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Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

Part III of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

Published September 23, 2011 by Political Context: http://bit.ly/n8KiGL and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/qYogFD

by Cory Morningstar

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

 

 “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon, 1895

In 2007 Pembina Institute submitted their infamous tar sands Carbon Neutral by 2020 report to the federal government for hearings on energy and greenhouse gas emissions regulations. This report is a most valuable asset to industry as it portrays the false illusion that it is possible for the tar sands to become “sustainable”. Further, it is an environmental “leader” making the claim as opposed to industry – a gift to the industrial capitalists. The false solutions used to perpetuate such a myth are clearly defined under the Pembina “key conclusions” such as:Carbon neutrality can be achieved by combining on-site GHG reductions using measures such as energy efficiency and/or fuel switching (to lower carbon fuels), carbon capture and storage, and/or purchasing offsets.” On November 14, 2010, Globe and Mail Business reported that Pembina (while standing as a lead ENGO in Climate Action Network [1]) essentially supports the continuation of the tar sands. In the article, Jennifer Grant, oil sands program director with the Pembina Institute, was quoted as saying: “The government needs to identify what the environmental limits are in a cumulative sense for oil sands development to proceed responsibly….”

“We can only hope that the last vestiges of manifest destiny don’t kill us off completely. Poisoning our earth in the name of profits and billionaire well-being, this is what our capitalist society stands for. Everyone wants their name at the top of the marquee in this play of the grand delusion.” — Harold One Feather

On February 25, 2010, a Globe and Mail article titled “What the forestry industry is teaching the oil sands” is most revealing. In 1996, Tom Stephens was named chief executive officer of MacMillan Bloedel Corporation, whose clearcutting of old-growth forests had provoked rage, as well as the single-largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history at Clayoquot Sound in B.C. Caught up in a public relations nightmare, MacMillan Bloedel had the insight that it would be far wiser to engage with specific leaders: “Rather than continuing to fight the protesters, they decided to engage with them, setting in motion a transformation of forest practices that not only assuaged opponents, but also led to more profits.” One such young protester who made up the “Women of Clayoquot” was today’s “green capitalist” Tzeporah Berman, who now works for Greenpeace International. (Berman is also an endorser of the Ottawa Tar Sands Action) Janet Annesley, who campaigned for Greenpeace on the Clayoquot Sound issue, is now vice-president of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Today, Stephens finds himself in a new environmental battle: “He is a director of TransCanada Corp., whose pipelines serve the oil sands and whose fortunes ride on their success. He knows the value of an industry confronting its environmental demons.” [Emphasis added]

That’s an understatement.

Video: Paul Watson speaks on Greenpeace (Running Time: 7:20)

Language

 

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable …” George Orwell

Over the past years the original campaign phrase/message of “shut down the tar sands!” has slowly dissolved into much more passive language and verbal communication such as “there must be no more exploration of the tar sands until it can be done without destroying the environment.” On September 15, 2011 Council of Canadians announced the Canadian version of the tar sands civil obedience action to occur on Parliament Hill, Ottawa on September 26, 2011. The announcement calls for “an end to the destruction caused by the tar sands.”

The end of destruction caused by the tar sands is much different then calling for the shutting down of the tar sands. What constitutes destruction is not the same as ending production.

Further, even if it were possible – to extract tar sands without exploiting the Earth (which it is not), the end result is that the refined fossil fuels are burned. Burning equals CO2. Burning equals pollution.

On August 1, 2011 the following excerpt is taken from an article featured on the Indigenous Environmental Network website (quote originates from Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation):

“Until Alberta makes meaningful efforts to protect land, regulate industry and ensure that First Nations are at the table as full partners to develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges that government and industry are creating, they can count on our opposition to further development within the region.” [emphasis added]

 

Above image: The 2010 Boreal Award was presented to Chief Allan Adam by Boreal Leadership Council member Bob Walker, of Northwest and Ethical Investments. 2009 nominees in attendance included Kimberly-Clark, Suncor Energy Inc. Stephen Harper’s henchman, John Baird was presented with an award in 2008. The 2009 and 2010 gala was sponsored by Nexen, Al-Pac, Domtar and Suncor.

The Inner Workings of Corporate Environmentalism

“Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” – Elizabeth Stanton

From “The Decline of Big Green, Part One Shaky Foundations: Toxic Sources, Tainted Money” by Jeffrey St. Clair:

Philanthropy and its purposes haven’t changed much since Rockefeller millions were dispensed to winch the family name out of the mud, particularly after the Ludlow massacre when Rockefeller minions broke a strike by spraying with oil and then igniting tents filled with women and children.

…Nearly a century later, the environmental movement, supposedly big oil’s implacable foe, found itself on the receiving end of about $50 million a year from three oil conglomerates, operating through front groups politely described as private foundations. [2]

…In 1948 the family set up the Pew Charitable Trust, based in Philadelphia, with an endowment totalling nearly $4 billion in the year 2000. [3] …The utility of buying the loyalty of liberals impressed itself on the family rather late, in the 1980s. But since then they have more than made up for lost time. By the beginning of the second Clinton term, the Pew Charitable Trusts represented one of the largest donors to the environmental movement, with about $250 million a year invested. [4] …Pew rarely went it alone. It preferred to work in coalitions with those other foundations, which meant almost no radical opposition to their cautious environmental policies can get any money. [5]

…But this did not tell the full story of coercion through money. One of the conditions attached to the receipt of Pew grant money was that attention be focused on government actions. Corporate wrongdoers were not to be pursued. With Pew money rolling their way, the environmental opposition became muted, judicious and finally disappeared. As long-time New Mexico environmentalist Sam Hitt put it: “Pew comes into a region like a Death Star, creating organizations that are all hype and no substance, run by those whose primary aim is merely to maintain access to foundation funding.”

Meanwhile, the endowed money held by these trusts was carefully invested in the very corporations that a vigorous environmental movement would be adamantly opposing. An examination of Pew’s portfolio in 1995 revealed that its money was invested in timber firms, mining companies, oil companies, arms manufacturers and chemical companies. The annual yield from these investments far exceeded the dispensations to environmental groups. [6]

…In the crucial Clinton years, Alton Jones [another oil company that funds environmental groups] maintained an endowment of $220 million and in 1994 handed out $15.8 million in grants. [7]

…The last of the three big environmental foundations is the Rockefeller Family Fund. [8] …The Rockefeller Family Fund, in its 1993 IRS filing, held $3.5 million in oil and gas stocks, including Amerada Hess (one of the first companies to drill on Alaska’s North Slope and company convicted of price fixing) … and extensive holdings in the Ten Worst Corporations. [9] …The Rockefeller Family Fund also maintained hefty investments in mining companies, including ASARCO, an outfit with a distinctly noxious environmental rap sheet. Its activities have laid waste to western Montana, easily overwhelming the yelps of the Mineral Policy Center, which conducted a futile campaign against the company, partially funding by the RFF.

The Ross-run fund also invested money in FMC and Freeport-McMoRan, whose worldwide depredations were on the cutting edge not only of ecocide but – in Indonesia – of genocide as well. The Rockefeller Funds’ mineral and chemical companies holdings exceeded a million dollars in 1993.

In that same year, the RFF had a strong position in timber giant Weyerhaeuser, the largest private landowning company in North America. The potential for conflicts of interests endemic to all foundations with the ability to influence federal policy is sharply illustrated here. The Rockefeller Family Fund was one of the lead architects of the foundation-funded campaign to protect ancient forests on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest. Any reduction, actual or prospective, of timber available for logging on public lands drives up the value of privately-held timber tracts. The Fund was in a position to make a killing by buying Weyerhaeuser stock low and selling it high, before large-scale logging resumed on public lands.

The Family Fund was nicely covered because it also had holdings of $237,000 in Boise-Cascade, which at the time was the largest purchaser of federal timber sales in the Northwest. Indeed, in 1993 Boise-Cascade bought the rights to log the controversial Sugarloaf tract of 800-year-old Douglas fir trees in southern Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest, courtesy of a released injunction engineered by a deal between the Clinton administration and environmental groups funded and closely supervised Ross’s organization. Ross also played a key role in the hiring of Democratic Party hack Bob Chlopak (another former Naderite) to oversee the conversion of a tough national grassroots movement to fight Clinton to the death over the permanent protection of old-growth forests into a supine national coalition that swiftly draped itself in the white flag of surrender.

Even after Donald Ross left the Rockefeller Family he continued to stride between two worlds. Ross formed a lobby / PR shop called M + R Strategic Services, where his clients, according to SourceWatch, included both environmental groups (the Nature Conservancy, NRD.C., the National Wildlife Federation and Earth Justice) and environmental foundations (Hewlitt Foundation, Patagonia, Lazar Foundation, and Wilberforce – as well as the Rockefeller Family Fund). He didn’t forget the corporations either. In 2009, Ross became chairman of the board of a defanged Greenpeace.

All of these foundations had their bets nicely covered, both politically and financially. The once unruly grassroots green movement was brought under tight control through annual disbursements of funds, rewarded on the condition that these groups follow the dictates of the funders. At times this meant giving up hard-won legal injunctions. In other instances, it meant refraining from filing politically sensitive lawsuits to stop timber sales or gold mines and muting its public criticism of Democratic politicians.

With court injunctions lifted, there was only one way for environmentalists to confront illegal and ecologically destructive operations: civil disobedience. And that was a tactic the big foundations would never underwrite. Disobey these conditions and a group risked the annual renewal of its funding. Precious few did.”

That is, until now. The web of deceit has grown much more sophisticated.

The Precedent for the Tar Sands Sell-Out Has Already Been Set – Junk Environmentalism

This is nothing new and we’ve seen it before.

It is imperative that citizens and grassroots recognize that many of the big greens behind The Tar Sands Action campaign (including RAN, Greenpeace, and the David Suzuki Foundation) are the same organizations that sold out the Boreal Forest in 2008 and 2010. Not all the groups sold out. There were exceptions. Most recently Greenpeace, WWF, and RAN are all under fire for what Dr. Glen Barry calls The Great Rainforest Heist: The FSC and REDD + conspiracy to log Earth’s last primary forests.

Daniel Kessler, the communications person for Tar Sands Action Group, now works for RAN as their Energy & Finance Communications Manager. RAN played an integral role in the sell-out of the Boreal Forest referred to in the above article. Prior to RAN Kessler worked as Manager of Communications at Greenpeace International. Kessler’s view of an environmental “success” mirrors his belief in the false illusion that green capitalism will save us. Kessler: “For Apple to go green would be a tremendous symbolic move for the green industry.”

Video: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (Corporate Environmentalism in a Nutshell) (Running time: 61 seconds) Posted by The Forest Products Association Canada: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – Toronto News Conference highlights, with Avrim Lazar (FPAC) and Richard Brooks (Greenpeace).

Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry

November 9, 2010: In the article titled “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry,” journalist Dru Oja Jay writes:

Will environmentalists continue to allow foundation funding to dictate to the movement? A slew of recent articles have pointed to the likelihood that some foundation-funded environmental groups and the tar sands extraction industry are getting ready to make peace and sign a deal. The precedent, these reports note, has been set with the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. What the media coverage doesn’t mention is the actual character of these previous deals, and the unprecedented consolidation of funder influence in the hands of one man that is driving environmental groups toward such an agreement. [10] [11]

…On October 21, John Spears of the Toronto Star interviewed FPAC’s Avrim Lazar, who told Spears of the calls he was fielding from oil company executives curious about the logging companies’ experience finding common ground with environmental groups. Lazar said that an important precursor to an agreement is for both parties to recognize that tar sands operations have an environmental impact, but for environmentalists to ‘stop calling oil sands extraction an abomination that has to be stopped.’

…Oil companies left no doubt about their interest in an agreement. What about their ENGO partners?

They waited until October 23 to express interest. Ross McMillan, CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, wrote a letter to the Financial Post in response to a right wing attack on foundation funding for anti-tar sands work published on October 15.

“At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps,” wrote McMillan, referring to environmentalists and oil companies. McMillan, who was also slated to attend the aborted “fireside chat” [see 9] in April, went on to cite Tides’ role in the 2001 Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, which dealt with a massive area of BC’s central coast. When that agreement was signed, ForestEthics negotiators emerged from secret negotiations with logging companies to announce that they had signed a deal for 20 percent protection. That was less than half of what scientists said was the minimum area that would need to be preserved to avoid damaging biodiversity, and it violated protocol agreements they had signed with local ENGOs and First Nations. None of that mattered to the signatories, who proclaimed themselves victorious.

There are two key differences between agreements signed ten years ago, and those anticipated today.

First, deals have become even more transparently meaningless. Greenpeace and company literally declared that they had ‘saved the Boreal forest’ by signing an agreement that actually makes no net change in the amount of logging. No CBFA signatory can say with a straight face that they have protected an area the size of Germany, though press releases on their site still make that claim. Even the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement completely preserved 20 percent of the vast forest. Though some activists say that ENGOs subsequently turned a blind eye to clearcutting on Vancouver Island, negating even those gains.

Second, and most crucially, funders have consolidated control of funding for anti-tar sands campaigns to an unprecedented extent. Anyone who wants foundation funding (which most ENGOs rely on) for their campaigns has to talk to Corporate Ethics founder Michael Marx. Marx and his coordinators set funding priorities through the “Tar Sands Coalition,” a structure that, according to internal documents, is supposed to remain “invisible to the outside.”

All of the money for the Tar Sands Coalition comes through Tides Canada Foundation. We know little about where it originates, though the bulk of it comes from U.S. mega-foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts, which outed itself as the architect of the CBFA after giving millions to environmental groups doing Boreal forest work. Other big donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Together, they have given at least $4.3 million to tar sands campaigns since 2000. Together, they hold vast power to decide the fate of those campaigns.

Control over the vast majority of ENGO funding for tar sands work is firmly in the hands of Michael Marx, on behalf of foundations with a taste for collaborative agreements. Journalists seem willing to print claims about “saving the Boreal forest” or “protecting an area the size of Germany” without seeing any actual agreement. [12]

350.org Quietly Infiltrates Canada

 

3 March 2011, as found on The Pearson College website: “Dear Friends, Something exciting is brewing in Canada right now. 350.org is working with a new political organization called Leadnow, spearheaded by our friend Jamie Biggar, and we wanted you to be on the ground floor of this exciting initiative.”

Jamie Biggar is the co-founder and executive director of leadnow.ca. Biggar is an endorser and likely key organizer of, the Tar Sands Action in Ottawa. Adam Shedletzky is founding director and board representative of LeadNow modeled after MoveOn.org (USA) and GetUp.org.au. Shedletsky was the Canadian coordinator for the 350.org 10/10/10 global work party and a former management consultant. His background/education is global strategy and finance. In 2005 he co-founded It’s Getting Hot In Here (asdiscussed in the article Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion).

In the 2 September 2011 article, 350.org/LeadNow: Leadership or Sabotage?, the author states “Leadnow.ca is yet another unfocused, fuzzy, unprovocative and unimaginative organization dedicated to all the good things liberals crave. They are a perfect fit for our 350.org/1Sky group, detached as they are from political reality and dedicated to distracting and detaching the rest of us from meaningful, forceful action on global warming and the environment.”

Big Oil Funds the “Opposition”

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” – David Rockefeller, current patriarch of the Rockefeller family and only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil

Another big green “leading the opposition” to the Keystone expansion is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The largest donors to the NRDC include the Pew Foundation (Sun Oil/Sunoco), the W. Alton Jones Foundation (Citgo), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Standard Oil/Exxon Mobil). The Rockefeller family initiated the Environmental Grantmakers’ Association. The British Royals (BP) as well as Prince Bernhard (Shell) and the Rockefellers were principal actors in initiating the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) as well as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWFN). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) NGO partners with corporations such as Shell and boasts “corporate green” members such as NRDC. The IUCN has funding of approximately $100 million in 2010 with funding from the private sector increasing considerably. The three largest conservation organizations worldwide – The Nature Conservancy, WWF, and Conservation International combined revenues exceed $2 billion (2007), more than double their revenues in 2000. Of this, the three groups received at least $35 million more from their corporate partnerships in 2010 than in 2003, although their annual reports do not clarify all sources of corporate funding. Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO is former Goldman Sachs Group executive Mark Tercek. Former Nature Conservancy presidentHenry Paulson also made his rounds through the revolving doors of Goldman Sachs. Nature Conservancy board member, Muneer Satter, also originated from Goldman Sachs.

Access and control over the environmental movement ensures the ability of capitalism to shape and control the movement. This is why the corporations initiate and fund NGOs, co-opting militant environmentalism, and diminishing possible dissent. Funding NGOs, via tax-exempt foundations, is a good business investment. As an example, the Packard Foundation currently has approximately one billion dollars invested in the false illusion of successfully drilling methane hydrates.

“350.org: $1,661,440.00. 1Sky: $3,425,549.00. The plutocracy owning and controlling the movement? Priceless.”

Since 2000, U.S. foundations have provided approximately $300 million to Canadian organizations to undertake Canadian conservation initiatives and “reform” of Canadian resource-based industries. At minimum $210 million came from five U.S. foundations: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. Over $120 million in U.S. foundations’ money was designated to the Great Bear Rainforest Initiative on the coast of British Columbia and the Boreal Forest Initiative.

Since 2002, The Pew Charitable Trusts has spent $44 million on the Boreal Forest Initiative in Canada. Canada’s forests cover some of the planet’s largest deposits of minerals and energy resources. Two of Pew’s grants for the Boreal Forest Initiative are audaciously titled “British Columbia Mining.”

Many U.S. foundations have made grants that explicitly spell out over-reliance on fossil fuels as a matter of national security.

National security is an understatement.

Burn Your Obama Buttons

“The amount of blood thirst in this country is fucking barbaric.” – Nathaniel St. Clair, Counterpunch

 

Like victims of abuse, the liberal Left call upon our abusers for a kinder, gentler, more “ethical” abuse. They stand by and support those who continue to tell us to wear our buttons to demonstrate our unwavering support of, and steadfast belief in, our abusers. They work hard to convince us that we, such moral citizens, can appeal to and thus change the abusers. Such illusion will sentence most all life on Earth to certain death.

In a July 2011 article, McKibben told us: “Bring Your Obama Buttons – Momentum Builds for White House Tar Sands Action.”

From the Bill McKibben article appearing July 10 2011, The Great American Carbon Bomb:

If you want to sign up to be part of it, here’s the place to go … Two weeks ago, for instance, a few veteran environmentalists, myself included, issued a call for protest against Canada’s plans to massively expand oil imports from the tar sands regions of Alberta. We set up a new website, tarsandsaction.org, and judging from the early response, it could result in the largest civil disobedience actions in the climate-change movement’s history on this continent, as hundreds, possibly thousands, of concerned activists converge on the White House in August. They’ll risk arrest to demand something simple and concrete from President Obama: that he refuse to grant a license for Keystone XL, a new pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico that would vastly increase the flow of tar sands oil through the U.S., ensuring that the exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands will only increase.

Lecture by John Pilger: “Obama Is A Corporate Marketing Creation” (Running Time: 5:28). John Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker. He has twice won Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received awards in Britain and the U.S..

And the Oscar goes to Barack Obama, for his portrayal of an African American president …

And anyone to wear an Obama button in 2011 – as U.S. led occupations escalate, as the bombs fall on the citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya, while covert wars are underway in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan – and as corporatism eats us alive – must seriously consider hiding their face in shame.

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.” — Ernesto “Che” Guevara

If we wish to live in a world free of war, exploitation, oppression and ecological devastation, then we must embrace the reality that the global capitalist industrialized economic system – which serves the small ruling class – must be dismantled. There is no other way. And this is the unabated truth that McKibben and his disciples (think Greenpeace, RAN, NRDC, and on and on the list goes) choose to ignore. These groups, funded by the industrial machine itself, believe in the system; therefore they support the atrocities being committed in the name of profit. Ironically, the very groups that bask in the halo of non-violent civil disobedience are the very ones who constitute the authoritarian social relationships that prop up and defend violence.

Grassroots groups have been co-opted, marginalized, drowned out and made essentially irrelevant, if not invisible, by the institutional Left and their funders. Their symbolic campaigns and “efforts” to convey essential information regarding our ecological crisis have succeeded in ensuring that any attempt to convey the truth of the severity of our crisis is framed, thus perceived by the public at large, as “radical” and “fear-mongering.” (Radical is another term co-opted by the Right and now perceived by the public as a negative trait rather than its true meaning; to get to the root of the problem.) Any real movement to prevent the eradication of all life, from what is now aptly termed by scientists as “the sixth mass extinction,” must insist that all decisions be based on real-life circumstances and not on arbitrary ideologies that allow us to remain aloof.

Essential Reading

Essay: Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill; 1984:

Pacifism as Pathology

Revised 2007 Version

How Non-Violence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos: http://zinelibrary.info/files/How%20Nonviolence%20Protects%20The%20State.pdf

References

[1] The founding of the Climate Action Network (CAN) in 1988 can be traced back to the early players in the ENGO community, including Michael Oppenheimer of the corporate NGO, Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The stated goal of CAN is to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. This goal is severely problematic in (at minimum) 2 fundamental ways: 1) There is no such thing as “ecologically sustainable levels” of climate change, and 2) as opposed to states having to respond to approximately 300 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (that of CAN), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional coordinating offices that coordinate these efforts in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Members include organizations from around the globe, including the largest corporate greens such as World Wildlife Fund [WWF], Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

[2] through [9] Source: Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books.

[2] According to an analysis of financial reports from the Clinton years, the top givers were the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) and Oryx Energy, which controlled vast holdings of natural gas in Arkansas and across the oil patch. The Pew family once entirely controlled both Sunoco and Oryx, maintained large holdings in both, and was, in fact, sued for insider trading by Oryx shareholders. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[3] In its early days the foundation (a collection of seven separate trusts) was vociferously rightwing, with money going to the John Birch Society, to Billy Graham. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[4] During Clinton’s time, the Pew environmental sector was headed by Joshua Reichert. Reichert and his subordinates, Tom Wathen and John Gilroy, not only allocated money to individual Pew projects, such as the Endangered Species Coalition, but they also helped direct the donations of other foundations mustered in the Environmental Grantmakers’ Association. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[5] There were some notable foundations that objected to Pew’s leveraged buyouts of environmental campaigns, notably the Levinson, Patagonia, and Turner Foundations. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[6] Take just one of the seven Pew trust funds: the Pew Memorial Trust. This enterprise made $205 million in “investment income” in 1993 from such stocks as Weyerhaeuser ($16 million), the mining concern Phelps-Dodge ($3.7 million), International Paper ($4.56 million), and Atlantic Richfield, which was pushing hard to open even more of the Arctic to oil drilling ($6.1 million). The annual income yield from rape-and-pillage companies accruing to Pew in this single trust was twice as large as its total grants, and six times as large as all of Pew’s environmental dispensations that year (about $20 million in 1993). Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[7] Next of the big three in environmental funding was an oil company known as Cities Services, which endowed the W. Alton Jones Foundation, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. (In the merger frenzy of the 1980s, Cities was ultimately taken over by Occidental Petroleum, in a move that saved Ivan Boesky from financial ruin. It was later parceled off to the Southland Corporation, owners of Seven Eleven; then finally, in 1990, it was sold to Petroleos de Venezuela). According to the charity’s charter, the purpose of the foundation was two-fold: preservation of biological diversity and elimination of the threat of nuclear war. Although, Alton Jones doled out about $14 million a year to environmental causes during the Clinton years with the same engulf-and-neuter tactic of Pew, this apostle of peace maintained very large holdings in arms manufacturers, including Martin-Marietta ($3.26 million), Raytheon ($1.32 million), Boeing ($1.38 million), and GE ($1.4 million). Alton Jones’ portfolio was also enhanced by income from bonds floated by Charles Hurwitz’s Scotia-Pacific Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Maxxam, which was at that very moment trying to cut down the Headwaters Grove, the largest patch of privately owned redwoods in the world. The charity’s annual statement to the Internal Revenue Service also disclosed a $1.4 million stake in Louisiana-Pacific, then the large purchaser of timber from publicly-owned federal forests. The company had been convicted of felony violations of federal environmental laws at its pulp mill in Ketchikan, Alaska, where L-P was butchering its way through the Tongass National Forest. At the same time, Alton Jones maintained a position (just under $1 million in stock) in FMC, the big gold mining enterprise, whose dousing of endangered salmon habitat in Idaho with cyanide at the Beartrack Mine was greased by Clinton’s Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Picking up revenue from FMC’s salmon destruction with one hand, in 1993 the foundation gave about $600,000 with the other hand to supposedly protect salmon habitat in the same area. The grants went to the compliant and docile groups in the region, such as the Pacific Rivers Council. At a crucial moment in January 1994, Pacific Rivers Council and the Wilderness Society – another recipient of W. Alton Jones cash – demanded that a federal judge suspend an injunction the groups had – to their great alarm – just won. The injunction had shut down FMC’s Beartrack Gold Mine, from which the company expected to make $300 million courtesy of the 1872 Mining Act, whose reform the Clinton administration carefully avoided. When the Wilderness Society’s attorneys asked Judge David Ezra to rescind the injunction, he was outraged, but had no alternative but to comply. FMC’s stock promptly soared, yielding extra earning for Alton Jones’ holdings in the mining concern. Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[8] “In the Clinton era, the RFF was run by ex-Naderite Donald Ross, who pulled down, according to IRS filings, $130,000 a year, plus another $23,000 in benefits. The relationship of the Family Fund to Rockefeller oil money scarcely needs stating. Though, the Fund dispensed a relatively puny $2 million a year in grants, it exercises great influence by dint of the foundation’s leadership of the Environmental Grantmaker’s Association. The Fund also functioned as a kind of staff college for foundation executives. Pew’s John Gilroy and Tom Wathen both learned their trade under Ross’s tutelage. In the 1980s, when the Multinational Monitor revealed that the ten largest foundations in America owned billions in stock in companies doing business in South Africa, Donald Ross lamented that many foundations “simply turn their portfolios over to a bank trust department or to outside managers and that’s the last they see of it.” Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[9] “… as listed by Multinational Monitor …” Excerpted from Green Scare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

[10] Things got started back in April, when a secret “fireside chat” was planned between oil industry executives and ENGO leaders, including former Great Bear Rainforest Agreement negotiators Tzeporah Berman and Merran Smith, and representatives from Tides Canada, World Wildlife Fund, Pembina Institute, and others. After word circulated about the “informal, beer-in-hand” discussions, the meeting was called off – temporarily. Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay.

[11] The idea hit the corporate media in September 2010, with reports that Syncrude Chairman Marcel Coutu had solicited David Suzuki to broker an agreement between environmentalists and tar sands operators. Suzuki rebuffed him, saying that a dialogue was not possible while oil companies were funding lies about their environmental impact. But the idea didn’t die – and neither did the lies. In October 2010, during a major ad campaign from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that compared tar sands tailings to yogurt, the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald published a report by Sheila Pratt titled “Is an oilsands [sic] truce possible?” Pratt interviews Avrim Lazar, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the group of logging companies that signed an accord with Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation, and several other Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs). That was the “Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” (CBFA). Pratt repeats the false claim that the agreement preserves 72 million hectares of forest. In fact, the CBFA maintains the current rate of logging, simply shifting a small portion (about the size of metro Toronto) to areas outside of the Caribou Range. Furthermore, it requires ENGOs to defend the logging companies that signed against criticism and help them market their products. Of all of Pratt’s interviewees, only Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema states the obvious: it is not possible to green the tar sands. Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay.

[12] “Our future hinges on the tar sands. Will any level of environmental destruction, loss of human life, or climate change be considered an acceptable cost to continue consumption of fossil fuels? Or is there a limit to the amount of destruction we will accept? If a secret agreement is allowed to go forward, then those who cannot accept ever-escalating destruction will have to fight other ENGOs in addition to fighting the oil companies. Will the Tar Sands Greenwashing Accord continue as planned?” Excerpt from the “Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry” by journalist DruOja Jay. For more about ENGOs and the collaborative model, read the 2009 report “Offsetting Resistance: The effects of foundation funding from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Athabasca River,” by Macdonald Stainsby and DruOja Jay.

A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

By Macdonald Stainsby
Canadian Dimension
August 1st 2011

 

Campaigns against tar sands production have grown rapidly over the last four years. From the relative obscurity in Alberta to an international lightning rod for people trying to address all manner of concerns from indigenous and community self-determination to peak oil and climate change – criticisms of the largest industrial project in human history have gained a major voice.

The voices are certainly not homogenous, but a large contingent of these voices call for a shut down of tar sands production and a move away from fossil fuels – if not an outright move away from market-led growth of any sort. But, in the language of the environmental elite, what are the “decision makers” preparing to do with all this anti-tar sands resistance?

While there are still small scale, community led victories against certain developments – like the defeat of the recent Prosperity Mine proposal in British Columbia – I contend that mainstream environmentalism has effectively become a means by which corporations (who used to be anathema to environmentalists) now get the social license necessary to operate. There are obvious examples such as the World Wildlife Fund running commercials with Coca-Cola. But the real social management is done out of sight, and involves some of the most important players in the circles of the North American ruling class.

Co-opting Environmentalism

In the United States, major foundations – led at the time by the Sunoco-oil founded and controlled Pew Charitable Trusts – stopped fighting against environmentalism and sought instead to co-opt it and make it a “partner.” This model expanded over the next couple of decades until it slowly began to creep north of the border into Canada. Now this same technique dominates the Canadian enviro landscape as well, in some cases with a new twist. The Canadian Boreal Initiative [CBI] – a champion of “working with industry to find common solutions” – is not even an organization, but receives their money from Ducks Unlimited Canada who receive theirs from Ducks Unlimited in the United States. All of this funding originates with the Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia. The Pew Foundation was started with a multi-billion dollar grant from Sunoco and today their board of directors is more than 50 percent tied to Sunoco, either through the Pew family or executive work with the oil giant. This same Pew gives funding to other well-known policy right-wing hawkish think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

The CBI spearheads something they call “the Boreal Conservation Framework,” a plan to protect at least half the Boreal Forest. Fact: far, far less than half the boreal forest has been developed or is slated for development. This “initiative” partners openly with corporations such as Suncor, Nexen and several leading forestry corporations. The CBI, funded and directed by the Pew, also signs on to their framework the International Boreal Conservation Campaign – another Pew front group in the US. Along with corporate friendly organizations like the WWF, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy and of course, Ducks Unlimited are a smattering of First Nations governments. Also among their signatories are the Tides Foundation and the Ivey Foundation.

With this behind them, the CBI then “negotiates” what the final deal of a particular industry should look like. Guaranteed at the outset is that corporations will continue operations, and that the general public is out of the loop right up until the moment the “deal” is announced.

Many other foundations – most but not all American – now play the same game of social manipulation in the environmental field. Foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Hewlett have not only entered into the fray in a major way, in the case of the tar sands campaigns, they have collaborated with the Pew to take social manipulation to a new level. The aforementioned Tides Foundation was set up as a sort of clearing house for other philanthropists and foundations, for many years receiving the overwhelming bulk of their money through the Pew. Today, other groups and foundations give them money and earmark where they want it spent. Tides exercises total control over something you are not supposed to hear about: The North American Tar Sands Coalition.

The Tides and the North American Tar Sands Coalition

The routine is fairly straightforward. After a long stretch when grassroots and community led struggles build up support using a multitude of strategies – from direct action blockades to boycott campaigns and speak outs, demonstrations and more – suddenly many of the organizers who started the campaign are shuffled aside. Professionals are either appointed within the ranks or are imported from outside and all are given foundation-led salaries. With or without public knowledge (almost always without) a “stakeholder” negotiation is undertaken between corporations, government and the new “professional” environmentalists will take place. The terms of the negotiations do not reach the public until a smiling photo-op of the “stakeholders” appears at a press conference to announce an “end” to a particular “campaign” now called a “win-win.” Details will vary, but they always include three things: A promise to stop organizing against a particular industry, market-based incentives that would lead to “change practices” and a guarantee for that industry to be allowed to develop, now unhindered. Such a process is slowly being constructed for tar sands production in Canada.

As if on cue, once the multitude of forces against tar sands development began to crack into both national and international media the large foundations appeared in the background. In this particular case, they had set up a spider’s web of control from the getgo. All the usual foundations – Pew Charitable Trusts, Hewlett, Rockefeller Brothers, Ford Foundation – now use the Tides Foundation as a singular source to centralize control over the would be recipients of funding.

By funnelling all money through the Tides Foundation all organizations and movements that approach any of these sources can be directed to only one source – the Tides Foundation and their “North American Tar Sands Coalition.” The NATSC is headed by one Michael Marx. While they also have “Canadian” and “American” campaign leaders, Marx has near total authority to forge the funding decisions, policy directions, media strategy and over-all focus of how the “coalition” will operate. Who then, is Michael Marx?

Marx is known as a “corporate responsibility” campaigner. Previously working with Forest Ethics and now, along side his control over the tar sands campaign, he is a head of Corporate Ethics International. His own personal bio celebrates that he has previously helped “green” Wal-Mart, one of the largest and most labour exploitative corporations in the world. He does not believe that the tar sands can or should be shut down, and is shaping political messaging to that end. The list of ENGO’s that are funded by Michael Marx’s NATSC is long, but to list merely the largest of the Canadian ones that have been with them from the beginning of the “invisible to the outside” coalition: The Pembina Institute, Environmental Defense Canada, ForestEthics, World Wildlife Fund (Canada), The Sierra Club of Canada (and associated regional chapters), Eco Justice and the Canadian Boreal Intiative. Perhaps most important to note is that the coalition also involves Greenpeace Canada – important because historically GPC did not take foundation funding but has now been listed for several grants from Tides Canada for this work.

There are also many regional only organizations – working on regional only campaigns, such as to ostensibly stop the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline across arts of unceded first nations territory in northern British Columbia. These groups involve Living Oceans society, The David Suzuki Foundation, west Coast Environmental Law and the Dogwood Initiative with a host of community led groups. These regional grants are controlled by Canadian understudy to Michael Marx, Jennifer Lash.

Since the highly criticized deal called the “Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement” was signed in 2010 between what was called nine environmental NGOs and 21 forestry companies, Tides has started muttering in public as their own voice – calling for the “bridging of the two camps” of environmentalists and energy companies over the tar sands. No first nations have been mentioned in their pronouncements. Nonetheless, in Europe they have moved in to steer the direction of anti-tar sands campaigning. Marx himself showed up recently in the UK, speaking out on campaigns to “stop tar sands expansion” in ads paid for by Corporate Ethics International. These same ads have appeared in Alberta; Marx himself lives in San Francisco.

Astro-turfing is a term often applied to various Republican or Tea Party ventures in the United States, ones where money and slick marketing are used to build an appearance of a grassroots network where, in fact, none truly exists. While there most certainly is such a grassroots network against the tar sands – and it is expanding globally – the astro-turfing of “demands” to go into the backroom negotiations is tailored to appear genuine. The manner it is done is to put forward a vague and almost completely uncontroversial call and ask people to sign on to some declaration.

As of late that has appeared to be towards the blight of the toxic tailings ponds littering the landscape by the vast open-pit mines. In recent months as well, Suncor (the original tar sands corporation, former property of Sunoco oil and largest energy company in Canada) announced they had developed “dry tailings technology” and that they planned over time to roll out and implement it. Considering that Suncor is openly partnered with the Canadian Boreal Initiative, it seems strangely convenient that the astroturfing campaign is now targeting tailings ponds – shortly after many of the more corporate environmental organizations and the largest players among tar sands operators were caught – trying to have a private, unreported meeting together.

The first attempt at such a meeting, last April, was spearheaded by the Pembina Institute. The Pembina is employed as consultants for Nexen, Suncor, TD Financial and many other industrial corporations and has partnered with the original tar sands giant Suncor Energy since 1982. That meeting was to be a “fireside chat” but it was cancelled when people got wind of it and it appeared first on the mediacoop.ca and later on in the Globe and Mail. Today, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Tides Foundation and others are calling for “dialogue.”

What Would a Tar Sands Partnership Agreement Look Like?

Based on the market trajectory of the Marx-led team, it will involve beyond promises on water and tailings – including carbon offsets, promised investments in “green” energy technology alongside perhaps some announcement on further research into carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Based on all previous deals in Canada and the United States, such a framework could only be announced as the “end to the war over tar sands” – to effectively give social license to tar sands operations permanently. This would then eliminate Tides based on all previous deals in Canada and the United States, such a framework could only be announced as the “end to the war over tar sands” – to effectively give social license to tar sands operations permanently. This would then eliminate Tides based anti-tar sands funding for all organizations in the NATSC. Certain groups such as Greenpeace, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network as well as several community initiatives have official positions to end tar sands development. The Pembina Institute, CBI, Tides, David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club, and near the totality of ENGO’s who receive NATSC funding in the United States do not call for the cessation of tar sands development, but mitigation of the “worst” impacts.

The breathtaking pace and size of tar sands development in Canada has not gone unnoticed to other would-be producers; many countries around the planet have deposits of bitumen that would require much the same technology. Those investors have been visiting Canada, learning, and heading elsewhere where bitumen beckons. A partial list of locations that are now threatened with tar sands extraction includes Trinidad and Tobago, The Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the US state of Utah, China, Russia and Jordan. There is also the country that may have even larger deposits than Canada – the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

With the exception of Venezuela, whose production is still but a fraction of Canada’s, none of these countries have gone into commercial production at this point. It will be nearly impossible to stop tar sands developments in Africa, Latin America Asia and elsewhere if all of our collective work in opposition to the development of tar sands is sacrificed to a “partnership deal” that allows for continued tar sands extraction. Corporations like France’s Total in Madagascar could then argue: “If this development is clean and responsible enough for Canada, why not so for Madagascar?” Such a dynamic must be avoided at all costs on many levels, not least of which is the remaining sliver of hope that the worst effects of climate change can be avoided, rather than simply managed or mitigated.

Climate justice organizing is, in part, an attempt to go beyond the counting of C02 emissions and to get to the heart of solutions to the climate crisis – solutions that involve the end of oppression of the communities that bear the brunt of the climate crisis, and do so in ways that respects their self-determination. Addressing the needs of these communities as they speak for the solutions they want cannot be a part of a backroom, anti-democratic model of development pushed forward with money from the very industries trying to eliminate them from history. It will take a global effort to hear and then amplify the voices – from Africa to Asia, and north to south in the Americas. None of these voices can be heard if someone closes a door to hold secret meetings with the financial powers whose assets already scream so loudly – as we edge ever closer to a point of no return.

MacDonald Stainsby is a social justice activist and journalist currently living in Edmonton and is the coordinator of http://oilsandstruth.org.

http://ecosocialismcanada.blogspot.com/2011/08/tar-sands-partnership-agreement-in.html

http://canadiandimension.com/

Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry

Secret Agreement in the Works Between ENGOs and Tar Sands Industry

Will environmentalists continue to allow foundation funding to dictate to the movement?

by Dru Oja Jay

A slew of recent articles have pointed to the likelihood that some foundation-funded environmental groups and the tar sands extraction industry are getting ready to make peace and sign a deal. The precedent, these reports note, has been set with the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. What the media coverage doesn’t mention is the actual character of these previous deals, and the unprecedented consolidation of funder influence in the hands of one man that is driving environmental groups toward such an agreement.

Things got started back in April, when a secret "fireside chat" was planned between oil industry executive and ENGO leaders including former Great Bear Rainforest Agreement negotiators Tzeporah Berman and Merran Smith, and representatives from Tides Canada, World Wildlife Fund, Pembina Institute and others. After word circulated about the "informal, beer in hand" discussions, the meeting was called off–temporarily.

The idea hit the corporate media in September 2010, with reports that Syncrude Chairman Marcel Coutu had solicited David Suzuki to broker an agreement between environmentalists and tar sands operators. Suzuki rebuffed him, saying that a dialogue was not possible while oil companies were funding lies about their environmental impact.

But the idea didn’t die–and neither did the lies. In October 2010, during a major ad campaign from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that compared tar sands tailings to yogurt, the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald published a report by Sheila Pratt entitled "Is an oilsands [sic] truce possible?"

In this report, Pratt chronicles the Syncrude executive Marcel Coutu’s efforts to woo David Suzuki into brokering an agreement between environmentalists and tar sands operators. Pratt interviews Avrim Lazar, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the group of logging companies that signed an accord the with Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation, and several other Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs). That was the "Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement" (CBFA).

(Pratt repeats the false claim that the agreement preserves 72 million hectares of forest. In fact, the CBFA maintains the current rate of logging, simply shifting a small portion (about the size of metro Toronto) to areas outside of the caribou range. Furthermore, it requires ENGOs to defend the logging companies that signed against criticism and help them market their products.)

Of all of Pratt’s interviewees, only Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema states the obvious: it not possible to green the tar sands.

On October 21, John Spears of the Toronto Star interviewed FPAC’s Avrim Lazar, who told Spears of the calls he was fielding from oil company executives curious about the logging companies’ experience finding common ground with environmental groups. Lazar said that an important precursor to an agreement is for both parties to recognize that tar sands operations have an environmental impact, but for environmentalists to "stop calling oil sands extraction ‘an abomination that has to be stopped’.

"Once you have those two, then you have something to talk about," Lazar was quoted as saying. "You can go to problem-solving mode… It doesn’t become easy, but it becomes possible."

Oil companies left no doubt about their interest in an agreement. What about their ENGO partners?

They waited until October 23rd to express interest. Ross McMillan, CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, wrote a letter to the Financial Post in response to a right wing attack on foundation funding for anti-tar sands work published on October 15.

"At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps," wrote McMillan, referring to environmentalists and oil companies. McMillan went on to cite Tides’ role in the 2001 Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, which dealt with a massive area of BC’s central coast. When that agreement was signed, ForestEthics negotiators emerged from secret negotiations with logging companies to announce that they had signed a deal for 20 per cent protection. That was less than half of what scientists said was the minimum area that would need to be preserved to avoid damaging biodiversity, and it violated protocol agreements they had signed with local ENGOs and First Nations. None of that mattered to the signatories, who proclaimed themselves victorious.

There are two key differences between agreements signed ten year ago, and those anticipated today.

First, deals have become even more transparently meaningless. Greenpeace and company literally declared that they had "saved the Boreal forest" by signing an agreement that actually makes no net change in the amount of logging. No CBFA signatory can say with a straight face that they have protected an area the size of Germany, though press releases on their site still make that claim. Even the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement completely preserved 20 per cent of the vast forest. Though some activists say that ENGOs subsequently turned a blind eye to clearcutting on Vancouver Island, negating even those gains.

Second, and most crucially, funders have consolidated control of funding for anti-tar sands campaigns to an unprecedented extent. Anyone who wants foundation funding (which most ENGOs rely on to a large extent) for their campaigns has to talk to Corporate Ethics founder Michael Marx. Marx and his coordinators set funding priorities through the "Tar Sands Coalition," a structure that, according to internal documents, is supposed to remain "invisible to the outside."

All of the money for the Tar Sands Coalition comes through Tides Canada Foundation. We know little about where it originates, though the bulk of it comes from US mega-foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts, which outed itself as the architect of the CBFA after giving tens of millions to environmental groups doing Boreal forest work. Other big donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Together, they have given at least $4.3 million to tar sands campaigns since 2000. Together, they hold vast power to decide the fate of those campaigns.

Control over the vast majority of ENGO funding for tar sands work is firmly in the hands of Michael Marx, on behalf of foundations with a taste for collaborative agreements. Journalists seem willing to print claims about "saving the Boreal forest" or "protecting an area the size of Germany" without seeing any actual agreement.

Our future hinges on the tar sands. Will any level of environmental destruction, loss of human life, or climate change be considered an acceptable cost to continue consumption of fossil fuels? Or is there a limit to the amount of destruction we will accept?

If a secret agreement is allowed to go forward, then those who cannot accept ever-escalating destruction will have to fight other ENGOs in addition to fighting the oil companies. Will the Tar Sands Greenwashing Accord continue as planned?

For more about ENGOs and the collaborative model, read the 2009 report Offsetting Resistance: The effects of foundation funding from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Athabasca River, by Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay.

http://montreal.mediacoop.ca/story/secret-agreement-works-between-engos-and-tar-sands-industry/5089

Tar Sands corporations to cut deal with ENGO’s

We can’t be silent as this corrupt behaviour is carried out by those who were supposed to be our allies.

It is up to us to tell Greenpeace, DSF, Pembina, Pew, FE, Tides and others NO deal to greenwash the tar sands.

Feel free to ask them all the hard questions about their involvement. Demand transparency and accountability.

We can only hope that every single NGO who is approached by this industry walks away from the offer of cash for becoming complicit with the destruction of the planet.

Time will tell. Dont hold your breath.

Oil industry eyes forest agreement
Published On Thu Oct 21 2010

Oil industry players have been sniffing around the landmark Boreal Forest
Agreement between industry and environmental groups, says one of the
agreement’s architects.

Avrim Lazar, who head the Forest Products Association of Canada, says he’s
fielded inquiries from senior civil servants, executives and oil industry
associations about how the forest industry got together with its one-time
adversaries.

“They’re saying: What were you thinking? How did you do it? What’s working,
what’s not working? What would your advice be?” Lazar said in an interview
Thursday.

“It seems like very honest, good faith curiosity.”

The forest agreement was signed in May between the forest companies and a
coalition of environmental groups who had fought the industry bitterly for
decades, and boycotted their products.

Under the pact, the 21 member forest companies agreed to suspend new logging
on 29 million hectares of forest. Environmental groups agreed to end their
boycotts.

The signatories set themselves a three-year target to set up detailed,
working agreements in areas such as developing more sustainable harvesting
practices and protecting wildlife and water systems.

Oil and gas officials, while expressing interest, are skeptical that a
similar process could work in their sector, says Lazar. “Who wouldn’t be? I
was skeptical when I started.”

“All that being said, there are pieces of the model which are very
importable,” Lazar said.

“A precondition of having a constructive conversation is acknowledging the
legitimacy of each other’s public interest.”

That means environmentalists would have to stop calling oil sands extraction
“an abomination that has to be stopped,” and acknowledge that the oil
industry is going to operate in the sands.

“We’re not debating that. We’re debating how, and at what pace and under
what conditions.”

The oil industry, for its part, must say: “We recognize that over time this
degree of greenhouse gas intensity, this degree of effluent in the water,
this disturbance of biodiversity, is not going to be acceptable. We know we
have to be quite a bit better. It’s a question of how, and how fact.”

“Once you have those two, then you have something to talk about. You can go
to problem-solving mode…It doesn’t become easy, but it becomes possible.”

Lazar says progress is continuing toward fleshing out the boreal forest
agreement.

A panel on acceptable forest practices has been established, for example:
Each of the three members was agreed to by both. The panel’s recommendations
must be accepted in whole by both sides, unless there’s a fundamental
disagreement.

A working group is pursuing protocols for protecting caribou habitat and
migration routes.

But hurdles remain. The agreement was negotiated at a national level, but
many areas lie within provincial jurisdiction. First nations groups were not
part of the pact; their participation is now needed.

And vast cultural changes must take place. Forest industry managers, for
example, were always rewarded for extracting every last scrap of fibre from
a given area. That must change.

“It’s complicated,” says Lazar. “But over-all, we’re moving forward.”

http://www.thestar.com/business/companies/article/879091–oil-industry-eyes-forest-agreement

First Nations excluded from world’s largest conservation agreement

First Nations excluded from world’s largest conservation agreement

Julius Melnitzer July 8, 2010

Twenty-one forestry companies and nine environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, have signed what purports to be the world’s largest conservation agreement. But Rosanne Van Schie, an economic development officer with Wolf Lake First Nation, says that The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, demarking logging and conservation activities, was developed without First Nations input and without regard to the rights and social realities of First Nations. This despite the fact that the territorial scope of the agreement covers land over which First Nations have negotiated historic and modern day treaties or have claims extant. The Canadian Boreal Initiative recognizes that more than 600 First Nations communities maintain traditional roots in the Boreal.

Read more: http://business.financialpost.com/2010/07/08/first-nations-excluded-from-worlds-largest-conservation-agreement/#ixzz0tNnpGRfc

GREENWASH | A special look at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

A special look at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

by Vancouver Media Co-op

The June 16-30 issue takes a hard look at the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and features wise words from environmental groups fighting corporate greenwashing.

Download the PDF of the 14th issue here

We need help with distribution! If you are able to distro multiple copies, please hit us up!! Or, get in touch to submit an event, ad, or a story idea for the next issue.

You can reach us at vmc at mediacoop dot ca or 604 630 6864.

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/3652

ENGOs sign over right to criticize, companies continue to log caribou habitat

May 26, 2010

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Reconsidered

ENGOs sign over right to criticize, companies continue to log caribou habitat

by Dawn Paley

Clearcutting in the boreal forest in Alberta. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement allows an area the size of Prince Edward Island to be cut in the caribou range, while deferring logging to outside the caribou range an area the size of Toronto. Photo: Dru Oja Jay

VANCOUVER—Last week’s announcement of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) was celebrated by environmental groups as a historic deal that could save a significant amount of sensitive woodland caribou habitat.

An early criticism of the deal was that Indigenous governments and organizations were left out of the creation of the agreement. The public was also left in the dark while the CBFA was negotiated in secret between nine environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and 21 forestry companies.

The 71-page agreement has yet to be released on the CBFA website. The Vancouver Media Co-op obtained a leaked copy shortly after the deal was announced.

Greenpeace and the other ENGOs involved in the agreement have chosen their words carefully. Greenpeace has called the deal an “unprecedented accord…covering more than 72 million hectares of public forests, an area twice the size of Germany.” The agreement includes what the proponents are calling a series of interim measures to protect caribou habitat while various levels of government take action to create protected areas for caribou.

Further investigation reveals that this agreement aims to silence all criticism of logging practices in the boreal forest in return for less than two years of diverting harvesting and road building from 72,205 hectares of woodland caribou habitat into other areas of the boreal forest.

View enlarged version. Map source: Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Annotations and overlays by Petr Cizek and Dru Oja Jay.

The 21 logging companies involved in the deal are grouped together as the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). Together, FPAC member firms hold tenures for over 72 million hectares of boreal forest, stretching north from the Northwest Territories down through northeastern British Columbia and continuing east all the way to Newfoundland. Included in these tenures are 29,336,953 hectares of caribou range lands, according to the report.

Between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012, FPAC companies had scheduled to harvest and build roads on 756,666 hectares inside caribou range lands. That means according to existing industry plans, the vast majority of caribou range lands were not slated to be harvested by the spring of 2012, when the current agreement expires.

Far from protecting caribou lands in their entirety, the outcome of the CBFA reduces the FPAC affiliate cut in caribou range lands from 756,666 to 684,461 hectares until spring 2012. This means 72,205 hectares of harvesting and road building will be “deferred” to “areas outside of caribou range.” In other words, there is no change in the amount of harvesting, only in the locations where harvesting takes place.

While the agreement technically “covers” a forest twice the size of Germany, the amount of caribou range that will not be cut before 2012 as a result of the agreement is only slightly larger than the City of Toronto.

The deal still allows 684,461 hectares to be cut in caribou habitat. This, despite the fact that an expert committee of the Canadian Wildlife Service recently recommended that virtually all industrial activity within woodland caribou range be suspended. In agreeing to the CBFA, the nine ENGOs involved are actively supporting the logging of an area larger than the entire province of Prince Edward Island within caribou habitat between now and 2012.

According to section 14.F of the deal, “FPAC members will publicly state that between April 1 2009 and March 31, 2012 there will be no harvesting or road building in approximately 28,651,492 hectares of caribou range in their tenures (or over 97.6 per cent of the caribou habitat in managed forest).”

By reducing the overall number of hectares of caribou range they refer to, logging companies and ENGOs can claim a near total halt on logging in caribou range lands, even though they’ll still log 684,461 hectares, almost 10 times the area they’re claiming to have saved.

Finally, the “three year” deal actually started more than a year ago, on April 1, 2009: industry promises for harvesting deferrals expire April 1, 2012.

But the numbers game is far from the only Orwellian aspect of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

Until April 1, 2012, nine ENGOs have signed on to work together with FPAC companies in “developing and advocating for policies and investments that improve the competitiveness of the Canadian forest sector, create a climate of greater investment certainty, while at the same time have a neutral to positive impact on the sector’s ecological performance.”

In addition, these ENGOs have agreed to express a “continuum” of support for FPAC members, ranging from “recognizing that [sic] the leadership represented by the commitment of FPAC Members to develop and implement the CBFA” to “demonstrating support for products from the boreal operations of FPAC members.”

To ensure that the days of Greenpeace dropping banners from Abitibi-Bowater’s HQ are long forgotten, the agreement stipulates that ENGOs will take back whatever bad things they may have said about FPAC member companies in the past.

This mandatory change in tone by environmental groups takes a couple of forms.

According to Section 6.3.D.ii, “Where an FPAC Member demonstrates an impediment to selling forest products to a specific customer from the boreal as a result of past or current advocacy work or communications, ENGOs will communicate with that customer to confirm they are receiving all joint communications related to progress in implementing the CFBA and that this should be taken into consideration in making procurement decisions.”

The agreement also stipulates that ENGOs will “review and update” their websites to “remove or update any information superseded by the CFBA.” For example, should Canfor find a photo or story about their activities in the boreal forest on the Forest Ethics website objectionable, “immediate steps will be taken to revise that material.”

The agreement also means that if an environmental group which is not a signatory of the deal should happen to tell someone from, say, the David Suzuki Foundation about plans to denounce one of the companies involved in the CBFA, the person from the Suzuki Foundation must warn FPAC member companies immediately.

ENGOs and FPAC will then jointly plan how to respond, which includes actively working together to “have such a third party appropriately modify its position and/or public statements.” This legalese means that the ENGOs and FPAC might jointly threaten to sue or sue the third party. In the past, industry has undertaken such SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suits, but it is precedent-setting that ENGOs have now become willing participants in striking down criticism of forest practices across Canada.

In return for swapping 72,205 hectares of harvesting out of the boreal forest and maintaining “voluntary deferrals” for another two years, the CBFA transforms the nine ENGOs involved into a promotional service, protection racket and intelligence gathering service for twenty one companies that are actively logging woodland caribou habitat within the boreal forest.

Dawn Paley is a Vancouver-based journalist and a member of the Vancouver Media Co-op.

Claims vs. Actual Protection: Land mass comparisons:

Click to enlarge:

Click to enlarge

Signatories to the CBFA:

Environmental Non-governmental Organizations:

Canadian Boreal Initiative
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Canopy
David Suzuki Foundation
ForestEthics
Greenpeace
The Nature Conservancy
Pew Environment Group
International Boreal Conservation Campaign
Ivey Foundation

Logging companies (grouped together as the Forest Products Association of Canada):

AbitibiBowater Inc.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
AV Group
Canfor Corporation
Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership
Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company
Cascades inc.
Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd.
F.F. Soucy Inc.
Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited Partnership
Kruger Inc.
Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd.
Mercer International
Mill & Timber Products Ltd.
NewPage Corporation
Papier Masson Ltée
SFK Pâte
Tembec
Tolko Industries Ltd.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/3450

FOREST RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests

EI PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE

Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests

Along with ForestEthics and other foundation-dependent primary forest logging apologists, Greenpeace negotiates weak agreement that legitimizes continued old growth forest logging in exchange for vague promises of possible future protections. Old forest greenwashing must end.

May 21, 2010

Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry

(Canada) – In what they gratuitously herald as the ‘world’s largest conservation agreement’, twenty Canadian forestry companies and nine environmental organizations including Greenpeace has announced an agreement that will temporarily suspend for three years any new logging in 29 million hectares of forest – about the size of Montana – to plan for possible protections of woodland caribou. In return the nine environmental groups have vowed to stop protesting the companies involved (listed below), including ending their ‘Do Not Buy’ campaigns.

More troubling, the agreement provides much needed legitimacy to timber and pulp industry efforts to log much, if not all, of the remaining 43 million hectares of Canada’s old growth Boreal forests, and ultimately much of the caribou habitat after the moratorium lapses. The agreement uses fancy, meaningless worlds like “ecosystem-based” and “sustainable forest management” to describe first time industrial logging of primary forests for toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items.

Ecological Internet (EI) President, Dr. Glen Barry, labeled the agreement “disgraceful”, saying it “traded temporary, vague protections for business as usual industrial forestry across huge expanses of primary and old growth forests.” Ecological Internet advocates a global permanent ban on industrial-scale logging in primary forests both in temperate and tropical forests, and will continue the campaign to end these practices in Canada’s ecologically priceless Boreal forests.

“Greenpeace’s commitment to ‘sustainable’ and ‘ecosystem based’ forest management—for consumer items including toilet paper and lawn furniture from old forests—is an ecological crime, as we know we have already lost more primary forests than necessary to maintain global ecosystems and the biosphere. The agreement accepts not only FSC, but industry’s own certification of antiquated logging practices. This will not stand, and local communities, provincial governments and First Nations are encouraged to reject this forest greenwash.”

### MORE ###

The Canadian Boreal Forest is North America’s largest primary forest, holding massive amounts of water, threatened wildlife and migratory birds, and containing 25% of the world’s remaining intact ancient forests. It is also the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet, storing the equivalent of 27 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Globally 60% of boreal forests have been diminished and fragmented, largely from logging resulting in more fires.

Ecological Internet and allies vigorously condemn Greenpeace Canada’s greenwash endorsement of continued ancient boreal forest logging, largely to make throw away paper items. They completely fail to understand that all primary and old growth forests are endangered and of high conservation value. Instead they perpetuate the ecologically criminal myth that old forests can and should be industrially logged for the first time in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Old forests must be protected and restored for global ecological sustainability. Forests logged industrially for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics. Real solutions to the Boreal forest/paper crisis require shrinking demand, increasing recyclables, and only accessing new fiber from regenerating secondary forests and mixed species, non-toxic, locally supported plantations.

EI calls upon Greenpeace to immediately cease and desist globally from negotiating agreements with industry that continue the production of throw away consumer items from Earth’s dwindling old forests. Ecological Internet calls upon Greenpeace to work for full protection of primary forests, restoration of old growth forests, and dramatic reduction in paper and timber use globally. Ecological Internet’s message remains end primary forest logging. Expect further protest urging Greenpeace to realize the forest protection movement has moved past claims of sustainable forest management in primary and old growth forests.

### ENDS ###

Environmental organization that signed to the agreement include: Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign.

The companies that signed the agreement include: AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Paper Masson Ltee, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd, Weyerhauser Compnay Limited?all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.

DISCUSS THIS ALERT: http://forests.org/blog/ and http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet

LEAKED DOCUMENT: Greenpeace, ENGO’s, Foundations cutting secret deals, greenwashing all forestry

Read the leaked document here:

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/sites/mediacoop.ca/files2/mc/CBF_leak.pdf

Greenpeace, ENGO’s, Foundations cutting secret deals, greenwashing all forestry

The key quote in this article is here:

A spokesperson for Greenpeace said: “There is no agreement, but we will let you know when there is an agreement.”

MS: Who gave them such authority? How on earth can they claim that the public– or even their own sustainers– gave them such a mandate? How can this possibly be a positive bent, when it essentially has the PR gain for industry of being “green” right when we should be ramping UP the fight against what is happening to our forests?

Does anyone have a shred of an idea as to what democracy is? Will those in Greenpeace who oppose this kind of backroom deal, greenwashing garbage actually stand for what is right?

We need help from GP activists and employees to stop this nonsense, and we need it NOW. Stand up and be counted, those of you with a conscience! We need you! The forests need you!

–M

http://oilsandstruth.org/greenpeace-engo039s-foundations-cutting-secret-deals-greenwashing-all-forestry

Canada’s Boreal Forest Conflicts Far From Over

Mainstream enviros, timber industry shut First Nations out of “historic” deal

http://climatevoices.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/boreal-forest-conflicts-far-from-over/

Tree-huggers and loggers bury hatchet

will manage woods together Canadian forest products can bask in glow of new-found eco-approval

By CASSIDY OLIVIER, Canwest News Service
May 14, 2010

A truce appears to be at hand in the long-running war in the woods.

Canada’s largest forest firms and most outspoken environmental groups are in the final stages of a precedent-setting deal to co-operatively manage a massive swath of boreal forest that has sections in Quebec, Alberta and, to a lesser extent, British Columbia.

The initial three-year deal will effectively freeze all logging in selected regions in exchange for a halt to international marketing campaigns against Canadian products by environmental groups such as Greenpeace.

Environmentalists also would give their green stamp of approval to Canada’s logging practices.

The land in question is an estimated 70 million hectares of boreal forest.

The land mass equals the total amount of forest lost globally between 1990 and 2005.

Sources close to the landmark talks say the Forest Products Association of Canada, whose members are responsible for 66 per cent of certified forest lands in the country, are in negotiations with senior members of environmental groups with the aim of reaching a deal by the end of the month.

Association members include Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Tolko Industries Ltd., Weyerhaeuser, Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Ltd. Partnership, and Kruger Inc.

Canwest News Service has learned a draft agreement is expected to be voted on today, the result of which is expected to set a blueprint for a green revolution in the country.

If passed, the deal would effectively bring to an end the battles in forests that have raged in parts of the country since the late 1980s.

It also could boost the attractiveness of Canadian products on the global market, as they bask in the glow of new-found eco-approval.

Sources said logging companies will stay out of the protected areas in exchange for environmental groups embracing logging practices in other areas.

The environmental groups also will gain access to caribou habitat for study as part of the deal, which will include large sections of forest in Alberta and Quebec, sources said.

The Forest Products Association of Canada declined to offer details of the pending deal other than to confirm talks were under way.

“There are currently talks under way related to numerous complex areas of mutual interest between forest-industry companies and a number of environmental non-governmental organizations,” the association said in a statement.

“We hope to have a joint statement in this regard within the next two weeks.”

Bruce Lourie, president of the Ivey Foundation, a Toronto-based charitable foundation that offers funding to conservation groups, said he was unable to discuss details of the talks.

He did, however, confirm conversations were under way. “We are really not supposed to be talking about it in any detail,” he said. “If all goes well, it will be a positive outcome for forest conservation.”

A spokesperson for Greenpeace said: “There is no agreement, but we will let you know when there is an agreement.”
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

http://oilsandstruth.org/greenpeace-engo039s-foundations-cutting-secret-deals-greenwashing-all-forestry

Where the Money Comes From

There is a growing awareness in the media that the ENGOs put their mouth where their money is …

Where the Money Comes From

Why have environmentalists not made opposition to factory farming a priority? For years now there has been broad agreement among independent researchers as to the horrors of factory farming. It presents huge health risks for humans, and is almost as ruinous to the broader environment as it is cruel to the animals it condemns to lives of suffering. The risk to humans as well as to non-human animals from the systematic overuse of antibiotics, the impossibility of disposing of the vast quantities of excrement produced without damage to land and water—that’s the start of a very long list of negatives. Yet many environmental groups do not even mention factory farming on their websites, and those that do—such as the David Suzuki Foundation—tend to be extraordinarily timid in their recommendations. Not for a moment do they suggest that anyone who cares about environmental quality should consider becoming a vegan. They don’t even suggest that if we choose to eat meat and dairy products we should eat only free-range, organically produced meat and dairy products. Far from it. “Here are some fun suggestions for things you can do,” the Meatrix site recommended by Suzuki brightly suggests, and then proceeds to recommend reading books, seeing movies, and “going meatless even one day a week.” It’s much the same with other environmental groups; cautious endorsements of “Meatless Mondays” represent about the furthest they are willing to go. Why so toothless?

One reason may be philosophical. As Angus Taylor sets out in his fine book Animals and Ethics, some environmentalists have long regarded those who advocate on behalf of non-human animals with suspicion—as “sentimentalists who are unwilling to face up to the realities of life and death.” If we ascribe rights to non-human animals, does logic require that we interfere in nature so as to protect wild animals from their natural predators? To what degree should non-human animals be granted moral standing? These may indeed be vexed issues. But as is increasingly recognized, agreement on those sorts of philosophical issues is not required in order to form a coalition against factory farming; religious people who believe humans should have dominion over other animals can on this issue be in broad agreement with secular environmentalists, with those who support animal rights, and with those whose primary concern is for human health. From all angles, factory farming causes horrendous damage—and, thankfully, these days most environmental groups acknowledge that fact. Yet confronting factory farming remains at or near the bottom of their list of priorities. Again, why?

Could it be a funding issue? That suggestion is raised in an October 21 2008 canada.com article, “Eating Less Meat is Critical to Our Planet’s Future;” Dennis Cunningham of the International Institute for Sustainable Development notes that “when environmental groups apply to governments or large corporations for money to produce an education program, the funding organization can dictate the priorities such a program should take. And no government wants to risk offending a powerful agriculture lobby by telling people to eat less meat — even if it’s good for them.”

Certainly it’s always interesting to know where the money is coming from. Take for instance this past week’s story about Frank Mitloehner, an academic who presented a paper entitled “Clearing the Air” at a conference of the American Chemical Society in which he questioned the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2008 estimate that our meat-eating ways are responsible for a higher percentage of the world’s carbon emissions (they estimated 18%) than is the entire transportation category (an estimated 15%). Apparently the statistics deserve to be questioned; the UN has admitted flaws in the FAO calculations, and no doubt studies aiming to calculate the percentages more precisely will be news for some time. The interesting thing about Mitloehner’s claims, though, is that they don’t stop at querying meat-eating’s percentage contribution to global warming. He takes a big leap beyond that to broad prescriptions for world agricultural policy: “The developed world’s efforts should focus not on reducing meat and milk consumption,” said Mitloehner, “but rather on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries, where growing populations need more nutritious food.” Far from shutting down the factory farms, in other words, he wants to expand them. Note that Mitloehner says nothing about dangers to human health from such things as the overuse of antibiotics, nothing about the damage to our water supply from the run-off of excrement from factory farms, and (of course) nothing about the issue of cruelty to animals. Even if we accepted the suggestion that our meat-eating habits in no way contribute to global warming, in other words, there are many, many reasons to oppose factory farming. Instead, Mitloehner endorses a call for “replacing current suboptimal production with advanced production methods — at every step from feed production, through livestock production and processing, to distribution and marketing.”

Here’s one piece of information about his paper that you won’t find in the reports on Fox News or in Time Magazine or in the Toronto Sun: the paper “is a synthesis of research….Writing the synthesis was supported by a $26,000 research grant from the Beef Checkoff Program, which funds research and other activities, including promotion and consumer education, through fees on beef producers in the U.S.” Mitloehner goes on to report that in total he “has received $5 million in research funding, with 5 percent of the total from agricultural commodities groups, such as beef producers.” That 5% may sound small — until one remembers that 5% of $5 million is still a hefty $250,000. Interestingly, his research seems almost all to have been on such subjects as ammonia levels in the factory farming of pigs rather than on global warming. Here’s a sample, from a study that received $40,000 in funding from the National Pork Board: “Acute and Chronic effects of Ammonia on…Nursery Pigs”:

Most of the existing guidlines and recommendations for animal houses are set at limits ranging from 20 to 50 parts per million of ammonia. Our studies indicated that pigs respond to ammonia with systemic inflamation and stress responses. However, even 50 ppm does not dramatically seem to affect animal performance.

Freely translated, that means that even though the nursery pigs may be suffering more from higher levels of anmmonia, the higher levels do not result in greater “aggressive behaviors” or — no doubt most important — in any change in feeding behavior. The authors make no recommendation that intensive pig farms cut back on ammonia levels; so much for “Clearing the Air.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010 (blog posting, Animals blog–http://donlepan.blogspot.com/)