Archives

Tagged ‘Global Green New Deal‘
Listen: The Green New Deal & What it Leaves Out: Reading Act V of Cory Morningstar’s Research

Listen: The Green New Deal & What it Leaves Out: Reading Act V of Cory Morningstar’s Research

Ghion Journal

November 4, 2019
“Listen: The Green New Deal & What it Leaves Out: Reading Act V of Cory Morningstar’s Research”

By Stephen Boni

 

Trojan Horse – The horses of Dali – Lithograph – Surrealist – 1983

For last week’s Words of Others podcast, I read Act V of investigative journalist Cory Morningstar’s ongoing series about the NGO Industrial Complex. It’s a lengthy piece titled For Consent: The Green New Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature.

As is per usual for Morningstar, she wades through an exhaustive amount of research to demonstrate the contradictions between the prospect of a mass and state-mobilized systems-level transition away from a pollution- and fossil fuel-intensive economy and the planning and underpinnings of such a transition being directed from behind the scenes by groups of powerful people who have every financial and class interest in the world to make sure our current profit-driven way of life stays roughly the same.

This research finds Morningstar taking a deeper look at a variety of intersecting organizations that are both originators and marketers of the Green New Deal, including:

  • Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats
  • Grist Magazine
  • Climate Nexus
  • The Business and Sustainable Development Commission
  • The Blended Finance Taskforce
  • Data for Progress
  • The Sunrise Movement
  • World Resources Institute
  • The New Climate Economy Project
  • Natural Capital Coalition
  •  

    Through her research, Morningstar employs a line of thinking that I would position as “stands to reason”.

    What this means is that, instead of dissecting the text of the current Green New Deal proposal or seeking out direct interviews with key players in the above organizations, she focuses on each organization as an entity, digging into their respective missions, their communications, who finances them, and the ideological backgrounds of and connections between their various elite members.

    By doing this, Morningstar arrives at “stands to reason” conclusions—i.e., based on what she learns, it stands to reason that innovative but status quo-oriented capitalists, working in a loose collective through NGOs backed by multi-national corporations and finance capital, are not creating and marketing a Green New Deal that seeks to reimagine the U.S. economy and move away from consumption as a foundational lifestyle for citizens, or war as a foundational economic project of the state.

    Some readers may see the lack of direct interviews with people connected to the creation of the Green New Deal—and the fact that Morningstar doesn’t really analyze the text of the Green New Deal itself—as omissions to the process of investigative journalism. Indeed, it’s up to each reader to decide whether or not these omissions (and we should note that it’s entirely possible that key members of the above organizations may not want to be interviewed) invalidate Morningstar’s conclusions about the attempt by global elites to use global warming to solve a capitalism crisis rather than to mitigate a climate crisis.

    My own thinking notes these absences, but tends to be appreciative of Morningstar’s research and somewhat content with the belief that I can fill in at least some of these gaps myself. For instance, each one of us has the ability to read the Green New Deal proposal while keeping Morningstar’s research in mind.

    The Green New Deal’s Sins of Omission

    If you pull up the text of the Green New Deal and read through it, which doesn’t take all that long, the proposal actually reads pretty well. Some readers might even wonder, “What’s the problem here? Seems like a bunch of good ideas, overall”.

    However, it’s the absences in the Green New Deal proposal that give the most pause. In a strange way, it brings to mind one of Robert Redford’s best political films from the 70s, The Candidate. In one climactic scene, Redford’s character, a vaguely countercultural type who’s been taking part in a sober debate with his opponent in the race for a California Senate seat, vocalizes how their entire debate has left out all of the important issues they desperately need to be discussing.

     

    While I won’t walk you through every inch of the text of the Green New Deal, here are some issues I noticed when reading it.

    1. At the very beginning of the resolution in section one, we see the use of a kind of linguistic misdirection that Morningstar noted in Act IV of her series. Here’s the quote from the text of the Green New Deal:

    “Resolved, it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal to 1) achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.”

    This is a red flag. As Morningstar explained previously, seeking net-zero emissions does not mean radically reducing the amount of carbon the U.S. pumps into the atmosphere. It means using technology and other instruments to offset or capture the same amount of carbon our society is creating. This means that, as long as we do enough offsetting and enough carbon capturing, our emissions can be allowed to keep on growing. From a climate standpoint, that’s a fake solution.

    1. In section 2 of the text, it states one of the major objectives as meeting 100% of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”.

    This sounds fairly standard unless you consider the assumptions that underlie the statement. One, that zero-emission energy sources are sufficient to meet current U.S. power demands (they’re not) and two, that the U.S. doesn’t need to reduce its power demands in the first place.

    The absence created by these two assumptions makes the “net-zero emissions” goal all the more relevant as an indicator that the necessity of growth within a capitalist economy won’t be questioned as those in power seek to deal with climate change, a phenomenon that’s been driven, in large part, by a belief that growth=economic health.

    1. While subsequent pieces of section 2—which get into issues of energy and water efficiency for power grids and buildings—can be seen to allay some of these fears, as one goes deeper into section 2, we have this:

    “…spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible.”

    While we can dig into the available knowledge on whether or not “clean manufacturing” is real or merely something to conduct long-term research and development for, it can again be inferred that the creators of the Green New Deal don’t envision the need for a move away from a mass consumer economy, which requires boundless amounts of energy and waste to operate.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    I encourage readers to visit the text of the Green New Deal themselves. There is much that is worthy in the proposal, including language about mass transit, community decision-making power, public banks and other financial democratization ideas, as well as some basic ideas about changing farming practices and ensuring water quality.

    But, in conjunction with Morningstar’s research, the red flags are definitely there, as well as additional important absences.

    Just a few of these absences include the fact that:

  • There’s no mention of downsizing the U.S. military, which is one of the world’s most rabid users of fossil fuel energy, as well as a massive carbon emitter and creator of toxic pollution.
  • There’s no mention of ending current subsidies paid to fossil fuel companies, nor any mention of potential financial support to the clean energy sector or to households that can’t afford to refashion their use of energy (which, quite frankly, will be most of them).
  • There’s no mention of the environmental impact of the intensive mineral mining, resulting pollution and water use it will take to make all those solar panels, wind turbines and electric car batteries—not to mention the current way those materials are obtained (by exploiting impoverished workers and their children in developing nations).
  • There’s no mention of re-imagining how we use land (re-wilding, for instance) in a country that, after WWII, spread out and suburbanized on the back of the automobile, the airplane, the fast food restaurant and an ocean of plentiful cheap oil.
  • And, the largest issue of all, in many respects, there’s no language that challenges consumption as not only a lifestyle, but as the essential ingredient of a strong economy.
  • In even a cursory run-through of the Green New Deal proposal, it seems to me that any view of Morningstar’s work as simply purist, anti-capitalist, anti-establishment paranoia contains a determination not to see some very obvious issues that could have serious ramifications. All of which is to say, it makes sense to give her research full and attentive consideration.
  • As always, thanks for reading and listening.

    The Militarisation & Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict

    The Militarisation & Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict

    November 2014

    “The Militarisation & Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict”

    By ALEXANDER DUNLAP, Global Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK & JAMES FAIRHEAD, Anthropology, Justice and Violence Research Centre, International Development, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

     

    “Policies addressing climate change are driving major transformations in access to global land, forests and water as they create new ‘green’ markets that reinforce, and attracts the financial grid and its speculators. This leads us to examine the rise of state violence and subsequent environmental policies in forests, transferring into both ‘fortress’ and ‘participatory’ conservation, enhancing this relationship with new environmental commodity markets. We go on to document how the new and intensifying commodification of the environment associated with climate change is manifest in conflicts linked to the UN-REDD+ programme, industrial tree plantations (ITPs), and land-use practices associated with conservation and biofuels. We trace conflicts to business practices associated with land acquisitions and mining practices which claim to address climate change and mitigate ecological crises. This paper thus grapples with systemic issues of the modern industrial economy and the mechanisms legitimising and advancing the militarisation and marketisation of nature.”

     

    Bolivia’s President Evo Morales who was forced to resign during a horrific coup d’état that took place on November 10, 2019. With an estimated 9,000,000 tons, Bolivia holds about 43% of the world’s known lithium reserves. Lithium is the backbone of a “Global Green New Deal – the popular term for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (as sought by World Economic Forum, now partnered w/ the UN) The Lithium ABC countries are — A-rgentina B-olivia & C-hile. Photographer: STR/AFP via Getty Images

    INTRODUCTION

    There is more to ‘climate and security’ than worrying whether people fight more in increasingly bad weather. Policies addressing climate change are driving major transformations in access to global land, forests and water as they create new commodities and markets for carbon, biofuels, biodiversity and climate-secure food. The emergence of these new ‘climate change commodities’ reinforces, and also attracts the financial grid and its speculators. What interests us in this paper is how the advent and expansion of these new commodities and their markets generate or prolong conflicts. ‘Climate conflicts’ become manifest in these new economic and political orders that, we argue, arise around these markets, driving ‘land grabs’, ‘water grabs’ and ‘green grabs’, and which are further animated by food and energy securitisation in the face of new climatic threats.

    It is our contention, then, that pressing links between climate change and security are to be perceived through these mitigation markets and the resource capture and militarisation associated with them. It is our worry that
    current discourses that ‘securitise’ climate change are actually part and parcel of these markets, and thus play a part in bringing about the very insecurities that they might purport to address. Moreover, these discourses nourish these new global ‘green’ markets that remain dependent on resource intensive structures and a military-industrial complex to police them. Climate Security, in the tradition of mainstream development, assumes the continuation of the industrial and financial economy as the implicit reason for mitigation and adaptation, and fails to address, or even acknowledge at times, the inherent environmental insecurity and widespread degradation built into this industrial economy. The popular and widespread belief that environmental  degradation and climate change directly induces and intensifies conflict, thus risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in a second way by extending and intensifying the existing political and industrial economic relationships dependent on growth imperatives and the subsequent consumption and usurpation of the natural environment.

    To proceed, we review literatures on climate-conflict/security to render visible the violence in land frontiers. We then examine the rise of state violence and subsequent environmental policies in forests and protected areas,
    and how these relationships transfer into both the ‘fortress’ and ‘participatory’ conservation, that are now enhanced by ‘green’ or environmental commodity markets. We go on to document how the new and  intensifying commodification of the environment associated with climate change is manifest in land conflicts linked to the UN-REDD+ programme, industrial tree plantations (ITPs), and land-use practices associated with conservation and ‘offsetting’.

    We trace conflicts to business practices associated with land acquisitions and mining practices which claim to address climate change and mitigate ecological crises – expanding our analysis to embrace such Orwellian concepts as ‘sustainable mining’ and ‘green uranium’. This paper thus grapples with systemic issues of the modern industrial economy and the mechanisms legitimising and advancing the militarisation and marketisation of nature.

    These concerns are generally pushed to the margins, if not neglected in their entirety by the climate conflict debate, requiring immediate reflection and thoughtful action.

  • Climate Conflict and the Problem of Political Economy
  •  

  • COUNTERINSURGENCY AT THE CONJUNCTURE OF STATE AND NATURE: POLITICAL FORESTS
  •  

  • With Devastation Comes (Market) Opportunity: ‘Green’ Markets and Land Control
  •  

  • Self-Fulfilling Climate-Conflict?
  •  

    Download the paper: The_Militarisation_and_Marketisation_of

     

    A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign

    A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign

    October 6, 2019

    By Cory Morningstar

     

    “To even embark on a strategy of rebuilding and realization-to renew a liberating vision of justice and human rights – we must be clear about the strengths of state power and be prepared to defend ourselves against that power. The repressive apparatus is powerful, with its fingers stretched into every crevice or crack in the state’s hegemony it can find.”

     

    — Marilyn Buck

     

    “They put your mind right in a bag, and take it wherever they want.”

     

    — Malcolm X

     

    We Mean Business, April 2019 Newsletter

    We Mean Business, April 2019 Newsletter

     

    We must learn how the unprecedented wealth accumulation among the very few ends up protected by layers and layers of moneyed social institutions co-ordinating to perpetuate the system, while progressively oppressive financial pressure and state violence against the already oppressed keep herding people into the capitalist framework. When we face the sad reality of the public embracing policies that allow the powerful minorities to exploit and subjugate them over and over, what we need is not a popular mobilization guided by vague slogans easily subsumed by the imperial framework. Such a method would lead to draconian enforcement of corporate “solutions” according to their definition of “problems”. It is a recipe for bringing about a fascist order. What we need is openness and willingness to learn how we are domesticated by the authoritarian framework so that the actions are guided by the interests of the people in forming a society that allows our true liberation in a mutually respectful and harmonious manner.”

    — Hiroyuki Hamada, artist

     

    On August 20, 2018, Ingmar Rentzhog, the founder and CEO of We Don’t Have Time posted the “lonely girl” tweet. The tweet featured Greta Thunberg. This was the first day of her climate strike. She sat on a sidewalk and said nothing beside a sign. Just two months prior, social media accounts had been created in her name. Rentzhog, whose tech corporation is partnered with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, tagged 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.

    The third person to respond to Rentzhog’s tweet was We Mean Business co-founder Callum Grieve. Grieve responded to Greta with a personal message adding the hashtag #WeDontHaveTime. We Mean Business represents 477 investors with 34 trillion USD in assets. [July 4, 2019] The founding partners of We Mean Business are BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), and the WBCSD. Together, these organizations represent the most powerful – and ruthless – corporations on the planet, groups salivating to unleash 100 trillion dollars to fuel the fourth industrial revolution. To save a global economic system teetering on collapse.

    September 22, 2019: "Rebooting the entire world and creating a new economy", We Mean Business Twitter account

    September 22, 2019: “Rebooting the entire world and creating a new economy”, We Mean Business Twitter account

     

    The Climate Group, co-founder of We Mean Business. July 19, 2018, #WeDontHaveTime hashtag, tagged: This Is Zero Hour

    The Climate Group, co-founder of We Mean Business. July 19, 2018, #WeDontHaveTime hashtag, tagged: This Is Zero Hour

     

    Grieve is the co-founder and director of Counter Culture, a brand development firm specializing in behavioural change campaigns and storytelling. He created Climate Week NYC for The Climate Group which launched in 2009. He has also coordinated high-level climate change communications campaigns and interventions for the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and several Fortune 500 companies. He also manages the Every Breath Matters campaign founded by Christiana Figueres, the former UNFCCC executive secretary credited with the Paris Agreement.

    In response to the Thunberg tweet, Grieve added the following accounts to Rentzhog’s original tweet: The Climate Museum, Youth Climate March LA, This is Zero Hour Ft. Lauderdale, Greenpeace International, and the UNFCCC, the “official Twitter account of UN Climate Change”.

    [Further reading: ACT IV: They Mean Business]

    Suffice to say that tweet was code for “it’s started”. Covered by media on day one, within 12 days Thunberg would be featured in The Guardian. The rest is history.

    The NGOs and foundations learned how to “herd cats” successfully for the People’s Climate March in September 2014, but never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that in September 2019 they would so easily herd millions.

    September 30, 2019: We Mean Business Post-Climate Week Newsletter

    September 30, 2019: We Mean Business Post-Climate Week Newsletter

     

    On September 25, 2019, the United Nations answered the global strikes with the call for a Global Green New Deal. It is quite fascinating that none of the groups and leading proponents who have mobilized the populace to demand a “Green New Deal” are sharing the UN announcement with the corresponding 201-page report. Perhaps it is because with this report, in which the word “growth” appears 392 times, it will be difficult to convince a populace that this is anything but what it actually is – a desperate attempt to save the global capitalist economic system destroying our planet.

    UN calls for ‘Global Green New Deal’ to boost world economy:

    “In a fresh report, the UN trade, investment and development agency (UNCTAD) called for countries to join forces and enable trillions of dollars in public sector investments to help reboot the global economy… What is needed, he told journalists, is to apply the same ambitious model used in the United States to overcome the Great Depression in the 1930s and apply it “at a global scale”… Looming global recession… UNCTAD’s flagship Trade and Development report painted a bleak picture of the global economic outlook, warning that the world risks slumping into recession next year… Even ignoring the worst downside risks, the report projected that global growth would fall to 2.3 percent this year from 3.0 percent in 2018, cautioning that global recession in 2020 was now “a clear and present danger“. [Emphasis added]

    Even the reference to “climate” within the report is recognized as both a means and justification for global growth. (“A climate for change: The case for a global green expansion”)

    One must wonder when the marchers and strikers will be notified.

     

    “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

     

    — Malcolm X

     

    Volume I:

    ACT I: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [https://bit.ly/2XkVrTR]

    ACT II: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Youth Co-optation [https://bit.ly/2VibAYp]

    ACT III: The Most Inconvenient Truth: “Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart” [https://bit.ly/2tBHp2B]

    ACT IV: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue [https://bit.ly/2TZyUKd]

    ACT V: The Green New Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature [https://bit.ly/2TZyOlP]

    ACT VI: A Decade of Social Manipulation for the Corporate Capture of Nature [Crescendo] [https://bit.ly/2U7YBbx]

    Addenda I: The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — By Any Means Necessary [https://bit.ly/2kpDDIv]

    Volume I in book form: https://amzn.to/2kV6Jj9

    Volume II:

    An Object Lesson In Spectacle [An introduction to Volume II] [https://bit.ly/2kKLAZc]

    ACT I: A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment [https://bit.ly/2mjmYXF]

    ACT II: Controlling the Narrative [https://bit.ly/2msdlpP]

    ACT III: To Plunder What Little Remains: It’s Going To Be Tremendous [https://bit.ly/2m61flO]

    ACT IV: They Mean Business [https://bit.ly/2mkPZSP]

    ACT V: The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything” [https://bit.ly/2mr3pwL]

    ACT VI: Natural Climate Manipulations [https://bit.ly/2MjT1zZ]

    [ACT VII forthcoming]

     

     

    [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.]