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Natural Resources Defense Council

A Fixed Mentality

The San Franciscan

December 1, 2015

by Jay Taber

Gates Energy

US President Barack Obama, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and heads of state attend the ‘Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution’ meeting at COP21. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition includes Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Group head Richard Branson [Photograph: Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images][Source]

In 2014 the Energy Foundation/Fund in San Francisco (assets $100 Million) granted four million to Sierra Club Foundation, a couple million to Natural Resources Defense Council, as well as $665,000 to Earth Justice (Sierra Club), $565,000 to Environmental Defense Fund, and $335,000 to CERES. Smaller grants went to Seattle area groups: $30,000 to Washington Environmental Council, $15,000 to Sightline Institute (a climate think tank that promotes Bill Gates) and $7,500 to Re-Sources.

 

Laying the groundwork for a fixed mentality behind the ‘clean energy’ Ponzi scheme led by Gates, these beneficiaries become its cheerleaders. Spreading money around to media, environmental groups and think tanks that supply them with ideas ensures compliance with the Ponzi agenda.

Compromising celebrities with strong environmental creds ensures they will maintain silence about elite fraud. The hush money Ford, Rockefeller, Gates and Buffett invested in this is augmented by oil companies and financial institutions that benefit from the fraud.

Following the money is challenging, since they routinely launder it through private and public foundations, as well as brokerages that make small grants. This way, no one examines the source of the money or the agenda that controls its use, let alone the overall actual purpose, as opposed to the stated purpose.

The payoff for this financial elite investment is potentially well above the bank bailouts of 2008-2009, that devastated the US economy. The climate bail out funds from public treasuries worldwide could easily eclipse that.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber (O’Neal) derives from the most prominent tribe in Irish history, nEoghan Ua Niall, the chief family in Northern Ireland between the 4th and the 17th centuries. Jay’s ancestors were some of the last great leaders of Gaelic Ireland. His grandmother’s grandfather’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to South Carolina in 1768. Jay is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

From TckTckTck, to Air France, to “Earth To Paris”, Havas Worldwide Continues to Hypnotize

Wrong Kind of Green

December 1, 2015

By Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer

paris ad 3

Above: A “Brandalism” poster at COP21 placed within the advertising space of JCDecaux, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide and official partner of COP21. Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-CEO of JCDecaux: “By contributing innovative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century, JCDecaux can put its expertise and its teams’ collective intelligence to work for long-term growth”. [Press release: JCDecaux_official-partner-of-COP21]

Havas Worldwide, formerly known as Euro RSCG, is one of the largest integrated marketing communications agencies in the world. Clients include Air France, the 2009 Havas creation TckTckTck, and hundreds of the world’s most powerful corporations. More recently, Havas Worldwide is recognized as a convening partner of the COP21 Earth to Paris campaign with international NGOs 350.org, Avaaz, Ceres, the World Bank (via Connect4Climate), media, etc. During a live-streamed summit on December 7th and 8th for the COP21 climate conference, these instruments of empire will deliver ‘a new universal climate change agreement.'”

United Nations Development Programme Press Release, October 29, 2015:

“Earth To Paris, a coalition of partners helping to drive awareness about the connection between people and planet as well as the need for strong climate action, announced it will host “Earth To Paris—Le Hub” a two-day, high-impact, live-streamed summit on 7 and 8 December in Paris during COP21 — the United Nations climate conference to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.

Experts, advocates, CEOs, and other leaders in Paris will discuss creative and impactful solutions to climate change, while participants around the world take part through multi-language livestreamed video and real-time interactions across multiple social media platforms using the unifying hashtag #EarthToParis.

The convening partners of the Earth To Paris Coalition are United Nations Foundation, GOOD Magazine, City of Paris (Mairie de Paris), Mashable, UNFCCC, National Geographic Jynwel Foundation, UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF and HAVAS Worldwide.

Collaborating partners include Action/2015, AFP Foundation, Avaaz, Better World Campaign, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Ceres, Climasphere, The Climate Reality Project, Collectively, Connect4Climate– the global partnership program of the World Bank Group, DailyMail.com, Earth Day Network, The East African, El Pais, Enactus, Energy Future Coalition, European Foundation Centre, Fair Observer, Girl Up, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Global Citizen, Global Moms Challenge, GREEN Africa Directory, Helloasso, Impaqto, Love Song to the Earth, Make Sense, The Nature Conservatory, Nothing but Nets, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planeta Futuro, Rainforest Partnership, Rovio Entertainment, Scope Group, Sevenly, Shft.com, Shot@Life, Sister Cities International , +SocialGood, +SocialGood Ghana, Social Good Week, Sustainable Energy for All, SXSW, SXSW Eco, Test Tube, Travel +Social Good, UNA-USA, Universal Access Project, Vice News, Voice of America, We Mean Business and the X Prize Foundation.”

350.org, a co-founder of TckTckTck, is not listed in the above press release yet is a collaborating partner, identified on the Earth to Paris Website partner page.

Earth to Paris

[Website: http://www.EarthToParis.org  | Twitter: https://twitter.com/EarthToParis]

Marching In a Hypnotic State

Havas Worldwide clients include both Air France and Havas creation TckTckTck.

“Havas Worldwide agency BETC transformed Air France into a provider of true well-being with inspired cuisine, rich culture, exquisite fashion, and a certain style…. Air France has created an entire “well-being” experience and embraced digital and social technology as it expands the campaign with Air France Music on iTunes and develops a hypnotizing music-based app for Facebook. Since the campaign began, advertising tracking scores have been outstanding, business class occupancy has hit a record 83 percent, and quarterly revenues saw 16 percent and 12 percent spikes thanks to the advertising.” – Havas Worldwide Website

 

“The subject of climate change was slipping off global agendas, with news coverage waning after having peaked in 2006. People felt confused and helpless… Havas Worldwide’s Social Business Idea® was the simple mnemonic “TckTckTck” – evoking the ticking of a clock counting down and time running out. Tapping the power of open sourcing, we recruited influencers to endorse the campaign, and encouraged advertisers and social media users to adapt and spread the logo. More than 17 million climate allies signed the petition, over 50,000 “TckTckTck” dog tags were sold, and media coverage valued at over $30 million was generated. A custom-recorded song was downloaded more than 450,000 times. – Havas Worldwide Website

In 2009, global civil society was cleverly seduced into sleeping with the enemy via the TckTckTck campaign. [Further reading: EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé]. In 2014, not one to learn from the past, civil society, would yet again sleep with the enemy. Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA/TckTckTck), an initiative that began in Bali (2007) with a $300,000 funding commitment from the Quebec government, is a “coalition of twenty key international organizations” including Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace , Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum, OXFAM, WWF, World Council of Churches, Union of Concerned Scientists, Equiterre, Global Call to Action against Poverty (also co-chaired by Kumi Naidoo), and the Pew Environment Group. [Source]

Today, almost 6 years later, living amidst a heavy mental lull bearing much resemblance to Stockholm syndrome, we have chained ourselves to the bed – willing participants in turning ourselves into the enemy’s personal bitch marching across the globe to our own annihilation. [Further reading: TckTckTck: The Bitch is  Back]

“GCCA [Global Call for Climate Action] worked behind the scenes for over a year to prepare for the biggest date in 2014, leveraging every possible asset and contact to rally around the historic Peoples’ Climate March in the run-up to the UN Climate Leaders Summit…. In the preceding months, GCCA convened weekly calls with key partners 350.org, Avaaz, USCAN and Climate Nexus to catalyse activities and identify gaps…. Everything came together on the day as we bore witness to the world’s biggest ever climate march, and inspiring events across the globe, with world leaders, business people, activists, parents and artists walking shoulder-to-shoulder.” — GCCA Annual Report 2014
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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1910)

As the establishment rave in Paris winds down, the chimera of clean energy propels industrial societies toward nuking the future. The new age ghost dance, as an expression of social despair, has led to progressive self-delusion that promises us the world, if only we believe. Stepping through the looking glass, one can examine the metrics of messaging by establishment social media and philanthropy, that, combined, is the driving force of the non-profit industrial complex. [Jay Taber, Rave New World]

Yet, very few are willing to step through the looking glass.

The Architects of the Final Solution will be pleased at the resounding success of their investments in Controlling Consciousness; the whole world is becoming A Culture of Imbeciles. [Jay Taber, Marching for Monsanto]

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Further reading:The Bitch is Back: http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/11/28/tcktcktck-the-bitch-is-back/

This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe: September 17, 2014

Under One Bad Sky | TckTckTck’s 2014 People’s Climate March: This Changed Nothing: September 30, 2015

Metrics as a Proxy for Social Change: The Climate Cartel, Impact Funding, and the Abandonment of Struggle: http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/11/30/metrics-as-a-proxy-for-social-change-the-climate-cartel-impact-funding-and-the-abandonment-of-struggle/

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part IX of an Investigative Report] [Mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism]

The Art of Annihilation

April 30, 2015

Part nine of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” — Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

 

Prologue: A Coup d’état of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

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Al Gore and David Blood

Blood & Gore Generation: of Commodification, Privatization, and Indoctrination

“Between 2008 and 2011 the company had raised profits of nearly $218 million from institutions and wealthy investors. By 2008 Gore was able to put $35 million into hedge funds and private partnerships through the Capricorn Investment Group, a Palo Alto company founded by his Canadian billionaire buddy Jeffrey Skoll, the first president of eBay Inc.” — Forbes, November 3, 2013

 

“Civil society has a central role in accelerating the transition towards Sustainable Capitalism. NGOs must take a 360-degree approach to the process of mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism, realising their ability to influence stakeholders in every part of the business ecosystem. NGOs must engage with investors, companies, regulators and policy makers to encourage the rapid and effective adoption of Sustainable Capitalism through campaigns, lobbying efforts and partnerships with the private sector.” — Sustainable Investment Paper, Generation, February 15, 2012

For an accurate grasp of the true objective behind a national/international marketing campaign (the Keystone Pipeline campaign is another fine example), one is wise to bypass the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) in its entirety and go directly to researching the investment firms and corporations who are set to increase market share and reap billions in profits via such campaigns. Campaigns funded by foundations (set up by the oligarchs) serve and protect the system with well-oiled precision. Billions of dollars funnelled into the NPIC laundering machine, on which corporations would be taxed otherwise, have never been such a sound and secure investment.

Perhaps the most telling and revealing of the world the NPIC wishes us to embrace is the investment firm recommended by 350.org et al: Generation. [PDF: A Complete Guide to Reinvestment] Under the section “What types of reinvestment exist?, Mutual Funds,” the top two examples listed (four in total) are 1) Generation Investment Management Climate Solutions Fund II and 2) Generation Investment Management Credit Fund.

“We are advocates for Sustainable Capitalism…. The first, which is our principal platform for activity, is a partnership model whereby we collaborate with individuals, organizations, and institutions in our effort to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable form of capitalism. In addition, the Foundation also supports select grant-giving related to the field of Sustainable Capitalism, engagement with the local communities where we operate, and an employee gift-matching program.” — Generation Foundation

Generation is an independent, private, owner-managed partnership with offices in London and New York. The firm was co-founded in 2004 by Al Gore and David Blood. From 1985 to 1999, Blood served in various positions at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. From 1999 to 2003, Blood served as a Co-Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Blood served as a director of Goldman Sachs International. Blood sits on many boards including his director position held at NewForests (“establishes US presence in May 2007 to capitalise on growing investment interest in environmental markets in the US”). Its investment strategies focus on forests, timberland, and environmental markets; “NewForests have a limited number of private accounts clients to develop particular project and policy expertise in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in other countries.” (REDD and Biomass). Blood also holds a position as director of The Nature Conservancy, the revolving door for Goldman Sachs executives. [Blood’s full bio].

Mark Ferguson, Peter Harris, Peter Knight and Colin Mark Le Duc are also co-founders of Generation Investment. Both Ferguson and Harris held prestigious positions at Sachs. Al Gore is Co-Founder, Chairman, and Partner of The Climate Solutions Fund of which Marc Le Duk is also a co-founder.

Generation is largely an institutional investment management firm, operating at the wholesale level (major pension funds, foundations, etc). The corporatocracy and covertness behind such investing is apparent when one considers the fact that law restricts the amount of information that firms (that focus on institutional clients) can provide, to “ensure that the general public is not enticed into investing in unsuitable and overly complex products”. [1]

“Mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism by *2020 will require independent, collaborative and voluntary action by companies, investors, government and civil society, which we hope to accelerate by advancing the discourse on the economic benefits of sustainability.” — Sustainable Investment Paper, Generation, February 15, 2012

[*David Blood: “…we say in our paper 2020, the truth is we have a view that it really needs to happen by 2015 – otherwise we are increasingly in trouble.” Breakthrough Capitalism Forum lecture, May 29, 2012]

A key area of focus is to ensure the capitalist system is kept intact; to establish the acceptable parameters of the “market revolution.” In particular, in concise language, Blood and Gore make it exceptionally clear that alternatives to the suicidal capitalist system need not, should not and will not be considered:

“Capitalism has great strengths and is fundamentally superior to any other system for organising economic activity. It is more efficient in allocating resources and in matching supply and demand. It is demonstrably effective in wealth creation. It is more congruent with higher levels of freedom and self-governance than any other system. It unlocks a higher fraction of the human potential with ubiquitous, organic incentives that reward hard work, ingenuity, and innovation. These strengths are why it is at the foundation of every successful economy.

 

“Critically, capitalism has proven itself to be adaptable and flexible enough to fit the specific needs of particular countries. Capitalism comes in many forms, from that practised in the US to the very different model that has been adopted within communist China. The causes and consequences of these variations are, of course, significant – but the more important fact remains: the mainstream debate is about how to practise capitalism not whether we should choose between capitalism and some other system.” [Emphasis added] [Source]

Generation Investment is acknowledged for its contribution in the May 2013 41-page document Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing in collaboration with Phil Aroneanu and Jamie Henn of 350.org, Bob Massie of the New Economics Institute and others interconnected within this campaign. The sponsors listed are 350.org, Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC), Sustainable Endowments Institute and Tellus Institute. [2]

“By Year Five of the simulation, the portfolio has become fossil free and its five-percent targeted reinvestment has been allocated, across a variety of asset classes, as shown in Figure 4. Half of the target (2.5 percent of the entire portfolio) can be re-allocated to sustainable, fossil-free domestic and international public equities, through existing strategies with investment managers such as Generation Investment Management, Impax Asset Management, Portfolio 21, and Trillium Asset Management, among others.” — Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing

Video: Ceres lecture featuring Bill McKibben with David Blood:

https://vimeo.com/66321774

Generation’s key action is “to accelerate mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism.” Insight into the coming corporate capture / commodification of the commons via the global implementation of “payments for ecosystem services” (PES) is made clear under the Current Initiatives section where it is stated: “Until there are policies that establish a fair price for widely understood externalities, academics and financial professionals should strive to quantify the impact of stranded assets and analyze the subsequent implications for assessing investment opportunities.” [Emphasis added.]

The top three sectors of focus for Generation are key to how the 21st century is being shaped: 1) Agricultural and Forestry Solutions (think genetic engineering, biomass burning, land grabs, and commodification of forests/REDD 2); Behaviour Change (think Avaaz/Purpose); 3) Bio-based Fuels, Plastics and Chemicals. (See all key sectors of focus that have been publicly disclosed.) (Note that 350.org et al are now publicly campaigning on/promoting the false solution of biofuels.)

Three such partnerships (publicly disclosed) include World Resources Institute, Natural Resource Defense Council (both represented on the Ceres board of directors), and The Climate Reality Project (formerly identified as Alliance for Climate Protection). Under Memberships and Initiatives, we find Ceres, the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and many others.

“We provide business-building expertise, access to Generation’s investment, corporate, NGO and sustainability networks and a long term strategic perspective and commitment to our portfolio companies.” [Source]

And the icing on the cake:

“Five percent of the profitability of the firm is allocated to The Generation Foundation, which will support global non-profit sustainability initiatives.”

Gore and Blood identify five key imperatives that “have the potential to accelerate the transition to Sustainable Capitalism”. The first imperative identified is the need to identify and incorporate risks from stranded assets.

Enter Carbon Tracker.

Carbon Tracker

carbon-tracker-presentation-anthony-hobley-at-sitra-helsinki-21-may-2014-10-638

Ruse: noun 1. an action intended to mislead, deceive, or trick; stratagem

Utilizing research from the Potsdam Institute [3], Carbon Tracker made the case for “unburnable carbon” in the July 2011 seminal report “Unburnable Carbon: are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble?” The report suggested that the top 100 coal and 100 oil-and-gas companies had a combined value in 2011 of $7.42 trillion, much of it based on reserves that can never be used. Such reserves are one example considered by Tracker that have the potential to become stranded assets – thereby exposing investors to risk. The tracker employs (and supplies) the so-called “carbon budget” as a measure (and apparatus) as to how much more carbon the world can continue to “safely” burn.

“The concept of ‘stranded assets‘ gained prominence last year when another report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative calculated that 60-80% of the world’s coal, oil, and gas reserves would be ‘unburnable’ if the world leaders agreed to emissions reductions to limit warming to 2°C…. In essence, any price on carbon or emissions reduction policy could cut oil demand enough to strand any number of a company’s proven reserves.” — Desmog Blog, September 13, 2014

Carbon Tracker’s second “unburnable carbon” report (Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets (PDF) is co-authored with LSE’s (London School of Economics) Grantham Research Institute. The Institute has been financed/supported in part by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) through a grant for US$2.16 million (£1.35 million) to fund several research project areas from 2012 to 2014. LSE’s Grantham Research Institute membership includes (but is not limited to) Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund; Vikram Singh Mehta, chairman of Shell Companies (India); Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF (US); and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, chairman of EL Rothschild Ltd.

The aim of the Grantham Research Institute is to strengthen the analytical and empirical underpinnings of the ‘green growth’ concept in relation to both developing and developed countries.” [Source] [GGGI Partners] Yvo de Boer is the Director-General of GGGI [People]. Prior to joining the global accountancy firm KPMG in 2010, Mr. de Boer led the international process to respond to climate change in the role of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2006 to 2010.

Carbon Tracker could very much be considered the key stratagem, foundation, glue and more importantly, a veil or even a shield for both the divestment campaign (global in scale), and the so-called carbon “budget.” Reports, data and papers released by this foundation-financed think tank are pumped through the channels of power, the result being the legitimization of concepts that have no basis in reality if it were not for the non-profit industrial complex, in tandem with media, ensuring no one states – or even notices – the obvious, that the emperor has no clothes.

“A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or ‘hopelessly stupid.’ The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession.” [Source]

In this instance, the emperor is the oligarchy as a collective, the ministers are the sycophants that comprise the NPIC, and the townsfolk – not wanting to appear stupid or undeserving.

Reports such as Carbon Tracker’s serve to legitimate, normalize and thus sanction the already capitalist-sanctioned “activism” that deliberately assists in pushing forward particular policies and agendas already conceptualized (years and even decades in advance) by the funders and the elite.

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Consider who finances the work of the Carbon Tracker. “The work of Carbon Tracker has been made possible by the vision and openness to innovation shown by organisations such as the following”: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Tellus Mater Foundation, Generation Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, The European Climate Foundation, The Growald Family Fund, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust ,The Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation, The Ashden Trust, Zennstrom Philanthropies, MAVA Foundation, The Velux Foundation, and The Grantham Foundation. After you consider the “who” behind the financing, consider “why” the financing.

Wallace Global Fund refers to its interest in funding Carbon Tracker as Support for a collaboration between climate activists and financial analysts seeking to align the action of world capital markets with the reality of global warming.”

“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.” — John D. Rockefeller

Millions of dollars funnelled through foundations into institutions, who in turn churn out reports, serve a pivotal purpose. Slick reports, marketing and PR build security (and acceptance/acquiescence amongst the populace) for the investment strategies belonging to the endowments (as well as the trustees) of the very foundations such institutions/NGOs are funded by. This is nothing more than polished PR at arm’s length intended/financed to promote said investments – as well as divestments. The appearance of an independent think tank evokes trust in the public realm. The oligarchs know how to manage, shape and modify behavioural change amongst the public. We are a public of rampant consumption and continued devolution, by design. There is little doubt that the billions of dollars the elite have pumped into the NPIC must quantify as one of the best long-term investments they have ever made.

The concepts of carbon budget, stranded assets and carbon asset bubbles have indeed gained traction with many people. This is in part due to the repetitive messaging of familiar language and unthreatening implications (via a massive injection of funding; Rockefeller et al must be pleased), the précis being that a person of privilege and monetary wealth can simply move his/her money from coal or Exxon and re-invest it into “clean” investments such as massive solar projects in deliberately impoverished Africa that will export the energy to those who already have it in Europe, geothermal, biomass projects that burn the remaining Earth’s forests and whole cultures into ashes, or REDD, which commodifies Earth’s forests for the even further expansion of capital. Pick your poison wisely. In less than 30 minutes we have “saved the world” and we still retain our wealth and privilege. Yet in reality, nothing has changed, the system demands continued growth, clean energy demands fossil fuels and vast resources from an already depleted planet, and the world continues to warm. To divest and feel no consequences is far preferred (by the 1% creating 50% of all global GHG emissions) than actual/tangible divesting from vacations (flying), personal automobiles, clothes dryers, steaks, lawn-mowers, leaf-blowers, Starbucks, etc. etc. etc. – including iPhones, iPods, iEverthing, with emphasis on the word “I.”

“The investor effort, called the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) initiative, is being coordinated by Ceres and the Carbon Tracker initiative, with support from the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change.” — Ceres Press Release, October 24, 2013

The organizations behind the quickly-emerging “new” economy are all very much interwoven, as are the players and key people. James Leaton, Research Director for the Carbon Tracker Initiative (2010 onward), was recently featured at the May 1-2, 2013 Ceres conference with 350.org’s McKibben and Bob Massie (former president and CEO of the New Economy Coalition). Leaton was also featured at the INCR Annual Meeting at the Ceres conference titled The 21st Century Investor: Ceres Blueprint for Sustainable Investing conference which took place April 30, 2013.

Carbon Tracker is identified as one of the key NGOs engaged with the US Divest-Invest Coordinating Committee (USCC). The combination of a need to be both an environmentalist and a capitalist (definitely not in that order) in the organization is represented in the following job posting:

As You Sow job description, February 13, 2015: “Organizations in the Coalition: 350.org, Responsible Endowments Coalition, Intentional Endowments Network, Hip-Hop Caucus, Energy Action Coalition, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Black Mesa Water Coalition, Carbon Tracker, California Student Sustainability Coalition, Divest-Invest Philanthropy, Divest-Invest Individual, Fenton Communications, Mayors Innovation Project, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), New Economy Coalition, GreenFaith, Healthcare without Harm, Sustainable Initiatives at Partners HealthCare, As You Sow, or other organizations engaged with Divest-Invest.”

Key staff at Carbon Tracker demonstrate that a vital prerequisite to being hired/chosen by the Tracker is vast experience in carbon markets.

Prior to his role at Carbon Tracker, Leaton was a sustainability and climate change consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, focusing on the financial sector, advising blue chip clients on risks and “opportunities.” Prior to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Leaton spent five years at WWF as a senior policy advisor, focusing on the links between energy and finance.

“‘Assets are already being written down due to increasing competition between energy sources, air quality standards being introduced to reduce health impacts, and measures to reduce carbon pollution combining to change the energy landscape,’ said James Leaton, Research Director at Carbon Tracker. ‘Avoiding high cost, high carbon projects which are failing to deliver a return on capital will improve shareholder returns.'” — Ceres Press Release, October 24, 2013

Mark Fulton is currently an adviser to the Carbon Tracker Initiative and Senior Fellow at Ceres. He is a recognized economist (of 35 years) and market strategist at leading financial institutions including Citigroup, Salomon Bros and County Natwest. Prior to this role, Fulton was head of research at Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors at Deutsche Bank (from 2007 to 2012). He is currently a member of the Capital Markets Climate Initiative, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. From 2010 to 2012 he was co-chair of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative Climate Change Working Group. In 2011 and 2012, Fulton served on the technical committee of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All.

“‘Many of the responses investors have received from the companies thus far acknowledge that there is a legitimate risk issue around carbon reserves, and companies are open to continued engagement from the investor community to determine the scope,’ said Mark Fulton, a member of the Carbon Tracker’s Advisory Board and a Ceres adviser.” — Ceres Press Release, October 24, 2013

Anthony Hobley has been Chief Executive Officer of the Carbon Tracker Initiative since February 2014. Hobley played a key role in helping design the UK’s pilot emissions trading scheme and also in developing key aspects of the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System). Hobley was seconded to Norton Rose Fulbright’s Sydney office between 2010 and 2012 where he was heavily involved in the development of the emerging carbon and clean energy markets in Australia and Asia. He was a key figure behind the creation of the business advocacy group Businesses for a Clean Economy, a coalition of businesses arguing for a price on carbon. Anthony was also behind the creation of the business group Climate Markets & Investment Association where he is the current president. He also sits on the boards of the Verified Carbon Standards Association and on the Advisory Board to the Climate Bonds Initiative. [Source | Full Bio]

The Carbon Tracker advisory board is made up of representatives of carbon market institutions.

The board includes: Nick Robins (co-director of the UNEP Green Finance Enquiry), Lois Guthrie (CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board), Tessa Tennant (founder and board member, Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia – ASrIA), Ben Caldecott (programme director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford) Catherine Howarth (CEO at ShareAction), James Stacey (head of sustainable finance strategy at Earth Capital Partners), Jemma Green (previously VP of sustainable finance at JP Morgan), Meg Brown (previously director of climate and sustainability research at Citi Investment Research), Stanislas Dupré (founder & director at 2° Investing Initiative), Bevis Longstreth (previously commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Laura Sandys (member of parliament for South Thanet), Mark Lewis (senior sustainability analyst and co-ordinator of energy transition & climate change research at Kepler Cheuvreux), and Neil Morisetti (director of strategy at UCL Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy Department, previously special representative for climate change at the UK Foreign Secretary.)

Ben Caldecott’s elite standing in the interlocking directorate is extensive. Identified as a British environmentalist, economist, and commentator, he serves on the advisory board of Carbon Tracker, and as a trustee of the Green Alliance think tank. He serves as head of government advisory for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, director of the Stranded Assets Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, adviser to The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit, academic visitor at the Bank of England, and visiting fellow at the University of Sydney. He is head of European Policy at Climate Change Capital, directing the CCC think tank and advising CCC funds and clients on the development of policy-driven markets. Caldecott has previously worked as research director for environment and energy at the think tank Policy Exchange. Caldecott serves on the advisory network of the Natural Capital Declaration, which is key (discussed at length further in this report). Caldecott has worked in parliament and for a number of different UK government departments and international organisations, including UNEP and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Caldecott has been instrumental in building government support for “clean coal.” Thus, UK leaders are all calling for an end to unabated coal – code for carbon capture and sequestration/storage.

Ben C

Above: Business Summit on Climate Leadership 2011 Speakers. Ben Caldecott – Head of European Policy, Climate Change Capital, second in from far right (Flickr, Climate Group)

Carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) (which uses the sequestered CO2 to recover more oil out of depleted oil fields) is a critical component of the “new economy.” CCS is to gain acceptance as a vital component of the new “low carbon” economy where societies can continue production/burning of both coal and oil under the guise of “emissions reduction measures.” In tandem with the quiet proliferation of biomass (supported by the NPIC) and other false solutions, this economy has already begun:

“In the Weyburn oil field in Saskatchewan, Canada – where CO2 from the Dakota Gasification Company’s coal gasification plant in Beulah, ND is piped north to pump into the oil field, buying 25 more years of oil production – 2.8 times more CO2 would be released from all of the extra oil they expect to produce than the amount they ‘sequester’ (ignoring reports of leakage). In the Permian Basin (TX/NM), 47% of the amount of CO2 pumped into the ground is re-released by burning the extra oil produced (that would otherwise stay in the ground).” [Source]

Stephen Tindale, former executive director of Greenpeace UK, is another “environmentalist” in support of carbon capture and storage. In a series on his website Climate Answers , the commentary CCS: What the EU Needs to Do – Part 1, with Nick Horler, chief executive of ScottishPower, is supported by Caldecott. Both Tindale and Caldecott have contributed significant language and concepts to the discourse on climate since this 2010 piece. Here we witness just one aspect of the many realms of genius behind the marketing/branding of the instrumental stranded/bubble/budget language that has “changed everything.” Coal in particular, has been identified and condemned by both the media and NPIC as a coming stranded asset. Thus coal is “saved” from stranded status when CCS is deployed; the “carbon bubble” refrains from bursting; and the amount of “unburnable carbon” in the “carbon budget” reduced.

As with all the shaping of our shared futures by the elite, the pathway to CCS is clear in the 2008 Green Alliance paper, A Last Chance for Coal, with contributions from Ben Caldecott while at the Policy Exchange think tank. The paper notes that it is critical Europe’s commitment to CCS be realized before 2020; 12 short years away from the paper’s publication date. The year 2020 is a critical date of vast significance – a recurring deadline for all environmental market solutions to be in place.

While the front figures in the “movement” such as 350’s Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein repeat and inflate the language of stranded assets, carbon bubbles, budgets, divestment and renewable energy, the issue of CCS is rarely mentioned or touched upon, while the most critical issue that has ever faced humanity, the financialization of nature, via the global implementation of “payments for ecosystem services,” receives no attention whatsoever. It’s not that these appointed “leaders” don’t understand the “this changes everything” world that the oligarchs have been working toward for decades. They do. Consider that Caldecott, as a key figure in the delivering/marketing of mainstream finance to “clean energy” partnered with 350.org for the 2014 “Stranded Down Under Tour” in Australia.

“It appears to us that divestment is the bait and engagement is the fishing rod – divestment is vital in hooking people’s attention, and the engagement tools and analysis is [sic] essential to reel the capex [capital expenditures] in. Investors and NGOs now need to have the patience to catch enough fish.” — Carbon Tracker Website

Most, if not all organizations and investment firms promoting or affiliated with the divestment campaign have vested interests in the expansion of false solutions such as CCS, biomass, carbon credits/trading and environmental markets – all clamouring to cash in on the promise of the most unparalleled wealth opportunity of the 21st century.

The Investor Expectations: Oil and Gas Companies was developed by the IIGCC with support from Ceres’ INCR, IGCC and AIGCC. It builds on the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) Initiative, through which 75 investors managing more than $3 trillion in assets engaged with 45 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. The CAR initiative is coordinated by Ceres and Carbon Tracker, with support from IIGCC and IGCC, which lead engagement with fossil fuel companies in Europe and Australia/New Zealand respectively.

The Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) Initiative: “In the long term, investors want to see fossil fuel companies adapt, remaining successful by: Focusing on fewer projects at the low end of the cost curve; Returning capital to investors; and Diversifying business toward cleaner, lower-carbon energy sources, including renewables, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage (CCS).”

Divest-Invest

“The transition to a low-carbon economy will be the most significant economic change in history. It will be deeper, more fundamental than the industrial revolution, and faster than the technology revolution. And it’s going to happen in the next five to 10 years…. The leadership of Divest-Invest is important, the leadership at 350.org.” — David Blood, Generation Investment, Divest-Invest Transcript, Fenton Communications, Wallace Global Fund, and Inst. for Policy Studies, September 22, 2014

 

The common definition of a Divest-Invest commitment is a pledge to divest from the top fossil fuel companies within five years and to move those assets into clean energy investments. As the movement has spread, participants have tailored the timing and sequence of commitments to their particular circumstances. The working group has recognized the variety of these circumstances and has designed this process to allow institutions to meet both their fiduciary and moral responsibilities. — Arabella Advisors, Measuring the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement, September 19, 2014

The global divestment campaign targets 200 of the world’s largest publicly traded fossil-fuel corporations: 100 from oil and gas and 100 from coal. These are ranked according to the size of their proven reserves. The Measuring the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement report (September 19, 2014) discloses the following:

“The working group relied upon self-reported data from individual commitments to determine the number and scope of divest-invest pledges. Individuals agreed to a standard pledge, and most completed a brief survey. The standard pledge (available at http://divestinvest.org/individual) states:

  1. I will make no new investments in the top 200 oil, gas, and coal companies [as defined by the Carbon Tracker 200].
  2. I will sell my existing assets tied to these oil, gas, and coal investments within three to five years.
  3. I will invest in the new energy economy.

It is critical to note the language and the framing of the divest-invest campaign (which isn’t necessarily the same as divestment at large). To begin, the term “new” (in #3) refers to both the “new economy” and, in this instance, the “new energy economy,” which is strategic. As discussed in 2014 by Avaaz/Purpose Inc. co-founder Jeremy Heimans, the former term “green” (as in “green economy”) is, for all marketing intents and purposes, dead. For clarity, individuals agree to not invest in the top 100 public coal, oil and gas companies listed by the “Carbon Tracker 200.” All other investments appear to be fair game: biofuel/biomass, nuclear, the military-industrial complex/weapons industry, the chemical industry, factory farming, aviation, BNSF, pornography… it’s all up for grabs. One can move their investments from Exxon over to Lockheed Martin & make a killing – both literally and figuratively. Not only is there a plethora of fuel-intensive stock options/investments, those divesting are given a full five years to follow through on their commitment “to meet both their fiduciary and moral responsibilities,” meaning that a corporation/entity can announce their “commitment,” have 350.org greenwash their persona, and then five years later, when staff positions, economic opportunities, etc. have changed, toss it out with the bath water if they wish to do so. Further, it is not enough to simply divest – one must agree, most importantly, to “invest in the new energy economy.” Thus, the idea of starving the corporate stranglehold, even if only in a limited way, is effectively out the window.

Oil services companies, pipeline companies, refiners, holding facility companies, etc. are all fair game for those wishing to divest. Yet the reality is that none of these industries/companies make their big money from shareholders or stock markets. These companies make the bulk of their profits by booking reserves and selling their product directly to market. Further, most of the capital for the shale gas and oil revolution comes from private equity. “Big oil” has not been at the centre of it. Rather, the centre is comprised of smaller independent and private companies. The more one understands the industries and the business, the more one comes to the realization of what a hoax the “divest-invest” campaign actually is.

Divest-Invest Philanthropy

Divest Invest Allies and Advisors

The Divest-Invest NGO is comprised of three pillars: 1) Divest-Invest Philanthropy [4], 2) Divest-Invest Individual and 3) the Divest-Invest Advisors and Allies.

In her role as CEO of Phoenix Global Impact, Jenna Nicholas is consulting with the World Bank on social impact bonds; she is coordinating the Divest-Invest: Philanthropy Initiative, appointed by the Wallace Global Fund as of March 2014. Nicholas is an associate to Calvert Special Equities and sits on the advisory groups of the Impact Hub DC, Nexus Global Youth Summit and High Water Women. [Full Bio]

Allies and advisors of the Divest-Invest campaign are to ensure success: “Advisors and allies keep core campaign staff informed on various financial, business, community and legal trends relevant to the pledge and/or steps for follow-through…. In collaboration with Divest-Invest Philanthropy and many other movement partners and allies, we are accelerating the transition to a sustainable and equitable economy. [Source]

Such groups are popping up everywhere. Whether there are dozens, hundreds or even thousands has yet to be ascertained. But one thing is certain. They have been tactically preparing for the “new economy” windfall.

Consider the 2° Investing Initiative [2°ii], a multi-stakeholder think tank working to align the financial sector with 2°C climate goals: “Our association consists of more than 30 member organizations and 60 individual members, most of whom are serving in financial institutions (banks, asset management, private equity, brokerage, etc.). Some other members are experts from different fields (consulting, accounting, extra-financial analysis, etc.), either researchers (economy, climate economics), or public servants. Two of our members are Members of the European Parliament (former Ministers of Environment in their respective countries).”

Members:

2C Investing Members

Peers and links within this particular interlocking directorate include the Carbon Tracker Initiative (which coined the term “carbon bubble”), Long Finance, Finance Watch, OECD, Climate Change Capital, UNEP-FI (a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and financial institutions), Asset Owners Disclosure Project, Climate Policy Initiative, E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), CDC Climat, McKinsey Global Institute, Climate Bonds Initiative, BNEF (Bloomberg), GABV (Global Alliance for Banking on Values), BankTrack and The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC is a Ceres initiative).

Over and over again we witness (yet ignore) the interlocking directorate: NGOs, executive board members, advisors, fellows, CEOs, politicians, bankers and media – all working together for the expansion of capital markets. And although the divestment campaign appears fresh out of nowhere, the NGOs assigned to capture the public’s trust, waiting in the wings, did not simply fall from the summer sky. The organizing and deployment is precise, strategic, seductive and global in scale.

As one investigates the history and financing of the divestment campaign, one begins to recognize specific organizations that appear/overlap more frequently than others, for example, Ceres, Ceres entities, United Nations organizations, 350.org and Carbon Tracker. These groups lead in shaping the public opinion and providing the discourse required to implement already conceived/awaiting policies that serve hegemonic interests (expansion of capital markets), while simultaneously securing, strengthening and insulating capitalism itself.

Investment Terminology

In the July 7, 2014 article, Why the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement is a Farce, the author sheds much needed light on investment terminologies and information that are little understood by the average citizen:

“Notice the words ‘publicly traded.’ In other words, fossil fuel divestment would target only major corporations that are listed on the stock market. But pension funds and endowments, the entities largely targeted by the 350.org campaign, invest hundreds of billions of dollars in privately traded securities, such as hedge funds and private equity – vehicles that are invested at all levels of the fossil fuel economy. (In particular, hedge funds and private equity have been found to be the key financial backers of the fracking boom.) Were the Massachusetts divestment bill to pass, state pension funds would invariably still be invested in the fossil fuel economy.”

The20billioncarbonbubble1

Graphic: Public companies represent a small piece of the pie; $7 trillion in fossil fuel reserves as opposed to private and national companies that represent three times this market size. Source

The cautionary reference to hedge funds is significant. Note that Blood & Gore’s Generation Investment is a hedge fund. Also note the tight relationship between 350.org founder Bill McKibben, hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, the US Democratic Party and the crème de la crème of the establishment Left (to be discussed later in this report). On May 6, 2014 CNN reported that the top 25 hedge fund managers took home $21 billion among them.

The author [Why the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement is a Farce] continues:

“The divestment campaign argues that 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies dominate the fossil fuel exploration market. But they ignore that such companies frequently depend on private equity and hedge funds for financing new investments when large banks are uninterested in taking on further risk. The public can rarely (if ever) verify that these types of arrangements take place, even if it is a teacher attempting to verify what her pension fund is doing with her money.

 

“The divestment campaign argues that 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies dominate the fossil fuel exploration market. But they ignore that such companies frequently depend on private equity and hedge funds for financing new investments when large banks are uninterested in taking on further risk. The public can rarely (if ever) verify that these types of arrangements take place, even if it is a teacher attempting to verify what her pension fund is doing with her money.

 

“Pension funds and endowments have not always invested in the private market. In the 1980s and before, in fact, they were almost exclusively invested in publicly traded securities. Laws such as the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 allowed the public to verify how the companies in which pension funds and endowments were investing used their funds and provided transparency to investors in order to prevent fraudulent activity.

 

“By focusing only on publicly traded securities, the fossil fuel divestment campaign ignores the corporate misdeeds of a sector that holds billions of dollars of investments in a dirty energy economy.

 

“The same is not possible with privately traded alternative investments, which have been on the rise since the early 1990s. (It is difficult to ascertain why exactly pension funds and endowments have funneled assets into private markets, as there is little evidence that they perform any better than stocks and bonds and a great deal of evidence that they are far riskier. Private market money managers are notorious as great salesmen, and a series of pay-to-play scandals have implicated some of the largest hedge funds and private equity firms.) Regardless, today pension funds and endowments are by far the largest investors in hedge funds and private equity.” [Emphasis added]

carbon-tracker-presentation-anthony-hobley-at-sitra-helsinki-21-may-2014-6-1024

Above: Private and institutional investors represent Carbon Tracker’s largest/key target audience.

The author continues, citing conflict of interest:

“Further compromising the campaign is its questionable line of funding. It has received at least $350,000 from Jeremy Grantham, a hedge fund manager who oversees more than $500 million in assets for public pension funds in Massachusetts. According to a report from Inside Philanthropy, 350.org also receives funding from billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer. (The organization declined to state exactly how much money it has received from Steyer and Grantham.)

 

“Farallon Capital Management, which Steyer founded, has major investments at all levels of the fossil fuel economy. While he is no longer at the helm, during his leadership it pursued major deals in fossil fuels, as a recent report from Reuters showed. In fact, the firm had been a target of student activists before he began funding them.

“Grantham, for his part, argued in an interview with The Guardian that he felt that student activists should ‘stamp their feet’ to get their university endowments to divest from fossil fuels ‘because they can do that.’ With his firm’s significant investments in the fossil fuel economy – according to first quarter 2014 filings, $1.2 billion in Chevron, $570 million in ExxonMobil and $240 million in Monsanto – he, apparently, cannot.” [Emphasis added]

Jeremy Grantham apparently encourages others to stamp their feet and divest while his firm, decidedly, does not. He is not alone. Following the media saturation of September 22, 2014 that hailed the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) divestment as a historic world event, few reported that RBF had decided to hang on to their Exxon stocks. [This is discussed at length later in this report.]

Here it is important to recall that Carbon Tracker is affiliated with London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute. Jeremy Grantham co-founded the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment in 1997. Funding was given to both Imperial College London and London School of Economics to establish the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. In 2011, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment donated $1 million to both the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy, and $2 million to the Environmental Defense Fund. The Foundation has also provided support to Greenpeace, the WWF and the Smithsonian. [Source] As noted earlier in this report, London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute membership includes (but is not limited to) Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund; Vikram Singh Mehta, chairman of Shell Companies (India); Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF (US); and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, chairman of EL Rothschild Ltd.

In the July 10, 2014 rebuttal, Why a Movement is Never a Farce, the author frames the divestment campaign as a Gandhi-esque movement. Yet there are items that an astute citizen must consider distinct red flags: “Endorsements have come from such unexpected places as the World Bank, and even former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs’ COO Henry Paulson this past week.” Given the references to Gandhi and endorsements that “have come from such unexpected places as the World Bank,” it is of interest to note that Martin Luther King’s first trip to India to study Gandhi was paid for by the RJ Reynolds (tobacco empire) family (funneled through Quaker group American Friends Service Committee.) In a letter, an AFSC official writes that the trip seems to have been designed as a photo-op to “build up King as a world figure, and to have this buildup recorded in the US.”

The author then writes: “It is a sign of divestment’s power that it has gained endorsements from the likes of Wall Street, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves into trusting either Wall Street or the White House to show us the way to a new economy. Accepting endorsement, however, is not the same as taking direction; fossil fuel divestment is a grassroots movement led by students, not billionaires, and is firmly committed to justice and solidarity. I know because myself and countless other students and recent alumni – with the vital support of nonprofits – have poured the last few years of our lives into building it. Call that misdirected, sure, but don’t call it Astroturf.”

Yet it’s not “a sign of divestment’s power that it has gained endorsements from the likes of Wall Street” – the divestment campaign is Wall Street. 350.org (with McKibben at the helm) developed the divestment campaign in consultation with Wall Street. The author is, however, correct that the purpose of the divestment campaign is very much “to show us the way to a new economy.” As 21st century lambs of the oligarch, well-intentioned students are utilized, used and misdirected via tactical manipulation.

Steyer, Bloomberg, Soros & the Democrats

McKibben and Steyer March-7

Photo: People’s Climate March, 2014. Bill McKibben (350.org founder) with Tom Steyer, hedge fund billionaire and founder of Generation Next

“It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.” — George Carlin

An example of so-called progressive media amplifying Carbon Tracker’s disapproval of coal use in China (Carbon Tracker report: “Energy Access: why coal is not the way out of energy poverty”) appears straightforward. As does the slide presentation published October 29, 2014 by Carbon Tracker: Is Coal a Sinking Ship? Yet perhaps it isn’t.

Consider that the demand for coal in both China and India is going to do nothing but grow. Then consider this: In an effort to support its own mines and workers and economy, China is in the process of cutting all purchases of imported coal as rapidly as possible (April 14, 2015: “China’s coal imports decline by 42 percent during first quarter…. The international coal market is saddled with excessive supplies for the moment….”). India, still trying to provide basic power to citizens, is also rejecting further dependence on international coal. On November 12, 2014 the Power and Coal Minister of India, Piyush Goyal, stated “in the next two or three years we should be able to stop imports of thermal coal.” This position has been endorsed by India’s Prime Minister. This certainly puts a damper on U.S. plans to ship an additional 100 million tons of coal per year to Asia via three proposed coal ports – an aggravating deterrent that must also extend to Australia which plans to open mega coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, as well as the world’s largest port (at Abbot Point right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef) for export to China. Not only does India have more coal than Australia, India has 57 times more labourers.

A “no coal for China” anthem as sung by the non-profit industrial complex can also be interpreted as de facto promotion of natural gas/fracking, nuclear, etc. Consider the Bloomberg media coverage (referencing Carbon Tracker) in the article covering China moving from coal to gas. As Bloomberg (Bloomberg Philanthropies being a financial backer of Carbon Tracker) has been financing the fracking boom, one might question if there is a coordinated effort between Michael Bloomberg and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who, along with billionaire Tom Steyer’s Next Generation, have launched the Risky Business Project.

From the Risky Business website:

“Launched in October, 2013, the Risky Business Project focuses on quantifying and publicizing the economic risks from the impacts of a changing climate.

 

“Risky Business Project co-chairs Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer tasked the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm that specializes in analyzing disruptive global trends, with an independent assessment of the economic risks posed by a changing climate in the U.S. Rhodium convened a research team co-led by climate scientist Dr. Robert Kopp of Rutgers University and economist Dr. Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley. Rhodium also partnered with Risk Management Solutions (RMS), the world’s largest catastrophe-modeling company for insurance, reinsurance, and investment-management companies around the world. The team’s complete assessment, along with technical appendices, is available at Rhodium’s website, climateprospectus.rhg.com.”

The Risky Business Project is a joint partnership of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Paulson Institute, and TomKat Charitable Trust (established in 2009 with funding from Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor), one of many financiers of 350.org (see image below). Additional support for the project has been provided by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the McKnight Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation. Staff support for the Risky Business Project is provided by Next Generation, also co-founded by Steyer.

350 Funders

Bloomberg Philanthropies also invests in oil and gas via Willet Advisors. Logic dictates that due to its holdings/investments in the gas/fracking industry, Bloomberg will therefore highlight any victories against dirty coal – including faux ones. Thus although the divestment campaign is successful in the stigmatization of coal corporations, the label of corporate pariah does not extend to carbon sequestration schemes, industrial biomass and a score of other false solutions that will comprise the bulk share of the “clean” economy. Rather, such false solutions are grossly labeled as victorious and sought after by the appointed “leaders” of the environmental “movement.” Consider the re-tweet of the article Shell’s Global Warming Strategy Is Psychopathic & Paranoid, Says Former UK Climate Envoy by Bill McKibben in which the gist of the argument is why Shell is dragging their feet on carbon capture and sequestration. Further consider that the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to convert Nevada’s Pinyon Forests to biomass that threatens ancient rituals is backed by partner organizations such as Sierra Club, in partnership with Barrick Gold and Barrick Corp. This is just one instance of biomass facilities planned or already in operation under the guise of “clean” energy and/or carbon neutrality.

Bill McKibben Tweet CCS Shell 2

Steyer must be considered king hedge fund bourgeois extraordinaire with close ties to those in power. Time magazine, May 22, 2014: “So when Barack Obama appeared at Tom Steyer’s San Francisco home for a fundraiser last year, the President had to know there would be an ask. The 56-year-old Steyer is a hedge-fund billionaire and a major-league Democratic donor.”

August 6, 2014, Politico:

Billionaire Tom Steyer joined fellow liberal billionaire George Soros for a lunchtime meeting with Obama adviser John Podesta at the White House on Feb. 20, according to White House visitor logs. That was just days after Steyer pledged to spend $100 million on the midterm elections. Steyer also met with Podesta on March 31, along with NextGen Climate Action COO Josh Fryday and Denver attorney Ted White, managing partner of Fahr LLC, an ‘umbrella entity’ for Steyer’s various organizations.

 

“According to records, Steyer has visited the White House on at least 12 occasions since 2009 for meetings with top-level administration officials including Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, Pete Rouse, Heather Zichal, Jon Carson and David Lane. Those records only cover through April, and Steyer is known to have attended a June 25 meeting with Podesta, John Holdren, Valerie Jarrett and others to discuss his ‘Risky Business’ report on climate change.”

Exploiting climate change destruction to garner votes for the Democrats is par for the course within the NPIC; exploiting climate change destruction to further unprecedented “climate wealth opportunities” is not only the best game in town – it’s the best game on the industrialized planet.

 

Next: Part X

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

EndNotes:

[1] Source: “M. Mills, personal communication, 2010.” In Howell, Robert. “The Challenge of Sustainability for the Financial Sector.” International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability.

[2] The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US) also serves to promote the divestment campaign in the “Education Center” where one finds “Fossil Fuels, Divestment & Reinvestment.” Within this section, under other resources, the link titled Institutional Pathways to Fossil Free Investing brings us back to the May 2013 41-page document Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing [emphasis added].

[3] “Thanks to the Carbon Bubble report, we now have some better numbers to help us grapple with that question. Based on research by the Potsdam Institute, the report suggests that if the world wants an 80% chance of staying within the 2ºC limit, we should avoid emitting more than 565 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2 by 2050. That equates to just one-fifth of the world’s total proven fossil fuel reserves, which contain enough carbon to produce a massive 2,795GT of CO2, the report estimates.”

[4] The DivestInvest Philanthropy steering committee and working group members include: Ellen Dorsey, Ellen Friedman, Richard Woo, Tom VanDyck, Melissa Beck, Jenna Nicholas, Farhad Ebrahimi, Vic de Luca, David Gordon, Florence Miller, Peter Martin, Anne Stetson, Jon Jensen, John Goldstein, Shally Shanker and Ginny Quick.

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part IV of an Investigative Report] [Marketing a Fallacy]

The Art of Annihilation

April 23, 2014

Part four of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

 “Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

naturebarcode1

Prologue: A Coup d’état of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

The purpose of this investigative series is to illustrate (indeed, prove) this premise.

+++

Marketing a Fallacy

There-is-No-Alternative

It is imperative to understand that the “solutions” being proposed in response to our unparalleled planetary ecological crisis will be only those that have the ability to enhance profits or build brand value, thus increasing revenues/profits. Yet, the fallacy of such “solutions” cannot be understated. The industrialized capitalist system is dependent upon growth. Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible – a 5-year-old child can understand this fact because it is simple common sense (i.e., he or she would not wish to keep growing forever). Growth is dependent upon destruction of the natural world and exploitation of the world’s most vulnerable people. Violence is inherently built into the system. The idea that a “green economy” under the capitalist system will somehow slow down our accelerating multiple ecological crises and climate change is a delusional fallacy of epic proportion. Ceres allows corporations to continue this delusion and constructs a paradigm that conditions a culture to believe the fallacy.

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street | [Part II of an Investigative Report] [The “Climate Wealth” Opportunists]

Ceres & the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)

cereslogo1

March 10, 2014

Part two of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

 “Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

Preface: A Coup d’etat of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

The purpose of this investigative series is to illustrate (indeed, prove) this premise.

+++

CERES

INCR_Logo

 “One recent weekday afternoon, three men walked out of the Environmental Defense Fund’s midtown Manhattan office on their way to have lunch together. On the left was EDF’s senior economist. On the right was an environmental expert in the Soviet government. Between them was a businessman, a trader in the nascent enterprise of buying and selling pollution rights. Together that trio forms a picture of how the new environmentalism is shaping up: global, more cooperative than confrontational – and with business at the center.” — ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, CNNMoney Fortune, February 12, 1990

The present can only be fully understood if one understands the past. Therefore, in order to understand the present day 350.org divestment campaign, we must look at the inception/creation of 350.org’s partner: The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres).

Who is Ceres? Ceres is the 21st century puppeteers of Wall Street who, most recently, are pulling the strings behind the 350.org divestment campaign. Ceres represents the very heart of the nexus: millionaire liberals, their foundations, the “activists” they manage, and most importantly, where the plutocrats invest their personal wealth and that of their foundations. [“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, Ceres relies on support from foundations, individuals and other funders to achieve our mission to integrate sustainability into day-to-day business practices for the health of the planet and its people.” (Source: Ceres 2010 Annual Report)

On the Ceres Board of Directors we find key NGO affiliations: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, World Resources Institute, Ecological Solutions Inc. and Green America, to name a few. (The history of the Ceres board of directors is discussed at length, further in this report.)

 “Building climate change risks and opportunities into Wall Street research and analysis is a top Ceres priority.” — Ceres Annual Report 2006

Exxon Valdez: Opportunity Knocks

 “… sceptics of the effectiveness of a voluntary environmental ethics question whether or not the Valdez principles contain more smoke than substance.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

On March 24, 1989, one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters in Earth’s history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, shook public confidence in corporate America to the core. This catastrophic event, 5 years after the atrocious man-made disaster in Bhopal, brought corporate misconduct to the forefront. Corporate America found itself in the midst of an unprecedented public relations disaster.

 “…not long after the Exxon Valdez spill, 41% of Americans were angry enough to say they’d consider boycotting the company.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

Within six months of the Exxon disaster, the late Joan Bavaria, then-president of Trillium Asset Management, had formed a coalition that included high profile environmentalists. The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) was formed with its 10-point code of conduct in hopes of reigning in corporate power. [Note that in 2003, the organization dropped the CERES acronym and rebranded itself as “Ceres”.] Presented to the public as The Valdez Principles [1] on September 7, 1989, the strategic name brilliantly exploited the Valdez crisis (the Principles are said to have actually been written before the Valdez spill, in 1988) to build its own brand recognition and value. Ceres would be the watchdog and savior, reigning in corporate power and making it behave. Although corporate America was reluctant, due to the growing hostility and resentment from the public it also recognized that this coalition offered a strategy (“a voluntary mechanism of corporate self-governance”) as a means of re-establishing public trust, securing brand reputation and most importantly, protecting profits and power. Its influence was enhanced by the fact that member institutional investors controlled over $150 billion in assets. Yet, the risks did not go unrecognized:

“A new basis for environmentally-related derivative suits may now be emerging. Various social-activist groups are successfully sponsoring shareholder resolutions at many major corporations to mandate greater environmental accountability by the corporations. These resolutions require the implementation of ‘Valdez Principles,’ which call for the corporations to curtail air and water pollution, conserve energy, market safe products, pay for damage caused to the environment, and make regular reports on environmental matters to the shareholders. If directors and officers of corporations which have adopted these Valdez-type resolutions fail to comply with their mandate, derivative suits against the directors and officers are likely to follow.” — ACE Bermuda News, July 1991

Corporate America held out. Ceres eventually buckled. The Valdez Principles became the CERES Principles (a 10-point code of environmental conduct) [2], with the most powerful language watered down and abolished. This was fully understood by Bavaria, who recognized that without the annual public audits in particular (principle #10), the principles would be meaningless. November 1990:

“Joan Bavaria, co-chairperson of CERES, believes that the first 8 principles are meaningless without the tenth principle allowing public accountability. The difference between having the company develop their own principles, then monitoring them internally is like putting a fox in the chicken house.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

In the meantime, environmentalism was changing and becoming big business. The world had embraced Neoliberalism (or had it shoved down their throats by the IMF and World Bank) with a statement of neoliberal aims being codified in the Washington Consensus in 1989. This was to be the means of liberating the market from state intrusion, which would instead serve to shield the expanding corporatocracy. Neoliberalism would prove to be the instrumental tool of choice in what would serve, protect and expand the power of the oligarchy.

From the CNNMoney Fortune article: ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, February 12, 1990:

“Far fewer activists of the 1990s will be embittered, scruffy, antibusiness street fighters. AS AN EXAMPLE of the new breed, consider Allen Hershkowitz, who freely drops the names of his CEO acquaintances. As a solid-waste-disposal expert at the litigious Natural Resources Defense Council, Hershkowitz has won many legal battles with business. Now high-ranking executives of major companies regularly make the pilgrimage to his office in the elegant, airy, and amply funded New York City headquarters of NRDC, coming to him lest he go after them. As he explains, ‘They come in here to see what they’ve got to cover their asses on. ‘The cocky 34-year-old Ph.D., who serves as an adviser to banks and Shearson Lehman Hutton, among others, elaborates, ‘My primary motivation is environmental protection. And if it costs more, so be it. If Procter & Gamble can’t live with that, somebody else will. But I’ll tell you, Procter & Gamble is trying hard to live with it. ‘Still, for all his militancy, Hershkowitz is no fanatic or utopian. He understands that a perfect world can’t be achieved and doesn’t hesitate to talk of trade-offs: ‘Hey, civilization has its costs. We’re trying to reduce them, but we can’t eliminate them.’

 

Environmentalists of this stripe will increasingly show up even within companies. William Bishop, Procter & Gamble’s top environmental scientist, was an organizer of Earth Day in 1970 and is a member of the Sierra Club. One of his chief deputies belongs to Greenpeace. Eager to work with business, many environmentalists are moving from confrontation to the best kind of collaboration. In September an ad hoc combination of institutional investors controlling $150 billion of assets (including representatives of public pension funds) and environmental groups promulgated the Valdez Principles, named for the year’s most catalytic environmental accident. The principles ask companies to reduce waste, use resources prudently, market safe products, and take responsibility for past harm. They also call for an environmentalist on each corporate board and an annual public audit of a company’s environmental progress. The group asked corporations to subscribe to the principles, with the implicit suggestion that investments could eventually be contingent on compliance. Companies already engaged in friendly discussions included DuPont, specialty-chemical maker H.B. Fuller, and Polaroid, among others.

 

Earth Day 1990, scheduled for April 22, the 20th anniversary of the first such event, is becoming a veritable biz-fest. ‘We’re really interested in working with companies that have a good record,’ says Earth Day Chairman Denis Hayes, who predicts that 100 million people will take part one way or another. Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard have donated equipment. Shaklee, the personal and household products company, paid $50,000 to be the first official corporate sponsor. Even the Chemical Manufacturers Association is getting in on the act, preparing a list of 101 ways its members can participate. The more than 1,000 Earth Day affiliate groups in 120 countries propose to shake up politicians worldwide and launch a decade of activism. THE MESSAGE that leading environmentalists are sending, and progressive companies are receiving, is that eco-responsibility will be good for business. Says Gray Davis, California’s state controller, who helped draft the Valdez Principles and who sits on the boards of two public pension funds with total assets of $90 billion: ‘Given the increasing regulation and public concern, there’s no question that companies will eventually have to change their ways. The first kid on the block to embrace these principles will increase market share and profit substantially.'”

The primary NGOs involved in the Valdez Principles from inception were the Sierra Club, The National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation. The necessity of the “environmental movement” as the face and foundation of Ceres cannot be understated. In 1989 it was well understood by all players that NGOs were very much perceived as legitimate in the eyes of the public. The non-profit industrial complex was perhaps the only entity in the position of lending the much needed legitimacy and credibility that could mollify the public and allow the corporate world to continue their raping and pillaging, unregulated, under voluntary compliance. And while there is little doubt that well-intentioned individuals with sincere intentions were present in the formation of Ceres (as the corporate watchdog), many such “activists” will never admit to themselves that they are enablers of the very systems collectively destroying us. There is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. Privilege has a convenient way of convincing one’s self to be blind.

“The New York Times/CBS News poll regularly asks the public if ‘protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost.’ In September 1981, 45% agreed and 42% disagreed with that plainly intemperate statement. Last June, 79% agreed and only 18% disagreed. For the first time, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, profess concern for the environment in roughly equal numbers.” ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, CNNMoney Fortune, February 12, 1990

The Valdez Principles, which morphed into the completely watered down Ceres Principles, became the perfect antidote to appease an outraged populace. Corporations could breathe a sigh of relief for a continued voluntary system of corporate self governance – freshly laundered in a light green wash. At a time when public support for environmental protection was unprecedented, restrictive federal regulation power would be avoided. Corporate supremacy would continue apace.

CERES: Clearing House for the Institutionalization of Private Governance

 “It is high time that myths were called what they are. They are stories which may help explain our feelings but they are stories nonetheless and they do us no good.” — Margaret Kimberley

The CERES “Sustainable Governance Project” (SGP) was officially announced to the public in Washington, DC, 2002. The non-profit industrial complex was and continues to be an instrumental tool in building public acceptance for expansion of neoliberal policies. Hence a key focus of SGP in 2001 (prior to the official launch) was “expanding collaboration with climate change experts at groups such as The National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Redefining Progress, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund, and many others.” (Source: 2001 Annual Report) Jump forward to 2013 and the Ceres network includes over 130 NGOs.

Today, Ceres serves as the underwriter and clearinghouse for the institutionalization of private governance. Such transformation is now well under way and evolving as witnessed under the guise of the “green economy.” Such strategy is calculated and requires tactical execution. For such transformation to be successful, key critical elements must coalesce: the real or perceived (manufactured/purposeful) decline of public regulatory power; the appearance of “civil society” (self-appointed NGOs) to emanate a patina of legitimacy, credibility and trust; the perception of “caring” corporations (see “Who Cares Wins“); and lastly, media to disseminate the compiled elements in endless waves. When these elements coalesce seamlessly, fertile ground is laid for private regulatory institutions to emerge. By stressing the “risks” (i.e. water scarcity, crumbling infrastructure, etc.) Ceres successfully lays the groundwork for corporate takeover of goods, services and now ecosystems.

The Ceres Network Companies (the first pillar) make up the crème de le crème (approx. 70 corporations) of the corporate world. Examples include Citi, Bloomberg, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Suncor and Virgin. The Ceres Coalition (the second pillar) is comprised of more than 130 institutional investors, environmental and “social advocacy” groups, and public interest organizations. Examples of coalition members are Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Rockefeller Financial Asset Management, NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Action Network, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (a founder of Avaaz) and The Carbon Neutral Company.

 

SupportingSponsors2008

Leadership Circle

Image above: Just a few of the 2009 and 2013 Ceres Conference Sponsors.

The Ceres Coalition represents: the Ceres Network Companies, Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) (publicly launched in November 2003 at the first Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk held at the United Nations) and Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP: a coalition of more than 20 leading consumer brand corporations.) [Ceres Membership Requirements] [3]

“Ceres is a national network of over [130*] investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies and the capital markets to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Coalition members serve on our board of directors, participate on company stakeholder teams and engage with the Wall Street community to incorporate social and environmental costs into their research practices. More than [100*] companies worldwide, many of them Fortune 500 firms, make up the Ceres Network of Companies.” [4] [*Updated to reflect current status]

The network of Ceres companies represents a broad range of corporate interests, including oil and gas, electric utilities, and financial services. More than one-third of the company members are in the Fortune 500. Members include McDonalds Corporations, Bank of America Corporation, PG&E Corporation, Citi Bank, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Nike, PepsiCo, Suncor, Sunoco, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Virgin America, and Time Warner, to name just a few. Ceres has close ties with high-level leaders at the New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, American Accounting Association, the American Bar Association and many of the world’s most powerful corporations. The forté of Ceres is briefing/advising powerful corporate boards, from Nike to American Electric Power, on risk and opportunity.

In addition to working with investors in the Ceres Coalition, Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR):

“INCR members, whose collective assets total about $[11*] trillion, include many of the world’s largest pension funds and asset managers.” [*Updated to reflect current status]

INCR has grown from 10 institutional investors managing $600 billion (2003) to 100 institutional investors managing more than $11 trillion in assets (2012).

In 1997 CERES launched the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), now the de facto international standard for corporate voluntary sustainability reporting implemented by more than 1,800 corporations worldwide.

Benefits for corporations adopting GRI “standards” included/include guideline tools for “brand and reputation enhancement, differentiation in the marketplace and protection from brand erosion resulting from the actions of suppliers or competitors, networking and communications.” [Source] Since releasing its first Reporting Guidelines in 2000, its global network has grown to more than 600 organizational stakeholders and over 30,000 people representing different sectors and constituencies. GRI has also developed key strategic partnerships with the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Organization for Standardization. [Source]

Mindy Lubber is the president of Ceres (2012) and a founding board member of the organization. She also directs Ceres’ INCR. Mindy Lubber’s blog “Sustainable Capitalism” is integrated with Forbes. Lubber is a contributing blogger for Huffington Post (acquired by Time Warner in 2011) and Forbes. Lubber has been honored by the United Nations as one of the “World’s Top Leaders of Change.” (Other award winners were the corporations Coca-Cola, Nike, Walmart and Reebok). Lubber was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance” by Directorship magazine and is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Skeletons (and Skolls) in the Ceres/1Sky Closet

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Photo [Source: Skoll Foundation]: Green capitalist Al Gore with (left to right) Chris Fox of Ceres, Gillian Caldwell of 1Sky (350.org officially merged with 1Sky in 2011), Sally Osberg of the Skoll Foundation and Alessandro Galli of Global Footprint Network.

In 2009, 1Sky’s campaign director, Gillian Caldwell, a lawyer by training, was paid $203,620 (US) through the Rockefeller Family Fund. Although McKibben often refers to 350.org/1Sky as a “scruffy little outfit” – a salary of more than $200,000 is hardly typical of a legitimate grassroots organization.

In the Dec 3, 2009 article Prepping for Copenhagen as found on the Skoll Foundation website, the author reports, “The Skoll Foundation, along with a number of Skoll social entrepreneurs and partners, will be participating in the Copenhagen meetings on climate change later this month. Reflecting the high caliber of environmental leaders in the Skoll portfolio, some 10 Skoll social entrepreneurs and/or their organizations will be at Copenhagen: ACORE, Amazon Conservation Team, BioRegional Development Group, Ceres, EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East, Fundacion Gaia, Global Footprint Network, Health Care Without Harm, IDE-India, and Gillian Caldwell (formerly of Witness), representing 1Sky.” [Emphasis added.]

In the December 15, 2009 article More from the Ground in Copenhagen, also featured on the Skoll Foundation website, Skoll CEO Sally Osberg reports:

 Just a couple of highlights from the Climate Leaders’ Summit: Leadership on climate change – both moral and real – is coming from the sub-nation state levels and small countries.

What Osberg neglects to report is the fact that these very states were deliberately and grossly undermined by the non-profit industrial complex, with corporate TckTckTck, 350.org(1Sky) and Avaaz at the helm of the elitist fifth column. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide | Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales]

 Who Cares Wins

havas_media_meningful_brands_main

 “To address the tough environmental and social issues facing global corporations today, we need to hear from a diverse group of stakeholders who challenge us to innovate and operate in a sustainable manner. No one has access to such a vast network of valuable, independent input as Ceres.” — Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

It is clear why branded agencies such as 350.org, SumofUs, Avaaz et al, who dominate social media, are heavily financed (and in many cases were created by) the oligarchs. Who Cares Wins – The Rise of the Caring Corporation, by David Jones, founder of One Young World, (recently a featured speaker at the 2013 World Form on Natural Capital), makes the case that “social media and corporate social responsibility are not two separate subjects; rather, they are intrinsically interlinked. Businesses that embrace the new rules are set to both make more money and become forces for good in the world.”

“Grow Through Karma Off-Setting: Consumers will actively buy from companies who are good, so they feel that they themselves don’t have to personally undertake social projects, as they have done good by making their purchase with you. Good brands provide a moral alibi for buying.” — Who Cares Wins – The Rise of the Caring Corporation, by David Jones, Global Chief Executive, Havas Worldwide, Creator of the “TckTckTck” campaign and Co-founder of One Young World.

Those born into today’s “young world” are indiscriminately lusted after and seduced by predatory marketing agencies bankrolled by the world’s most powerful corporations and oligarchs, via their foundations. Thus, in stealth synchronicity, the brilliant (albeit pathological) sycophants have created a world where corporate pedophilia runs rampant and indoctrination of youth is perfected and normalized. One cannot deny such a virtuoso performance. Nor can one deny the profound repercussions of such vulturesque exploitation. For adults who willingly offer up their children as sacrificial lambs to appease the corporate gods, denial must be considered the preferred opium of the 21st century.

global-youth-summit-one-young-world-600-50845

The name of the game is this: Corporations present themselves as humble and caring elements integral to society with a fierce determination to “do better.” Rather than refusing to comply with ethical environmental and social conduct, which only serves to tarnish brand image, the corporations embrace and welcome all criticisms. This stratagem is made even more effective when CEOs unabashedly take the first opportunity in any given situation to point out the harmful impacts of their industry, articulated with deep concern, followed by a laundry list of all the magnificent things the corporation is looking at for the future that they believe will alleviate environmental degradation and unbridled exploitation.

 

Next: Part III

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

 

EndNotes:

[1] The Valdez Principles: In September 1989, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies set forth the following ten broad principles for evaluating corporate activities that directly or indirectly affect the biosphere.

1. Protection of the Biosphere

We will minimize and strive to eliminate the release of any pollutant that may cause environmental damage to air, water, or earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard habitats in rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal zones and oceans and will minimize contributing to global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain or smog.

2. Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

We will make sustainable use of renewable resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve nonrenewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning. We will protect wildlife habitat, open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

3. Reduction and Disposal of Waste

We will minimize the creation of waste, especially hazardous waste, and wherever possible recycle materials. We will dispose of all wastes through safe and responsible methods.

4. Wise Use of Energy

We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources to meet our needs. We will invest in improved energy efficiency and conservation in our operations. We will maximize the energy efficiency of products we produce or sell.

5. Risk Reduction

We will minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate by employing safe technologies and operating procedures and by being constantly prepared for emergencies.

6. Marketing of Safe Products and Services

We will sell products or services that minimize adverse environmental impacts and that are safe as consumers commonly use them. We will inform consumers of the environmental impacts of our products or services.

7. Damage Compensation

We will take responsibility for any harm we cause to the environment by making every effort to fully restore the environment and to compensate those persons who are adversely affected.

8. Disclosure

We will disclose to our employees and to the public incidents relating to our operations that cause environmental harm or pose health or safety hazards. We will disclose potential environmental, health or safety hazards posed by our operations, and we will not take any action against employees who report any condition that creates a danger to the environment or poses health and safety hazards.

9. Environmental Directors and Managers

At least one member of the Board of Directors will be a person qualified to represent environmental interests. We will commit management resources to implement these Principles, including the funding of an office of vice president for environmental affairs or an equivalent executive position, reporting directly to the CEO, to monitor and report upon our implementation efforts.

10. Assessment and Annual Audit

We will conduct and make public an annual self-evaluation of our progress in implementing these Principles and in complying with all applicable laws and regulations throughout our worldwide operations. We will work toward the timely creation of independent environmental audit procedures which we will complete annually and make available to the public.

[Source: A New Agenda for Managers, The Challenge of Sustainability]

[2] Ceres Principles:

1. PROTECTION OF THE BIOSPHERE: We will reduce and make continual progress toward eliminating the release of any substance that may cause environmental damage to the air, water, or the earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard all habitats affected by our operations and will protect open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

2. SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES: We will make sustainable use of renewable natural resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve non-renewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning.

3. REDUCTION AND DISPOSAL OF WASTES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate waste through source reduction and recycling. All waste will be handled and disposed of through safe and responsible methods.

4. ENERGY CONSERVATION: We will conserve energy and improve the energy efficiency of our internal operations and of the goods and services we sell. We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources.

5. RISK REDUCTION: We will strive to minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate through safe technologies, facilities and operating procedures, and by being prepared for emergencies.

6. SAFE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate the use, manufacture or sale of products and services that cause environmental damage or health or safety hazards. We will inform our customers of the environmental impacts of our products or services and try to correct unsafe use.

7. ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION: We will promptly and responsibly correct conditions we have caused that endanger health, safety or the environment. To the extent feasible, we will redress injuries we have caused to persons or damage we have caused to the environment and will restore the environment.

8. INFORMING THE PUBLIC: We will inform in a timely manner everyone who may be affected by conditions caused by our company that might endanger health, safety or the environment. We will regularly seek advice and counsel through dialogue with persons in communities near our facilities. We will not take any action against employees for reporting dangerous incidents or conditions to management or to appropriate authorities.

9. MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT: We will implement these Principles and sustain a process that ensures that the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer are fully informed about pertinent environmental issues and are fully responsible for environmental policy. In selecting our Board of Directors, we will consider demonstrated environmental commitment as a factor.

10. AUDITS AND REPORTS: We will support the timely creation of generally accepted environmental audit procedures. We will annually complete the CERES Report, which will be made available to the public.

[3] [Ceres Membership Requirements: All coalition members must be approved by the Ceres Board of Directors. All coalition members pay annual membership dues that are scaled from $50 to $2,000, depending upon the size and type (non-profit, grant making, or investment firm) of the organization. Coalition members are also strongly encouraged to participate in Ceres’ engagement work, including through our multi-stakeholder dialogue processes, investor engagements and other opportunities.] “The primary direct costs of endorsing the CERES Principles are the payment of annual dues and the completion of the annual CERES report form. The dues for a company differ according to the size of the company, but, for a large multinational corporation, are usually in the range of $50,000 dollars a year. The costs associated with dues are not prohibitive considering the size and the budget of the companies.” [Source.]

[4] “Once companies officially join Ceres, they gain access to exclusive benefits, such as a customized stakeholder advisory team that provides advice on sustainability reporting, strategy, policies and specific initiatives.”

#100% KXL BS | Down the Pipeline Rabbit Hole

Bakken Oil Shale Bomb

Counterpunch

Feb 7-9, 2014

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

The Washington Post ran an editorial Feb. 5th  about the KXL Pipeline issue and the recent State Department study that concluded  that building the northern link Keystone XL, which would run across the Canadian border to Steele City, Nebraska, “is unlikely to have significant effects on climate-change-causing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The WA Post critique had this to say: “Environmentalists try to justify their opposition to Keystone XL with a series of unlikely assumptions. If world oil prices end up significantly lower than projected for a long time, and if the Canadian government proves incapable of establishing any pipeline and sea routes out of the country, and if the price of rail transport remains as high as the State Department’s generous projections, then some tar sands extraction projects wouldn’t be economically viable. Advocates also contend that the passionate movement against the pipeline can be useful to achieve more consequential ends and therefore should be supported, as though cultivating irrational thinking is an acceptable basis for public policy. Neither view — one unconvincing, one cynical — reflects well on the country’s environmentalists.”

KXL BULLSHIT

Immediately, such truths caused the ineffective NGOs that are on the “Stop KXL” foundation dole to freak out and they started sending the editorial around – over and over – with comments as to its being “horrid,” “terrible,” and how they “hate it”…No refutation on the facts was presented, nor possible.

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part III | Beholden to Buffett

Counterpunch

October 25, 2013

By Cory Morningstar

[Further Reading: Part I | Part II]

Manufacturing Discourse

“North America’s major freight railroads are in the midst of a building boom unlike anything since the industry’s Gilded Age heyday in the 19th century.” – The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2013

 

“U.S. Refiners Don’t Care if Keystone Gets Built” – The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2013

The following article is the third installment of an investigative report that demonstrates why billions of dollars are pumped into the non-profit industrial complex by corporate interests, effectively to manufacture discourse in order to protect the ruling classes from systemic change. The first installment outlined the key players: Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett, the Rockefeller family, Bill Gates, and Bill Ackman. The key instruments employed by the state and the oligarchs were/are a cluster of foundation-financed NGOs. These included/include Greenpeace, Sierra Club, NRDC and others, with 350.org/1Sky at the helm leading the cunning and strategic discourse.

“The biggest mystery about the Keystone XL pipeline is why its final stage hasn’t already been approved by the Obama administration…. From following the contentious Keystone pipeline debate, you can be forgiven if you think that the fight is over whether to build it. That’s not quite right. The Keystone system has already been transporting oil sands from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Midwest for three years – with no major leaks.” — USA Today, September 5, 2013

All (Rail) Roads Lead to Profit

“BNSF is the largest U.S. crude hauler, transporting more than one-third of the Bakken production alone with 85,000 barrel capacity unit trains. The company reports that crude and petroleum car loadings are up 60 percent through June. BNSF CEO Matt Rose said that the road is ‘seeing strong double-digit type growth’ in the shale fracking markets. ‘Everything to do with drilling, horizontal drilling, frack sand, pipe, oil – it’s phenomenal.'” —Keystone and the Buffet Rule, August 20, 2012

Warren Buffett | Berkshire Hathaway

As reported in the first installment of this report, on November 3, 2009, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway would purchase BNSF for $44 billion. The acquisition, approved by both boards of both corporations was approved by BNSF shareholders on February 12, 2010.

BNSF061910Q-Copy 

Galesburg Yard just two tracks from the just-arrived loaded oil train. See photo below (loads at left, empties at right). June 19, 2010: Midwestern Crude Oil Moving In Unit Trains Again

Financing the Big Greens Tar Sands Campaign: The Tides Foundation

“Philanthropy, we are told, is to replace the welfare state: instead of attempting to redistribute wealth via taxation and democratic planning, austerity politicians are in the process of dispatching with what they view as an irritating relic of working class history. In its place we are informed that we should rely upon the charity of the greediest and most exploitative subset of society, our country’s leading capitalists. A group of individuals whose psychological temperament is better described as psychopathic rather than altruistic.” — Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

Sadly, the far-right is far more interested than the “progressive greens,” and climate justice activists themselves, in the motives behind U.S. foundations funnelling millions of dollars in funding to further promote all energies and focus on the Tar Sands campaign: a campaign that concentrates almost exclusively on the Keystone extension while oil via rail, expedited pipeline projects and fracking continues to skyrocket. The far-right has taken note. Finance/markets and investors have certainly taken note. The only crowd that seems most disinterested in understanding, let alone acknowledging, the millions of dollars being funneled into this campaign are the organizations/activists beholden to 350.org et al – who are in turn, beholden to their funders.

November 8, 2012, Globe & Mail video: Canada’s Pipelines: Beyond Gateway and Keystone (Running time: 2:08 minutes)

“There’s a part of this story you likely don’t know, and people like Bill McKibben – as well as Canadian public figure Tzeporah Berman (who runs an outfit that legally exists as a project of the Tides Foundation called the North American Tar Sands Coalition, a secret outfit that determines both strategy and funding for literally dozens of environmental NGO’s and community groups across North America) – would prefer it stays that way.” — Macdonald Stainsby, Oil Sands Truth

350.org FundingNote: Dirty Oil Sands is now Tar Sands Solutions Network. Graph Source [1]

If we revisit Part I of this investigative report, the condensed timeline may assist in establishing why we see the funding increasingly markedly after 2007.

·       June 25, 2006: Buffett pledged to donate most of his wealth to the foundation established by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, as well as other “philanthropic” organizations.

·       2007: 1Sky (which would officially merge with 350.org in April of 2011) is created by the Clinton and Rockefeller foundations in collaboration with “progressive greens.”

·       2007: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway begins to acquire the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad stock.

·       2007: 60% of Marmon Holdings (Union Tank Car Co.) was acquired by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, with the remaining 40% to be acquired in the next five to seven years.

·       Feb 7, 2008: Financial Post quoting Warren Buffett: “The tar sands are probably as big a potential source of production 15 to 20 years from now. It would surprise me if the world wasn’t wanting to use 200 million barrels per day [of oil] in 15 or 20 years. The tar sands are the biggest single possibility to fill the gap that, it looks like, will otherwise develop in the next decade or two.”

·       2007-2008, Warren Buffett: advisor to Barack Obama and major financial backer/supporter of Hilary Clinton [Sources:  Aug 16, 2007, June 27, 2007, March 28, 2008, Dec 9, 2007, May 19, 2008, July 3, 2008, July 19, 2011]

·       Aug 19, 2008: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates make a quiet visit to the Alberta tar sands.

·       Railway Magazine Nov 2008: Burlington’s Manager of Businesses Development, Jane Halvorson, identified an “opportunity to offer rail service as an alternative to pipelines to get the bitumen blend to the refineries.” Depending, she added, on “partnerships with the Canadian railroads.”

·       Cont’d, Nov/Dec 2008: BNSF document: “Alberta oil sands: No sour deal.”

·       Sept 19, 2008: TransCanada submits application to State Department for a Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The State Department commences the environmental review process.

·       Feb 2009: Thousands of citizens, including many who live along the pipeline route, express to the State Department serious concerns about the proposal in public hearings and in written comments.

·       April 9, 2009: Game-changer: Canadian oil sands will bypass U.S. for Asia

·       April 11, 2009: CN idea a winner for oil sands

·       August 2009: U.S. State Department approves the Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper Pipeline, a key tar sands pipeline. 350.org et al are silent.

·       Nov 3, 2009: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway proposes to purchase BNSF Railway as a wholly owned subsidiary for $44 billion in the largest deal in Berkshire history. As of June 2009, Berkshire Hathaway was the 18th largest corporation on Earth.

·       Feb 4, 2010: 86 U.S. organizations call on President Obama to reject the Keystone pipeline extension.

Tides Tar Sands Campaign Funding[2]

Deception

Number One Financier of the Tides Foundation: Buffett’s NoVo Foundation

Clinton & BuffettsPhoto: Peter and Julie Buffett with former U.S. president, Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative. What the environmental “movement” does not wish to acknowledge is the fact that the Clintons were integral to the creation of 1Sky (1Sky/350.org) as were the Rockefellers. In the Rockefeller Family Fund 2007 annual report, it is clear that 1Sky is an actual Rockefeller-initiated NGO. Such incubator projects are common within powerful foundations, although the public has little knowledge of such practices.

Peter Buffett, musician and youngest son of investor, Warren Buffett, along with his spouse (who serves as president), are the founders and co-chairs of the NoVo Foundation. NoVo was created in 2006 after Warren Buffett pledged to donate 350,000 shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stock to the foundation (value approximately U.S. $2.5 billion). [Source] As the charts below demonstrate, NoVo Foundation is (as of 2011), the top donor to Tides in the timeframe outlined. [Source: [3][4] Prior to being unveiled as NoVo, Peter Buffett’s foundation was recognized as The Spirit Foundation which was established in 1999 (#EI-0824753).

Ten Top Donors to Tides[3]

NoVo Grants to Tides[4]

McKibben, Peter Buffett & the Green Bourgeois

“The conference will also include a major public address on Friday evening by the noted climate change leader, Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, as well as a Saturday concert by the talented musician Peter Buffett, author of Life is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment and son of investor legend Warren Buffett.” — Strategies for a New Economy Conference, New Economics Institute press release, May 7, 2012

The expression/noun, elitism, fits seamlessly, like a velvet glove, within the context of the above statement.

elitism — n

1.a. the belief that society should be governed by a select group of gifted and highly educated individuals

b. such government

2. pride in or awareness of being one of an elite group

“In this paradoxical, nightmare-like scenario, where ruling class criminals throw back pennies and moral judgements to those whose lives they have destroyed in the name of capitalism, we begin to see the true meaning of capitalist charity.” — Michael Barker

Bill McKibben and Peter Buffet headlined the weekend conference (Strategies for a New Economy Conference). The entire press release reads like a list of “who’s who” in the world of elitist, classist, green bourgeoisie. The relationship between McKibben, the Ceres affiliates and the oligarchs they serve is laid bare for all to see, with Bill McKibben featured with Warren Buffett’s son, Peter Buffett. Let us be clear, neither the Ceres “society” nor Bob Massie chose Buffett’s name from a hat nor did Buffett fall from the (1)Sky. These are extremely interconnected, well-established relationships with strong alliances and loyalties bound together by privilege, philanthropy, and whiteness.

Buffet’s Top Holdings | Media, Water, Lithium, Agriculture

In 2008, Buffett invested $230 million to acquire 10% of BYD Company, which operates a subsidiary of electric automobile manufacturer, BYD Auto. In less than one year, the investment returned a 500% profit. Indispensable to this electric auto industry is lithium, hence it is no surprise to identify a BYD subsidiary (BYD Lithium Battery Co.) that focuses exclusively on lithium batteries. This is of significant importance since the anti-imperialist sovereign state of Bolivia holds 50% to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. President Evo Morales has vowed repeatedly that, after being oppressed and exploited by foreign interests for centuries, Bolivia will “never cede control” of its lithium reserves. In late 2011, anti-REDD Bolivia rose above what many would cite as an attempted destabilization that was strategically led by U.S. (and pro-REDD) NGOs: Avaaz, Amazon Watch and Democracy Centre. [REDD: A United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation via carbon markets. REDD has been cited as a new form of colonialism by Indigenous peoples throughout the world. According to The New York Times, in 2011 alone, over 22,000 farmers with land deeds were violently evicted for a REDD-type project in Uganda. Eight-year old Friday Mukamperezida was killed when his home was burned to the ground. The state of Bolivia’s alternative proposal, ignored by NGOs, can be found here.]

In 2012, Buffett acquired Media General, owner of 63 newspapers in the south-eastern United States. This purchase represented the second media purchase by Buffett in one year. Buffet continued media acquisitions into 2013. It is also critical to note that Buffett joined his close friend and confidant, Bill Gates (the number one shareholder in CN Rail), in investing heavily in Deere & Companythe globe’s largest manufacturer of farm equipment.Gates, who became the largest shareholder in Deere in August of 2011, has been actively pumping millions of dollars into GMO research via his foundation as well as owning shares in Monsanto. [The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased 500,000 shares in Monsanto in 2010. The shares are valued at more than $23 million. On July 15, 2012, the UK Daily Mail reports: “British scientists have won a £6.4million grant from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates to develop genetically modified crops. The Gates Foundation’s donation is one of the largest single investments to the GM project in the UK.”] The interest in industrialized farming-related stocks shared by both Gates and Buffett (and facilitated by the World Bank and Wall Street) perhaps signal the accelerating land grabs as leading GHG-emitting states and corporations attempt to secure/steal agricultural lands and limited natural resources for a growing population on a decimated planet.

BNSF & IBM to Profit Billions on Water Treatment

The North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) met on March 1, 2 and 3, 2013 in the traditional territory of the Kumeyaay Nation. The meeting was attended by approximately 97 representatives from 54 Indigenous Peoples’ Nations and organizations.

In the final hours of the meeting, delegates presenting and participating reviewed a draft report of the meeting, made amendments from the floor, and the amended draft report was adopted by consensus. The following text is taken from the full report of the NAIPC, which was formally transmitted to the UNPFII Secretariat for inclusion as an official document for the upcoming UNPFII-12, and to other bodies and fora, as needed. [Decisions and Recommendations of the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus to the 12th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and to other bodies and fora, as appropriate] [Emphasis in original document.]

·         The NAIPC recommends that the Outcome Document acknowledge water as a critical element for cultural, physical, and spiritual survival.

·         The NAIPC recommends that the Outcome Document take a position against Aquacide: the killing of the waters by dams, diversions, privatization, deprivations, extractive industrial and mega-agricultural developments, hydraulic-fracturing, toxins, and pollution, and other ways that inhibit or preclude Water’s ability to nurture and support Life. This includes working to immediately halt Aquicide by all forms of exploitation, commodification, and other assaults that impede or destroy the life giving quality of Water.

In stark contrast to such demonstrated wisdom and intelligence, the privileged Euro-American patriarchal male tends to not think in terms of respect for our Earth and shared environment that graciously sustains all life….

“When you start to think like we think, you don’t see water in the pipes. You see dollar signs.” — Eric Berliner, IBM, as quoted in the article, Why GE, Coca-Cola, and IBM are Getting into the Water Business, April 2011

Yet, the stark contrast to wisdom and leadership demonstrated by Indigenous Peoples throughout America and the world, does not limit itself to the privileged Euro-American patriarchal male that dominates the capitalist system. One only has to look at the Tar Sands Solutions Network twitter feed to see who this network (registered to the queen green capitalist, Tzeporah Berman, Forest Ethics) looks to for “leadership” (read from bottom, to view the first chosen/key alliances).

In spite of the rhetoric put forward by Tar Sands Solutions Network claiming “Tar Sands Solutions Network is a growing international network of organizations including First Nations, environmental groups, landowners, farmers, scientists, community leaders, academics, and grass roots groups located throughout North America and Europe,” the facts speak otherwise.

The “solutions” network follows (literally, in all senses of the word) organizations and professional elites that undermine our justice movements from within. The most critical aspect to note is this: Although Indigenous populations are the most impacted by tar sands projects and although Indigenous Peoples have the knowledge and insight to lead us away from global omnicide, there is but one single Indigenous organization being followed by the Tar Sands Solutions Network initial twitter account. (There is one individual Indigenous person – but elitist, groomed, Rockwood Alumni does not truly qualify. No Indigenous, no landowners, no scientists. In order of first added: Pembina Institute, Sierra Club, Dogwood Initiative, Earthworks, Forest Ethics, Friends of the Earth U.S., Greenpeace USA, Honor the Earth, NRDC and RAN with CERES following closely.) On the secondary twitter account, we see a similar pattern (again, from bottom, first chosen, the top big green groups include David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Bill McKibben, Centre for Biodiversity, WWF, Climate Reality, 350.org and Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace USA, Conservation International, RAN, WWF, Tzeporah Berman, etc.). The crème de la crème of the big green NGOs and liberal left with not one single Indigenous organization or citizen. [Information on both twitter accounts accessed on September 19, 2013.] Note that Dirty Oil Sands has been rebranded to Tar Sands Solutions Network. It appears that there is no disclosure regarding funding/financing from the Tides Foundation, or any other source, on the site.

Tar sands corporations are licensed to use twice the amount of fresh water than the entire city of Calgary uses in one year. As much as four barrels of fresh water are contaminated for every one barrel of bitumen produced. Toxic fracking chemicals used to leach the last underground pockets of natural gas, necessary to distill the tar sands, are rapidly poisoning the Canadian province of Alberta’s remaining groundwater reserves. [Source]

Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway’s extensive holdings include the corporate entities ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and General Electric – all with close ties to the Alberta tar sands. In the world of capitalism even death and environmental degradation transcend into insurmountable monetary wealth for the world’s leading psychopaths. “General Electric Water & Process Technologies” stands to gain vast amounts of profit by treating immense amounts of fresh water, which is made  toxic/contaminated during the tar sands procurement process. 

“In 2007, GE entered into a $15-million technology development program with the Alberta Water Research Institute and its research funding partners. The program aims to develop technology to improve water reuse and management in in-situ oil sands operations. GE is also actively involved in developing and proving effective technologies for treating tailings water for industrial reuse, in order to help operators improve the efficiency of their operations.” [Source: September 9, 2010 General Electric Press Release]

In addition to its partnership with the Alberta Water Research Institute, GE also owns a water treatment facility in the tar sands patch via its wholly owned subsidiary, Zenon Environmental Inc., which it purchased for $760 million in 2006. Further, in September 2011, Grizzly Oil Sands ULC “selected GE’s (NYSE: GE) produced water evaporation technology for its Algar Lake project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.” [Source]

In 2009, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, became the largest shareholder in Nalco, a water-services, treatment, and equipment corporation, which has no public profile yet has 12,000 employees and nearly $4 billion in revenue. In late 2011, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased $10.7 billion of IBM stock. Although this stock has taken a recent hit, one can be assured that this is of no worry to Buffett. Indeed, Buffett is in it for the long haul: “The conventional estimate is that around the world, water is a $400-billion-a-year business. That’s four times the size of IBM’s annual revenue, but that figure includes everything from digging up worn-out water pipes to building billion-dollar desalination plants. IBM says the smart-water market, the information-technology part of water, could be worth between $15 billion and $20 billion a year.” [From the article Why GE, Coca-Cola, and IBM are Getting into the Water Business. Note that Buffett is heavily invested in all 3 corporations, with Coca-Cola and IBM representing Buffett’s top second and third holdings respectively.]

It is of interest that in late 2012 Buffett sold most of his stocks in GE. [Nov 14, 2012, Buffett’s Berkshire Sells Most of J&J and GE Stakes: “The warrants and high interest rates he was able to garner by lending money to General Electric (GE), Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) in the depths of the financial crisis are great examples of this investing strategy.”] At this same time Buffett increased his shares in National Oilwell Varco by 47%. National Oilwell Varco is a worldwide leader in providing major mechanical components for land and offshore drilling rigs. As profitable as it is to capitalize on the poisoning/degradation of Earth’s fresh water, it appears the oil industry that destroys the fresh water is too lucrative to not make first priority. 

Rail Tank Car Production

“Amid U.S. Oil Boom, Railroads Are Beating Pipelines in Crude Transport” — Business Week, June 13, 3013

The rail car industry will soon enough finish building the 40,000 oil tankers ordered/required for the tar sands oil. (Growth in crude by rail (CBR) has been rapid, creating a two-year backlog on deliveries of new tank cars.) To accommodate the high pressure loading of the Bakken oil, the oil must be kept thin. For this they need warmers (breakout tanks/oil storage facilities). The specialized heating equipment is used to heat the crude prior to unloading, meaning more crude is shipped and the cost of diluent is saved.

In the September 27, 2013 article A Stronger Network, With More Capacity, How BNSF is leveraging a record $4.3 billion in capital investment, it is reported that “[T]hese capacity improvements will improve service to pipeline operators and short lines, which have built 12 terminals adjacent to BNSF and Canadian Pacific infrastructure in northwestern North Dakota in the past two years, increasing the number of terminals to 16. These terminals are handling crude delivered by truck or pipelines, and according to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, terminal capacity has increased to 730,000 barrels per day since they were built.” North Dakota produced an average of 821,431 barrels per day in June of 2013. This amount is set to double by 2017.

The average price of a new tank car increased from $74M [thousand] in 2011 to $100M in 2012, increasing to $133M in 2013. The shortage is exacerbated by tank car manufacturers who retain many of the tank cars they produce to lease. Leasing rates in some instances have more than quadrupled to $2,500 a month. The boom is set to continue with approximately 1 MMB/D (Million Barrels per Day) of new rail-unloading capacity being built or planned in the U.S. during 2013, representing three times the current shipping level. [Source]

BNSF announced in September of 2012 that it would be increasing train sizes from 100 to 104 tank cars and in some cases up to 118 tank cars. [Source:BNSFA single tank car carries approximately 660-720 barrels of crude oil. [Source:BNSF] Therefore, 118 tank cars carrying 720 barrels of crude represents 84,960 barrels of oil. Simply put, a mere 10 trains at optimal performance would exceed Keystone XL’s carrying capacity (which is 830,000 barrels per day). On September 4, 2012 BNSF announced that it increased capacity in 2012 to enable the railroad to haul one million barrels per day out of the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana.

But the ‘scalability’ of the concept – up to four million barrels per day – means that the railway can ramp up production vastly by just adding rail cars.” — August 21, 2012, Railways ship bitumen to relieve pipeline bottlenecks

Tank cars are owned by either shippers or lessors, not by railroads. At year end Union Tank Car and Procor together owned 97,000 cars having a net book value of $4 billion. A new car, it should be noted, costs upwards of $100,000. Union Tank Car is also a major manufacturer of tank cars – some of them to be sold but most to be owned by it and leased out. Today, its order book extends well into 2014. At both BNSF and Marmon, we are benefitting from the resurgence of U.S. oil production. In fact, our railroad is now transporting about 500,000 barrels of oil daily, roughly 10% of the total produced in the “lower 48″ (i.e. not counting Alaska and offshore). All indications are that BNSF’s oil shipments will grow substantially in coming years.” [Source: Berkshire’s Corporate Performance vs. the S&P 500] [The PROCOR Corporation (Canadian) is the largest tanker owner. The other tanker manufacturers are the GATX and TILX corporations.]

“Investors like Carl Icahn and Warren Buffett have long seen the opportunity coming and are well-positioned in the business…. Mr. Buffett has a controlling stake in Union Tank Car, and has emerged as a major beneficiary of the crude-via-rail boom as the owner of BNSF Railway Co. – one of North America’s largest railway companies. BNSF reportedly earned U.S. $272-million from crude shipments alone in 2012.” — Feb 22, 2013, Demand for tank cars to ship crude oil by rail rises at breakneck speed

“The potential for railway companies to increase its [sic] exposure to the crude oil transportation business can be exponential. The current consensus is that the lack of available tank cars is causing a bottleneck in the crude-by-rail supply chain, while other impediments to growth include the lack of offloading terminals to deliver the product, absence of rail access to origination sites, and the need for coastal refiners to re-configure their plants to be able to process heavier crude that is produced in the U.S. midcontinent.” Jan 18, 2013

“Less than a month ago, Valero said it would own 9,000 rail cars by the end of 2014. That plan already has been revised, as the company will own 12,320 rail cars by the second quarter of 2015, spokesman Bill Day said. The company hasn’t announced its total expenditures to buy rail cars. But Day said Valero will spend about $750 million on the 5,300 cars it has on order now. That’s about $140,000 per rail car.” — Rail picks up steam as a way to move crude, May 27, 2013

Translation: Rail tank cars = $$$. Terminals = $$$. Rail track = $$$ in subsidies. Chemical diluents = $$$. All of the above = planetary ecocide, and slow-scale genocide.

BNSF is set to gain massive profits through building rail tank cars, since one of the only obstacles to the crude-by-rail boom is that the shippers can’t purchase the rail tank cars fast enough. The North American rail tank car manufacturers [Union Tank Car Co., Greenbrier Companies, American Railcar Industries, Inc., FreightCar America Inc., Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation, Trinity Industries Inc.]have back orders for 48,000 new rail tank cars through 2014. [Source: Rail Theory Forecasts] When the new rail tank cars emerge into service, North American railroads will have the capacity to ship 2 million barrels of crude oil per day. [5]

The fact that an increasing number of refineries are opting to own or lease these rail tank cars, rather than leaving it to rail corporations, speaks to the anticipated exponential growth. For example, Valero Energy Corp (VLO) announced on January 15, 2013 that they intend to purchase an additional 2,000 railcars, which will bring its current fleet of rail tank cars to 9,000 in order to haul even more of the prolificEagle Ford crudeto its refineries.[Bloomberg, August 22, 2013, Eagle Ford Crude Production Rose 60% in June from Prior Year]. As disclosed in part one of this investigative report, Buffet/Berkshire Hathaway also holds shares in Valero.

“This increasing demand for tank cars means that delivery of tank cars grew significantly in 2012 to approximately 18,000 deliveries, and current backlog suggest[s] more than 23,000 deliveries of tank cars will be completed in 2013. This is in comparison to the less than 10,000 tank car deliveries in 2010 and 2011 and the approximately 20,000 tank cars currently transporting crude oil on railways.” — January 18, 2013, Kapital Wire, 5 Tank Car Manufacturers to Benefit from Crude-by-Rail

One thing is certain: with every gain in profits glorified and celebrated by the industrial capitalists, it is yet another day that our Earth has been savagely plundered for her natural resources – soon, beyond recognition. 

DERAILS

[+++Note from author: The following two paragraphs were written in the spring of 2013, prior to the Lac Mégantic disaster.]

“In 2008, trains carried fewer than 20,000 barrels a day of oil in the United States. But by the end of last year, roughly 500,000 barrels of oil per day moved on the rails. Spills are a key concern.” — The Globe and Mail, July 7, 2013

All pipelines spill. Like 350.org, TransCanada, et al prefer to tell citizens what citizens want to hear. TransCanada predicted the Keystone pipeline would spill once every seven years. However, the reality was that the pipeline spilled 12 times during its first year of production, exceeding 30 spills over its existence. The Keystone XL pipeline will also spill, as rail tank cars spill, and will continue to spill. Corporations could not care less because when they do spill, they will do their best to ensure the taxpayers clean it up. (All while they make billions in unsurpassed profits. All while they continue to access massive subsidies. All while some other states, such as Venezuela, whose governments actually are representative of people, rather than corporations, nationalize their resources. All while other states, already developed – in this instance, a Spanish island – work decade after decade toward a transition from fossil fuels toward zero emissions.) In many, perhaps most, instances, the corporate entity will win(monetarily) and be deemed not responsible for the ecological nightmare.Even when they “lose” by way of a large monetary financial judgement (which is pocket change compared to their quarterly profits), rarely do they ever actually pay any meaningful monetary amounts in the way of settlements. Being the psychopaths that they are, they much prefer to give their money to lawyers rather than the (in many/most cases) impoverished peoples whose lives and land they have completely destroyed beyond repair. Since acquiring former BC Rail lines in 2003 and disconnecting its locomotives’ dynamic engine brakes, CN experienced 11 derailments in 2005 alone. More train wrecks have followed. [Source] Between 1999 and 2010, Enbridge Corp. acknowledged responsibility for 804 spills, releasing at minimum 168,645 barrels of crude oil into integral tributaries, sensitive wetlands and water tables in Canadian and U.S. communities. [Source] Case in point: on March 28, 2013, a mile-long Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed, rupturing three tankers and leaking around 15,000 gallons of fuel. Days later, on April 3, 2013, a Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed in northern Ontario. Two of about 20 derailed cars were carrying light sweet crude but remained contained. LM4

Photo: Welcome to hell. Downtown Lac Mégantic, Quebec, July 6, 2013

“Quebec disaster: Oil shipments by rail have increased 28,000 per cent since 2009” — CTVNews, July 7, 2013

The relative indestructibility of the oil tanker is the main selling point put forward by the industry. Yet, the horrific oil-by-rail accident in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, on July 6, 2013, makes this selling “feature” moot. The Lac Mégantic disaster represents the fourth deadliest rail accident in Canadian history, and the deadliest rail tragedy in Canada since the St-Hilaire train disaster in 1864. The catastrophe occurred when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken formation crude oil ran away and derailed, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars, resembling a blazing inferno of hell. Forty-two people have been confirmed dead with 5 more people assumed to have been vaporized by the explosions according to the spokesperson for the Quebec coroner’s office. More than 30 buildings in the town’s centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were completely annihilated. Initial newspaper reports described a 1 km blast radius. This horrific accident – a direct result of oil via rail was of unparalleled magnitude compared to any other recent disaster. Yet this inferno, which demolished an entire downtown core, was barely mentioned by mainstream media as it unfolded. (In one example, CNN did a live broadcast of the airplane accident (Asiana Airlines Flight 214), giving zero coverage to Lac Mégantic. Canadian media, ever so slowly, gave exposure to the nightmarish accident in the days that followed.)

And although 350.org would have you believe they are campaigning against tar sands, what is one to make of the fact that these groups made no mention whatsoever of the apocalyptic remnants of Lac Mégantic to their “followers” / supporters. Aside from an honourable mention to 350Maine, the only reference to the most dreadful accident directly resulting from oil via rail (as of July 22, 2013), is a press release (simply titled “Over fifty groups call for tougher oil transportation safety rules”) quietly sent to media on July 22, 2013.

350SearchResultsLacMeganticJuly272013

Yet, 350’s Canadian counterpart, Leadnow, could not ignore a disaster on such an epic scale. So what did Leadnow instruct their followers to do? Did they demand that the transportation of oil via rail be banned? No, rather they instructed their supporters to:

“Tell Prime Minister Harper and the new Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, that you demand an immediate ban on using dangerous 111A tank cars to transport oil, and join the call for a full review of how dangerous fuels like oil and gas are transported through our communities – by train, pipeline, and truck.”

A ban on 111A tank cars (meaning we need new or alternate models of “safe” tank cars)? A full review of “how dangerous fuels like oil and gas are transported through our communities – by train, pipeline, and truck”? After Lac Mégantic, the question must be asked, do we need a “full review” to tell us the horror just witnessed in real life? 

In the meantime, 350.org et al have yet to mention the approval of Keystone’s phase 3 (March 2012) and the construction that is now completed (to be operational in early 2014). [Forbes, Sept 19, 2013: “With three of the four phases of Keystone in operation or nearly complete, only one section remains.”] There is no mention of the consumptive patterns of the West that ensure every drop of oil will find its way to market. 350.org and others campaign strategically and focus on the supply side issues while the demand side is completely ignored.

The Bakken Region

“The battle over pipelines comes as the United States, which imports roughly 1.4 million barrels of crude oil from Alberta every day, is suddenly swamped with its own oil from unconventional sources like the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota. A recent forecast by the International Energy Agency said the U.S. is on track to become the world’s biggest oil producer by 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia.” — Oil Sands Bust, Macleans, Feb 5, 2013

The anti-Keystone XL campaign “leaders” have ensured that citizens and activists alike will focus almost exclusively on the Keystone pipeline extension, even though it was publicly disclosed, as far back as January 2011, that the majority of the Keystone pipeline was already completed and in operation. If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will transport 830,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands crude or/and the diluted bitumen (dilbit) from to refineries situated in Port Arthur, Texas, where it will be refined and sold on the global market. Yet omitted is the fact that a large portion of potential oil (approximately 25%) that would flow through the Keystone pipeline would be oil recently discovered (so we are told)in the Bakken shale formation. This formation spans North Dakota and part of Montana– the land of the Lakota Indians. (The same Lakota who are excluded from any meaningful leadership positions/senior advisory roles of the faux environmental groups.) Without the Keystone XL, the only way to get all of the Bakken oil to the refineries is by rail car.

“In another positive sign for the industry, BNSF Railway announced in the first week of September that it plans to expand its crude oil transportation capacity in 2012 to a million barrels per day from the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana.” — Sept 18, 2012, Rail Companies in Mad Rush to Meet Demand for Domestic Crude Oil

Oil production in the Bakken region has more than tripled since 2008. [Source: Bloomberg). A 2013 report by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce suggests that oil production in North America is on track to grow at an “incredible rate” of 800,000 barrels per day, per year, through 2016, with more than 50% of production expected to come from the U.S.

Billions upon billions of dollars are being invested in the Bakken oil field (i.e., tar sands oil) yet citizens will not be advised of this fact anywhere, other than perhaps in the finance section of the Wall Street Journal, or the BNSF website itself.

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Chart: Estimated rail volumes, August 2013 [Source]

Increasing U.S. oil production, under the false pretense of “energy independence and self-sufficiency,” lends much ammunition to those opposed to the KXL. It is of little surprise that Buffett is working closely with Obama in the framing of a new “energy independent United States of America” while the same U.S. foundations funding the Stop the KXL! campaign aresimultaneously funding the Apollo Alliance, the Institute for America’s Future and Blue Green Alliance. All while the Obama administration continues to invade, destabilize and occupy sovereign states all over the planet in order to steal/secure Earth’s dwindling natural resources. 

Today, BNSF is hauling out the Bakken crude oil from North Dakota and ethanol from Nebraska (announced in 2006). All via rail. On October 31, 2012, it was announced that BNSF would purchase the Nebraska Northeastern Railway, a 120-mile line that connects Siouxland Ethanol LLC in Jackson; NEDAK Ethanol in Atkinson; and Husker Ag Inc. in Plainview.

For centuries, talented magicians have absolutely depended upon ardent distraction in order to convince an enthralled audience that what they are seeing is truly real – not simply stealthy sleight of hand. As long as the major players within the non-profit industrial complex are protesting the Keystone XL, and getting paid to do so, the audience fails to consider the tar sands oil fields, Bakken oil fracking, unit oil tank trains, etc. … along with the very root causes of climate change.

index“Unit ethanol trains use similar tank cars (in fact, tank cars used in petroleum crude oil service were probably built for the ethanol boom c. 2006) so content of these cars is determined by the haz-mat [hazardous material] placard (red-and-white lopsided square seen at right side of car). This placard displays the number 1267, which denotes “petroleum crude oil.” (Denatured alcohol, or ethanol, uses 1987.)” — March 24, 2012, BNSF Galesburg Yard’s New Tracks are in Service Video: Fracking: The Dirty Truth in North Dakota | (Running time: 4:36) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN_YwQp4pzY Refineries & Further Genocide

“North American energy companies are starting to invest more in railroad terminals than the railroads themselves. A group of oil and natural gas pipeline operators led by Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA) announced plans just in the past three months to spend about $1 billion on rail depot projects to help move more crude from inland fields to refineries on the coasts. Warren Buffett‘s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, the largest U.S. railroad, spent $400 million on terminals in 2012. For the first time, energy companies that traditionally rented rail capacity are buying the assets because swelling output from Alberta’s oil sands and shale fields in North Dakota’s Bakken region and Eagle Ford in Texas has overwhelmed pipelines.” — Oil Industry Beats Buffett in Railroad Investments Surge: Energy, January 14, 2013 [Disclosed in part I of series]

“Today, the Quinault Indian Nation submitted comments to the City of Hoquiam and Washington Department of Ecology opposing the first of at least three proposed oil shipping facilities that could transform Grays Harbor into an industrial crude oil zone. Westway Terminal Company, based in Louisiana and Texas, seeks authorization for construction of a new oil shipping terminal in Grays Harbor that would give it the capacity to store 800,000 barrels of crude oil at any given time. Westway predicts that it will bring at least ten million barrels of crude oil annually through Grays Harbor, via rail and marine vessels. Two additional facilities for crude-by-rail – amounting to tens of millions of barrels of crude oil annually through Grays Harbor – are also being proposed in the same area, posing major environmental risks to the Grays Harbor community and the Quinault Indian Nation. State and local regulators have decided to allow this proposal to go forward with minimal environmental review…. Crude-by-rail systems are a recent, but booming, phenomenon.” — April 18, 2013, Tribe Opposes Proposal to Turn Grays Harbor into an Industrial Crude Oil Zone

“The boom in North Dakota’s Bakken oil field is speeding to the Northwest, a boon for ports and refineries that could bring in upwards of 200 million barrels of crude each year on mile-plus oil trains. The first oil train arrived last September. Today, all five Washington refineries handle or plan to handle oil trains, called ‘pipelines on wheels’…. BNSF Railway is likely to carry most of those loads. Spokesman Steve Forsberg said BNSF is investing a record $4.1 billion in upgrades nationwide this year.” — May 13, 2013, Oil trains – pipelines on wheels – headed to Northwest terminals and refineries from North Dakota fracking

“In addition, Valero is considering a plan to send light Canadian crude to its Quebec plant by rail, and it is discussing building a rail terminal at its St. Charles refinery in Louisiana to receive heavy Canadian crude…. Tesoro, soon to be California’s biggest refiner when it closes its June 1 purchase of BP’s Southern California refinery, also has launched rail projects to move cheaper crude.” — Rail picks up steam as a way to move crude, May 27, 2013

In 2012, several refineries serving the Northeast faced the threat of shutdown. Today, an influx of cheaper crude oil extracted from Bakken shale rock formations has “saved” most refineries while stabilizing gas ­prices. Just as fracking opened vast reserves of natural gas over recent years, this same toxic process is now unlocking crude oil trapped in shale deposits. The revival of the East Coast refineries is yet another example of how the ecologically devastating drilling process of hydraulic fracturing/fracking is changing the energy equation for the region, nation and world, thus, tragically keeping North America locked into fossil fuels, growth and an accelerating highway of ecological destruction. Further, as mentioned previously, fracking oil is increasing domestic production so dramatically that the U.S. is projected to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2017. [Further Reading: Shale Oil Reviving East Coast Refineries]

Diluted Bitumen

Another rather unspoken conversation within the Stop the KXL campaign is the (non)discussion surrounding the immense volume of diluent (“dilent eroi”; see below) piped/shipped into the tar sands. Also out of fashion for meaningful discussion is the employment of natural gas. [At present, natural gas is used to heat the excavated sand.] Together, this creates two more sets of environmental hazards while significantly reducing the EROI or energy return on investment ( which is “extremely low, on the order of 5-10%” [compared to] traditional oil recovery”). [Source] [Note that prospects for a nuclear future in relation to the tar sands will be discussed in the next segment of this investigative series.]

Pipelines require dilution of heavy tar sands crude. This requires expensive chemicals to make the crude oil flow more easily.

No doubt seeing an opportunity, Buffett commenced buying BNSF stock in 2006 and continued to buy/increase stock during the following years. This enabled the railway to start transporting the diluting agents/chemicals necessary to thin the tar sands bitumen from U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast, California and Kansas to the Canadian border (at Superior, Wisconsin; Noyes, North Dakota; Sweetgrass, Montana; and New Westminster, British Columbia) where the rail tank cars of diluents were/are then transferred to CN rail, and finally, via rail to Edmonton, for shipment to the tar sands.

Industry officials claim that rail tank cars offer the single most important advantage for transporting bitumen: because of its thickness, it must be diluted with other petroleum-based chemicals in order to flow through pipelines. But, as Buffet knows full well and has understood for years, bitumen can be transported in special rail tank cars without dilution.

In November 2008, mere weeks after the Gates/Buffet tar sands expedition in Alberta, Canada, BNSF’s Manager of Business Development stated the following in BNSF’s Railway Magazine: “We’ll continue moving diluents, but there is opportunity to offer rail service as an alternative to pipelines to get the bitumen blend to the refineries,” adding that for such opportunity to be effective “partnerships with the Canadian railroads” would be necessary.  

Thick as Thieves

The rest is now history. In 2010 Buffett bought the rest of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail for $44 billion while Gates *increased his stake in CN and, by April of 2012, became CN’s single largest shareholder. (*By 2006 approx. $1.4 billion of Gates’ $3.4 billion portfolio was invested exclusively in CN Rail.) Gates and Buffet are considered as “thick as thieves” and often speak to the fact that they consider each other best friends.

On August 13, 2013, Journalstar reported:

“Buffett buys into Canadian tar sands oil company – Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported a new half-billion-dollar stake in Suncor Energy Inc., which started the Canadian tar sands oil industry, after Chairman Warren Buffett and his deputies spent the most money on stocks in a quarter since 2011. Buffett’s firm owned 17.8 million Suncor shares June 30, a stake valued at more than $500 million in the Calgary-based producer of heavy oil from the Alberta tar sands, according to a federal filing. Suncor is Canada’s largest oil and gas producer. With the Suncor investment, Buffett further injected himself into the debate over tar sands oil and the Keystone XL pipeline, which, if approved, would carry the bitumen condemned by environmentalists.”

McKibben’s Obama Fetish

90 Days, 90 Reasons is an initiative by Dave Eggers and Jordan Kurland who believed that “many of Obama’s voters and donors from 2008 needed to be reminded of all he has accomplished, and all he will do if given another term. They asked a wide range of cultural figures to explain why they’re voting for Obama in 2012, in the hopes that this might re-inspire the grassroots army that got Obama elected in the first place.” Bill McKibben was one such “cultural figure” they approached for an Obama endorsement. McKibben’s endorsement/statement was made approximately 45 days before the 2012 election.

REASON 45: MITT ROMNEY WILL APPROVE THE PROPOSED KEYSTONE PIPELINE.

McKibben states:

“A year ago, 1,253 Americans were arrested outside the White House while protesting the proposed Keystone Pipeline, which would run from the tarsands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Liberating that pool of carbon would, in the words of NASA climatologist James Hansen, mean it’s ‘game over’ for the climate. Mitt Romney has promised that, if elected, his first act would be to approve the project. Barack Obama hasn’t said one way or the other what he’d do, which holds out some hope, anyway.” — Bill McKibben, Middlebury, Vermont

In March of 2013, Obama issued an Executive Order to have the southern half of KXL built [New York Times, March 22, 2012: In Oklahoma, Obama Declares Pipeline Support]. To be clear, about six months after Obama expedited the KXL southern half, McKibben publicly stated, in order to promote/endorse him, that Obama had yet to voice an opinion on whether or not he would support the pipeline. 

“In March of last year, President Obama stood among KXL pipe produced by workers in Arkansas and famously announced that he was approving the Southern portion of KXL. Extolling the virtues of the pipeline extension for job creation and economic prosperity when he announced, ‘Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.’ President Obama not only approved KXL, he issued an executive order to expedite the project….” — Forbes, September 19, 2013

It is not as though progressive green “leaders” have not lied in the public sphere prior to this; such political theatre is the name of the NGO game. Yet, because McKibben has been placed upon a pedestal in the balcony section of the ivory tower, it is important to point out that he clearly lied through his teeth on this one, almost as blatantly as his blatant lie told to Karyn Strickler in an interview on Climate Challenge TV when he pretended to have no idea if his “scruffy little outfit” received funding from the Rockefeller foundations. 

I See Humans – But No Humanity

nohumanity

As well-intentioned, albeit naive, citizens join 350.org et al, in the massively financed campaign to “Stop the KeystoneXL!” and “Defend Our Coasts” (this campaign, as discussed in the first installment of this report, is very much led by Rockefeller’s McKibben, focusing on Canadian pipelines and the illusion of “sustainable” tar sands production), CN is already shipping 10,000 barrels of bitumen daily to Gulf terminals and refineries. “The flow of crude oil from the Williston Basin’s Bakken shale field, centered in North Dakota, has confirmed that its transportation by rail is a viable alternative to its movement by pipeline. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the total takeaway capacity from the Williston Basin grew from about 678,000 barrels a day at the end of 2011 to over 1.1 million barrels a day by the end of 2012. Transportation by rail represented most of this expansion, increasing from an estimated 265,000 barrels a day in 2011 to approximately 660,000 barrels a day in December 2012. The principal beneficiary has been BNSF Railway Co., whose daily volume of crude oil is expected to reach 500,000 barrels moving in eight unit trains by the end of this year.” [Source: Keystone Pipeline is not key to importing Alberta crude oil, August 2013]

In the meantime, as we collectively wave our protest signs at the tree branches while ignoring the root cause, CO2 emissions from tar sands production continue to accelerate as the planet passes irreversible tipping points.

Echoing the corporate sentiment “we can do it cheaper” will be easy for the holdings of both Buffet and Gates since corporations continually (and legally) externalize all waste, pollution and ecological damage to citizens, planet and failing ecosystems. CN, BNSF, CP and other transporters of oil will also ignore the fact that the risk of high magnitude derailments is increasing, since corporations spend no more than what is absolutely necessary in order to increase their profits in each and every quarter. The disaster at Lac Mégantic cements this fact. In addition,we must consider the age of many of the existing tracks and the massive weight of the rail tank cars as a factor in any further disasters. Like pipelines leaks and spills, deadly derailments and spills are also disasters waiting to happen – disasters that are absolutely imminent, as we have recently witnessed – and ignored, at our own peril.

With speciesism dominating the collective landscape of human consciousness, consideration for wild animals that will perish as a result of the increased rail traffic appears to be of no concern to capitalists, environmentalists or society as a whole. [“Wild species wandering onto the tracks to their maiming or slaughter [remain] an ongoing problem in both of Canada’s two westernmost provinces, where carnage on the tracks remains a disturbing problem.” Source]

Not to worry, relentless public relations campaigns, branding, green-washing, marketing and intense social engineering (on behalf of the Avaaz Ivy League death squad) will no doubt continue to ease the guilt that sits beneath our collective consciousness. In regard to oil via rail, one can be certain that “National Public Relations” will protect the Enbridge Corporation and ensure damage control when future rail spills incite bitterness and hopelessness in the small communities impacted. Conveniently, CN Rail, Imperial Oil and Encana are also represented by the National Public Relations firm, which is, ironically, the Canadian affiliate to Burson-Marsteller. The irony lies in the fact that Burson-Marsteller is the public relations agency infamous for its cloaking of Union Carbide in Bhopal, Philip-Morris tobacco and the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. [Source]

Isn’t It Ironic

Welcome to the 21st century of philanthropic colonization:

“As Barker notes, the philanthropic colonization of civil society is a clear and present danger to democratic governance, and the first step in countering their insidious influence is for progressive activists to dissociate from their foundations. As Barker admits, creating democratic revenue streams won’t be easy, but it is necessary in order to free ourselves from the corrosive social engineering of liberal elites.” — Jay Taber, Philanthropic Colonization, January 10, 2013

I would like to end this segment (part III) with a taste of delicious irony.

On July 26, 2013, Peter Buffett penned a provocative opinion piece for the New York Times titled The Charitable-Industrial Complex.

Buffett writes:

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism….

Inside any important philanthropy meeting, you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left….

“As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to ‘give back.’ It’s what I would call ‘conscience laundering’ – feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity….

“I’m really not calling for an end to capitalism; I’m calling for humanism….

“What we have is a crisis of imagination….

“Albert Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it. Money should be spent trying out concepts that shatter current structures and systems that have turned much of the world into one vast market. Is progress really Wi-Fi on every street corner? No. It’s when no 13-year-old girl on the planet gets sold for sex. But as long as most folks are patting themselves on the back for charitable acts, we’ve got a perpetual poverty machine. It’s an old story; we really need a new one.”

Yes – an absolute crisis of imagination. Although Buffett recognizes that the complex ensures that the structure of inequality be kept intact, Buffett’s own imagination will not allow him to see outside capitalism … even when he is able to understand and acknowledge many direct results of capitalism. It must be understood that such a call for humanism can only be achieved by dismantling and crushing capitalism. Otherwise, we continue to wade in the blood of our brothers and sisters, all while ecosystems continue to fail and die all around us. Buffett cannot manage to cross the line to stand against capitalism. Like so many others, Buffett simply cannot bring himself to step over. Privilege blinds. Yet, there are honest and important critiques in Buffett’s opinion piece and one can be quite certain that they were not met with open arms by the white saviours who dwell within the complex.

One thing is certain. Peter Buffett is far more honest than Bill McKibben.

“If activists fail to address the crucial issue of liberal philanthropy now this will no doubt have dire consequences for the future of progressive activism – and democracy more generally – and it is important to recognise that liberal foundations are not all powerful and that the future, as always, lies in our hands and not theirs.” — Michael Barker, Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions?



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

 

End Notes

[1][2][3][4] Activists should take note of the information/funding sources, disclosed in far-right Canadian Vivian Krause’s investigative reports/research. (“Vivian Krause is a Vancouver researcher and writer. Her work raises fair questions about the science and the funding of environmental campaigns. During the 1990s, Vivian worked on community health and development in Guatemala and Indonesia. She holds a Bachelor of Science from McGill University and a Masters Degree from l’Université de Montréal. Vivian is also a contributor to The Financial Post.” Source: Huffington Post. From the PowerPoint presentation “Rethinking Environmental Activism Against Canadian Energy.”)

[5] In the third quarter of 2012, 4,500 tank cars were delivered and the time for an order to be processed and the tank cars to be manufactured has now lengthened to around 15-18 months.  

Must-Read White Paper: The Politics of a New York State Fracking Moratorium

sierraclub2

Above: A picture worth a thousand words ….

“[P]romoters of “safe fracking” like the Natural Resources Defense Council (“we need better information”), the National Sierra Club (“let’s secure strong safeguards”), and the National Wildlife Federation (“reasonable compromise”; the parent organization of Environmental Advocates of New York), Environmental Defense Fund (partnering with Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and other industry players in the “Center for Sustainable Shale Development,” PDF), Citizens Campaign for the Environment (pushing for a moratorium, “Let science guide the process”), and New York League of Conservation Voters (whose 2013 spring gala partners included Chesapeake Energy, Scotts Miracle-Gro, and other industry polluters) would like to have an apparent easy win to headline their fundraising letters. Even while many of their staffers recognize the need for a ban, these same staffers have been discouraged from publicly supporting a ban. The grassroots must stand firmly for this position to help these staffers use the courage of their convictions.”

CPNY | Coalition to Protect New York

June 16, 2013

Knowing that the whole country, indeed the whole world, is looking to New York State to stop fracking and lead the way for others to piggyback on our success, we find it especially important that we get it right. We can help not only ourselves but also every other citizenry affected, and we can change the course of history. We cannot waste time; too much is at stake. We can’t play games. We must demand what we need to survive. And we must win.

1. What is the effect of calling for a moratorium? Doesn’t a moratorium buy us time to organize for an eventual ban?

We understand and are tempted by the respite that a moratorium seems to promise. Who wouldn’t like to buy time for rest and recuperation, and to fight more fiercely down the line?

However, after careful examination of the political and economic landscape, we realize that the price of a statewide moratorium is clearly too high — it works against our achieving our ultimate goal of a total and complete ban.

Working for Warren: Corporate Greens

 

buffet

Intercontinental Cry

June 4, 2013

By Jay Taber

 

In Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse–Part II, Cory Morningstar examines the political theatre of the non-profit industrial complex around the transport of oil, and how corporate greens — financed by oligarchs like Rockefeller, Gates and Buffett — are effectively destroying any meaningful activism in the US. At a time when half the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies, protesting pipelines only to have oil shipped by rail is arguably a meaningless activity. But as Morningstar explains, it is funded.

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

 

Under Empire, All Life is Imperiled


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One Year On

Counterpunch Weekend Edition May 24-26, 2013

by JAVIER SETHNESS CASTRO

“After the catastrophes that have happened, and in view of the catastrophes to come, it would be cynical to say that a plan for a better world is manifested in history and unites it.”

– Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics

Channeling Adorno, it would I think prove difficult today to characterize the prevailing world-situation as anything other than highly negative.  Such an interpretation is arguably seen most readily in reflection on environmental matters—specifically, the ever-worsening climate emergency, not to mention other worrying signs of the ecological devastation wrought by the capitalist system.