Archives

Tagged ‘1Sky/350.org‘

Breaking Free

A New Age Ghost Dance

Salish Sea Maritime

May 15th, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

Clean Energy

carbon-is-forever-smokestacks

As I noted in the introduction to Hijacking the Environmental Movement: Just Say No to 350, in 2011, when the oil industry tycoon Warren Buffett poured $26 million into TIDES foundation—funder of 350–he was making a strategic long-term investment in public relations (PR), while simultaneously scheming to cash in on the gullibility of young, impressionable activists.

Most recently, 350 has come out with new propaganda to mislead climate activists. As they did with the KXL charade and the fossil fuel divestment hoax, 350 is promoting ineffective disobedience as a means of diverting activist energy from reality-based social change that might actually threaten the 350 funders’ fossil fuel investments.

As a fossil fuel industry-financed organization, 350 is the most insidious Wall Street Trojan Horse since Avaaz and Purpose. The 350 followers, like most activists, are utterly clueless.

The 350 break free moral theatrics, as a follow-up to the college campus fossil fuel divestment fraud, is not going to shut down Pacific Northwest oil refineries any more than divestment was going to shut down the oil industry. Divestment made the oil industry more powerful, and the break free scheme is part of Wall Street’s clean energy scam to build nuclear power plants.

New Economy

cop21-showtime1

The ‘New Economy’ unveiled by the global financial elite at COP21 has two main components: 1. ‘clean energy’, and 2. ‘sustainable capitalism’. These, in turn, comprise two of the elements of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 21st Century–a partnership project between Wall Street, the UN and international NGOs, i.e. Avaaz, Ceres, Purpose and 350.

The primary promoters of the ‘New Economy’, ‘clean energy’ and ‘sustainable capitalism’–that form the core of the UN SDGs–are Bill Gates, Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz & Purpose) and Bill McKibben (350). Economic development under the SDGs relies on financial investment from the World Bank, and compliance enforcement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)–in partnership with Wall Street and regional investment banks.

The results of this ‘sustainable capitalism’ can already be seen in the form of mega-dams, mega-plantations, and mega-mining projects in South America, Africa and Asia. This industrial development–while profitable to the investors–has unfortunately resulted in major deforestation, toxic pollution of fresh water, and ethnic cleansing of Indigenous peoples who formerly called these territories home.

Adjacent to the mega-dams, mega-plantations, and mega-mines of the ‘New Economy’ are makeshift camps for the industrial laborers, as well as rural shanty towns for displaced farmers and fishermen. The Indigenous peoples–those that aren’t murdered by corporate security personnel working in tandem with the police and military–are frequently relocated to urban slums far away, where many die a slow death of poverty and substance abuse.

The mega-dams provide electricity for industry, including the processing of minerals from the mega-mines, as well as the GMO soy and palm oil produced on the mega-plantations. The ‘clean energy’ minerals include gold, copper, and lithium, which are used in consumer electronics, solar panels, wind mills, and batteries for electric vehicles. They also include coal, oil, and uranium that is used to fuel the electrical grids in countries such as France, Japan and the UK.

The ‘clean energy’ plan of the UN, Wall Street and NGOs–that championed the financial elite at COP21–relies on two primary projects: 1. a global nuclear power renaissance, and 2. privatization of Indigenous and public resources worldwide.

Enchanting as the chimera of clean energy might be, it doesn’t scale to meet energy demand, and its use by marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose and 350 is to perpetuate the misbelief that Wall Street — which caused all our social and environmental problems — is our only hope for salvation. Sort of a New Age Ghost Dance.

Bomb Trains

buffet

The reason for the glut of Bakken crude now rolling into the March Point and Cherry Point refineries in Washington State goes back to 2012, when Obama opened up millions of acres for gas and oil in 23 states, ushering in the fracking boom that brought us the ‘bomb trains’ owned by Obama’s friend Warren Buffett since 2009, when he purchased Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) for $34 billion–the same year TIDES Foundation funded 350.

In 2010, 350 launched the campaign to reject KXL; by 2014, crude-via-rail in the US soared to 500 thousand car loads per year, up from 5 thousand in 2008, with trains exploding across Canada and the US.

To refresh readers’ memories, the KXL ‘grassroots’ hoax was funded in large part by TIDES (flush with Buffett money) with 350 at the helm. Funds laundered through Buffett’s foundation NOVO and the TIDES Foundation — a money laundry used by Tar Sands investors and other elites to control NGOs — helped finance the KXL NGO charade, thus eclipsing any discussion about shutting down the Tar Sands, and making possible the explosive growth of bomb trains and other pipelines.

Divestment

dry powder play poster

When Klein and McKibben herded thousands of college students across America to fight climate change by forcing their schools to divest in fossil fuels, no one stopped to ask if that would make any difference. Using the emotive force of the idea of divestment as people power — based on an intentional association with its use in South Africa and Palestine — 350 inducted hypnotic behavior that omitted any critical judgment.

The fact that apartheid was opposed by a combination of boycott, divestment and sanction by national and international institutions in support of armed insurrection was lost on the climateers. Instead, they were hypnotized into believing that colleges selling back fossil fuel shares to Wall Street (where unscrupulous investors could then make a killing) was part of a magical social revolution. The same could apply to the nonsensical demand to end fossil fuels.

As a Wall Street shell game, the global fossil fuel divestment campaign — exposed by Cory Morningstar in Divestment as the Vehicle to Interlocking Globalized Capital — is a PR masterpiece.

As noted in the November 4, 2014 Harvard Business Review,

Were divestment ever to succeed in lowering the valuations of fossil fuel companies, an unintended consequence could be a shift from public markets to private markets… Such a shift could hurt transparency; companies that go private have minimal reporting obligations and they typically become very opaque. This could limit everyone’s ability to engage the management of these companies in a discussion around climate change.

As an indicator of the scale of fraud perpetrated by the divestment campaign led by 350, Exxon in 2014 spent $13.2 billion buying up its own stock. As I noted previously,

Discursive monoculture is the result of investment in private equity media, university endowments, and NGOs. The energy industry understands production and consumption cycles, and makes just as much on low prices as high. When the glut from fracking is burned up by frolicking consumers, they’ll double the price again, and make a killing on the divested shares.

Using hedge funds and other non-transparent private equity trading firms, the aristocracy – that is heavily invested in fossil fuels – is betting on increasing oil and gas consumption, long into the future. Corporate media rarely discusses the American aristocracy and how their agenda affects society. Consumers blame banks, but they have no idea how financial institutions are used by private equity traders to constantly replenish aristocratic wealth at our expense.

Private equity funds are not openly traded in any public stock exchange system, and therefore face considerably less regulatory oversight from institutions such as the Securities and Exchange Commission than their publicly traded counterparts.

Buying energy assets on the cheap as a result of fossil fuel divestment by universities and pension funds, investors such as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners “wield an immense amount of political influence” that divestment on college campuses helps to increase. While students celebrated divestment at their schools, private equity in 2015 raised $34 billion for oil and gas funds—a 94% rise from 2012.

Meanwhile, 350 promotes its ongoing Wall Street-funded revolution. As someone wise once said, “A half-truth is a whole lie.”

Tilting at Windmills

anthro 9

The kids mobilized by 350 don’t understand how they are being manipulated, but that’s the reality of the power elite behind the 350 hoaxes. They might get some token windmills and solar panels–which require fossil fuels to make, maintain, and replace–but those won’t come anywhere near to meeting the electrical demand now met by burning fossil fuels.

The funders of 350 know all this, which is why they finance 350 campaigns that don’t address the consumerism or militarism that drive fossil fuel demand. Instead, they promote the idea that Americans can continue consuming vast quantities of minerals for electricity and electronics, car and jet travel at the expense of the rest of the world. If the kids think Americans are going to tolerate them shutting down refineries, they are going to be unpleasantly surprised.

The oil trains are a problem that can be addressed as a public safety issue, but the refineries will still receive oil by ships and pipelines. Our society would collapse without it. Imagine no fossil-fueled shipping by air, land or sea of food, medicine, clothing or building materials. Where do they think their coffee, kayaks, bicycles, polar wear and yoga mats come from?

France went for fossil-free electricity, and they have nuclear power plants and radioactive waste instead. They have to invade African countries to get uranium, and now they have nuclear contamination to deal with. That’s the reality of breaking free.

 

Recommended viewing

Green Illusions

Recommended reading

A Culture of Imbeciles

Designer Protests and Vanity Arrests

The Society of the Spectacle

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

YouTopia

Public Good Project

February 15, 2016

by Jay Taber

 

mad men 2

 

In Pathways to Spectacle: Consumerism as “Activism”, I noted that the cult of consumerism — through which international NGOs like 350, Avaaz and Purpose adherents identify with their brand — is similar to religion, in that becoming a follower is an act of faith. By unquestioningly accepting NGO propaganda as truth, these followers form beliefs that comprise the doctrine supporting this ideology of false hope.

Social engineering in the digital age is amazingly simple for those who have the money and the media at their disposal. Wall Street’s Mad Men can easily herd millions of progressives via social media to support catastrophic environmental policy, war, and crimes against humanity. Sold as conservation, “humanitarian intervention”, or development, globalization can then be marketed as a progressive choice, albeit leading to totalitarian corporate control of all life.

The driving force behind privatization through social engineering is the non-profit industrial complex, funded by Wall Street derivatives, and disbursed through tax-exempt foundation grants. Hundreds of millions have been invested by these foundations in the last decade to convince progressives that war is peace, conformity is unity, and capitulation is resistance.

YouTopia: A Documentary About Social Engineering in the Digital Age — a SIRIUS VIDEO project of the Situationist Art Collective* — needs public support to begin production. If you would like to be a part of providing seed money to take this vital message from the storyboard to the screen, please contact us.

*(affiliated with Public Good Project)

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website:www.jaytaber.com]

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XI of an Investigative Report] [2 Degrees of Credendum]

The Art of Annihilation

August 11, 2015

Part eleven of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

 

Foundation-funded “progressive media” does its best to instill the possibility that states within the UN process will eventually pass a legally binding agreement regulating deep emissions cuts at a global level. Yet there is no evidence that this will happen. In fact, all evidence points to the contrary. The UN Conference of the Parties (the yearly world climate conference, with the first international climate conference taking place nearly four decades ago in 1979, in Geneva) no longer have anything to do with the environment, rather, they represent the largest annual gathering for an economic conference in the world [1]: a conference hell-bent on environmental markets and commodification and privatization of the Earth’s remaining shared commons. We find ourselves in a world whereby governments no longer preside over corporate power, it is corporate power that oversees, dominates and rules the world’s governments – a potent corporatocracy.

The fifth major assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the first IPCC report to lend legitimacy to the concept of a global carbon budget (AR5 Synthesis Report, or SYR). The report reiterates that to stay below a 2ºC threshold (with a 66% probability) the world must not exceed the remaining carbon budget of 790 billion tonnes (790 gigatonnes of carbon). The budget excludes other greenhouse gas emissions such as methane, nitrous oxides and synthetic gases. (This IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (known as AR5) includes methane, but only with the 100 year deferred global warming potential of 25 rather than what should be 72-86 times more potent than CO2 over 20 years, at minimum.) It also excludes amplifying carbon feedbacks, which commit us to the vicious cycle of global warming unleashing more global warming.

The carbon (asset) bubble campaign is mired within the same realm as the so-called 2ºC target: deceit, duplicity and delusion, all encompassed in yet another linguistic dance. Assume that you can calculate where the very edge of danger lies and take humanity to that very precipice, all in the name of corporate greed. This defines the strategy of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC), lockstep with corporate and foundation-financed so-called “progressive” media, as the key gatekeepers for empire.

The logic of the carbon bubble is summarized in a “Go Fossil Free” petition:

“When the world’s governments decide to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and the use of fossil fuels, we will have a situation where businesses are forced to keep their coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground and therefore their share prices will drop significantly.” – Go Fossil Free Website, Petitions

To position front and centre in the public realm, a coupled hypothesis of unburnable carbon and a looming carbon bubble premised on the assumption/conjecture that one day, world governments will regulate greenhouse gas emissions – at which point corporations and industries will be forced (via regulation) to halt production of fossil fuels – is not only rich, considering we now exist under a corpotocracy, it’s beyond laughable. Even if a carbon-constrained future was a legitimate goal of states, the continuance of corporations and empire, means that continued as well as new oil production capacity will be necessary. In the dogmatic scenario known as the “new economy” (that is also unrealistically based on perpetual economic growth like the “old economy”), which is judiciously being constructed by states, corporations, marketing firms and empire, continuous new oil production capacity is a necessity. And zero attention is being given to the fact that the renewable energy industry (hailed as the magic bullet) is also a derivative and host of the fossil fuel industry. Consider that empire states destabilize and occupy resource/oil-rich countries in order to steal and control every drop of oil, rare Earth elements/metals and other natural resources – killing millions in the process – and then ask yourself who exactly (what agency or government) is going to regulate that fossil fuel reserves are no longer to be accessed?

The ugly truth is that leaving the fossil fuel reserves in the ground is precisely what would cause those of privilege to revolt. In 2013 the world consumed a staggering 7,896.4 million metric tons of coal, 91,330,895 barrels of oil per day (with more than 1/5 of this amount being consumed by the United States who represent less than 5% of the global population) and 3,347.63 billion m3 of natural gas (detailed fossil fuel consumption stats to follow). And now consider that there is no serious campaign, dialogue or emphasis in the public realm on radically altering Western consumptive lifestyles in any meaningful way.

Perpetual economic growth has been and will continue to be pursued at all costs. The system demands it. The world’s use of fossil fuels is increasing, not decreasing. The notion of unburnable carbon will only present itself if a global economic collapse occurs – and even then, oil/fossil fuels will be consumed by the military-industrial complex as cities throughout the world find themselves amidst chaos and conflicts. Every last drop will be burned. The system demands it. The notion of a legitimate carbon bubble is more in line with carbon credits being purchased and sold based on lands (carbon sinks) that do not exist, thus creating a bubble. Or, in an increasingly chaotic short-term situation, a collapse of some sort could be the result of “economic uncertainty” due to market volatility when oil prices fall, such as we have recently observed.

Lastly, the very fossil fuel corporations and oligarchs that benefit from absence of regulation coupled with infinite growth also create and/or finance the elite think tanks (via foundations), which in turn draft the very policies they wish to “abide by.” Those at the helm of the most powerful corporate institutions can also be found at the helm of the world’s most prestigious and influential think tanks as directors, board members, advisors and “fellows.”

It is incredibly difficult to envision the actual existence of “unburnable carbon”, whereby the “carbon bubble” would “burst” upon an agreed upon international agreement to ban further use of fossil fuels. A perhaps slightly more plausible scenario would be legislated/regulated reductions in fossil fuels, yet this would only serve to make the fossil fuels more valuable, not less. In fact, if the governments did agree to seal off the reserves (as oil explorations continue unabated to the tune US$674 billion each year), the 1-3% that create the majority of the global greenhouse gas emissions would revolt over the loss of their privileged lifestyles (not to mention the loss of instant heat and never-ending food on demand). Where legally binding budgets do surface, one can expect a main component of the legislative policy will include carbon trading and mass deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. It is true that coal could certainly lose its value, but this is true only because it can easily be replaced by natural gas (in the form of fracking) and other intensive forms of energy slightly less polluting (and likely more profitable) than coal. Further, the threat of coal as a “stranded asset” paves the way for CCS to be accepted and implemented as a “solution,” ensuring both business as usual as well as a new industry, meaning more infrastructure.

Further, oil accounts for approximately 29% of global fossil fuel reserves. Yet while pipelines are protested, along with fairly little concern by most about the bomb trains that have come with the fairly recent rail dynasty dominated by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (made possible in large part by the NPIC) there is zero interest in the fact that unless consumption is radically diminished (think mass free transit systems in tandem with rations or bans on personal driving and flights), the oil will continue to proliferate and flow, along with trains and pipelines, for there is no full-scale, mass-market alternative to crude oil, with its primary market being transportation energy. The “alternatives” that do exist are false solutions that carry out more damage than good – under the guise and falsehoods of “green.” For those who hold tight to the dream of a global conversion to electric personal automobiles (for those of privilege), consider that this would simultaneously guarantee the destabilization, annihilation and occupation of Bolivia, which holds the world’s largest known lithium reserves.

So how do we convince a mainstream populace that a global industrialized system that is interwoven with and dependent upon fossil fuels is able to transition to a world that can readily function without fossil fuels, without massive and radical disruption, if only we divest? The following statement conveys a clue and again, it circles back to language and framing:

“In their Wall St. Journal op-ed this week, Al Gore and one of his business partners characterize the current market for investments in oil, gas and coal as an asset bubble. I have been seeing references to this concept with increasing frequency… as well as in the growing literature around sustainability investing. However, the biggest risk I see that might eventually warrant considering divestment isn’t based on the merits of this analysis, but on the possibility of creating a self-fulfilling prophesy by means of drumming up social pressure on institutional investors. You might very well think that applies to this Wall St. Journal op-ed. I couldn’t possibly comment.” — Source: Five Myths About the “Carbon Asset Bubble”

Fossil fuel consumption levels at a glance:

• 7,896.4 million metric tons of coal in 2013 (21.6 million metric tons per day, 250 metric tons per second)

• 91,330,895 barrels of oil per day in 2013 (168 m3 per second)

• 3,347.63 billion m3 of natural gas in 2013 (9.2 km3 per day, 106,082 m3 per second)

• The coal we use each day would form a pile 236 metres (774 feet) high and 673 metres (over 2200 feet) across. We could fill a volume the size of the UN Secretariat Building every 17 minutes with the coal we burn.

• At the rate we use oil, we could fill an Olympic swimming pool every 15 seconds. We could fill a volume the size of the UN Secretariat Building with oil every 30 minutes.

• The rate at which we use natural gas is equivalent to gas travelling along a pipe with an internal diameter of 60 metres (196 feet) at hurricane speeds (135 kph / 84 mph). We could fill a volume the size of the UN Secretariat Building with natural gas in under 3 seconds. We use a cubic kilometre of gas (2.6 hundred billion gallons) every 2 hours 37 minutes and a cubic mile of the stuff every 10 hours 54 minutes.

[Details, calculations and sources for all above numbers are available in this methodology document.]

The Priority: Vigilance Against Threats to the Growth of the Global Economy

In the May 22, 2014 article, The Real Budgetary Emergency and the Myth of “Burnable Carbon,” the author states:

“[Prof. Kevin] Anderson says there is no longer a non-radical option, and for developed economies to play an equitable role in holding warming to 2°C (with 66% probability), emissions compared to 1990 levels would require at least a 40% reduction by 2018, 70% reduction by 2024, and 90% by 2030. This would require ‘in effect a Marshall plan for energy supply.’ As well, low-carbon supply technologies cannot deliver the necessary rate of emission reductions and they need to be complemented with rapid, deep and early reductions in energy consumption, what he calls a radical emission reduction strategy. All this suggests that even holding warming to a too-high 2°C limit now requires an emergency approach.” [Emphasis added] [2]

Of great interest is the radical emission cuts cited as necessary by Anderson: a minimum of 40% emission reductions by 2018, 70% by 2024, and 90% by 2030. Consider at the UN COP15 (2009), the G77 called for global emission reductions of 52% by 2017, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030 and well above 100% by 2050, while the state of Bolivia called for the global average temperature to not exceed 1°C. Not surprisingly, no NGOs (nor climate justice groups or scientists) supported these radical emission cuts, which are very similar to Anderson’s cited in 2014. Rather, TckTckTck (which served as the lead umbrella organization) “demanded” that the world peak within eight years with a target of 2°C – double that of Bolivia’s 1°C. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide] Note that even after this betrayal to humanity and all life, there is no backlash against the NGOs under the TckTckTck umbrella. Even those who have knowledge of the incident (which should be considered as a crime against humanity) the “progressive Left” continue to stoke the flames of self-annihilation “following” their false prophets as they jetset the globe, financed by the world’s most powerful institutions and oligarchs.

Bolivia and G77, 2009  

  • • 52% by 2017
  • • 65% by 2020
  • • 80% by 2030

 

Kevin Anderson, 2014

  • • 40% by 2018
  • • 70% by 2024
  • • 90% by 2030

 

While it is true that “abusing the 2ºC analysis is a way of avoiding responsibilities and hard truths” (Professor Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University, UK), what should be said for scientists creating a 2°C analysis/target, with full knowledge that 2°C was never safe based on the science, even as a “guardrail,” but merely a value judgment that would effectively serve to prevent or cease any and all potential restraints on an unfettered economic growth for decades to come? [Further reading: [Part 1] Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up]

Consider the video published October 10, 2014 titled Conquering the World’s Risks: Highlights from the Annual Meetings 2014. Two of the world’s most powerful institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, make their greatest threat known – a reduction in the growth of the global economy:

“[Ending poverty by 2030] requires us to be vigilant against threats to the growth of the global economy.” — World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

World Bank on Growth

Of course, no oligarch worth his or her salt really could care less about poverty – unless/until they stand to profit or gain power from it. Poverty is a byproduct of industrialized capitalism as well as the very means that allows for exploitation. Exploitation is inherently built into the system. The idea that we must be vigilant against threats to the growth of the global economy to end poverty is akin to vigilance against threats to the military-industrial complex in order to achieve peace. Poverty cannot be separated from capitalism any more than death can be separated from the military industrial complex. Poverty is a direct result of capitalism, pure and simple, whether intended or unintended. Let us be clear: the real and only threat to the world’s most powerful institutions and the oligarchs they represent is anything that could inhibit the growth of the global economy.

2 Degrees of Credendum

Credendum [kri-den-duh m] 1. a doctrine that requires belief; article of faith. Origin < Latin, neuter of cr?dendus, gerund of cr?dere to believe | Definition of CREDENDA:  doctrines to be believed :  articles of faith —distinguished from agenda | Hypernyms (“credendum” is a kind of…): dogma; tenet (a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof)

Consider that the “target” of 2°C appears to be the most critical aspect of our climate change crisis amongst the establishment and media, in tandem with the privileged Left and especially so within the NPIC. Yet, the following reality is ignored: simultaneously we see these same individuals/NGOs attempting to calculate the very maximum carbon we can emit for that amount of (cataclysmic) warming via so-called “budgets,” with most of these calculations representing (but not emphasizing) high risk percentage scenarios of not exceeding the catastrophic “target” of 2°C.

The trap has been set. Instead of utilizing common sense to dictate the very rational conclusion that at this time, no legitimate carbon budget can even exist, we respond on Academia’s terms, within their framing, by scrutinizing over numbers and charts that are nothing but strategic diversion. This is our way of defending ourselves from Academia’s ridicule. Like an insect drawn in to the terminal lobes of the Venus flytrap, the pheromones released by this academic trap lure us to believe our preference of avoiding reality with unfettered delusion and distraction. Sanctioned and often peer-reviewed, it is more powerful and persuasive than all simple logic combined.

Yet, for a moment, let us step inside the trap to analyze the discourse.

The framing is the message “We can still continue to burn.” The very best place to hide a lie of this magnitude is in plain sight.

“Two degrees is a crime, an attack by the rich on the welfare of the poor. But there is simply no climate policy story to tell without the two degree myth. It is the ‘Once Upon A Time’ of the whole neo-liberal climate change fantasy.” — Chris Shaw, writer/researcher, climate change policy analyst

In the July 29, 2013 article How To Win The Media War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies, Steve Horn examined the strategies employed by Stratfor precursor Pagan International. “So named for its founder Rafael Pagan, corporate clients hired the company with the aim of defusing grassroots movements mobilized against them around the world.” The playbook is, was and remains simple: “isolate the radicals, ‘cultivate’ the idealists and ‘educate’ them into becoming realists. Then co-opt the realists.” This is exactly the function performed by the 2 degree “target”; hammered into the collective psyche, whereby only an “extremist” could question it.

The 2°C “target” is and has been, a linguistic catchphrase utilized (1977), made dominant and accepted in popular culture (by scientists, media, etc.) to ensure unfettered economic growth would not be interrupted. 2 degrees is a unprecedented falsehood, as is the concept that we have a remaining carbon “budget.”

The So-Called Carbon Budget and the Two Degree Target

It is critical that the following information be absolutely understood.

2°C is not a scientific target. As its usage was first cited by neoclassic economist W.D. Nordhaus in 1977, it is a political target that was chosen in order to allow the economy to continue to grow. It flies in the face of science. When this “target” was accepted, it was well understood that “… beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage” (United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases, 1990). [Source]

Consider the guest editorial titled A changing climate for science and policy responses to the environmental agenda: from global prevention and mitigation to global adaptation, written by Eva Lövbrand and Bo L. B. Wiman, in which the authors state:

“Among the first criteria formulated in terms of manageable rates of change were those presented by a widely cited document authored by the 1988 WMO/ICSU/UNEP Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (Rijsberman & Swart 1990), in which the response rate of ecological systems was addressed.

 

“The scientific call for global action to prevent the potentially disruptive changes in the earth’s environment paved the way for a global politics of the climate. However, when intergovernmental negotiations were initiated in February 1991, the idea of prevention was soon transformed into a more restricted mitigation agenda. Faced with high economic and political stakes in combination with continued scientific uncertainty, the negotiating parties failed to adopt strict targets and timetables for emissions reductions (Bodansky 1994). [Emphasis added]

Twenty-five years after the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) report, the vast majority of climate documents and scientists (who are also dependent on research grants) continue to imply that climate change will not become catastrophic until the planet reaches a global average of a 4ºC temperature rise. Although widely cited upon its publication in 1990, the AGGG report was eventually buried by scientists, governments, media and civil society.

Consider that in 1997 and 2001 Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (a Ceres Board Member since inception) both cited 1°C must not be exceeded (links below). Yet, approximately a decade later, under the TckTckTck campaign (co-founded by David Jones, Global CEO of Havas Worldwide, and Kate Robertson, UK Group Chairman, Euro RSCG Worldwide), the NPIC at COP15 in Copenhagen grossly undermined the small vulnerable states who fought for 1°C limit – by a full degree. During this period, Kumi Naidoo served as executive director of Greenpeace International while simultaneously serving as both president of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA; more commonly known as TckTckTck, of which Greenpeace is a founding member) and honorary president of CIVICUS (which receives substantial funding from Ford, the Freedom House and a multitude of other powerful institutions). [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

[Greenpeace International Cites Maximum 1C [UNAGGG] | October 1, 1997]

[Friends of the Earth Finland Cites Maximum 1C [UNAGGG] | March 15, 2001]

Thus, as scientists stated 25 years ago in 1990, and what nature has proven to be absolutely correct, 1°C is not only a dangerous threshold, but must also be considered too high a risk.

Yet 2°C fills the echo-chamber of the NPIC in deafening unison as they repeat the lie of a “2°C target, beyond which the risks of ‘dangerous’ consequences of global warming escalate.”

Further, if aerosols (at present providing a protective layer/cooling effect) dissipate, it must be reiterated again that we’ve already hit (or more likely surpassed) a 2ºC equilibrium climate sensitivity warming and a 4ºC Earth system sensitivity warming. Again, there is no existing or remaining carbon budget. Again, our budget was spent long ago.

A 350.org sample letter for the divestment campaign states, “The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming – 2ºC is the maximum amount of global warming without causing runaway climate change.”

Yet even if we were to accept the “agreed upon” “target” (based on a value judgement – not science) of 2ºC, we are not only already there, we are already past. In 2008, scientists Ramanathan and Feng concluded that even if the world were to reach zero net GHG emissions, we were already committed to 2.4ºC warming:

“Global average surface temperatures have increased by about 0.75 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the industrial revolution, of which ~0.6 °C is attributable to human activities. The total radiative forcing by greenhouse gases is around 3 W/m2, with which we have ‘committed’ the planet to warm up by 2.4°C (1.6-3.6°C), according to a climate sensitivity of 3°C (2-4.5°C) for a doubling of CO2. The observed amount of warming thus far has been less than this, because part of the excess energy is stored in the oceans (amounting to ~0.5°C), and the remainder (~1.3°C) has been masked by the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosols.” [Ramanathan, V., and Y. Feng. 2008. “On Avoiding Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference with the Climate System: Formidable Challenges Ahead.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105.38: 14245-14250.]

The 350.org “Do the Math” campaign, which served as the groundwork for the 350.org/Ceres Divestment campaign, is founded on the very premise of a carbon budget:

“It’s simple math: we can emit 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming – anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth.” — 350.org Do the Math website

Catastrophe for life on Earth is already well underway. Today, having long ago entered the Anthropocene, the world’s sixth mass extinction event, scientists estimate the Earth is losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times greater than the background rate previous to now, with dozens of species going extinct each and every day. Yet in a culture devoid of empathy and enlightenment, non-human life is not considered of great importance or significance. The irony is rich, since if humans had protected non-human life first and foremost, by simple default we would have protected/secured human life as well. Consider further that 55 tipping points (at minimum 47 irreversible) have already been crossed at 0.8ºC of warming.

The reality is this: At less than one degree of warming, climate change has ALREADY become catastrophic for billions; not 1.5ºC, not 2ºC, not 3ºC, not 4ºC. A frightening reality that neither James Hansen nor any other leading climate scientist will dispute in private. We will likely soon lose the Arctic summer sea ice at under 1ºC. This will cause massive ecological disruption with unimaginable consequences. There is likely nothing that could be more catastrophic than losing the Earth’s Arctic summer sea ice, as the loss of the albedo effect will result in the sun’s rays (heat) being absorbed, as opposed to reflected, by the Arctic ocean, setting off a chain reaction of more intense, perhaps even unendurable feedbacks and warming with scorching temperatures. The most terrifying aspect is that we’re going to find out just how catastrophic this will be in the not-so-distant future. Natalie Shakhova, one of the world’s foremost experts on methane hydrates, gives us a hint:

“The total amount of the methane (CH4) in the current atmosphere is 5 gigatons. The amount of carbon preserved in the form of methane in the East Siberian Arctic shelf is approx. 100’s-1000’s gigatons. Only 1% of this amount is required to double the atmospheric burden of methane (which is approx. 23x more powerful than CO2). There is not much effort needed to destabilize just 1% of this carbon pool considering the state of permafrost and the amount of methane currently involved. What keeps this methane from entering the atmosphere is a very shallow water column and a weakening permafrost which is losing its ability to serve as a seal. It could happen anytime.” — Natalia Shakhova video/interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx1Jxk6kjbQ

Pay very careful attention to what Shakhova tells us and then ask yourself how any self-respecting environmental spokesperson, politician, or scientist can carry on leading the public to believe we still have a carbon “budget” that we can afford to keep burning … a carbon budget that states we can continue to burn fossil fuels for decades to come.

Further, scientists have warned that when CO2 levels doubled 55 million years ago, Earth may have warmed 9°F in 13 years:

“The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, ‘Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum,’ concludes that sediment data indicates the carbon was released in the geologic blink of an eye. As the news release explains, Rutgers geologists Morgan Schaller and James Wright argue that … following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years. Scientists previously thought this process happened over 10,000 years. ‘We’ve shown unequivocally what happens when CO2 increases dramatically – as it is now, and as it did 55 million years ago,’ Wright said. ‘The oceans become acidic and the world warms up dramatically.'” [Source]

Yet 350.org founder Bill McKibben tells the public that “scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.” [Source]

“Which is exactly why this new number, 2,795 gigatons, is such a big deal. Think of two degrees Celsius as the legal drinking limit – equivalent to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level below which you might get away with driving home. The 565 gigatons is how many drinks you could have and still stay below that limit….” Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, July 19, 2012

The approximately 565 gt more that we are told we can safely burn translates into atmospheric carbon concentrations of about 460 ppm CO2 and 550 ppm CO2 equivalent when accounting for all global greenhouse gas emissions. This translates into a 3ºC ECS (rapid/non-linear feedback) and 6ºC ESS (linear feedback) planet – far exceeding the already dangerous “target” of 2ºC.

Yet turn the page back to 2013. There was a further clamour in the echo chamber. For the first time, the IPCC describes the limits on how much more CO2 can be emitted to keep global temperatures below certain thresholds:

We may have just about 30 years left until the world’s carbon budget is spent if we want a likely chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees C.” — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)

 

“Do the math, and the world only has 485 PgC (cumulative emissions) left in the budget. This balance puts us on track to exhaust our remaining carbon budget before the end of 2045 under a carbon intensive trajectory.” World’s Carbon Budget to Be Spent in Three Decades, World Resources Institute, September 27, 2013

And even if you are still unable to shake your belief in the IPCC/carbon budget theory, what is not stated is this: If the low-risk scenario is the one you would prefer, there is no carbon budget left at all:

“If a risk-averse (pro-safety) approach is applied – say, of less than 10% probability of exceeding the 2°C target – to carbon budgeting, there is simply no budget available, because it has already been used up.” — Climate Code Red, May 22, 2014 [3]

Climate Code Red goes on to warn that “on-going greenhouse emissions associated with food production and deforestation are often conveniently pushed to one side in discussing carbon budgets.… Most emission reduction scenarios are incompatible with holding warming to +2ºC, even with a high 50% probability of exceeding the target. In other words, food and deforestation has taken up the remaining budget, leaving no space for fossil fuel emissions. [4]

Consider that when non-CO2 forcings (ozone, black carbon/soot, methane, etc.) are taken into consideration (albeit conservatively at 210 billion tons – PgC; 1 PgC = 1 billion tons of carbon = 3.7 billion tons of CO2), the IPCC carbon budget that we are allowed to emit before breaking the 2ºC threshold is dramatically reduced. The probable carbon emissions that the Earth may experience were addressed by the IPCC in AR5 through the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP), the “four greenhouse concentration trajectories” (or scenarios) that explain the possible paths our carbon emissions may take and the resulting consequences. In the LEAST destructive (aka best-case) scenario, known as RCP 2.6, where emissions peak between 2010-2020, the carbon budget we are allowed to burn to stay under the 2ºC threshold is reduced further, from 1 trillion tonne, to 790 billion tons (PgC), when non-carbon emissions (210 billion tons, PgC) are factored into the equation. (Approximately 515 tonnes have been emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution leaving 485 tonnes to emit and still stay below the aforementioned 2ºC) This implies a remaining budget of only 275 PgC, a significant decrease in the amount of resources available for us to burn by even the most optimistic of environmental scientists. [Source] Thus, even under the best of circumstances (RCP 2.6), we have only a 66% chance of staying below the 2C threshold. [Source] Considering the MOST destructive scenario, RCP 8.5, where carbon emissions continue unabated until 2100, or the continuation of “business as usual,” this extrapolates out to the carbon budget being exhausted in 2032, a mere lifetime of a teenager way when the (conservative) non-CO2 forcings are added to the equation. This all adds further confusion to a strategic and effective mathematical/scientific discourse. Further, permafrost melt and a magnitude of other feedbacks that are already well underway drag these dates closer to the future than most know or are willing to admit.

The feedbacks that critically impact (and thereby substantially lower) all so-called carbon budgets are conveniently excluded. Such feedbacks include subsea floor methane hydrate, enormous subarctic and large tropical wetlands and global wetlands producing methane, forest loss/fires, Amazon drought due to Amazon die-back, Boreal forest die-back, albedo loss, fertilized peatbog decay, ocean warming and acidification, large-scale permafrost melt – CH4 & CO2, soil desiccation, and accelerating/rising tropospheric/ground level ozone.[5] These excluded (and accelerating) feedbacks make an already depleted (and fictional) carbon budget that much more obsolete.

We must ask ourselves, if we are already committed to 2.4ºC (2008), since the weakening permafrost that serves as a seal to keep the methane from entering the atmosphere could go at any time at under 1ºC (Shakhova) – how we can possibly have decades more in which we can continue to burn carbon? We must then ask ourselves, if the UN AGGG statement in 1990 that “… beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage” is true and if we are now witnessing this to be true (“The notion that 1.5ºC is a safe target is out the window, and even 1 degree looks like an unacceptably high risk,” according to James Hansen and Makiko Sato, research paper, 2011), how can we possibly have any carbon budget left?

The truth is that we don’t. And at least one of the world’s most powerful institutions has nonchalantly dropped the pretense in saying as much. On September 22, 2014, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released a video. Upon the release of the video, the organization (incidentally a Ceres partner) also stated that:

“We have already added more than half the threshold quantity of 1 trillion metric tons of carbon (up to mid-2014, we have emitted about 582 billion metric tons). If carbon dioxide from fossil fuels continues to enter the atmosphere we will reach 2°C threshold in a few years.” [Scientific American, April 2009: “To avoid catastrophic climate change, the world will need to emit less than one trillion metric tons of carbon between now and 2050, according to two new papers published in Nature today.”]

This is perhaps the first time a global institution of such magnitude (in this instance the WBCSD) states that “we will reach 2°C threshold in a few years.” Of course the WBCSD is pushing forward carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) under the guise of clean energy, thus the intent of the warning must also be considered. [6]

It is also necessary to look beyond the stunning animation in a recent video (November 2013) produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia and funded by the UN Foundation for the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. The video states: “Without deep emissions cuts, it is likely Earth will cross the target of two degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the target set by international policy.” Note that the chosen terminology “without deep emissions cuts” is deliberately misleading. The IPCC and leading climate scientists are fully aware that the planet cannot even begin to cool until we achieve zero carbon emissions:

IPCC assessment 2007 FAQ 10.3: “In fact, only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilized at a constant level.” [Source]

Scientist Alder Stone explains this like brakes on a car. It is not until a car comes to a full stop that one is able to place the car in reverse and go backwards. (Note that even if zero emissions were to be miraculously achieved, there are still approximately three decades of emissions already in the pipeline due to inertia.)

The video continues: “If emissions keep rising at current rates, a four-degree rise by 2100 is as likely as not. This marks a vast transformation of our planet. It is very likely heatwaves will occur more often and last longer.” This nonchalant description (and the further “changes” described in the commentary) must be considered criminally negligent. A four-degree rise means likely death to most all life on the planet. Some critics and experts point to far worse. A member of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group concludes “[A] polynomial trendline already points at global temperature anomalies of 5°C by 2060. Even worse, a polynomial trend for the Arctic shows temperature anomalies of 4°C by 2020, 7°C by 2030 and 11°C by 2040, threatening to cause major feedbacks to kick in, including albedo changes and methane releases that will trigger runaway global warming that looks set to eventually catch up with accelerated warming in the Arctic and result in global temperature anomalies of 20°C+ by 2050.”

The video also purposely downplays the incredible and rapid demise of the oceans, stating: “The acidity of the ocean has increased 26% since the start of the industrial revolution.” While this is true, the oceans are being acidified faster than in the past 800,000 years, soon to be faster than in the past 300 million years. Phytoplankton, which provide us every other breath of oxygen we intake while processing more carbon than the world’s rainforests, have declined approximately 40% since 1950 showing 1% decrease per year between 1998 and 2012. Of course, simply stating that ocean acidity has increased 26% very much minimizes the phenomenal decline of our oceans.

The video ends with “Can we remain below two degrees? It is possible. But it is up to societies now to decide the future we want. For a likely chance of achieving the two-degree target, societies can emit another 250 billion tonnes of carbon. We burn about 10 billion tonnes of carbon a year. At current rates we will use this budget in about 25 years.” [Note that 350, Carbon Tracker etc. promote that we can “safely” burn more than double this amount.]

A recap via the echo chamber: “Societies can emit another 250 billion tonnes of carbon”; “the world will need to emit less than one trillion metric tons of carbon between now and 2050”; “the world only has 485 PgC (cumulative emissions) left in the budget”; “we can emit 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide”; 30 more years, by 2045, and so on and so on. Despite the 1ºC cited by the UN AGGG in 1990, and despite the committed 2.4ºC figure (Ramanathan and Feng) in 2008, today’s establishment is relentless in hammering home the messaging that the world can continue to emit billions of tons of carbon.

“It is now clear that the incremental-adjustment 2°C strategy has run out of time, if for no other reason than the ‘budget’ for burning more fossil fuels is now zero, yet the global economy is still deeply committed to their continuing widespread use.” — Climate Code Red, May 22, 2014

The numbers are large, inconsistent, and deliberately confusing, but the underlying message is not. And the take-home message is this: the carbon budget allows us to continue to burn for decades to come while remaining within the safe confines of the two-degree target (the strategy of deferring). Even more pathological is the framing of the language in regard to 2ºC: the phrase “for a likely chance of achieving the two-degree target” frames two-degrees as a goal [the definition of the noun ‘goal’: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result].

Such linguistic manipulation of truth is beyond criminally negligent. It is beyond criminal. It is madness.

Yet it continues almost completely unabated.

Consider that in the December 2014 Great Transition interview, author and 350.org board member Naomi Klein again refers to the so-called carbon budget, building/furthering the carbon budget’s manufactured legitimacy: “According to the analysis of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, between now and 2050, we need to leave at least two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground in order to keep global warming below the widely accepted threshold of two degrees Celsius. If this occurs, owners of these reserves will have to sacrifice trillions of dollars in profits.”

The globally constructed, sanctioned and accepted “two-degree target” (translation: continued business as usual, uninterrupted) has allowed an unparalleled planetary crisis of today (that reared its head decades ago) – to be accepted by civil society as a problem to be dealt with in the future, rather than today. Thus we have tolerated THIRTY-SIX YEARS of world climate conferences [source] and now find the apocalypse waiting on our front doorstep.

emissions since 1979

Graph: The First World Climate Conference was held on 12-23 February 1979 in Geneva and sponsored by the WMO. It was one of the first major international meetings on climate change.

“The idea of ‘burnable carbon’ – that is, how much more coal, gas and oil we can burn and still keep under 2°C – is a dangerous illusion, based on unrealistic, high-risk, assumptions.” — Climate Code Red, May 22, 2014

At this juncture it is imperative to step back in time, to the 2009 carbon budget.

An Inconvenient and Forgotten Budget

Below is a graph from the November 2009 Global Carbon Project: a carbon budget – never tabled at any COPs and never adopted by the IPCC. According to Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change), this 2009 budget, grounded on the ideology that each citizen of the world has an equal right to the budget, demonstrates how, on the current trajectories of the United States and Australia (and we can assume Canada), the projected emissions budget to 2050 will instead be used up by 2020 – just a few years from now. How, in the new budget presented by 350.org, Carbon Tracker, the IPCC et al, have decades more of burning been magically made available? On top of the dismissal of this budget by not only the Obama administration but almost all those of privilege, the proposed budget did not make the necessary adjustments for those in developing states who have contributed essentially nothing to climate change. (This is often referred to as historic carbon debt based on the common but differentiated responsibility principle.)

“Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the Oxford 4 Degrees and Beyond Conference that ‘political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless.’ Schellnhuber briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration who chided him that his findings were ‘not grounded in political reality’ and that ‘the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this.’ Schellnhuber told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have even a chance of stabilizing the temperature increase at around 2ºC.”   — When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation, November 8, 2010

image008

Further, a more recent study by Steven Davis and co-author Robert Socolow of Princeton University reveals that the budgets being pushed by powerful institutions include annual emissions, and do not account for future emissions known as a carbon commitment. (Example: “Building a new coal or gas power plant is in reality a commitment to pumping out CO2 for the lifespan of a given plant – which usually ranges from 40 to 60 years.”) [Source] In the September 15, 2014 article, We will max out our carbon budget by 2018. What can we do?, the author surmises: “Together with the power plant commitment of 300 Gt laid out in the current study, that’s more than 700 Gt in carbon commitments on a global carbon budget of 1000 Gt. That leaves less than 300 Gt for future power plants, steel mills, cement plants, buildings, and other stuff that burns fossil fuels. At current rates we’ll have accounted for the remainder of the budget in only five years.”

Further, calculations by author/researcher Dr. Richard Oppenlander conclude that without using any gas, oil or fuel, ever again, the world would deplete the so-called 565 gigatonne carbon budget by 2030 without the use of fossil fuels even factored into the equation, all simply by raising and eating livestock.  [Read the suppressed stats on the impact of livestock on our climate and environment here.]

It is interesting that under the so-called budget we cannot burn the 80% of fossil fuel reserves (due to emissions) but we can continue to promote industrialized biomass under the guise of “clean energy.” Biomass ought to be considered perhaps the most destructive energy source of all. Aside from biomass burning being extremely polluting, aside from needing to preserve, protect and massively expand our current carbon sinks, specifically trees, corporations – with the blessing of corporate “environmentalists” – have decided to cut down the Earth’s foremost carbon sink, our forests, in exchange for big profits. The “leaders” of the movement say nothing. And that is precisely why they are appointed to these positions of power and influence and celebrity. More powerful than money is ego.

Conclusion: We have the United Nations, scientists, governments, global media, corporations, educational facilities, etc. etc. all echoing the three syllable term, the “2ºC target.” This term has been unremittingly reverberated throughout the echo chambers of corporate and so-called progressive media in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex. This constant reiteration did not reflect the 2ºC terminology, rather, it constructed it. Misleading statements, videos, interviews and both academic and scientific papers carefully and deliberately tone down any sense of immediate urgency, lending further “target” legitimacy to the 2ºC target, to which we acquiesce. Remember that the chosen word “target” is defined as “a goal to be achieved,” which strikes a chord, even if only on a subconscious level – which is far more powerful.

It has become normalized. The spectacle, comprised of a single number united with a single letter (with a little circle between them), must be considered a feat in 21st century hegemony – a creation by those whose interests are served by the spectacle; a pasquinade for the impoverished and those not yet born. The 2ºC discourse must be considered perhaps the most deadly game of psychological warfare ever played on human society. Using simple language and steadfast repetition, the acceptance by civil society of this so-called “two-degree target” represents an unsurpassed feat in modern psy-ops.

In Summary

Divestment as symbolism:

  • The Do the Math tour, as the precursor to the global Divestment campaign, established and reinforced the false premise that the world retains a “carbon budget” that enables us to safely keep burning for decades to come.
  • Like 1Sky/350, the campaign is top-down, not grassroots up as presented. Not only has this global “movement” been sanctioned by the elites, it has been developed in consultation with Wall Street and financed from inception by the world’s most powerful oligarchs and institutions.
  • The campaign successfully invokes a certain naiveté and innocence due to the said premise (a moral divestment imperative) of the campaign.
  • It provides a moral alibi and evokes illusions of white saviour/moral superiority of those that divest/divest-invest while the very people divesting are those that comprise the 1% creating 50% of all global GHG emissions (anyone who can afford to board an airplane). Shuffling their investments does not change this fact or alleviate/absolve one’s role in accelerating climate change and ecological destruction.
  • Protesting fossil fuels cannot and will not have any effect on fossil fuel consumption, production or destruction without legitimately and radically addressing Annex 1 consumption, economic growth under the capitalist system, human population (specifically in Annex 1 nations), the military industrial complex and industrial factory farming.
  • The chosen campaign of divestment rather than the boycott of fossil fuels in combination with proposed sanctions on fossil fuel corporations demonstrates the insincerity of the campaign and its true intentions as sought (and developed) by its funders.
  • Divestment effectively constructs the moral acceptance of “green” consumption. The global divestment campaign confirms that the “market” can be and is the solution.
  • The campaign constructs and further reinforces the falsehood that there is no need to change either the economic system (beyond reforming capitalism) or dismantle the power structures that comprise it; nor is it necessary to address the underlying values, worldviews, classism, racism, colonialism and imperialism that are driving this physical and psychic
  • It diverts attention away from the proliferation of private investments, hedge funds and privatization – key mechanisms in the “new economy.”
  • It provides a critical discourse to divert attention away from the most critical issue of the 21st century: the commodification of the commons (in similar fashion to how the Stop the KeystoneXL! campaign was instrumental in enabling Buffett’s rail dynasty, only far more critical in significance).
  • It builds on the 21st century corporate pathology “Who Cares Wins,” whereby “kindness is becoming the nation’s newest currency.” The pathology behind this intent is the corporate capture of “millennials” by manipulation via branding, advertising and social media.
  • Direct contact with “millennials” in colleges and universities around the world invokes pre-determined and pre-approved ideologies as sought after/controlled by hegemony while building loyalties: future NGO “members” / supporters, future “prosumers,” future “investors.”
  • The campaign draws attention to the statistic that “just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made emissions” while making no mention that a mere 1% of people are creating 50% of all the global GHG emissions – the very people that comprise their target audience.
  • Although highlighting the fact that “just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made emissions” is critical, this information is being conveyed and utilized only to implement the financialization of nature.
  • The campaign stigmatizes fossil fuel investments which, by default, protect the 1% creating 50% of the global GHG emissions from similar stigmatization.
  • Success is measured by the number of institutions divesting-investing, and “shares/likes” on social media, ignoring the fact that divestment does nothing to reduce emissions as the world burns.
  • The divestment campaign presents a capitalist solution to climate change, presenting, repackaging and marketing the very problem as our new solution. Thus, the global power structures that oppress us are effectively and strategically insulated from potential outside threats.

 

Next: Part XII

 

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

 

EndNotes:

[1] “The climate summit in Cancún at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.… [I]t’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.…” [Source]

[2] Anderson, K. (2014). “Why carbon prices can’t deliver the 2°C target”, 13 August 2013,  http://kevinanderson.info/blog/why-carbon-prices-cant-deliver-the-2c-target, accessed 19 May 2014; Anderson, K. (2012). “Climate change going beyond dangerous – Brutal numbers and tenuous hope,” Development Dialogue, September 2012; Anderson, K. (2011). “Climate change going beyond dangerous – Brutal numbers and tenuous hope or cognitive dissonance,” presentation 5 July 2011, slides available at http://www.slideshare.net/DFID/professor-kevin-anderson-climate-change-going-beyond-dangerous. [Source]

[3] A study from The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research shows that “the combination of a 2°C warming target with high probability of success is now unreachable” using the current suite of policy measures, because the budget has expired. Raupach, M. R., I. N. Harman and J. G. Canadell (2011). “Global climate goals for temperature, concentrations, emissions and cumulative emissions”, Report for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. CAWCR Technical Report no. 42. Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Melbourne. [Source]

[4] Anderson, K. and A. Bows (2008). “Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends”, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 366: 3863-3882; Anderson, K. and A. Bows (2011). “Beyond ‘dangerous’ climate change: emission scenarios for a new world”, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 369: 20–44 [Source]

[5] The effects of ozone are well-known and documented in hundreds of papers, but because the reduction of nitrous oxide precursors from burning fuel and agriculture would threaten industrial civilization, it is a taboo subject. Links to research are here:  http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

[6] [“We have already added more than half the threshold quantity of 1 trillion metric tons of carbon (up to mid-2014, we have emitted about 582 billion metric tons). If carbon dioxide from fossil fuels continues to enter the atmosphere we will reach 2 °C threshold in a few years. The projected emissions illustrated in the film are based on RCP 4.5, which is one of the four ‘Representative Concentration Pathways’ used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.”]

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part X of an Investigative Report] [Targeting Millennials: The 30 Trillion Dollar Jackpot]

The Art of Annihilation

August 6, 2015

Part ten of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

 

Millennials: The 30 Trillion Dollar Jackpot

“[T]here is one particularly desirable audience that’s watching closely: Millennials. This trend-setting, if not free-spending, group of 95 million Americans, born between 1982 and 2004, live and breathe social media and are broadly convinced that doing the right thing isn’t just vogue, but mandatory. With nearly a third of the population driving this trend, kindness is becoming the nation’s newest currency.” — Millennials Spur Capitalism With a Conscience, March 27, 2013

Naomi Klein, renowned author and board member of 350.org (one of, if not the most prominent environmental organizations of the problematic mainstream) devotes a large section of her book, This Changes Everything, to the divestment campaign as a legitimate tool in the fight against climate change. This divestment campaign may very well “change everything,” but not in the way Klein states. Rather, it is an extraordinary feat comprised of an army of well-endowed NGOs that has done a masterful job of manipulating the present young students (referred to as “millennials” in the media) and other well-meaning activists into essentially becoming shareholder activists for finance capital – all while believing that they are fighting some sort of radical “good fight.” Of further benefit to Wall Street is that the campaign also ensures these same students/youth will become shareholders of finance capital in the future. It’s a well-played public relations endeavour as well as a pivotal learning exercise in exploitation, social engineering and behaviour modification.

Divestment2

Yet “millennials” are not recognized and sought after by the establishment merely for their rampant consumerism (as 21st century “prosumers”) and narcissism (something inflicted by a devolving society stripped of culture and void of meaning). Nor are they sought after simply for the expansion of human capital. This fact is illustrated in the following Bloomberg article, March 3, 2015: Wall Street Has Its Eyes on Millennials’ $30 Trillion Inheritance:

“It seems the millennials are going to inherit a lot more from their Baby Boomer parents than just some tie-dyes, Steely Dan LPs and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic books. To the tune of $30 trillion, according to Federated. That is some serious dough! … So it’s no surprise firms seem to have their Flash animators working non-stop to chase this big payday once the Boomers start croaking in earnest.”

Divestment3Divestment1

Images: Federated Investors Inc.: Millennials: The Next Big Thing

Divestment as Symbolism

“Similarly to that movement, fossil fuel divestment has rallied 400 campus campaigns across the country around a symbolic demand. As 350.org’s Jamie Henn explained in his response to the article, the goal ‘isn’t to make a direct economic impact by selling stock, it’s to stigmatize the industry to the point they start losing political power.'” — Why a Movement is Never a Farce, July 10, 2014

The author of the afore-mentioned article (Why a Movement is Never a Farce) cites the divestment campaign as symbolic in the following excerpt: “fossil fuel divestment has rallied 400 campus campaigns across the country around a symbolic demand.” (Emphasis in original) The author then references 350.org’s Jamie Henn’s response that the goal “isn’t to make a direct economic impact by selling stock, it’s to stigmatize the industry to the point they start losing political power.” These statements mirror the general consensus of those within the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC), that the divestment campaign has been designed and intended to be merely symbolic since its inception. As many have written, the Keystone XL campaign, was considered to be merely symbolic at its inception. Many journalists, activists, citizens, etc. still retain/accept this notion. However, considering the outcome, one must acknowledge the KXL campaign was not merely symbolic. Rather, in hindsight, the KXL campaign served to be both a strategic diversion and an infallible vehicle for a rail dynasty built by Warren Buffett, who benefited by the economic transition from pipeline to rail in transporting one of the most filthy fuels imaginable. Unbeknownst to most activists was that Buffett, the primary beneficiary of the campaign against the tar sands pipeline, funneled up to $26 million into the movement (2003-2011), and effectively brushed critical thinking under the rug. The question that must be asked is this: why are foundations, elite firms, plutocrats and oligarchs funneling millions of dollars for resources and media coverage into a global divestment campaign – is it more than mere symbolism?

It is tempting to attribute the growing divestment campaign to brilliant public relations, sharp marketing, feel-good greenwashing and nothing more.

For one who understands, even vaguely, the inner workings and functions of the NPIC, a first instinct may be to view the symbolic element of the divestment campaign as no more than another simple discourse along the following lines:

1) We don’t need to change the system or address the underlying values and worldview driving this physical and psychic destruction

2) The global divestment campaign confirms that the “market” can be and is the solution. Thus, it’s actually a strategic discourse, one that allows economic growth to continue unabated while those driving it appear to be looking seriously at climate change.

At least in part, this would seem to be an apt assessment to even a fairly seasoned environmentalist. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, openly admits that the intent of the divestment campaign is merely symbolic in both nature and purpose – stating that its key purpose is only to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry (demonstrating a talking point that has been reverberated down the divestment chain of command). But to conclude that this campaign is purely symbolic is, undoubtedly a grave (and dangerous) lapse in assessment.

In comparison, we must again consider the Keystone XL campaign that preceded the divestment campaign as far as level of importance since it was also often referred to as nothing more than symbolic. Quite the contrary, the KXL campaign was absolutely strategic in allowing Warren Buffett’s rail empire to set up and then flourish – completely unhindered. Further, campaigns such as KXL and fossil fuel divestment serve as captivating smoke and mirrors. Utilizing behavioural change tactics and behavioural economics, such critical discourse effectively stigmatizes any focus on confronting root causes – which is vital for maintaining current power structures. Thus divestment, much more than simply symbolic, must be considered an important part, if not the key element, of a pivotal meme that the establishment (via the NPIC and media) is embedding in the third revolution zeitgeist. This concept/language is part and parcel of the “new economy” marketing dictionary, in tandem with other key words AND memes such as B Corps, Natural Capital, the Biosphere Economy (the Financialization of Nature), etc., etc. Or to paraphrase a popular quote, frame it properly and it will come, with ‘it’ being defined as investment capital. Billions of dollars are being funneled into the NPIC to finance the implantation of such memes into your psyche. The ultimate goal is the further normalization of, and servitude to, corporate dominance while developing, building and nurturing acquiescence for the commodification of the commons.

“If some claimed that Stanford’s move was more symbol than substance, however, that hardly bothered the students. The symbol was part of the point. Divestment, says Peter Kinder, one of the pioneers of socially responsible investment (SRI) and coauthor of the groundbreaking 1984 book Ethical Investing, ‘is about marking the boundaries of acceptable behavior.'” — Dumping Coal Is Easy. But Who Will Divest the Rest?, September 9, 2014

In the September 9, 2014 Audubon article, Dumping Coal Is Easy. But Who Will Divest the Rest?, the author suggests that those embracing divestment invest “in ways ‘consistent with the Buddhist precept of ‘not causing harm.'” Yet the truth is that dumping all investments that contradict living in a way consistent with the Buddhist precept of “not causing harm” requires that we kill the western lifestyle. Not causing harm necessitates dismantling and transitioning from the industrialized capitalist system – completely. But how to tell middle class millennials and prosumers (the divestment campaigns’ target audience) that iPods and Starfucks does not jive with anything that resembles the Buddhist precept of “not causing harm”? Who wants to sell that unpopular (and unprofitable) campaign?

“Fossil Free” Stanford students are now pushing divestment from all carbon-polluting energy sources, but it is doubtful that these same students (the majority white and of privilege) understand that sustainability cannot and will not be achieved within the confines of capitalism … that the system itself is built upon and dependent upon the exploitation of the Earth’s most vulnerable people and the continued obliteration of the planet, its non-negotiable demand of perpetual and exponential growth, interwoven and built upon an industrial machine that cannot be separated from its origins of slavery and fossil fuels.

“And the activists are spreading the word using every social media tool they can find – including the British website pushyourparents.org, which reminds the geezers: ‘Mum and Dad, did you know your pension is f@!#ing up my future?’ Now there is a ‘massive, growing global movement’ that’s looking to ‘divest – and invest,’ to raise $1 trillion a year for new energy efforts: renewables like solar, biofuels, wind, energy-efficiency projects, materials science leaps, restoration projects, new investment portfolios. Huge investment management firms like BlackRock, which is partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE Group, and smaller ones like Trillium, Calvert, Aperio, and Green Century are providing alternative, carbon-free ways to invest.” — Dumping Coal Is Easy. But Who Will Divest the Rest?, September 9, 2014

Yet mom and dad’s pensions are not fucking up their future due to fossil fuels alone. The pensions are fucking up their future due to the required growth of the investment – if the stock is to turn out monetary gain. For stocks and other investments to grow, nature’s resources must be converted to capital. It matters little whether they are conventional fossil fuels (the singular asset that makes Exxon-Mobil one of the most profitable corporation in the world), or solar and wind energy investments (products that are also carbon-based/dependent from cradle to grave). Nature’s resources must be voraciously consumed in order for investments to both earn interest and continually (and infinitely) increase in monetary value. Further, biofuels/biomass are perhaps the most egregious forms of energy of all when it comes to this false narrative, while “materials science leaps” will undoubtedly encompass genetically engineered food crops as a solution to our food scarcity issues. Restoration projects, as referred to by forestry, capitalists and the NPIC, are nothing more than ecological degradation carried out under the guise of sustainability: deforestation, loss of wetlands, loss of vital minerals/raw materials, soaring food prices, land grabs and loss of farmland, changing of Earth’s wind patterns and animal migrations, starvation and conflict. All are being implemented under the guise of environmental solutions. Consider BlackRock Investment Management, the biggest funds manager in the world, referred to in the afore-mentioned quote. In 2011, BlackRock founder and CEO Larry Fink stated that both agriculture and water investments would be the best performers over the next 10 years: “Go long agriculture and water and go to the beach…. Put those investments in the bottom drawer for 10 years. It’s unlike anything else we have in the world. Agriculture and water would even beat energy investments.” [Source]

Further indication of the mere “symbolism” of divestment as outlined by Paul Hamill, director of strategy and communications for the center-left American Security Project in Washington, D.C. in the following quote: “What they [divestment activists] want to do is to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere to tackle climate change, and that is spot-on — that’s what we really need to do. But divesting is not the way to do it. It’s almost like a glib PR stunt. It feels nice to go out and campaign, and it feels nice to try and divest from these companies, but it’s not serious.” The article in which Hamill is quoted notes that both Swarthmore College and Wellesley College decided against divestment “after internal audits found the colleges could each lose $15 million per year over the next 10 years under fossil fuel divestment policies:

“Daniel R. Fischel, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, released an industry-financed study last week that found portfolios with energy stocks did better than those without them over a 50-year period by 0.7 percent per year. Total university holdings are estimated at $456 billion, meaning that the projected cost of divestment would top $3.2 billion per year. ‘This strikes us as an excessively high price to pay for something even divestment proponents acknowledge is largely a symbolic act….'”

Based on the statistics above, $3.2 billion in losses per year (even if this figure is inflated due to the report being industry-financed), one may wonder who would assume such divested stocks, and by extension, would also assume a portion of this the $3.2 billion dollars. Whether capitalist or socialist, one must admit that if this report is at all accurate, the mere 0.7 percent that translates into 3.2 billion dollars per year seems far beyond simple symbolism. Regardless, few could argue with Hamill’s accurate observation that “[T]heir success that they’re measuring is whether institutions are divesting, not whether we’re reducing carbon emissions.”

It would be difficult to not notice the aforementioned “Fossil Fuel Free Funds” that are being promoted by universities across the globe. The notion that any investment fund can actually be referred to as “fossil fuel free” is asinine at best. The simple fact that there is not one single industry that does not rely on fossil fuel energy, in one way or another, is lost. This demonstrates a collective failure in the most basic of critical thinking exercises. Students are not only encouraged to dismiss a necessary critique of investment capital outright; they are celebrated for their ignorance and encouraged to promote it. Also lost, due to the encouragement to disregard a critical thinking analysis, is the simple fact that all successful investment is absolutely dependent upon consumption/consumerism and perpetual growth, the very main drivers of the biosphere’s destruction. The obvious end result – that “this changes nothing” – is lost amongst the self-congratulatory accolades.

Of course the corporate takeover of universities in order to further serve the establishment and intensify neoliberalism is well-documented.

Divest & Acquiesce

While the NPIC chimes in on divest-invest in euphoric harmony, nowhere are there calls to divest from “Black Friday,” international travel/flying, luxury vacations, private and company jets, personal automobiles, techo-gadgets, factory farming, the military industrial complex, the eradication/burning of trees for industrial scale biomass, etc., etc., etc. So it’s nothing more than pure spectacle when we claim we are “fighting” fossil fuels without fighting for radical reduction, restriction and rationing of all non-vital consumption in all developed countries.

In the January 14, 2015 Rolling Stone article, The Logic of Divestment: Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon, the author writes that “Exxon Mobil, of course, scoffs at the notion that its ability to profit from its 25 billion barrels of proven reserves is in any way threatened. World governments, it wrote last March, lack the political will to impose the emissions reductions required to stabilize global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius: ‘The policy changes such a scenario would produce are beyond those that societies.?.?.?would be willing to bear, in our estimation.’ Exxon calls this low-carbon scenario ‘highly unlikely’ and neatly deems it unworthy of financial analysis.”

One hates to side with a corporation such as Exxon, yet who could argue with this logic? On this issue, their insights are dead on.

350 and other organizational partners in crime know that Exxon is correct. They are well aware that Western society (specifically, the privileged class being their target audience and core supporter base) would not be willing to accept the necessary policies required to stabilize global temperature rise at 2ºC (even though this is no longer possible without intense geo-engineering since we are already locked in at minimum to 2.4ºC as of 2008). Those in decision-making capacity at the 350.org leadership level and the NPIC as a whole (and Exxon) understand that Western society and its composite countries are not about to give up ANYTHING – let alone live a bare-bones minimalist existence stripped clean of privilege. This is one reason why the mainstream environmental movement sells the divestment campaign (as part of the “new economy”) as a “win” against “the enemy” rather than speak to the necessity of dismantling the industrialized capitalist machine and the power structure that exists and thrives within it – this and its unacknowledged absolute dependence upon said machine, for its very existence, is the primary reason why its goals are “suspiciously” aligned with those who oppress us. Further, a dismantling of the system requires that the populace comprehend how the machine is put together and more importantly, understand the mechanisms in place that protect the current power structures, ensuring they remain intact. Tragically, this required change regarding the system, comprising institutional change at a macro level all the way to personal choices at the micro level, is something of which the Western world and its citizens are wholly unaccepting.

The non-profit industrial complex inculcates its followers into acceptance without invoking the required and necessary critical thinking process. A recent example of such can be found on a 350.org Facebook post (2,153 shares) dated February 13, 2015: “The New York Times just published an editorial explaining why President Obama’s final call on Keystone XL should be so straightforward. If you need any more proof that the climate movement is winning as we take to the streets today on Global Divestment Day, look no further than the pages of the world’s biggest newspaper.” Yet consider the reality. Obama’s statement from 2012: “Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some. So we are drilling all over the place – right now.” Today, in 2015, U.S. crude oil production has neared all-time highs and is poised to set a record. The U.S. produced 3.2 billion barrels of crude oil last year, according to EIA figures, a 30-year high. In 2013, the U.S. produced 2.7 billion barrels, up from 2 billion a decade ago. [Source]

“The climate movement is winning”?

In Rockefeller (and, in this case, both Warren Buffett and the New York Times) we trust.

The truth is that attempts to curb the desire (international vacations/flying), want (bottled water, unlimited meat consumption) or ill-described need (iPhones, etc.) in America would be one of the few (and probably only) things to incite the American populace to take to the streets, burning buildings and the stringing up of beaten politicians to the myriad of street lights.

As outlined by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the foremost organization regarding the global influence of fossil fuels, in its publication Resources to Reserves 2013, which forecasts the availability of oil and gas for future generations, the author of the aforementioned Rolling Stone article writes the following: “In June, the IEA released an independent analysis projecting that carbon curbs strong enough to meet the 2 degrees Celsius threshold could leave nearly $300 billion in stranded fossil-fuel investments by 2035.” Yet, at the same time, the International Energy Agency projects that fossil fuels will provide 75-80% of the world’s energy for several decades to come. [Fossil fuels currently meet 80% of global energy demand. Even if current policy commitments and pledges made by countries to tackle climate change and other energy-related challenges were to be put in place, global energy demand in 2035 is projected to rise by 40% – with fossil fuels still contributing 75%.”[Source] [Further note that we have already exceeded a 2ºC threshold in committed global warming.]

In the same Rolling Stone article, Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, which is helping to promote and assist other foundations in the facile divestment plan, is quoted as saying: “‘If you own fossil fuels, you own climate change… and it’s not just owning their environmental impacts. You own their political impacts too’ – from the PR campaigns challenging climate science to the direct lobbying by oil companies of federal, state and municipal governments to block emissions limits. ‘You’re helping to build their war chest.'”

But the truth is that the 1% creating the global GHG emissions, which is the same 1% that hold shares in any investment, are the very ones that own climate change, whose high-consumption lifestyles continue to exacerbate the problem, regardless of whether they directly divest from fossil fuel stocks or not. What Dorsey deliberately omits is that environmental and political impacts from fossil fuel investments remain the same regardless of who owns them and that without dismantling an economic system to which most all people are enslaved, our efforts are futile. Dorsey speaks of owning political impacts, yet no one holds the NPIC accountable for their strategic campaign that neutralized and blocked radical emissions cuts and targets at COP15 in Copenhagen, which by all accounts should be considered a crime against humanity.

The truth is that the divestment campaign itself is the very thing “helping to build their war chest.” In the war chest we find “sustainable capitalism” by 2020, commodifying the Earth’s commons, privatization, and expansion of corporate power. Under the chest we find the requiem “The song remains the same,” with the affluent “Left” negatively impacting the environment with just as much fervour as the “Right” they criticize. Consider that the US, which represents a mere 4.45% of the world’s population, is responsible for a minimum of 27% of all global emissions, while simultaneously consuming approximately 24% of the world’s energy. Further take into account that each American consumer, the very target audience of the NPIC, requires “132,000 pounds of oil, sand, grain, iron ore, coal and wood” to maintain their current lifestyle each year. That adds up to “an eye-popping 362 pounds a day.” [Source: Juliet Schor, Plentitude, p. 44.]

It’s clear that the Wallace Global Fund is at the helm of Divest-Invest when one observes that it was the Wallace Global Fund that appointed the CEO of Phoenix Global Impact to project manage the Divest-Invest Philanthropy initiative as of March 2014. Simultaneously, Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, sits on all committees and working groups: 1) The steering committee, 2) Energy and Equity Working Group, 3) Organizing Working Group, and 4) the Investment Working Group. The Wallace Global Fund 990 filing reveals that their largest investment portfolio is that of Blood and Gore’s Generation Investment ($18,431,931.00), including Generation IM Credit Feeder Fund II L.P. (Private Fund, Cayman Islands) promoted by Generation Investment, see the following graphics:

Wallace Global Fund II 990

Wallace Global Fund II 2 990

All Eyes on Fossil Fuel Investments | All Eyes Off Militarism

Within the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex, it is of interest to note that Dorsey (Greenpeace Fund Board Member) is founder of the Human Rights and Environment Program of Amnesty International, having served as chair of the Board of Amnesty International USA. Amnesty, a vapid weapon in the destabilization of sovereign states (Venezuela, Libya, Eritrea, etc.) on behalf of NATO states, is silent on the devastating climate impacts and environmental devastation of militarism, which can in part be attributed to Amnesty International (and other NGOs) as they stoke the provocation of wars and conflicts. (Indeed, NGOs PLAY a critical ROLE in building public acquiescence for wars). [Further reading: A Tear for Africa: Humanitarian Abduction and Reduction] Remix: “If you entice and provoke destabilization campaigns, you own climate change… and it’s not just owning their environmental impacts. You own their political impacts (and the subsequent death toll) too – from the PR campaigns created to build acquiescence for the most egregious acts of violence, to the demonization campaigns, you’re helping to build their war chest, militarism being the most oil-exhaustive assault on the planet. Not fossil fuel investments, but militarism.”

+++

McKibben and 350.org would have you believe that it’s the fossil fuel corporations alone that are to blame: “The fossil-fuel industry is systematically undermining the planet’s physical systems…. We have met the enemy and they [sic] is Shell.” [Source] McKibben continues that “they [fossil fuel corporations] relentlessly search for more hydrocarbons” without mention of the capitalist consumption and growth fetish that drives the fossil fuel corporations to satisfy its economic demand for the most abundant and easily accessible resources available – a vicious circle if there ever was one. Of course, one cannot place blame on consumers (who are both willing participants and also victims) without highlighting the industrialized capitalist system that ensures all citizens are enslaved. Yet, even though this is the case, there is no mention of the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist system by any members of the establishment, green environmental or otherwise. McKibben et al want to believe that if you change the “bad” products in the vicious circle – to “eco” products – via “sustainable investments” (which are just as dependent on infinite growth), the capitalist system will become, by default, compassionate and caring. Authors such as Stephanie MacMillan refer to this consumer trend as “lifestyleism”. Lifestyleism correlates with one’s own social class. It could be defined as the focus on changing one’s own behaviours within the present system, with the belief that if everyone followed suit, not only would society as a whole improve, but perhaps “immoral” capitalism could be reformed from within. Such illusions are lucrative for advertising firms and NGOs that prey upon hyper-individualism, identity politics, and behavioral change tactics (which target middle to upper income classes*) to not only create new financial markets, but also to protect the current power structures. Yet failure to confront the power of capital actually strengthens it. This is where firms such as Purpose Inc. come in; masquerading further corporate capture and market share as radical change. (*This is clearly apparent in the divestment campaign in which the vast majority of its participants are predominantly white and of privilege.)

“Taking a moral stand might be a starting point, but if morality doesn’t rise to an understanding of the system, it not only fails to change capitalist society – it helps reinforce it.” — The Dead End of Moral Individualism, April 14, 2015

In 2011 and 2012, the Wallace Global Fund invested a substantial initial sum of grant money in groups that would effectively lead the divestment campaign by targeting college students and campuses. Recipients included the Sierra Club Student Coalition ($180,000), the Hip Hop Caucus ($40,000), As You Sow ($160,000) and 350.org ($205,000). For decades, foundations (and the elites and corporate entities that funnel money into the foundations) have recouped their investments in (more accurately, exploitation of) enthusiastic, gullible and compliant students (albeit absolutely well-intentioned) who are effectively trained to focus on what is considered politically realistic (and “appropriate”, as defined by the state and NPIC) within the confines of the existing system. Students who challenge NGO doctrine with critical and radical analysis are ignored, marginalized, and treated as negative and/or divisive, while those who fall in line are recognized as positive “leaders.” These behavioural change tactics subtly and effectively crush most critical thinking.

“Mass organizations under this system (such as collaborationist unions and NGOs) are usually dominated by institutionalized bureaucracies whose very functions are, first: to make money, and second: to pacify the masses by diverting their discontent into compromises with capital.” — Stephanie McMillan, Capitalism Must Die!

Consider the article Fossil Fuel Divestment’s True Aim? To Remake Capitalism (February 20, 2015) and how it was highlighted/shared via social media by a 350.org staff (Canadian tar sands organizer and “divestment activist”). From the article:

“For young climate activists like Soron and Hemingway, such analyses overlook the divestment movement’s broader aim: which is to remake the value structure of capitalism. No less than the Swiss financial giant UBS thinks such efforts should not be ignored. ‘Many of those engaged in [divestment] are the consumers, voters and leaders of the next several decades….'”

The same article was “re-tweeted” by 350.org’s main twitter account, 350.org Toronto and Divest SFU (Simon Fraser University), see below:

Remaking Capitalism Tweet Remaking Capitalism Tweet 2

The Fossil Free Indexes

The Fossil Free Indexes represent another important component of the “socially responsible investments” movement.

The Fossil Free Indexes “community” is comprised of 350.org – The Fossil Free Campaign [1], As You Sow, Ceres [2], Green America [3], Divest Invest [4] and Carbon Tracker Initiative. [“Carbon Tracker aligns the capital markets with the climate change policy agenda to make carbon investment risk relevant available today. They apply their thinking on carbon budgets and stranded assets across geographies and assets classes to inform investor thinking and the regulation of capital markets. Their research ranking public fossil fuel companies by the carbon content of their reserves includes: Unburnable Carbon: Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble?, Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets, and Carbon Avoidance? Accounting for the Emissions Hidden in Reserves.”][Source]

“‘If world governments put a cap on carbon, you would see that bubble burst and that would throw the world economy into disarray,’ she [Danielle Fugere, As You Sow’s president] said. Instead, the plan of As You Sow and other investors is to ensure ‘the bubble is going to be let out slowly in a way that nobody loses all their money.'” — Huge: Exxon Will Advise Investors on Carbon Bubble Exposure, March 23, 2014

The Board of Directors of As You Sow, an investment group dedicated to funding carbon-free and clean energy sources, is comprised of people with vast experience in business, investing and raising capital, like most boards of directors in the organizations behind the divestment campaign. Although most boast members with decades of vast experience in socially responsible investing, which is always quantified as incredibly successful (From the As You Sow Board of Directors profile page regarding Thomas Van Dyck, Chairman and Secratary: “Joining Piper Jaffray in 1997, he developed an investment management consulting team, now called the SRI Wealth Management Group, which moved to RBC Wealth Management in 2006, and is now one of the largest sustainable wealth management practices in North America”), Earth’s accelerating ecologic degradation conveys a different story. To further illustrate the murky relationship between these clean energy investment firms and the entities that underwrite them, Chevron, Exxon, Shell, BP, and Southern Company are listed among As You Sow’s “shareholder engagements.”

The Divest Invest resources on Fossil Free Indexes website include links to Cere’s Investor Network on Climate Risk [“the INCR is a network of 100 institutional investors representing more than $11 trillion in assets seizing the opportunities resulting from climate change and other sustainability challenges”] and the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change – the more recent, international in scope, Ceres coalition that is formed by the four regional climate change investor groups (also created by Ceres): the IIGCC (Europe), INCR (North America), IGCC (Australia & New Zealand) and AIGCC (Asia).

Also listed as a resource is the Responsible Endowments Coalition, which focuses on building the campaign within colleges and universities and which co-sponsored the Tellus Institute report with the Sustainable Endowments Institute and 350.org.

And while there is no actual definition of what constitutes “the new energy economy,” on the Fossil Free Indexes website, there are many leaders/executives with Wall Street backgrounds to be found.

Carbon Bubble Discourse

“This week has seen a new green meme emerge: the idea that investment in high-carbon companies is creating a ‘carbon bubble’ that could leave the world exposed to another financial crash.” – Why a high-carbon investment bubble could be the lesser of evils, July 15, 2011

Liberal “Guardian-esque” journalism touches lightly upon the fact that the market (i.e., fossil fuel corporations) easily dismiss the risk of “unburnable carbon” simply because “the world shows no sign of taking the two-degrees target seriously.” Where the journalism does not tread is on the very real fact that it is not “the world” that shows no sign of taking the two-degrees “target” seriously; it is the 1-3% of the world’s population that are creating 50% of the global GHG emissions who clearly show no signs of taking any limits seriously. This is the true hard math that remains excluded from discussion. Just a glimpse at the disturbing and vile “Black Friday[5] phenomenon, which is expanding around the globe, provides much clarity on the message: “We want more.”

The ferocious production of fossil fuels is only made possible by the consumption that drives it. The consumption does not take place within a vacuum. Thus, the “real enemy” (as constructed by Bill McKibben in this excerpt from his Rolling Stone article: “Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.”) [6] is not the fossil fuel corporations per se. Rather, the real enemy is fervent mass consumption by a tiny minority of the world’s population. And although the industrialized capitalist system demands nothing less than this, the united call to dismantle the suicidal global capitalist economic system is nowhere to be heard. Instead, solutions are framed under reformist language and ideology such as B Corporations, Natural Capital, New Economy, Divestment, Compassionate Capitalism, Social Capitalism, Natural Capitalism, The Biosphere Economy, etc. It is worth repeating the assertion put forward in Blood and Gore’s Generation Investment report: “But the more important fact remains: the mainstream debate is about how to practise capitalism, not whether we should choose between capitalism and some other system.”

Similarly, 350.org board member and author Naomi Klein (referenced by McKibben on July 19, 2012) tells us that “lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices. But these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It’s what they do.” Like the eco-amnesia that strikes Klein each time she criticizes “Big Green” without mention of Rockefeller’s incubator project 1Sky, which morphed into 350.org in 2011, Klein cites the very real terrible wages and sweatshops, without ever asking her ardent supporters (predominantly white, privileged, middle-class who identify with Klein and her lifestyle) to give up their iPhones, cars, flights … or anything else for that matter. Rather the answer is “comprehensive policies and programs that make low-carbon choices easy and convenient for everyone” and “growing the caring economy, shrinking the careless one.” Not surprisingly, this very blueprint and ideology is the foundation for the 21st century corporate “Who Cares Wins” pathology, whereby “kindness is becoming the nation’s newest currency.” The intent behind this pathology (made famous by TckTckTck founder/creator David Jones, former CEO of Havas), is the corporate capture of “millennials” by way of manipulation via branding, advertising and social media.

In 2009, Havas (one of the world’s largest global communications groups) and the United Nations partnered with 350.org, Avaaz, Greenpeace and Oxfam (in partnership with many of the world’s most powerful and destructive corporations) in order to establish credibility for the TckTckTck campaign that dominated COP15. The “demand” was a “fair and ambitious agreement” and a 2ºC target. The “agreement” we were given was the long pre-determined deadly “target” of 2ºC, with the NGOs having succeeded in undermining and making invisible the world’s most vulnerable states who demanded that the global temperature increase not exceed 1ºC. Leading up to the Paris climate change talks, the same NGOs will attempt to create legitimacy for policies that “change everything.” Our oligarchs can hardly wait to deliver on our demands: the financialization of nature, environmental markets, carbon capture and storage, biomass, and a score of other false solutions already well under way.

 

Next: Part XI 

 

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

 

EndNotes:

[1] “Based on the analysis in Unburnable Carbon, the Fossil Free Campaign is seeking to persuade the world’s college endowments, city and state pension funds, church investment managers and non-profits to divest from the 200 largest public coal, oil and gas companies in the world, ranked by the size of their proven carbon reserves, starting in the United States but already active on three continents.”

[2] “Ceres advocates for sustainability leadership, mobilizing a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.”

[3] “Green America’s mission is to harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace-to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Green America has a long-standing program on clean energy and climate change that uses diverse strategies to promote the development of renewable energy and to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Green America provides resources for individuals and institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies.”

[4] “Divest/Invest is foundations and individuals divesting from fossil fuels and switching to clean energy investments, joining college, health, pension funds and religious endowments doing the same. Ethically our investments shouldn’t contribute to dangerous climate change. Financially, fossil fuel stocks are over-valued as most of their reserves cannot be burned. We can get good, safe returns while helping to build a new energy system.”

[5] “What is Black Friday? Black Friday was a day where slaves traders in America held open market for slaves sales. Whenever a shipment of slaves came in, and there were hardly any disease or deaths amongst them (men, women and children), they call it a ‘Black Friday’ to celebrate the fortune they will make. However, if a shipment came in and there were mostly sick people, the traders call it a ‘Red Friday’, because of the bad outcome and ‘red’ because they would have to kill all the sick and weak slaves (because no one wanted to spend money feeding or treating those men, women and children).” [Source]

[6] Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is…. But what all these climate numbers make painfully, usefully clear is that the planet does indeed have an enemy – one far more committed to action than governments or individuals. Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization. “‘Lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices,’ says veteran anti-corporate leader Naomi Klein, who is at work on a book about the climate crisis. ‘But these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It’s what they do.'” [July 19, 2012: Source]


Digital Marginalisation and Obfuscation in the Messaging Sphere

We Suspect Silence

March 10, 2015

by empathiser

This morning I woke to discover that Bill McKibben @billmckibben had started to follow me on Twitter. How strange I thought. I’d been expecting to be blocked just like I was by @naomiaklein @bencaldecott @market_forces @350australia. I figured since I was blocked without breaching any kind of community standards it would only be a matter of time before Bill McKibben and @BobBurtonoz blocked me too.

screenshot.655

I’ve got a couple of theories about why I was blocked. I’ve been following the political will around carbon capture and storage (CCS), and highlighting the silence from the BigGreen NGOs and the well connected pundits and commentators. Some of my posts were getting noticed, they appear at the end of conversations, unacknowledged by the recipients. My posts stood out perhaps because they were talking about the silences and were returned with silence.

screenshot.667

This week The Guardian has rolled out the red carpet for Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein. Both were quoted and cited repeatedly in departing editor Alan Rusbridger’s “personal manifesto” introducing the thinking behind his series on the climate crisis that will dovetail perfectly into Naomi Klein’s ‘changes nothing’ tour at the end of the month. Already we have seen this series explain divestment, tackle divestment myths, and release excerpts from Naomi Klein’s most recent book.

screenshot.707

In my first conversation with Bill McKibben he wriggles out of providing an opinion on Shell’s plans for CCS, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the North Sea. I highlighted the fact that Shell’s Red Balls/Peterhead Gas CCS ad campaign was very public on the weekend he spoke at Chatham House and asked why he has never spoken about the threat posed by CCS and EOR in the North Sea.  His first response was to direct me to this article from Quartz reporting his appearance at Chatham House. Adam Epstein’s article doesn’t show that he spoke against the Peterhead CCS project that was being advertised in London on large billboards in tube stations using artwork produced by Carbon Visuals.  I suspect Bill McKibben was intimating that drilling for oil in the arctic is also a fossil fuel frontier. Who knows? It’s Naomi Klein’s talking point. For me new fossil energy frontiers are defined by dangerous new technology to combat scarcity, like fracking. Either way, Bill McKibben was right there in front of the people whose ads for an incomprehensibly dangerous nascent industry that stands to benefit from future trade in CO2 while providing demand for coal mining and an increased life span for oil extraction were plastered all over the city and he didn’t raise the issue, he never has.

screenshot.705

Like Ben Caldecott (Carbon Tracker, Green Alliance, Stranded Assets Project), Shell seem to be everywhere they want to be. Not only are they very well connected in the venerable home of silence, Chatham House, but they have their collaborators smoothing the path for them at The Guardian. The article that prompted me to remind Bill McKibben that he has yet to offer an opinion about Ed Davey’s plans for unabated coal appeared on Saturday, March 7 in The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Leadership section sponsored by Xynteo, a group with some heavy weight fossil fools like Shell, Woodside, and Statoil. Xynteo have an astounding motto  “We are reinventing growth”.  They certainly sound well positioned for the world that Ed Davey is envisaging.

<> on September 15, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland.Ed Davey? You can find out what he thinks here.

Shell-Peterhead-CCS-project

The London ‘Red Balls’ ads by Carbon Visuals who also did work for the 350.org Do The Math tour and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – ‘CCS a 2 Degree Solution’ video.

Tom Steyer’s Deep Ties to Oregon Corruption Scandal

The Washington Free Beacon

By Lachlan Markay

Police outside outside the home of Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon. / AP

Police outside outside the home of Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon. / AP


Top advisers to the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer helped run a green group, financed in part by Steyer himself, that is at the center of a corruption scandal that could force the Democratic governor of Oregon to resign.

An executive at one of Steyer’s nonprofit groups and a political vendor who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the hedge fund manager’s political operations helped run the group, which is accused of influencing state energy policy through undisclosed payments to Oregon’s first lady.

The controversy centers on Gov. John Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. She was paid $118,000 by the Clean Economy Development Center (CEDC) to advocate for environmentalist policies in Oregon.

Hayes never disclosed those payments, despite acting as an informal adviser to the governor as he pushed a low-carbon fuel standard for the state.

Dan Carol, then a strategic adviser to CEDC, helped Hayes land the position. He was given a $165,000-per-year job in the Kitzhaber administration.

Kitzhaber is expected to resign today under intense scrutiny over the scandal. The scandal could extend beyond Oregon given Steyer’s involvement. Steyer has donated millions to a group that helped finance Hayes’ position, which could ensnare one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent fundraisers in the scandal.

Hayes was reportedly a fellow at the CEDC  in 2011 and 2012, but as of late as August of last year, she was still listed on a since-deleted page of its website.

Also listed on that page was Kate Gordon, a member of the CEDC’s board. Gordon leads the energy and climate division of Next Generation, an environmental nonprofit group founded by Steyer.

Another director of the group, according to the website, was Mike Casey. Casey runs a media and public relations firm called Tigercomm that does polling and advertising work for Steyer’s Super PAC, NextGen Climate Action.

Casey reportedly wrote NextGen’s communications strategy for its involvement in elections in Massachusetts and Virginia in 2013. NextGen and another Steyer group, the CE Action Committee, paid Tigercomm $387,000 that year.

CEDC executive director Jeff King said in an email that Casey and Gordon were never board members, “but were erroneously listed as such at one point.” He would not say who listed them, why, when, or what their roles with the organization were. The IRS revoked CEDC’s tax exempt status in August after it failed to file annual reports for three straight years.

Former CEDC board members, according to the website, include Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union. His former assistant, Josie Mooney, is a strategic adviser to NextGen.

David Chen, a former member of CEDC’s advisory board, has hosted Steyer at events held by his investment firm, Equilibrium Capital. Steyer also sits on the board of the Center for American Progress, whose senior fellow in energy and environmental policy, Bracken Hendricks, was listed as a CEDC adviser.

As his team and others to which he has ties helped run CEDC, Steyer steered funds to the group financing Hayes’ fellowship.

Internal Revenue Servicing filings show that the Energy Foundation provided $75,000 to CEDC in 2011 and 2012. The foundation said the funds would help “build support for dean energy policy in the Northwest.” It told the Oregonian that it was supporting the fellowship specifically.

Steyer’s TomKat Charitable Trust has donated more than $3 million to the Energy Foundation.

Steyer is arguably the nation’s most prominent environmentalist financier, but other high-dollar donors to similar groups also bankrolled CEDC generally and Hayes’ fellowship specifically.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a foundation that provides significant financial support for U.S. green groups, granted $25,000 to CEDC in 2012 specifically earmarked for its Clean Economy Acceleration Fellowship Program.

That came after a $100,000 grant to CEDC the year before, itemized as “general support.”

Jessica Bailey, until 2012 a program officer for sustainable development at RBF, also served as a strategic adviser to CEDC.

A former CEDC director, Aimee Christensen, also worked with RBF through her consulting firm, Christensen Global Strategies. According to its website, another of her clients was the Sea Change Foundation, which has quietly poured hundreds of millions of dollars into U.S. environmentalist groups.

Among those groups is the Energy Foundation, which has received nearly $65 million from Sea Change.

Updated: Comment from CEDC’s Jeff King added above.

 

[Lachlan Markay is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon.]

Revealed: The Day Obama Instructed the Big Greens to Keep Silent on Climate Change

“My most vivid memory of that meeting is this idea that you can’t talk about climate change,” said Jessy Tolkan, who at the time was a leader of the climate youth movement, Power Shift.

 

“On a separate note, I’m curious what new ‘directives’ from the White House this time around might be for the climate movement, from one of those exclusive insider events, you know?  Those insiders among you, mind to share with the rest of us a little sooner this time, than the end of the second term?  Or do we still have to deduce from the unified talking points among you?  On National Public Radio a progressive movement leader explained that, at the beginning of Obama’s first term, he couldn’t be pushed very much, because he had to avoid jeopardizing the chances for his second term.  That’s why we needed to vote for him again, so that now he can really fight for us!  You see, keeping his job in the Oval Office is so much more important than the fate of the world, and savvy movement leaders can obviously agree with that.” – Scientist Maggie Zhou

Revealed: the day Obama chose a strategy of silence on climate change

Sandy has blown climate change back on the agenda – and many believe the White House was wrong when it decided in 2009 that climate change was not a winning political message

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent

guardian.co.uk

Barack Obama

Barack Obama: a 2009 off-the-record event marked a strategic decision by the White House to downplay climate change. Photograph: Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis

The invitation to the White House in the spring of 2009 struck Barack Obama‘s allies in the environmental movement as a big moment: a clear sign that climate change was on his radar and that the president was eager to get to work.

The event was indeed a turning point, but not the one campaigners expected. Instead, it marked a strategic decision by the White House to downplay climate change – avoiding the very word – a decision some campaigners on the guestlist say produced the strange absence of climate change from the 2012 campaign, until hurricane Sandy blew it right back on the political agenda.

The storm – which interrupted campaigning for three of the last eight days of the presidential race – may even prove the decisive factor in the elections, with voters watching how Obama handles Sandy’s aftermath. The devastation has already sparked debate about America’s present-day vulnerability to climate change.

But back in 2009, the off-the-record event with the White House green team at the old executive office building offered the first chance for the White House to share its plans for getting a climate change law through Congress. Aides handed round a one-page memo of polling data and talking points.

“It was in the context of the financial collapse. With everyone struggling, how do we connect with the public and build political support when everyone’s mind was on the very scary economy,” said Betsy Taylor, president of Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions an organisation that works with philanthropic and non-profit clients, who attended the meeting.

The answer was clear: climate change was not a winning message. Raising the topic would also leave Obama open to attack from industry and conservative groups opposed to intervention in the economy.

“What was communicated in the presentation was: ‘This is what you talk about, and don’t talk about climate change’.” Taylor said. “I took away an absolutely clear understanding that we should focus on clean energy jobs and the potential of a clean energy economy rather than the threat of climate change.”

The message stuck. Subsequent campaigns from the Obama administration and some environmental groups relegated climate change to a second-tier concern. After industry and conservative groups mobilised to attack Obama’s policies and climate science in the summer of 2009, the topic was seen as an even greater liability and politically toxic.

There was no mention of climate change during six hours of televised debate. Moderators failed to bring up the question, and Obama and Mitt Romney made no effort to fill in the gaps – even during a long and heated exchange about offshore drilling and coal.

Romney’s convention speech reduced climate change to a laughline. Obama defended climate science at the Democratic convention, and he answered a question on climate in an MTV interview last month.

Otherwise, Obama mentioned climate only in passing and in front of safe or rock-solid Democratic audiences, such as fundraisers in San Francisco and New York or events on college campuses. Since Sandy’s devastating storm, a number of prominent Democrats like Bill Clinton and Al Gore have talked about climate change, and taken Romney to task on the issue.

Those gathered on 26 March 2009 to hear from key members of Obama’s green dream team — Carol Browner, then energy and climate adviser, Nancy Sutley, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and Van Jones, then green jobs adviser, believed it would be a pivotal year.

The White House and both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats, world leaders were due to gather in Copenhagen in December to finalise a global climate change treaty.

But the economy was in meltdown. The White House, after studying polling and focus groups, concluded it was best to frame climate change as an economic opportunity, a chance for job creation and economic growth, rather than an urgent environmental problem.

“My most vivid memory of that meeting is this idea that you can’t talk about climate change,” said Jessy Tolkan, who at the time was a leader of the climate youth movement, Power Shift. “The real sense at that time was that talking about clean energy jobs, green jobs, was the way we were going to be able to gain momentum and usher in real change. Talking about climate change and global warming was not going to resonate as much.”

None of the principal White House officials would talk on the record about the meeting. The White House did not release materials related to the meeting or respond to a request for visitors’ records.

But most of the environmental groups were inclined to go along. “When the White House invites you to a meeting and says: ‘here is how we are going to talk about these things’, it sends a very clear message,” said Erich Pica, president of the US Friends of the Earth Action, who was also at the meeting.

One Big Progressive Clusterfuck [Brought to you by Avaaz Founder – MoveOn.org]

Movement Strategy Brunches: “Campaign Season” Never Ends for the Professional Left

November 14, 2012

CounterPunch

by the Insider

President Barack Obama was elected merely a week ago in a presidential campaign that ran a bill of $6 billion.

Campaign Season,” as its called by the electioneering professionals and most journalists, has officially come to an end in the eyes of most citizens and the press, both mainstream and “independent media” alike. For the “Professional Left” though, “campaign season” never actually ends, which explains why they refer to their form of activism as “campaigns.” It’s truth in advertising, at last!

The newest “campaign” in town is being run by….wait for it….a MoveOn.org offshoot in the form of “Movement Strategy Brunches” being held nationwide on Nov. 17-18.

“Drink Mimosas”

On Nov. 8, writing to a confidential email list, Liz Butler, a “Senior Fellow and Network Organizing Project Director” of the Movement Strategy Center, declared,

“We are asking you to set up a Movement Strategy Brunch – an informal, low-key way to bring together you and other local grassroots people at the local level to reflect, drink mimosas (or healthy green smoothies) and talk about the future. Sound fun? It’s supposed to be! After so much hard work, it’s nice to be able to kick back, drink some orange juice, and munch on a flaky croissant.”

The Movement Strategy Center is the Fiscal Sponsor for Van Jones’ Rebuild the Dream, according to Rebuild the Dream‘s website. Jones’ front group for the Democratic Party set up shop in June 2011 when MoveOn.org gave $348K to Rebuild the Dream in start-up capital, according to its most recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 990 form.

Rebuild, as regular CounterPunch readers will likely recall, was responsible for the attempt to co-opt the Occupy movement not once, but twice – once in the fall of 2011 and once again in the spring of 2012.

Butler oversaw the “99 Spring,” the front operation for both MoveOn.org and the Democratic Party. Prior to her current stint at the Movement Strategy Center in April 2012, Butler worked for 3.5 years as the Campaign Director for 1Sky, which in April 2011 merged with 350.org, currently in the throes of its “Do the Math” campaign.

The email was co-signed by Billy Wimsatt, a Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, as well as an employee of Rebuild the Dream, two outfits that are interchangeable and one-in-the-same. A WhoIs.net search shows Wimsatt registered the website for the “Movement Strategy Brunches” on Oct. 16, a few weeks ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

“Consensual Domination”

Like its cousin the 99 Spring, the ”Movement Strategy Brunches” give well-meaning grassroots activists the illusion of having full control of things at the local level. “YOU organize it,” shouts its website.

Yet again, it’s the same players managing a brand new version of what University of California-Santa Barbara Sociology Professor William I. Robison refers to as “consensual domination” in his classic book, “Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony.”

“The Gramscian concept of hegemony as ‘consensual domination’ exercised in civil and political society at the level of the individual nation (or national society) may be extended/applied to the emergent global civil and political society,” he wrote in the book’s introduction. “The emergence of ‘democracy promotion’ as a new instrument and the orientation in US foreign policy in the 1980s represented the beginnings of a shift – still underway – in the method through which the core regions of the capitalist world system exercise their domination over peripheral and semi-peripheral regions…”

The tools of imperialism have come home to the core of the empire, as they always do. This time, like the many times before, it’s in the form of “consensual domination” on the part of citizens who partake in “activism” that’s nothing more than freshly installed astroturf for the Democratic Party disguised as “democracy promotion.”

“These pseudo-revolutionaires no doubt believe their own propaganda, or their ‘memes,’ as they prefer to call them. But these liberal cultists are nothing more than convenient lap dogs for the ‘progressive’ millionaires who fund them and the Democrats,” said John Stauber, author of the book Toxic Sludge is Good for You and Founder of the Center for Media and Democracy. ”They are well fed, they groom each other, they regurgitate the same talking points, and they consistently accomplish nothing in the real world except to push a false hope that they are leading a real Movement. In other words, it’s a classic form of cooptation, which is both made possible by the severe limitations of the political process and of course serves to limit it further. It is essential to maintaining a status quo that benefits the 1%. Follow the money, this is one big progressive cluster-fuck.”

 

 

[The Insider is the pseudonym of an activist who works inside the Liberal Foundation-Funded Democratic Party-Allied Belly of the Beast.]