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The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

By Cory Morningstar

January 17, 2019

 

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

 

1958: “17-year-old Bianca Passarge of Hamburg dresses up as a cat, complete with furry tail, and dances on wine bottles. Her performance was based on a dream and she practised for eight hours every day in order to perfect her dance.”

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent series has been written in two volumes.

[Volume I: ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

[Volume II: An Object Lesson In SpectacleACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT V] [ACTS VI & VII forthcoming]

Volume I:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

A C T   O N E

 

“How is it possible for you to be so easily tricked by something so simple as a story, because you are tricked? Well, it all comes down to one core thing and that is emotional investment. The more emotionally invested you are in anything in your life, the less critical and the less objectively observant you become.” — David JP Phillips, We Don’t Have Time board of directors, “The Magical Science of Storytelling”

 

 

October 26, 2018, Facebook: Greta Thunberg, We Don’t Have Time

 

August 2018, Finance Monthly: co-founder of We Don’t Have Time, Ingmar Rentzhog

We Don’t Have Time

As this term is quickly becoming the quote du jour as a collective mantra to address the ongoing environmental disaster that can best be described as a nod to the obvious, it’s true that we don’t have time. We don’t have time to stop imperialist wars – wars being the greatest contributor to climate change and environmental degradation by far – but we must do so. Of course this is an impossible feat under the crushing weight of the capitalist system, a US war economy, and the push for a fourth industrial revolution founded on renewable energy. Yet, inconvenience has nothing to do with necessity in regards to addressing a particular situation. What is never discussed in regard to the so-called “clean energy revolution” is that its existence is wholly dependent on “green” imperialism – the latter term being synonymous with blood.

But that’s not what this series is about.

This series is about new financial markets in a world where global economic growth is experiencing stagnation. The threat and subsequent response is not so much about climate change as it is about the collapse of the capitalist economic system. This series is about the climate wealth opportunity of unprecedented growth, profits, and the measures our elite classes will take in order to achieve it – including the exploitation of the youth.

What is We Don’t Have Time?

 

“Our goal is to become among the biggest players on the internet.” — Ingmar Rentzhog, We Don’t Have Time, December 22, 2017, Nordic Business Insider

On August 20, 2018 a tweet featuring a photo of “a Swedish girl” sitting on a sidewalk was released by the tech company, We Don’t Have Time, founded by its CEO Ingmar Rentzhog:

“One 15 year old girl in front of the Swedish parliament is striking from School until Election Day in 3 weeks[.] Imagine how lonely she must feel in this picture. People where [sic] just walking by. Continuing with the business as usual thing. But the truth is. We can’t and she knows it!”

Rentzhog’s tweet, via the We Don’t Have Time twitter account, would be the very first exposure of Thunberg’s now famous school strike.

Above: We Don’t Have Time tweet, August 20, 2018

Tagged in Rentzhog’s “lonely girl” tweet were five twitter accounts: Greta Thunberg, Zero Hour (youth movement), Jamie Margolin (the teenage founder of Zero Hour), Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the People’s Climate Strike twitter account (in the identical font and aesthetics as 350.org). [These groups will be touched upon briefly later in this series.]

Rentzhog is the founder of Laika (a prominent Swedish communications consultancy firm providing services to the financial industry, recently acquired by FundedByMe). He was appointed as chair of the think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge in English) on May 24, 2018, and serves on the board of FundedByMe. Rentzhog is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Organization Leaders, where he is part of the European Climate Policy Task Force. He received his training in March 2017 by former US Vice President Al Gore in Denver, USA, and again in June 2018, in Berlin.

Founded in 2006, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is a partner of We Don’t Have Time.

The We Don’t Have Time Foundation cites two special youth advisors and trustees: Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin. [Source]

Screenshot

Mårten Thorslund, chief marketing and sustainability officer of We Don’t Have Time, took many of the very first photos of Thunberg following the launch of her school strike on August 20, 2018. In the following instance, photos taken by Thorslund accompany the article written by David Olsson, chief operating officer of We Don’t Have Time, This 15-year-old Girl Breaks Swedish Law for the Climate, published August 23, 2018:

“Greta became a climate champion and tried to influence those closest to her. Her father now writes articles and gives lectures on the climate crisis, whereas her mother, a famous Swedish opera singer, has stopped flying. All thanks to Greta.

 

And clearly, she has stepped up her game, influencing the national conversation on the climate crisis—two weeks before the election. We Don’t Have Time reported on Greta’s strike on its first day and in less than 24 hours our Facebook posts and tweets received over twenty thousand likes, shares and comments. It didn’t take long for national media to catch on. As of the first week of the strike, at least six major daily newspapers, as well as Swedish and Danish national TV, [1] have interviewed Greta. Two Swedish party leaders have stopped by to talk to her as well.” [Emphasis added]

The article continues:

“Is there something big going on here? This one kid immediately got twenty supporters who now sit next to her. This one kid created numerous news stories in national newspapers and on TV. This one kid has received thousands of messages of love and support on social media…. Movements by young people, such as Jaime Margolin’s #ThisIsZeroHour that #WeDontHaveTime interviewed earlier, speaks with a much needed urgency that grown-ups should pay attention to…” [Emphasis in original]

Yes – there was, and still is, something going on.

It’s called marketing and branding.

“Yesterday I sat completely by myself, today there is one other here too. There are none [that] I know.” — Greta Thunberg, August 21, 2018,  Nyheter newspaper, Sweden [Translation via Google]

The “one kid immediately got twenty supporters” – from a Swedish network for sustainable business. What is going on – is the launch of a global campaign to usher in a required consensus for the Paris Agreement, the Green New Deal and all climate-related policies and legislation written by the power elite – for the power elite. This is necessary in order to unlock the trillions of dollars in funding by way of massive public demand.

These agreements and policies include carbon capture and storage (CCS), enhanced oil recovery (EOR), bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), rapid total decarbonisation, payments for ecosystem services (referred to as “natural capital”), nuclear energy and fission, and a host of other “solutions” that are hostile to an already devastated planet. What is going on – is a rebooting of a stagnant capitalist economy, that needs new markets – new growth – in order to save itself. What is being created is a  mechanism to unlock approximately 90 trillion dollars for new investments and infrastructure. What is going on is the creation of, and investment in, perhaps the biggest behavioural change experiment yet attempted, global in scale. And what are the deciding factors in what behaviours global society should adhere to? And more importantly, who decides? This is a rhetorical question, as we know full well the answer: the same Western white male saviours and the capitalist economic system they have implemented globally that has been the cause of our planetary ecological nightmare. This crisis continues unabated as they appoint themselves (yet again) as the saviours for all humanity – a recurring problem for centuries.

Source: WWF

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“Our goal is to become at least 100 million users. It is an eighth of all who have climbed on social media. Only last month we managed to reach 18 million social media accounts according to a media survey that Meltwater news made for us. At Facebook, we are currently seven times the number of followers among the world’s all climate organizations. We are growing with 10,000 new global followers per day on Facebook.” — Ingmar Rentzhog interview with Miljö & Utveckling, October 15, 2018

We Don’t Have Time identifies itself as a movement and tech start-up that is  currently developing “the world’s largest social network for climate action”. The “movement” component was launched on April 22, 2018. The web platform is still in the progress of being built, but is to launch on April 22, 2019 (coinciding with Earth Day). “Through our platform, millions of members will unite to put pressure on leaders, politicians and corporations to act for the climate.” The start-up’s goal to rapidly achieve 100 million users has thus far attracted 435 investors (74.52% of the company’s shares) via the web platform FundedByMe.

The start-up intends to offer partnerships, digital advertising and services related to climate change, sustainability and the growing green, circular economy to “a large audience of engaged consumers and ambassadors.”

We Don’t Have Time is mainly active in three markets: social media, digital advertising and carbon offsets. [“In the US alone estimated market for carbon offsetting amount to over 82 billion USD of which voluntary carbon offset represents 191 million USD. The market is expected to increase in the future, in 2019 estimated 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions to be associated with any kind of cost for offsetting.”] As the company is a niche organization, social networks are able to provide services tailored to platform users. The start-up has identified such an opportunity by offering its users the ability to purchase carbon offsets through the platform’s own certification. This option applies to both the individual user of the platform, as well as to whole organizations/companies on the platform.

One incentive of many identified in the start-up investment section is that users will be encouraged to “communicate jointly and powerfully with influential actors.” Such influencers are Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin who both have lucrative futures in the branding of “sustainable” industries and products, should they wish to pursue this path in utilizing their present celebrity for personal gain (a hallmark of the “grassroots” NGO movement). [Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

The tech company is banking on creating a massive member base of “conscious users” that will enable “profitable commercial collaborations, for example, advertising”:

“Decision makers – politicians, companies, organizations, states – get a climate rating based on their ability to live up to the users’ initiative. Knowledge and opinion gather in one place and users put pressure on decision makers to drive a faster change.”

 

“The main sources of revenue come from commercial players who have received high climate rating and confidence in the We Don’t Have Times member base.[2] … The revenue model will resemble the social platform of TripAdvisor.com’s business model, which with its 390 million users annually generates over $ 1 billion in good profitabilityWe will work with strategic partners such as Climate Reality leaders, climate organizations, bloggers, influencers and leading experts in the field.”

Video: We Don’t Have Time promotional video, published April 6, 2018 [Running time: 1m:38s]

A “state of conscious and permanent visibility assures the automatic functioning of power.” — Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish

Comparable to other social media endeavors where “likes”, “followers”, and unfathomable amounts of metadata determine financial success, the fact that the business is virtual enables high profit margins. The return on investment, best described as mainstream acquiescence and desirability by way of exposure, will be obtained through future dividends. In anticipation of this projected success, the tech company plans to take its business to the stock exchange in the near future (think Facebook and Instagram.) The most critical component to the success of this start-up (like its predecessors) is achieving a massive member base. Therefore, according to the company, it “will work actively with both enlisting influencers and creating content for various campaigns linked to the hashtag #WeDontHaveTime.”

 

Prospectus We Don't Have Time (pdf)

We Don’t Have Time Business Plan Swedish

 

On April 18, 2018, the crowdfunding platform FundedByMe (utilized by We Don’t Have Time to enlist investors) acquired Ingmar Rentzhog’s Laika Consulting. Excerpts from the press release are as follows:

“FundedByMe today announced that they acquire 100% of the shares in the established financial company Laika Consulting AB, a leading communications agency in financial communications. As a result, the company doubles its investment network to close to 250,000 members, making it the largest in the Nordic region. The acquisition is a strategic step to further strengthen FundedByMe’s range of financial services…

 

[Ingmar Rentzhog] will continue to work on strategic client projects for FundedByMe and Laika Consulting in part-time. Moreover he takes a role in the company’s board. The majority of his time he will focus on climate change through the newly established company, “We Don’t Have Time”, as a CEO and founder.” [Emphasis added] [Source] [3]

 

We Don’t Have Time Software App: The Latest Wave of Western & Corporate Ideology at Your Fingertips

 In October 2016, Netflix aired the third season of Black Mirror, “a Twilight Zoneesque anthology TV series about technological anxieties and possible futures.” The first episode “Nosedive” posits a shallow and hypocritical populace in which “social platforms, self-curation and validation-seeking” have become the underpinning of a future society. [Black Mirror’s third season opens with a vicious take on social media]. The disturbing episode shares parallels to the concept behind We Don’t Have Time. The difference being instead of rating people exclusively, we will be rating brands, products, corporations and everything else climate related.

Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

The not unintended results will be tenfold. The corporations with the best advertising executives and largest budgets will be the winners. Greenwashing will become an unprecedented method of advertising as will the art of “storytelling” (no one ever said a story has to be true). Small or local businesses with little financial means will more than often be the losers. Especially hit, will be migrant entrepreneurs whose cultures differ from ours in the West – where “Western democracy” is the only democracy that is valid.

Adding to the conversation as to who is ultimately benefiting from this endeavor from a cultural, social, geographical and ethnic perspective is the fact that “subconscious biases about race or gender, is a proven problem on many crowdsourced platforms.” [Source] Ultimately, this means that in order to acquire the needed support as a multimedia platform, the self-interest of the Western world must be at the fore with no concern for the Global South – other than what we can continue to steal from her.  The inconvenient truth is that all roads lead to the same collective (if even subconscious)  goal: the preservation of whiteness.

Rentzhog assures his audience that “our core, though, will remain, namely to empower our users to put pressure on world leaders so that they move faster towards an emission-free world and environmentally sustainable solutions and policies.” [Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018]

An “emission-free world” sounds enticing – yet there are no plans whatsoever to retract our growth economies. “Environmentally sustainable solutions” … according to who? According to a tribal elder who upholds the principles of “the seventh generation” (the Indigenous belief that humans must properly provide for its descendants by ensuring that our actions in the present allow the Earthly survival of seven succeeding generations – not to be confused with Unilever’s Seventh Generation acquisition) – or according to the World Bank? (We all know the answer to this rhetorical question.)

Another inconvenient truth, regarding the above premise, is that there is growing pressure on governments to increase Federal research and development funding to develop and deploy “deep decarbonization” technologies as one of the primary “solutions” to climate change. This was proposed at the Paris Climate Accord with Bill Gates’ “Mission Innovation” initiative which committed to doubling government investment in energy technology.

“We want it to cost more, in terms of revenue, public support and reputation, to not work on lowering emissions and improve environmental sustainability, whereas those that lead the way should be recognized for this. Our vision is to create a race towards environmental sustainability and CO2 neutrality, making it the core priority for businesses, politicians and organizations worldwide.” — Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

Here again, we must look closely at language and framing. Who are “those that lead the way”? Are they referring to Western citizens who can fit all their belongings in a duffle bag? [Here it must be said that the environmental heroes in the West are NOT the Richard Bransons or Leonardo DiCaprios of the world. The real heroes for the environment, due to their almost non-existent environmental footprint, are  the homeless – despite the scorn they receive from society as a whole.] Are they referring to the African Maasai who, to this day, literally leave no trace? Or are “those that lead the way” Unilever and Ikea (represented on the We Don’t Have Time board)? This is another rhetorical question we all know the answer to. Notice the mention of CO2 “neutrality” rather than a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions. Convenient language when one of the main pillars of the business model is the sale of carbon offsets – rationalizing a continuance of the same carbon-based lifestyle by constructing a faux fantasy one, that anyone with monetary wealth, can buy into.

As online reviews and ratings systems have become a Western staple of determining the worthiness of a person, group or corporation,  the internet presently is a primary source of determining the quality of an entity. One example of this type of system is the online site Trip Advisor, which utilizes user feedback as a measuring stick of a hotel, airline, car rental, etc.  As the Trip Advisor rating system is the revenue model We Don’t Have Time seeks to emulate, we will explore this particular rating system.

Whereas a reputable and established website such as Trip Advisor is based on an actual experience – We Don’t Have Time evaluations are more geared toward promises into the future regarding a green technology revolution and/or the effectiveness of advertising in making people believe the veracity of these promises. By utilizing fake accounts (think Twitter and Facebook), strategically orchestrated campaigns will effectively allow the app to break political careers and demonize people and countries based on the numbers of ratings (“climate bombs”). These bombs can be administered against any foe that does not embrace the technologies (sought by the West to benefit the West) of this so-called revolution, regardless if the reason for doing so is justifiable or not.

The word “bomb” itself will become reframed. Rather than associating bombs with militarism (never touched upon by We Don’t Have Time) the word bomb will eventually become first and foremost associated with ratings, bad products, bad ideas and bad people. Such is the power of language and framing when combined with social engineering. Here, the behavioural economics of hatred can be weaponized – a virtual new form of soft power. The Nicaraguan Sandinista government who did not sign onto the Paris Agreement because it is too weak (and serves only Western interests) could quickly become a pariah on the global stage – as the West controls the stage. Already a target for destabilization, the soft power app would be applied as the ruling class sees fit.

When one contemplates the non-profit industrial complex, it must be considered the most powerful army in the world. Employing billions of staff, all inter-connected, today’s campaigns, financed by our ruling oligarchs can become viral in a matter of hours just by the interlocking directorate working together in unity toward a common goal to instil uniform  thoughts and opinions, which gradually create a desired ideology. This is the art of social engineering. Conformity and emotive content as tools of manipulation has been and always will be the most powerful weapons in the Mad Men’s  toolbox. If 300,000 people have already voted with “climate hearts” on a “trending” topic in under 48 hours – it must be a great idea.

“Nobody wants to be bottom of the class.”  Ingmar Retzhog, We Don’t Have Time, December 22, 2017, Nordic Business Insider

To be clear, the West is in no position to “teach” (nudge/engineer) the “correct” value system regarding sustainability to the world, when the biggest polluters on the planet are manufactured into “climate leaders” and “climate heroes”. This is reality turned on its head. A reality we are conditioned to accept. Institutions such as the United Nations in tandem with the media, spoon-feed this insanity (that defies all logic) to the global populace, in servitude to the ruling classes.

“Nudging”: Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

Finally, this behavioral science platform lends itself to the continued devolvement of critical thinking. With virtually everything and everyone to rate all day long – who has time to look in depth at any given policy or product that after all, sounds, looks and feels simply amazing due to sophisticated marketing coupled with behavioural change tactics? It is vital to keep in mind that social engineering – and massive profit – are the key merits and purpose of this application.

 

End Notes:

[1] TV 2 Danmark Danish public service, SVT Swedish public service, TV 4 News, Metro TV, Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet (August 20, 2018), Sydsvenskan, Stockholm Direkt, Expressen (August 20, 2018) , ETC, WWF, Effekt Magazin, GöteborgsPosten,Helsingborgs Dagblad, Folkbladet, Uppsala Nya tidning, Vimmerby Tidning, Piteå Tidningen, Borås Tidning, Duggan, VT, NT, Corren, OMNI, WeDontHaveTime CEO viral FaceBook post that mention it first. [Source]

[2] Click-based advertising based on highly rated companies that want to drive traffic to their websites; Targeted web advertising for companies that want to reach out to environmentally aware users in different segments; Business subscriptions where companies and organizations have the opportunity to interact with the members and get the right to use the We Don’t Have Times brand and the company’s rating in their marketing [Source]

[3] “Laika Consulting was one of the first companies in Sweden to work with crowdfunding when we established the brand in 2004. I look forward to follow the company’s growth closely. A combination of Laika’s expertise in listed companies, together with FundedByMe with its international and digital presence, can create new opportunities for growth.”says Laika’s CEO, Ingmar Rentzhog.” [Source]

 

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

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

Celebrity “Activists” Change Everything: UN Forum to Adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Klein OECD

Photo: 24 November 2015: Naomi Klein (left) and Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In January 1998 Mexican President Zedillo appointed Jose Angel Gurria as Minister of Finance. “One top official at Nomura Securities summed up Wall Street’s euphoria upon hearing of Gurria’s appointment. ‘He’s one of ours.'” Gurría also negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which came into force on January 1, 1994. [Further reading: Our “Man in Mexico” and the Chiapas Massacre]

The United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015 was held in New York on September 26. The forum was presented by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and 350 leaders from the public and private sectors:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Naomi Klein, Angel Gurría (OECD), Jeffrey Sachs (Natural Capital/privatization of nature), George Soros, Al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono (U2), the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, Greenpeace International, WWF and many others. This exclusive event is by invitation only.

Held one day after the UN member nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, on September 25, this global forum focused on the role of the private sector in implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the agreement.

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EGADE Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey

September 25, 2015

Mexico City

bono 2

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) speaks with Angela Merkel (left), Chancellor of Germany, and Bono, activist and lead singer of the rock band U2, at the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015, organized by UN Global Compact. (UN Photo/Kim Haughton)

Excerpts:

Dr. María de Lourdes Dieck Assad, dean of EGADE Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey, was chosen—as the leader of an institute for higher education—to participate last Saturday, September 26, in the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015, organized by the United Nations Global Compact and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. Participation at this exclusive event is by invitation only and includes leaders of key organizations. EGADE Business School was included because of its commitment to promoting corporate sustainability and responsible business education, seen in the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, which the school cofounded….

The Private Sector Forum—which the UN secretary general convenes every year with the goal of bringing the voice of the private sector to intergovernmental debates—is of special importance in 2015, because it is taking place during the historic UN Sustainable Development Summit to adopt the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global commitment that seeks to eradicate extreme poverty, fight inequality, and combat climate change throughout the world.

This global forum brought together a select group of more than 350 leaders from the public and private sectors and from civil organizations, to launch formally the SDGs for the private sector. Besides the UN secretary general, other high-level leaders from around the world participated, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel; French President François Hollande, King Philip VI of Spain and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso; the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, the president of Walmart, Mike Duke, Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil, and the investor George Soros; and Al Gore, president of The Climate Reality Project Change, Angel Gurría, secretary general of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Jeffrey Sachs, president of the Earth Institute, Mary Robinson, Special Envoy for Climate Change of the United Nations, Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation founder, the renowned journalist of The Nation Naomi Klein and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), among other global leaders. In addition, investors and leading multinational organizations like Unilever, Lego, MasterCard, IKEA, Pearson and Oxfam International, among others, announced their strategies and objectives for the implementation of ODS in their business.

Read the full article here: http://www.itesm.mx/wps/wcm/connect/ebs/egade+business+school+nd/news+home/news/news284

Global Goals 10

 

 

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.

Al Gore’sClimate Reality P roject: 24 hours of climate reality, but market fantasy

By Joseph Green
Wed, 14 Sep 2011

 

Today was the start of Al Gore's 24 hours of internet presentations,
which will last till Sept 15, about the reality of climate warming.
These presentations are putting forward many facts about what's
happening to the climate. They dramatize the effect these changes are
having on countries and people around the world.

    But when it comes to solutions, Al Gore is as stuck in the atmosphere
of denial as the market-fanatic John Boehner and the other
head-in-the-sand politicians referred to in the 24 hours of
presentations. Gore still promotes the market-based measures that have
helped lead to the present threat of global climate catastrophe. He
still says that capitalist corporations will do the right thing for the
environment out of the motivation to make higher profits. Meanwhile
Gore and the other speakers are silent on the movement for environmental
justice and say nothing about the many activists who are fighting
militantly to protect the environment against those business interests
that Al Gore praises. And Gore is silent on the urgent need for
extensive environmental and economic planning and regulation.

     The article below, which will appear in the coming issue of
"Communist Voice", discusses Gore's stands in the weeks leading up to
the 24 hours of reality. It brings out those truths about global
warming, and about what needs to be done, which Gore closes his eyes to.
It is not Adam Smith and the drive for higher profits that will save the
environment, but the development of a working-class environmentalism
that breaks with pro-business environmentalism and instead takes part in
the class struggle.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        Gore created a flurry of interest when he chided President Obama in
"Rolling Stone" (June 2, 2011). This, it turns out, was a warmup for his
new Climate Reality Project, which was announced on July 12. Gore speaks
with passion about those who deny the ongoing environmental crisis, and
he titled his article "Climate of denial: Can science and truth
withstand the merchants of poison?". He says that climate change is not
a matter of the future: no, it is here today. He even gently reproaches
Obama for inaction.

    But when it comes to what to do, Gore still clings to market methods,
rather than regulation and planning. He makes a point of praising the
supposed environmental concern of the vicious wage-cutting profiteer
Walmart, but says nothing about the important role of militant activists
for environmental justice. He demands action, but the action he demands
is supporting big business, "reward(ing) those companies that are
providing leadership", and providing more support to the very reprobate,
Obama, who is sitting on his hands and letting the environment deteriorate.

    Worse yet, Gore chides Obama only for inaction, not for advocating
harmful policies like "cap and trade", which is a proven failure at
cutting carbon emissions.. Gore hides the many ways the Obama
administration has actively worked with big business in ravaging the
environment, whether it is backing the fraud of "clean coal",
encouraging the land-destroying practice of hydraulic "fracking" for
natural gas, pooh-poohing the significance of the Fukushima nuclear
disaster while letting American reactors evade safety standards, or
helping BP minimize its liability for the Gulf oil spill.

    Al Gore's Climate Reality Project is calling for 24 hours of reality on
September 14-15. Its website declares: "What can change in a day?
Everything. On September 14, the world will focus its attention on the
truth about the climate crisis. For 24 hours, we will all live in
reality." This change is to be accomplished by "a new multimedia
presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24
hours, in every time zone around the globe."
(http://climaterealityproject.org/the-event/) But how much reality can
he put forward when he is still in a state of denial over the failed
market measures which he advocates?

The environmental crisis is here
---------------------------------------

    As usual, Gore is at his best in pointing out the dangers of climate
change. He points to the disasters of the past 12 months: last year is
tied with 2005 as the hottest year since scientific heat measurement was
begun; huge floods displaced 20 million people in Pakistan, and
submerged an area of Australia larger than Germany and France combined;
a level of flood that is only supposed to come once every thousand years
struck Gore's home town of Nashville, Tennessee; heat and drought was so
hot in Russia that fires spread; ice continues to melt at an accelerated
pace, threatening faster sea-level raises than previously predicted; etc.

    Gore also denounces the way that a "climate of denial" has been created
in the mass media to drown out the evidence of climate change and hide
the scientific consensus on global warming being a reality. He admits
that "the concerns of the wealthiest individuals and corporations
routinely trump the concerns of average Americans and small business."

    So his article has some useful material. It may be of use in waking up
some people to the ongoing climate crisis. That's what the 24 hours of
reality in September are supposed to do, and his presentation is likely
to point to the real dangers that face us. But Gore's agitation that
people should wake up and smell the coffee is accompanied by sweet
lullabies to put people back to sleep. For Gore may travel around the
world far from his native Tennessee, but he has never left the state of
denial, and he works hand in hand with the very business elite which
include the "merchants of poison". So, when it comes to solutions,
Gore's article is an example of the type of blindness that is widespread
in the establishment environmentalist organizations. And we can expect
that his presentation on September 14 will be in the same vein,

Hand-in-hand with the merchants of poison
-----------------------------------------------------

    There is more than one type of climate denial. Gore admits the
environmental crisis, but clings to the failed policies that have helped
bring it on. It was Clinton and Gore, as president and vice-president,
who insisted that the Kyoto Protocol be based on market measures.
Instead of using the regulatory methods that had been used to fight a
number of other environmental problems, Clinton and Gore championed
market-fundamentalism, or neo-liberalism. They sought to develop
artificial markets in pollution, and then hoped that Adam Smith's
"invisible hand" would result in pollution being phased out. Today Gore
may denounce the "merchants of poison", but Clinton and Gore insisted on
the "cap and trade" schemes which created the poison markets in which
these merchants operate. The idea was that the more societal regulation
was replaced by the self-serving decisions of the "merchants of poison"
the better: poison markets would supposedly result in environmental
improvement, as a result of individual companies making decisions based
on what was most profitable, and regulations on them would continue to
be loosened or dropped.

    This was the so-called "cap and trade" scheme. It hasn't worked. But
Gore simply closes his eyes to this. Instead, he continues to advocate
policies that would worsen the situation.

    Gore's idea is that we all should walk hand-in-hand with big business,
which he imagines would act responsibly and help reduce carbon
emissions. He goes out of his way to praise business whenever he can.
But what's happened? Most capitalists are pooh-poohing the problem, and
Gore just hasn't noticed it. Oh yes, he says, *some* companies do engage
in "green-washing". But for him, the fault lies just in ideologues and
some of the richest companies (except for Walmart, of course, which he
adores). All it takes, in his view, is for "individuals" to "demand
change in the marketplace", and the business community will respond.

    Gore's most radical step in his books and articles is to advocate that
there should be *both* a "cap and trade" system *and* a carbon tax. (See
his latest book, "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis", Ch
15, "The True Cost of Carbon".) The carbon tax is another market measure
designed to replace environmental regulation. It is supposed to create
financial incentives for businesses to reduce carbon emissions, just as
cap and trade was supposed to have done. Actually, the weight of the
carbon tax would fall on the people, while most of the business world,
especially big business, would pass the tax on to consumers. Workers,
independent truckers, small fishermen and others couldn't pass the tax
on, but the big energy companies certainly could. So it would have the
harshest effects on those with the least power to determine whether
goods are produced in an environmentally-proper way, and the least
effect on the big businesses with the most power. For example, workers
might find that driving to work had become fabulously expensive, but the
carbon tax would do nothing to provide them with any alternative to
driving. Moreover, this tax would turn the slogan "make the polluters
pay" into a denunciation of the mass of consumers, rather than of the
corporate polluters. For this and other reasons, it's likely to be the
biggest fiasco ever -- making environmentalism hated among substantial
sections of the masses, while failing to accomplish environmental goals.
(See www.communistvoice.org/42cCarbonTax.html for a more thorough
discussion of the carbon tax.)

    True, in this article Gore doesn't say anything directly about the
carbon "tax"; instead he talks about setting a price on carbon. But it's
just different words to describe the same thing.

Gore at his worst
---------------------

    So as usual, Gore is at his worst when it comes to solutions. His basic
idea is to keep doing the things that haven't worked -- cap and trade;
working hand-in-hand with the corporations and giving them subsidies;
keeping government small and privatized; and hiding the extent of
corporate crimes.

    Gore is utterly committed to  introducing market principles into
everything. Indeed, Gore helped "reinvent government" under the Clinton
administration: this meant privatizing government functions, removing
regulations, providing incentives and subsides for business, and letting
the affected industries call the shots in the regulatory agencies. This
plan, carried out by both Democrats and Republicans, has led to
disaster. To be more precise, it has been disaster for the environment
and the working class, but profitable to many businesspeople. It has
meant marking time as far as global warming; ravaging the public schools
through Bush's No Child Left Behind and Obama's Race to the Top; relying
on private insurance in Obama's health plan, and so on. But energy
companies, educational companies, insurance companies, and upper-level
administrative personnel have made out like bandits.

    Gore sums up his approach near the end of his article. It comes down to
this: "above all, don't give up on the political system." By this, he
means, don't give up on the Democrats and the Obama administration. So
the alpha and omega of his proposals are to accept the pro-market
politicians and search for big businesses to work with. If he chides
Obama for inaction, he takes it back by suggesting that if we all get
behind him and push, Obama will do the right thing.

From the Alliance for Climate Protection
 to the Climate Reality Project
---------------------------------------------------

    So in his article Gore recommended that people join an organization,
namely, the Alliance for Climate Protection (www.climateprotect.org),
which he founded in 2006 and  chairs, and whose name is now being
changed to the Climate Reality Project. The ACP praises the European
Union's version of cap and trade, the so-called Emission Trading Scheme,
which is the heart of the Kyoto Protocol, which has failed badly. But
why should Gore care that's he's advocating a policy that has failed?
Indeed, it's notable that the ACP's website even praises some things,
like the Copenhagen Climate Summit, that Gore himself calls a failure in
his article in "Rolling Stone". The extent of these failures can be seen
in that, according to both the International Energy Agency and the top
UN climate official, last year, 2010, saw, not a decrease, but *a record
increase* in greenhouse gas emissions. (See
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/31/emissions-rise-un-climate-
chief, and also http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/29/carbon-emissions-
nuclearpower.)

    Indeed, the Alliance for Climate Protection hasn't even made the mild
criticisms of unnamed corporations and special interests that Gore makes
in his article. Why, right and left, government and industry, everyone
should just go hand-in-hand. The ACP promotes such fantasy as having the
"WE Campaign" unite pro-business liberals and hard-right conservatives,
minorities and racists, together in defense of the environment. The ACP
website says: "Some of the most popular WE Campaign advertisements
include the  Unlikely Alliances' campaign, which paired together such
seemingly polar opposites as Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich and Revs.
Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton." (http://www.climateprotect.org/our-work/)

    Gore has now decided to rechristen the ACP as the Climate Reality
Project. But the website for the CRP has even less information than that
of the Alliance for Climate Protection. Gore does denounce "fossil fuel
interests", and that's about it.

    In his article, Gore writes that "To make our elected leaders take
action to solve the climate crisis, we must forcefully communicate the
following message:  I care a lot about global warming; I am paying very
careful attention to the way you vote and what you say about it; if you
are on the wrong side, I am not only going to vote against you, I will
work hard to defeat you -- regardless of party. If you are on the right
side, I will work hard to elect you." But the ACP and the CRP haven't
uttered a word about Obama's record, nor that of any other politician.
They fawn on the rich and powerful, and search out ways to praise them.
How this is going to create pressure to do anything in favor of the
environment, is Gore's little secret.

Bring the class struggle
into the environmental movement
-----------------------------------------

    Gore to the contrary, the establishment leaders, the corrupt
politicians, and the profiteering corporations, are not "our leaders".
Workers should abandon Gore's pro-business politics as usual, and so
should anyone with a real concern for the environment. Of course,
workers should abandon, not politics, but pro-capitalist politics. They
should seek to rebuild a better politics, based on struggle against the
big corporations, a politics of class struggle. They should get
organized   at the workplace, in the community, and in solidarity with
workers around the world   to fight the capitalist rulers of this world.
They should fight against the current world austerity drive of the
bourgeoisie, and they should fight about the environment too. With
regard to the environmental crisis, they should push for the things Gore
is silent about:

    * comprehensive environmental regulation, which should enforce
compulsory standards on big energy and, for that matter, big business as
a whole;

    * that environmental planning should include concern for the mass
livelihood: it's a conservative trickle-down fraud to believe that
"green jobs" will automatically provide prosperity; instead there must
be programs directly  guaranteeing people's basic needs;

    * the need to bring the class struggle into the environmental movement,
rather than searching for big corporations to praise;

    * comprehensive economic planning and regulation, which is needed both
for the sake of the environment and to be able to surmount the economic
crisis;

    * the need for planning be done in a new way; that the privatization of
government functions should be reversed; that the industries being
regulated should be pushed out of the government bodies regulating them;
that regulations should be made transparent; and that workers should be
brought, as far as possible, into the process of planning, and of
enforcing the planning;

    * the need to look towards the working class, not the business world,
as the bastion of environmental concern.

    Gore is silent about these things, because he's still a
market-fundamentalist politician, albeit one that claims to be against
market-fundamentalism. His recommendations show the narrow limits in
which establishment environmentalism is caught, and the narrow limits of
the left-right, community-big business cooperation on the environmental
front which is so fashionably advocated in mainstream environmentalist
circles today. Gore may preach against climate denial. And yes indeed,
as far as climate change, the Republicans would have us go to our doom
with our eyes shut, but Gore would have us go to our doom with our eyes
half-open. To survive, one should instead open one's eyes all the way,
and see not just the looming disasters, but the policies needed to avoid
them.  

--Joseph Green
   jgr...@communistvoice.org