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The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – A Decade of Social Manipulation for the Corporate Capture of Nature [ACT VI – Crescendo]

February 24, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

This is ACT VI of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

The final act of this series is dedicated to Greta Thunberg and the youth she has inspired across our fragile planet. The upper echelons of power have every intention to capture and channel this energy – and use it to maintain the current power structures. They are already in the process.

We have reached the Brave New Moment where there is no longer a distinction between our “movements” and the corporate forces that have been created to further our oppression and servitude – all in compliance to economic growth and capitalism for the world’s ruling class. All of this to be achieved on the backs of the most vulnerable – our youth. Hegemonic forces are salivating over the global waves of youth mobilization demanding action on climate change.

The paradox is this – the youth are their vehicle. Their resistance sequestered and redirected directly back into the very system that will destroy the same future they march to save. When children from even the wealthiest of families (monetary wealth being the epitome of “success” in the West) are part and parcel of an epidemic of depression in our society – we need to question why we would do anything that would prop-up a failing system that benefits so few – at the expense of so much.

Let this knowledge serve as a weapon for resistance.

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The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstructed how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examined the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarized who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I took a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explored Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connected the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walked you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclosed the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I revealed how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

 

 

 

A C T   V I

 

 

March 10, 2014:

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

 

The Chaperone

chap·er·one Dictionary result for chaperone: 1. a person who accompanies and looks after another person or group of people. Synonyms: companion, duenna, protectress, escort, governess, nursemaid, carer, keeper, protector, bodyguard, minder.

For the final segment of this series, let’s circle back to where we began. With Greta Thunberg.

During the January 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Thunberg’s celebrity was fully utilized to give those in the public realm an  illusion of a newfound “compassionate capitalism”. This was especially true for the WEF Ocean Day Programme in which Thunberg was featured on the panel “What Will a Changing Ocean Mean to Us, Our Jobs and Markets?” While those on the panel (including Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) spoke of the ocean as a market at risk (“if we don’t save the oceans that is a 24 trillion dollar loss”), Thunberg’s innocence created a veneer of legitimacy over the grotesque objectification of nature. Meanwhile, Al Gore, sat on the “Taking Action for The Ocean” panel (“the ‘ocean economy’ is estimated to account for 3%-5% of global GDP, with assets worth $24 trillion. How can the world tap into the ocean economy while protecting it from environmental collapse?”) discussing the global climate strikes (as a pivotal sign of change – approx. 30m:10s in) and the necessity to assign monetary value to nature. Of course, the key pivotal moment for the exploitation of Thunberg (and the very purpose of her global construct) came at the moment she spoke her much-publicized words “Our house is on fire. I’m here to say, our house is on fire.” These words  echoed the outlined text in the strategy paper entitled, “Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode” almost verbatim. The strategy, authored by the Climate Mobilization Project, outlines a “wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American home front effort during World War II”. [ACT IV]

The Climate Mobilization Project: “Al Gore calls for WWII-scale climate mobilization” [0m:53s]

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Above: World Economic Forum panel: “What will a changing Ocean mean to us, our jobs and markets?”  From left to right: Haley Edwards, moderator, correspondent, TIME Magazine, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, Katherine Garrett-Cox, Gulf International Bank, and Greta Thunberg



Above: January 25, 2019, Twitter

The above photograph of Thunberg on her way home from Davos, was shared on social media on January 25, 2019.  The woman accompanying Thunberg in the photo, as well as the person who shared the photograph, is not Thunberg’s mother nor her grandmother. Rather, she is Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. And this is where all the pieces of our elaborate puzzle finally fit into place.

Above: January 25, 2019, twitter

Above: January 22, 2019, Twitter, tagged users: Al Gore, World Economic Forum, Sharan Burrow,  Greenpeace International

During the gathering, while Thunberg’s presence was being exploited in multiple ways, one being an attempt to add both legitimacy and diplomacy to the Oceans conference, Morgan was present at far more intimate discussions – those that focused on the “New Deal for Nature”.

Above: World Economic Forum YouTube Channel: “Davos 2019 – A New Deal for Nature”, published February 9, 2019

Above: January 24, 2019, Twitter, New Deal For Nature, Global Shapers, World Economic Forum, Davos

Above: “22-25 January 2019. We’re rallying world leaders to act for the planet, our one home. Add your voice to demand for a sustainable future for all. – WWF AT WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – ADD YOUR VOICE” [Source]

One not familiar with the inner workings and functions of the non-profit industrial complex might wonder why the executive director of Greenpeace International be invited to attend a discussion regarding the implementation of “payments for ecosystem services” (PES), global in scale. That is, monetary value being assigned to all nature, under the guise of environmental protection. That is, the financialization and privatization of all nature – on the entire Earth.

And here we must pay attention.

Morgan is the former global climate change director of Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G). Prior to E3G she led the Global Climate Change Program for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). Morgan has worked for the US Climate Action Network (USCAN), the European Business Council for a Sustainable Energy Future and for the Federal Ministry of Environment. She served as senior advisor to the German Chancellor’s chief advisor, advised former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and currently serves on Germany’s Council for Sustainable Development.

Above: 1998: “Jennifer Morgan, Climate Policy Officer, WWF, seated with Andrew Kerr, WWF, who presented the WWF report on Climate Change and Human Health” UNFCCC COP-4, THE FOURTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, 2 – 13  November, 1998 [Source]

But more importantly than all the above job titles, is Morgan’s role in relationship to the upper echelons of power: her prior position as the global director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute. [Bio][Source]

The 2019 World Economic Forum (which features Morgan’s publications and blog posts on its website) was not the first instance of Morgan’s involvement in the coming “New Deal For Nature”. During the closing remarks of the Global Landscapes Forum on December 9, 2018, at COP24, Morgan stressed that in addition to shifting global focus from the oil and transportation sectors to land and forests, additional cooperation was required to reach consensus on the New Deal for Nature:

“We also need much improved cooperation for a new deal for nature to be agreed on at the next CBD cop in 2020 setting decisive biodiversity guidelines for climate action.” — Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International – Closing remarks, Global Landscapes Forum, COP24, Dec 9, 2018

The truth is that Morgan’s career as a darling and confidante of the elite establishment has been long established. Her perseverance and sound navigation within the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex has brought her to this very moment.

Above: May 14, 2013, Jennifer Morgan, Rainer Baake, Lutz Weischer, Carol Browner, World Resources Institute, Flickr

Above: January 25, 2019, World Economic Forum, Davos, Greta Thunberg

Above: Former Vice President of the USA, Al Gore (The Climate Reality Project and Generation Investment) and Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan. ClimateHub, COP24, Katowice, Poland [Source]

Above: Al Gore, New Deal for Nature via the UN Sustainable Development Goals, WEF, Davos, 2019

Above: November 28, 2018, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Facebook [Source]

Above: January 23, 2019, Green New Deal

Above: November 3, 2015, Jennifer Morgan (@ClimateMorgan), World Resources Institute, The Climate Group, The Climate Reality Project

Here it is critical to recognize that the World Resources Institute is a founding partner of Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), and that the New Climate Economy – a project of Global Commission on the Economy and Climate launched in 2013 – is also founded by the World Resources Institute.

What the New Climate Economy is expressing when it states that, “the shift to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy is only one – potentially small – part of a much broader economic transition that is under way” is this: the transformation of global finance via the economic valuation and payment for environmental services.

“The failure to price our natural capital, on which our wealth and well-being depends, is a serious failure in the global capital market. Worth many trillions of dollars in financial assets, the global capital market shapes the world we live in, and which our children will inherit.” — Kitty van der Heijden, Director, World Resources Institute Europe and Africa, Finance for One Planet, 2016

Birds of a Feather: World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund  & Stockholm Environment Institute

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

 

Above: November 14, 2017, “Stronger Together for Climate Action”: L-R: Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, Pascal Canfin, CEO, WWF France, Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, Ramiro Fernández, Avina, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader, WWF Climate and Energy Practice, and Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr., Governor of California. Photo: IISD/ENB, Herman Njoroge Chege [Source]

“We need the CBD [Climate Change and Biodiversity] to attain the highest political relevance and develop a far higher shared vision if we are to reach a New Deal for Nature and create a Paris-style moment for biodiversity in 2020.” — November 15, 2018, media release,  WWF Rallies Behind the Call for a New Deal for Nature and People [Emphasis added]

As discussed in ACT V of this series, the board of directors overseeing the World Resources Institute represent the very upper tiers of the ruling class.

Also disclosed was that Helen Mountford is the program director for the New Climate Economy project and director of economics at World Resources Institute. Prior to this appointment, Mountford served as deputy director of environment for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Beyond its formal research partnerships, the New Climate Economy is aligned with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Energy Agency, regional development banks, UN agencies and the OECD.

World Resources Institute is a key co-founder in the social engineering apparatus, GCCA (TckTckTck), which officially launched in 2008. Long before the elite forces declaration of a climate emergency that we witness unfolding today, scientists and academia had already recognized that the industrial scale of our collective objectification and destruction of nature had proceeded to such scale, it threatened the collapse of industrial civilization (exploiting and enslaving most – for the benefit of few). Of course, long before this, the Indigenous could see the writing on the wall as the European pursued his conquering of nature in blind earnest.

Markets have finally conquered the Western world. Our society is now maxed out on debt and economic growth has not only stagnated, it is on a downward spiral. Today, we find ourselves in a culture so disconnected from reality that it considers economic growth far more valuable than the planetary ecosystems that sustain all life.

As this series has and will further demonstrate in this closing segment, the GCCA coalition was designed, financed and orchestrated by the same entities now set to unlock 100 trillion USD and simultaneously implement the privatization/financialization of nature via the New Deal For Nature (payments for ecosystem services) to be agreed upon by 2020. As demonstrated in ACT IV – the urgency we bear witness to today, is due to a fear far greater than the collapse of the planetary biosphere, that is – the collapse of the capitalist economic system.

[Background reading on both the World Resources Institute and the New Climate Economy: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature, February 13, 2019]

World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund, and the New Climate Economy are at the helm of the financialization of nature. Also at the helm is the Natural Capital Coalition (collaborating with both World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund), which represents over 300 of the world’s most powerful and egregious corporations while engaging “many thousands more“.

The New Climate Economy research partner, the Stockholm Environment Institute has a well-oiled revolving door between itself and the World Wildlife Fund. The institute has generous funding to the tune of 260 million SEK in 2017 (approx. 28 million USD) including almost ten million SEK from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a side note, we can add that the Stockholm Environment Institute gave a presentation at a climate function on May 4, 2018 (“Welcome to the Power of Capital“) with both Ingmar Rentzhog, CEO of We Don’t Have Time and Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero Award, 2017, and Thunberg’s mother.]

On November 21, 2017, it was announced that Pavan Sukhdev was appointed as president of WWF International: “Pavan Sukhdev, former director of the UN Environment Initiative for a Green Economy, has been appointed President of WWF International.” Sukhdev, former managing director of the Markets Division of Deutsche Bank, would launch the findings of the TEEB study in 2010, the acronym standing for ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,’ an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Natural Capital Coalition was formerly the TEEB for Business Coalition.

“Stockholm is home to two institutions, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Institute, which have done a great deal of research to better understand and apply the concepts of Natural Capital to the way we manage ecosystems and the economy.  Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a group of 28 academics proposed a new Earth system framework in 2011 for government and management agencies to use as a tool to support sustainable development.” — Stockholm: Natural Capital of the World, September 23, 2019

On February 13, 2019, The Guardian published the article, School Climate Strike Children’s Brave Stand Has Our Support – “We are inspired that our children, spurred on by the noble actions of Greta Thunberg and other striking students, are making their voices heard, say 224 academics”. Those endorsing the letter included Annemarieke de Bruin, researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute, Dr Alison Dyke, Stockholm Environment Institute, Dr Jean McKendree, Stockholm Environment Institute and Corrado Topi, ecological economist, Stockholm Environment Institute.

 

  • April 17, 2015, Jennifer Morgan, World Resources Institute, The Climate Reality Project, The Climate Group

A Decade of Strategic and Methodical Social Engineering

Citizen protests and legal actions against companies, governments and individuals will undoubtedly become an increasing leverage opportunity in support of this emergency approach and have already begun.” — Club Of Rome The Climate Emergency Plan, launched with We Don’t Have Time and Global Utmaning, December, 2018

Above: TckTckTck Flickr: “The Press Conference of the ‘Beds are Burning’ Launch in Paris was well attended as Kofi Annan, David Jones, Mélanie Laurent, Manu Katché and many other supporters of the campaign made their appearance.”

“The objective was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” — TckTckTck Havas Pager

GCCA (TckTckTck) was founded by a small group of NGOs, including World Resources Institute (WRI), 350.org, Greenpeace, Avaaz and World Wildlife Fund. It is partnered with over 470 members, including: ClimateWorks (founded in 2008 by the Hewlett, Packard and McKnight foundations), which is discussed further on in this segment. Climate Week NYC 2014 (September 22-26), an annual initiative of the Climate Group, was marketed in conjunction with the People’s Climate March that took place on September 21, 2014. Climate Week NYC was founded in 2009 as a partnership between The Climate Group, the United Nations, the UN Foundation, GCCA/TckTckTck, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Government of Denmark and the City of New York.

The march was organized by GCCA/TckTckTck, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation), the Rasmussen Foundation and USCAN.

The Climate Group business campaigns “are brought to you as part of the We Mean Business coalition.” [Source]

Video: We Mean Business Momentum – Catalyst for the 2014 “People’s Climate March” [Running time: 1m:39s]:

 

“The Strategic Plan 2018-2022 lays out WRI’s approach and priorities for the next five years. WRI’s approach is to help catalyze and advance non-incremental shifts in policy and behavior, unusual political, social and corporate partnerships, to be understood in the context of “movements” rather than policy shifts.” — Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Concept Note, Support to World Resources Institute, Implementation of the Strategic Plan 2018-2022

Through the GCCA/TckTckTck coalition a decade of social engineering went unnoticed. The September 21, 2014 People’s Climate March and the global marches that would follow, such as Rise Up mobilizations, “Work Parties”, Power Shift gatherings, etc. etc. had multiple purposes with multiple desired effects which were incredibly successful for those at the helm. To “Change Everything We Need Everyone” was a signal. A behavioural engineering cue that would coalesce a camaraderie between the citizenry and corporate power to become “stronger as one”. All focus would be kept far away from the key drivers of climate change (militarism, the capitalist economic system dependent on infinite growth and exploitation, industrial agriculture/livestock, etc.) which could be made to be, like the Indigenous led 2010 People’s Agreement of Cochabamba, invisible. Instead, this energy would be  directed to the discourse of “clean energies” as the singular most important solution for our multiple ecological crises. The belief in two objects was sufficient for an entire populace to be reassured that there would be zero sacrifice. The Western lifestyle could continue unabated. The solar panel and wind turbine directive took centre stage. The crowd roared in applause. The singular focus of “renewable energy” became an eco-fetish of the Western populace, the targeted demographic.

The ten-year social engineering effort also led to a transition from environmentalism into full-blown yet undetected anthropocentrism. Over a ten year span, “environmentalism” moved from that of protecting nature, to demanding a roll-out of green technology, industrial in scale, that would further plunder nature. The natural world became irrelevant as the desire for green technology superceded environmental protection. Wind turbines and solar panels replaced images of trees and insects as the new symbols of our natural world. Saving the industrial civilization that is killing off all life became paramount to saving the ecosystems that all life depends on. These ideologies slowly took hold until “movements” become nothing more than lobby groups for green energy. Volunteers marching for capital, global in scale. To suggest that Edward Bernays would be impressed would be an understatement. Such is the beauty of social engineering and behavioural change.

Yet, to fully understand how we arrived at today’s dismal precipice, we must first revisit the past.

In 2009, over a span of five months GCCA/TckTckTck and affiliated partners registered 15.5 million names worldwide on its online petition for a ” fair, ambitious and binding climate change agreement.” Many marketing firms outside of Havas helped achieve this, including the corporate communications and public affairs agency Hoggan & Associates of which DeSmogBlog co-founder Jim Hoggan is president and founder. Hoggan’s client list includes corporate creation TckTckTck, Canadian Pacific Railway, Shell and ALCOA. DeSmogBlog may “expose” Shell on occasion, yet Hoggan & Associates has no problem raking in Shell cash to, in their own words, “…help clients identify the optimum frame and establish it in the public mind. [Source]

“THE MOST PRESSING ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM WE FACE TODAY IS NOT CLIMATE CHANGE. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric, propaganda and polarization stifles discussion and debate, creating resistance to change and thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems.” — Jim Hoggan, co-founder of DeSmogBlog [Source: Hoggan & Associates]

[Further reading: EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé, January 6, 2010]

The day before the international climate negotiations kick off in Cancun, the global TckTckTck campaign and its partners presented UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres Photo: Ivan Castaneira/tcktcktck

 

Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of TckTckTck, speaks during the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC in New York, September 20, 2010 (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

In 2014, Kelly Rigg, executive director of TckTckTck from 2009–2014, was credited as the key organizer for the 2014 People’s Climate March:

“Large groups, like 350.org, Avaaz or the Sierra Club, and the numerous grassroots organizations (1,300 by some estimates) don’t just start magically working together to rent buses, secure police permits and make signs specific to their interests. There has to be a vision into which they all buy, a big enough umbrella under which everyone can stand. Building that umbrella—particularly for the international organizations—was Rigg’s work, work that includes important leadership lessons relevant to anyone trying to mobilize large groups with diverse interests and agendas. Her work can be seen as a road map for how to herd cats. Forbes, Sept 25, 2014: Leadership Lessons from The People’s Climate March [Emphasis added.]

Prior to her role at GCCA/TckTckTck, Rigg served as deputy campaigns director for Greenpeace International from 1998-2003, and as its project coordinator from 1982-1993. [Source] In addition, Rigg is founding director of the international consultancy, Varda Group co-founded in 2003 with Rémi Parmentier. GCCA/TckTckTck is identified as a Varda client, as is Greenpeace, Ceres (350.org divestment partner), Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Nature Conservancy, WCBSD, UNEP, etc. [Client List]

Having started his career at Friends of the Earth France, Parmentier also holds an extensive history with Greenpeace spanning 27 years, as well as extensive relations with multilateral bodies:

“Rémi Parmentier has been involved in the process of Rio +20 from the start. He participated in the intersession meetings and the Preparatory Committee in New York with “informal consultations” on behalf of various international organizations and alliances. Previously, as the Political Director of Greenpeace International, in the Summit of Johannesburg in 2002, Parmentier was the negotiator and protagonist of the agreement between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Greenpeace International on the Kyoto Protocol.” [Source] [Emphasis added]

Parmentier also served as deputy executive secretary for the Global Ocean Commission (2013-2016) which was launched in February 2013. Inés de Águeda who serves as the communications officer for the Global Ocean Commission, is also an associate at the Varda Group.

Commissioners of the Global Ocean Commission include/have included José María Figueres (co-chair), President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998, brother of Christina Figueres, former president of the Carbon War Room, David Miliband, John Podesta (chair of the Center for American Progress and a former White House chief of staff ), Sri Mulyani Indrawati (managing director at the World Bank), Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization and other high profile individuals.

Here we can add that José María Figueres served as a director of the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the Stockholm Environment Institute. He was also the first CEO of the World Economic Forum and later served as  CEO of Concordia 21. [Source]

[Further reading: Under One Bad Sky | TckTckTck’s 2014 People’s Climate March: This Changed Nothing, September 23, 2015]

And the following information would too come as no surprise, if only the populace could see through the fog of faux environmentalism.

Alnoor Ladha is a founding partner and the head of strategy at Purpose. With its expertise in behavioural change, Purpose is most renowned for its White Helmets campaign – a 21st century hybrid-NGO serving NATO states. Ladha is a founding member and the executive director of the Purpose project, The Rules. Ladha serves on the board of Greenpeace USA where its executive director, Annie Leonard, has co-founded Earth Economics. Yet another institution created to aid, abet, and, most importantly, profit off the financialization of nature scheme, now well underway as demonstrated in this series. Leonard’s Earth Economics [4] is a member of divestment partner CERES, which is in turn a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Purpose (PR arm of Avaaz) manages The B Team (co-founder of We Mean Business) the official address of which, is the office of Purpose.

The link between most, if not all of these NGOs, institutions and high-level individuals, is the shared desire for carbon markets and/or the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (PES).

“Since the 1970s, several waves of privatization have swept the world. In 2017, the Privatization Barometer concluded that “the massive global privatization wave that began in 2012 continues unabated”. According to the rights expert, that wave has been driven not only by Governments and the private sector, but also by international organizations, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations.” — Human rights at risk from tsunami of privatization, Third World Network, November 16, 2018

Above: Kelly Rigg, Founding Director, Varda Group, US: The Economics of Sustainable Development, 16-19 June, 2012 | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) website

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“The second issue is the issue of reductions of emissions. There must be radical reductions of emissions starting from now. In our view, by 2017 we should cut, developed countries must cut by 52%, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030, well above 100 [percent] by 2050. And this is very important because the more you defer action the more you condemn millions of people to immeasurable suffering.” Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, December 11, 2009, COP15

In 2008, as the global climate change director for E3G,  Jennifer Morgan (executive director, Greenpeace International) played a central role and lead catalyst in the formation and launch of the GCCA – the aforementioned coalition first conceptualized in 2006. [1] With extensive experience in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, Morgan was the ideal choice.

“With an overall budget of USD 6.8 million—over 95 % of which came from foundation funding—the GCCA was undoubtedly the most well-funded global climate campaign of 2009.” Grants for the 2009 GCCA/TckTckTck campaign (created by Havas Worldwide/Euro RSGG in collaboration with Kofi Annan‘s Global Humanitarian Forum) morphed to eleven million USD. [2]

In 2013, the International Policies and Politics Initiative (IPPI) was established by five foundations: the European Climate Foundation (ECF), ClimateWorks Foundation, Oak Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the Mercator Foundation. The initiative would act “as a platform where foundations and grantees meet to strategize on how international political and policy levers can catalyse more ambitious policies at the domestic level.” The ClimateWorks Foundation was largely operated by the McKinsey & Company, an acting advisor to Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room. [3]

The GCCA would greatly benefit the IPPI:

“The GCCA and the TckTckTck campaign offer a potent example of how foundation funds—and most significantly those of the Oak Foundation—were mobilized for capacity building purposes in the run-up to Copenhagen.” — [Source, p. 73]

Morgan, by this time serving with the World Resources Institute, was the ideal person to coordinate the IPPI platform in the run-up to and during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) held in Paris. Morgan was chosen to lead IPPI due to her vast experience in the international climate realm coupled with her World Resources Institute (WRI) affiliation. In essence, this was a signal to corporate power that its interests would be protected. [“The WRI, given its director’s links with governments and international institutions like the World Bank, was seen as a legitimate partner in the eyes of the funders.”] [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, p. 101]

And while IPPI and GCCA controlled the “movement”, the same forces also controlled the message via the Carbon Briefing Service (CBS). The news service was launched by Jennifer Morgan (WRI) and Liz Gallagher (E3G) in late 2014 with additional funding by the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Villum Foundation and Avaaz. [Source]

The description on the E3G website describes CBS as “a joint E3G-WRI Platform providing political analysis and intelligence to a wide range of actors in the run up to the Paris 2015 climate change negotiations”. Consider that the communications distributed via the CBC “ownerless” network began with the following  notice: “This briefing is confidential and not for public circulation. You have received it due to your relationships with CBS members and networks.” Invitation only CBS participants included: Iain Keith (Avaaz), Jamie Henn (350), Camilla Born (E3G), Liz Gallagher (E3G), Mohamed Adow (ChristianAid), Monica Araya, Martin Kaiser (Greenpeace Germany), Farhana Yamin (TrackO), Wael Hmaidan (CAN International), Bill Hare (Climate Analytics), Pascal Canfin (WRI), Michael Jacobs (Grantham), Alden Meyer (UCS), Tim Nuthall (ECF), Alix Mazounie (RAC-France). [Source]

IPPI is focused on using the ‘Paris moment’ to increase the scale and pace of change.” — Jennifer Morgan, World Resources Institute, [Source, p. 5]

By utilizing GCCA, IPPI, CBS and outside “progressive media”, in conjunction with collaborating NGOs and institutions that comprise the non-profit industrial complex, the creation of the “Paris moment” would be achieved.

Havas Worldwide (creator of the TckTckTck campaign) was recognized as a convening partner of the COP21 Earth to Paris campaign with collaborating partners identified as 350.org and Avaaz (GCCA/TckTckTck founders), Ceres, The Climate Reality Project, The Nature Conservancy, We Mean Business, the World Bank (via Connect4Climate) and a host of others. Long before the conference had even concluded, it was announced that during a live-streamed summit on December 7th and 8th, the Earth to Paris partners would deliver “a new universal climate change agreement.”[Source]

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.”

The fact that anew universal climate change agreement” was announced on October 29, 2015, a month prior to the conference actually taking place, was lost on the populace. [From TckTckTck, to Air France, to “Earth To Paris”, Havas Worldwide Continues to Hypnotize]

“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

IPPI, as coordinated by Morgan, was created as a “discrete ECF programme” which would “work behind the scenes.” “While the ECF had given rise to the original idea and while it housed its dedicated staff, IPPI was very much presented as an autonomous and “unbranded” initiative (“unbranded” as in not linked to any particular organization”). [Source, p. 101]

Video: Beyond Davos, 2015 – Mobilizing consumers and ownerless movements as explained by Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans. Introduction by Paul Hilder (Avaaz, Here Now/Purpose). [Running time: 3m:39s]:

 

“Although civil society groups are assumed to be normatively motivated […] they are nonetheless embedded in a global capitalist economy and have quite specific material requirements that must be fulfilled in order to operate successfully.” — Lipschutz and McKendry, Social Movements and Global Civil Society, August, 2011

Lipschutz and McKendry (quoted above) further elaborate: “to be successful, an organization must survive and, in a marketbased environment, this means finding ways to generate the funds necessary to sustain operations”. [5] Yet, it is more than this. Those at the helm, as this series has demonstrated, share the same ideologies and Western mindsets as the capitalists and corporations whose interests they serve.

The IPPI brought together the influential players: Greenpeace, WWF, 350.org, Avaaz, CAN International, Oxfam, E3G, The Climate Group and the World Resources Institute. The formation of GCCA was one commonality between many of these NGOs and think tanks coupled with extensive involvement in the international climate arena coupled with strong affiliations with negotiators and the UNFCCC secretariat. [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016 [p. 101 and p. 118]

“The role of Avaaz is particularly revealing in this respect. In other words, it was not a case of promoting one approach among many but of making sure that the IPPI approach was the only approach while maintaining a false sense of pluralism both inside and on the margins of the climate negotiations. Core contributors to the IPPI strategy went to extraordinary lengths to prevent fellow non-state actors from “getting in the way” of a positive diplomatic outcome in Paris.” — The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena] [p. 133]

The Key Foundations

To be clear, the IPPI is not the only case of foundation involvement and influence in the climate policy realm. However, it is one of the most “successful,” given how influential it has proven to be. Most policies (if not all) are driven by corporations via the largest and most influential foundations and think tanks created and financed by profits from these very same corporate entities.

The field of climate philanthropy regroups a fairly small number of large players.  A 2010 study for the Foundation Center, showed that in 2008, 25 foundations accounted for over 90% of all climate change funding. More recent data from the same source discloses that six foundations—Oak, Packard, Hewlett, Sea Change, Energy, Rockefeller—accounted for approximately 70% of climate change policy funding in 2012. [Source, p 10]

In 1989, Environmental Defence Fund, WWF and Greenpeace, with foundation backing, launched the Climate Action Network (CAN) which Jennifer Morgan also presided over in her career at USCAN. One foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which financed regional offshoots of CAN, would comment in it’s 1993 annual review, that these “global preachers” “played a central role beginning in the early days of the climate change debate”. [Source, p. 32]

It is here that we must jump forward to the present day.

In the article “Philanthropy Teams Up With Institutional Investors to Fight Climate Change,” published on September 7, 2017, the need for a new approach that will unlock capital for new climate infrastructure at scale is highlighted:

“[B]ecause climate change represents such an extraordinary threat, it’s imperative we compress the dynamics of innovation and scale through new approaches. That’s why Planet Heritage Foundation… a global investment advisory firm that works with institutional investors to channel capital into “climate infrastructure” sectors such as clean energy, water, and waste-to-value. These investors — sovereign funds, pensions, endowments, insurance companies, family offices, and foundations — represent more than $80 trillion in assets and are the only stakeholders other than governments with the capacity to invest at a scale… After only a year, the Aligned Intermediary model is already demonstrating promise in this regard…

 

“In partnership with Sarah Kearney (PRIME) and Alicia Seiger (Stanford University), we initially attracted grant funding totaling $500,000 from four philanthropies — the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and Planet Heritage Foundation — for research that demonstrated the potential of our model.” [Emphasis added]

One year later, at the One Planet Summit in NY on September 26, 2018, the Climate Finance Task Force, a group  coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and Aligned Intermediary, announced the new instruments for unlocking capital at scale:

“Efforts to blend capital in order to engage and mobilize large-scale institutional capital toward climate solutions took a notable step forward on September 26 at the One Planet Summit in New York, when French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink announced the Climate Finance Partnership (CFP). The CFP consists of a unique combination of philanthropies, governments, institutional investors, and a leading global asset manager. The parties, including BlackRock, the Governments of France and Germany, and the Hewlett, Grantham, and IKEA foundations, have committed to work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.

 

The partnership, coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and the Aligned Intermediary, an investment advisory group, was designed and structured specifically to use a layer of government and philanthropic capital to maximize private capital mobilization toward climate-related sectors in emerging markets.” [Emphasis added]

The Blended Finance Taskforce (ACT IV of this series) is comprised of fifty icons of finance including the MacArthur Foundation (World Resources Institute), the Rockefeller Foundation and the ClimateWorks Foundation. [Full list]

The same article sheds light on the “violent agreement” to unlock $100 trillion USD:

“A detailed analysis by the World Bank found that while $100 trillion is held by pension funds and other institutional investors, these same investors allocated less than $2 trillion over a 25 year period into infrastructure investment in emerging markets. And the fraction of that investment that could be considered green, clean, or climate-friendly was negligible.

 

So, what can be done? Whether you choose to look through the lens of unprecedented challenge or unprecedented opportunity, there is violent agreement that institutional capital needs to be “unlocked” (a favorite word on the climate conference circuit) and mobilized quickly and at scale.” [Emphasis added]

The foundations involved in climate policy from inception, that continue to work hand-in-hand with select NGOs and NGO leaders, are the same foundations to benefit from the Climate Finance Partnership. The roadmap to unlocking 100 trillion dollars is identified in pension funds. The roadmap to the privatization and financialization of nature, global in scale, is the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex, a matrix of overlapping highways of hegemony.

On December 12, 2017, at the One Planet Summit, Frank Bainimaramai, COP23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji, stated:

“…after all when we talk about tapping into the vast amounts of institutional capital for climate solutions we are largely talking about the retirement savings of ordinary hard-working citizens and we need to honor the expectation of being good stewards with the money…”

To be clear: The money for multi-billion-dollar corporations – to create privatized services and industries, under the guise of environmental protection, is going to be PAID FOR BY THE PUBLIC – BUT THE PUBLIC WILL NOT OWN THEM. (For this would be communism – a detestable idea in the Western world.) For the corporate sector, it’s no risk – all profit. Anything that fails – the public is on the hook.

John D. Rockefeller once stated that, “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.” Truer words were perhaps never spoken.

The skill and precision in achieving the protection and expansion of the capitalist economic system is today nothing less than extraordinary. By utilizing the non-profit industrial complex, the world’s most powerful oligarchs need not force their will onto society. Rather, akin to what Aldous Huxley prophesized in his fictional novel Brave New World, we have been manipulated and engineered to demand the very “solutions” that will further empower those that destroy us.

“The climate Glitterati, such as, M. Bloomberg, L. DiCaprio, N. Stern, C. Figueres, A. Gore, M. Carney. All of these people have huge carbon footprints, and they fly around the world in private jets to inform us what to do about climate change. They are supported by a whole cadre of senior academics promoting offsetting, negative emissions, geo-engineering, CCS, green growth, etc. These are all ‘an evolution within the system.” — Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research [Source]

 

 

 

Underway: The Monetization of Social Capital

André Hoffmann is a Swiss industrialist belonging to one of the wealthiest dynasties in Europe. He served as vice-president of WWF from 2007-2017 and as WWF honourary chair from 1998-2017. He is president of the MAVA Foundation (a key funder of the Natural Capital Coalition) and vice- chairman of the board for Roche, the pharmaceutical and chemical giant founded by his family. [Bio]

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company. It is headquartered in Switzerland and has operations in over 100 countries. As one of the early adopters of the Natural Capital Protocol, the pilot summary report made mention that “an important point raised by the study was the fact that Roche generates considerable unaccounted for positive social value from use of their products and other socially responsible activities, which likely far outweigh any negative environmental impacts.” [Source] [Emphasis added]

The above disclosure opens up yet another layer of depravity. If we can assign monetary values to nature – we can assign monetary values to culture as well. Enter the assigning of monetary value to “social capital” in the language of “social capital markets”. [Social Capital Markets website: “dedicated to catalyzing world change through market-based solutions.”]

NextBillion was launched in May 2005 by the World Resources Institute. The “development through enterprise” project  shares an interest in the development of social capital. In 2010, the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan joined the World Resources Institute as partners in ownership of NextBillion. As of December 4, 2012, NextBillion is managed exclusively by WDI, which is focused on providing private-sector solutions in emerging markets.

“Social Capital Markets is Dedicated to Accelerating a New Global Market at the Intersection of Money + Meaning”.  — Social Capital Markets Website

The 2017 Social Capital Protocol states that, “integrating approaches between social and natural capital” are driven by the same purpose and based on the same concepts and principles as the Natural Capital Protocol developed by the Natural Capital Coalition. [p. 6]

Although the social capital concept is still in its infancy [“the measurement and valuation of social capital is a relatively new concept”], its goals are clear: “Over the coming years, the Social Capital Protocol initiative will shape and drive collaborative action to achieve four goals.” The last goal can best be described as what will be the coup de grâce for the last vestiges of human normality: “Enable companies to capitalize on their implementation of the Social Capital Protocol by ensuring the finance community and capital markets recognize and reward social value creation.” [p. 5]

Again, as with the Natural Capital project/coalition, World Resources Institute plays a key role: “These principles align with the current principles of the Natural Capital Protocol, which itself builds on guidance from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the World Resource Institute (WRI)/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB).” [p. 10]

A new financial system that allows a corporation such as Roche, the world’s largest biotech company, to measure and account for positive social value” as a means of offsetting “negative environmental impacts” is a great tool indeed. It is little wonder that Hoffman would have invested in its development.

Hoffmann also serves as senior adviser at Chatham House and numerous other boards, including the World Economic Forum, the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and SYSTEMIQ.

Here it can be noted that Jeremy Oppenheim, the lead and former programme director of the New Climate Economy, is the founder and managing partner of SYSTEMIQ: “While giving full value to the natural ecosystem, these alternatives need to be economically viable and able to replicate at scale… We envisage successful models rapidly becoming a ‘bankable asset class’ for regular investors.” [Source] Oppenheim also serves as chair of the Blended Finance Task Force. John E. Morton who serves as senior advisor to the Blended Finance Taskforce is a fellow to the European Climate Foundation. Two SYSTEMIQ associates serve as the project leads to the Blended Finance Taskforce. [Source] Suffice to say, all roads lead to the Climate Finance Partnership and the New Climate Economy.

André Hoffmann’s father, Luc Hoffmann served on the first international board of the WWF (co-founders include Goddfrey Rockefeller). In addition to his contributions to the founding of WWF, Luc Hoffmann also founded WWF France and WWF Greece. He served as honourary vice-president to WWF until his death in 2016. [Source]

In addition to the support provided to the WWF, Luc Hoffmann served as director of Wetlands International, was vice-president of the IUCN (World Union of Nature Conservation) and established the International Bank of Arguin Foundation in Mauritania. This is important to recognize as in 2013, this project received the “first international payment for marine ecosystem services” [Source: The case of the Banc d’Arguin National Park, Mauritania]

+++

October 29, 2018, WWF Press Release, “WWF Report Reveals Staggering Extent of Human Impact on Planet”:

“A global deal for nature, similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, can ensure that effective conservation methods continue, and more ambitious goals are set.”

The report states that “the biggest drivers of current biodiversity loss are overexploitation and agriculture, both linked to continually increasing human consumption.” Yet, nowhere does it mention the ecological impacts of militarism. As a collective, we have become so conditioned to this incredible “oversight”, that we no longer take notice of its omission. The report draws attention to agriculture, but not to industrial livestock with its staggering ecological impacts coupled with its grotesque cruelty. It draws attention to increasing number of mountain gorillas – just prior to Jane Goodall’s promotional support of a fourth industrial revolution in January of 2019, in Davos. A revolution that consequently demands fivefold the minerals and metals we are already using as fast as we can. The very same metals that cause the conflict and resulting death of Congolose men, women and children – and gorillas. Here we can only conclude what those in the Global South have always known: technological “progress” is always intended to serve the West at the expense of what life and what resources remain.

As we peel back the layers, the “New Deal for Nature” is even more egregious than the Green New Deal. Yet, if the NGOs can create enough collective hype around the Green New Deal, in servitude to their funders, the more sinister deal can be brought into legislation without opposition. This bears resemblance to the anti-pipeline NGO campaigns. While Americans were hypnotized by a single pipeline, American business magnate Warren Buffett built a 21st century rail dynasty to ship oil via rail, and the oil continued to flow – only even faster.

Storytelling

“… and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments.” Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, December 11, 2009, COP15

Above screenshot: In the 2012 David Blood lecture (video), “Breakthrough Capitalism Forum – David Blood”, one can view the sponsorship in the background. At the top of the screen, we can identify speakers/sponsors Jeremy Leggitt of Solar Century & Carbon Tracker, and Jennifer Morgan of WWF, to name two. [See full list of Breakthrough Capitalism partners.] [Source]

To demonstrate an example of “storytelling” employed to appease the public and feign opposition to those destroying our planet, we can look at the following Greenpeace International press release: January 25, 2019, “Profit, Not People, Clearly Remains Davos Elites’ Priority. As the World Economic Forum in Davos draws to a close, Greenpeace International Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan, stated:

Greenpeace came to Davos looking for moral, business and political leadership, and we did not find it. It is deeply disturbing that, as the world tinkers on the brink of a climate catastrophe, avoiding further temperature rise is not at the very centre of all of the meetings of CEOs and world leaders. The solutions are in front of them and they need to prioritise solving this crisis, join the youth who are leading the way forward and thus be on the right side of history.

 

Yesterday there were 32,000 school strike students on the streets of Belgium and today children are taking to the streets of Berlin clamouring for an early coal phase-out. The youth are demanding to be heard, the question is, why isn’t the Davos elite responding with the scale and pace required? Short-term business interests and making a greater profit, whatever the cost to others, clearly remains the Davos elites priority. We have no time to waste. In the powerful words of Greta Thunberg, we need to ‘get angry, and form that anger into action.'”

An excerpt from the January 16, 2019 press release by Morgan a week prior, as a lead-up to the WEF in Davos, stated:

“Make no mistake we are in a climate emergency and that emergency must dominate next weeks annual World Economic Forum gathering in Davos…. The Fourth Industrial Revolution could totally reimagine the way we approach solutions to the climate crisis. But only if this revolution is in service of solving climate change.” [Source]

This is very much the green light for the climate strikes in which Greenpeace plays the leading role – in the background.

Above: February 7, 2019, UKYCC tweet. Tagged users: Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Greta Thunberg, People & Planet (The UK’s largest student network), UKSCN, YouthStrike4Climate and Friends of the Earth

Voice for the Planet

 

“Voice for the planet was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019 by the Global Shapers. The aim, to showcase the growing movement of people around the world calling for a new deal for nature and people: urgent global action  to address the current crisis for nature.” [Source: Voice for the Planet website]

The twenty-two organizations supporting the campaign (registered to WWF-UK) include: The Climate Reality Project, World Resources Institute, WWF, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy and UNDP. [Accessed February 20, 2019] [Full list]

Global Shapers

Voice for the Planet leads us to Global Shapers, a global community of “change-makers” – supported by grant and community partners. Founded in 2011 by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Global Shapers is a defacto training center for young people under the age of 30 that can shape the world as envisioned by WEF, Al Gore, Jack Ma et al. With more than 7,000 members, the Global Shapers community spans 369 city-based hubs in 171 countries.

Here again we have the youth being trained to destroy their own futures as sacrificial lambs to capitalism.

Serving on the Global Shapers board of directors is David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of the  Carlyle Group, and Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group and co-founder of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Partners include: The Climate Reality Project, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, Procter and Gamble, Reliance Industries, Oando, GMR Group, Hanwha Energy Corporation, Rosamund Zander and Yara International.

“Lastly, thanks to collaboration with the Climate Reality Project, more than 292 Global Shapers were able to join U.S. Vice President Al Gore at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. Global Shapers joined the training that took place in Berlin, Pittsburgh, Mexico City and Los Angeles, as well as during regional SHAPE events, to learn how to lead the global fight for climate solutions.” — Global Shapers Annual Report 2017

The Global Shapers is a grotesque display of corporate malfeasance disguised as good. As an example, under the heading “accelerating change,” is the “Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge”. In 2017 the award was given to the Bogotá Hub in order to “foster peace and reconciliation in conflict-torn areas of Colombia.” What the youth enraptured by Global Shapers will not be told is that Coca-Cola has a long and sordid history of murdering union leaders in Columbia.

As discussed in the addendum “The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – By Any Means Necessary” (February 15, 2019), more and more, youth are being recognized and targeted as key drivers of economic growth and influence:

“We are becoming increasingly aware that solutions to our global challenges must purposefully engage youth, at all levels – locally, regionally, nationally and globally. This generation has the passion, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit to shape the future.” —Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum [Emphasis added]

This growing body of research is not lost on the power elite that gather annually at Davos, nor on the World Economic Forum that hosts them. Nature Conservancy, January 4, 2019, Ten Groups to Watch in 2019:

The Revolution Will Be Snapchatted. Forget your John-Hughes-movie stereotypes. Today’s teens are civically active, globally minded —and they nearly unanimously agree that we need to do more to address climate change. A study of 31,000 youth from 186 countries found that climate change is their number one concern (surpassing terrorism, poverty and unemployment.) Over 90% agree that science has proven that humans are causing climate change, and nearly 60% plan to work in sustainability.” [Emphasis in original]

The survey Nature Conservancy highlights has been conducted by Global Shapers. This has nothing to do with goodwill or the well-being of youth. This is simple metrics in order to identify, understand, and ultimately exploit, the targeted  audience.

In the polling conducted for the 2017 Global Shapers annual survey report, one area of interest is the section concerning “sense of responsibility and responsiveness.” When asked who has the greatest responsibility in making the world a better place and thereby the power to address the most important global and local issues, the first choice is ‘individuals'(34.2%)”. Compare this to 9% of votes feeling the responsibility is with “global and large national companies”. [“The top choice is constant regardless of gender, age, regions, Human Development Index, Corruption Perceptions Index or income level.”]

In essence, we have youth – many from states whose contribution to climate change is almost nil – who have been convinced to believe their own impact is far greater to ecological devastation than corporations, the economic system itself, or even the global war industry.

Another insight garnered from the survey: “Does the feeling of responsibility translate into any concrete actions? Young people were asked whether they would be willing to change their lifestyle to protect nature and the environment, to which 78.1% responded yes“. And this is the primary reason for feigned concern by the world’s most powerful capitalists – how the youth can be exploited as consumers.

Meanwhile, on the “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode” Front

“IF THERE’S NO ACTION before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.” — Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nov. 17, 2007

 

“We still have a chance to turn things around, though. A major body of research led by The Nature Conservancy shows it is still possible to achieve a sustainable future for people and nature—if we take massive action in the next 10 years. – January 4, 2019

Meanwhile, in terms of the authorities in the “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode” front, we have the very same groups that brought us into the fold of the 2009 TckTckTck campaign for COP15 (“a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit”) – that were then able to “herd the cats” for the People’s Climate March orchestrated in 2014 – and are now tasked with mobilizing the populace again for the final crescendo, requiring even larger unprecedented numbers. Hence, we have headlines such as “The Human Survival Summit: The Next Wave Of Climate Change Protests Is Coming – Greenpeace and Amnesty International unite in push for greater civil disobedience.” [January 25, 2019]

The irony here is that both Greenpeace and TckTckTck threw all the world’s most vulnerable citizens under the bus in 2009 during the tenure of Kumi Naidoo who served as executive director of both organizations. Today, a decade later, Naidoo now leads Amnesty International as its secretary-general. In 2011, Amnesty International, by utilizing the behavioural economics of hatred, was instrumental in leading the illegal war on the sovereign nation of Libya – Libya being the most prosperous country in Africa under the leadership of Libyan revolutionary Muammar Gaddafi. Libya quickly became a war torn nation in a permanent state of chaos as hundreds of thousands of citizens perished (and continue to do so to this day). Yet, the elite institutions and oligarchs that finance it, control it and wield it as a weapon in the service of imperialism and patriarchy, would like you to believe that they actually have concern over the climate and human rights:

“Greenpeace International, which has traditionally focused on environmental issues, and Amnesty International, which has concentrated on human rights, are co-launching a Summit for Human Survival later this year to encourage nonviolent protests and other interventions that force greater action on climate change.

 

The idea of the Summit, said Naidoo, is not for it to dictate or try to coordinate centralized actions but rather to unite individuals and organizations so that they can collaborate in pushing for change. He pointed to new forms of protest such as the Extinction Rebellion movement, one of the many youth-driven civil disobedience movements focused on climate change. It began in the U.K. and is now launching chapters across the globe, including in the United States. Naidoo added that big international NGOs aren’t organizing this mobilization and that this sort of decentralization should be encouraged.”

And this too is a lie.

Having initially intended to write extensively in this segment about Extinction Rebellion, the need to do so is no longer paramount. It is simply sufficient to point out the fact that The Climate Mobilization NGO (whose founder is the author of the aforementioned paper “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode,” that collaborates with 350.org, The Leap and many others) has been working with Extinction Rebellion since at least last September [6]. This reveals why the Extinction Rebellion group was catapulted into international super stardom by The Guardian et al while far greater actions by land defenders in the Global South go ignored for eternity.

If that is not sufficient substantiation for some readers, it is fact that 350.org, Avaaz, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have all been in dialogue with the Extinction Rebellion co-founders, whom, with The Climate Mobilization, are very much in favour of such collaboration. [Interview with ER co-founders by The Climate Mobilization founder, December 6, 2018]:

Bradbrook    “…at the start of this campaign in back in early October we did an occupation of Greenpeace’s offices. It was very friendly.  We took cake and flowers and everybody hid the horns from Roger so it couldn’t go around blowing the horns because we wanted to keep it really lovely…

 

We are having conversations with organizations, [] conversation with [] some of the [] bigger online platforms even than 350.org. It’s always an important balance to figure out how you have a relationship with any kind of NGO so that there’s not big compromises being asked for, and watch this space on that front. I think I shouldn’t pre-announce things on here that aren’t being agreed yet with everybody else, but we yeah we are definitely talking to other organizations. More tricky than you think, quite often.”

 

Hallam       “…so this is a very serious sort of proposition that we’re putting to some of the [] NGOs which are, I think a lot of the people in the NGOs know this as well. I mean a lot of people know what’s coming and I think this opens up a really interesting space in progressive culture in the countries we’re in.  For the first time for a generation or two is to basically create a united front as it were people working together on a common agenda and I’ve been personally really surprised by how open some of the people have been at Greenpeace and Avaaz and various other organizations to the notion that, yes, we need to have as mass participation in civil disobedience and that’s going to be the future, we’ve run out of other options.”

The NGO relationships formed with Extinction Rebellion explain the deliberately vague three demands behind the Extinction Rebellion “movement” – a vagueness that goes largely unnoticed – while one particular demand is as clear as the light of day. While imperialism, capitalism and militarism – the main drivers of ecological devastation and climate change are nowhere to be found, there is something that is found buried in the FAQ section:

Question: “WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOT MORE TANGIBLE WINNABLE STEPPING STONE GOALS THAT WOULD BUILD MORAL[SIC] AS YOU WIN?”

Extinction Rebellion: “We have. We say the Government must reverse current policies inconsistent with acknowledging the climate emergency – there is much to be achieved there. For example banning fracking and dropping plans for a third runway at Heathrow. And reversing their decision to crush renewable energy investment while doubling down on fossil fuels. A massive Green New Deal is absolutely vital, possible and necessary.”

Here one must ask why a UK group would identify a US campaign as a primary focal point of its demands. The answer is that not only were US NGOs already officially involved with Extinction Rebellion as early as September 2018 while simultaneously being aggressive proponents of the New Green Deal, but even more importantly, these NGOs, at the bequest of their benefactors, also had global designs for Green New Deals. The New Deal For Nature would be helped along after popularizing the language of “new deal” in order to mask its ugly intent. The New Deal for Nature, saturated with holistic linguistics and emotive hooks, lies in the dark shadows of the Green New Deal and climate strikes – waiting.

In the October 31, 2018 article covering the very first Extinction Rebellion action, published by the aforementioned DesmogBlog, a reference to a “new deal for nature” goes undetected:

“Extinction Rebellion’s declaration of rebellion comes a day after a report by the WWF found that many species’ populations have declined on average by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014 largely due to human activity.

 

The report said: ‘Decision makers at every level need to make the right political, financial and consumer choices to achieve the vision that humanity and nature thrive in harmony on our only planet.’

 

The WWF called for ‘a new global deal for nature and people’ to halt wildlife decline, tackle deforestation, climate change and plastic pollution and is backed by ‘concrete commitments from global leaders and businesses.'”

The fact that Extinction Rebellion does not include capitalism, imperialism or militarism – the primary drivers of the ecological assault against the Earth, in conjunction with the omission of other underlying structural causes, has raised important questions on if this vehicle can perhaps still be utilized to organize and build community.

Here the question must be, why would we choose to lend our name to strengthen a BRAND that cites “a massive new deal is absolutely vital,” yet deliberately omits the fact that stopping capitalism, imperialism and militarism and other forms of oppression that are just as vital. This is worse than an oversight. It is a disgrace. Even more tragic is the fact that collectively we’ve been conditioned to such an extent, we are no longer even cognizant of such blatant hypocrisies.

As an ongoing coup against the sovereign state of  Venezuela led by the US and Canada accelerates – Extinction Rebellion fails to mobilize their groups, now international in scope. They not only fail to mobilize, they fail to speak of it. With its arms opened to imperial NGOs such as Avaaz and Amnesty International, the writing was already on the wall before the first action took place.

Adding to this, is the fact that Extinction Rebellion is yet another group that chooses to stay absolutely silent on the commodification and objectification of nature – another tell-tale warning sign.

We must lend our support and engage in small but connected resistance groups that work together to tear down the structures oppressing not only ourselves – but foremost, our brothers and sisters in the Global South. This means crushing the drivers of imperialism.

[Essential reading for youth: CHE GUEVARA TALKS TO YOUNG PEOPLE. “Between 1959 and 1964, freedom fighter Che Guevara delivered a number of speeches to youth groups and students to inspire and educate them about the revolution. This is a collection of these speeches – a collection of thought as iconic as Che Guevara’s image. He remains a hero to many, and represents a form of socialism that is hard to deny.”] [Download]

The Last Vestiges of Ethics and the Corporate Capture of Nature

This series has disclosed very ugly truths. It is our ethical and moral duty to share this knowledge. Only then, can the tide turn. The era of “green shaming” must come to an end. [Trust Nothing – John Steppling] It has been used as a weapon to ensure our silence for long enough.

This is 350 – born out of The Rockefeller Foundation. This is Avaaz – an instrument of empire – up to its neck in the blood of Libyan and Syrian men, women and children while campaigning for climate action as it creates acquiescence for wars. This is Greenpeace that cited the world must not exceed a global temperature increase of  1°C in 1997 only to demand a full 2°C in 2009. This is Friends of the Earth, who has served on the board of Ceres, since its inception – that also cited 1°C in 2001 as the global temperature that the Earth must not exceed. This is a cabal that has placed capital and corporate interests over environmental protection and Indigenous rights – time and time again.

“Many of you equally, and I will say this, and I would have never thought that one day I will accuse a civil society of such a thing. Dividing the G77, or helping divide the G77, is simply something that should be left to the CIAs, the KGBs and the rest [not the NGOs]. Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, December 11, 2009, COP15

Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, writes: “The Paris Agreement signifies commitment to sustained industrial growth, risk management over disaster prevention, and future inventions and technology as saviour. The primary commitment of the international community is to maintain the current social and economic system. The result is denial that tackling GHG emissions is incompatible with sustained economic growth. The reality is that Nation States and international corporations are engaged in an unremitting and ongoing expansion of fossil fuel energy exploration, extraction and combustion, and the construction of related infrastructure for production and consumption. The targets and promises of the Paris Agreement bear no relationship to biophysical or social and economic reality.” [This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, Globalizations, 2016 Vol. 13, No. 6, 928–933]

Thunberg has stated repeatedly that her strike will continue “until Sweden is aligned with the Paris Agreement.” Therefore, by her own statements, this is the singular, overall purpose and goal of the strikes, now global in scale. A Paris Agreement that unlocks everything which has been disclosed in painstaking detail within this series.

On February 21, 2019, the European Commission was the latest to embrace and promote Thunberg: “The teenager opened a European Commission event in front of President Jean-Claude Juncker where she told politicians to stop ‘sweeping their mess under the carpet for our generation to clean up.'” Here again, Thunberg’s demands, on behalf of the youth participating in the climate strikes, are identified:

“We want you to follow the Paris agreement and the IPCC reports we don’t have any other manifests or demands. Just unite behind the science. That is our demand.” [Video]

Here we have three key players of capitalist hegemony, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and the European Commission – all promoting Thunberg in unprecedented fashion. Institutions housing individuals that systematically pillage the planet in exchange for economic growth, power and profits have been magically moved to protect the planet.

What is unbeknownst to the populace is the fact that all three of these institutions are founding partners of the Climate Finance Partnership’s Blended Finance Taskforce. The Climate Finance Partnership was formed under the leadership of French President Emmanuel Macron who announced the partnership on September 26, 2018 at the One Planet Summit held in New York. Partners include the Governments of France and Germany.

February 23, 2019: “De Franse president Macron ontving het Zweedse klimaatmeisje Greta Thunberg (rechts naar Macron) en een delegatie van Youth for Climate, onder wie Anuna De Wever (tweede van rechts) en Kyra Gantois (eerste van links).” [Source]

The Climate Finance Partnership was created in order to propel forward the New Climate Economy. Both being key vehicles to unlock the 100 trillion dollars identified in pension funds while simultaneously implementing the economic valuation and payment for environmental services (payments for ecosystems services) hidden within the Sustainable Development Goals. The privatization of nature will transform global finance. Those most responsible for the destruction will be assigned as the new “stewards of national natural capital.”

One can only hope that this series has  finally divulged once and for all who and what such powerful NGOs represent: oligarchs, corporate finance and capital. The NGOS at the helm of non-profit industrial complex must be recognized as the world’s most powerful lobbying arm for green technology. This comes at the expense of nature, not for the protection of nature. Again, reality turned on its head. This is why the non-profit industrial complex must be starved out of commission – by withdrawing our consent. Up to this point its power stems from its false claim of representing civil society. We must make it clear that it does not.

We have planetary boundaries that we must live within if life on Earth is to continue in some shape or form. These boundaries are non-negotiable. We can lie to ourselves all we want, in all of our anthropocentric glory, but it won’t change the reality. We can paint it green, we can share our illusions in glossy brochures and make them go viral on shiny screens – the biosphere does not give a flying fuck. If our society was actually sane, we would recognize these said “solutions” as delusions – but sadly that is not the case. Disconnected from nature – and more and more, disconnected from each other – we are lost.

Nature doesn’t deal.

“And that’s the real question facing the white activists today. Can they tear down the institutions that have put us all in the trick bag we’ve been into for the last hundreds of years?” — Black Power by Stokely Carmichael, 1966

We can end this grim instalment by reflecting upon what Indian author Arundhati Roy so articulately summarized almost fifteen years ago on August 16, 2004: “The NGO-ization of resistance.” We can say that tragically, yet unequivocally, the NGO-ization of resistance in the West is a fait accompli.

The NGO-ization of resistance, Arundhati Roy, August 16, 2004 [Running time: 5m:51s]:

 

 

End Notes:

[1] “Officially launched in 2008, the GCCA’s origins date back to April 2006 when representatives from some of the largest environmental and developmental groups—Oxfam, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Brazil, WWF International, WWF India, the World Council of Churches, Friends of the Earth and the Union of Concerned Scientists—convened in Woltersdorf (Germany) to discuss the possibility of developing a common platform to mobilize the wider public and thereby bolster the climate negotiations.” [p. 70]

“In 2009, its core funders were the Oak Foundation, the Sea Change Foundation, the Turner-affiliated Better World Fund, the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco and the Government of Québec. With a total contribution ofUSD 5 million in 2009, the Oak Foundation was by far the GCCA’s main donor (the Sea Change Foundation coming second with USD 1.5 million). [p.69]

It was founded on “[connecting] the intelligence gathering and sophisticated advocacy provided by numerous NGOS in order to target and maximize the collective impact of groups on every continent” (GCCA 2009).” [p.71]

[Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena]

[2] The GCCA made over USD 3 million worth of grants to partner organizations in support of their communications and campaigning activities. As they explain in their 2009 Annual Report, ‘most grants were awarded to support national and regional campaigning (including for rapid response actions and national hubs), with the remaining funds for global campaign and communication actions’. In other words, the GCCA, while not a foundation per se, acted as a de facto regranting organization, selectively distributing funds to push through a common message. What is more, GCCA grants had a leveraging effect by enabling partners to mobilize further funding—both internally and externally—for GCCA-related activities. According to its 2009 Annual Report, ‘partners reported a further total of more than eight million in funds leveraged from their own organisations plus additional sources for activities carried out with financial support from the GCCA’. [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena] [p.72]

[3] “IPPI is presented as “a new platform for philanthropic cooperation to catalyse greater ambition on climate through activities and processes taking place at an international level” (ECF 2014, 26). It is “designed to help philanthropy identify opportunities for international collaboration, develop joint strategies, and pool and align grant making to achieve greater overall impact.” It acts as a platform where foundations and grantees meet to strategize on how international political and policy levers can catalyse more ambitious policies at the domestic level. [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena] [p. 5]

[4] “Earth Economics, with the support of our Community Partners and Advisors, maintains the largest, spatially explicit, web-based repository of published and unpublished economic values for ecosystem services. With generous funding from our sponsors, in 2012 Earth Economics began porting our internal database to a web-based service. The Ecosystem Service Valuation Toolkit (EVT) portal was launched at Rio +20 in June 2012. The Researcher’s Library and SERVES were previewed at the ACES Conference in December 2012.”

[5] Funds are required to both finance participation and facilitate lobbying activities— through joint initiatives, platforms, dialogues, reports, campaigns, outreach activities, and the creation and upholding of informal relationships of trust between NGOs and the UNFCCC secretariat and/or members of government delegations (Caniglia et al. 2015 , 241; Caniglia 2001 ; Dodds and Strauss 2004 ). [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena] [p. 6]

[6] Gregory Schwedock, NY, NY, USA is the director of digital organizing for the Climate Mobilization Project (2014-present). He identifies himself as  coordinator for Extinction Rebellion from September 2018 – present. [Source: LinkedIn]

 

 

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

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature [ACT V]

This is ACT V of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

February 13, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

In ACT I of this new body of research I opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstructed how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examined the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarized who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

A C T   V

 

March 10, 2014:

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

 

A Green New Deal – for Mobilization

November 12, 2018,  A New Global Architecture: Børge Brende [Far left of panel], President, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum and panel [1]. “Shaping a New Global Architecture” session at the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

The “New Deal” of the 1930s has always been a point of pride in the American psyche since its implementation by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his four terms in office after the Great Depression. Since that time, various people and programs have attempted to appropriate this term in furtherance of diverse platforms as a means to portray the concept as beneficial to a populace. In that regard, a fairly recent phrase that has borrowed from this terminology is the “Green New Deal”. This term first surfaced during 2007 by the NY Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and was then used by London accountant Richard Murphy to describe a full scale change in our economy to an environmentally sound capitalist system. As the term has never been fully embraced by the establishment, it still resided right below the surface of mainstream economic discourse among many people, as it serves as a potential improvement within the current economic system. Only recently though, in 2019, has the “Green New Deal” reached apoplectic proportions as far as its usage and reached a fevered pitch by those who are touting its ability to shift the paradigm from fossil fuels to a pancea of “green technologies” in the near future.

Prior to 2018, the term had become most recognized and associated with the Green Party as part and parcel of its platform. By June 2018 however, traces of how this would soon serve to be the vehicle that would launch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into the stratosphere of a superstar would start to surface.

On June 27, 2018, Democracy Now, a popular mouthpiece for the halls of power in the domestic psuedo-left movements reported the following:

“In a stunning upset and the biggest surprise of the primary season this year, 28-year-old Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat 10-term incumbent Representative Joe Crowley in New York in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Crowley is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, and he’d outraised Ocasio-Cortez by a 10-to-1 margin. Crowley was widely viewed as a possible future House speaker. Yet Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley after running a progressive grassroots campaign advocating for “Medicare for All” and the abolition of ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.”

Following her victory on June 26, 2018, Cortez would acknowledge that the only reason she ran for the seat, was at the bequest of the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress who had approached Cortez a year and a half earlier, in 2016. [Video interview, June 27, 2018, 9m:42s in]:

The Young Turks: “Last, two things real quick. You’re among the first Just Democrat candidates ever in history. Umm, how much of a, of a help was that organization to you?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: It was enormously important. I wouldn’t be running if it wasn’t for the support of Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Umm, in fact it was it was these organizations, it was JD and it was Brand New Congress as well, that both, that asked me to run in the first place. They’re the ones that called me a year and a half ago after I left Standing Rock and said ‘hey would you be willing to run for Congress?’ So I wouldn’t be here, um, and I wouldn’t have run if it wasn’t [for them].”

October 26, 2018: Brand New Congress, Green New Deal

Most of the people involved in founding the Justice Democrats (launched in January 2017) and Brand New Congress (founded in 2016) came from the aftermath of the Bernie 2016 campaign. As an example, Saikat Chakrabarti co-founder and former executive director of Justice Democrats, as well as a co-founder of Brand New Congress, served as the campaign chair during  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 campaign. Today, Chakrabarti serves as Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff. Prior to co-founding Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, Chakrabarti was the director of organising technology for the Bernie 2016 Campaign.

Our Revolution, a political organization launched by Bernie Sanders in 2016, [touched upon in ACT III of this series] also endorsed Ocasio-Cortez. On January 23, 2017, it was reported that Justice Democrats would partner with Brand New Congress.

One name that sparks curiosity is Zack Exley. In addition to serving as current advisor to US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Exley is a co-founder of both Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Previously, he served as the senior advisor to the Bernie 2016 campaign and the organizing director for MoveOn. Exley, Open Society Fellow, is co-founder of the New Consensus public relations and communications firm and the ascribed “policy arm of Justice Democrats.” [Source] New Consensus, co-author of  The Green New Deal document with the Sunrise Movement and the Justice Democrats, is identified by Think Progress as “the muscle supporting Green New Deal efforts”.

Exley, co-author of “Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything”, was also co-founder of the New Organizing Institute (launched in 2005) which recruited, trained and supported US political candidates. New Organizing Institute, funded by Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation among others, partnered with MoveOn.org (co-founder of both Avaaz and the New Organizing Institute) and several other NGOs in 2011 before the institute was dissolved in 2015.

It is worth noting that Avaaz first polled its members on a Green New Deal in 2009.

+++

One day after Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic nomination for her congressional district on June 27, 2018, a New Green Deal led by Ocasio-Cortez was highlighted by Grist in which they referenced an email interview between HuffPost and Ocasio-Cortez the week prior:

“What sets Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal apart is her plan to meet the target by implementing what she called a “Green New Deal,” a federal plan to spur “the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs.”

 

Though the slogan harks back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal program of infrastructure spending and labor reforms, she compared the program she envisions to the tens of billions of dollars spent on armaments manufacturing and the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.”

 

‘The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,’ she told HuffPost by email last week. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy.”

On June 30, 2018, Grist would reference the Green New Deal as proposed by Ocasio-Cortez again:

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan’, she said by email. “It will require the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs. We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy but this time green energy.”

Here we must pause for a moment to deconstruct the above. First, the above plan and language mirrors that in the strategy document “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement” [laid out in ACT IV of this series] being led by organizations whose affiliations with the Democrats, the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez campaigns are publicly disclosed. Second, we must recognize that  behind large institutions and media outlets such as Grist, branded as both “left” and “progressive”, are power structures subservient to capital. Grist CEO is Brady Walkinshaw. Prior to his role of CEO in 2017, Walkinshaw, a former US State representative, worked as a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before his tenure at the Gates Foundation, Walkinshaw, a Fulbright scholar of the US State Department, worked as a special assistant to the World Bank. Within the Grist board of directors is 350.org founder, Bill McKibben – defacto foot soldier for Bernie Sanders and the Democrats in general.

Climate Nexus: A New Green Deal is Coming

November 7, 2018: Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), Green New Deal

On February 7, 2019, Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) [2] announced via its “TOP STORIES” that a “New Green Deal is Coming”:

“Here It Comes: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) will unveil a landmark resolution calling for a transition to renewable energy and the creation of thousands of new jobs today in Washington, DC. The highly-anticipated Green New Deal legislation follows months of protest and calls for an aggressive and just transition off fossil fuels from young activists in groups like the Sunrise Movement.”

From 2013-2016, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors ten million dollars for Climate Nexus.

The Blended Finance Taskforce [see ACT IV of this series] is comprised of fifty icons of finance including the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundation.

As touched upon in act IV of this series, the People’s Climate March, which took place  on September 21, 2014, was led and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, Climate Nexus, 350.org, Avaaz/Purpose, Greenpeace, US Climate Action Network (USCAN) and GCCA/TckTckTck (founded by twenty NGOs with 350.org, Greenpeace, Avaaz and Oxfam at the helm). In relation to the current set of circumstances, 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation) would again serve to be an instrumental vehicle to propel the Green New Deal as the catalyst to unlock the 100 trillion dollars required to unleash the “fourth industrial revolution”. This project, of unparalleled magnitude, is the vehicle to save the flailing global capitalist economic system and bring in the financialization of nature.

Green New Deal – Data for Progress

“A Green New Deal is popular among American voters and can mobilize them in 2018.” — A Green New Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [Emphasis in original]

Data for Progress Website

“Key Finding 7: The kids are alright – Though some of the proposals we examine are currently unpopular nationally, that may change in the future. We find that four of the most radical proposals we analyzed are vastly more popular with younger voters than they are with the general public.” — Data for Progress, Polling the Left Agenda

In July 2018, polling conducted by Data for Progress, a partner in the Green New Deal with the Sunrise Movement and 350.org, showed a whopping 41% of people under the age of thirty would support a candidate that campaigned on a jobs guarantee and clean energy. The support exhibited by this age bracket constituted approximately twice that of the group comprised of people age 45 and above. [“Forty-eight percent of voting eligible adults said they would be more likely to support a candidate who was running on 100% renewable energy by 2030. Notably, this is significantly faster than even the most progressive legislation currently in Congress.”] By targeting the youth, in addition to its 30-45 demographic, the promise of green jobs and clean energy were the clear winners.

“In this case, at least, time could be a weapon for the Sunrise Movement. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center projected that millennials were poised to overtake baby boomers as the largest adult generation in the U.S., as well as its biggest eligible voting bloc.” [Source]

 

“What year were you born? (Sunrise is building a movement led by young people; we ask for the year you were born so that we can help you find the best opportunities to engage. You can answer “prefer not to say” as well, but knowing this really helps us!)” – Sunrise Movement Website

September 6, 2018: 350.org, Green New Deal, Data for Progress

“All electricity consumed in America must be generated by renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, sustainable biomass, and renewable natural gas, as well as clean sources such as nuclear and remaining fossil fuel with carbon capture.” — New Green Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [p. 5]

For the Green New Deal’s foray into the American consciousness, a new movement would be required. This would be the Sunrise Movement. A youth movement created under the direction of the Sierra Club from which it received a $50,000 grant. Par for the course of “youth grassroots activism” Sunrise already has a hefty budget and a full time staff: “In relation to other environmental groups, the Sunrise Movement is relatively small. Its officials said they have about 16 full-time staff and that they’ve raised about $1 million since its founding.” [December 3, 2018]

Sunrise Movement is the rebranded US Climate Plan (now defunct) founded by Evan Weber and Matt Lichtash.

Lichtash is a strategy and executive office specialist at the New York Power Authority. He is the founder of Carbon Capital.

WESLEYAN,  ISSUE 2,  2017

In 2017, Weber was named by Grist as one of “50 emerging green leaders to watch for” citing his work with U.S. Climate Plan, the organization founded by he and Lichtash in 2013 under the direction of Michael Dorsey.

SustainUS alumni [“WE TRAIN YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEAD“] Dyanna Jaye would be identified as one of the Sunrise Movement co-founders following the April 2017 rebrand, as would Varshini Prakash and Sara Blazevic from the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network.

“Sunrise is a movement led by young people and young people will be prioritized for housing, travel support, and other needs, as people typically left out of the political process by our institutions. That being said, we welcome people of all ages to participate in Sunrise actions in different ways.” — Sunrise website

The president and executive director of the Sunrise Movement is Michael Dorsey. Having served eleven years on the Sierra Club national board, Dorsey is co-founder and principal of Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. He serves as an advisor to ImpactPPA, equity partner in the solar firm Univergy-CCC, co-founder and director of Univergy-CCC’s India division (Univergy/ThinkGreen), and a full member of the Club of Rome. His political background is extensive having served under the US administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He also served on Senator Barack Obama’s energy and environment presidential campaign team. [3]

“We must end all emissions from fossil fuels. The full U.S. economy can and must run on a mix of energy that is either zero-emission or 100 percent carbon capture by mid-century* [*citation].” — New Green Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [p. 5]

Sunrise received a collaborative grant from USCAN with Power Shift Network, SustainUs and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. Another primary funder thus far of Sunrise is the Sustainable Markets Foundation. The Sunrise address is shared with US Climate Action Network and Sierra Club (50 F St NW, Washington, DC 20016), where Sunrise trainings have been held by USCAN board members.

“One factor working in their favor was that the group didn’t start from scratch. Some of the architects of the Sunrise Movement included activists from organizations such as 350.org — which also provided some early financial support.” Inside the Sunrise Movement (it didn’t happen by accident), December 3, 2018

Prior to the Sunrise Movement, the framework of a youth led mobilization in service to capital expansion had already been identified by those at the helm. In that role, people such as Jamie Margolin, youthful founder of Zero Hour were developed by the establishment. In being trained by the likes of Al Gore (founder of Generation Investment with Goldman Sach’s David Blood), Margolin was propelled to celebrity status in a mere few months by utilizing magazines that feed the insatiable American appetite for celebrity fetish (Vogue, People, Rolling Stone). This exposure, coupled with social media recognition by “eco celebrities” (individuals with grotesquely indulgent lifestyles yet lionized as environmental stewards due to their comparatively menial philanthropic endeavours, such as Leonardo DiCaprio) is a tried and true method of manufactured celebrity.

November 6, 2018: Vanity Fair, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Across the Atlantic Ocean, more celebrities and groups that would lead “the public into emergency mode” would soon follow.

In June 2018, a Twitter account and an Instagram account were created under the name Greta Thunberg.

In July 2018, a Twitter account was created under the name Extinction Rebellion.

[Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

+++

The Green New Deal is Vogue

Marketing to a key “femographic” – the Green New Deal is in Vogue.

Vogue, November 2, 2018: “Bria Vinaite Explains the Green New Deal: ‘Let Vinaite fill you in on the rest of the details—and make sure to find out if your candidates support a Green New Deal when you head to the polls. If they don’t, maybe you can ask why.'” [“The foundation of Vogue’s leadership and authority is the brand’s unique role as a cultural barometer for a global audience.”]

As this series will demonstrate, young females are the key #femographic for the #AOC campaign. [See forthcoming addendum]

Green New Deal Commercial: Bria Vinaite Explains the Green New Deal [02m:19s]

+++

It is here where the machinations for the Green New Deal – the vehicle for unlocking 100 trillion dollars, and the long-awaited financialization of nature, begins to unfold.

“Liking” the Vinaite tweet was Greg Carlock, architect of the Green New Deal, Green New Deal research director and senior advisor to Data for Progress, [4] and Manager for Climate Action and Data for World Resources Institute (WRI) where he leads the development of the WRI Climate Program’s flagship platform—Climate Watch. [Source] Prior to joining WRI, Carlock worked at USAID on greenhouse gas accounting and data.

Also crafting the Green New Deal is Emily Mangan, policy adviser for Data for Progress and  research analyst at World Resources Institute. Mangan  provides research support and analysis for the Green New Deal. Prior to joining WRI, Mangan worked at the Council on Foreign Relations. [Source]

Here it must be made clear that the Ocasio-Cortez and Green New Deal frenzy, is part and parcel of the strategy of “leading the public into emergency mode” launched in 2018. In reality, the Green New Deal is window dressing for what is in store. All decisions regarding all “new deals” will not be made by Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrats or any other party. Rather they will be made (and already have been made) by those that comprise the absolute ruling class.

  • September 6, 2018, 350.org, Green New Deal

World Resources Institute

December 11, 2009: World Resources Institute

April 7, 2011: World Resources Institute

September 12, 2014: World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research non-profit organization that was founded in 1982 by James Speth [5] with a fifteen million dollar grant from the MacArthur Foundation. It is an international powerhouse “that works in more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. WRI’s more than 500 experts work with leaders to address six urgent global challenges at the intersection of economic development and the natural environment: food, forests, water, climate, energy and cities.”

The WRI advisory board represents the absolute upper echelons of power within the matrix of the non-profit interlocking directorate – with a staggering amount of overlap with the hegemonic powerhouse, the Council on Foreign Relations.

 

With USD 98.5 million in funding in 2017, the exhaustive list of WRI donors [6] represent many of the most powerful and influential entities on Earth, including Alcoa Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cargill, Caterpillar Foundation, Citi Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Oak Foundation,  Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Shell Foundation, USAID, and the World Bank. [WRI 2017 Annual Report]

The WRI board of directors [7] include:

  • David Blood: Co-founder and senior partner of Generation Investment
  • Felipe Calderón: Former president of Mexico, chair of the Global Commission that oversees the New Climate Economy, honorary chairman of the Green Growth Action Alliance
  • Christiana Figueres: Executive secretary of the UNFCCC, The B Team leader, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, board member of ClimateWorks, World Bank Climate Leader,  Mission2020 Convenor, member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, credited with delivering the Paris Agreement [Full bio]
  • Jennifer Scully-Lerner: Vice president, private wealth management at Goldman Sachs
  • James Gustave Speth: Founder of WRI, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, honorary director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and WRI, serves  on the board of The Climate Reality Project, advisory board member at 350.org, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Andrew Steer: President and CEO of the WRI. Formerly with the World Bank, serves on the sustainable advisory groups of both IKEA and the Bank of America, serves on the Executive Board of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy For All Initiative
  • Kathleen McLaughlin: Senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Walmart Inc., president of  Walmart Foundation;
  • Nader Mousavizadeh:Co-Founder and partner of Macro Advisory Partner, former chief executive of Oxford Analytica, a leading global analysis and advisory firm, former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, member of the Council of the European Council on Foreign Relations, member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Geopolitics, WEF Global Leader for Tomorrow
  • James Harmon: Chairman and CEO of Caravel Management, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Afsaneh M. Beschloss: Founder and CEO of RockCreek. Former managing director and partner at the Carlyle Group and president of Carlyle Asset Management, treasurer and chief investment officer at the World Bank, formerly with Shell International and J.P. Morgan, member of the World Economic Forum’s Investor Governors, member of the Council of Foreign Relations, recognized as one of American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking
  • Joke Brandt: Secretary General of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands
  • Jamshyd N. Godrej: Chairman of Aspen Institute – India. He is the Vice President of World Wide Fund for Nature – International and was the President of World Wide Fund for Nature – India from 2000 to 2007
  • Caio Koch-Weser: Chairman of the Board of the European Climate Foundation. Former vice chairman of Deutsche Bank Group, held high-level positions in the World Bank, member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate(NCE) and a Member of the Board of the Centre for European Reform (CER) in London

[WRI Global Leadership Council][WRI Board of Directors – Full]

WRI donors include the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, IKEA Foundation – in partnership with Agence Française de Développement, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and BlackRock – led the Climate Finance Partnership (announced September 26, 2018 at the One Planet Summit in NYC by French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink). The accompanying Blended Finance Taskforce, an embodiment of the world’s most powerful and financial institutions, is well represented at WRI.

April 27, 2017: World Resources Institute

The Blended Finance Taskforce was launched by Paul Polman’s Business & Sustainable Development Commission in 2017.

The efforts put forward by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission taskforce led to the Climate Finance Partnership announced on September 26, 2018.

Polman is the CEO of Unilever, and chair of both the International Chamber of Commerce and The B Team (co-founder of We Mean Business). Polman has also been closely involved in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). [8] The Blended Finance Taskforce was established in order to identify barriers to the effective use and scaling of blended finance. It is now implementing an ambitious plan of action to increase mainstream private investment for the SDGs. [Full list of Business & Sustainable Development Commissioners including Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel.]

Unilever is a member of WRI’s Corporate Consultative Group. WRI member companies include; Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, Cargill Corporation, Caterpillar, CitiGroup, Colgate-Palmolive, DuPont, General Motors, The Goldman Sachs Group, Google, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Shell, Walmart , Walt Disney Company, and  Weyerhaeuser. [Full list] [WRI CCG Advisory Board]

On November 15, 2018, the Climate Markets and Investment Association reported that the parties that comprise the Climate Finance Partnership would “work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.” All media inquiries pertaining to this announcement were to be directed to Climate Nexus (People’s Climate March) or the European Climate Foundation. The task of the Blended Climate Finance is to unlock 100 trillion to rescue  the current economic system that has now entered the late stage of “freefall”. [Disclosed in ACT IV of this series]. The required maximization and mobilization of public monies for private profits, to save the capitalist economy and further privatization, will be achieved through the climate emergency strategy that has been put into action.

Here it is critical to recognize that the New Climate Economy is a project of the WRI.

  • The Founding NGOs Behind GCCA (Global Campaign for Climate Action - TckTckTck) officially launched in 2008

The New Climate Economy

January 20, 2015: World Resources Institute, New Climate Economy Team

October 6, 2016: New Climate Economy, World Resources Institute

The New Climate Economy project is led by Helen Mountford, program director for the New Climate Economy project and director of economics at WRI. Other team members from WRI include Milan Brahmbhatt, senior fellow at WRI, and Molly McGregor, research coordinator in the president’s office at WRI. [New Climate Economy Global Project Team]

The New Climate Economy project is being “conducted by a team of economists and policy and business analysts drawn from, and supported by, a partnership of nine leading global economic and policy institutions” under the direction of WRI.

Research partners for the initiative are as follows: Climate Policy Initiative, Ethiopian Development Research, Institute, Global Green Growth Institute, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, Overseas Development Institute, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Tsinghua University.

The New Climate Economy initiative works with global institutions including the International Monetary Fund, International Energy Agency, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and UN agencies. It is overseen by a global commission comprised of former heads of government, finance ministers, a plethora of the crème de la crème of economics, business and finance. [Economic Advisory Panel] [Emeritus Commissioners]

The New Climate Economy Global Commission members include Felipe Calderón (honourary chair), Paul Polman (co-chair), Angel Gurría, Nicholas Stern (co-chair), Sharan Burrow and many other members overlapping with the WRI, Climate Finance Partnership, Blended Finance Taskforce, etc. A cabal so entrenched in corporate power that it can easily make ones head not only spin, but explode. [9] The demand for citizen groups is ironic seeing as the financialization of nature is happening behind closed doors – with a promissory note of silence from the non-profit industrial complex.

+++

The New Green Deal is tied to WRI. WRI is the New Climate Economy. The last and the most important piece of the puzzle is the Natural Capital Coalition.

Here it is imperative to note that the Natural Capital Coalition is comprised by those at the helm of the New Climate Economy and WRI.

  • January 26, 2014, World Resources Institute, New Climate Economy, Stockholm Institute

“New Deal for Nature” – Assigning Monetary Value To All of Nature 

January 26, 2019: “New Deal For Nature”, WWF

“The financial value at stake is mind-boggling – and the business opportunities likely to be created by the shift in the prevailing market paradigm are astonishing…. Who will be the Bill Gates of ecosystem services?” — The Biosphere Economy, 2010

In tandem with orchestrating a frenzy over a Green New Deal via the non-profit industrial complex and media mechanisms, WWF et al were quietly pushing forward with a “New Deal for Nature”. The Green New Deal conjures up images of wind turbines and solar panels that are miraculously perceived as natural and holistic. [The fact that a solar panel and wind turbine has become more strongly associated with nature and environment than an actual tree, insect or animal, is in itself, quite terrifying and a stark indicator in the power of social engineering conducted on the citizenry over the last two decades.] This feat, achieved via powerful branding and NGO association, serves as the bright green mask for the even more sinister deal – the financialization of Nature – reframed as the “New Deal for Nature”.

Yet, it’s not new at all, with the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) having been launched in 2006 and its affiliate, the Natural Capital Coalition, which was formerly the TEEB for Business Coalition (prior to 2014). NatCap and its two NGO partners—WWF and The Nature Conservancy – were involved in the Natural Capital Coalition from the onset. [Source]

NatCap was founded by Stanford University [Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Department of Biology], The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the Institute on the Environment of the University of Minnesota. The scope of it’s global network includes corporations such as Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical, and institutions such as the US Department of Defense and the World Bank.

The scope of the Natural Capital Coalition is a massive conglomerate of corporate power, including many NGOs and so-called conservation bodies.

Here we can add that “Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth”, published by the World Economic Forum’s “System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security” is a partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. [Source]

“Taken all together, the value of the total global ecosystem services has been estimated at USD 125 trillion per year, which is almost twice the world’s gross domestic product.”—Natural Capital Coalition, July 12, 2018

The development of the Natural Capital Protocol Project was made possible with generous funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, International Finance Corporation (World Bank) with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Netherlands, The Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The Coalition is hosted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Other funders include; World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the Google Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, Unilever, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense and the World Bank [Source]

World Resources Institute provided the technical insights and review for the Natural Capital Protocol. The protocol was developed by Conservation International, The B Team, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sustain Value, ACTS, Arcadis, eftec, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Imperial College, ISS, Natural Capital Project, Synergiz, WWF, Accenture, CDSB, Deloitte, Dow, eni, GIST Advisory, Kering, LafargeHolcim, Natura, Nestlé, Roche, Shell, and The Nature Conservancy. The protocol was led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) consortium. [Source]

Today, the final frontier for the corporate capture of the Earth as a whole, has finally arrived. Other terms thrown into the ring for public acceptance are a “New Deal for Nature and Humanity” and a “New Deal for Nature and People”.

“The New Deal for Nature is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.” — Biodiversity International, November 30, 2018

On January 23, 2019 the Natural Capital Coalition released an announcement stating that “In 2020, We Need A New Deal for Nature.” This article was part of the 2019 World Economic Forum “Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security” system initiatives. The authors of the article were Marco Lambertini, Director-General, WWF International, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and Børge Brende, former Foreign Minister of Norway (2013-2017) and president and member of the managing board of the WEF. [WEF Board of Trustees, 2017] [WEF Leadership and  Governance]

The urgency in accelerating the plan forward is made clear:

“Against this backdrop, we need 2019 to be the year that sees a step-change in mobilising a wider public-private biodiversity action agenda. We need a “New Deal for Nature” to emerge.”

To make this happen, a movement is identified as the vehicle:

“A movement has the combined power and influence to be able to identify a simple set of targets for action on nature that everyone can aim for – so-called “science-based targets” to which every business, investor, NGO, city and government can contribute by 2030, such that meeting them will slow down the damage we are doing to nature, and ultimately restore it to the level science says we need.”

Over and over we are inundated with the “simple set of targets” that “everyone can aim for”. Hence, we witness the creation of mobilizations, global in scale, with no rational demands whatsoever.

The implementation of the New Deal For Nature will lay the groundwork for payments for ecosystem services (PES). This will create the most spectacular opportunity for monetary gain that the financial sector has ever witnessed. New markets offer speculation that promises unimaginable profits. The commodification of most everything sacred, the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure, will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.

In order to manufacture consent from the populace, those rolling out a “new deal for nature” are utilizing the power of  holistic language. They are strategically exploiting the very real contempt that we, the public have for externalities (pollution, etc.) – only to sell the financialization of nature back to us as a society. This is very much the same method we witness today as the power elites masterfully exploit the discontent of the youth and the population at large.

Image: Costing the Earth Interactive Game, “Play to find out the financial value of Nature”, BBC, October 8, 2015

The New Deal for Nature is the gentle easement of the mental acceptability of the financialization of nature into the public psyche, which is quite rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. So hideous is the payments for ecosystem services (PES) scheme, masked under the holistic phrase “natural capital”, that it is barely mentioned outside of closed doors. But if we look closely, we can find it hidden in plain sight.

May 21, 2018: Science Can Help Forge a New Deal for Nature:

“The global community has a unique window of opportunity to define the post 2020 global biodiversity framework. It will need bold commitment and determination, innovative approaches and transformative processes to ensure that such a New Deal will be effective. At this historical juncture, let us leverage science to help forge a New Deal for Nature.” — Christiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

November 22, 2018: A New Deal for Nature and Humanity:

“WWF strongly supports the call for a new deal for nature and people. By 2020, in just two years, we need an agreed roadmap that recognizes the intrinsic link between the health of nature, the well-being of people and the future of our planet.”

November 29,  2018: UN Biodiversity Conference Agrees on a Process Towards a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 But Ambition is Weak:

“The 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ended today with an agreement on the preparatory process for a post-2020 global framework, moving us closer to a transformational New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 – a vital step to ramp up global efforts to halt today’s unprecedented and dangerous biodiversity loss.

 

WWF urges member countries to develop a far higher shared vision and political ambition if we are to reach a New Deal for Nature and People and create a Paris-style moment for biodiversity in 2020.”

Welcome to the Green New Deal, New Deal For Nature, Next System, Regenerative System, New Economy, New Climate Economy, Biosphere Economy, etc. A fusion of rhapsodic and mellifluous language that creates a sublime chrysalis to further expand capital markets. The second verse is the same as the first.

A genuine rebellion against ecological devastation does not – and cannot – turn its back on capitalism, imperialism, militarism, sexism (patriarchy, misogyny) and racism (white supremacy). The main drivers of our accelerating environmental crisis. Marching for capital under the guise of marching for revolution is a fool’s game. All roads lead to the corporate capture, theft and pillage of what remains of our already decimated planet.

We end this segment with a lecture by Clive Spash (one of the very few economists with the moral courage to speak honestly on “pricing the environment”. [“The Economics of Biodiversity Management and the Problems of the Current Ecosystems Services and Market Based Policy Approaches”, Vienna, 6th December 2010]

 

 

[Further reading: Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”]

Endnotes:

[1] A New Global Architecture, November 12, 2018: Børge Brende, President; Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum and panel, Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Young Global Leader, Helen E. Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999 – 2008), New Zealand, Roland Paris, University of Ottawa, Canada, Jean-David Levitte, Adviser, France; Former Ambassador of France to the UN and United States Hilary Cottam, Author and Entrepreneur, Centre for the Fourth Social Revolution; Young Global Leader during the Session “Shaping a New Global Architecture” at the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

[2] “Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, helps local, national, and international media recognize climate science and clean energy’s role in addressing climate change. This is accomplished by building a broad network of influential, persuasive messengers, and creating a clear, compelling narrative about climate change and ways to address its impacts.”

[3] “A former Dartmouth College professor, Dorsey is a serial organization builder & leader in for-profit, non-profit & governmental realms. In the for-profit arena, Dorsey co-founded and heads Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. Thru Around the Corner he actively invests & advises several pools of private equity finance on renewable energy & related matters globally. Dr. Dorsey is an equity partner in the Spanish-Japanese solar firm: Univergy-CCC; and a co-founder of its India division: Univergy/ThinkGreen, based in Hyderabad.

In the non-profit arena Dr. Dorsey sits on many boards, including Food First & the Center for Environmental Health–the latter he co-created in 1997. Dorsey co-founded IslandsFirst.org. He served 11 years on the Sierra Club national board.” [Source]

[4] “Greg is Green New Deal Research Director at Data for Progress. He holds a Masters in Environmental Policy and is a researcher in climate action and data based in Washington D.C. He specializes in greenhouse gas accounting, U.S. climate and energy policy, and online data platform development. Greg uses his brain for analysis and leaves the data science to the experts.’ [Source]

[5] “Professor Speth currently serves as honorary director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute and is on the boards of the Climate Reality Project, the Center for a New American Dream, and the New Economy Coalition. He is an advisory board member at United Republic, 350.org, EcoAmerica, Labor Network for Sustainability, New Economy Working Group, SC Coastal Conservation League, Environmental Law Institute, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, Heinz Center, Free Speech for People, Vermont Institute for Natural Science, the Northwest Earth Institute, and the Carbon Underground.” [Source] Speth also serves on the advisory board of The Climate Mobilization [Featured in ACT IV of this series]

[6] “Acknowledging Our Donors | Major Donors: Grants and gifts of $750,000 or more, includes revenue received 10/1/16 – 1/15/18 and older grants still open as of 10/1/16” : Alcoa Foundation • Bloomberg Philanthropies • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group • Cargill, Incorporated • Caterpillar Foundation • The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation • Citi Foundation • ClimateWorks Foundation • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom • Department of Fo reign Affairs and Trade of Australia • DOB Ecology • DOEN Foundation • Energy Agency of Sweden • European Climate Foundation • European Commission • Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ) • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany (BMU) • FedEx Corporation Ford Foundation • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation • German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) • Good Energies Foundation • Google Inc. • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation • IKEA Foundation • Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) • Irish Aid – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade • Johnson Controls International plc • Linden Trust for Conservation • The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida) • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (DGIS) • Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation • The Nature Conservancy • Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) • Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs • Oak Foundation • Open Society Foundations • Michael Polsky Family • Rockefeller Brothers Fund • Rockefeller Foundation • Stephen M. Ross Philanthropies • Shell Foundation • Skoll Global Threats Fund • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) • Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust • The Tilia Fund • U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) • U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKFCO) • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) • Villum Foundation • The World Bank • Anonymous

[7]

  • Susan Tierney: former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy;
  • Pamela P. Flaherty: Former president and CEO, Citi Foundation, former director of corporate citizenship, Citi;
  • Harriet C. Babbitt: Former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization;
  • Tammie Arnold: formerly with Generation Investment Management;
  • Frances Beinecke: Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), United States;

Other members include Stephen Brenninkmeijer, Robin Chase, William Chen, Tiffany Clay, Dino Patti Djalal, Alice F. Emerson, Jonathan Lash, Joaquim Levy, Kathleen McLaughlin, Nader Mousavizadeh, Michael Polsky, Bill Richardson, Stephen M. Ross, William D. Ruckelshaus and Roger W. Sant.

[8] “Since 2009, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever; leading the company to set out an ambitious vision to decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact. Actively seeks cooperation with other companies to implement sustainable business strategies and drive systemic change. Has been closely involved in global discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and action to tackle climate change. Former Member: High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, presenting recommendations on behalf of the private sector; International Council, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, under former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon. 2016, asked by the UN Secretary-General to be Member, SDG Advocacy Group, tasked with promoting action on the 2030 Agenda. Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Member: International Business Council, World Economic Forum; B Team; Board, UN Global Compact; Business and Sustainable Development Commission. Recipient of numerous awards, including: Climate Visionary Award (2017); Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (2016); UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award (2014); Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015); UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015).” [Source]

[9] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chad O. Holliday, Suma Chakrabarti, Helen Clark, John Flint, Kristalina Georgieva, Jamshyd Godrej, Stephen Green, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Naina Lal Kidwai, Caio Koch-Weser, Ricardo Lagos, Frannie Leautier, Patricia de Lille, Carlos Lopes, Takehiko Nakao, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, Kristin Skogen Lund, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Maria van der Hoeven and Chen Yuan.

 

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

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

Excerpt from The Big Conservation Lie

Book: The Big Conservation Lie

Author: John Mbaria and Mordecai Ogada

Publisher: Lens & Pens Publishing LLC Auburn WA USA 2017

 

 

The Epiphany

John Mbaria’s Encounter With Unseen Injustice

 

 

She was an unmistakable image of deprivation. The emaciated Samburu woman had thrown across her left shoulder a torn shuka, which left parts of her body exposed. She had braved the sweltering Samburu sun that baked the entire place bringing into being mirages of promise that failed to deliver more than that. As she advanced to the river, the woman attempted an upright position. But her stooped frame refused to yield. Nevertheless, this enabled me to peer into her cracked, multilined face. Her look was distant. Her thin hands held onto a cord with which she had strapped the empty twenty-litre water jerrican. Her entire frame talked of many struggles and probably as many defeats. The woman had emerged from a thick bush across the river, itself part of a natural spread dotted here and there by short, sturdy trees and broken, now and then, by awkward-looking hills. Some of the outcrops had been whitened by excrement from birds of prey. The vast, monotonous terrain extended into the distant horizon, giving packs, herds and flocks, and other residents a veritable abode. Some did not just live and let live; they visited local people’s homesteads with danger and intent.  Across the river was a scene removed from the reality of this unforgiving landscape. Under the watchful eyes of armed rangers, a group of us were happily and noisily climbing a rocky landform that formed part of the river’s embankment.

This was in 2001, and most of us were young, joyful journalists. We had been sponsored to the Shaba Game Reserve, 314 kilometres northeast of Nairobi, by the Sarova Group of Hotels, one of Kenya’s most prominent hotel chains with eight hotels—many of which are carefully stashed in some of Kenya’s most spectacular, most pristine pieces of wilderness. Located in Eastern Kenya, Shaba is where the popular reality TV adventure series Survivor III was shot in August 2001. Before that, the game reserve hosted Joy and George Adamson, the romantic conservationists who gave the world a reality show of life in the bush before they were tragically murdered. Together with its sister reserve, Buffalo Springs, Shaba boasts of seventeen springs that sojourn along subterranean courses from Mount Kenya—one hundred or so kilometres away—and which gush out there to convert part of this dry wasteland into a veritable oasis. Along its northern boundary flows the Ewaso Nyiro River that, together with the springs, has made the entire place a magnet for gerenuks, Grevy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes, lions, leopards, and hundreds of bird species that live side by side with the Samburu people. We were taken there to savour the unmitigated joy of spending time in a purely wild area. We were expected to reciprocate by meeting our brief—flowery feature stories embellished into captivating narratives that could attract and keep guests visiting the hotel and the reserve. Many of us were poorly paid cub reporters who could hardly afford the European cuisine on offer or the joys of partaking of a game drive atop four-wheel-drive fuel guzzlers. With a monthly pay that either equaled or was slightly more than the cost of spending a night in the extremely comfortable and luxurious hotel, we could not but agree to be spoiled for three days and be blinded by freebies. We roamed the area in vans packed with bites, booze, and soda. For lunch and dinner, three-course meals of continental dishes awaited—a veritable feeding frenzy ensued.

While on game drives, we hoped to spot elephants, dung beetles, and everything in between. Part of our exclusive experience included climbing a rocky landform close to the crocodile-infested Ewaso Nyiro River. It was while doing so that I spotted the elderly Samburu woman. Silently—almost in mime—and removed from my world, she was to take me through a host of lessons that dramatically altered my entire outlook on the grand wildlife conservation program Kenya and other countries in Africa have adopted since the dawn of colonialism.

“A conversation with the Samburu elders during a study on pastoralism, 2017” [Source]

For some reason, I found myself thoughtfully watching her every move. She dipped her jerrican into the river, rapidly filling it with the muddy, unpalatable water. The water notwithstanding, this had me thinking. With a load of European food still fresh in my belly, I could afford to summon some imagination. I conjured images of the immense peril the woman had exposed herself to. But what repeatedly danced in my mind was one image in which a four-metre, several-hundred-kilo crocodile emerged from the water, splashed dirty water into her eyes, and in a lightning move, grabbed the woman’s leg with its massive jaws, its saw-like teeth tearing into her flesh, as it then dragged her limp body into the deeper waters. In my mind’s eye, the croc went on to convert her entire existence into some unsightly bloody mess.

Thank God this did not happen. But in the case it had happened, I figured that it would have resulted in several eventualities: A photojournalist would have captured the bloody scene in a single, award-winning shot. The woman would have paid the ultimate price, ending up as yet another sad statistic. Many of us would have filed copious media reports detailing how “another victim met her death” or “I witnessed the worst case of human-wildlife conflict at the banks of Ewaso.” KWS rangers would have been summoned. And with cocked guns, fingers on triggers, eyes strained to the river, and adrenaline pumping into muscles, they would have first shot in the air to rattle any crocs. The rangers would have found it impossible to identify the culprit. Unable to isolate the life-snatching beast from the rest of the gang, they would have shot one of them—an act of appeasement to sorrowful relatives, tit-for-tat killing, justice delivered to a woman so shunned in life. The conservation juggernaut would have rolled on, as ever deceitful and callously removed from the plight of those who suffer the brunt of what it purports to preserve.

Yes, the woman lived that day, not just to take the dirty water home, but probably to go back to the river and risk her life many more times. Maybe she lived only to fall sick or die from the muddy, parasite-infested Ewaso waters. This is not just a possibility. Neither is it a mere probability or likelihood. It is a circumstance that is replicated countless times across most areas bordering Kenya’s twenty-two national parks and twenty-eight national reserves. Many of the people who live with wildlife in Africa meet their deaths, leaving hordes of orphans with no one to wipe their tears. There are hundreds of women—young and old—who have been denied the comfort of travelling through life with their spouses. There are men who must gnash their teeth in pain and immense anger each time they think of their late beloved spouses and children. There are countless more who live without limbs, just as there are many others who endure torn flesh, broken bones, blindness, destitution, and loss of entire livelihoods occasioned by encounters with wild animals.

In this Samburu woman, I saw the embodiment of a community praised for its traditional conservation ethics that spared for the world vast populations of diverse wildlife, a community, however, shunned by the world, even as acres of paper and decades of airtime are expended by many a conservationist and organization to discuss their welfare.

Upon this revelation, I refused to play along, and I made it my career to expose the rot.

~ John Mbaria, 2014

 

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Environmentalism and Democracy in the Age of Nationalism & Corporate Capitalism

December 14, 2017

by Clive Spash

 

 

Recently my masters’ students and I watched the film Carbon Rush. This reveals how numerous carbon offset projects – under the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading related Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – are devastating the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, and simultaneously destroying the environment on which they depend for their survival. CDM projects (such as dams, waste incinerators, wind farms, commercial forestry and oil palm plantations) suffer from dubious or no additionality and may as easily increase as reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the international climate community commonly regards offsetting as central to climate change policy. Such schemes have proliferated due to the desire for making money out of environmental crises and a total disregard for exploitation of the poor and weak, the very groups that ‘development’ (clean or dirty) was supposed to help. In the neoliberal era the rule of the banking and finance sector and multi-national corporations means prioritising making profits by shifting costs onto others; something that has long been recognised as the modus operandi of the business enterprise (Kapp, 1978).

Environmental commodification, trading and offsetting are business as usual approaches to  environmental policy. Whether converting wetlands into bankable assets as in the USA or greenhouse gases into tradable permits as in Europe, the justification is that the preservation of the capital accumulating growth economy requires mechanisms that institutionalise the ‘right’ to undertake environmental degradation. There is also consensus across political divides about the need for economic growth. In the UK, neither Corbyn (Labour) nor May (Conservative) had any meaningful environmental agenda, and both their parties remain totally committed to a growth economy. Diverse nation states are similarly united in promotion of environmental crises as growth opportunities. For example, the European Union and China are pushing the rhetoric of ‘Green Growth’. This combines increasing domestic greenhouse gas emissions through the extension of market based mechanisms and offsets with the promise of new future technologies as the ultimate ‘solution’ to address those same emissions. Faith in markets and technology remains core to international climate policy and unaffected by whether the USA is in or out of the Paris Agreement. Similarly, faith in markets and technology as environmental saviour would have remained the same regardless of having Trump or Clinton in the White House.

In actual fact, the USA has never been a leader in greenhouse gas emissions reduction or climate policy, and both Democrat and Republican administrations have contributed to weakening international treaties. The Paris Agreement was watered down at the behest of the Obama administration compared to a more rigorous treaty, with common base year and targets, recommended by the European Commission (Spash, 2016a). Obama made clear his commitment to protect American jobs over the environment and specifically over any need to address human induced climate change. In this logic, environmental policy is justified if it creates jobs and growth, which always come first despite the inevitable contradictions. Obama’s administration massively expanded domestic oil and gas exploration to make the USA the worlds largest oil exporter (Spash, 2016a: 70). Non-conventional oil has been part of this strategy, despite the world already having over 6 times the reserves it could possibly burn and still have a ‘likely chance’ of the 2°C target (Spash, 2016b). Obama boasted that under his administration enough oil and gas pipelines had been built to ‘encircle the Earth and then some’ (see full quotation in Spash, 2016a). He ignored the associated ecological and social harm, not least that to indigenous communities. In 2016, Native American protestors at Standing Rock opposing construction work on the Dakota Pipeline that, now operational, transports fracked oil, were brutally suppressed by the combined efforts of the construction corporation’s security forces, riot police and the national guard. All that was before the election of a climate denialist with personal investments in fossil fuels.

The USA is one amongst many nations putting their own interests before the common good, and with a record of saying one thing and doing another. Modern development is allied to a military-industrial complex that ensures nation states work to secure, maintain and expand their fossil fuel resource supplies at all costs. Current fossil fuel and infrastructure polices totally contradict the supposed  commitment of nations to the Paris Agreement, and its already exceeded, scientifically unhinged, target for a potentially catastrophic 2°C average global temperature increase (Spash, 2016a). Meanwhile, the
United Nations, the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and similar international bodies have continuously pushed market approaches that fail to address  biophysical reality, permitting exploration for and exploitation of fossil fuels leading to emissions that should never have been allowed. Thus, there is no surprise that recent moves by the airline industry to justify its plans for 700% expansion by 2050 rely on carbon offsetting, while numerous governments (e.g. Austrian, British, French, Turkish) support airport expansion as an economic necessity to create domestic jobs and growth.

Sadly, over the last two decades, in the midst of our ongoing ecological and associated geo-political crises, a range of environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs), rather than opposing such schemes, have formed alliances with some of the worst corporate polluters and resource extractors in the world and now actually promote them (Spash, 2015a). Greenwashing has become a major occupation for ENGOs. Many have become apologists for corporate self-regulation, market mechanisms, carbon pricing/trading and biodiversity offsetting/banking, while themselves commercialising species ‘protection’ as eco-tourism. Foremost amongst the neoliberal ENGOs is The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Its President and CEO is Mark Tercek, previously a managing director at Goldman Sachs. Its Vice President until recently was Peter Kareiva, a key player in the Stanford University flagship ‘natural capital’ project with its mission to convert ecosystems into environmental services that can be traded off. Together Tercek and Kareiva have promoted capitalism as natural and berated conservation biologists for not allying with corporations. In a revival of social Darwinism, Kareiva has even claimed that corporations are a keystone species!

ENGOs have been deliberately targeted by corporate strategists and in several cases they have been captured at management level. For example, Holmes (2011) reports on some of the boards of American ENGOs that include large numbers of current or former directors of major transnational corporations:

TNC 15 out of 26; Conservation International 26 out of 36; WWF-USA 13 out of 21. In addition, ‘these NGOs each have a business council, made exclusively from corporate directors, to advise the board of directors’ (Holmes, 2011: 9). Besides TNC, Conservation International and WWF, Hari (2010) cites the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council as all suffering from corporate capture and conformity to the basic tenets of neoliberalism. This is the spread of what I have referred to as new environmental pragmatism (Spash, 2009). The inroads into conservation by corporate interests are deep. Recently, Adams (2017) has analysed the pragmatic reasons behind this alliance, terming it ‘sleeping with the enemy’ and a ‘Faustian bargain’, that is sold as promoting the mythical Green and growing economy. There is, then, much to concern environmentalists about the role of environmentalism today and whether it can help or will hinder the achievement of a more just, ethical and equitable future.

In this issue of Environmental Values the state and direction of the environmental movement are at the fore. The extent to which conformity to current institutions and their values is regarded as pragmatic is the topic addressed by D’Amato et al. They contrast such pragmatism with the need for revolutionary change and consider which will achieve social ecological transformation. That ‘business as usual’ might no longer be an option leaves open what that implies for the existing political economy (from high-tech competitive corporate growth to low-tech cooperative community degrowth). However, as mentioned above, the hegemonic approach is techno-market optimism with the promise of preserving and  protecting the current capital accumulating economic system.

Productivist rhetoric is dominant in government circles and provides an imaginary that can fit with liberal, neoliberal, social democratic welfarist, socialist and centrally planned political systems. While some things must change the utopian vision of a ‘sustainable growth economy’ will not be surrendered.

The sustainable development agenda, from Norwegian premier Gro Bruntland onwards, has seen no conflict between achieving social and ecological goals and maintaining the growth economy. The United Nations has spent decades pushing various brands of ‘sustainable development’ as economic growth, with the Green Economy its latest incarnation (Spash, 2012). The basic aim is to make capital accumulation resilient, whether in the West or East, under democracy or despotism, whether state or corporate owned and run. How then should the environmentally concerned address this hegemony?

D’Amato et al. provide a new classification of the debate based upon qualitative interviews and a focus group with twenty young researchers working in the area of social ecological transformation. They  contrast perceptions of the role of research as extending from promoting a simple form of pragmatism through to radical change based on strong value commitments. The mode of social change regarded as necessary is described as extending from a gradual evolution to a radical revolution. The concept of the Green Economy was classified by respondents as falling within the pragmatic and evolutionary. The  majority (60%) of respondents themselves held the pragmatic revolutionary position, followed by those classified as radical revolutionary (25%) and pragmatic evolutionary (15%). Thus, while 85% of these young researchers felt revolutionary social change was necessary, 75% believed research should be  pragmatic. While qualified by this being a small convenience sample, the findings do indicate the   potential prevalence of new environmental pragmatism and supports previous work indicating that this  is a wider phenomenon amongst researchers (Spash and Ryan, 2012). More generally, D’Amato et al.’s work raises some serious questions over the general direction of environmental research and how far researchers are prepared to make their work conform to hegemonic values, norms and practices, including those they in principle oppose.

Yet, those who stick to their principles are often described as fundamentalists or uncompromising radicals who deny democratic process. Amongst environmentalists, animal activists have typically been painted as such extremists with their claims based on contentious rights based arguments. In some (supposed) democracies they are even regarded and treated as terrorists. Parry raises the issue of how animal activists should operate within an idealised deliberative democracy and what they could then legitimately justify doing to further their cause. The arguments for and against the use of different campaigning tactics are raised with specific attention given to the example of using video footage showing animal suffering. Such tactics are described in terms of creating a moral shock. Can this be legitimate in a democracy?

Parry makes the case that deliberative democracy offers a justification for representing animals in decision making, but that this does not require appeals to claims about moral worth. Instead existing democratic political principles and institutions are invoked. Three principles are then given, namely that deliberative democracy should be inclusive, authentic and consequential. Parry’s article evaluates animal activism on these grounds.

Inclusion refers to the right of representation in a decision on the basis of having interests that are subject to being affected by that decision. Political theorists have criticised animal rights activists for using undemocractic/deliberative approaches, which they claim are unjustified because these activists are just another group of humans seeking to promote their own interests. Such theorists believe animal activism should be undertaken through ‘normal’ democratic processes. However, as Parry points out, this is a conversion of human to non-human relations into a human to human relationship. Central to the politics of non-human Nature is the representation of silent voices (O’Neill, 2001). How the non-human get a voice in the human world is the central question here.

One aspect of the problem is the tension between attribution of value on the basis of possessing human-like qualities and possessing value despite clearly being non-human like (see for example Coyne, 2017; Vetlesen, 2015). The value basis of interests is then a core concern. Contra Parry, the application of deliberative democratic principles does not then seem to avoid the need for adopting a value basis, nor the need for moral reasoning. Notions of value are employed both in arguments for moral standing and rights of political representation.

A common approach in determining such attributions is to appeal to sentience and the ability for non- humans to suffer pain like humans. One reason is the search for generalisable and common interests, which are regarded as constituting authentic deliberation. Here there is an implicit appeal to Kantian moral criteria for establishing a valid moral argument, so once again contention over moral positions appear unavoidable.

Parry’s second concept, authentic deliberation, aims to encapsulate the desired qualities of democratic deliberation, namely: truthfulness, mutual respect, non-coercive persuasion, constructively seeking acceptable outcomes, reflexivity and prioritisation of generalisable interests. Parry then explores how far different tactics of animal activists match such qualities, and the same is undertaken for the third concept, that requires deliberative democratic criteria be consequential. The latter entails identification of discernible impacts of tactics on decisions, where the consequences are evaluated at a systemic level (i.e. taking into account various aspects of repercussions). Put more crudely this is an assessment of ends justifying means.

The question Parry debates is the extent to which the tactics of animal activists are non-democratic and yet still might be justified. Two tactics classified as non-democratic are imposing costs on others and the rhetorical exaggeration of moral disagreement. The former covers the making of an action (unwanted by activists) financially more costly for the actor, but is also extended by Parry to include imposing psychological costs on such actors. The latter concerns highlighting moral differences to emphasise what is deemed unethical. Such tactics are problematic for deliberative democrats – being termed exaggeration’ and ‘rhetoric’ – because of their commitment to political process as a consensus-seeking compromise. As Parry notes, in passing, there are those arguing that the worth of democracy lies in allowing for contestation over values, and that would involve the recognition of differences held as moral principles rather than seeking compromise and reasons to justify why everyone make trade-offs. A possibly related issue (not addressed) is the apparent contradiction involved in evaluating a social movement that emphasises deontology, community responsibility and duties on the basis of consequences and individual action.

Parry concludes that some of the non-democratic tactics of animal activists may have a role, but should be employed with reflection and moderation. In reaching this conclusion some aspects are only briefly mentioned, but seem central to any justification for radical action within the social reality in which we live today. Perhaps most important are the inequity in power relationships in society and the undemocratic state of the institutions empowered by the idea of a neoliberal economy. Such things as corporate power, greed and the capital accumulating economy lie behind the prevalence of threats to the nonhuman world. The associated institutions perpetuate and legitimise a range of practices against the interests of both non-human and human animals. In the struggles of indigenous communities, who are on the frontline of the extractivist economy and its accumulation by dispossession and land grabbing, there are few signs of legitimate democracy let alone the deliberative democratic ideal. How to live up to the ideals of deliberative democracy, in seeking to right some wrongs, seems of lesser relevance than asking how and by what means can the transformation of such an undemocratic system be achieved? Related to this is the question: what are the legitimate grounds for the institutionally powerless to fight institutionalised power?

Quist and Rinne are concerned with the challenges that disenfranchised groups face in building shared agendas and expressing themselves in their struggles to protect the environment and their ways of life. Their particular context is the conflict between different forms of resource exploitation and specifically fisheries versus oil extraction. They present a case study from Mexico that investigates media (two regional newspapers) representation of the conflict over access to the sea after Pemex, the eleventh largest oil corporation in the world, was empowered by the Mexican State to create marine exclusion zones. They reveal how the media operates with implicit rules of newsworthiness that play to the dominant moral discourses promoted by political and economic elites. In addition, they expose how this has played up divisions within the fisher community (e.g., between licence holders and other fishers working for them or independently).

The central concept in their case study is ‘patrimony’, or regarding natural resources as an intergenerational heritage that creates a community understanding and sense of common purpose. Under patrimony the community is typically the nation state, with patrimony operating as national heritage, but the study identifies how the concept is also applied at the fisher community level by its leaders. However, rather than being empowered, the fishers appear to be captured by the discourse of patrimony, while their own discourse, expressing ecological values that include their way of life, is excluded. Fisher leaders are shown to adopt the patrimony discourse against the interests of the wider fisher community, even to the extent that the prospect of fishers becoming oil workers is considered. Oil is judged superior in patrimonial value and for the national collective compared to the value of fishing for the local community. In this discourse, there is no questioning of the oil industries right to exploit the resource. There is a clear underlying productivist logic that excludes environmental concerns and narrowly frames the social as national.

How natural resource extraction issues are framed by the media is also the concern of Davies et al. Their particular case study is Greenland, where the population of 57,000 live in the twelfth largest country by land area. That 90 per cent of the people claim Inuit ethnicity adds to the distinct character of the society, as does having 80 per cent of the country under ice. In this last respect, climate change has been presented by some as an opportunity for opening-up territory for resource extraction. Indeed, this forms one of the major discourses revealed by Davies et al. in their analysis of 1000 English language media articles about Greenland. The potential for extracting oil, gas and rare Earth metals to supply the fossil fuel economy and its high-tech industries means climate change is not denied but accepted as an actual phenomenon by corporate fossil fuel and resource extracting interests. Rather than being a problem, climate change is seen as an opportunity. The media being reported here seems clearly focused on serving the speculations of corporations, bankers and financiers over where to make money. Such media coverage regards risk purely in financial terms of returns on investment (not strong uncertainty over climate change), and on the same basis the potential for oil spills due to new extraction is addressed as a risk to corporate investors’ returns, not the environment.

Other aspects of the media coverage over extracting Greenland’s resources relate to the geo-politics of a small Inuit led country facing the likes of China and the European Union, and multi-national corporations. The vulnerability of Inuit culture is also raised, including the potential impact on the relatively small existing national population being swamped by incoming labour. Yet, somewhat paralleling the case of Mexico, coverage also regards investment in resource extraction as a necessity for ‘development’ that promises jobs and the eradication of social problems through material wealth.

The idea of wilderness, so antithetical to advocates of the anthropocene (Baskin, 2015), appears in the media in both its positive form as pristine and untouched, as well as its negative form of waste land. The absence of human use is bemoaned by the latter as resources going to waste, while for the former this is where the environmental value lies. However, what is interesting in the reported media coverage presented by Davies et al. is how human–nature interactions are so easily turned into, and exclusively discussed as, human to human value relationships (e.g. human induced climate change having consequences for humans). Nature then has no voice in this media coverage.

Therein lies the failure of the environmental movement in its pragmatic neoliberalism. That the mainstream media is obsessed by framing its reportage in terms of financial and economic consequences is hardly a secret (see Chalmers, 2012). What is less readily admitted is the extent to which ENGOs have done likewise and so lost their connection to the non-human world that environmentalism aimed to represent in the first place. In the appeasement of presumed state and corporate economic interests, the language of environmental values is commonly reformulated to actually deny the existence of value in nature, non-human to non-human value and even the importance of human to non-human relationships. There is only the human-to-human relationship and associated values, and clearly some humans are more equal than others.

Issues of power, inclusion and representation in the environmental movement also concern the paper by Fenney, but from a different perspective. The argument is made that the disabled are subject to both oppression (disablism) and also the assumption of a non-disabled norm as valid and desirable (ableism). Evidence from interviews with disabled people in the UK is presented to illustrate the issues. In particular, Fenney highlights discourses on cycling and self-sufficiency as problematic. The former is criticised as specifically focussed on the able bodied, while the latter is seen as promoting a form of independence that is unavailable to many disabled people. Both are then loosely associated by Fenney with a neoliberal agenda in environmentalism.

The broader concern raised by Fenney is where in the environmental movement’s vision of the future will the disabled find themselves, how will their voice achieve inclusion and their concerns over social justice be met? Implicitly, alternative systems and their conceptualisations of freedom underlie this discussion. The modern (neo)liberal model of ‘freedom’ might be characterised as the individual holding others at a distance with dependency on high technology, machines, biotech and chemicals. The environmental movement has traditionally rejected this in preference for a low technology world based on community and explicitly recognising interdependence, where labour substitutes for capital. There are clearly many questions left unanswered by the environmental movement concerning diverging visions of the future, including the absence of implications for the disabled. However, environmentalism, especially eco-feminism, has strongly advocated a caring society in which issues of dependency and interdependency are made explicit, rather than hidden by production chains, technology and patriarchy.

In addition, the case made by Fenny does not establish any necessary link between environmentalism and abelism/disablism. For example, why does cycling need to be regarded as so exclusionary? Whether two, three, four or more wheeled there are many forms of locomotion that can be powered by humans singly or in numbers and be inclusive of different (dis)abilities as well as passengers. Perhaps the UK remains unfamiliar with the variety of machines available, but the idea that recommending cycling need necessarily be problematic and discriminatory appears to be in part based upon a limited conception of the options. The structural limits in the current infrastructure that favour cars also affects the imagination of what is possible and creates dependencies. That cars are part of our environmental problems is indisputable.

I take Fenny’s point as being that too little thought is given to the implications of getting rid of cars in terms of the implications for disabled people who have lives currently dependent upon cars. Their concerns need to be voiced and addressed when cars are targeted or bikes promoted, but such polices should alsonot simply be equated with discrimination per se.

Fenny notes that there is a growing (physically and mentally) disabled population and states that it is already approximately one-fifth of the UK population. Clearly the able do become the disabled as population ages, and there is an element of denial of this basic fact in Western society with its emphasis on health and beauty as youth. While Fenny presents the case for why transformation to environmental futures is inadequately addressing the issue, there is also a more general problem for the environmental movement here.

Social ecological transformation is discussed as requiring major systemic change, and for many that means changing away from modernist utopias (Spash, 2015b). The scale of change required in removing fossil fuels from the economy is far-reaching and involves major distributive impacts. All those with dependencies on the structures of modernity, its technologies, energy and material intensive devices are vulnerable. The environmental movement needs to seriously consider and address the implications rather than pretending everything can be substituted and energy transition will be straightforward. Environmental policy is no more a win-win than any other policy; different polices change winners and losers. For the environmental movement, some specific groups, practices and ways of life are deliberately the target of change because they are deemed exploitative, unjust and unethical. Societal change is an inherently value laden and political issue.

Currently major societal change occurs through undemocratic imposition of technology and infrastructure at the behest of minority interests, while the majority are just along for the ride, whether they like it or not. The rise of nationalism accompanied by militarisation and securitisation justifies exploitation of others who must be outcompeted in the fight for resources to maintain national and corporate economic growth. The depoliticising pragmatism of the environmental movement means loss of both direction and voice. The central issue, which was the reason for an environmental movement in the first place, is: how can different people live together and find meaning in their lives without engaging in the environmental degradation and mistreatment of others, both human and non-human, that is central to the currently dominant economic system?

Download the paper:

2017 Spash Env_Nationalism_Corporate_Capitalism EV_24_4

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Reclaim Conservation: Activists & Communities Vs. Mainstream Conservation Myths

Reclaim Conservation

December 9, 2017

There are myriad definitions of the term “environmental conservation” and hundreds of ideologies and methods being utilised worldwide in an attempt to conserve habitats and biodiversity. At present, what is clear is that conservation efforts as a whole are failing. While there is increasing, large-scale financial investment in conservation efforts worldwide, positive results from this investment remains to be seen. Indeed, the species extinction crisis, destruction of habitat and climate change continue unabated and pose increasingly severe threats to the natural world.

Mainstream conservation institutions are increasingly modelling themselves on, and indeed directly reliant upon, commercial businesses. Being part of the dominant economic establishment positions these NGOs as conflicted in their ability (and desire) to take effective action against the root cause of environmental degradation which unarguably stems from uncontrolled capitalist exploitation, accompanied by corruption, broken nation states and a burgeoning world leadership crisis. These large NGOs cannot challenge these overarching systems of oppression because they have become part of them. By ignoring the “bigger picture” and the real cause of the problems that they claim to be concerned with tackling and offering superficial, insincere solutions, the big NGOs cause severe damage to our world in that they control the vast majority of resources and funding to ostensibly support conservation efforts, but fail to use it where it is most needed and thus fail to create any meaningful change or positive results.

In order to justify their failure, they have developed discourses blaming local people for being either greedy destroyers of nature or ignorant savages who lack the intelligence or motivation to work to preserve their own environment. Nature is being ascribed economic value and local people are being offered financial “compensation” in order to ensure they do not interfere with the work of the powerful NGOs. Grassroots activism and new, radical approaches to conservation are demonised and accused of “getting in the way” of the “real conservationists” (the large NGOs) in order to distract people from seeing activists’ real potential as capable of creating a new reality. Funds are being blocked from reaching either community conservationists or activists, ensuring that the powerful retain control and those uniquely positioned to dismantle the ineffective and damaging status quo are prevented from accessing the resources and opportunities that are required to make real change.

This situation must change, Reclaim Conservation, through activist work with communities, whistle-blowers and law enforcement, through academia, mass and social medias, will prove and inform the public that:

Conservation is activism

Conservation is against corruption

Conservation is against all kinds of discriminations

Conservation is against right wing, capitalist exploitation

Conservation is compassion

If not, conservation will just not work!

 

www.reclaimconservation.org

The Best Lecture You Will Ever Watch on “Conservation”

Mordecai Ogada, Director of Conservation Solutions Afrika – The Big Conservation Lie

Video published on Mar 27, 2017

“That hot afternoon in Amboseli; I experienced my road to Damascus. I realized that I was part of a system that had no respect for the very bedrock on which it stood. I was a qualified black face put in place to smooth over fifty years of exploitation in two and to create a pleasant backdrop that would allow for the renewal of this insidious arrangement. The technical knowledge I had from all the years and energy I spent studying conservation biology weren’t important here. The Dr. prefix to my name, my knowledge of Kiswahili, my complexion were all props to make things appear honest. These realizations came to me in a merciless flood, and I was momentarily filled with outrage and self-loathing. I was part of a fallacy whose sell-by date was fast approaching.”—Mordecai Ogada

A must watch lecture of Mordecai Ogada presenting on his new book The Big Conservation Lie. Sponsored by CSU SOGES Africa Center and The Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University.”

 

 

Conservation’s Friends in High Places: Neoliberalism, Networks, and the Transnational Conservation Elite

November, 2011

 

Kevin Callahan, Beth Stevens, Mark Tercek, Gil Bulter, Jay Rasulo, Dan Harris== The Nature Conservancy's 2014, "Nature Matters" Gala== Cipriani 42nd Street, NYC.== June 2, 2014== ©Patrick Mcmullan== photo-Sylvain Gaboury/PatrickMcmullan.com== ==

The Nature Conservancy’s “Nature Matters” Gala, hosted in NYC on June 2, 2014 honored Disney and The Butler Conservation Fund as leaders in conservation. Photographed: Kevin Callahan (Disney), Beth Stevens (Disney), Mark Tercek (TNC), Gil Bulter (Butler Capital Corp.), Jay Rasulo (Disney), Dan Harris (Disney-ABC News)

The paper Conservation’s Friends in High Places:Neoliberalism, Networks, and the Transnational Conservation Elite authored by George Holmes “explores the different parts of the transnational conservation elite—NGOs, the state, corporations, intellectuals, and the media—focusing on the interactions among them. A series of vignettes showing the elite in action briefly illustrates the arguments, showing how the elite functions and how money, influence, and ideas are mobilized.”

“Fifteen of the twenty-six board members at The Nature Conservancy are or have been directors of large transnational corporations, as have twenty-six of thirty-six board members at CI and thirteen of twenty-one at WWF-US. In all cases, directors with a corporate management background have displaced and now greatly outnumber those with biological training or other “technical” backgrounds. In addition, these NGOs each have a business council, made exclusively from corporate directors, to advise the board of directors.”

Download the paper:

Conservation’s Friends in High Place

 

 

[George Holmes bio: “I am a human geographer interested in biodiversity conservation, particularly protected areas. My current work engages with geographies of conservation in the anthropocene, with a particular interest in rewilding and synthetic ecosystems. I am positioned halfway between the humanities and biological literatures on this subject – I am more interested in the politics of how people try to do conservation in the anthropocene, and what the implications of this are.”]

Greenwashing Capitalism: Conservation’s Cosy Relationship with Corporations

Conservation Watch

By Chris Lang

March 21, 2017

Since the year 2000, there have been many partnerships between conservation organisations and the industrial corporations responsible for destroying nature. Mining companies are particularly popular.

A new paper by William M. Adams published in the Journal of Polical Ecology explores the “surprising closeness and apparent warmth of the relations between biodiversity conservation organisations and corporations”.

The paper is titled, “Sleeping with the enemy? Biodiversity conservation, corporations and the green economy”, and can be downloaded here.

Adams traces the partnerships between conservation organisations and the mining industry to a series of initiatives starting in the 1990s:

1997: Conservation International published Reinventing the well, a report on “minimizing the environmental and social impacts of oil development in the tropics”.

1998: a Global Mining Initiative, “to provide sustainable leadership for the mining and minerals industry in the areas of our economic, social and environmental performance”.

1999: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development began a Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development project.

1999: Rio Tinto started working with Conservation International.

2000: Conservation International published a report on large-scale mining, titled, Lightening the lode.

2001: The International Council on Mining and Metals was formed, “to act as a catalyst for performance improvement in the mining, minerals and metals industry”.

2000–2002:The Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project, a research collaboration between the WBCSD and IIED.

Adams argues that,

[C]onservationists are turning a blind eye to their own past and to the working of neoliberal capitalism, showing a remarkable willingness to entertain future risks to biodiversity from the outworking of neoliberalism.

Conservation has been transformed by neoliberalism. Instead of looking at how capitalism uses (and destroys) nature, neoliberal conservation presents capitalism as the way of achieving environmental sustainability.

In their 2012 paper, Bram Büscher, Sian Sullivan, Katja Neves, Jim Igoe and Dan Brockington write that,

[N]eoliberal conservation shifts the focus from how nature is used in and through the expansion of capitalism, to how nature is conserved in and through the expansion of capitalism.

Benefits and consequences

Adams highlights the benefits and the consequences of partnerships between conservation organisations and corporations. There are three benefits:

  1. Power: Conservationists see corporations as having the power to make decisions to either conserve or destroy biodiversity. “Conservationists therefore engage because they want influence.”
  2. Funding: Corporations are key financiers of conservation, from sponsorship of NGO activities, to support for partnership activities, to philanthropic support from individuals in corporations, to linked for-profit enterprises, such as conservation-endorsed commodity chains.
  3. Careers: Corporate executives on NGO Boards allows for career mentoring, and access to networks of corporate contacts. “Corporate support also offers opportunities for career development: all NGOs depend on cash income to develop their programmes, and working in a way that aligns your programme with the interests and activities of corporations is a good way to keep your job and grow your program.”

An obvious problem with conservationists partnering with corporations is what Adams calls the “fundamental nature of capitalism”.

Capitalism is parasitic on nature, in that it “continuously gnaws away at the resources base that sustains it”, as Geographer David Pepper puts it in his 1993 book, Eco-Socialism: From deep ecology to social justice.

Corporations need to make only slight changes to their corporate strategies. But for the conservation organisations working with corporations, the ideological and organisational changes are significant. Biting the hand that feeds, by criticising corporate partners, is out of the question.

And conservation organisations that work closely with corporations start to look more like corporations themselves. Mark Tercek, the President and CEO of , previously worked at Goldman Sachs, rising to Managing Director and Partner.

Adams points out that corporate partnerships “do not in any obvious way ‘work’ for conservation, in terms of systematically addressing the fundamental drivers of biodiversity loss”.

Adams writes that the partnership between conservation organisations and corporations is a Faustian bargain, “a deal with the devil to acquire power in exchange for the soul”. Adams adds,

If conservation is Faust, the power it wins by its bargain with capitalism is inevitably trivial and transient: ultimately, in the face of capitalism’s destruction of nature, conservation will lose.

And he concludes that,

The reframing of nature as natural capital and the reinvention of conservation as the management of capital flows through market-based instruments, might make a close engagement between neoliberal conservation and corporations look unproblematic. Such a relationship offers the lure of financial resources and power. But conservationists considering getting into bed with corporations should remember the tale of Faust’s bargain. The story takes many forms, but in none of them does the pact turn out well.

 

[Conservation Watch is run by Chris Lang (conserwatch@gmail.com). The views expressed on Conservation Watch do not necessarily reflect the formal positions of any organisations or individuals, except when this is clearly stated. Conservation Watch is funded by the Rainforest Foundation UK.]

The Resolution Copper Land Grab: How Environmental NGOs Expand Green Capitalism

Desert Water Grab

January 28, 2017

 

kareiva_pes_small

People were outraged at the way the Resolution Copper Mining (RCM) finally achieved their land exchange in Arizona. It was the underhanded way Senator John McCain got the legislation passed that fueled the anger, but what many are not aware of is that the swap may not have been possible without the efforts of certain environmental groups. Conservation efforts functioned as currency for Resolution’s access to land, so the land grab could also be called a green grab. Green grabs are taking place in Arizona and beyond, especially around water. The Resolution Copper land exchange provides us with a way to understand the utility of the partnerships corporations forge to gain access to coveted resources.

The land swap is not yet a done deal. An appraisal to determine the equivalence of the parcels to be exchanged is due to be completed this year, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

“It’s a big ripoff,” Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club said in an interview last year. “The American public is getting chump change in return for this ecological treasure. The lands that are offered aren’t comparable.”

McCain’s website tells a different story:

Under the bill, the Resolution Copper company would give the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management about 5,500 acres of land identified by the Department of the Interior as ‘important’ for conservation, including property near the San Pedro River, an important migratory bird corridor and wetland habitat for endangered species. In exchange for these lands, Resolution Copper would receive about 2,400 acres of Forest Service land for the exploration and development of our nation’s top copper asset.

While the Sierra Club does not back up the claims about how important the lands are for conservation, a few other organizations did. Arguably, the land exchange may not have been possible without the help of some of these big, more corporate-friendly environmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Audubon Arizona, who were involved in affirming, and even contributing to the value of the land to be exchanged for Resolution’s intended mine site. This is something Rio Tinto (majority owner of RCM) had learned from in partnering with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Utah and Madagascar to arrange access to land a few years before. Multinational mining companies, Rio Tinto in particular, in partnership with NGOs, have been networking to improve the reputation and legitimacy of global mining activities since the ‘90s.

It’s clear that the quantity of land is disproportionate in the exchange. The acreage offered up to the feds for the trade (see map) is more than double Resolution’s desired area. However, McCain needed to sneak the exchange through in the National Defense Authorization Act to get it passed because the status and importance of the Chi’chil Bildagoteel/Oak Flat area resulted in nearly a decade of failed attempts to get the land exchange accepted prior to December 2014. Clearly, the conservation claims never swayed those with strong opposition to the mine, but they do count for something.

The appraiser is required to use nationally recognized standards to come up with the value of the parcels. But not only does Resolution actually have a voice in who gets the job to appraise the properties, the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions’ directive is that the appraiser determine only a market value (defined within the document) for the land. This does not seem to take into consideration the cultural, spiritual, historical, and environmental values such as those attributed by opponents of the mining in the Oak Flat/Apache Leap area.

Monetarily, while Rio Tinto spent “more than $18 million buying up” the parcels to exchange, the land to which Resolution Copper gained access could be worth around 7,000 times more – over $130 billion based on copper prices as of early 2015, as a former Florida Representative pointed out in The Nation. Copper prices had fallen, but the current price is back up to near where it was then. There are many other factors to enter into the equation, however. One is that Resolution Copper has directed hundreds of thousands of dollars towards the conservation activities that may have increased the value, even if not the market value, of the exchange lands.

While the promise of jobs seems to play a bigger role in Resolution Copper’s narrative, the exchange may have been unacceptable without the purportedly valuable conservation land tracts. And now that the legislation passed, whether it is truly an equitable exchange or not is irrelevant in some ways because if the appraisal sees those lands as insufficiently valuable, RCM will just have to add more land or cash to the deal.

Yet, the conservation values of the parcels offered up by RCM were necessary, and thusly emphasized, for public and federal acceptance. In addition to meeting the equal value requirement, land exchanges are required to serve the public interest, which includes “protection of fish and wildlife habitats, cultural resources, watersheds, and wilderness and aesthetic values,” and the Forest Service gets the final say.

Some of these NGOs have consulted with Rio Tinto to contribute to an accounting method to rate the quality of land, using something they call “quality hectares” as a metric based on various values such as biodiversity to frame as offsets the land parcels they intended to “donate“.

resolution-copper-offset-chart

Although the factors, which some refer to as “ecosystem services,” used for this type of valuation, are currently considered nonmarket values not likely to be used in the appraisal, they clearly were important to RCM in determining the value of their land parcels. “Ecosystem services” is an increasingly popular economic construct used to refer to the benefits ecosystems provide to humans.

It doesn’t seem coincidental that law firm Perkins Coie, who has worked for Resolution Copper, wrote a paper in which they made the following argument:

Over the longer term—and to the extent that appropriate methodology is developed and adopted—the BLM could also use the requirement that it obtain fair market value for use of public lands to ensure consideration of ecosystem services in determining land values and rentals.

Both the Forest Service and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) have attributed legitimacy to recognizing ecosystem services within policy. Multinational mining companies (especially Rio Tinto) and the involved NGOs have been major players on a global scale in market valuation of ecosystem services as well as ways to profit from them.

Valuation of ecosystem services, even if incorporated into the appraisal process, would likely benefit RCM. Even while “cultural,” and more rarely, “spiritual” ecosystem services can be incorporated into the value of land tracts, the fact that the Oak Flat area is not part of a reservation and is not officially recognized as sacred or culturally important works against those who have a connection with the land such as the San Carlos Apache and others.

RCM and certain NGOs’ preferred approach to environmental problems is through market-based “solutions”, which result in transferring resources into private hands. While this is a land grab, the conservation aspect is significant. RCM will gain ownership of the Oak Flat area (unless stopped) by using as currency the parcels obtained and cultivated as conservation projects. The land swap could therefore be considered a green grab. The book (and article) entitled Green Grabbing defines the process as “the appropriation of land and resources for environmental ends” where “‘Appropriation’ implies the transfer of ownership, use rights and control over resources that were once publicly or privately owned – or not even the subject of ownership – from the poor (or everyone including the poor) into the hands of the powerful.”

Why does all this matter? Aside from having more understanding about why this land exchange is not justified, we can learn from how some NGOs partner with private interests to engage in more green grabbing. The Nature Conservancy facilitates the sale of water offsets to companies such as Coca Cola, for example, based on conservation projects in Arizona. They are also supporting the efforts of big housing developments to legitimize construction where aquifers and the rivers like the San Pedro are at risk. Since Rio Tinto has been so central to the development of payments for ecosystem services programs such as offsets, the early stages of this Resolution Copper land exchange effort may have been the foray of the concept of ecosystem services into Arizona.

San Pedro River and Conflicts of Interest

Although the land exchange involved properties in various areas of Arizona, the one in the San Pedro River basin, the 7B Ranch, is the most relevant here, partly because early legislative support for the exchange related to this river. It is also the largest parcel offered by RCM.

Water conservation at the San Pedro River was made central to the land exchange idea when Rick Renzi, US Congressman from Arizona at the time, drew Resolution Copper into a scandal. Renzi was convicted in 2013 of conspiring with the owner of a piece of land in the San Pedro River basin, “to extort and bribe individuals seeking a federal land exchange…” A combination of his connections with Fort Huachuca, an army installation  near the San Pedro, and his desire to have Resolution Copper purchase his friend’s property in the area caused Renzi to assert in 2005, according to Wall Street Journal, that his support of the land exchange

…would hinge in part on whether it helped fulfill a goal to cut water consumption along the San Pedro River… participants in the deal say. Fort Huachuca, a big U.S. Army base nearby, was under court order to cut water consumption, and it had been seeking help to retire farmland near the river. Mr. Renzi has longstanding ties to the base, the economic engine of the area… Resolution proposed buying and handing over to the government thousands of acres of bird and wildlife habitat along the banks of the San Pedro, which would further the water-conservation goal.

Due to the high price, Resolution Copper did not buy this property, but the land was sold to someone else. A different parcel in the San Pedro River basin became part of the exchange, a choice likely influenced by the water conservation needs of Ft. Huachuca, as emphasized by Renzi.

Renzi’s father was a retired army general who had served at Ft. Huachuca and his company (one of the congressman’s top campaign donors) has had major contracts with Ft. Huachuca. In 2003, Renzi had proposed “an amendment to the defense authorization bill, [that] would exempt Ft. Huachuca from responsibility for maintaining water levels in the San Pedro River as called for in an agreement made last year with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” Backed by McCain, it passed in November that year, despite media pointing to the conflict of interest.

Dropping groundwater levels have directly impacted the San Pedro base flow. Ft. Huachuca has faced multiple lawsuits for their impact on the riparian environment due to their groundwater pumping.

McCain has shown that he has invested as well in the fate of Ft. Huachuca in relation to the river. His relationship with Renzi likely had a lot to do with it, but he’s continued his support of the fort in recent years. The state of the San Pedro River makes at least an image of water conservation important to the land exchange even with Renzi’s interests out of the picture.

Various partnerships have developed to address, or more likely greenwash the fort’s impact on the environment. The Department of Defense and Ft. Huachuca had already been working with The Nature Conservancy since at least 1998. Significantly, one of the more recent projects is the Upper San Pedro Partnership (USPP) also involving Audubon Arizona. This came out Renzi’s legislative amendment in 2003 which shifted responsibility for water use away from the fort and onto this broader coalition of the USPP.

Shaping the land swap was a combination of these NGOs’ relationships with Ft. Huachuca specifically around the San Pedro River Basin, and Rio Tinto’s relationships with these NGOs through Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Copper mine in Utah where they partnered with NGOs like The Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society in the late ‘90s on a wetland offset program required due to the pollution of mining tailings.

Partnerships and Payments

Of course it makes sense that environmental groups be consulted about ecologically important issues. There’s a difference, however, between consultation and granting green credentials to mining companies for dubious conservation efforts when they’ll do more damage in the long run. Taken into consideration, additionally, should be the NGOs’ actions and the financial relationship between NGOs and corporations.

One role NGOs play is in acquiescing to the claim that there is no alternative to a particular mine or other development. Then somehow their pragmatism produces “win-win solutions” to supposedly mitigate mines’ damage (this is giving them the undeserved benefit of the doubt about their own financial interests in partnering with corporations). The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Arizona Audubon, even while denying that they took a position on the land exchange, played integral roles in confirming and even generating some of the value of the various parcels RCM obtained and worked to glorify.

An International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) report described one way NGOs supported RCM (see chart above):

In consultation with conservation specialists, especially the Arizona Audubon Society, RCM rated the conservation value of the parcels in terms of ecosystem condition and priority for conservation in Arizona. In doing so, RCM was able to take a semi-quantitative approach using Rio Tinto’s quality hectares method, to determine whether the parcels represented equivalent or better conservation benefits than the government land.

According to Rio Tinto,

Quality Hectares are Rio Tinto’s current metric for tracking progress towards the [Net Positive Impact (NPI)] target at the global and site levels. A wide range of biodiversity values, including threatened species, rare habitats or non-timber forest products, may be expressed in terms of their quantity and quality.

It could be argued that RCM bought access to the copper ore in Oak Flat by funding NGOs’ conservation attribution of value to the land that RCM had accumulated. NGOs acted as consultants in choosing land parcels and quantifying their value, managed some of those parcels, wrote letters confirming their value, and thereby contributed to legitimizing the exchange.

Rio Tinto/Resolution Copper started funding Arizona Audubon Society in 2003. The mining subsidiary began lobbying for a land exchange in 2005 and in the same year contracted with TNC to manage the land parcel owned by BHP Billiton called the 7B Ranch.

The 7B Ranch was the piece of land in the San Pedro River basin that ultimately became part of the land exchange. Copper companies in Arizona have purchased land not only for mining, but BHP Billiton already owned some land near the San Pedro River prior to the idea for the land exchange, likely for the water rights.

The Superior Sun reported,

Resolution purchased 7B from BHP in 2007 with the intention of including it in an eventual land exchange… David Salisbury, Resolution Copper CEO, said that the company spoke to organizations such as Arizona Audubon and The Nature Conservancy to determine conservation targets that a number of agencies might be interested in…

Although Audubon hasn’t taken a position on the proposed land exchange, they have been on record since 2005 saying that 7B is an ecologically important piece of property…

With the plan in place, Resolution and its conservation partners hope to make 7B a ready-to-use asset for the [Department of the Interior] and the public.

The Tucson Sentinel reported in 2011, “7B Ranch, which contains one of oldest mesquite forests in Arizona, lies near the fragile San Pedro River. In 2007, Resolution Copper agreed to pay The Nature Conservancy $45,000 a year to manage the property.” They also noted the, “$250,000 in grants and donations that Resolution Copper and Rio Tinto have given to the Audubon Arizona since 2003.” Their coverage stated that the Sonoran Institute (SI) was also involved in identifying parcels that would be of value in the exchange.

RCM also supported SI for at least two years (2007 and 2008) and hired SI’s Dave Richins after, as The New Times revealed, he’d been doing work for RCM for a while prior to official employment. Luther Propst of SI authored an opinion column in the Arizona Republic in 2010 in favor of the Resolution Copper mine.

News outlets such as the Tucson Citizen reported in 2005 that, “the Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy and the Sonoran Institute have all sent [Bruno Hegner, Resolution’s general manager] letters of support.” The Tucson Sentinel wrote that “Leaders of Audubon Arizona and The Nature Conservancy have said they neither support nor oppose the overall plan. But each group has formally attested to the conservation value of the Appleton-Whittell and 7B Ranch parcels, something that Resolution Copper has noted prominently in letters and testimony to Congress.” In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Arizona chapter of TNC sent letters to legislators reiterating their neutrality on the legislation, but elaborating on the value of the 7B Ranch property. Audubon Arizona had been managing the Appleton-Whittell ranch since the 1980’s. Notably, other Arizona-based Audubon groups (Maricopa and Tucson) have been openly opposed to the mine.

Resolution Copper partnered with Audubon Arizona, TNC, Birdlife International, along with the Salt River Project and others on the Lower San Pedro and Queen Creek Project, described by Birdlife International:

A two-year programme (2006–2007) undertook the development of a bird conservation strategy… It assisted in the provision of detailed biodiversity assessments of the land exchange parcel on the Lower San Pedro River for Resolution Copper Company and with the establishment of baseline data for the mine’s operational biodiversity action planning.

Thanks to the project, the Lower San Pedro River, from “The Narrows” north to the confluence with the Gila River, has been surveyed, nominated and recognised as a state [Important Bird Area (IBA)]. During 2006–2007, existing and newly collected data were compiled and submitted to the Arizona IBA Science Committee, in support of the IBA nomination of the Lower San Pedro River, and the nomination was accepted.

Birdlife International, which Rio Tinto has been working with since 2001 is described as “a global alliance of conservation organisations working together for the world’s birds and people.” One of Birdlife’s main partners is the Audubon Society, a group with which they’ve had overlapping board members.

It is not so difficult to imagine that an “environmental” group, such as Birdlife or TNC would accommodate a mining project considering TNC participated in drilling oil on a property they were supposed to have retired from oil production. Kierán Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity said that TNC “has shown over and over again its willingness to take corporate money in return for stealing, destroying, or polluting indigenous and poor human communities.” TNC has partnered with many of the most notorious corporations like Exxon, BP, Dow Chemical, and Monsanto along with Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Birdlife had also partnered with BP, which may have been a factor in Rio Tinto partnering with the NGO in 2001.

From Greenwashing to Green Markets

Mines have pock-marked the earth, poisoned the land, water, and living beings, displaced communities, and left other destruction in their wake. One of the most notorious mining conflicts forced Rio Tinto to shut down their mine on Bougainville Island of Papua New Guinea in 1989 due to an uprising largely in response to the environmental damage caused by the mine. A lawsuit was filed against Rio Tinto over “racial discrimination and environmental harm, as well as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” arising from the mine and the military response as part of the decade-long civil war instigated by the company. Throughout the 1990’s major tailings containments collapsed each year around the world. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have both faced various strikes over working conditions. It’s no wonder they had to fix their reputation in order to do business.

While the Bougainville civil war was still raging, a study that Rio Tinto conducted in 1996 showed that the mining companies could benefit from addressing concern for biodiversity as part of their medium-to long-term business strategy. This may have played a part in the Rio Tinto chairman’s launch of the Global Mining Initiative (GMI) with nine of the largest global mining corporations in 1999. “The drivers for GMI were clear recognition that mining companies had problems of access to land, and access to markets, and cost of capital. The fundamental underlying reason was the reputation of the industry,” said Dr. John Groom, of mining company Anglo American.

Sarah Benabou writes that in 2000,

the GMI started a process of consultation and research known as the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) project to determine the fundamental orientations that would shape the future of the industry. This project led to the creation of the [The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM)] in 2002. A few months later, at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, the ICMM and the [International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)] started a joint dialogue on mining and biodiversity ‘to provide a platform for communities, corporations, NGOs and governments to engage in a dialogue to seek the best balance between the protection of important ecosystems and the social and economic importance of mining’ (IUCN 2003: 1).

Benabou’s Making up for lost nature? A critical review of the international development of voluntary biodiversity offsets also describes how mining companies and NGOs at an IUCN/ICMM jointly-organized workshop in 2003 could draw upon each others’ experiences regarding ways to apply a biodiversity offset approach even if it couldn’t be “transposed term-for-term” in other situations. IUCN is one of the oldest and biggest environmental NGOs.

The relationship with Birdlife, initiated by Rio Tinto in 2001 was an early venture into partnerships with such NGOs. According to Rio Tinto, “the partnership has enabled both organisations to deliver outcomes that neither could have achieved as effectively when working alone.”

It would be a mistake to frame this simply as examples of greenwashing in attempt to solve mining companies’ public relations problems and access to land. In the context of the earth’s welfare and diminishing finite resources, the extractive industry and their partners have developed market-based tools like offsets to create new financial strategies. “In this zeitgeist of crisis capitalism, the environmental crisis itself has become a major new frontier of value creation and capitalist accumulation,” writes Sian Sullivan, Professor of Environment and Culture in the UK. The commodification and financialization of so-called natural capital and ecosystem services are central to this process.

19-ecoservices_balancedThe concept of ecosystem services originates with some in the field of Ecological Economics who argued that if destructive practices are unavoidable, then corporations should pay for the damage they have done (or will do) to that which we take for granted but can’t live without: the environment. Yet, if companies compensate for their externalities, a whole host of other problems arise with pricing, quantifying, simplifying and appropriating natural resources.

The introduction to Nature, Inc. spells it out: “Capitalism now endeavors to accumulate not merely in spite of but rather precisely through the negation of its own negative impacts on both physical environments and the people who inhabit them, proposing itself as the solution to the very problems it creates.” Similarly, co-editor of Nature, Inc., Bram Büscher posited elsewhere, “To believe that nature can be conserved by increasing the intensity, reach and depth of capital circulation is arguably one of the biggest contradictions of our times.”

IUCN, along with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was involved in the early 1990’s in advancing the concept of ecosystem services, aka environmental services, beginning with their Global Biodiversity Strategy. This was a predecessor to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) completed in 2005, to which IUCN and UNEP also contributed. MA has been considered a game-changer in the way it endeavored to apply a monetary value to ecosystem services; the wide variety of beneficial (to humans) functions deriving from ecosystems, like carbon sequestration and water purification.

One of the biggest payments for ecosystem services (PES) program currently is REDD or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (the latest version is called REDD+) which Tom B. K. Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said could lead to “the biggest land grab of all time.” REDD is a project of IUCN, supported by Rio Tinto (including in its early development). Rio Tinto claims that REDD+ allows them to offset their carbon footprint. The Nature Conservancy, and Birdlife International are proponents of REDD+.

REDD and the carbon trade in general have meant further financialization of nature, involving hedge funds, derivatives, and “a new generation of ‘commercial conservation asset managers’ required to broker these exchanges and revenues,” according to Sian Sullivan. “Conservation investing experienced dramatic growth after 2013, as total committed private capital climbed 62% in just two years from $5.1B to $8.2B,” reported Ecosystem Marketplace recently.

NGOs and negotiations have enabled and structured “new green market opportunities and practices as they orchestrate the social and political relations among various state and non-state actors through which the mechanisms, incentives and legitimating conditions for green grabs are established,” as is argued in Enclosing the global commons: the convention on biological diversity and green grabbing.

Experts from the big NGOs are called upon to design, implement, and/or verify such mechanisms as offsets. While carbon offsets are the most notoriously dubious, mining companies are involved in a variety of other offsets, both voluntary and regulatory.

Buying, Banking, Trading Offsets

In Utah, a land tract Kennecott wanted for storage of their tailings (materials left over from processing of mined substance) was designated as wetlands, which are regulated. So according to a case report put out by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB),

Kennecott was thus required by U.S. law to offset, or mitigate, the loss of wetlands by the creation of an agreed number and value of habitat units… In 1996, Kennecott Utah Copper Company undertook the cleanup and construction of the 1,011 ha Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve (ISSR) in conjunction with a project to expand its tailings storage.

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Kennecott Utah Copper Mine (Rio Tinto)

In addition to the required wetlands offset, Rio Tinto established a “bank” of restored surplus habitat land which, as TEEB explained, referencing an unpublished study, “could be used to offset future impacts on wetlands (584 ha) adjacent to the mitigation site… Credits from the bank can be used by Kennecott or sold to others for wetlands mitigation in accordance with the terms of the Bank Agreement with the US government.” Banking converts wetland habitat properties into assets. Rio Tinto wrote in 2011 that they have, “successfully developed and then sold wetland credits” as part of the ISSR.

Essentially, companies can profit from ostensibly going above and beyond their responsibilities (or having a “net positive impact”) for mitigating the damage they cause through mining. In many cases, profit-driven wetlands banking has been shown to result in a net loss, however.

TNC and National Audubon Society were involved in developing this wetland mitigation plan. The ISSR also became an IBA in 2004 and is part of BirdLife International’s IBA Program.

BirdLife International also endorsed Rio Tinto’s activities across the world in Madagascar. Rio Tinto owns 80% of the QMM (QIT Madagascar Minerals) ilmenite (titanium dioxide) mine in Southeastern Madagascar which started mining in 2005. The mining activities “will remove more than half of a particular type of unique coastal forest.” BirdLife described the benefits of a project implemented by a BirdLife affiliate and supported by Rio Tinto:

The direct payments [for conservation] project aims to strengthen the conservation of Tsitongambarika’s unique and threatened biodiversity, enhance water security for QMM’s mining operations… and maintain ecosystem services essential for regional development.

Rio Tinto is partnered with this affiliate in a biodiversity offset program. Note that other than biodiversity, the benefits of the project are for the mine and/or “regional development” but are subsumed into conservation as well. The biodiversity offsets involve “the financing of, or provision of land for, biodiversity conservation outside of mining zones,” explains PhD candidate in Anthropology, Caroline Seagle. The idea is that aspects of biodiversity are exchangeable (or fungible) with others, so damage to this particular type of forest can be made up for elsewhere.

For aspects of ecosystems to be treated as fungible commodities, their uniqueness and complexity needs to be erased for the sake of market exchange. This “offset ideology” is “premised upon the monetization of nature and market rationality,” writes Seagle, in “Inverting the impacts: Mining, conservation and sustainability claims near the Rio Tinto/QMM ilmenite mine in Southeast Madagascar” (for a similar more accessible version, see “The mining-conservation nexus“).

“Through the paradigm of conservation finance and payments for environmental services (PES), the ‘offset ideology’ is less mitigatory and more compensatory – making up for local damage through land allocation or financial support of nature conservation,” criticizes Seagle.

Similar to Rio Tinto’s wetland banking, these mechanisms are not only intended to compensate for damage, but to create revenue. IUCN wrote in 2011 of Rio Tinto’s further steps in Madagascar to gain from conservation:

Rio Tinto is using established relationships with its biodiversity partners and specifically its relationship with IUCN to explore how ecosystem services can be accurately valued and the implications for corporate risks and opportunities.

For companies like Rio Tinto, robust methods of valuing ecosystem services and the development of well functioning markets for ecosystem services could provide an opportunity to use large non-operational land holdings to create new income streams for Rio Tinto and for local stakeholders and communities, through the sale of ecosystem service credits.

Biodiversity offsets became a primary tool to make headway into areas they wanted to mine. An IUCN document reiterated,

[For some] Multinational companies, whose operations have an impact on biodiversity and for whom license to operate – both formal concessions from governments and social license from communities – are key to business success. Their view of biodiversity offsets is that best practice on biodiversity – possibly including offsets, whether mandatory or voluntary – is important to access land, maintain reputation… and the avoidance of interference and disruption from NGOs and local communities.

The wetlands offsets in Utah and the biodiversity offsets in Madagascar are just two experiences the mining companies could learn from leading up to the Arizona land exchange. While Rio Tinto was mandated to buy wetlands offsets for their Kennecott Utah mine, in the Arizona case, RCM had to do a land exchange to access the Forest Service land, and there seem to be no other mandatory mitigatory steps required of RCM. But they did use ecosystem services to attribute value to the conservation lands, which seemed to have some utility for them.

The land exchange was framed in terms of offsets because it of its purported mitigatory function. In his testimony before the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Forests and Public Lands, the President of Resolution stated in 2009, “we believe the exceptional quality and quantity of the non-federal lands that will be conveyed into Federal ownership more than off-set any expected surface impacts to the lands acquired by Resolution Copper” (my emphasis).

The ICMM featured the Arizona land exchange in a 2010 Mining and Biodiversity case studies report, framing it as an offset as well:

Given Rio Tinto’s commitment to a net positive impact to biodiversity, the land exchange presents a unique opportunity to exceed the requirements of trading land of equivalent economic value by ensuring that the land parcels offered in the trade are also of equivalent or greater value for the conservation of biodiversity and provision of environmental services – a biodiversity offset (my emphasis).

The chart from this report (see above) shows the various parcels in Arizona Rio Tinto offered up as “offsets,” along with the their quality valuation, based on consultation with Audubon Arizona and other NGOs.

Again, the biodiversity and environmental services would likely not be accounted for in the official appraisal. However, Resolution’s claim of these voluntary offsets may have contributed to an attempt to prove that the swap is in the public interest.

Conservation Value

“The American public is getting ripped off,” Silver said. “The only land that is of value is the research center’s because it hasn’t been overgrazed, but it’s of no value to the general public because it wouldn’t be open to them, unlike Oak Flat that offers recreational opportunities to the public and is of cultural value to Native Americans,” Silver said.

Many, like Robin Silver, co-founder of the Center of Biological Diversity, as quoted by the Arizona Daily Sun disagree with TNC and Audubon Arizona’s opinions of the exchange parcels. Several environmental groups opposed to the mine detailed the damage the RCM would cause, as well as the poor quality of the exchange sites in their Scoping Comments for the Resolution Copper Mine DEIS.

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“The San Pedro is not free-flowing at the 7B Ranch,” Witzeman wrote.

Bob Witzeman, an environmentalist who spent several of his final years fighting against the Resolution Copper mine, commented that the 7B Ranch owned by BHP Billiton was likely purchased for its water rights and “is under no duress for need of protection… There is no danger of mining here, or developing homes here, because it is in a flood plain.”

In earning credit for offsets, protecting a site only counts for something if the site is under threat. This is called additionality. Some states and institutions require additionality as part of offset programs. The “counterfactual,” or what otherwise would have happened without a conservation project such as an offset program, is often difficult to ascertain. As far as the land exchange in Arizona goes, not only do many of the parcels seem of poor quality, especially compared to Oak Flat, it’s likely that there was no imminent threat to the largest parcel, 7B Ranch, nor the Appleton-Whittell parcel which was converted into a research facility in 1968.

This is not to say that conservation efforts are for naught (though there’s evidence that many of the projects, especially when profit-driven are not even effective), or that there is any legal weight to this point, but this needs to be considered. For example, regarding the 7B Ranch, Witzeman wrote, “BHP does own another riverside parcel with riparian habitat. BHP does plan to develop homes in that area, some 35,000 units. As of this time, they have made no commitment to protect this riparian habitat.” The land was still being preserved in 2013 (I was unable to find anything more recent) but the reason given that the real estate development plan didn’t come to fruition was the economic downturn in 2007.

This brings up another problem with offset programs called leakage. “Leakage occurs when environmentally destructive activities… are shifted from the places targeted for conservation to other sites,” explains Kathleen McAfee in Green economy and carbon markets for conservation and development: A critical view. Just one relevant example of leakage is when TNC purchased 500 acres along the San Pedro to retire it from agricultural irrigation only to have the seller begin irrigating a nearby 500 acre plot soon after.

Resolution’s protection of the 7B Ranch at the expense of nearby land can be shown in the case when the Sunzia transmission line project was in the planning stages, and two of the potential routes could have impacted the conservation value of the 7B Ranch. Resolution Copper sent a letter opposing those routes. The Final Environmental Impact Statement shows a somewhat different but nearby route as the BLM preferred alternative. RCM did not comment on other routes that would also affect the region. This not only shows that conservation is only important when it benefits the company, but it also points to another issue that comes up when profit factors into conservation. Scarcity, caused by development, increases the value of conservation products (such as offsets), thereby incentivizing conservation, but also more development.

Sian Sullivan argues that conservation banking is development-dependent. “Indeed, development that produces transformation of habitats is required for conservation credits to attain the prices that will encourage establishment of conservation banks and bankers, thereby generating trade in conservation credits as a funding strategy for conservation management.”

Seagle pointed out that as part of a strategy of sustainability in Madagascar – though applicable in other cases – Rio Tinto is paradoxically creating scarcity of biodiversity while claiming to save it.

Here and Now

The Nature Conservancy’s legitimization of development is not isolated to Resolution Copper, even in Arizona. Water is particularly vulnerable to green grabbing, as water is integral to ecosystem services as well as a necessary resource for industry. Aside from the partnerships with Ft. Huachuca noted above, TNC is also working with Castle & Cooke’s housing development called Tribute in Sierra Vista, as well as El Dorado Holdings’ Vigneto Villages housing development in Bensen, the latter involving a “mitigation parcel” as an offset. Both could be serious threats to the San Pedro and nearby aquifers, and require proof of assured water supplies.

A major threat to aquifers and other surface water in Arizona relates to what’s happening with the Central Arizona Project (CAP) water Arizona has come to depend on (though destructive). Arizona is taking voluntary Colorado River water reductions to delay an official shortage declaration triggered by Lake Mead’s water level. Water officials have been meeting with various leaders in different sectors to arrange voluntary cuts, with a plan to compensate water users (this may involve more market-based “solutions”) for 400,000 AF per year. Resolution Copper has secured a portion of Arizona’s stored water in the form of storage credits, which brings up more issues regarding recovery. RCM expects to also be able to access large quantities of CAP water, but this allocation is in a low priority category, and therefore is subject to cuts. Farmers, tribes, and others are subject to having to forego their share of CAP water, essentially to secure water for the mine (and other mining operations and water bottling, etc). As CAP reductions go into effect, stress on other sources of surface and ground water will increase.

What may be most troubling to readers is that an NGO has been selling water offsets based on watershed restoration projects, to companies like Coca Cola and Intel Corp. While they continue to use massive amounts of water, companies’ “water footprints” are allegedly reduced by voluntarily buying Water Restoration Certificates (WRC) from Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). WRCs supposedly help restore a watershed in partnership with local landowners and big environmental groups like TNC. BEF also sells carbon offsets.

One such project involving TNC and BEF (supported by Walmart heirs’ Walton Family Foundation) is the relatively new Verde River Exchange Water Offset Program. Reading media coverage on this project, you wouldn’t gather that this is part of TNC’s efforts in developing water markets across the globe. Their 2016 report called Water Share: Using water markets and impact investment to drive sustainability says a lot more, revealing that their hypothetical model involves reallocating (selling or leasing) the majority of the “conserved” water from farming (that would otherwise contribute to the aquifer or river but is considered “lost”) to another sector in order to raise revenue to compensate farmers and to profit investors. These small-scale pilot projects may have much bigger implications in the future.

A few recently published papers (funded by the Walton Family Foundation) apply monetary value to and promote payments for ecosystem services of the Colorado River Basin, and suggest unbundling water rights to create a water market in the Western US. Water-marketing may be central to addressing the main obstacle to finalizing a Lower Colorado River basin Drought Contingency Plan – California’s Salton Sea. Arizona aims to resolve remaining tribal water rights claims on the state’s terms and facilitate water marketing. A major US/Mexico water agreement makes water marketing central to multiple aspects of the current and future versions. The Bureau of Reclamation has become involved in water marketing, and things may become even worse under Trump’s administration.

It is concerning that seemingly necessary feel-good projects in water conservation will actually serve capitalism. But there is no denying that there are many examples of this across the world. NGO/corporate partnerships have served to contribute to learning experiences, provide green credentials for mining companies and other development to influence media and decision-makers, and create new mechanisms for access to resources and financial gain.

Standing Rock water protectors’ efforts were evoked in an article on the Ecosystem Marketplace website in which the author declared that 2016 was a year for learning the value of water. The article promoted market-based mechanisms like those developed by TNC. The real lesson to be learned is not that the value of water should be translated into market terms, but instead many have learned that resource appropriation (when not invisible) is backed up by state violence or the threat of it. Those who physically obstruct the Resolution Copper mine, or in any other case, in protest may be treated similarly to the water protectors fighting against DAPL.

 

See an accompanying page on the San Pedro River for more on that.

The Bankers at the Helm of the ‘Natural Capital’ Sector

January 26, 2017

by Michael Swifte

 

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Let’s put a spotlight on four bankers who positioned themselves in the ‘natural capital’ sector around the time of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Let’s have a look at some of their networks.

The reason these bankers have positions at the intersection of big finance and the conservation sector is because of their intimate knowledge of financial instruments and what some call “financial innovation”. They follow the edict ‘measure it and you can manage it’. They are the perfect addition to decades of work – as part of the sustainable development agenda – aimed at quantifying the economic value of nature in order to exploit it as collateral to underwrite the new economy.

Banker 1

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John Fullerton is a former managing director at JPMorgan, he founded the Capital Institute in 2010, in 2014 he became a member of the Club of Rome, he has written a book called Regenerative Capitalism.

“No doubt the shift in finance will require both carrots and sticks, and perhaps some clubs.” [Source]

The first of Fullerton’s key networked individuals is Gus Speth who consults to the Capital Institute, he sits on the US Advisory Board of 350.org and the New Economy Coalition board and is good buddies with the godfather of ‘ecosystem services’ Bob Costanza. He has a long history supporting sustainable development projects and has some seriously heavy hitting networks. He founded two conservation organisations with which he was actively engaged up until 2o12, both organisations continue to support ‘natural capital’ projects among other diabolical efforts.

The second networked individual is Hunter Lovins, an award winning author and environmentalist who heads up Natural Capital Solutions and is an advisor to the Capital Institute. She is a long term cheer leader for green capitalism, climate capitalism, and sustainable development.

Banker 2

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Mark Tercek was a managing director at Goldman Sachs and became the CEO of The Nature Conservancy in 2008, he has written a book called Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

“This reminds me of my Wall Street days. I mean, all the new markets—the high yield markets, different convertible markets, this is how they all start.” [Source]

One of Tercek’s networked individuals is conservation biologist Gretchen Daily, the person Hank Paulson sent him to meet when he accepted the leadership of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Daily co-founded the Natural Capital Project in 2005 with the help of  WWF, TNC and the University of Minnesota.

Another prominent figure in TNC is Peter Kareiva, senior science advisor to Mark Tercek and co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, he is also the former chief scientist of TNC and its former vice president.

Taylor Ricketts is also a co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, at the time of founding he was the director of conservation science at WWF. He’s now the director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics which was founded by Bob Costanza.

Banker 3

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Hank Paulson is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, he was US treasury secretary during the GFC, he’s a former chair of the TNC board and the driving force behind the 2008 bail out bill. In 2011 he launched the Paulson Institute which is focussed on China, he has written a memoir called On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System.

Even before he was made treasury secretary by George W Bush, Paulson had an interest in conservation finance and greening big business. He was a founding partner of Al Gore and David Blood’s, Generation Investment Management which operates the “sustainable capitalism” focussed Generation Foundation. He has worked with Gus Speth’s World Resources Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop environmental policy for Goldman Sachs. In 2004 he facilitated the donation from Goldman Sachs of 680,000 acres of wilderness in southern Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society and in 2002-04 he and his wife Wendy donated $608,000 to the League of Conservation Voters. He has also worked with the second largest conservation organisation on the planet Conservation International.

“The environment and the economy have been totally misconstrued as incompatible,”[Source]

 

“[…] It is is clear that a system of market-based conservation finance is vital to the future of environmental conservation.” [Source]

Banker 4

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Pavan Sukhdev is a former managing director and head of Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets business in India, he was the study leader of the G8+5  project, he founded the Green Accounting for Indian States Project, he co-founded and chairs an NGO in India called the Conservation Action Trust, he headed up the United Nations Environment Program – Green Economy Initiative which was launched in 2008, he has written a book called  Corporation 2020: Transforming Business For Tomorrow’s World 

Sukdev’s work cuts across more than a dozen UN agencies and scores of international agencies and initiatives. Here are just some of them: IUCN, ILO, WHO, UNESCO, IPBES, WEF, IMF, OECD. Every kind of commodity and economic activity has been covered through his work.

“We use nature because she’s valuable, but we lose nature because she’s free.” [Source]

There are only a one or two degrees of separation between these bankers and the environmental movements with which we are very familiar. Looking at key networked individuals connected to the representatives of the financial elites – bankers – helps to highlight the silences and privately held pragmatic positions of many an environmental pundit. “Leaders” of our popular environmental social movements don’t want to be seen or heard supporting the privatisation of the commons, but they remain silent in the face of a growing surge towards collateralization of the earth. Perhaps they too believe that using nature to capitalise the consumer economy is preferable to the toxic derivatives that precipitated the GFC. Either way the underlying motivation – for anyone who might feel that ecosystem services thinking is useful for the earth – is the desire for the continuation of our consumer economy.

 

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