits within the larger framework of corporate “environmentalism”, colonialism, global capitalism and imperialism. The trickery of the accusation that the work attacks a child and smears the youth-led activism follows the same pattern of lies and deceptions unfolding against serious journalism for some time. It reflects how the establishment successfully dominates our minds as it dominates the hierarchy of money and violence. The ruling class actually abuses children by making them pawns for lucrative business projects—such as carbon capture and storage, “renewable energy” schemes, carbon trading and so on (the series discusses why they do not work extensively). They trick the innocent youth into digging their own graves while making profits out of it. Remember people called you racist, when you pointed out President Obama’s drone killings? Remember people called you misogynist when you criticized Secretary Clinton’s colonial policies? Those who did didn’t mind brown people blown into pieces, and didn’t mind the colonial oppression of women in colonized lands. The capitalist hierarchy structurally forces us to embrace the values, norms and beliefs of the ruling class, as it trains people to climb the social ladder as expected. The momentum to accuse Morningstar’s work as a child abuse stems from the same psychological projection of accusers’ own complicity in consecrating a teenager as an invincible saint of their movement.

    Then there is the most typical argument to condone obvious institutional tendencies of inhumanity: “things aren’t always black and white”. Of course there are good environmentalists doing good work as well. We have gone through this in so many incarnations. When we point out police brutality, we hear “not all police officers are bad”. When we point out obvious racism among us: “not all white people are racist”. Those are certainly true. But could we also say “not all slave masters were evil”, “not all Kings and queens were evil”, “not all colonizers were evil”, and so on? Well, sure. But does that mean we can bring back slavery, feudalism or colonialism? No. Refusal to talk about the systematic inhumanity inflicted by the system tolerates the status quo as acceptable.

    And please do stop with the “but the movement gives us hope” nonsense. What happened when we were sold “hope”, “change” and “forward”, and received colonial wars, big bank bailouts, global surveillance and loss of legal protections during the Obama presidency? We got Donald Trump. When the system squeezes already oppressed people while shuttering their hope and making them embrace fear, people try their best to hold onto whatever they have. They embrace an illusion of salvation in authoritarian lies and hatred against “others”. It is extremely important that we strive to discuss such a mechanism among us instead of jumping into the same momentum. We must discuss the true hope of building a momentum moving beyond the lies and deceptions coming out of the destructive hierarchy.

    Morningstar states in The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg—for Consent: The Political Economy of Non Profit Industrial Complex Volume II Act IV:

    “Consider that collectively, the populace appears to believe that not only is it possible to colonize another planet, but that we will do so in the not-so-distant future. This is incredible considering the massive odds of and colossal barriers to such an endeavour succeeding. Thus, it is alarming, that this same populace appears not to believe it is not possible to create new societies where necessity is detached from want (superfluous consumer goods). This begs the question – have we been fully conditioned to believe only those that represent hegemonic interests? It is a sound question considering the billionaires of the world are currently petrified of the capitalist system collapsing – while those oppressed by the capitalist system believe it cannot be dismantled. Yet we can dismantle institutions. We can dismantle the capitalist economic system devouring what remains of the natural world – but not if we identify with our oppressors and the very system that enslaves us. It is our natural world and her living natural communities that sustain us. Not industrial civilization – not technology.”

    Hopelessness and cynicism do creep up to justify the status quo. But we also must recognize that such a position does away with putting our efforts toward standing with the truly oppressed ones.

    Morningstar’s series meticulously documents how powerful global organizations seek ways to cultivate a consensus for their trajectory. And it carefully states, with facts, why the trajectory does not lead to achieving their promises—preventing climate change and other environmental calamities. The illustrated mechanism has been revealed over and over through their past crimes—the co-ordinated actions of industries, bankers, politicians, NGOs, UN, global financial institutions and media have culminated into colonial wars, cover-ups of nuclear disasters, regime change, and other corporate, colonial and imperial policies. There is nothing speculative, coincidental or conspiratorial about the series. It is based on careful research, honesty, courage to face the real issue and true love for humanity. It is again curiously indicative that those who engage in a conspiracy to mobilize the people according to their agendas accuse those who see through the attempt as “conspiracy theorist”. The use of the derogatory term invented by the US intelligence agency to label dissidents as tin-hat wearing nuts jobs hardly proves their legitimacy.

    Moreover, I must say that it is extremely odd and disingenuous that the series has been portrayed as a refusal to take any action, instead insisting on ideological purity. Such an attack has been coming from those who have been pointing out the same moneyed network in forwarding corporatism, colonialism and militarism by manipulating popular opinions. What is the difference between opposing destructive colonial wars and opposing colonization of nature/co-optation of activism? More specifically, what prompts some of them to say “what is your solution?”, “we can’t wait for capitalism to be overthrown to solve climate change” and so on. The obvious falsehood of such an angle is the stark absence of solutions within their own “green momentum”. Morningstar’s research does not talk about the necessity of establishing a communist statehood or overthrowing capitalism in order to solve the impending crisis. It simply states facts in a cohesive manner. Consequently, it certainly indicates the systematic structural issues presented by the hierarchy of money and violence. The research clearly names individuals and organizations that are involved in mobilizing the population in installing government policies that are lucrative to the associated corporations and beneficial to the imperial framework. Capitalist hegemony does present itself as a source of predicaments of our time. But is that new to us?

    Needless to say, for those of us who believe in the Marxist perspective, the solution amounts to a structural transformation of our society into one that doesn’t monopolize the means of production for the ruling class.  Economic activities must be subservient to harmonious existence of the people, environment and other species. And our social interactions must be under a control of such aims, instead of financial and social power of the ruling class. But make no mistake that that is simply an ultimate direction. Just as we voice our objections against any form of inhumanity regardless of our systematic problem, when we see certain environmental policies being subservient to the corporate agenda, likely to result in worsened conditions for the people, we discuss them. There shouldn’t be anything different about pointing out the US military aggression and the fallacy of US environmental policies, especially when they are forwarded by the same western establishment. When we find the carbon capture schemes to be disingenuous, for example, we simply point it out. We demand an answer to why corporate “solutions” are upheld as people’s “solutions”. And people who buy into false narratives should be noted as not credible leaders in people’s movement. So the question “what is your solution?” really should be directed at those who subscribe to those erroneous “solutions.” They need to be asked how those solutions would be a worthy cause at the first place, and why cogent criticisms against implementations of destructive schemes cannot be embraced because “we can’t wait for a socialist revolution”.

    What people desperately need today is good investigative reports like those presented by Cory Morningstar, along with our educational efforts to reveal the mechanisms of our time. We must learn how the unprecedented wealth accumulation among the very few ends up protected by layers and layers of moneyed social institutions co-ordinating to perpetuate the system, while progressively oppressive financial pressure and state violence against already oppressed people keep herding people into the capitalist framework. When we face the sad reality of people embracing policies that allow the powerful minorities to exploit and subjugate them over and over, what we need is not a popular mobilization guided by vague slogans easily subsumed by the imperial framework. Such a method would lead to draconian enforcement of corporate “solutions” according to their definition of “problems”. It is a recipe for bringing about a fascist order. What we need is openness and willingness to learn how we are domesticated by the authoritarian framework so that the actions are guided by the interests of the people in forming a society that allows true liberation of the people in a mutually respectful and harmonious manner.

    Please do read The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg—for Consent: The Political Economy of Non Profit Industrial Complex Volume I and II. It gives us an excellent starting point in learning how to build a better tomorrow for all of us.

     

    [Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. Exhibiting widely in gallery and non-commercial settings alike, Hamada has been the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, twice received New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in sculpture, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Alongside his career as an artist, his writing can be found at various outlets online.]

     

    Listen: Green Imperialism [A Spencer Latu Show Podcast]

    Listen: Green Imperialism [A Spencer Latu Show Podcast]

    September 18, 2019

     

     

    “The Spencer Latu Show is a progressive politics show that speaks truth to power. We provide much needed coverage, and media criticism of stories at the municipal, provincial, national and international level from the perspective of two progressive working class students; Spencer Latu and Ajeetpal Gill. We are based out of UBC in Vancouver BC.”

    In this episode (#47) Spencer discusses green imperialism and its support of regime change in Bolivia.

    Click on the link to listen [Running time: 29m:42s]:

    https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/47-green-imperialism/id1437295482?i=1000450321821

     

     

     

    The Paris Agreement is a Suicide Pact – This is Why

    The Paris Agreement is a Suicide Pact – This is Why

    September 19, 2019

    “The Paris Agreement is a Suicide Pact – This is Why”

     

    The following is an excerpt from the paper This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality authored by Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

     

    “The Paris Agreement signifies commitment to sustained industrial growth, risk management over disaster prevention, and future inventions and technology as saviour. The primary commitment of the international community is to maintain the current social and economic system. The result is denial that tackling GHG emissions is incompatible with sustained economic growth. The reality is that Nation States and international corporations are engaged in an unremitting and ongoing expansion of fossil fuel energy exploration, extraction and combustion, and the construction of related infrastructure for production and consumption. The targets and promises of the Paris Agreement bear no relationship to biophysical or social and economic reality.”

    Globalizations, 2016
    Vol. 13, No. 6, 928–933,

    The Paris Agreement follows suit and claims that: ‘Accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation is critical for an effective, long-term global response to climate change and promoting change does not require new technology which, even when successful, takes decades to move from invention to innovation to implementation. That time frame is a luxury that has already been squandered by decades of inaction and fossil fuel expansion. The reduction of GHGs is necessary immediately using existing appropriate (not high) technology, changing infrastructure, systemic transformation and control of demand.

    Therein lies the problem with the Paris Agreement; it is a fantasy which lacks any actual plan of how to achieve the targets for emissions reductions. There are no mentions of GHG sources, not a single comment on fossil fuel use, nothing about how to stop the expansion of fracking, shale oil or explorations for oil and gas in the Arctic and Antarctic. Similarly, there are no means for enforcement. Article 15 on implementation and compliance establishes an expert committee that will be ‘non-adversarial and non-punitive’, which means that it has no teeth and can do nothing about non-compliance. Then, there is Article 28, which offers the withdrawal option without any sanctions. Everyone seems to have already conveniently forgotten how Canada backed out of the Kyoto Protocol in order to frack on a massive and environmentally catastrophic industrial scale.

    What is the point of trusting the governments who sign up to this agreement with one hand while investing ever more in fossil fuel extraction, combustion and consumption with the other? These are the same governments who know the world already has proven fossil fuel reserves that exceed the amount that can be combusted by at least three times,[3] for an even chance of achieving 2C, but continue exploring for more. They are the same governments promoting 7 per cent growth rates and the proliferation of industrialisation and modern energy infrastructure including advanced fossil fuel technology (UN Resolution A/RES/70/1). So, they give us promises of 1.5C while constructing infrastructure and supporting production processes requiring massive fossil fuel expansion in an economic system built on mass conspicuous consumption and a throwaway fashion culture.

    The divorce of economic and energy policy from the targets of Article 2 can only be seen as either total cynicism or total delusion on the part of the negotiators applauding in Paris. Perhaps they are all highly trained in the Orwellian art of doublethink. In any case, the aspirational targets bear no relationship at all to the reality of what governments, and their business partners, are actually doing today,[4] or the other treaties the same governments are simultaneously signing. The economic system is already committed to continue exploiting resources as fast as possible in the race for ever-increasing material and energy throughput. Just look at the European Community’s Horizon 20:20 goals and their promotion of growth and competition and the ongoing push for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Apparently, economic growth is the priority to be protected and promoted above all else.

    The contradiction at the heart of the Paris Agreement is actually unsurprising because the powerful lobbying for growth as the solution to climate change has for some time been orchestrated by corporate business and financiers using the rhetoric of a green economy. As I have noted elsewhere (Spash, 2014), this has involved the combination of arguments for growth alleviating poverty with the necessity of environmental risk management, and ‘green’ technology promoted through trillions of dollars being directed towards ‘entrepreneurs’ (i.e. multinational corporations), to create a ‘new economy’. Technology and innovation are key to this position with its neo-Austrian economics and ‘free market’ rhetoric. Climate change policy must be crafted accordingly to serve the capital accumulating growth economy, and so the latter becomes the solution to (not the cause of) the former.

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    Unfortunately, many environmental non-governmental organisations have bought into this illogical reasoning and justify their support as being pragmatic. Neoliberal language is rife across their reports and policy recommendations and their adoption of natural capital, ecosystems services, offsetting and market trading. These new environmental pragmatists believe, without justification, that the financialisation of Nature will help prevent its destruction. Thus, environmentalists promote carbon emissions trading but pay little attention to its dangers and failures (Spash, 2010). For example, Nat Keohane of the Environmental Defence Fund has noted on their website how they pushed in the corridors of Paris for ‘an opening for markets’. The right-wing government of New Zealand, leading an 18-country lobby, also had its negotiators pushing for the same international carbon markets. However, you will not find emissions trading, markets, cap and trade or offsets, mentioned in the doublespeak of the Agreement, but rather the term ‘internationally transferred mitigation outcomes’ (clause 108 and Article 6), something Keohane applauds.

    Doublespeak and wording that is strategically ambiguous is the high point of international diplomacy in the Paris Agreement. This is what made the Agreement possible and why it is so meaningless. Do not look for the words oil, natural gas, coal or fracking because they do not merit even one single mention. Nor indeed is there anything about addressing the sources of human GHG emissions, or the structures that promote them. Consider something as fundamental as energy use. The one sentence that mentions energy appears in the preamble and merely acknowledges the need to promote ‘sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa’.

    What the Paris Agreement tells is a bizarrely unreal story. Apparently, the cause of climate change is not fossil fuel combustion or energy sources but inadequate technology and the solution is sustainable development (i.e. economic growth and industrialisation) and poverty alleviation. As far as the current production and consumption systems are concerned, little needs to change. There are no elites consuming the vast majority of the world’s resources, no multinational corporations or fossil fuel industry needing to be controlled, no capital accumulating competitive systems promoting trade and fighting over resources and emitting vast amounts of GHGs through military expenditure and wars, and no governments expanding fossil fuel use and dependency.

    The unreality of this document is only matched by the unreality of the praise given to it by the media and others. This is a sign of how much strategic ambiguity and doublespeak have now become an accepted way for international politics to be conducted and reported. People can even applaud stating that the whole UNFCCC has failed for over 20 years and the planet is headed well beyond 2C. The rhetorical flourish of successful agreement is meant to hide a total lack of substance. The Paris Agreement is at heart a document that consists of independent unilateral unenforceable targets but is being sold as a multi-lateral consensus with firm commitments.

    In the final analysis, a simple test of the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement would have been a dramatic drop in the share price of the fossil fuel industry, which is loaded with toxic assets.

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    That is, a serious agreement would have written-off all the fossil fuel reserves that cannot be burnt without heading way beyond the already exceed 2C target. This would have revealed the financial balance sheets that are bankrupt. Nothing happened to the stock market because the Paris Agreement is perceived by the fossil fuel industry, and financial markets, as no threat to business as usual, and possibly it is even a great opportunity for new financial instruments and ongoing economic exploitation of the planet, with trillions to come to the energy industry in subsidies for innovation and technology development.

    In reality, the Paris Agreement is a compilation of nationally determined intended contradictions. The UNFCCC Secretariat advanced no plan of action and its latest Agreement is totally divorced from the operations of the current economic and political systems. Human-induced climate change can now conveniently slip off the political and media agenda until the time comes for the next major cop-out due in 2023 when a ‘stock-taking’ exercise is scheduled. By then few, if any, of the politicians responsible for this farce are likely to be in office, and neither they nor the bureaucrats and negotiators who have celebrated this great success will ever be held accountable. An acceleration of climate change impacts seems to be the only thing that will now alter the complacency of the global community.

     

    Download the full paper: 2016-Spash-This-Changes-Nothing

     

    [3] The excess of three times is based upon large conservative estimates of the available remaining budget, namely 1400 Gt of CO2, under a 50% chance of achieving 28C (Raupach et al., 2014, p. 874). IPCC (2013) calculations are much lower, but even these have been criticised as neither up-to-date (referencing 2011) nor adequately taking into account non-energy emissions which reduce the amount left for fossil fuels. Doing so leads Anderson (2015) to estimate the remaining budget for energy emissions over the period 2015–2100, at about 650 Gt of CO2 for a ‘likely’ (66%) chance of staying below 28C. On this basis, the excess of reserves is over 6 times the available budget. Going down to 1.58C and/or increasing the chance of achieving the target increase(s) the excess even further.
    [4] The commitments already made to exploiting new fossil fuel sources by 2012 were estimated as leading to the release of 300 Gt CO2 equivalent between 2012 and 2050 (Meindertsma & Blok, 2012). This is being added to the existing excess of unburnable stocks for the 28C target (McGlade & Ekins, 2015); see also previous note.

     

    [Professor Clive L. Spash holds the Chair of Public Policy & Governance at WU in Vienna and is Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Values. He has conducted research on climate change economics and policy for over 25 years and his work in the area includes the book Greenhouse economics: Value and ethics as well as numerous articles. His critique of carbon trading was the subject of attempted censorship while he was a senior civil servant at the CSIRO in Australia. More information can be found at www.clivespash.org.]