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The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: Controlling the Narrative [Volume II, Act II]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: Controlling the Narrative [Volume II, Act II]

September 14, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

 

ClimateWorks, European Climate Foundation, the Global Strategic Communications Council & the Global Call for Climate Action

 

 

“On March 15, there was a global protest under “Fridays For Future” which saw demonstrations in Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Guwahati. Students from over 1,300 towns and cities went on planned strikes across the world on Friday, according to a statement from the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC).”

 

March 16, 2019, The Asian Age, City Youth Protest Climate Change

 

“I can’t breathe. Should I stop going to school?” “Kids need clean air”. “No more excuses”. These were some of the phrases on placards Delhi-NCR students carried as they joined the global “Fridays for Future” protest against climate change, urging governments and authorities to tackle the problem. The protests were started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg in August 2018, becoming a regular event on the 15th of every month. Students from over 1,300 towns and cities went on planned strikes across the world Friday, a statement from the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) said.”

 

March 17, 2019, Over 500 Delhi-NCR Students Join ‘Fridays For Future’ Climate Change Protest

Above: The European Climate Foundation Funders [Source]

In Volume II, ACT I, we explored the origins of US ClimateWorks and its core system in Europe, the European Climate Foundation (ECF).

As “the core of the ClimateWorks system in Europe“, the ECF constitutes an integral part of the regional global network created by the San Francisco-based ClimateWorks. ClimateWorks works to oversee and shape climate-related policy work worldwide. Launched in 2008 – the same year as ClimateWorks) – the ECF is a regranting foundation like its US counterpart.

Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer explains: “And here, too, the solution was ingenious. To begin, they proposed to create a central hub—the ClimateWorks Foundation—which would serve as grantor of funds to a coordinated global network… To work on transportation in Europe, then, ClimateWorks would simply channel money to ECF and ICCT [International Council on Clean Transportation] to work together on the problem.”

As discussed in Volume II, Act I, ClimateWorks is the largest recipient of climate philanthropy in the world having received over 1.3 billion USD since its inception. [March 1, 2018, Source]

“In September 2018, in the largest-ever philanthropic investment focused on climate change mitigation, 29 philanthropists pledged USD 4 billion over five years to combat climate change.” [Source]

[Further reading on ClimateWorks and the ECF: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg For Consent – A Design To Win: A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment, Volume II, ACT I]

Serving as media director for both the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) is Daniel Donner.

Donner also presides over media relations and events for Greta Thunberg and family. [Source] [Source]

“Based in Brussels, Daniel works with media strategy and outreach as part of the ECF’s Strategic Communications team, focusing on both news media and digital platforms. He maintains relationships with key media correspondents and keeps them informed about international stories on energy and climate change, with the aim to raise the media narrative of EU climate ambition.” [Source]

As an example of Donner’s experience in climate change policy, in relation to governments and municipalities, one can read his July 5, 2017 C40 cities press release for the C40 Cities and Climate Action Network:

“Hundreds of cities, states and regions, businesses, investors, and civil society are moving to implement the Paris Agreement ahead of G20 meeting in Hamburg.”

Funders of the ECF include ClimateWorks (created by the Hewlett, Packard and McKnight foundations), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the KR Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Ikea Foundation, along with many more identified in the Climate Finance Partnership and Blended Finance Taskforce such as the Government of France, the Government of Germany, BlackRock and Grantham. The Climate Finance Partnership was established by French President Emmanuel Macron at the September 2018 One Planet Summit as a vehicle to tap into and mobilize institutional capital – by leveraging public funds. [Further reading: Volume I, Acts IV and VI of the Manufacturing for Consent series]

ClimateWorks receives funding for specific programs from foundations including the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Ford FoundationThe Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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The Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) is a global communications network, set up by the ECF. Its purpose “is to plan and deliver strategic communications in the climate and energy fields at both the international and national levels.” [Source, p. 106]

“The network brings together communications specialists from around the world, each focusing on a particular country or region. They collaborate with and assist a wide range of actors: corporate, government, institutional, media, NGO, think tanks. Part of their work involves identifying high-potential campaigns and individuals, and helping them to plan their actions, target the right audiences and formulate their baseline messages, making sure along the way that each campaign bolsters an overarching narrative. Through the combination of behind-the-scenes (GSCC) and public communications activities, the ESC sought to shape the public debate around climate change.” [Source, p. 107] [Emphasis added]

Countries with GSCC-affiliated experts are growing. States represented thus far include as Australia, Poland, China, India, Brazil, France, Germany, Turkey, the EU, the UK, and the US.[Source] [Source]

As the Manufacturing Greta Thunberg For Consent series has demonstrated, the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) has played a leading and critical role as lead organizer and behavioural change agent in the climate “movement” realm over the last decade. In ACT VI of the series, we touched upon three other instrumental actors who have shaped present and future climate policies to reflect the desires of the ruling classes: the European Climate Foundation’s Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC), the Climate Briefing Service (CBS), and the International Policies and Politics Initiative (IPPI).

Funders of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) include ClimateWorks, the European Climate Foundation, International Policy and Politics Initiative (IPPI), the Oak Foundation, Foundation of Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Government of France, Purpose (Avaaz), the Government of Québec, The Rockefeller Foundation, the UNFCCC Secretariat, and the VK Rasmussen Foundation. [1] [Source] In 2017, GCCA secured new funding from the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC), the Waterloo Foundation, and the Institute for Climate and Society. [Source]

Jennifer Morgan, current executive director of Greenpeace International, (instrumental in the formation, launching and management of the GCCA) was also in charge of coordinating the International Policies and Politics Initiative (IPPI) formed in 2013. Leading up to COP15, IPPI worked closely with the European Climate Foundation’s (ECF) strategic communications team. [Further reading: A Decade of Strategic and Methodical Social Engineering, Volume I, ACT VI, Crescendo]

“IPPI was initially intended as a “discrete ECF programme” whose role was to “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). Jennifer Morgan from the WRI was appointed as its coordinator.”[Source, p. 101][Emphasis added]

The overlap between the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) and the European Climate Foundation’s Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) is extensive. As is the overlap between GCCA, GSCC, the CBS, and the IPPI. Yet, whereas GCCA played the lead role in the public realm, GSCC, like CBS and IPPI, would work behind the scenes as a largely invisible entity. [2]

“Secondly, whereas the GCCA pushed its partners to adopt, publicize and rally behind a common brand—TckTckTck—CBS and IPPI adopted a behind-the-scenes, unbranded approach, supplying partners with information and suggested key messaging but without ever appearing as the source of that information and messaging. CBS briefing recipients were systematically reminded that they were ‘confidential and not for public circulation.'” [Source, p. 111][Emphasis added]

This overlap extended to Climate Nexus [3], a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and organizer of the 2014 People’s Climate March in collaboration with with foundations and GCCA NGOs.

“The underlying idea was to ‘nurture and engage influential constituencies (industry alliances, ambassadors, foreign affairs think tanks, mayors, states and regions, security officials, humanitarian organisations) with a view of aligning organisations around political interventions as agreed with the relevant national communications capacity of the region.’ At the national and regional levels, this required identifying key narratives and spokespeople. To do this, CBS built up a team of country leads or ‘relationship managers.’ There again, there was an overlap between CBS, the GSCC and other associated communications outfits (Climate Nexus, [The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit] ECIU, etc.).” [Source, p. 112][Emphasis added]

By 2015, following the GCCA and the Climate Action Network (CAN-International) inaugural meeting in Paris the year prior, the groups had morphed into the “tightly focused, unbranded, Global Strategic Communications Committee (GSCC+) aimed at delivering powerful, positive messages ahead of the Paris COP21”:

Close integration among GSCC+ partners meant that, by Paris, coordination reached unprecedented levels, allowing us to operate in multiple languages worldwide before, during and after the COP. Work included media and policy analysis, pitching proactive stories, and a reactive strategy for unforeseeable threats and opportunities, involving a team including op-ed writers, graphic designers, social media campaigners, photographers and videographers. GCCA staff held key roles in this team, taking joint responsibility for overall coordination and rapid response, and leading the visual media crew, including the production of daily video newscasts broadcast via GreenTV. As part of this initiative, more than 350 participants from 107 different countries languages and 70 countries. Together, we framed the Paris Summit as a vital stepping stone in the ongoing and inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewables and greater climate resilience, and our ‘Road Through Paris’ message had a huge impact on media coverage at and after COP21 – aligning and amplifying the ‘good news’ story that the transition is both necessary and desirable.” [Source: Global Call for Climate Action Annual Report 2015–2016, p. 4][Emphasis added] [4]

Among CAN International funders in 2015 were Avaaz, ClimateWorks, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace, GSCC, Res Publica (co-founder of Avaaz), and WWF. [For the full list, see CAN’s 2015 Annual Report.]

“Within the climate community gravitating around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) space, one group in particular was especially satisfied with the Paris outcome. The members of this group were not just satisfied with the agreement but with themselves. They were convinced that they had played a pivotal role in the Paris success. Cutting across a variety of organizations and interests, this group of activists, consultants, business representatives, policy analysts, public figures, climate experts, communications and media specialists, and data analysts worked together—and often in collaboration with the UNFCCC and Parties to the negotiation—in the months and years leading up to COP21 to create the conditions for a “successful” Paris outcome. Late into the evening of December 12, at the Climate Action Network (CAN) International celebratory event in central Paris, members of this highly qualified and experienced network of individuals were celebrating not only the agreement but also their contribution to its realization. As they sang along to Queen’s “We are the Champions!” they had themselves in mind. This was their moment. This was their agreement.”

 

The Price of Climate Action: Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena] [p. 3] [Emphasis added]

Those who served on the GCCA Board of Directors in 2015-2016 include GCCA Board Vice-Chair Phil Ireland (Purpose), Online Progressive Engagement Network), Hoda Baraka (350.org), Fatima Denton (WWF International), Lo Sze Ping (WWF China), and Farhana Yamin, Associate Fellow, Chatham House, and recognized by the Financial Times as “one of the movement’s leading voices” in Extinction Rebellion.

“Over the next two years, GCCA aims to grow its new entrant network to 4,000+ members.”

 

Global Call for Climate Action Annual Report, 2015–2016 [Source]

The interlocking directorate between those serving ClimateWorks/EFC and the foundations, institutions and leading NGOs with “designs to win”, can be illustrated in the following brief examples:

  • Tim Nuthall serves as the international communications director at the European Climate Foundation. During 2016 Nuthall served as the communications director of the Christiana Figueres’ campaign to become the new secretary general of the United Nations. [Source] Nuthall was also short-listed for the 2014-2016 International Council for Science (ICSU) Road to Paris top “20 people we want to hear more from in the climate change debate.” [Source] [5]
  •  

  • Tom Brookes is executive director, strategic communications, and a member of the ECF Executive Management Team. Based in Brussels, Brookes works to advance the policy response to climate change, and has responsibility for external communications, public affairs, and political communications strategy for the ECF, its affiliates, and network. [Source] Having joined the ECF in 2009, Brookes is also senior advisor on international strategic communications for the ClimateWorks Foundation and executive director of the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC). [Source]
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  • Christian Teriete is part of the ECF’s Strategic Communications unit working as the network director to coordinate the activities of an international team of communications specialists. Prior to joining the ECF in 2016, Teriete served as communications director for the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA). Prior to joining the GCCA in 2010, Teriete spent seven years working for WWF. From 2004 to 2006, he managed communications for the global PowerSwitch campaign. From 2007 to 2010, he coordinated WWF’s climate and energy campaigns in the Asia-Pacific region. [Source]
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  • Andrew Schenkel “works primarily with the Global Strategic Communications Council, a global network of communications professionals in the field of climate and energy.” Prior to this role, Schenkel served as both communications Director and managing editor and director of special projects for Global Call for Climate Action – GCCA. [Source]
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  • James Lorenz serves as Southeast Asia manager for the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC). “The role has required diplomacy, tact and leadership to forge relationships with a broad range of stakeholders – from investors at Vietnam Holdings, to Mission2020, led by former Executive Director of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres.” Prior to this Lorenz served as Australia lead to the GSCC. Prior to his work at GSCC, Lorenz served as senior media advisor, media manager, head of communications for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. [Source: Lorenz CV]
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  • Aarti Khosla is director of Climate Trends. Prior to this position, Khosla was climate and energy communications specialist for Global Strategic Communications Council India for four years. Prior to this position, Khosla served WWF for seven years. [Source]
  •  

    As an example of the collaborative efforts between GSCC and affiliates, one can observe the Social Media Communications hybrid capacity-training program led by GSCC and assisted by GCCA co-founder Avaaz. [“Social Media Communications Skill Share (SMC) is a hybrid capacity building training organized by GSCC,Bankwatch and European Beyond Coal Campaign.] SMC aims to address the needs of the civil society organizations in Central Eastern Europe and Balkans Region”.] All online learning modules, weeks one to four were led by GSCC affiliates. Week 1 was led by GSCC’s Devin Bahceci (climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace) and Greg McNevin (communications director for Europe Beyond Coal, former strategic communications directors for GCCA, and former media relations specialist for Greenpeace). Week 2 was led by Daniel Donner (Thunberg media manager) and Paul Batty, both of GSCC, while the social media campaigning and engagement webinar was to be conducted by Iain Keith of Avaaz. The webinars were open to all interested people from the Europe Beyond Coal network and partner organizations. A day camp to “focus building skills together on concrete case of social media campaigning” was also organized. [Source]

    The ECF is the leading partner of the Beyond Coal campaign in Europe. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a major funder of ECF:

    “November 9 2017, New York, NY— Just after announcing a renewed commitment of $64 million to the Beyond Coal campaign in the United States and during this year’s UN Climate Conference COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, announced a $50 million-dollar commitment to partners worldwide to catalyze a global effort to move nations away from coal dependence. European Climate Foundation will be the leading partner in Europe.”

     

    Michael R. Bloomberg Commits $50 Million to International Effort to Move Beyond Coal, Reinforcing Leadership on Global Climate Action, ECF website

    As coal was phased out, natural gas moved in to take its place with energy corporations planning to add at least 150 new gas plants and thousands of miles of pipelines in the years ahead, in the US alone. [June 26, 2019: “As Coal Fades in the U.S., Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground”] It’s par for the course that Willett Advisors, the investment arm for the personal and philanthropic assets of Michael Bloomberg, specializes in oil and gas. Here, we can note that the lead at the environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies sits on the ECF supervisory board. [Further reading: Volume II, ACT I]

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    A pivotal role in foundation funding, is hegemonic control and further colonization over states struggling to achieve or maintain their right to sovereignty. The protection and expansion of imperial foreign policies and economic interests is paramount. Consider that from 2015 to 2016, the Oak Foundation provided funding to the ECF in order to “expand and improve the public discourse on climate change and energy issues in India”. Not the Netherlands, where the project is based, but India. [“Starting with a focus on COP21, GSCC is working across a diverse set of partnerships including civil society groups, policy makers and the informed public to mainstream the discussions on climate change and energy in India.”] This is nothing more egregious than continued colonization under the guise of climate protection. [Source]

    Whereas 20th century missionaries carried out their conquests in servitude to colonial states, in the 21st century it has been international NGOs for the most part fulfilling this endeavour. A transition is underway, however. Whereas the NGOs comprising the non-profit industrial complex are this century’s primary force multipliers, today, in an avant-garde brave new world – meets society of spectacle, the new improved, modern weapon of choice has become the citizenry of a targeted demographic, who can be made to demand a camouflaged destruction of their own shared futures. Consumers have been shaped into prosumers – product and brand advocates –  who now take the lead in demanding products and/or change/reform. This new role is encouraged, nurtured, and repurposed by corporations as leverage to bolster their profits, growth and credibility under the guise of capitulation and benevolence. Unwittingly, the collective can be made to demand their own further servitude and enslavement under the guise of empowerment. Made both invisible and irrelevant is the labourer, now recognized as human capital, who with little to no disposable income, has become largely disposable.

    +++

    The European Climate Foundation (ECF) has provided the GSCC millions in funding since its inception. More recently, and notably, on August 9, 2018, the ECF granted the GSCC and the Philanthropy Task Force just over one million dollars:

    “This grant will support the European Climate Foundation’s Philanthropy Task Force. This was inspired by French President Emmanuel Macron to catalyze both private donors and development agencies to support climate mitigation in Southeast Asia, clean energy innovation, global clean air campaigns, and efforts to protect land-based carbon sinks. The second part of the grant will support ECF’s Global Strategic Climate Communications program. This grant will fund the GSCC’s core program and its India program. The key focus in this grant period is to create narratives of climate ambition at key moments throughout the year, both at international and national levels, in order to help turn sectors and governments from a simple commitment to the Paris Agreement to implementing its measures in earnest.” [Source][Emphasis added]

    The ECF grant exemplifies the cohesion between the European Climate Foundation’s Philanthropy Task Force with the European Climate Foundation’s Global Strategic Climate Communications program. Hence, the Philanthropy Task Force and the Global Strategic Climate Communications program can be considered shared/joint endeavours. Both endeavours belonging to the European Climate Foundation, “the core of the ClimateWorks system in Europe”.

    The Natural Capital Summit led by ClimateWorks Australia took place from June 6-7, 2019, as part of Climate Week Queensland 2019. A Natural Capital Roadmap was developed which will provide a framework for accelerating “natural capital thinking” in Australia. “The program is contributing to and benefiting from participation in the global Food and Land Use Coalition, led by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Resources Institute and others.” [Source]

    Rebrand: From Corporate Sycophant to Corporate Activist

    Both the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) and Christiana Figueres are slowly being introduced and embedded into the public “activism” realm. The May 2, 2019 article “United Zero Emission Union until 2050 – recommends the Climate Change Committee” reports, “After the protests of Extinction Rebellion, climate strikes involving Greta Thunberg and the announcement of a climate threat by the parliaments of Scotland, Wales and the United Kingdom, climate change is at the top of the political agenda in the UK, even removing Brexit.” The article, which quotes both Christiana Figueres (highlighting her leadership position with Mission2020 as well as her past position as the executive secretary of the UNFCCC) and WWF, is published by Wojciech Makowski, Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC).

    Another recent example of the Figueres rebranding from elite and corporate strategist to activist can be explored in the April 12, 2019 op-ed written by Figueres with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. This follows an op-ed written by Figueres with Greta Thunberg in January 2019 as touched upon in this Volume of this series.

    On June 18, 2019, an additional case in point of Figueres being brought into the mainstream fold of manufactured activism can be identified in the form of an Extinction Rebellion podcast. A description of the Extinction Rebellion Podcast Episode 4 – Looking Forwards reads: “In our first episode since April’s International Rebellion, the Extinction Rebellion Podcast discusses the future.” The interview was highlighted in the June 26, 2019 XR newsletter. The episode also features The Guardian’s George Monbiot.

    L-R: Aarti Khosla (GSCC India), Christiana Figueres (Mission 2020 Convenor and former head of the UNFCCC), Dr. Arvind Kumar (Founder and Trustee, Lung Care Foundation), and Shweta Narayan (Healthy Energy Initiative India Coordinator) November 8, 2018 [Source]

    Within this series, we will spend a brief moment highlighting the close-knit relationship between Christiana Figueres and GCCA co-founder Avaaz. Avaaz’s for-profit sister org, Purpose, is a New York public relations firm specializing in behavioural change for clients. As the material demonstrates, Avaaz promotes and assists Figueres. Figueres, in turn, promotes Avaaz.

    We also need to highlight the relationship between Farhana Yamin (Extinction Rebellion) and Avaaz. The Avaaz branding and campaigns are heavily promoted through Yamin’s NGO “Track 0” website and affiliated Twitter account. Yamin, an “invitation only CBS participant” with others such as Iain Keith (Avaaz) and Jamie Henn (350.org) – also attended the 2015 Avaaz retreat with those such as Rajiv Joshi, Managing Director of Richard Branson’s The B Team. The B Team, is co-founder of We Mean Business. B Team leader and experts include Christiana Figueres and Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans. The B Team is managed by Purpose. Both Purpose and Greenpeace assisted in the creation of We Mean Business. [Volume 1, ACT ]

    We Have A Plan – M2020

    The Nature (“international weekly journal of science”), June 28, 2017 paper “Three Years to Safeguard Our Climate” [Christiana Figueres et al – Christiana Figueres, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Gail Whiteman, Professor in-Residence at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Johan Rockström, Chief Scientist of Conservation International, co-chair of the Future Earth Advisory Committee, Anthony Hobley, CEO of Carbon Tracker, and Stefan Rahmstorf oceanographer and climatologist at the Potsdam Institute] outlines a “six-point plan for turning the tide of the world’s carbon dioxide by 2020.”

    An excerpt from the Nature paper highlights the imperative, with a concession for the global economy:

    “After roughly 1°C of global warming driven by human activity, ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already losing mass at an increasing rate. Summer sea ice is disappearing in the Arctic and coral reefs are dying from heat stress — entire ecosystems are starting to collapse… The magnitude of the challenge can be grasped by computing a budget for CO2emissions — the maximum amount of the gas that can be released before the temperature limit is breached… If the current rate of annual emissions stays at this level, we would have to drop them almost immediately to zero once we exhaust the budget. Such a ‘jump to distress’ is in no one’s interest. A more gradual descent would allow the global economy time to adapt smoothly.” [Emphasis added]

    Here, we must note three things: 1) The global temperature not to exceed has always been 1°C (UNAGG, 1998). It was adjusted to 2°C by economist William Nordhaus in order to allow for continued global economic growth. 2) Even if emissions stopped tomorrow, the world will still be locked in to 2-4+°C (V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng, 2008), and 3) There is no remaining carbon budget, which should be obvious by the ecological devastation that has already taken place, as highlighted by authors.

    From the paper:

    The fossil-free economy is already profitable and creating jobs (www.clean200.org). A report this year by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the IEA shows that efforts to stop climate change could boost the global economy by $19 trillion. The IEA has also said that implementing the Paris agreement will unlock $13.5 trillion or more before 2050.”

    One wonders how a global economy enhanced by 19 trillion dollars, and the unlocking of trillions more, has anything to do with nature – in a scientific nature journal or otherwise (aside from contributing to nature’s further obliteration).

    The paper identifies six milestones in six sectors to prioritize actions developed by many of the NGOs and institutions laid out in the Manufacturing for Consent series: “Developed with knowledge leaders, these were reviewed and refined in collaboration with analysts at Yale University, the Climate Action Tracker consortium, Carbon Tracker, the low-carbon coalition We Mean Business, the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), advisory firm SYSTEMIQ [explored in Volume II], the New Climate Economy project and Conservation International.”

    And although carbon-intensive industries (iron, steel, cement, chemicals, oil, gas, etc.) are identified in the paper as emitting “more than one-fifth of the world’s CO2, excluding their electricity and heat demands”, neither the scientists Rockström, Schellnhuber, nor the signatories of the paper who now declare a global “climate emergency” deem it essential that we put the brakes on industrialization as quickly as possible. Rather, the goal is to accelerate it.

    The Signatories to the paper are most, if not all, those explored in this series, including World Resources Institute, the European Climate Foundation, ClimateWorks, Generation Investment, New Climate Economy, SystemIQ, Grantham Institute, The B Team, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, C40 Cities, CERES, We Mean Business, Unilever, Carbon Disclosure Project, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Conservation International, Sustainable Energy for All, International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary, and Climate Action Network. [The full list of co-signatories are identified in the paper’s supplementary information.] [6]

    These six sectors and milestones then form Christiana Figueres Mission2020 campaign, an initiative of Figueres’ Global Optimism project: The Climate Turning Point report published in April 2017 states: “These six milestones provide a vision for where we need to be by 2020 in order to successfully meet the climate turning point.”[Source]

    The Tracking Progress of the 2020 Climate Turning Point report was published by World Resources Institute in February 2019:

     The research shows that we are not yet on track. Despite encouraging progress in some areas such as the uptake of renewable energy, in many other areas, extraordinary action is necessary to meet the milestones. Encouragingly WRI analysis points to tremendous, untapped opportunities to scale up and accelerate action across all sectors.” [Source] [Emphasis in original]

    If the populace followed these institutions rather than NGOs such as Greenpeace, 350.org et al, we would not be easy fodder for such manipulation, as we are at present.

    M2020: Be A Part of It

    Echoing the sentiment and support for the September 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit is Figueres’ M2020 NGO:

    “BE A PART OF IT – Sept 23, 2019, | New York City”

    The call for further mobilization can be found under the “#2020 Don’t Be Late” section, on the Mission2020 website:

    The heartbeat moments below represent a few of the key opportunities to step up and engage in accelerating climate action so that we can meet the 2020 climate turning point.”

    This “activism” sought by Figueres, We Mean Business, et al., poses zero threat to the system destroying our world, or to those that oversee it. Rather, the “activism” eagerly bolstered by the ruling classes, has been identified as the strategic apparatus which can save the very system itself.

    The two “heartbeat moments” identified by M2020 are the #FridaysForFuture global climate strikes, “an opportunity for school children and adults alike to raise the voice of urgency for climate action and urge leaders to follow the Paris Agreement”, and The UN Secretary-General’s Summit in September 2019: “UN Secretary-General António Guterres is bringing world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to the UN Climate Summit on 23 September 2019. All relevant stakeholders who demonstrate the highest level of ambition and action will be invited to profile their efforts.” [Emphasis added]

    “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.”

     

    Clive Spash, This Changes Nothing – The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2016

    Organizations contributing to the “2020 Climate Turning Point” report highlighted by Mission2020, what is best described as a continuum of the June 28, 2017 paper “Three Years to Safeguard Our Climate“, again include the same “leaders”, institutions and many of those identified in the Manufacturing Consent series. These include The New Climate Economy, SYSTEMIQ, We Mean Business, Conservation International, and World Resources Institute. [Full list] In section four, addressing global industrial processes, the need to accelerate the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is highlighted.

    The Age of Storytelling

    In 2015, Laurence Tubiana represented France as French ambassador and the lead negotiator for COP 21. In 2018, French president Macron appointed Tubiana to France’s High Council on Climate Change. Like Figueres, Tubiana is recognized as a leading architect of the Paris Agreement.

    Leading up to COP21 Tubiana, Figueres (in her role as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and members of the Climate Group attended the July 2015 World Summit Climate & Territories–Lyon (France). A pivotal focus of the meeting was the implementation if the carbon market, “a Tool for Green Economic Development”. [Press release, July 10, 2015]

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

     

    Clive Spash, This Changes Nothing – The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2016

    Today, as touched upon on this series, Tubiana serves as CEO to ECF alongside serving high-level appointments (One Planet Climate Lab, Energy Transitions Commission, etc.).

    On March 20, 2019, the ECF website highlighted the fact that “Laurence Tubiana, ECF CEO, and key leading architect of the landmark Paris Agreement listed in the World’s 100 most influential people in Climate Policy in 2019”.

    Also highlighted by the ECF were Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “the youngest ever US congresswoman and lead advocate of the Green New Deal”, and David Attenborough. Attenborough serves as an influencer for the financialization of nature under the guise of “New Deal For Nature” as well as a voice for a population control that exclusively targets the Global South.

    More and more, members of the ruling class, and those they appoint, or accept, are believed to the 21st century saviours. Saviours for a planet we are fully prepared and willing to sacrifice, on the promise (fantasies and outright falsehoods) that green technology will save our Western privilege.

    The transition, and normalization, of a fully commodified activism is now a fait accompli. Collectively, the Western populace has been socially conditioned to the concept, and has fully accepted (if not embraced) a 21st century corporate “activism”.

    +++

    October 24, 2016, We Could Be At The Dawn of Climate Friendly Air Travel:

    “With 30,000 new large aircraft taking off in the near future, Christiana Figueres and Laurence Tubiana say now is the time to decouple increased CO2 emissions from aviation growth. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, demand for air travel is growing, with more than 30,000 new large aircraft expected to take to the skies in the next few years. But if we are to sustain growth in air travel without aggravating global warming, we must quickly reduce aviation-related CO2 emissions, which are substantial and not covered by the Paris climate agreement that more than 190 countries agreed to last December. Fortunately, now is the perfect time to decouple aviation emissions from air-travel growth…”

    The delusion and oxymoron behind the concept of “carbon-smart flying” inspired by Figueres and Tubiana masks the grim fact that 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are created by a mere 1% of the population – that is, anyone that can afford to get on a plane. [Further reading: Volume II, Act I] Yet, such fictions are brazenly told as the Western citizenry is hungry to hear them, and more importantly to believe in them. This is the age of storytelling.

    An integral part of the global “green growth” fairytale is the concept of “decoupling”. [Ecological Indicators, December 2018: “When emissions grow less rapidly than GDP environmental economists speak of relative decoupling; if emissions even decrease relative to the pace of economic growth, then decoupling is absolute.”] [7]

    “Despite all the green-growth nonsense, decoupling in line with 1.5-2°C carbon budgets is a pipedream.”

     

    Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, November 13, 2018

    In response to a question put forward by a journalist, if peak emissions by 2020 is “mission impossible”, Christiana Figueres, responds as follows, referencing a decoupling of emissions:

    “The fact is that now we now have confirmation from different sources, independent sources that we are on for the third year in a row we have actually flattened out in emissions. So for the three years in a row we’ve had flat GHG emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and we have an increasing GDP. So we could already be beginning to decouple greenhouse gas emissions from GDP. The fact is we are already walking in the right direction. Now what we’re trying to do actually is just increase the pace and the scale.”

    Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research sheds some much needed light on such fantasy: ” Taking account of UK CO2 from aviation & shipping & from its imports & exports & the UK’s CO2 emissions in 2016 were virtually unchanged from 1990. Real decoupling at a level even approaching what Paris requires has not yet occurred within any nation.” [Anderson, August 24, 2018]. Anderson adds: “I would add that no nation is even approaching doing what “they feasibly can” – & will continue to fail whilst we worship the God of mammon, ephemeral economics, & green-growth (i.e. decoupling) the unholy trinity.” [Anderson: November 18, 2018]

    It is of interest to note that in a largely positive framing of decoupling published by The Guardian, [April 14, 2016: “Is it possible to reduce CO2 emissions and grow the global economy?”] Anderson’s thoughtful and critical commentary was largely disregarded. Anderson’s comment: “In the absence of the huge uptake of highly speculative negative emissions technologies, the concept of green growth within the wealthier industrialized nations is very misleading – all the more once allowance is made for the equity considerations enshrined in the agreement” – was shortened to – “The concept of green growth is very misleading.” Further, Anderson was cited in the article as “an avowed pessimist” for offering a response based on reality rather than one based on wishful thinking – 21st century parables that pay allegiance to the current neoliberal paradigm. [Anderson’s full commentary, April 16, 2016]

    The journalist submits a second, very straightforward question to Figueres: “Emissions from aviation are rising as people want to fly more. Should we just fly less?”

    Incredibly, yet par for the (growth) course, Figueres does not agree unequivocally that “yes, we should fly less”, rather she responds that flying less is the wrong approach:

    “The fact is that you cannot exempt any sector of the economy from these efforts. So you can’t say okay we’re not going to fly because aviation is too high emitting. No that’s the wrong approach.”

    Figueres then shifts the topic to two recent announcements from a “very small start-up as well as from Siemens that they foresee that ten years from now they will be having airplanes that are fully electric with clean energy and that have a thousand kilometer range.” Here again, we have decision-making and legislation (or lack of) being based and dependent upon technologies not yet invented. Technologies that may or may not be realized decades into the future.

    Figueres then concedes, if only slightly: “But [for] the time being if you want to be responsible, yes definitely go for the mobility with the low submissions, but that cannot exempt any sector. Every sector needs to bring down to the submissions. And aviation is coming.”

    [Full interview: published April 12, 2017]

    Yes. Aviation is certainly coming. Consider the recent announcement that Leonardo DiCaprio is joining with billionaire investors and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth to create Earth Alliance, “a new non-profit environmental powerhouse.” Sheth is the co-founder and president of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Powell Jobs, widow of former Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, over the last year, has helped fund Boom Supersonic, a project to create an “economically-viable supersonic airliner” via her Emerson Collective. Yes, these are the people that are going to “tackle climate change”.

    “The Emerson Collective —an org. headed by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs —is one of a number of investors to take part in a $100 million round of funding for Boom…a 55-seat aircraft that is touted to fly at speeds of up to match 2.2 once completed.”

     

    January 8, 2019, Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective contributing to $100M funding round for Boom Supersonic

    On another note, consider Conservation International (leading the implementation of the financialization of nature) reports in 2017 that its chairman [2017 earnings: 616,343.00 USD] and CEO [2017 earnings: 442,606.00 USD] “may travel first class due to the frequency and length of the trips required.” [2017 990, p. 124] The Nature Conservancy has similar guidelines. The travel budget for Conservation International came in at just under 11 million dollars in 2017.

    According to the WWF, unregulated carbon pollution from aviation is the fastest-growing source of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change. Current expansion plans for the aviation industry could lead to emissions from this sector tripling by 2040. [Source] Of course, WWF does not address militarism nor the US pentagon, nor does any other entity or “leader” in a position of power or influence. Regardless, the concept of “environmentally sustainable aviation” put forward by Figueres and Tubiana flies in the face of Figueres’ “Every Breath Matters” campaign. Every breath matters, but the necessity for aviation profits and economic growth matters far more.

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

    Every Breath Matters

    According to Greta Thunberg’s father, Svante Thunberg, Greta is assisted by various climate organizations. This includes the “Every Breath Matters” group that arranged for Greta’s presence in Davos where she was publicly accompanied by Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. Every Breath Matters was unveiled to the public on October 30, 2018 by its co-chair Christiana Figueres. The Every Breath Matters campaign is a collaboration between the Berggruen Institute, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and Figueres’ Global Optimism.

    The Every Breath Matters group of “clean air champions” includes:

  • Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Convenor of Mission 2020
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Chairman of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • Greta Thunberg, Climate Activist
  • Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization
  • [Full list]

    All inquiries for Every Breath Matters were directed to Callum Grieve, the communications specialist for “Every Breath Matters“. Grieve is the former communications director for We Mean Business, The Climate Group (co-founder of We Mean Business), and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) [8]. He has coordinated high-level climate change communications campaigns and interventions for the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and several Fortune 500 companies. [“Led communications for a coalition of the world’s most influential business leaders and investors to help secure the most ambitious global climate agreement possible at COP21.”] In addition to the aforementioned roles, Grieve created and led Climate Week NYC. He is a co-founder and director of Counter Culture, a for-profit brand development firm specializing in behavioural change campaigns and storytelling, still in its initial stages. [Source]

    Callum Grieve tweets to Greta Thunberg on the very first day of her now infamous strike. Others who tweeted to or about Greta on the first day of her strike (August 20, 2018) include Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank who would later write Thunberg a personal letter in the virtues of capitalism, publicizing it via Twitter. [The Thunberg Twitter account created in June, 2018 also follows Beslik.]

    “Nordea boss says climate protests are ‘just the beginning'” — BBC, April 17, 2019

     

    At this juncture we should reflect upon the following information disclosed by Bloomberg on August 10, 2019 in the article “Climate Changed – Greta Thunberg and ‘Flight Shame’ Are Fueling a Carbon Offset Boom”:

    “Campaigning by climate activist Greta Thunberg and filmmaker-naturalist David Attenborough is persuading pollution-conscious fliers to try and mitigate the environmental damage caused by their flights.

     

    Sales of so-called carbon offsets are soaring: Myclimate, a Swiss nonprofit whose clients include Deutsche Lufthansa AG, reported a five-fold uptake in its credits in a year. At Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest discount carrier, the number of customers making voluntary offset payments has almost doubled in 18 months.”

    From “Activist” for Capital to Influencer

    On the sample list of participants from the We Mean Business, Leaders’ Quest and Mission 2020 [All explored within Volume II] document outlining the “Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners Programs” from 2017, recognizable names include 350.org’s Henn. The term “Deep Practitioners” is applied to a cohort of “30 senior leaders of influential private, public and civil society organizations, who are willing to collaborate across sectors and change their own patterns of behavior.” “Global Influencers will create public and private opportunities for influential leaders to join the collective movement. Committed leaders will increase pressure on their peers to engage – establishing a new norm.” [Source] [Further reading: Volume II]

    The shaping and moulding of our increasing corporatized planet is being carried out by a select group of meticulously groomed people in servitude to a ruling class founded on white supremacist values and American exceptionalism.

    April 1, 2019 From left: Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer, *ONE youth ambassador with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström. Source: Detlev Scheerbarth. *ONE was co-founded in 2004 by Bono in partnership with eleven non-profits/NGOs including GCCA co-founder and Purpose partner Oxfam. Funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Here, we can reflect upon the “Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners” as shaped, moulded, imagined and desired by We Mean Business and partner NGOs founded by Figueres. In this regard, young Thunberg has exceeded all expectations. Consider Thunberg’s May 2019 interview by Brandon Hurlbut for Political Climate (presented/funded by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation) when asked for her advice for US climate activists:

    “I think just to stick to your message and don’t come with any demands, any specific demands. Leave that to the scientists because we don’t have the proper education to do that. Now we should only [be] focusing on speaking on behalf of the scientists and telling people to listen to them. And that is what I’m trying to do. And to not have opinions yourself, but always refer to science.”

    “Activism” with no demands – is “establishing a new norm”. A dream for corporate power and ruling classes – a nightmare for the working class and those in the Global South who do not have the luxury to afford such lax dissent.

    The mantra (talking point), put forward by young Thunberg, that we (collective society) should “not have opinions, but always refer to science” is an incredibly dangerous proposal. Consider such unequivocal support by society for scientist Johan Rockström, chief scientist of the corporate NGO powerhouse Conservation International, a leading advocate behind the implementation of the financialization of nature.

    Peter Kareiva is the former chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy and co-founder of the Natural Capital Project. Kareiva states that “money can buy you nature”. And this, of course, inadvertently reveals the other side of the equation – that those with no money cannot buy nature. And we are all aware of who has the money. This single ideology alone, now held by many scientists (see the excellent work by ecological economist Clive Spash) is more than enough to demonstrate that scientists are not deities to be obeyed without question. In fact, with Western science playing a leading role in the destruction of the natural world and all life she sustains, while biodiversity that remains intact is under the care and protection of Indigenous populations, this really begs the question of who should be in charge of our multiple ecological crises. Those who have demonstrated they can destroy it – or those who have demonstrated they can protect it. The answer is obvious, yet power will never be given. It must be taken.

    “But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they have no power.”

     

    Howard Zinn

    Unite Behind the Science

    We are subjected to the branding term “Unite Behind the Science” pushed hard by the UN-WEF Partnership. This is coupled with a heavy emphasis from the exploited Thunberg, who serves as the face and voice of the movement, to “listen to the science”. The sentiment, which is a subtle yet direct directive, is reverberated throughout international media outlets.

    The slogan “Unite Behind the Science” is not meant to be a call to protect Earth. Here, we have science being used as a tool, and even a weapon, to privatize the commons under the guise of protecting nature, climate and biodiversity. It is meant to unleash a new era of privatization and plunder. All aboard the New Deals for Nature train: New Deal For Nature, Voice for the Planet, New Deal for Nature and People, and Global Deal For Nature (“© Copyright Global Deal for Nature, a project of Sustainable Markets Foundation”).

    Also trending is the “Natural Climate Solutions” terminology, being rolled out by The Nature Conservancy project “Nature4Climate” in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN-REDD, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Woods Hole Research Center, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), We Mean Business (WMB), and WWF (the dirty dozen). The new term providing a holistic cover for carbon offsets – a rebranding exercise for the carbon market mechanism UN-REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

    Above: James Lloyd, project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy, Twitter

    Above: One of the first institutions to highlight Monbiot’s Natural Climate Solutions launch (April 3, 2019) was the Food and Land Use Coalition. This coalition was initiated under Business and Sustainable Development Commission leadership led by former Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Mark Malloch-Brown, recently appointed to the UN Foundation board. Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill. 

    The Planetary Boundaries Are Not Intended to Limit Growth

    “The failure to put the issue of imperialism in the Anthropocene at the center of its analysis is the greatest weakness of the Western ecological movement. It is often acknowledged that the effects of climate change and the crossing of planetary boundaries in general are having their greatest effects on the global South, where millions are already suffering from climate change… Nevertheless, there is very little consciousness at present that imperialism, representing the global rift inherent in the world capitalist system, is an active force organized against ecological revolution, seeking to lock in the fossil fuel system and the current regime of maximal environmental degradation and human exploitation. Twenty-first-century imperialism is, in this sense, the exterminist phase of capitalism.”

     

    — Imperialism in the Anthropocene, July 1, 2019

     

    At the 2015 WEF annual gathering in Davos, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre held a press conference titled “Planetary Boundaries: Blueprint for Managing Systemic Global Risk” in order to highlight the “New Global Context for the Planet”. Speakers on the panel included Georg Schmitt, head of corporate affairs, World Economic Forum, Johan Rockström, director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Marco Lambertini, director-general, WWF International, Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general, United Nations, and Hans Vestberg, chief executive officer, Verizon Communications. [Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2019: Verizon Ventures Prepares for 5G Startup Wave]

    Rockström declared:

    I represent the global community of earth system scientists, that today stand on a vast mountain of empirical evidence, to conclude from a scientific perspective, that the new global context is really about recognizing that humanity has become a global force of change at the planetary scale. We can today unfortunately envisage the global world economy itself disrupting the stability of the earth system.

     

    Science has now finally been able to translate this into a constructive new paradigm for world development. Shedding off the old sustainable development paradigm which as you are all aware is about economic growth and minimizing environmental impacts to recognize that the economy must operate within the safe operating space of the planetary boundaries.”

    As the press conference comes to a close, Rockström assures his audience that “using planetary boundaries is not a way to hamper development. It is rather a way to put the incentives in place, to guide the kind of incentives and innovations that Hans in talking about. So it is about a transformation of abundance within a safe operating space. So it is not limited growth – but growth within limits.”

    In the age of storytelling, we call this convenient doublespeak – the utilization of language to disguise the truth. In a planet under siege by a global corporatocracy, what should be absolute partition between science and corporate power, is instead, shattered, blurred and enmeshed.

    “The scaling of solutions is the biggest challenge we have.”

     

    Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, WEF, 2015 press conference, Planetary Boundaries: Blueprint for Managing Systemic Global Risk

    +++

    In addition to his position as director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and chief scientist at Conservation International Johan Rockström serves as co-chair of the Future Earth Advisory Committee.

    In the July 16, 2019 article “Three steps to meeting the climate and nature emergency”, Rockström articulates how society must move from incremental to exponential action.

    In the first major step identified by Rockström, he divulges a new commission: “First, the scientific community needs urgently to explore targets and set scientific boundaries for the entire Earth system, beyond those set to combat climate change. As part of a new global commons alliance, the first Earth Commission, to be announced later this year, will do just that.”

    Outlining the second step, Rockström states the imperative to “go beyond GDP as a measure of economic and social wellbeing“. What Rockström is actually speaking to is the assigning of monetary value to nature’s “goods and services”. That is, the financialization of nature via the coming “New Deal For Nature”. This ties into the third major step articulated by Rockström:

    “And, finally, we need to take full advantage of 2020, a super-year for international policy on the environment, with three big milestones in the journey to build global co-operation. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity will meet to agree new targets. On climate, nations must submit more ambitious targets for the Paris Agreement. And a UN ocean summit may reshape marine policy for the next generation.” [Emphasis added]

    Again, this is emotive holistic linguistics framing for the very ugly monetization of nature.

    “This leads to an intriguing possibility. In 2020, the UN will 75 years old. Following the lead of the UK and Ireland, is it now time for the UN to declare a climate and nature emergency?”

     

    Johan Rockström, director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, chief scientist, Conservation International, July 16, 2019

    Rockström ends his article stating: “The next decade must bring the fastest economic transition in history to prosperity that protects the planet. This is necessary, achievable and desirable. But the work must start now.” [Emphasis added]

    Here again, we must pay close attention to the language, framing and repetition. The phrase “this is necessary, achievable and desirable” is one echoed by partner “climate leaders” and faux environmental groups:

    “Bending the emissions curve by 2020. Net zero by 2050. Necessary, desirable and achievable.”

     

    Christina Figueres, Twitter

     

    “2020: the necessary, desirable and achievable turning point to safeguard our climate.”

     

    Leonardo DiCaprio website

     

    “Corporate climate action: what’s necessary, desirable and achievable.”

     

    Natural Capital Partners

     

    “Within the next three decades, the Fourth Industrial Revolution — driven by digitalization such as mobile internet, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things — will transform everyone’s lives and every business on the planet… With the goal of catalyzing broad and rapid progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is necessary, desirable and achievable.”

     

    Step Up Declaration, Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution

    Other institutions, NGOs and declarations reverberating the terminology and/or sharing articles attributed to Figueres (containing the “desirable” phrase), include the Grantham Institute, Futerra, The B Team, the UNFCC, and so on.

    +++

    In May 2016, the map “Indigenous Peoples, Protected Areas and Natural Ecosystems in Central America,” released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the most comprehensive map of its kind ever produced for the region. The map details that “approximately 51 percent of Central America’s current forest cover is either inside or adjacent to indigenous territory”. [Source]

    Upon release of the map, Grethel Aguilar, Regional Director of the IUCN Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean stated: “You cannot talk about conservation without speaking of indigenous peoples and their role as the guardians of our most delicate lands and waters. This map shows that where indigenous people live, you will find the best preserved natural resources. They depend on those natural resources to survive, and the rest of society depends on their role in safeguarding those resources for the well-being of us all.” [Source]

    Actions speak louder than words, however, with IUCN a leading partner in the Natural Capital Coalition tasked with the financialization of nature. That is, the corporate coup of the Earth’s commons. [“IUCN’s Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, along with World Business Council for Sustainable Development and a consortium of organisations, has led the business outreach on the new Natural Capital Protocol (the Protocol)”.] [Source]

    In addition, IUCN is a co-founder of “Business for Nature” and “We Value Nature”. [Both to be explored in this Volume.]

    If we are to listen to the science, we must come to the conclusion that the stolen lands we occupy must be returned to the Indigenous peoples – with zero strings attached. We reach the inevitable conclusion that those who stole the land, those who carried out genocide against Indigenous peoples (which continues to this day), those who have destroyed our natural world, those who create global institutions to which they appoint themselves, have no authority whatsoever to “lead” the global citizenry in any way, shape, or form.

    Global Commons Alliance – “A Plan For the Planet”

    “What we need—and urgently—is a radical shift in perception by the private sector to view the global goals as the greatest economic opportunity any generation has had, rather than a burden and constraint to growth.”

     

    — Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, The Opportunity of the Commons, Global Environment Facility (GEF), IUCN, Global Commons Alliance, July 19, 2018, p. 4

    “Davos, Switzerland – Standing outside in the pitch-black cold at the World Economic Forum on January 23, 2019, a panel including Future Earth and partners announced to a live audience their intent to launch an Earth Commission.”

     

    Future Earth website, January 31, 2019

     

    “The Global Commons Alliance is a massive collaboration developed by world leading institutions.”

     

    Global Commons Alliance website

    In January 2019, the “Why our Planet needs an Earth Commission” lecture was hosted by Arctic Basecamp with long-standing partner Christiana Figueres. Moderated by Gail Whiteman (professor in-residence at WBCSD and co-founder of the Davos Arctic Basecamp), the panel included Rockström, Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth, Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business, and Greta Thunberg. The Earth Commission would be led by Future Earth and the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). [Source]

    Future Earth, launched at Rio+20 (2012) is funded extensively by foundations, governments and institutions including ClimateWorks, The European Climate Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the Skoll Foundation. [Full list] It is governed by institutions including the United Nations Environment Programme. [Full list of Governing Councils] Partners include IPCC, the UN and IPBES. [Partners] The Future Earth Twitter account was created in December 2012. The Climate Group and GCCA/TckTckTck are included within the first 22 chosen accounts chosen to follow out of 883.

    The Global Commons Alliance brands itself as a new 21st century platform to transform the global economy under the pretense that doing so will benefit society and “sustain the natural systems of Earth”.

    Many of the names found under the heading of “Systems Change” are those now well-recognized within this series:

  • Naoko Ishii: CEO and chair of the Global Environment Facility and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, co-chair of the Advisory Network of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. [9]
  • Johan Rockström: Conservation International chief scientist, director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, co-chair of the Future Earth Advisory Committee
  • Christiana Figueres: former executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), B Team Leader, Global Covenant of Mayors
  • Dominic Waughray: managing director, head of the Centre for Global Public Goods, World Economic Forum
  • Andrew Steer: president and chief executive officer, World Resources Institute, former Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank
  • Amy Luers: executive director, Future Earth
  • Nigel Topping: CEO, We Mean Business
  • Sunny Verghese: WBCSD chair, co-founder, CEO of Olam International, (to be explored in Volume II)
  • Inger Anderson: UNEP executive director, former director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  •  

    The organizations and institutions comprising the Global Commons Alliance include the World Economic Forum, We Mean Business Coalition, the World Resources Institute, the Natural Capital Coalition, CDP, Conservation International, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the WBCSD, WWF, the Potsdam Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

    The Global Commons Alliance partners [accessed September 13, 2019]:

  • BSR™ (Business for Social Responsibility™)
  • CDP
  • Ceres
  • Circle of Blue
  • Conservation International
  • EAT
  • Future Earth
  • Globaïa
  • Global Environment Facility
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
  • Natural Capital Coalition
  • Ocean Unite
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • UN Global Compact
  • UNEP-WCMC
  • WBCSD
  • We Mean Business Coalition
  • World Benchmarking Alliance
  • World Economic Forum
  • World Resources Institute
  • WWF
  • “In July 2016, the world took a giant step towards natural capital accounting by officially launching the Natural Capital Protocol— opening a new pathway for companies… The combination of systems transformation at the industry and business level, and economic restructuring on the financial and reporting level, will push the world in the right direction. But we need to abandon incrementalism in favour of complete transformation.

     

    — Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Transformative change to safeguard the global commons could mobilise investment, The Opportunity of the Commons, Global Environment Facility (GEF), IUCN, Global Commons Alliance, July 19, 2018, p. 29 [Emphasis added]

     

     

    “Large reductions in the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon—80% between 2004 and 2014—open up opportunities for an alternative model based on seeing the Amazon as a global public good of biological assets for creating high-value products and ecosystem services… We are rapidly gaining understanding of how things are created in nature, how organisms sense their surroundings, how they move in their environment and how they behave and function. This is bringing within reach a third pathway where we aggressively research, develop, and scale up a new high-tech approach that sees the Amazon as a global public good of biological assets that can enable the creation of innovative high value products, services and platforms for current, and entirely new, markets.”

     

    — The Amazon’s new industrial revolution, Carlos Nobre, Member of the UN Scientific Advisory Board for Global Sustainability and Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, Chairman of Space Time Ventures and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Environment and Resource Security, The Opportunity of the Commons, Global Environment Facility (GEF), IUCN, Global Commons Alliance, July 19, 2018, p. 42 [Emphasis added]

     

    A Plan For the Planet – The First Earth Commission

    The Earth Commission (to be announced later this year according to Rockström) is to comprise a select team of scientists. Future Earth will host the Earth Commission’s scientific secretariat in collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The Commission will be “part of an extensive network which is complementary to and builds on existing assessments, such as the IPCC, IPBES and GEO [Global Environment Outlook] reports.”

    The insights of the Earth Commission will be central for informing the work of the new Science Based Targets network. This network will consist of a group of international NGOs that will create “practical applications”, and scalable solutions for corporations and cities. In addition, the NGO network will develop methodologies for corporations and municipalities “to set specific science-based targets to guide policies and practice.”

    The Earth Commission structure is set up very much like ClimateWorks:

    Again, we bear witness to the global mobilization of hundreds of millions, even billions, of citizens by a small yet powerful set of hegemonic institutions.

    +++

    Today we can learn more from the inspirational words and sound guidance left behind by Indigenous peoples and murdered revolutionaries, than all the scientists and experts in servitude to Western ideology combined. Thomas Sankara:

    “Colonial plunder has decimated our forests without the slightest thought of replenishing them for our tomorrows. The unpunished disruption of the biosphere by savage and murderous forays on the land and in the air continues.

     

    As Karl Marx said, those who live in a palace do not think about the same things, nor in the same way, as those who live in a hut. This struggle to defend the trees and forests is above all a struggle against imperialism. Because imperialism is the arsonist setting fire to our forests and our savannas…

     

    We can win this struggle if we choose to be architects and not simply bees. It will be the victory of consciousness over instinct. The bee and the architect, yes! If the author of these lines will allow me, I will extend this twofold analogy to a threefold one: the bee, the architect, and the revolutionary architect.”

     

    [Thomas Sankara: Imperialism is the Arsonist of our Forests and Savannas, at the International Conference on Trees and Forests, Paris, February 5, 1986]

    The solutions to our multiple ecological crises will not be discovered by Mission Innovation, Google, nor Verizon. The knowledge to live in harmony with the Earth already exists. The knowledge is retained and understood by the planet’s Indigenous peoples struggling to maintain their existence in the Earth’s remaining forests and natural spaces, protecting what remains of the Earth’s living natural communities.

    The fact that WWF, at the helm of the “new climate economy” being propelled forward by the UN-WEF Partnership, bears responsibility for the mass displacement, torture, murder and rape of Indigenous peoples with no public outcry from the Western citizenry, sheds an ugly light on white supremacist values that infect Western science, Western academia and Western society as a whole.

    The revolutionary architects are not to be found in the ivory towers of the West. We continue to indulge in willful blindness at our own peril.

     

     

    End Notes:

    [1] Other funders include the Compton Foundation, Instituto Arapyaú, Instituto Ekos Brasil, Kendeda Foundation, The Minor Foundation for Major Challenges, and the Stichting Global Climate Action.

    [2] “CBS’s emphasis on information sharing and coordination between stakeholders mirrors the GCCA’s own capacity-building approach. The fact that Jennifer Morgan, who had played an instrumental role in launching the GCCA, was now in charge of IPPI and was actively involved in the CBS project supports this idea. A number of those who were active in CBS had also been involved in the GCCA. Like the GCCA’s nerve centre, the CBS’s “global team” brought together members of the international climate community representing a wide array of both insider and outsider organizations—environmental and development NGOs, climate networks, campaign groups, think tanks and research organizations, as well as foundations. While some NGOs were initially reluctant to join, arguing that there was a risk of overlap between their activities and those of CBS, the global team ultimately brought together representatives from the most prominent and active organizations in the international climate arena. As with the GCCA, among those who were not represented were groups associated with the climate justice movement. Members of the “global team” regularly took part in conference calls, strategy sessions, workshops and conferences to share views, information and intelligence on policy-related issues, and collectively establish strategic priorities.” [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena, p. 110]

    [3] 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.

    [4] GCCA’s multi-lingual digital publishing stream, The Tree, rose to meet the needs of this historic year, putting its network-based approach to good use keeping thousands of influencers informed and intervening in key climate debates. By the end of 2015, The Tree counted more than 2,500 actively engaged influencers (977 in Europe, 803 in North America, 493 in Australasia, and the remaining 293 in Latin America) – a rise of nearly 1,000 since 2014 – and had a cumulative potential Twitter reach of over 26 million. The Tree was also GCCA’s primary vehicle for circulating the ‘Road Through Paris’ narrative, working in five languages across nine countries and regions during COP21, with seven Tree editors on the ground in Paris to support the GSCC+ communications efforts and deliver special daily Tree Alerts for the network. [Source: Global Call for Climate Action Annual Report 2015–2016, p. 5]

    [5] “Thanks to all our judges for their nominations, and apologies that a lot of their excellent recommendations didn’t make it to the final fifteen: Alice Bows-Larkin, Max Boycoff, Simon Buckle, Mike Childs, Tan Copsey, Susannah Eliott, Sam Geall, Will Grant, Fiona Fox, Leo Hickman, Brendan Montague, Tim Nuthall, James Painter, Chris Rapley, John Timmer, James Wilsdon.” [Source]

    [6] Three years to safeguard our climate (Nature 546, 593–595; 2017), co-signatories:

  • Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute
  •  

  • Caio Koch-Weser, chairman, European Climate Foundation
  •  

  • Charlotte Pera, president and CEO, ClimateWorks
  •  

  • Daniela Saltzman, director, Generation Investment Management
  •  

  • David Blood, senior partner, Generation Investment Management
  •  

  • Helen Mountford, programme director, New Climate Economy
  •  

  • Jeremy Oppenheim, partner, SystemIQ
  •  

  • Joanna Haigh, co-director, Grantham Institute for Climate Change & Environment
  •  

  • Keith Tuffley, managing partner and CEO, B Team
  •  

  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation (ECF)
  •  

  • Mark Malloch-Brown, chair, Business and Sustainable Development Commission
  •  

  • Mark Watts, executive director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  •  

  • Mary Robinson, president and chair of the board of trustees, the Mary Robinson Foundation
  •  

  • Mindy Lubber, president, CERES
  •  

  • Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business
  •  

  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
  •  

  • Paul Simpson, CEO, Carbon Disclosure Project
  •  

  • Peter Bakker, president and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  •  

  • Peter Seligmann, chairman, CEO and co-founder, Conservation International
  •  

  • Rachel Kyte, CEO, Sustainable Energy for All
  •  

  • Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation, general secretary
  •  

  • Tom Brookes, executive director, strategic communications, European Climate Foundation
  •  

  • Tomas Insua, executive director, Global Catholic Climate Movement
  •  

  • Wael Hmaidan, international director, Climate Action Network (CAN)
  •  

  • Yacob Mulugetta, professor of Energy and Development
  •  

    [Source]

    [7] “The environmental devastation this would entail is meant to be addressed by the ‘endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation’, which is meaningless unless undertaken in absolute terms and that is simply impossible for the industrial economy being promoted in Goal 9. Yet, hoping for technological miracles fits well with faith in a never-ending economic expansion of material and energy throughput.” Source: Clive Spash, This Changes Nothing – The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2016

    [8] “Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) is yet another striking example of the emerging trend of gradually shifting (“outsourcing”) activities from the UN to a multi-stakeholder body positioned outside the UN system, while still using the name and reputation of the UN… In addition to participating in the deliberations of the High-Level Group, the business actors also provided financial support. As the Report of the Co-Chairs from September 2012 pointed out, “(t)he Sustainable Energy for All initiative has depended on generous contributions from its sup-porters,” including, in addition to a few government donors, the UN Foundation, Masdar (the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), the Bank of America, First Solar, Johnson Controls, Veolia Environment, and the International Copper Association. In addition, the consulting firm Accenture and the Norwegian oil company Statoil seconded senior man-agers to the Sustainable Energy for All secretariat, and Statoil designed the Sustainable Energy for All logo.” [Source: Fit for whose purpose? Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations, 2015]

    [9] Naoko Ishii, elected as CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility in 2012. Before Joining the GEF, Naoko was Japan Deputy Vice Minister of Finance, and represented the Japanese Government during the design of the Green Climate Fund. She worked as a Country Director for the World Bank, and has held positions at the IMF and Harvard Institute for International Development. Naoko is co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, and co-chair of the Advisory Network of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. She is a special advisor to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a Commissioner for the Global Adaptation Commission, Member of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and of the Advisory Committee of Future Earth. [Source]

    Trees, GE Trees & Nature to Save Capitalism from Itself: New Report

    Trees, GE Trees & Nature to Save Capitalism from Itself: New Report

    The Campaign to STOP GE Trees

    July 18, 2019

     

    Trees, GE Trees & Nature to Save Capitalism from Itself: New Report

    Raleigh exhibit depicts gasoline from genetically engineered trees. photo: Langelle/GJEP

    Trees to Solve the World’s Problems?

    From Genetically Engineered Trees for the Bioeconomy – to the Trillion Tree Proposal and Business for Nature

    Traducción al Español

    Tradução para o Português

    By Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project

     

    This report examines events and research publicized between 23 June and 4 July 2019 that discuss the mass-use of trees to enable the unsustainable lifestyles of the world’s top 1% in the face of looming ecological catastrophe: from trees genetically engineered to feed the “green” manufacture of energy, plastics and chemicals; the planting of trillions of trees to reduce global atmospheric carbon levels; and “reforms” to the economic system to allow future profit-making under the guise of biodiversity protection.

    The three events where these proposals were brought out were the International Union of Forest Research Organization’s 2019 Tree Biotechnology Conference 23-29 June at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, The Global Tree Restoration Potential, a new study published on 4 July in Science, and the launch of Business for Nature initiatives in China and Norway on 2 July.

     

    IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference

    The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) held its biennial 2019 Tree Biotechnology Conference over 23-29 June at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. This was the first Tree Biotechnology Conference held by IUFRO since June 2017 when their conference in Concepción, Chile was met with days of protests and disruptions by Mapuche activists, students and others. The 2019 Tree Biotech conference was originally announced to take place in Curitiba, Brazil. It appears that the conference was suddenly moved to Raleigh, North Carolina because of the protests at the last Tree Biotech conference in Chile and the fact that Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), has a long history of being militantly anti-GE tree. [1] NC State was likely chosen as it is the hub for many different efforts pursuing and promoting GE trees, including use of gene-editing on trees, and researching new ways to sell GE trees to a resistant public–a major theme of this year’s Tree Biotechnology Conference.

    The effects of the 2017 protests could be felt at this year’s Tree Biotechnology Conference, which included constant police presence both inside and outside of the venue, pleas to attendees to consider taking over the top three leadership roles in the event, and confusion as to when or where the next conference might take place, and even whether to continue to use the controversial term “biotechnology.” The lack of public presence by some of the most outspoken leaders in the tree biotechnology field and leading GE tree company ArborGen, further underscored the anxiety of the event.

    While the future of the Tree Biotech Conferences is uncertain, what was not at question was the desire by industry to use specially designed GE trees as a feedstock for the future “bioeconomy”, which was addressed in a closing series of presentations. Unlocking the sugars in trees, necessary to transform them into fuels, plastics, chemicals and other products, however, has proven a major challenge. This was reflected in the rising emphasis at the 2019 conference on the genetic engineering technique known as CRISPR. The ecological and social implications of the massive increase in demand for wood to fuel this “bioeconomy” or the risks associated with the GE trees involved, were not addressed.

    Rodolphe Barrangou presents on CRISPR Photo:Langelle/GJEP

    Rodolphe Barrangou, NC State professor and editor of The CRISPR Journal gave the opening keynote for the IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference, highlighting his personal efforts to bring CRISPR and other gene editing techniques into the forestry sector. He referred to human history as “BC” – Before CRISPR” vs “AD – after the death of the other recombinant technologies.” He also pointed out that “the [CRISPR commercialization] bottleneck [is] acceptance by regulators and society.”

    To solve this problem, he envisioned a CRISPR gene editing process that would achieve a “non-transgenic…non-GMO [regulatory] approval.” Barrangou feared that if people understood that CRISPR is still genetic engineering, it would be the downfall of CRISPR’s commercial success—and make it harder for his new CRISPR startup focusing on developing CRISPR for forest trees to become profitable.

    CRISPR would use artificial intelligence and machine learning in forest trees, he explained, to predict what genomes, sequences and pathways to “knock out, turn on, turn off,” in order to find the relevant traits of interest to industry. He did, however, admit that CRISPR scientists are “nowhere near understanding tree genomics as well as we understand human genomics due to the fact that tree genomes are so much bigger and more complex.”

    But the excitement around CRISPR as a new tool to genetically engineer trees was evident at the conference, which included several other presentations on CRISPR in trees, including use of CRISPR to modify tree branching in order to grow trees much more densely in plantations. If implemented, this would have serious repercussions for communities and biodiversity near the plantations, as the existing problems with forced displacements, fresh water loss and inundation with agrotoxins like fertilizers and pesticides would be greatly exacerbated.

    This lack of concern about the larger implications and risks of GE trees by researchers has led to decades of global opposition, a fact which was discussed during a lengthy panel session on “Societal Acceptance of Forest Biotechnology.” The session was focused on ways to encourage the public to accept GE trees. It opened with a presentation by Jared Westbrook, Director of Science of the American Chestnut Foundation, on using GE to restore the American chestnut—documented as being a “test case” to make GE trees more palatable to the public. The session was focused on ways to encourage the public to accept GE trees. It opened with a presentation by Jared Westbrook, Director of Science of the American Chestnut Foundation, on using GE to restore the American chestnut—documented as being a “test case” to make GE trees more palatable to the public. The second presentation in the session discussed the findings of a survey by Mark Needham conducted to see how to convince the public of the benefits of using GE trees in forest restoration schemes, especially the GE American chestnut. The panel discussion that followed included participation by Westbrook, Needham, GE tree pioneer Ron Sederoff and a representative from GE tree company FuturaGene. The conversation among the panelists and the audience was very candid about the worries around public opinion, the potential for increased regulations on CRISPR, and the ban on GE trees by the Forest Stewardship Council.

    The general malaise of the conference continued at its closing dinner, normally a gala celebration, which was without enthusiasm and repeated the pleas for willing volunteers to take over the organizing of future activities.

     

    Trillion Tree Planting Proposal

    Less than one week after the close of the IUFRO Tree Biotech Conference, a study was published in Science titled The Global Tree Restoration Potential, projecting the ability to mitigate climate change by the mass-planting of trillions of trees across the globe. [2]

    The study, developed by Crowther Labs and ETH Zürich, with the help of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, was hailed as a miracle cure for climate change—the surefire solution to allow dominant culture to continue uninterrupted by ecological collapse. The study, however, is fraught with unanswered questions and serious red flags. One major flag is the study’s reliance on the UN FAO’s definition of forests, which is any area 10% covered by trees, and does not exclude monoculture tree plantations–despite repeated calls by forest protection groups to do so. According to the World Rainforest Movement, the FAO definition “discards other life-forms as well as the biological and cultural diversity that define a forest while ignoring the social and environmental impacts of plantations.” [3]

    What this means is that the trillion trees being promoted could easily include vast monocultures of non-native trees, or even GE trees, due to the FAO’s intentionally overbroad definition of forests. [4] This fact is confirmed by a decision made at the 2003 UN Climate Conference in Milan that GE trees could be used in forest carbon plantations.

    Another serious flag is the involvement in this study of researchers linked to the UN’s program to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). [5] The REDD program has been actively opposed by Indigenous Peoples and forest dependent communities since its inception. REDD schemes take over forested lands to “protect” (and sell) the carbon they store—and have resulted in the forced displacement of communities that live in those forests. [6]

    Because the trillion tree proposal repeatedly refers to generating tree cover “in the absence of”, or “with minimal” human activity on 1.7 billion hectares, it could easily result in mass-displacements of rural, poor and Indigenous communities from those lands.

    An additional problem with the study comes from its math. The authors admit that the 300 gigatons of carbon projected to be stored by these trillion trees will not be realized until the trees are mature, which could take decades. [7] Meanwhile 10Gt of C02 are being emitted annually. [8] Particularly in boreal forest zones, a major emphasis of the study, trees grow very, very slowly. Add to this the study’s lack of interest in the increasing rate of destruction of existing critical forests that is occurring—such as the 88% rise in deforestation rates in Brazil’s Amazon over the past year [9] –and it reads more like a fairy tale than a serious recommendation for mitigating climate change.

     

    Trees as the Engine for a Green Future of Consumption

    While seemingly at odds, both the Crowther Lab study on vastly expanding global tree cover to store carbon, and the proposal by GE tree researchers to vastly increase demand for trees by genetically engineering them to replace fossil fuels for the industrial production of everything from electricity to plastics, fall in the same false worldview where the mass-use of trees becomes the path to a “clean, green future”. Both are, at their essence, cynical and opportunistic schemes to avoid real, fundamental social, economic and political change in order to enable overconsumption as usual in the face of overwhelming evidence that rapid and fundamental changes at all levels of society must be undertaken—a call that has been taken up by the National Academies of Sciences [10] and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [11]

     

    Business for Nature?

    Along with these false solutions to climate change emerged another subterfuge to use forests and the natural world to accelerate profit-making under a “clean, green” veneer. On 2 July, a Business for Nature scheme was announced simultaneously at a World Economic Forum meeting in China and Norway’s Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity.

    The idea is not new. In 2008 in Bonn, Germany, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) launched its own Business and Biodiversity Initiative that included models for marketing environmental services, the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP), The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), and a new Green Development Mechanism. [12]

    The Business for Nature initiative, however, is renewing the scheme using the urgency of ecological crises, as evidenced by its website headline Nature Loss is Threatening Our Economies–Urgent Actions and Collaborations are Needed. [13]

    The opening of the site lists statistics on the “massive loss of nature” while studiously avoiding any indication as to the causes, which have been driven by the very belief underpinning the initiative, that humans are somehow separate from “nature.” The site highlights the Global Risk Report which “identified environmental risks as among the greatest systemic risks to our global economy,” adding that “only nuclear war would be more destructive.”

    In the twisted logic of the Business for Nature scheme, “nature protection” is unironically promoted as “essential for prosperous business,” including the activities that have led us to this ecological crisis–i.e. ongoing natural resource extraction.

    The grand finale of their proposal highlights the “significant opportunities” (massive profits) to be made from protecting the “ecosystem services” of nature:

    “$2 trillion in opportunities in food and land system transformation alone

    $22.6 trillion opportunity for water infrastructure by 2050

    THE OCEAN ECONOMY ESTIMATED TO BE WORTH $2.5 TRILLION PER ANNUM”

    In its pledge to forests, it touts a massive ‘reforestation’ campaign, along with a commitment to REDD, and the “elimination of deforestation by 2030” which would magically be achieved with no plan to reduce demand for wood products.

    In fact, the future of “green business,” fueled by a bioeconomy, requires a huge increase in wood consumption.

     

    CRISPR to Manufacture the Perfect (Unregulated) GE Tree?

    And this is where the Tree Biotechnology Conference, The Global Tree Restoration Potential and Business for Nature may overlap is through the genetic engineering technology known as CRISPR. [14]

    The overall impression from the IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference was that scientists and industry are banking on emerging technologies like CRISPR and a rising demand for wood products and designer GE trees to meet the future market for forest health, climate mitigation and the bioeconomy.

    Would CRISPR be used as part of the trillion tree effort? Will it be used to genetically engineer trees to be specially adapted to particular biomes? Or to withstand climate change, insect attacks, or other stresses?

    There are uncomfortable connections between the work to create genetically engineered CRISPR trees and the Trillion Tree study. ETH Zürich in Switzerland, home of the Crowther Lab that led the study, for example, is considered one of the best biotechnology schools in Europe. In March it awarded the Richard R. Ernst Gold Medal to Emmanuelle Charpentier, one of the scientists who discovered the CRISPR gene editing tool, and sits on the Editorial Board of The CRISPR Journal with Barrangou. And Crowther likes to boast that his lab includes experts in geospacial mapping, remote sensing and genetic techniques. It is easy to see where genetically engineered CRISPR trees could fit into the scheme to cover the planet in carbon sucking GE trees that could be then cut down and pulped, chipped or digested into sugars to feed the insatiable and unsustainable demand for building materials, energies, plastics, etc. The demand which has fed the global economy and has helped lead us to the brink of disaster.

     

    Except for the European Regulation on Gene Editing

    During the IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference panel on societal acceptance of GE trees, researcher Wout Boerjan, of the Ghent Institute in Belgium, a long-time campaigner for the deregulation of GE trees, discussed his fears about the EU decision to treat gene edited trees and other organisms the same as other GMOs. “If gene editing falls under the GM regulation, many new companies will not start. There are many new ideas based on CRISPR/CAS and they can only develop into a company if it’s not going to be so expensive to bring these products on the market. So, if you have a new edited plant and you need to go through the regulatory system, which is extremely expensive, these small companies cannot afford it and the product will not come to the market, so the whole innovation in Europe will just fall flat.” [15].

    Miron Abramson, of GE tree company FuturaGene, responded that he was less concerned about gene editing perceived as GMO, “So we will treat it as GE and I don’t see any disadvantage or advantage in this case, but just another tool.”

     

    A Voice of Experience Offers a Word of Caution

    But the Tree Biotechnology conference was not without its cautionary voices. On the societal acceptance panel, Professor Ron Sederoff, considered the father of tree biotechnology, remarked that, “There are people who are kept up at night worrying about this technology and I might be one of them. One opponent of GE technology, David Suzuki, makes an argument that is widely considered that science shouldn’t be trusted with new technology. That science does things that are inherently dangerous and we don’t know what to expect, and I think that’s the core of his argument. But I agree that that’s right. There are people who simply have a fear of new technology, and I think they have a good reason. Looking back on human history, there has been misuse of every major technology that has been invented…We haven’t even thought about the potential for the misuse of the technology that we’re talking about. But I think it’s there…I think that there are worries, and I think that CRISPR, for example, poses a threat because it makes things [that exist outside of the law] and if you could do anything you want to and you were malevolently inclined, you might be able to take pathogens that affect people or ecology or forests and [use CRISPR to combine their traits] and make new things. I think there are things to worry about.” [16]

     

    Transformation not Reformation: Join the Resurgence!

    Global Justice Ecology Project (globaljusticeecology.org), coordinating body of the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, (stopgetrees.org) is issuing this report and critique of the 2019 IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference, the Trillion Tree Campaign and Business for Natureinitiative because of our commitment to expose ecologically and socially destructive false solutions that enable business as usual. This is a step in our work to help create a movement that can fundamentally transform political, social and economic systems in order to address the multiple ecological crises threatening the future survival of humans and millions of other species.

    For this reason, we are also co-organizing The Resurgence: 2019 North American Forest & Climate Movement Convergence, 11-14 October in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois. This strategic action session, open to forest and climate activists, organizers and others is aimed at uncovering root causes of the ecological crises we face and developing new strategies to address them. (For info: forestclimateconvergence.org)

    To protect forests and communities from the impacts of climate catastrophe, we must actively opposeunjust market-based and profit-oriented false solutions to climate change, such as those described above. If what is proposed as a solution to catastrophic climate change jeopardizes other people or ecosystems it cannot claim to be just or sustainable.

    To keep forests intact, we must fundamentally transform the dominant political and economic systems and transition to small-scale, local and traditional systems.

    We can clearly see the result of the dominant political and economic system in the form of climate and other crises, including loss of fresh water and arable land, ocean collapse, mass-extinction and extreme weather, as well as escalating human rights abuses including forced displacements, migrations and genocide.

    These systems cannot be simply reformed. We must organize to fundamentally confront and transform them. Even the generally conservative National Academy of Sciences agrees. A paper they published on 6 August 2018 concludes, “[A] Stabilized Earth trajectory requires deliberate management of humanity’s relationship with the rest of the Earth System if the world is to avoid crossing a planetary threshold. We suggest that a deep transformation based on a fundamental reorientation of human values, equity, behavior, institutions, economies, and technologies is required.” [10]

    For information on how to join this effort for systemic transformation, visit The Resurgence: 2019 North American Forest & Climate Movement Convergence http://forestclimateconvergence.org

     

    NOTES

    [1] CTNBio Meeting to Approve GE Trees Cancelled – FuturaGene Taken Over (2015) https://stopgetrees.org/victory-ctnbio-occupied-meeting-cancelled-no-approval-ge-trees/ and see Interview with a Militant of the MST (2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GeqRRM7A5s&list=PLJIqsEBkCVM2edxllRUp2a0zTwPI0CMjq&index=4&t=561s

    [2] The Global Tree Restoration Potential (2019) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/76

    [3] For decades, World Rainforest Movement and others have demanded that the FAO change its forest definition, which “reduces a forest to any area covered by trees. In doing so, the FAO definition discards other life-forms as well as the biological, cyclical and cultural diversity that define a forest in its continuous interconnection with forest-dependent communities. FAO’s reductionist definition also allows the companies behind tens of millions of industrial fast-growing plantations to claim their monocultures are ‘planted forests’. Countries’ forest statistics thus count these fast-growing industrial monocultures as ‘forests’, in spite of the well-documented social and environmental impacts such plantations have caused around the world.” In 2009, WRM explained, “the definition of forests is not an academic or linguistic discussion: it is a political issue having serious social and environmental consequences at the ground level. Defining plantations as forests empowers the corporate sector – particularly plantation companies – and disempowers local communities opposing them to protect their livelihoods. The FAO continues playing this role by refusing to change its definition.” https://wrm.org.uy/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Compilaci%C3%B3n-21-de-Marzo-2018-EN.pdf

    [4] Use of the FAO definition means that “reforestation” efforts could easily become tree monocultures, or even GE tree plantations, since there is no official difference between them. While the Crowther Lab distances itself from the question of monocultures in its online follow up [https://www.crowtherlab.com/tree-restoration-potential-qa/] use of the FAO definition of forests means monocultures cannot be avoided. And at the FAO’s World Forestry Conference in 2009 in Buenos Aires, sessions addressing reforestation, afforestation, forest restoration, sustainable forest management, and net zero deforestation all advocated the planting of tree monocultures.[http://climate-connections.org/2009/10/23/world-forestry-congress-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-plantations/]

    [5] National Forest Monitoring and Information Systems for a transparent and truthful REDD+ process (FAO) https://www.researchgate.net/project/National-Forest-Monitoring-and-Information-Systems-for-a-transparent-and-truthful-REDD-process-FAO

    [6] Sky Protector Briefing Paper https://skyprotector.org/2018/08/19/sky-protector-briefing-paper-8-2/ also see the film A Darker Shade of Green, REDD Alert and the Future of Forests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPFPUhsWMaQ and

    REDD-Monitor’s Offsetting fossil fuel emissions with tree planting and ‘natural climate solutions’: science, magical thinking, or pure PR? https://redd-monitor.org/2019/07/04/offsetting-fossil-fuel-emissions-with-tree-planting-and-natural-climate-solutions-science-magical-thinking-or-pure-pr/

    [7] “Of course, the carbon capture associated with global restoration could not be instantaneous because it would take several decades for forests to reach maturity. Nevertheless, under the assumption that most of this additional carbon was sourced from the atmosphere, reaching this maximum restoration potential would reduce a considerable proportion of the global anthropogenic carbon burden (~300 GtC) to date.” (1). The global tree restoration potential https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/76

    [8] According to the Global Carbon Project: https://www.co2.earth/global-co2-emissions

    [9] Brazil: huge rise in Amazon destruction under Bolsonaro, figures showThe Guardian, 3 July 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/03/brazil-amazon-rainforest-deforestation-environment

    [10] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2018: Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocenehttps://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252

    [11] “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society,” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policymakers https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/

    [12] The Green Shock Doctrine, p. 4 https://globaljusticeecology.org/green-shock-doctrine/

    [13] Business for Nature website: https://businessfornature.org/

    [14] CRISPR is a gene editing technique in which CRISPR and the RNA segments and enzymes it produces are used to identify and modify specific DNA sequences in the genome of other organisms https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/CRISPR

    [15] 2019 IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference session on “Societal Acceptance of Tree Biotechnology” (Quote found at 49:47)https://mediasite.wolfware.ncsu.edu/online/Play/f9f72a14f48f4b4bb5a58222979e4afd1d?catalog=b9038d70a4ff49dbaab35ddc1a25705821

    [16] 2019 IUFRO Tree Biotechnology Conference session on “Societal Acceptance of Tree Biotechnology” (Quote found at 1:28:04)https://mediasite.wolfware.ncsu.edu/online/Play/f9f72a14f48f4b4bb5a58222979e4afd1d?catalog=b9038d70a4ff49dbaab35ddc1a25705821

     

    [The Campaign to STOP GE Treesis a national and international alliance of organizations that have united toward the goal of prohibiting the ecologically and socially devastating release of genetically engineered trees into the environment. Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates, administrates and fundraises for the campaign. World Rainforest Movement, based in Uruguay, is the Southern Contact for the Campaign and has materials in English, Spanish and Portuguese.]

     

    The Global Goals to Further Corporate Capture Presents: The United Nations Foundation Partnerships

    The Global Goals to Further Corporate Capture Presents: The United Nations Foundation Partnerships

    Wrong Kind of Green

    June 18, 2019

     

     

     

    “It’s about industrial transformation on a scale we’ve never seen before.” – Sharan Burrow, B Team, International Trade Union Confederation

     

     

    +++

    “For this reason, the UN Security Council must be abolished. Rather than fostering peace among nations, this body has promoted wars and invasions by imperial powers in their quest for the natural resources available in the invaded countries. Instead of a Security Council, today we have an insecurity council of imperial wars….

     

    The time has come for the nations of the South.

     

    In the past, we were colonized and enslaved. Our stolen labour built empires in the North.

     

    Today, with every step we take for our liberation, the empires grow decadent and begin to crumble.

     

    However, our liberation is not only the emancipation of the peoples of the South. Our liberation is also for the whole of humanity. We are not fighting to dominate anyone. We are fighting to ensure that no one becomes dominated.

     

    Only we can save the source of life and society: Mother Earth. Our planet is under a death threat from the greed of predatory and insane capitalism.”

    Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, gave this talk at the summit of the Group of 77 plus China, meeting in Santa Clara, Bolivia, on June 14, 2014.

    +++

     

    UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION PARTNERS

    Disney
    Royal Dutch Shell
    The Nike Foundation
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    Johnson & Johnson
    Vodafone Foundation
    Walgreens
    William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
    BNY Mellon
    Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
    Stephen Curry

    Below you will find a list of our larger financial partners since 2016.

    BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL DONORS

    • Government of Australia
    • Government of Canada
    • Government of Denmark
    • Government of Finland
    • Government of Germany
    • Government of Norway
    • Government of Sweden
    • Government of the Netherlands
    • Government of the United Arab Emirates UAE + Sharjah Media Centre
    • Government of the United Kingdom
    • Government of the United States
    • The World Bank

     

    • FOUNDATIONS AND NON-PROFITS

      • Akila & S. Somesegar Family Foundation
      • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
      • American Red Cross
      • Angélica Fuentes Foundation
      • Ariadne Getty Foundation
      • Barr Foundation
      • Benito & Frances C. Gaguine Foundation
      • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
      • Bloomberg Family Foundation
      • Boston Foundation
      • California Community Foundation
      • CARE International
      • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
      • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
      • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
      • ClimateWorks Foundation
      • Dalio Philanthropies
      • David & Lucile Packard Foundation
      • DOEN Foundation
      • Ed and Mary Schreck Foundation
      • Ford Foundation
      • Fuserna Foundation
      • GAVI
      • Hinduja Foundation
      • J.C.C. Fund
      • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
      • Junior Chamber International
      • Kathryn B McQuade Foundation
      • Keisuke Honda
      • KR Foundation
      • Lear Family Foundation
      • Lions Club International Foundation
      • MAC Aids Fund
      • MCJ Amelior Foundation
      • Mickey Ross Endowment
      • Muirfield Foundation
      • National Philanthropic Trust
      • Naveen and Anu Jain Foundation
      • New Venture Fund
      • Nielsen Foundation
      • Osprey Foundation
      • Pivotal Ventures
      • Project Perpetual
      • Renaissance Charitable Foundation
      • Rexel Foundation
      • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
      • Rockefeller Foundation
      • SCA
      • Seton Hall University
      • Silicon Valley Community Foundation
      • Simon Estes Foundation
      • Skoll Foundation
      • Stephen and Ayesha Curry Family Foundation
      • Summit Foundation
      • Swedish Postcode Foundation
      • TE Connectivity Foundation
      • The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries
      • Tides Foundation
      • Turner Foundation
      • Vergstiftelsen Foundation
      • Wallace Global Fund
      • Wellcome Trust
      • WestWind Foundation
      • William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
      • Women’s National Basketball Players Association Foundation
      • World Lung Foundation

    • CORPORATIONS

      • Abraaj Group
      • Al Ansari Exchange LLC
      • Al-Dabbagh Group
      • Alibaba Group
      • Amazon Web Services
      • American Institute of Architects
      • AOL Charitable Foundation
      • Aptive
      • Astellas USA Foundation
      • Aviva
      • Bank of America
      • Barclays
      • Beach House Group
      • Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD)
      • Bioré
      • Blackbaud
      • BNY Mellon
      • Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)
      • Caterpillar Foundation
      • Cemex
      • Chevron
      • Dell
      • Diamonds Unleashed
      • Dietel Partners
      • Dogan Holdings
      • Edelman Public Relations
      • Eli Lilly
      • Ericsson
      • Essity
      • Exxon Mobil Foundation
      • Fabletics
      • Gap Inc.
      • Goldman Sachs
      • Google
      • Grundfos
      • GSK
      • GSMA
      • Guggenheim Partners
      • H&M
      • IFC Asset Management Company
      • Inmarsat Global Limited
      • Investec
      • Johnson & Johnson
      • JP Morgan
      • Kaiser Permanente
      • Kenneth Cole Productions
      • Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base
      • Lululemon
      • Mac AIDS Fund
      • MAM USA Corporation
      • Manitou Group
      • Mann Global Health
      • Mars, Incorporated
      • Mashable
      • Mastercard
      • McKinsey & Co.
      • Merck & Co.
      • MetLife
      • MixLids
      • MMG Limited
      • Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding (GIFT)
      • Nestlé
      • Newman’s Own Foundation
      • Nike Foundation
      • Nike, Inc.
      • Oath
      • Olam International
      • Ooredoo
      • Parachute
      • Pearson Education Inc.
      • Pfizer Inc.
      • Philips
      • Porter Novelli
      • Proctor & Gamble
      • PwC
      • Q22
      • Qualcomm
      • Royal Dutch Shell
      • Safaricom
      • Samsung
      • SAP Public Services
      • Sumitomo Chemical
      • Swarovski
      • Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
      • Target
      • TE Connectivity (TE Foundation)
      • Temasek
      • Terminix
      • The Coca-Cola Company
      • The Kellogg Company
      • The Walt Disney Company
      • Unilever
      • United States Liability Insurance Corporation
      • UPS Foundation
      • Vestergaard
      • Viacom
      • Vodafone Americas Foundation
      • Walgreens Boots Alliance
      • White & Case LLP
      • WME
      • Yara International
      • Zhong Yi Corporation

    Trees Don’t Grow on Money – or Why You Don’t Get to Rebel Against Extinction

    Tim Hayword 

    April 29, 2019

     

    Money doesn’t go on trees, and although people can make money out of trees, they cannot make trees out of money. This much may seem platitudinous, but it is worth keeping in mind.

    What is true of trees is true of the natural world as a whole, including the human beings that are part of it. Nature is real; money is an abstraction. If money seems real that is because our institutions and practices are so deeply premised on beliefs in it. There is an important sense in which those institutionalized beliefs – in crediting it with a certain value – make money real; but it is not real in the way the natural world is real. If a bank goes bust, if a whole economy crashes, the social upheaval that follows may be immense, but life goes on – people will pick themselves up and start again (and some people, meanwhile, will likely have found a way to profit from it!). By contrast, if a species goes extinct, if an ecosystem collapses, then there is no prospect – certainly not on human timescales – of a recovery. The threat of extinction to our own species is the ultimate threat.

    Extinction Rebellion has given publicity to critically important concerns of our time – the ecological crises as exemplified by dangerous climate change and biodiversity loss.[1] But it also gives rise to some perplexity.

    A circumstantial puzzle is how an apparently spontaneous social movement of protest comes to have the energetic backing of big business interests and even to receive notable support from influential sections of the corporate media.

    On deeper reflection, what does it even mean to stage a rebellion against extinction? Rebellions usually involve a group of people rising up to protest or overthrow another group that wields unjust or illegitimate power over them. How can you ‘rebel’ against extinction? It is not as if you can choose to disobey the laws of nature.

    The website that asserts the copyright © Extinction Rebellion, states certain demands directed at government.[2] The moral clarity of their seemingly simple message, however, could be deceptive.[3]

    Two key demands are: “halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”

    These may sound like goals that any ethically rational person could wholeheartedly endorse, and yet, as a recent critical study by Cory Morningstar has demonstrated, what their pursuit entails does not necessarily correspond to what people might imagine.[4]

    First, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero does not mean eliminating emissions, or even necessarily reducing them at all. It refers to the possibility of engaging in other activities to offset them. The offsetting may be accomplished by various means of  technological fixes and/or accounting innovations, but what these means have in common is that they will be profitable to engage in. As was made explicit some years ago in the influential Stern Review of climate economics, a policy approach allowing emissions offsetting creates great opportunities for businesses and the financial sector.

    ‘Capital markets, banks and other financial institutions will have a vital role in raising and allocating the trillions of dollars needed to finance investment in low-carbon technology and the companies producing the new technologies.’ (Stern 2006: 270)

    ‘The development of carbon trading markets also presents an important opportunity to the financial sector. Trading on global carbon markets is now worth over $10bn annually’. (Stern 2006: 270)

    By attaching a price to carbon, a whole new commodity is created over which the distribution of rights represents a new income stream. So it’s good for shareholder profits, but what about nature? How confident can we be when its protection relies on a new multi-billion dollar market involving the same people responsible for the global financial crisis?

    The other key goal, to halt biodiversity loss, sounds like one that should not allow wriggle room for profiteers to game it. And yet, consider for a moment how one might propose – even with the best and purest of intentions – to bring biodiversity loss to a halt. The sheer extent of activities around the world that are undermining habitats and ecological systems is so great and complex, it is hard to conceive what exactly could and should be done, even given determined political will to do it. The proposed policy in reality, therefore, is not literally to stop doing everything we are currently doing that compromises biodiversity. Instead, it once again centres on putting a price on the aspects of nature that market actors attach value to. The premise is that if we accept it is not possible to halt the destruction of biodiversity in some places, it is still possible to protect and even re-create biodiversity in others. Thus, just as with carbon emissions, the ideas of substitution and compensation play a pivotal role: biodiversity loss may not be literally halted, but it can be offset.

    And how is biodiversity loss to be offset?[5] Here comes the familiar move: in order to weigh the loss in one place against a putative gain in another they must be subjected to a common scheme of measurement. Biodiversity being something of value, the way to record how much value any instance of it has is taken to be by reference to monetary price. Hence we learn that ‘biodiversity conservation and the related concept of “natural capital” are becoming mainstream. For instance, the Natural Capital Coalition is developing the economic case for valuing natural ecosystems and includes buy-in from some of the biggest players in business, accountancy and consulting. And the financial industry is moving toward more responsible investing.’[6]

    Yet this unidimensional quantification of value completely disregards the point that biodiversity is a complex and quintessentially qualitative phenomenon. It is of the essence of biodiversity that its biotic components and their environments are diverse. Being diverse means being different in ways that cannot be reduced to the measure of a single common denominator. Hence the essence of biodiversity is an irreducible plurality of incommensurables. The idea of ‘compensating’ for loss of biodiversity of one kind by the protection or enhancement of biodiversity of another kind elsewhere means disregarding the very meaning of biodiversity.[7]

    The idea of biodiversity offsets, then, does not have its rational basis in ecological concern but in the expansionary logic of capitalist profit seeking.

    A rebellion that really has any prospect of fending off disaster for our biosphere and ourselves needs to be based on a proper understanding of who and what needs to be rebelled against.

    Extinction Rebellion publicity material says that it is apolitical. Yet there is nothing apolitical about the real struggle that is required for people to seize the power currently concentrated in the hands of plutocrats. And to those who say – rightly – that ecological issues are greater than mere politics, it may be responded that this is why we cannot let it be “dealt with” by those who currently so misuse their political power.

    Asking governments to enact policies that corporate and financial backers are lining up to draw massive profits from is not what the people protesting against impending ecological disaster have in mind. It needs therefore to be clear that you can’t actually protest against disaster. You need to take on those who are driving us towards it. So you need to know who they are and how they are doing it. It’s a good idea to look carefully at who is shaping the demands you are being enlisted to make, and what exactly they entail.

    land-savings

    [1] For other, less discussed but no less significant problems, see Rockström et al. (2009).

    [2] Why they are directed at government without reference to the central role of powerful corporations is not completely obvious, and nor is the reason why the site also says the protest is ‘apolitical’, a question to be returned to.

    [3] We humans, especially the worst off – and not even to mention members of other species we share the planet with – certainly have powerful reasons for concern at the ecological crises being provoked by our collective global exploitation of the biosphere. But what “we” can do about that is nothing like as clear.

    In fact, there is no “we” that can act as a collective. There are multifarious different people, groups, tribes, classes, and nations that have competing interests. “We” are not organized to respond in a concerted, ethical and rational manner.

    On the other hand, a very small group of people – who alone command as much of the world’s aggregate resources as half the rest of the world’s population put together – is very well coordinated. At the highest levels of corporations and financial institutions they hold great power. With their immense wealth comes control over those – including politicians, journalists and various “thought leaders” – who exercise greatest influence over publics. Their power to manipulate public perceptions vastly exceeds most people’s awareness of it.

    So we – ordinary members of the public, whether old or young – can protest and engage in symbolic actions and go green in aspects of our lifestyle, yet to real little effect. In our heart of hearts we may know this, and yet we may still believe it important to try and to act as we think all should. So when the makings of a real social movement appear, we energetically embrace the opportunity it appears to present for making some more noticeable impact. Hence the enthusiastic welcome of Extinction Rebellion, in which school kids and pensioners have united around the moral and existential cause.

    But what sort of ‘rebellion’ is it that is conjured into action by a consortium of corporate-backed organizations and given extensive positive coverage in the corporate media? The commitments and beliefs of the multifarious individuals and groups on the ground are various and sincerely held, and they do tend to converge around something like the headline goals stated in the publicity material ©Extinction Rebellion. But the exact goals being endorsed focus on two very specific demands: “halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.” And in this post I am arguing that it is very easy to be misled into thinking these capture what we really want to achieve, whereas in reality they may in fact capture our acquiescence in the further extension of corporate power over the natural world and our own lives.

    [4] Morningstar’s set of six articles makes for somewhat demanding reading, and her purposes have sometimes been misunderstood or misrepresented on the basis of apparently rather casual perusal. Certainly, this has been noticeable in comments on Twitter, so I tried to distil some of her key points, without her detail or her critics’ distractions, in a Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/Tim_Hayward_/status/1120748645069021185

    [5] Some useful introductory sources are World Rainforest Movement: http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/tag/green-economy/; Clive Spash 25 minute talk: https://vimeo.com/33921592; and the collection of material here: http://naturenotforsale.org/author/berberv/

    [6] Richard Pearson, ‘We have 15 years to halt biodiversity loss, can it be done?’, The Conversation, 26 Oct 2015 https://theconversation.com/we-have-15-years-to-halt-biodiversity-loss-can-it-be-done-49330.

    [7] For a pithy presentation of the basic ideas here see the short video ‘Biodiversity offsetting, making dreams come true‘ https://vimeo.com/99079535.

    References

    Rockström, Johan et al. (2009), ‘A Safe Operating Space for Humanity’, Nature 461: 472–75.

    Stern, Nicholas et al. (2006), Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, London: HM Treasury.

    WATCH: Quiet Storm – Technology & Social Control

    WATCH: Quiet Storm – Technology & Social Control

    sub.Media

    Published April 2, 2019

     

    “We’re on the brink of a new era. In the coming years and decades, rapid advances in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, data analysis, nanotech, quantum computing, bio-engineering and 3D-printing promise to drastically restructure our societies – much as the steam-powered engine and personal computer did during earlier phases of capitalist development. Coming waves of automation are expected to eliminate the majority of current job categories, raising the spectre of widespread unemployment and the potential for newer, more sophisticated forms of economic servitude and social control. These transformations will take place under the watchful eyes of a high-tech surveillance state, aided by a new generation of AI-driven facial recognition software, and the further proliferation of networked ‘smart’ devices that record nearly everything we say or do.

    Many of the technologies of tomorrow are being designed today in the universities and corporate R&D labs of Shenzen, Singapore and Silicon Valley, by scientists and engineers working at the behest of military contractors and multi-billion dollar tech companies. Claims that ‘technology is neutral’ ring hollow in a world dominated by powerful states and capitalist social relations. It’s clear to anyone keeping score that those who control and shape technological development and mass production are best situated to reap the benefits. But at the end of the day, capital and the state don’t hold a monopoly on innovation. There are many anarchists also working on building new technologies to help thwart our enemies and unlock new paths of resistance. And despite what you may have heard, the master’s tools can be used to dismantle the master’s home – provided the person swinging the hammer knows where to aim.” [Source: sub.Media] [Running time: 33:26]

     

     

    Extractivism is Winning and the Green New Deal is the Perfect Distraction

    Wrong Kind of Green

    February 6, 2019

    By Michael Swifte

     

     

    A Game of Cosponsors

    There are 4 cosponsors of the Green New Deal resolution (H.Res 109) in the minority member list of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. They are Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Ed Markey. [Source]

    There are, at the time of writing, 7 Democrat cosponsors of the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (S. 383). They are Sheldon Whitehouse, Tammy Duckworth, Tina Smith, Thomas Carper, Brian Shatz and Chris Van Hollen. [Source]

    On Wednesday February 27, 2019 the Environment and Public Works committee met to discuss the USE IT Act and hear testimony from 3 guest panellists from energy companies and NGOs.

    The three panellists were Paul Sukut – General Manager & CEO, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Steve Oldham – CEO, Carbon Engineering, and Kurt Waltzer – Managing Director, Clean Air Task Force. The Clean Air Task Force are part of the Carbon Capture Coalition which was formerly called the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative. Video is available of the committee proceedings. [Source]

    While Republican and Democrat cosponsors asked questions of the invited guests, no questions were forthcoming from the 4 cosponsors of the Green New Deal. Indeed, having not seen an attendance list I can’t say for certain they were even there at the meeting.

    Committee Chair John Barrasso issued a transcript of his comments at the February 27, EPW meeting. Among the comments he points out that in the previous congress the EPW committee had “voice” voted the now reintroduced USE IT Act “unanimously”. This would mean that if the 4 GND cosponsors were also in attendance at the “voice vote” they supported the USE IT Act through the committee stage after it’s first introduction. Again, I can’t say they were there for certain at the first “voice vote”. [Source]

    A Significant Act

    In my previous blog post for Wrong Kind of Green I provided some legislative, labor, and philanthropic context for understanding what the Green New Deal is designed to allow to pass while it becomes a distraction from real legislative efforts. It follows from my 2016 piece on “clean energy’ in which I argued that there will be little change to the ‘all of the above’ strategy hidden behind Obama’s Clean Power Plan. My consistent focus has been on the expression of political will made clear by many largely ignored processes. [Source]

    The USE IT Act is significant because it follows up on the 45Q tax credit expansions included in the FUTURE Act 2018, but passed into law through the Bipartisan Budget Bill 2018 (Sec. 41119). 45Q tax credits reward coal and gas burners for scrubbing their CO2 emissions and transporting them to depleted oil fields where the liquefied CO2 is used in a process called miscible flooding to plump up the hard to extract remnant oil. Companies extracting oil from depleted fields are rewarded when they can show that CO2 has been incorporated into the rock matrix in place of the extracted oil. CO2 enhanced oil recovery with geological storage represents a qualitative shift in extractivist codependence providing a response to oil industry demand for giant scale CO2 sources. [Source]

    Below are some of Senator Barrasso’s remarks from the February 27, 2019 EPW committee meeting.

    The FUTURE Act extended and expanded the tax credit for using and storing carbon dioxide.

     

    The Clean Air Task Force called the FUTURE Act ‘one of the most important bills for reducing global warming pollution in the last two decades.

     

    The extension and expansion of the so-called 45Q tax credit through the FUTURE Act has expanded public interest about how we capture and use carbon dioxide.

     

    This Congress, I have continued to focus on ways to expedite and expand the use of carbon capture.

     

    That begins with the USE IT Act.

     

    Last Congress, we unanimously reported the legislation out of Committee by voice vote.

     

    This Congress we want it signed into law.

     

    America should reduce emissions through innovation, not punishing government regulations.

     

    The USE IT Act advances that goal. [Source]

    The comments and responses to questions by the panellists in attendance at the EPW committee showed the significance of the passing of 45Q expansions through the Bipartisan Budget Bill 2018. The video of the committee meeting is well worth watching. [Source]

    “Frontline and Vulnerable Communities” are Forgotten

    The Green New Deal resolution emphasises the importance of “justice and equity” for “frontline and vulnerable communities”. The focus for GND authors is often on foreseen climate impacts, but consideration should be given to existing vulnerable communities and the known destructive effects of fossil fuel extraction, transport, refining, and burning. By remaining silent on actual legislation like the USE IT Act, by not attending or staying silent at key committee meetings, by ignoring the stated outcomes supported by unions and other Labor organisations working in mining, pipeline building, refining, and transport, and by ignoring the stated object of the Carbon Capture Coalition, the 4 cosponsors of the Green New Deal and their friends in the Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats PAC, Brand New Congress PAC, Data for Progress think tank, and New Consensus think tank are abrogating their stated responsibility to “frontline and vulnerable communities”. How can an extended life for fossil fuels be goods in any way? How can a plan that that continues our rampant consumer culture founded on the creation of externalities in the global south, ensures the continued destruction of aquifers, the poisoning of rivers, the removal of mountain tops, the capture of vast quantities of water for extraction, and all the other ways we already know that fossil fuels destroy life and health be a good thing?

    Silence on Labor and CCUS

    Sheldon Whitehouse is the Democrat’s strongest champion of the USE IT Act. In his comments at the February 27 EPW meeting he made a point of mentioning that the AFL-CIO are supportive of the USE IT Act and the 45Q tax credit expansions. The AFL-CIO are yet to make a public statement on the Green New Deal, but 4 of their fellow labor organisations from the Carbon Capture Coalition were enjoined on a February 12 letter authored by the international presidents of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Mine Workers of America. In the letter titled ‘Preliminary Labor Positions on Climate Change Legislation’ the position of the labor component of the Carbon Capture Coalition in regard to the Green New Deal is made very clear.

    We also have grave concerns about unrealistic solutions such as those advocated in the “Green New Deal” and by proponents of the “Keep It in the Ground” ideology. Any legislation addressing the complex issues of carbon emission reduction must recognize and address: a) the tremendous impact such legislation will have on millions of fossil fuel-reliant jobs across America; and b) the costs and full recompense required to mitigate the effects of the loss of those jobs on workers, families and communities.[Source]

    The 4 Green New Deal cosponsors and everyone else for that matter have had every opportunity to attend to the issue of Labor’s response to the Green New Deal, but as you will notice in Rachel M Cohen’s recent piece titled ‘Labor Unions Are Skeptical of the Green New Deal, And They Want Activists To Hear Them Out’ many of the Green New Deal cohort (Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats PAC, Brand New Congress PAC, Data for Progress think tank, and New Consensus think tank) are not willing to be drawn on the details of the carbon capture utilization and storage issue as it relates to energy futures designed to deliver on the Green New Deal. [Source]

    Framing the Resolution

    To understand how the Green New Deal resolution language was framed we have to look at the primary authors and researchers who developed early contributions at the behest of the leading proponents of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement. Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer identified the primary authors of  the Green New Deal blueprint as researchers recruited from the World Resources Institute to the purpose built think tank Data for Progress. [Source]

    The terms “clean energy” and “net zero emissions” echo the language in the Green New Deal Report, and no commitment to phase out fossil fuels appears in the Green New Deal resolution. [Source]

    Dallas Goldtooth from Indigenous Environment Network has expressed concerns about the resolution.

    While we applaud its intentions, we feel that [the resolution] falls short in protecting indigenous communities,[ ]Explicitly talking about keeping fossil fuels in the ground, that’s a critical issue. [Source]

    Julian NoiseCat, a policy director with 350 dot org was surprisingly candid about that fact that the Green New Deal resolution does not shut the door on fossil fuel extraction.  

    The language I read was clean, renewable, zero emissions — which is that ‘keep the door open’ approach,

    NoiseCat described the drafting process for the Green New Deal as inclusive noting that it included the AFL-CIO and three other unions.

    It was an inclusive drafting process that included stakeholders from environmental, labor and more traditional environmental organizations, [Source]

    The fact that the process was inclusive and no commitment to a fossil fuel phase out was included in the Green New Deal resolution to the disappointment of key climate justice spokespeople the question needs be asked: Did leaving the “door open” to carbon capture utilization and storage require framing out a commitment to phasing out fossil fuel extraction and burning?

    A Little Help?

    Naomi Wolf (@naomirwolf on Twitter) has built a common sense platform called Daily Clout which supports BillCam. She has rightly identified the need for collective effort in analysing and monitoring legislative activity in the US. Now I’m just an Australian researcher and anti-fossil fuel activist who knows that whatever takes hold in the US and Canada will be exported to countries like mine which happens to have a massive target painted on it and a sign that says “Dig Here”. The reason I ended up being so fascinated by North American fossil fuel development is because Canada and the US are a proving ground for new fossil fuel frontiers. [Source]

    So I’m left with a burning question about the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. It’s a question I might be able to answer with an exhaustive search, but I thought I’d put it out to the Daily Clout audience: Is there an attendance record for each senate committee meeting, and were Senators Sanders, Booker, Gillibrand and Markey present for either the unanimous voice vote on the USE IT Act in the 115th Congress or the February 27, 2018 meeting of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works?

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

    Watch: The Green New Deal Deconstructed – Eleven Pages of (NOT) Shocking Surprises

    Daily Clout

    January 2, 2019

     

    Naomi Wolf is an author, journalist, and former political advisor to both Al Gore and Bill Clinton.

    “DailyClout explains bills and events in Us and global democracies in ways anyone can understand.”

    We actually READ the #GreenNewDeal. It’s NOT a draft bill — it’s 11 pages of a Google doc with shocking surprises. It assigns a vast “wartime footing” level amount of taxpayer money to private entities — VCs, the private Federal Reserve, “new banks” and any “financial instrument” the 15 members of the committee decide ‘appropriate.” It creates a national SMART GRID — which is terrible for human health and great for telecoms and surveillance. It gives the 15 committee members the right to not hold any public hearings about the “green new deal,” if they so choose. It creates loopholes that leave them free to not have normal term limits. It hands vast sums to air and ocean carbon capture, which is an experimental geoengineering tech for which silicon valley investors own IP. It states that the “green new deal” will be released on a website and a publication — not on govtrack, where public transparency is assured (and where we at DailyClout get our API). It transfers “unlimited” resources at the will of the 15 and their chosen partners in business, industry etc to groups defined by race, gender and rural-ness, thus violating the equal protections in our Constitution. It’s a shocking document.

     

     

    Canadian Charity Used Donations to Fund Projects Linked to Israeli Military

    CBC

    January 4, 2019

    By Evan Dyer

     

    JNF says it has since stopped the practice, which contravenes Canadian tax rules

     

    Israeli air force cadets toss their caps into the air during a graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim air force base in southern Israel in 2014. A Canadian charity that funds projects in Israel has faced claims that some of its charitable donations have gone to support projects on Israeli military bases in violation of Canadian tax rules. (Tsafrir Abayov/Associated Press)

    The Jewish National Fund of Canada, one of the country’s long-established charities, has been the subject of a Canada Revenue Agency audit over a complaint that it used charitable donations to build infrastructure for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), in violation of Canada’s tax rules.

    The JNF funds numerous projects in Israel, such as reforestation efforts in areas hit by wildfires and the construction of playgrounds for special needs children.

    However, it has also funded infrastructure projects on Israeli army, air and naval bases. While no law bars a Canadian citizen from writing a cheque directly to Israel’s Ministry of Defence, rules do ban tax-exempt charities from issuing tax receipts for such donations, and also ban donors from claiming tax deductions for them.

    The organization, which disclosed to donors last year that it has been under audit by the Canada Revenue Agency, said it stopped funding those projects in 2016.

    A JNF Israel webpage describes Canadian-sponsored projects on Bat Galim Naval Base and Palmachim Airbase in Israel. (KKL-JNF)

    That would not protect it from action by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which in August revoked the charitable status of an Ottawa mosque for promoting “hate and intolerance” by inviting controversial speakers, and for financial irregularities that took place between 2009 and 2014 under a previous group of directors.

    Guidelines clear on the law

    In its guide for Canadian registered charities carrying out activities outside Canada, the CRA states plainly that “increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Canada’s armed forces is charitable, but supporting the armed forces of another country is not.”

    Yet JNF documents describe some of the charity’s spending in Israel in those very terms.

    One JNF Canada document called “Project Opportunities” refers to an “outdoor fitness area at a Gadna military base,” describing Israel’s Gadna program as “a special program for young people in Israel that prepares them for their service in the Israel Defence Forces.” The project included “a fitness area for the regular army staff at the Gadna base in Sde Boker.”

    A JNF Canada Youth Leadership Solidarity Mission picked up tools to help build the hilltop outpost of Givat Oz VeGaon in the West Bank, south of Bethlehem, in 2014. (KKL-JNF)

    Documents produced by JNF Canada’s Israeli parent organization, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF), shed additional light on military projects funded by its Canadian affiliate.

    They include developing “the new planned IDF Training Base City in the Negev” desert, “helping the development of the Bat Galim training base complex area” at Bat Galim Naval Base, “helping to facilitate the upgrade of the existing auditorium for soldier intake, training and conferences” at the same base and a new “moadon” or mess hall-type facility for the 124th (Blackhawk) Helicopter Squadron at Palmachim Air Force Base (“where crew can relax and refuel”), as well as a similar facility for 131 Squadron at Nevatim Air Force Base.

    The logic behind the CRA’s guidance to charities is that issuing Canadian tax receipts for contributions to foreign militaries effectively reduces the revenue available to support Canada’s own defence spending.

    In 2014, JNF Edmonton’s Negev Gala dinner was serenaded by members of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band. According to JNF Edmonton’s Facebook page, “proceeds from (2014’s) Negev Gala will develop three areas of the Negev’s Tse’elim army base, the largest military training facility in Israel. The project will upgrade and landscape the family visiting area, intake and release facility and the barracks’ main plaza. The base is the national centre for ground forces training.”

    JNF Canada declined an interview request for this story, but CEO Lance Davis told CBC News in an email that while the organization has funded projects that support the IDF in the past, it stopped doing so in 2016 after being informed of the CRA guidance.

    “To be clear, we no longer fund projects located on IDF land and JNF Canada operates in accordance with CRA regulations governing its status as a charitable organization,” Davis wrote in the email.

    Greening the land

    Megan McKenzie says she first came across the Jewish National Fund when she was planning a bequest in memory of her nature-loving Jewish grandmother. The Jewish National Fund is famous for planting trees, “greening the land of Israel.”

    McKenzie is a professional mediator and conflict consultant who is married to a Canadian soldier and lives at CFB Shilo in Manitoba. Having worked in conflict resolution from Ireland to DR Congo, she said was “dumbfounded” to find that the JNF was involved in projects she believed did not conform to Canada’s charitable rules.

    “I have a PhD and I’m sort of a natural researcher and so I did some online research,” she said. “And the more I did, the more appalled I was.”

    Megan McKenzie says she found examples of JNF Canada funds benefiting the Israeli Defence Force when she looked into making a donation to the charity on behalf of her late grandmother. (CBC News)

    McKenzie’s online research led her to webpages for both JNF Canada and its parent organization giving extensive details on the charity’s support for the Israeli military and its reforestation projects that have sprawled across the 1949 armistice line (the “Green Line”) into occupied West Bank territory.

    In the case of the JNF’s Canada Park project, occupied land forested by the JNF was enclosed on the Israeli side of the barrier Israel built to separate its citizens from the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

    A new complaint

    Canada Park was JNF Canada’s first large project in Israel and the West Bank, built on the site of three Palestinian villages left empty after 1967’s Six Day War.

    Retired physician Ismail Zayid of Halifax was born in one of those villages, Beit Nuba. He has been complaining to CRA about JNF’s charitable status for 40 years.

    “I wrote to (the CRA) repeatedly,” he said. “They would say they are conducting an investigation of (the) complaint, and then I would write again and say, ‘What are the findings of your investigation?’ And they would say, ‘The findings are confidential.'”

    Retired physician Ismail Zayid has initiated several complaints about JNF Canada, most recently in 2017. (CBC News)

    In October 2017, Zayid filed a new formal complaint, this time in concert with an Ottawa professor, a Vancouver rabbi and a retired nurse from Montreal and using some of McKenzie’s research (the complaint has been backed by the activist organization Independent Jewish Voices Canada, which has mounted a “Stop the JNF Canada” campaign). The CRA appears so far to have taken no action against the charity, although it has subjected JNF to an audit.

    The CRA declined to be interviewed for this story, citing confidentiality. But JNF Canada’s Davis said in an email to CBC News the charity is “currently engaged in ongoing confidential discussions with CRA.” Davis dismissed the complaint as “a rehash” and called IJVC “a longstanding opponent of JNF.”

    Building in the West Bank

    The 2017 complaint includes new information about JNF’s contributions to Israeli military infrastructure projects and its involvement in building in the West Bank.

    Canada officially opposes Israeli settlement-building in occupied territory. CRA policy statement CSP-P13 states: “The courts have held that an organization is not charitable in law if its activities are contrary to public policy.”

    Canada states its position on settlements on Global Affairs Canada’s website: “Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”

    JNF Canada missions in Israel also have contributed directly to the construction of at least one hilltop settler outpost that was declared illegal by the State of Israel itself. Givat Oz VeGaon received and ignored at least 18 demolition orders from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

    A JNF Canadian Young Leadership Solidarity Mission visited the site in August-September 2014 and worked with picks and shovels “to prepare the ground for building a residential unit to be used by the security guard.”

    ‘KKL for IDF’

    A JNF Israel document describes construction work carried out within Tel Nof Airbase in Israel in 2015, paid for by its Canadian subsidiary.(KKL-JNF)

    In a 2014 document produced by the JNF Canada’s parent organization, the Israeli JNF’s Resources and Development Division lists a dozen “KKL for IDF” projects over the previous decade as “Canada-sponsored,” mostly in the period 2011-14.

    One JNF Canada document from 2014 offers donors the chance to participate in the construction of a “meeting point” to enable soldiers to see family members while on active service. Canadian donors are also invited to fund a 900-metre “security road” at Kadesh Barne’a near the Egyptian border that “will improve access to the area for security forces.”

    A KKL-JNF document describes its roads in the western Negev as “security roads which serve the armed forces that patrol the border zones … All the work undertaken by KKL-JNF is coordinated with the IDF … Thanks to these roads, military activity is enhanced.”

    ‘Improving the quality of lives of Israelis’

    In an email to CBC News, Davis said these projects were just part of the works funded by JNF Canada.

    “Thanks to the generosity of Canadians, JNF Canada has played an important role in a wide range of projects in Israel. We have, for example, supported the building of water reservoirs, collaborated with dozens of educational institutions, built numerous recreational/educational facilities, planted millions of trees and supported pioneering research in green technology,” he said.

    Laureen Harper poses with JNF Gala honorees during a group visit to 24 Sussex Drive in 2015. (JNF Canada)

    “In keeping with our mission of improving the quality of lives of Israelis, we have in the past funded projects of a charitable nature that indirectly involved the IDF. These projects were built on land owned by the IDF primarily for the benefit of children and youth. When it came to our attention several years ago that supporting these types of projects may not be in keeping with CRA policies, we stopped funding them.”

    In a subsequent email, Davis said that “the last project we funded was in June 2016 and it was directed to the Hatzerim Airforce Base for a playground/soccer field for the children living on the base.”

    Hatzerim is home to the Israeli Air Force’s flight academy and three combat squadrons.

    Low marks for transparency

    Kate Bahen heads Charity Intelligence, a Toronto-based NGO that produces a report rating Canadian charities on their transparency and efficiency in spending donors’ money.

    “When you look at JNF Canada, it’s fine for cost efficiency,” said Bahen. “It really falls down on financial transparency and accountability. For financial transparency, it gets zero.”

    Bahen said the charity has done the right thing by disclosing to donors that it’s being audited, but it is “an utter black box” when it comes to providing a breakdown of how its money is spent.

    “Any Canadian donor who knows of JNF automatically thinks of planting trees. And there is a lot more to JNF than planting trees.

    “We have absolutely no information on how much it’s spent planting trees, how much goes for irrigation, or education, or how much is diverted to military bases. And that information, I think, is critical, and it’s not provided to Canadian donors.”

    Support in Canada

    JNF has had strong relations with successive Conservative and Liberal governments. One of its recent projects in Israel is the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary in Galilee. Another is John Baird Park in Sderot.

    Stephen Harper helps to lay the cornerstone of the JNF’s Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary in the Galilee region of northern Israel in January 2014. Harper played the keyboard at a Toronto JNF dinner to raise funds for the project, which remains uncompleted.(JNF)

    Although the group enjoyed particularly strong links with the Harper government, it also has been close to the Trudeau government.

    Last July, Ralph Goodale, Canada’s minister of Public Safety, planted a pistachio tree at the JNF’s VIP Tree Planting Center in Jerusalem. He was accompanied by fellow Liberal MP Michael Levitt, a former board member of JNF Canada.

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Liberal MP Michael Levitt plant a tree at JNF’s VIP Tree Planting Center in the mountains above Jerusalem in July 2017. (KKL-JNF)

     

    [Evan Dyer has been a journalist with CBC for 18 years, after an early career as a freelancer in Argentina. He works in the Parliamentary Bureau and can be reached at evan.dyer@cbc.ca.]

    A Quick Note from WKOG

    December 24, 2018

    The Snowman , 1966 [Source]

     

    To all our subscribers-

    We would like to apologize for the recent email glitch. While making some much needed improvements to the Wrong Kind of Green website, an email was inadvertently sent to our subscribers in the process of making these modifications.

    The post was due to implementing some software changes that will allow the website to be a much better viewing experience for our loyal followers. In that vein, we would like to say that although this was a momentary mistake, we will take all necessary precautions to ensure that this will not happen again.

    Since its inception, we have worked for WKOG in a voluntary capacity – paying for all expenses out of our own shallow pockets. We have recently set up a Patreon account with a modest goal to obtain 200 loyal supporters (Patrons) who appreciate our efforts. If you are able to spare a few dollars a month – please consider us.

    Over the past eight years, we have provided approx. 85 in-depth, researched investigative pieces on the environmental movement and the misguidance provided by the modern NGO movement in addressing the most significant problem facing mankind today. In the coming years, we will strive to continue to furnish much more original content.

    We greatly appreciate your understanding and your support. We look forward to providing our readers better and improved content in the near future.

    Wrong Kind of Green

    “The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated.” –Che Guevara

     

    The Role of Salvation Army in Shameful Forced Post-Second World War Adoptions

    December 23, 2018



    The Salvation Army remains active in the adoption industry today. Photo: Salvation Army

     

    July 19, 2018: “‘Shameful period in Canada’s history’: Report released on forced post-Second World War adoptions”

    Excerpt:

    “On Thursday, the committee released a report titled “The Shame Is Ours” detailing Canada’s post-Second World War adoption mandate. It is estimated that more than 350,000 mothers were affected by agency policies and the “common practice” of forcing unwed mothers into maternity homes and coercing them to give up their babies.

     

    In a press conference Thursday, committee chair Art Eggleton called it “another Scoop,” referring to the Sixties Scoop in which Indigenous children were separated from their parents. Eggleton said that nearly 600,000 infants were born to unwed mothers and recorded as “illegitimate births” between 1945 and 1971, though the committee does not know the exact number of forced adoptions due to “prevailing secrecy.” Some of the institutions that carried out the policies no longer exist. But the committee heard evidence during hearings that as many as 95 per cent of unwed mothers in maternity homes surrendered their babies to adoption, compared to two per cent today.

    “It has led to lasting and life-altering psychological distress for both the mothers and adoptees,” said Eggleton.

     

    July, 2018, Canada: “THE SHAME IS OURS: FORCED ADOPTIONS OF THE BABIES OF UNMARRIED MOTHERS IN POST-WAR CANADA”:

    “The committee heard from witnesses who have an in-depth knowledge of historical Canadian adoption practices and they affirmed the accounts that members heard from mothers and adoptees. Young, unmarried mothers who found themselves without financial means or the support of family found their way to church-run maternity homes for unwed mothers, after seeking help from family, friends or their churches. Catholic, United, Anglican and Presbyterian churches as well as the Salvation Army, operated such homes. Members were told that in some instances a fee was requested from the young woman or her family to be cared for at the home. In all cases, it appears that the facilities implemented strict schedules for the residents. The women were required to perform assigned chores, attend “classes” that prepared them for domestic tasks, rather than help to further their education, and participate in religious services. However, the strict schedules were not intended as a structured and regimented environment. Rather, the young women were described as being treated more like prisoners. Some homes had bars on the windows and the movement of residents was strictly controlled. They were often not allowed to use their surnames, only first names, and were not permitted to speak to each other about their own circumstances. Committee members were told that these young women were often subjected to shaming and abuse by the nurses, sisters, social workers, matrons and church leaders. They were told they had no value, they were societal outcasts, they had sinned and deserved the treatment they were getting, and that, in fact, they must be psychologically unwell and unfit since they got pregnant in the first place.

    Members acknowledge that some work has been done in this regard. The maternity homes for unmarried mothers were run in Canada by several churches, including Catholic, United, Anglican, Presbyterian and the Salvation Army. Members heard that only the United Church of Canada has studied its role in the forced adoptions of post-war Canada. Among the witnesses who appeared during the committee’s study, the United Church was the only religious organization willing to attend….

    The committee was told that while other churches have listened to the concerns of individuals and organizations about the forced adoption practices, they have not reacted with apologies or concrete actions. In this respect the committee acknowledges the written submission from the Salvation Army which describes the services offered by the organization and the adoption policies in Ontario from 1940 to 1980. In describing its role and response to the forced adoptions in post-war Canada, the organization stated that it “regrets the prejudices and harsh attitudes” of the time and that it “never supported the deliberate breaking of… the bond between a mother and a child”.”

    Report:

    THE SHAME IS OURS FORCED ADOPTIONS OF THE BABIES OF UNMARRIED MOTHERS IN POST-WAR CANADA

    Britain: June 10, 2018: Sixty years after half a million British babies were forcibly removed, calls for decades of pain to be recognised

    “More than half a million children were given up for adoption at a time when “unmarried mothers” were often rejected by their families and ostracised by society. Adoptions were generally handled through agencies run by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic church and the Salvation Army.”

    Article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jun/10/mps-demand-apology-for-unmarried-mothers-forced-to-give-up-children

    Sydney, March 1, 2012: Stories from the mothers who had their babies taken away. Here is a selection of women explaining just what it was like for a young Australian girl or woman in the 1950s-mid 1970s facing pregnancy as an unwed mother.”

    “About 150,000 babies were put up for adoption in Australia during 1951-1975, the large majority from single, unwed girls and women. The practice of “forced adoptions”  involving coercion and institutional policies that encouraged babies to be taken away from their mothers, has been the focus for a Senate committee for the past 18 months. Yesterday the Community Affairs committee tabled it’s final report, Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices, to the Senate yesterday.”

     

    https://www.crikey.com.au/2012/03/01/forced-adoption-stories-from-the-mothers-who-had-their-babies-taken-away/