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Raising the Alarm – On the Capitalists Seeking to Profit from the Climate Crisis

Statement from the Wrong Kind of Green Collective

Raising The Alarm – On The Capitalists Seeking To Profit From The Climate Crisis

May 10, 2019

 

 

Over the past few weeks there has been much discussion among the online community concerning our six-act investigative series “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg”. Some have continued to question the veracity of the information compiled by Wrong Kind of Green (WKOG).

Our series sought to illustrate how Thunberg’s image is being both propelled and exploited by various entities interested in promoting certain projects and ideas that will benefit their stock portfolios and bank accounts under the guise of “saving the planet”. In this regard, WKOG felt compelled to respond to some of the allegations made about our work, specifically those in a recent article by Media Lens in which our work was presented as playing a prominent part in influencing public opinion alongside those who are trying to disparage Thunberg and her symbolic role at the heart of the youth climate movement.

The fact is that WKOG has never made any claims that Thunberg was knowingly or willingly complicit in the machinations of those who are utilizing her presence as the head of the youth climate movement for their own nefarious ends. As we have no information on which to make such a claim, it would be against journalistic principles for us to express such thoughts. Doing so would simply trivialize our work with baseless claims and false allegations.

Instead, WKOG merely presented the facts regarding Thunberg’s associations. Thunberg could be a mere dupe in these relationships, but there is no refuting the key points which reveal that these relationships do actually exist and are not figments of the imagination, or conspiracy theories. Ultimately, Thunberg has entered into an alliance with people and organisations who have ulterior motives.

The current mass mobilization of the youth and the “green movement” is being sensationalized and exploited. This has been described by members of the elite and organizers as the “herding of cats”. Their objective – the furthering of the goals and dominance of the ruling class. By any unbiased analysis of the information provided in the series, the primary concern is in securing the economy and financial system, with saving the planet via a benign capitalism, a mere afterthought. This can best be described as the equivalent of the old idiom in trying to “have your cake and eat it too”.

On a deeper note, as much of the online conversation resides around a critique of our motivation for publishing the series, WKOG must ask what is the motivation of those promoting the Green New Deal. Is the Green New Deal inclusive to peoples in the Global South who bear the brunt of Western carbon emissions? Are they to have the middle class lifestyles we hold as sacrosanct and proof of our social and cultural superiority? Will this Green New Deal bring modernization to the rest of the world when said modernization is still dependent on infrastructure built by fossil fuels, such as roads, houses, cars and manufactured goods. How is this going to benefit the victims?

As no one in the mainstream is asking pointed questions such as these, evidenced by the lack of any mention as to how this will serve the interests of the non-Western world, the Green New Deal is simply a means of maintaining the status quo from a material aspect between those in the Global North and its marginalized counterparts in the Global South.

This all being portrayed as some sort of altruistic answer which allows us to continue our resource-intensive lifestyles under the pretense that we can solve the carbon emissions issue at the root of this problem. This bears no semblance whatsoever to our biophysical realities, nor our planetary boundaries.

In merely attempting to address these broad questions by placing microscopic focus on the connections between Thunberg and the major players behind the Green New Deal, the financialization of nature, and other supposed benign technocratic instruments, WKOG takes umbrage at the casting of aspersions against our character and integrity, in particular when it comes to our group being a part of the climate denial trope that is a major part of the mainstream Western world. As WKOG outlined in the series, the panacea of green technology is a ruse to enrich a new section of oligarchs trying to join the other robber barons who have comprised the upper class of the capitalist system since its inception. WKOG has laid out in painstaking detail the stakeholders behind the financial instruments who are investing in ‘clean’ renewable energy which is supposedly going to address the global environmental problem worsening with each passing day.

In shining a light on all this, we are in no way doing the work of those who are climate deniers. As we have no control over what entities use our resources, WKOG is powerless in dictating who shares our exhaustive research. It is a sad state of affairs when such critically important work is embraced by those on the right and shunned by those on the “left”. If we had legitimate grassroots environmental and social justice groups leading a united movement, this would not be the case.

What the series represents more than anything else is that WKOG merely elicits the reader to ask questions, such as: Is it acceptable to do “something” even if you know that something isn’t good enough? Is it acceptable to encourage an alcoholic to lightly curtail his or her drinking when the condition is so far advanced that cirrhosis of the liver is still a certainty by drinking at all? Does it make sense to enable a grossly overweight person in making a facile attempt to eat better when the diet still consists of the unhealthiest items imaginable, such as a diet Coke with an extra large pizza? Hence, if we know the “solutions” will fail to solve the problem, then what good are we honestly doing in pretending that they will?

In that vein, WKOG is not here to force change on anyone. Our only goal is to enlighten the public and present the truth as to what is happening with as much evidence as we can find. This is not the truth as we see it; these are the facts and we simply share them for people to make of them what they will.

We were asked to respond to a statement made by Greta Thunberg regarding one of the relationships we highlighted in our series. [1] We wish to make clear that it is not our place to make an addendum to our article as though we had spread a falsehood. In essence, the author of this Media Lens piece is asking WKOG to print a quasi-retraction as if we had actually written something untrue about the relationship. If anything, the response by Thunberg constitutes proof that what WKOG published was based in fact. As journalists, it is not our place to defend or eviscerate Thunberg. The statement published on Thunberg’s Facebook page in response to the information that we provided, in fact, validated our work as far as its veracity. If “We Don’t Have Time” did something untoward to Thunberg, then it is their responsibility to apologize for their misstep, not WKOG. Hence, an addendum in an apologetic tone from WKOG would be an explicit admission that we did something wrong when that is far from the case.

WKOG stands by our reporting on this matter and we will continue to defend our work since we are in full agreement that there is no more pressing issue than the protection of Mother Earth, for the survival of life as we know it. If anything, our critique of all these various characters is proof of how seriously we take this matter. As we are now so far down the rabbit hole, the last thing we need is half measures and lip service from the people in power. We must also highlight how the public is being misled by those in power – even if the message falls on deaf ears, causes rancor among the masses and ultimately makes them disparage us instead of the ones who are leading them astray.

Finally, WKOG would like to thank everyone who supports the investigative series. We are always willing to engage in civil conversation about the content of our work and defend it vociferously. WKOG only requests that any allegations have merit and do not venture into baseless accusations. There has unfortunately been too much of the latter, based on emotion rather than legitimate criticism.

 

[1]

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

 

The Climate Movement: What Next?

Clive L. Spash: Social, Ecological Economics

May 2019

By Clive L. Spash

 

Joan Wong illustration for Foreign Policy [Source: Why Growth Can’t Be Green]

 

*Invited Comment for the Tellus Foundation [Note: This short commentary was written as a contribution to a Great Transition (Tellus Institute)roundtable discussion focused on the climate movement that started with an invited statement from Bill McKibben. The focus was on three questions: What is the climate movement’s state of play? System change, not climate change? Do we need a meta-movement?]

 

A CAPTURED ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT?

The climate movement, like all environmental NGOs, has been subject to the influence of neoliberalism and corporate capture. Neo-liberals love to attack government while totally ignoring the corporate control of the economy. In the USA the extent of government capture is just ignored (from the President down and not just the most recent President either). There is a general failure to link the social and economic to the ecological. Political analysis is lacking, social theory is absent and there are a dearth of substantive ideas as to alternative economies from the existing paradigms of economic growth and price-making markets.

Hence the climate movement promotes price incentives (taxes, carbon trading), innovation and new technologies, commodification of Nature (ecosystems as goods and services, natural capital), offsetting losses of biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions, and new quantitative measures of growth as progress.

TECHNO-OPTIMIST CAPITALISM, GREEN GROWTH AND GREEN NEW DEALS

Cutting past the personal anecdotes, Bill McKibben’s GT piece appears to promote systemic change, but does it really? The piece includes the following:

• “the divestment movement […] with commitments from endowments and other portfolios worth about $8 trillion”
• “Seventy-five years from now, we will run the world on sun and wind because they’re free.” [unlike coal, gas and oil?]
• “we can’t make change happen fast enough”
• “student Climate Strikes now underway thanks to the inspiration of Sweden’s Greta Thunberg”
• “the incredibly exciting fight for a Green New Deal”
• “If we replace fossil fuels with sun and wind, the effect will inevitably lead to at least some erosion of the current power structure.”
• “There will be solar billionaires”
• “The extremely rapid fall in the price of renewable energy and electric storage is one indication that the necessary conditions for rapid change are now in place.”

The aim is for a large shift in financing towards new energy sources, which is basically the mainstream (neoclassical) economic argument that substitutes exist and the price mechanism will supply them. This relies on the belief that price mechanisms send the right signals and actually reflect resource costs rather than being determined by power relations, rules and regulations, subsidies and public infrastructure. If its cheap it must be good. There is little or no connection to politics, resource extractivism or biophysical limits (e.g., on the resources required for electric technologies), nor the need for demand control rather than supply increase. Technology will save us, markets work and there will be ‘free’ electricity for all.

The mythical innovative capitalist entrepreneur of neo-Austrian economics and neoliberal ideology appears to be lurking in the background of such claims. The Green New Deal is similar, subject to being hi-jacked by the entrepreneurial ‘billionaires’. In the USA special rules are proposed to take the trillions outside political process to be placed into the hands of a ‘special committee’, and you can expect the standard vested interests behind the scenes. The French regulation school describe how capitalism has historically adapted in response to the crises it creates; enabling with changes in the controlling minority but maintaining a power bloc that rules over the majority. Karl Polanyi, long ago, noted the way in which crises leads to social payback (e.g., ‘new deals’) to prevent total breakdown, civil unrest and potential rebellion. When that fails it uses authoritarian force, as seen with securitisation and the rise of the political right.

Contrary to McKibben’s claim, there is nothing in the ‘new technologies’ that inevitably changes the political and economic power relationships. Indeed, the trillions being requested are for investment in the growth of the economy via increased ‘green’ industrial energy and market product supply. What stops the money going to the B-Team (that Hans Baer mentions)? Where are the new institutions to prevent funds being funnelled through the usual financial channels and into the hands of the existing power players? Technology does not create institutions, it requires them!

The existing institutions of modern economies are those supporting economic growth. The growth priority has been made clear by the over 3500 economists supporting a climate tax and opposing structural change. Similarly, Lord Stern is the academic figure head of the New Climate Economy, a concept created by members of the Davos elite, with its ‘Better Growth, Better Climate’ reports. Their explicitly stated concern is that: “In the long term, if climate change is not tackled, growth itself will be at risk.” Change is coming and the corporations and billionaires are fully aware of this. They have been actively lobbying on climate and environment since Johannesburg (Earth Summit 2002) and were a dominant force at Paris. They have also long been seeking to control the environmental movement for their own ends.

The ‘smart’ money already supports Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg. Greta is lauded and praised, hosted by the international and Davos elite, and they hope can be used to help spring the trillions of funding. She can expect prizes and awards, as long as she plays the game. Ask yourself how a child is suddenly propelled into the international media limelight and given access to the most powerful people on the planet, and then ask yourself why? Why was she not just ignored like all the protesters saying exactly the same things for decades?

Clearly, as a new superstar environmentalist, a single person, she is useful to circumvent other organisations; useful as long as she attacks the right people (e.g. politicians, ‘government’) as the wrong doers (diverting attention from corporations), and supports funding of the ‘New Economy’ based on innovation, technology, new markets and economic growth. Media can downplay and cut anything critical of the system and the growth economy and report only what serves financial interests. If she turns ‘political’, expect her to be dropped like a hot potato.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is similarly useful. It claims no political agenda, which is obviously a disingenuous, if not fraudulent, claim. They are engaged in a power struggle, but on whose behalf? Pushing a ‘climate emergency’ that seeks trillions for whom and under what political process of allocation? Claiming the need for a ‘civic forum’, but representative of whom and to endorse what? The honest concern and sincerity of individuals joining XR does not have to be questioned any more than that of Greta. However, there are clearly political games going on here of which its members appear almost willfully ignorant. Who is Extinction Rebellion opposing and where is their political analysis of the power structure that needs to change? What exactly is the change they are seeking? Rebelling against extinction not corporate and state capitalism!?

What is happening right now appears to be a classic case of a passive revolution. When hegemonic power is threatened it captures the movement leaders and neutralises them by bringing them into the power circles and takes the initiative away from radical revolutionary change. In addition, the aim is to split movements and their demands by separating the pragmatic from the radical, forming new alliances with the pragmatic wings and thereby incorporating radical movement language with their own ‘pragmatic’ demands. The threatened elites create captured movements and leaders, adopting the language of the rebels and claiming to address their concerns. Those joining them can claim to be more ‘pragmatic’ because they are connected to the powerful and see how to save the system. None of this is any different from the decades of NGO capture and new environmental pragmatism, but the latest moves are more overt because the stakes are getting higher.

WHAT NEXT?

The climate movement runs along a knife edge between re-establishing another phase of competitive economic growth, and making radical economic and political reform a reality through social ecological transformation. The current thrust is to the former and will remain so as long as the potential forces for change operate via corporations and remain committed to productivism, equitable materialism and nationalism. The climate movement is a real threat to powerful elites and that is exactly why it is being infiltrated and invited to have ‘a seat at the table’. Climate change has been and is being used to wipe off the agenda all other environmental issues and to impose singular ‘solutions’ to systemic problems.

Any ENGO, like any economists, that claims to be free of politics is either totally naïve or totally untrustworthy, and possibly both. Can the Green New Deal be made into a degrowth/post-growth deal which is not controlled by an elite? Can the well-meaning environmentalists campaigning for neoliberal solutions, and going to prison for the wrong reasons, be educated about corporate manipulation and political power?

Activism and academia need to be integrated far more. Solidarity could start with seeking some common understanding of the structure of the political and economic system. Connecting that understanding to biophysical reality also means deconstructing the growth economy not re-establishing it as ‘Green’ based on mythical free energy sources and the benevolence of billionaires.

Yours,
Clive L. Spash
6th May, 2019, Vienna

 

[Clive L. Spash is an ecological economist. He currently holds the Chair of Public Policy and Governance at Vienna University of Economics and Business, appointed in 2010. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Environmental Values. He has been working on climate change as an economist since the late 80s and engage on environmental issues since 70s. His personal website is https://www.clivespash.org/]

 

Greta Thunberg, PR and the “Climate Emergency”

Greta Thunberg, PR and the “Climate Emergency”

Feasta – The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability

May 6, 2019

By Brian Davey

 

 

30 March 2019, Berlin: The Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg gives autographs to the waiting fans when she arrives at the Golden Camera award ceremony. The award ceremony will take place at Berlin’s disused Tempelhof Airport. Photo: Christoph Soeder/dpa (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

 

Preliminary remarks –

Some notes on terminology:

Climate Emergency – a human-induced increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases like CO2 and CH4 leading to rising global temperatures with impacts such as droughts, floods and heatwaves, crop failures, rising sea levels etc

“Climate Emergency” (in inverted commas) – a declaration by politicians that they are taking the climate emergency seriously and that we can trust them to do something effective about it (which can be judged as being for real or as empty rhetoric depending on what happens.)

Because of comments about the first edition of this article I wish to make clear that I am not opposed to wind, solar and renewable energy generation. What I am opposed to is the illusion that wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy can sustain a growth economy and the continuance of the consumer lifestyle in rich countries.

Renewable energy can have a limited place in the future but the priority is degrowth – with energy and materials conservation by sharing more – because the global economy of the rich world has overshot the carrying capacity of the planet and this is very dangerous. In any case there are currently no affordable ways to buffer fluctuations in renewable energy generation between seasons and nor are these likely for a long time, if ever. I am also very opposed to the financialisation of nature for the reasons that I describe here briefly, and at more length in my book Credo which is available for free download (see the references).

Finally, I learned a lot from the articles by Cory Morningstar but my politics and hers should not be taken as identical.

Brian

+++

Icame across a linked series of articles one of which is mentioned on the Moon of Alabama website. They are titled “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent” and written by an investigative journalist by the name of “Cory Morningstar”. When I started reading them I was at first suspicious that this was another ad hominem attack on Greta Thunberg. However as I read further, to use the Biblical expression, “the scales fell from my eyes”.

This is by far the best overview of global environmental and climate politics at this time – or what is behind the appearance that you will get if you only read and watch the mainstream media.

The articles show the main actors in the drama, how they are connected to, or part of, major factions of the global corporate elite – and how they are pursuing what is in effect a global public relations campaign to “lead the public into emergency mode” – an emergency where the public will call for action and this part of the global elite will then have a mass backing and be able to deliver.

But deliver what, exactly?

In fact the agenda is to sell the need for a fourth industrial revolution…..

I repeat that again – part of the global elite will deliver a green new deal or, as it is sometimes described, “a fourth industrial revolution”. This group of people are networked in organisations like the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute as well as 20 not for profit NGOs who are backing the idea like the World Resources Institute, Avaaz and its offshoot Team B, Greenpeace…and others.

To these should be added other organisations and movements like 350.org which are part of the influencing environment for the people who set up Extinction Rebellion, influencing XR’s limited statement of its aims.

At first sight all of this seems great, really encouraging – but only if the way that this network intends to follow through to address “the emergency” would actually work.

Yet there are good reasons to believe that their approach won’t work – although they will be an enormously generous gift to the corporate aristocracy and some NGOs – they won’t solve the emergency. They will make it worse.

This is because they want to address the global climate and environmental crisis to “save nature” by turning it into a huge money spinner. The policies that have been developed are intended to be an engine for re-kindling failing economic growth by “financialisating nature”. Natural processes are to be designated as “natural capital” and natural capital is to be priced and tradable on financial markets.

The key idea here is that, in order to protect nature, you must incentivise nature protection with money. You must pay to protect so called “eco-system services”. The idea is that if we want to prevent extinction we need a system that makes it pay in money terms and we will need a system that will bring about a whole new set of technologies – so called “clean tech”.

What’s wrong with financialising nature?

Indigenous people often regard nature as kin – for example, people in the Andes refer to ‘mother earth’. They protect mother earth just as they would protect their own mother because it gave them life, because they came from it. They know how nature works where they live because that is handed down to them from their ancestors and they hold it in trust for their children and descendants. They don’t expect cash payments – it is a duty not to overuse the earth and that is an ethic they live by. That ethic has been maintained by people living and working on natural commons over centuries before they were stolen by an elite during the enclosures. In commons there is a collective responsibility not to over-use resources – or not to harm the lived in environment to which people feel loyalty and attachment.

Our society lives by different ethics. If we want something doing we must pay money – including not driving the entire ecological system to collective death. That’s mainstream economics for you. In our society the rich see nature as a store of resources – trees are timber which has a money value but the untouched forests do not. If we want to protect the forest then the money junkies tell us that the forest must be given a money value too. Then if someone wishes to cut down trees for timber they have to pay for the loss of the forest too – the eco-system services that would be lost, like absorbing CO2, like the role of the forest in rainfall and the water cycle. Indeed, the new argument is that whoever owns the eco-system services of the forest should get a payment for protecting.

If we are going to think of nature as being like your mother then think of it like this. Say your mother is under threat, the key thing is how much is she worth and how much money can you pull together to protect her? Well it’s like that with nature. If your mother’s not worth tuppence and you’ve got no money anyway, you might as well sell her into slavery. It’s the same with nature. In this regard you sell into the financial markets, because banks can create any amount of money as loans to people who want to buy bits of nature, while other bits of the financial markets can make money organising the exchanges to trade on.

But there are problems with this. For example think of the protection of forests. Forest peoples have been protecting forests for centuries, only harvesting sustainably. They never had to be paid to do this – they understood how to live sustainably in the forests and were not greedy, so stopped forest resources being over-used. These kind of people will now be turfed out. They don’t have certificates of ownership purchased on the financial markets. The new owners will be the people in the financial markets who make money decisions about ecological issues. Will they protect the forests better from their offices? This is the doubtful logic of this new kind of green colonialism.

This is the way the money junkies think. There is a reversal of means and ends in their minds. The ends of the players on the natural capital markets is to make money – and, supposedly, making money is achieved by means of protecting nature.

Yet the experience of schemes like this is that money-making wins over nature because there is no obvious price for eco-system services, or for biodiversity loss or for carbon emitted. There is far too much uncertainty and a real ethical and conceptual question about whether you can or should value the carbon emissions, or the lives of people, species or eco-systems (eco-system services). What’s more there are all sorts of practical problems with coming up with prices – for example people are keen to protect pandas with a high price but less keen to pay a high price to protect creepy crawlers, snakes and spiders, even though they are an integral part of the ecosystem. Most people haven’t a clue how eco-systems work, how the climate works – and nor could they have. So how can they “value them”?

Decisions about climate, vital ecosystem functions and species should not be market decisions, they should be political ones – taken democratically by those affected.

In any case, we know that what happens in such markets is that the actors game the systems to make as much money as possible by scams and frauds. That has already happened on a massive scale during carbon trading. Everyone involved in carbon trading knew it was one massive scam. Nevertheless the religion of the modern world is economics, in the service of the great God money and so:

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

 

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

. …but back to Greta Thunberg. How did she become an eco-star?

How the Greta Thunberg phenomenon was fostered – the “We Don’t have time” consultancy

Please note that although the title of these articles is “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg”, they are not saying that Greta Thunberg is a simple puppet doing what she is told. She’s obviously a smart young woman. But she would not have got a place in the World Economic Forum and at the United Nations FCC COP in Katowice, had she not been very well connected and had her rise to eco-stardom not been stage-managed from early on. Her mother had an award from the corporate friendly environmentalists in the World Wide Fund for Nature and she was promoted by an organisation that works with Al Gore and important parts of the Silicon Valley elite.

Greta Thunberg was an adviser to a foundation established by a Swedish business called “We don’t have time”. So what is this business “We don’t have time”?

“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 startup 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 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, if they wish to pursue this path in utilizing their present celebrity for personal gain (a hallmark of the “grassroots” NGO movement).” (Further reading here.)

A nice little earner then…and that’s the philosophy of the people at the top who are leading this process. In their world view you have to make it pay to protect nature.

If you are not paying attention this looks like a child doing it all herself and getting a fantastic amount of attention – starting a snowball. Indeed the process is snowballing with big support. That was the idea and it was very successful – but what actually is the agenda of the elite faction behind all of this?

Here’s a quote from Cory Morningstar about how it started:

“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 New Green 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.”

The industrial agenda

“These agreements and policies include carbon capture 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……”

When Thunberg goes off message

That does not mean that Greta Thunberg necessarily understands or believes the entire elite agenda. At Katowice she made a speech part of which was off-message – perhaps she got the ideas from Professor Kevin Anderson whom she met there. Anderson is a climate scientist who argues that the economy must contract to meet climate goals. He also argues that it is the rich who must bear most of the burden of this.

Here is a part of Thunberg’s speech:

“You only speak of the green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

 

“But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

Thunberg talked about making enormous amounts of money and she talked about growth – but this is the part of the message that Avaaz cut from their reporting of Thunberg. Cory Morningstar comments: “It is not surprising Avaaz would strike Greta’s comments considering a primary function of Avaaz is to promote market solutions that accelerate “green” economic growth – in servitude to “a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.””

In conclusion

The series of articles linked to below shows how elite environmentalists want to revive the Paris Climate Agreement and how the Green New Deal in the USA is supposed to become a global process brought about by having the public clamouring to declare climate emergencies and that to achieve all of this strategic NGOS and campaign movements and new emerging celebrities like Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have been supported and their leaders partially co-opted.

By writing this piece I do not mean here to deny that there is an ecological crisis, and nor that there is a climate emergency and that urgent action is needed. Rather it is to show that there is a sophisticated PR campaign behind what is happening and the agenda is that of a major faction in the global elite. This agenda will not work – indeed it will complete the destruction of nature and the eco-system.

How can I claim that with complete conviction and certainty? Because this is an expansionary programme and ecological footprint analysis has already established that the biosphere is being consumed as if there were 1.7 planets. All serious approaches to resolving the ecological crisis recognise that the global economy must contract back to a one planet level. The economy must degrow.

What’s more it is richest 5% of the planet that consume 50% of planetary carbon – so the very people who are promoting this campaign must cut back the most. Instead they want to expand the economy. But how is this to be made compatible with reducing carbon emissions?

It isn’t – but a careful looks at the language of nature financialisation refers to carbon neutrality, not zero carbon. This is “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.”

To conclude this story with another quote from Cory Morningstar: in the quote below, she makes reference to Edward Bernays, the master of Public Relations and Marketing. In the 1920s he helped the tobacco industry achieve a massive new market – women.

Sensing the mood of many young women, Bernays got photos of young women smoking in prominent publications as an expression of their liberation and as an act of defiance and cultural rebellion. It was a fantastic success – for the tobacco industry, though not for women’s health. By engineering a feeling of emergency and rebellion – and channelling public concern and anger to what is an elite agenda for the environment long in preparation, it is hoped to pull off support for a massive policy coup for a section of the elite.

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

Afterword

After finishing writing this article I read a very interesting article on the same blog – about the appearance of an “XR Business Blog” which revealed some of the business interests behind Extinction Rebellion. Given the controversy it caused this part of the XR blog rapidly disappeared. Several of the named individuals are venture capitalist funders – looking to make money from what they claim to be “sustainability” and very much within the green growth camp. I doubt that many of the companies named, including Unilever for example, would embrace degrowth, the revival of the commons, co-operatives or other types of institutions for sharing so needed for economies which contracting back to the point of one planet living. Above all it seems to bear out the suspicion that for some of its leaders and initiators the XR Rebellion was seen as part of the planned PR offensive to build support for the phony Green New Deal….

For Reference – “This changes nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality” – Clive Spash https://www.clivespash.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2016-Spash-This-Changes-Nothing.pdf

Brian Davey – Credo: Economic Beliefs in a World in Crisis Chapters 26 and 27 on the sale of “ rights to pollute, biodiversity loss and the valuation of nature” and Chapters 45 and 46 on climate economics – free to download at http://www.credoeconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/credo.pdf

Featured image: ‘finance growth’. Source: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/finance-growth-concept-3-1236227

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members. 

 

[Brian Davey trained as an economist but, aside from a brief spell working in eastern Germany showing how to do community development work, has spent most of his life working in the community and voluntary sector in Nottingham particularly in health promotion, mental health and environmental fields. He helped form Ecoworks, a community garden and environmental project for people with mental health problems. He is a member of Feasta Climate Working Group and former co-ordinator of the Cap and Share Campaign. He is editor of the Feasta book Sharing for Survival: Restoring the Climate, the Commons and Society, and the author of Credo: Economic Beliefs in a World in Crisis.]

Between the Devil and the Green New Deal

Commune

Issue 2, Spring 2019

By Jasper Bernes
 
 

We cannot legislate and spend our way out of catastrophic global warming.

 

From space, the Bayan Obo mine in China, where 70 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals are extracted and refined, almost looks like a painting. The paisleys of the radioactive tailings ponds, miles long, concentrate the hidden colors of the earth: mineral aquamarines and ochres of the sort a painter might employ to flatter the rulers of a dying empire.

To meet the demands of the Green New Deal, which proposes to convert the US economy to zero emissions, renewable power by 2030, there will be a lot more of these mines gouged into the crust of the earth. That’s because nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper. The renewable-energy supply chain is a complicated hopscotch around the periodic table and around the world. To make a high-capacity solar panel, one might need copper (atomic number 29) from Chile, indium (49) from Australia, gallium (31) from China, and selenium (34) from Germany. Many of the most efficient, direct-drive wind turbines require a couple pounds of the rare-earth metal neodymium, and there’s 140 pounds of lithium in each Tesla.

It’s not for nothing that coal miners were, for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the very image of capitalist immiseration—it’s exhausting, dangerous, ugly work. Le Voreux, “the voracious one”—that’s what Émile Zola names the coal mine in Germinal, his novel of class struggle in a French company town. Capped with coal-burning smokestacks, the mine is both maze and minotaur all in one, “crouching like some evil beast at the bottom of its lair . . . puffing and panting in increasingly slow, deep bursts, as if it were struggling to digest its meal of human flesh.” Monsters are products of the earth in classical mythology, children of Gaia, born from the caves and hunted down by a cruel race of civilizing sky gods. But in capitalism, what’s monstrous is earth as animated by those civilizing energies. In exchange for these terrestrial treasures—used to power trains and ships and factories—a whole class of people is thrown into the pits. The warming earth teems with such monsters of our own making—monsters of drought and migration, famine and storm. Renewable energy is no refuge, really. The worst industrial accident in the history of the United States, the Hawk’s Nest Incident of 1930, was a renewable energy disaster. Drilling a three-mile-long inlet for a Union Carbide hydroelectric plant, five thousand workers were sickened when they hit a thick vein of silica, filling the tunnel with blinding white dust. Eight hundred eventually died of silicosis. Energy is never “clean,” as Muriel Rukeyser makes clear in the epic, documentary poem she wrote about Hawk’s Nest, “The Book of the Dead.” “Who runs through the electric wires?” she asks. “Who speaks down every road?” The infrastructure of the modern world is cast from molten grief.

Dotted with “death villages” where crops will not fruit, the region of Inner Mongolia where the Bayan Obo mine is located displays Chernobylesque cancer rates. But then again, the death villages are already here. More of them are coming if we don’t do something about climate change. What matter is a dozen death villages when half the earth may be rendered uninhabitable? What matter the gray skies over Inner Mongolia if the alternative is turning the sky an endless white with sulfuric aerosols, as last-ditch geoengineering scenarios imagine? Moralists, armchair philosophers, and lesser-evilists may try to convince you that these situations resolve into a sort of trolley-car problem: do nothing and the trolley speeds down the track toward mass death. Do something, and you switch the trolley onto a track where fewer people die, but where you are more actively responsible for their deaths. When the survival of millions or even billions hangs in the balance, as it surely does when it comes to climate change, a few dozen death villages might seem a particularly good deal, a green deal, a new deal. But climate change doesn’t resolve into a single trolley-car problem. Rather, it’s a planet-spanning tangle of switchyards, with mass death on every track.

It’s not clear we can even get enough of this stuff out of the ground, however, given the timeframe. Zero-emissions 2030 would mean mines producing now, not in five or ten years. The race to bring new supply online is likely to be ugly, in more ways than one, as slipshod producers scramble to cash in on the price bonanza, cutting every corner and setting up mines that are dangerous, unhealthy, and not particularly green. Mines require a massive outlay of investment up front, and they typically feature low return on investment, except during the sort of commodity boom we can expect a Green New Deal to produce. It can be a decade or more before the sources are developed, and another decade before they turn a profit.

“There is an infinity of worlds in which the GND fails—a million President Sanderses or, with more urgency, Ocasio-Cortezes presiding over the disaster.”

Nor is it clear how much the fruits of these mines will help us decarbonize, if energy use keeps climbing. Just because a United States encrusted in solar panels releases no greenhouse gases, that doesn’t mean its technologies are carbon neutral. It takes energy to get those minerals out of the ground, energy to shape them into batteries and photovoltaic solar panels and giant rotors for windmills, energy to dispose of them when they wear out. Mines are worked, primarily, by gas-burning vehicles. The container ships that cross the world’s seas bearing the good freight of renewables burn so much fuel they are responsible for 3 percent of planetary emissions. Electric, plug-in motors for construction equipment and container ships are barely in the prototype stage. And what kind of massive battery would you need to get a container ship across the Pacific? Maybe a small nuclear reactor would be best?

Counting emissions within national boundaries, in other words, is like counting calories but only during breakfast and lunch. If going clean in the US makes other places more dirty, then you’ve got to add that to the ledger. The carbon sums are sure to be lower than they would be otherwise, but the reductions might not be as robust as thought, especially if producers desperate to cash in on the renewable jackpot do things as cheaply and quickly as possible, which for now means fossil fuels. On the other side, environmental remediation is costly in every way. Want to clean up those tailings ponds, bury the waste deep underground, keep the water table from being poisoned? You’re going to need motors and you’re probably going to burn oil.

Consolidating scientific opinion, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projects that biofuels are going to be used in these cases—for construction, for industry, and for transport, wherever motors can’t be easily electrified. Biofuels put carbon into the air, but it’s carbon that was already absorbed by growing plants, so the net emissions are zero. The problem is that growing biofuels requires land otherwise devoted to crops, or carbon-absorbing wilderness. They are among the least dense of power sources. You would need a dozen acres to fill the tank of a single intercontinental jet. Emissions are only the most prominent aspect of a broader ecological crisis. Human habitation, pasture and industry, branching through the remaining wilderness in the most profligate and destructive manner, has sent shockwaves through the plant and animal kingdoms. The mass die-off of insects, with populations decreasing by four-fifths in some areas, is one part of this. The insect world is very poorly understood, but scientists suspect these die-offs and extinction events are only partially attributable to climate change, with human land use and pesticides a major culprit. Of the two billion tons of animal mass on the planet, insects account for half. Pull the pillars of the insect world away, and the food chains collapse.

To replace current US energy consumption with renewables, you’d need to devote at least 25-50 percent of the US landmass to solar, wind, and biofuels, according to the estimates made by Vaclav Smil, the grand doyen of energy studies. Is there room for that and expanding human habitation? For that and pasture for a massive meat and dairy industry? For that and the forest we’d need to take carbon out of the air? Not if capitalism keeps doing the thing which it can’t not keep doing—grow. The law of capitalism is the law of more—more energy, more stuff, more materials. It introduces efficiencies only to more effectively despoil the planet. There is no solution to the climate crisis which leaves capitalism’s compulsions to growth intact. And this is what the Green New Deal, a term coined by that oily neoliberal, Thomas Friedman, doesn’t address. It thinks you can keep capitalism, keep growth, but remove the deleterious consequences. The death villages are here to tell you that you can’t. No roses will bloom on that bush.

_____

Miners in Chile, China, and Zambia will be digging in the earth for more than just the makings of fifty million solar panels and windmills, however, since the Green New Deal also proposes to rebuild the power grid in a more efficient form, to upgrade all buildings to the highest environmental standards, and lastly, to develop a low-carbon transportation infrastructure, based on electric vehicles and high-speed rail. This would involve, needless to say, a monumental deployment of carbon-intensive materials like concrete and steel. Trillions of dollars of raw materials would need to flow into the United States to be shaped into train tracks and electric cars. Schools and hospitals, too, since alongside these green initiatives, the GND proposes universal health care and free education, not to mention a living-wage jobs guarantee.

Nothing new in politics is ever truly and completely new, and so it’s as unsurprising that the Green New Deal hearkens back to the 1930s as it is that France’s gilet jaunes revive the corpse of the French Revolution and make it dance a jig below the Arc de Triomphe. We understand the present and future through the past. As Marx notes in The Eighteenth Brumaire, people “make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” In order to make new forms of class struggle intelligible, their partisans look to the past, “borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.” The “new” of the Green New Deal must therefore express itself in language decidedly old, appealing to great-grandpa’s vanished workerism and the graphic style of WPA posters.

Above: 2019 GND poster

This costume-play can be progressive rather than regressive, insofar as it consists of “glorifying the new struggles, not of parodying the old; of magnifying the given task in the imagination, not recoiling from its solution in reality; of finding once more the spirit of revolution, not making its ghost walk again.” On the contrary, in the wake of the revolutions of 1848, when Marx was writing, the symbology of the French Revolution had the effect of suffocating whatever was revolutionary about the moment. Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Napoleon the III, was a pure parody of the liberator of Europe. What Europe needed was a radical break not continuity:

The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past. The former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to smother their own content. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content goes beyond the phrase.

We would do well to keep these words in mind over the next decades, to avoid recoiling from real solutions and insisting on fantastic ones. The project of the Green New Deal is really nothing like the New Deal of the 1930s, except in the most superficial ways. The New Deal was a response to an immediate economic emergency, the Great Depression, and not a future climate catastrophe: its main goal was to restore growth to an economy that had shrunk by 50 percent and in which one out of every four people was unemployed. The goal of the New Deal was to get capitalism to do what it already wanted to do: put people to work, exploit them, and then sell them the products of their own labor. The state was necessary as a catalyst and a mediator, setting the right balance between profit and wages, chiefly by strengthening the hand of labor and weakening that of business. Aside from the fact that it involves capital outlays that are much larger, the Green New Deal has a more difficult ambition: rather than get capitalism to do what it wants to do, it has to get it to pursue a path that is certainly bad for the owners of capital in the long run.

Whereas the New Deal needed only to restore growth, the Green New Deal has to generate growth and reduce emissions. The problem is that growth and emissions are, by almost every measure, profoundly correlated. The Green New Deal thus risks becoming a sort of Sisyphean reform, rolling the rock of emissions reductions up the hill each day only to have a growing, energy-hungry economy knock it back down to the bottom each night.

Advocates of green growth promise an “absolute decoupling” of emissions and growth, where each additional unit of energy adds no CO2 to the atmosphere. Even if such a thing were technologically possible, even if it were possible to generate zero- or low-emissions energy not only adequate to but in excess of current demand, such decoupling would require far greater power over the behavior of capitalists than the New Deal ever mustered.

FDR and his coalition in Congress exerted modest control over corporations through a process of “countervailing power,” in the words of John Kenneth Galbraith, tilting the playing field to disempower capitalists relative to workers and consumers, and making new investment more appealing. The state did undertake direct investment—building roads, bridges, power stations, parks, and museums—but did so not in order to supplant private investment but to create “forever a yardstick against extortion,” in FDR’s high-toned phrasing. Government power plants would, for example, disclose the true (lower) price of electricity, barring energy monopolies from price gouging.

Green New Dealers flag this aspect of the New Deal, since it’s ostensibly so close to what they propose. The Tennessee Valley Authority, a public power company still in operation eighty years later, is the most famous of these projects. Public infrastructure, clean energy, economic development—the TVA brought together many of the elements essential to the Green New Deal. Building dams and hydroelectric power stations along the Tennessee River, it provided clean, cheap electricity to one of the most economically depressed regions of the country. The hydroelectric plants were, in turn, linked up to factories producing nitrates, an energy-intensive raw material needed for both fertilizer and explosives. Wages and crop yields rose, power costs fell. The TVA brought cheap energy, cheap fertilizer, and good jobs to a place previous known for malaria, poor soil quality, incomes less than half the national average, and alarmingly high unemployment.

The problem with this scenario as a framework for the Green New Deal is that renewables are not massively cheaper than fossil fuels. The state cannot blaze the trail to cheap, renewable energy, satisfying consumers with lower costs and producers with acceptable profits. Many once thought that the depletion of oil and coal reserves would save us, raising the price of fossil fuels above that of renewables and forcing the switch as a matter of economic necessity. Unfortunately, that messianic price point has drifted farther into the future as new drilling technologies, introduced in the last decade, have made it possible to frack oil from shale and to recover reserves from fields previously thought exhausted. The price of oil has stayed stubbornly low, and the US is, suddenly, producing more of it than anyone else. The doomsday scenarios of “peak oil” are now a turn-of-the-millennium curiosity, like Y2K or Al Gore. Sorry, wrong apocalypse.

“The problem with the Green New Deal is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same.”

Some will tell you that renewables can compete with fossil fuels on the open market. Wind and hydroelectric and geothermal have, it’s true, become cheaper as sources of electricity, in some cases cheaper than coal and natural gas. But they’re still not cheap enough. That’s because, in order to bankrupt the fossil capitalists, renewables will need to do more than edge out fossil fuels by a penny or two per kilowatt-hour. There are trillions of dollars sunk into fossil energy infrastructure and the owners of those investments will invariably choose to recoup some of that investment rather than none of it. To send the value of those assets to zero and force energy capitalists to invest in new factories, renewables need to be not only cheaper but massively cheaper, impossibly cheaper. At least this is the conclusion reached by a group of engineers Google convened to study the problem. Existing technologies are never going to be cheap enough to bankrupt coal-fired power plants: we’d need stuff that is currently science-fiction like cold fusion. This is not only because of the problem of sunk costs, but because electricity from solar and wind is not “dispatchable” on demand. It is only available when and where the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. If you want it on demand, you’re going to have to store it (or transport it thousands of miles) and that’s going to raise the price.

Most will tell you that the answer to this problem is taxation of dirty energy or an outright ban, alongside subsidy of the clean. A carbon tax, judiciously applied, can tip the scales in favor of renewables until they are able to beat fossil energy outright. New fossil sources and infrastructure can be prohibited and revenue from the taxes can be used to pay for research into new technology, efficiency improvements, and subsidies for consumers. But now one is talking about something other than a New Deal, blazing the way to a more highly productive capitalism in which profits and wages can rise together. There are 1.5 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves on the planet, according to some calculations—around $50 trillion worth if we assume a very low average cost per barrel of thirty-five dollars. This is value that oil companies have already accounted for in their mathematical imaginings. If carbon taxes or bans reduce that number tenfold, fossil capitalists will do everything they can to avoid, subvert, and repeal them. The problem of sunk costs again applies. If you slaughter the value of those reserves, you might, perversely, bring down the cost of fossil fuels, encouraging more consumption and more emissions, as oil producers scramble to sell their excess supply in countries without a carbon tax. For reference, there is about $300 trillion of total wealth on the planet, most of it in the hands of the owning class. The global Gross Domestic Product, the value of all the goods and services produced in a year, is around $80 trillion. If you propose to wipe out $50 trillion, one-sixth of the wealth on the planet, equal to two-thirds of global GDP, you should expect the owners of that wealth to fight you with everything they have, which is more or less everything.

_____

Like a thousand-page novel with a MacGuffin or stylistic outrage on every page, the Green New Deal presents a challenge for critics. There are just so many levels on which it will never work. There is an infinity of worlds in which the GND fails—a million President Sanderses or, with more urgency, Ocasio-Cortezes presiding over the disaster. One might write an entire essay, for example, about its political impossibility given the complete saturation of the US state by corporate interests and a party-system and division of powers that lists badly to the right. Another essay about how, even if it were politically possible, outlays on the order of several trillion dollars per year would most likely wreck the dollar, driving up projected costs. An essay about vested interests and the war they’d wage. An essay about how, even if you cleared both those hurdles, the history of recent monetary interventions into the economy–$4.5 trillion injected into the economy during Obama’s tenure by the Fed’s quantitative easing, $1.5 trillion for Trump’s cuts—indicates that the Green New Deal will struggle to encourage corporations to spend this money as intended, on investment in green infrastructure, rather than funneling it straight into real-estate and stocks, as has happened in all these prior cases.

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds here and lose sight of the essential. In each of these scenarios, on each of these sad, warming planets, the Green New Deal fails because capitalism. Because, in capitalism, a small class of owners and managers, in competition with itself, finds itself forced to make a set of narrow decisions about where to invest and in what, establishing prices, wages, and other fundamental determinants of the economy. Even if these owners wanted to spare us the drowned cities and billion migrants of 2070, they could not. They would be undersold and bankrupted by others. Their hands are tied, their choices constrained, by the fact that they must sell at the prevailing rate or perish. It is the class as a whole that decides, not its individual members. This is why the sentences of Marxists (and Marx) so often treat capital as agent rather than object. The will towards relentless growth, and with it increasing energy use, is not chosen, it is compelled, a requirement of profitability where profitability is a requirement of existence.

If you tax oil, capital will sell it elsewhere. If you increase demand for raw materials, capital will bid up the prices of commodities, and rush materials to market in the most wasteful, energy-intensive way. If you require millions of square miles for solar panels, wind farms, and biofuel crops, capital will bid up the price of real estate. If you slap tariffs on necessary imports, capital will leave for better markets. If you try to set a maximum price that doesn’t allow profit, capital will simply stop investing. Lop off one head of the hydra, face another. Invest trillions of dollars into infrastructure in the US and you’ll have to confront the staggeringly wasteful, slow, and unproductive construction industry, where laying a mile of subway can be twenty times as expensive and take four times as long. You’ll have to confront the earthen monsters of Bechtel and Fluor Corp., habituated to feeding at the government trough and billing fifty dollar screws. If this doesn’t chasten you, consider the world-historical inefficiency of the US military, the planet’s biggest oil consumer and, unsurprisingly, also the planet’s main oil cop. The Pentagon is an accounting black hole, into which the wealth of the nation is ploughed and from which no light emerges. Its balance sheet is a blank.

_____

I suspect many advocates of the Green New Deal know all this. They don’t really think it will happen as promised, and they know that, if it does happen, it won’t work. This is probably why there’s so little concrete detail being offered. Discussion so far has largely revolved around the question of budgeting, with the advocates of Modern Monetary Theory arguing that there is no upper bound on government spending for a country like the US, and tax-and-spend leftists firing back with all sorts of counter-scenarios. The MMT advocates are technically correct, but they discount the power that owners of US debt have to determine the value of the dollar, and therefore prices and profits. Meanwhile, critics of the Green New Deal confine their discussion to the least problematic aspects. Don’t get me wrong, budget items on the order of tens of trillions of dollars are a big deal. But securing the bag is hardly the biggest problem. Implementation is where it really dies, and few advocates have much to say about such details.

The Green New Deal proposes to decarbonize most of the economy in ten years—great, but no one is talking about how. This is because, for many, its value is primarily rhetorical; it’s about shifting the discussion, gathering political will, and underscoring the urgency of the climate crisis. It’s more big mood more than grand plan. Many socialists will recognize that mitigation of climate change within a system of production for profit is impossible, but they think a project like the Green New Deal is what Leon Trotsky called a “transitional program,” hinged upon a “transitional demand.” Unlike the minimal demand, which capitalism can easily meet, and the maximal demand which it clearly can’t, the transitional demand is something that capitalism could potentially meet if it were a rational and humane system, but in actuality can’t. By agitating around this transitional demand, socialists expose capitalism as an extraordinarily wasteful and destructive coordinator of human activity, incapable of delivering on its own potential and, in this case, responsible for an unimaginable number of future deaths. So exposed, one might then safely proceed to do away with capitalism. Faced with the resistance of the capitalist class and an entrenched government bureaucracy, officials elected around a Green New Deal could safely, with the support of the masses, move to expropriate the capitalist class and reorganize the state along socialist lines. Or so the story goes.

I’ve always despised the transitional program concept. I think, for starters, that it’s condescending, presuming that the “masses” need to be told one thing in order, eventually, to be convinced of another. I also think it’s dangerous, with the potential to profoundly backfire. Revolutions do begin, often, where reforms fail. But the problem is that the transitional demand encourages you to build institutions and organizations around one set of goals with the hope that you can rapidly convert them to another when the time comes. But institutions are tremendously inertial structures. If you build a party and other institutions around the idea of solving climate change within capitalism, do not be surprised when some large fraction of that party resists your attempt to convert it into a revolutionary organ. The history of socialist and communist parties is reason for caution. Even after the Second International betrayed its members by sending them to slaughter each other in the First World War, and even after a huge fraction split to form revolutionary organizations in the wake of the Russian Revolution, many members of the party and its network of unions continued to support it, out of habit and because it had built a thick network of cultural and social structures to which they were bound by a million and one ties. Beware that, in pursuit of the transitional program, you do not build up the forces of your future enemy.

_____

Let’s instead say what we know to be true. The pathway to climate stabilization below two degrees Celsius offered by the Green New Deal is illusory. Indeed, at present the only solutions possible within the framework of capitalism are ghastly, risky forms of geo-engineering, chemically poisoning either the ocean or the sky to absorb carbon or limit sunlight, preserving capitalism and its host, humanity, at the cost of the sky (now weatherless) or the ocean (now lifeless). Unlike emissions reductions, such projects will not require international collaboration. Any country could begin geo-engineering right now. What’s to stop China or the US from deciding to dump sulfur into the sky, if things get hot enough and bad enough?

The problem with the Green New Deal is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same. It promises to switch out the energetic basis of modern society as if one were changing the battery in a car. You still buy a new iPhone every two years, but zero emissions. The world of the Green New Deal is this world but better—this world but with zero emissions, universal health care, and free college. The appeal is obvious but the combination impossible. We can’t remain in this world. To preserve the ecological niche in which we and our cohort of species have lived for the last eleven thousand years, we will have to completely reorganize society, changing where and how and most importantly why we live. Given current technology, there is no possibility to continue using more energy per person, more land per person, more more per person. This need not mean a gray world of grim austerity, though that’s what’s coming if inequality and dispossession continue. An emancipated society, in which no one can force another into work for reasons of property, could offer joy, meaning, freedom, satisfaction, and even a sort of abundance. We can easily have enough of what matters—conserving energy and other resources for food, shelter, and medicine. As is obvious to anyone who spends a good thirty seconds really looking, half of what surrounds us in capitalism is needless waste. Beyond our foundational needs, the most important abundance is an abundance of time, and time is, thankfully, carbon-zero, and even perhaps carbon-negative. If revolutionaries in societies that used one-fourth as much energy as we do thought communism right around the corner, then there’s no need to shackle ourselves to the gruesome imperatives of growth. A society in which everyone is free to pursue learning, play, sport, amusement, companionship, and travel, in this we see the abundance that matters.

Perhaps breakthrough decarbonizing or zero-emissions technologies are almost here. One would be a fool to discount the possibility. But waiting for lightning to strike is not a politics. It’s been almost seventy years since the last paradigm-shifting technology was invented—transistors, nuclear power, genomics, all date from the middle of the twentieth century. Illusions of perspective and the endless stream of apps notwithstanding, the pace of technological change has slowed rather than accelerated. In any case, if capitalism suddenly finds it within its means to mitigate climate change, we can shift to talking about one of the other ten reasons why we should end it.

We cannot keep things the same and change everything. We need a revolution, a break with capital and its killing compulsions, though what that looks like in the twenty-first century is very much an open question. A revolution that had as its aim the flourishing of all human life would certainly mean immediate decarbonization, a rapid decrease in energy use for those in the industrialized global north, no more cement, very little steel, almost no air travel, walkable human settlements, passive heating and cooling, a total transformation of agriculture, and a diminishment of animal pasture by an order of magnitude at least. All of this is possible, but not if we continue to shovel one half of all the wealth produced on the planet into the maw of capital, not if we continue to sacrifice some fraction of each generation by sending them into the pits, not if we continue to allow those whose only aim is profit to decide how we live.

For now, a revolution is not on the horizon. We’re stuck between the devil and the green new deal and I can hardly blame anyone for committing themselves to the hope at hand rather than ambient despair. Perhaps work on legislative reforms will mean the difference between the unthinkable and the merely unbearable. But let’s not lie to each other.

*Note: An earlier version of the essay stated the emissions of shipping as 17 percent. Thanks to Alyssa Battistoni for the correction.

[Jasper Bernes is Managing Editor of Commune. He is the author of The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization (Stanford, 2017) and two books of poetry: We Are Nothing and So Can You, and Starsdown. He lives in Berkeley with his family.]

An Indigenous Critique of The Green New Deal

PacificStandard

March 4, 2019

By Malcolm Harris

 

(Photo: Ron Whitaker/Unsplash)

The most common introductory example we use when we teach kids about interdependent ecosystems is insects. They may seem gross and small compared to the charismatic megafauna, we say, but insects play all sorts of important roles: pollinating plants, breaking down organic matter, feeding bigger animals. Without insects the whole web would collapse. I don’t think many of us who have given this lesson actually contemplated the mass death of the world’s insects as a possibility, imminent or otherwise. We should have.

A new study in the journal Biological Conservation takes a look at the global status of entomofauna (insects), and the picture is not good. The topline finding is that over 40 percent of insect species are threatened with extinction. That’s a situation hard to describe without sounding like a heavy metal concert billing. (Megadeath, Ecocide, etc.) And the lesson about the ecosystem wasn’t wrong: Without insects, Earth’s environment as we’ve become familiar with it is toast. Even our apocalyptic thought experiments are coming true.

The trouble with combating climate change, we’re often told, is that it’s hard to imagine, hard to see. The philosopher Timothy Morton calls climate change a “hyperobject”: It’s so widely distributed and conceptually sticky that we can’t really perceive it except in partial local instances. “When you feel raindrops falling on your head, you are experiencing climate, in some sense. In particular you are experiencing the climate change known as global warming,” Morton wrote in 2010. “But you are never directly experiencing global warming as such.” Humans don’t have the right sensory faculties.

Maybe it was possible to think that way in 2010, but, less than a decade later, I think many of us have developed the ability to see global warming. We are no longer empiricists who route information through our senses to our brain for analysis; we’re conspiracy theorists, every raindrop or sunbeam encountered as hyperobject. Now the totality hits us first. At the beginning of this essay, I didn’t say the insects were being killed off by global warming—but didn’t you assume it?

To people who don’t feel the omnipresence of global warming, people like me sound off. Not necessarily because they refuse to believe the data, I think, but because some of us are no longer bothering with the scientific method. We’re not analyzing evidence to develop a theory; we are convinced of what’s happening before we hear the particulars. Our question is not whether today’s forecast reflects climate change, but how. And we’re not wrong.

Since global warming is a fact and in one way or another an imminent threat to the well-being of every living thing known to mankind (including us), I think our increased ability to perceive it represents progress. The positivist method is not the only way to produce knowledge, and though “science” gets a lot of credit for sounding the alarm on climate change, it has been comparatively slow on the uptake. If we pay any attention at all, we can see and feel and hear that nature’s cycles are broken, and some peoples have understood for centuries that a society built on extraction and accumulation would burn the whole planet alive. Western science has a lot of nerve showing up just as we’re on the precipice of a biospheric death spiral to brandish some graphs and offer to block out the sun just a little.

“Indigenous peoples have witnessed continual ecosystem and species collapse since the early days of colonial occupation,” says Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, an activist/scholar from the Nishnaabeg nation and author most recently of the book As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. “We should be thinking of climate change as part of a much longer series of ecological catastrophes caused by colonialism and accumulation-based society.”

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

(Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson)

From this perspective, it’s a mistake to think of global warming in historical isolation, as merely the carbon cycle gone awry thanks to an excess of CO2 emissions. Climate change is the name we’ve given to the constellation of ecological crises that emerge as capitalist modernity runs out of new places to despoil.

For the insects, today’s crisis stems not just from temperature change (which is, of course, a contributing factor) but also from other associated environmental practices: the conversion of land for intensive agriculture, the widespread use of pesticides, and the reckless introduction of invasive species. Matt Shardlow, chief executive officer of the conservation non-profit Buglife, told the Guardian that unconsidered factors like light pollution could be more harmful to insects than we’re imagining. These aren’t problems that can be solved by decarbonization, no matter how many green jobs are attached. Our whole way of life has to change.

Insofar as mainstream American society reckons with indigenous intellectual/scientific practices, it’s as “non-overlapping magisteria,” i.e. if they’re true then they’re not true in a way that would directly challenge our truths. So when Simpson speaks of the need for “ethical systems that promote the diversity of life,” I think most Americans would understand “diversity of life” as an unquantifiable abstraction that we can translate into liberal ideals like interpersonal tolerance and non-conformity. But what if we took it literally instead?

The mass death of insects is an observable and measurable disrespect for the diversity of life on Earth, to which we can and should compare other patterns of human practice.

“Indigenous knowledge systems are rigorous, they pursue excellence, they are critical and comprehensive,” Simpson says. “The global roots of the climatic crisis and the exploitation of natural resources are issues indigenous peoples have been speaking out against for hundreds of years.” The proof is in the pudding: Colonists were warned by word and weapon that a system of individual land ownership would lead to ecological apocalypse, and here we are. What more could you ask from a system of truth and analysis than to alert you to a phenomenon like climate change before it occurs, with enough time to prevent it? That is significantly more than colonial science has offered.

The devaluation of indigenous political thought has nothing to do with its predictive ability. The ruling class produced by accumulation society simply will not put its own system up for debate. Thus the climate change policies we discuss—even and perhaps in particular the Green New Deal—take for granted not just the persistence of commodity accumulation, but its continued growth. As the economists Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm complain in their analysis of proposals for “green growth”: “The belief that any of this half-hearted tinkering will lead to drastic cuts in CO2 emissions in the future is plain self-deceit.” Economic output as we understand it, they say, must shrink.

If the indigenous critique sounds like an anti-capitalist one, it should. Drawing on the work of communist Glen Coulthard from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Simpson recognizes the language of Marxism as her own. “There is an assumption that socialism and communism are white and that indigenous peoples don’t have this kind of thinking,” she writes. “To me, the opposite is true.” In As We Have Always Done, Simpson makes a gentle case for non-native comrades to follow this lead. For their part, contemporary Marxist scholars like Silvia Federici and Harry Harootunian have been reassessing doctrinaire ideas about the progressive nature of capitalism and the supposed backwardness of indigenous societies, a line of revision that’s supported by recent changes to anthropological assumptions regarding the sophistication of pre-colonial technology and social organization.

Green growth, even in its social-democratic versions, isn’t going to save the insects. But there exist alternative examples for the left, and for the world. While America’s beehives are bare, Cuba’s are thriving, which led to the tragicomically western Economist headline: “Agricultural backwardness makes for healthy hives.” “We” are just now reactivating the millenia-old Mayan practice of harvesting from wild stingless bees (“meliponiculture”), which used to produce an unimaginably large variety of honeys. These entomological examples support Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani’s audacious claim about the history of African thought: Those who study what has been suppressed can see the future.

As for what is to be done about climate change, there’s no real mystery. “The issue is that accumulation-based societies don’t like the answers we come up with because they are not quick technological fixes, they are not easy,” Simpson says. “Real solutions require a rethinking of our global relationship to the land, water, and to each other. They require critical thinking about our economic and political systems. They require radical systemic change.”

To this end, Simpson has called for a shift in focus from indigenous cultural resurgence to the anti-colonial struggle for territory. That unsurrendered conflict has continued for hundreds of years, and we should view our living history in its firelight. The best environmental policy America can pursue is to start giving back the land.

 

[Malcolm Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia and the author of Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials.]

WATCH: Quiet Storm – Technology & Social Control

WATCH: Quiet Storm – Technology & Social Control

sub.Media

Published April 2, 2019

 

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

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

 

 

Greenwashing the Climate Catastrophe

Counterpunch

By Kenn Orphan

 

“With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in a free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.” –– Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer, from The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – For Consent: The House is on Fire & the 90 Trillion Dollar Rescue, 2019

 

“One might think that if someone were conscious enough to recognise that global ecology was compromised and that pollutants were destroying fresh water, and the land, and that global warming was quite possibly going to make huge swatches of land non arable — you might think that person would look for solutions in a political frame. After all it was global capital that had brought mankind to this historic precipice. But instead, many if not nearly all the people I speak with, frame things in terms of personal responsibility. Stop driving big diesel SUVs, stop flying to Cabo for vacation, stop eating meat, etc-. But these same people tend to not criticize capitalism. Or, rather, they ask for a small non crony green capitalism. I guess this would mean green exploitation and green wars? For war is the engine of global capitalism today. Cutting across this are the various threads of the overpopulation theme. A convenient ideological adjustment that shifts blame to the poorest inhabitants of the planet.” –– John Steppling, Trust Nothing, 2019

 

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” –– Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 1998

 

“Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.” –– Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

It is hard not to notice a stirring of consciousness regarding humanity’s dire ecological predicament beginning to seep into the mainstream these days. How can it not? Year after year records are shattered. Month after month scientists continue to be shocked and demoralized by more and more evidence of rising seas, a climate careening into a chaotic and terrifying unknown, and countless species succumbing in a biosphere perpetually under siege. Even the corporate media which has been designed as a mouthpiece of capitalist interests cannot completely veil our collective crisis. Unsurprisingly, the ruling class has begun to react, not in a way that meaningfully addresses the death cult of the current socioeconomic order, but to ensure its survival albeit with a greener face. Their cynical approach to what is the biggest existential crisis of our age is using youthful optimism and justified outrage and terror to cloud their machinations.

 

 

One such prominent youth these days is Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl who delivered a rousing speech at the UN Climate Change Conference and before the world’s wealthiest at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Indeed, her speech was inspiring and I do not doubt her passion or honest devotion to climate activism for a minute, but to ignore the powerful machine looking to co-opt her message would be a grave mistake. For instance, Thunberg has been given interviews in the corporate press, has been endorsed by a tech start-up company (We Don’t Have Time), and has been lauded by industry for promoting “sustainable development.”

Now certainly Thunberg is not the one manipulating any of these actors, and she should not face any kind of criticism for her part in addressing the greatest existential issue of our times. But it should be clear that most people who get interviews in the corporate media are generally not deemed to be a serious challenger to the status quo political/economic order. Corporate approved dissent is a form of censorship that gives the illusion of a lively debate, but essentially establishes a firm line in the sand when if comes to radically questioning or opposing the capitalist framework itself. And if finance companies are behind something we can be pretty sure that they are primarily in it for the money. In addition to this, the term sustainable development is a meaningless on a planet that is literally on the edge of a cliff, but under the dominant economic dictatorship of money the co-opted mainstream environmental movement has pumped out these tropes making them a form of collective social conditioning.

And this ties into the notion of personal responsibility. Solutions to our environmental crisis have been reduced to “life style changes” which have also become the en vogue activism of the day. It is a line of thinking that is accepted and even endorsed by corporations, banks and neoliberal governments because it poses no real challenge to their power or their ongoing destructive practices. To the mainstream, tweaking one’s lifestyle is all that is needed. Buy an electric vehicle or use a bicycle. Don’t take a plane on your vacation. Buy reusable bags. Choose organic only. Go vegan. Buy reusable straws. While there is nothing wrong with doing these things in general, they must be understood as individual choices that are based on privilege and that have little impact in addressing urgent crisis our biosphere is facing right now.

What they do manage to do is deliver an added punishment on the poor and working class, people who are struggling to make ends meet. It places an unfair level of guilt on ordinary people whose impact on the environment is relatively negligible compared to the enormous destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry, mining companies, plastic and packaging production, shipping and the military industrial complex. Seldom (if ever) questioned are the basic foundations of the current economic order which is driving the decimation of the biosphere for the benefit of the wealthy Davos jet set.

It has in fact become only about “sustainability” despite the contradiction of sustaining a system that is at its core omnicidal. Corporations have been actively branding themselves with empty greenwashing euphemisms like “green” or “earth friendly” in the decades following the first Earth Day. It is as if our species were somehow alien visitors to this planet and being friendly to it was merely a diplomatic concern. Certainly a handful of corporations did in fact change some of their practices under public pressure and for the sake of image. Some of those changes had beneficial effects for certain species and areas. But the primary engine of capitalism that has led us to the brink of devastation is never questioned. It is sacrosanct.

With this in mind political solutions, like the Green New Deal, are being trotted out by democratic socialist and neoliberal politicians that merely cloak the problem, never identifying the root of it all: Capitalism. In fact, many of these policies are weak on protecting nature and are simply designed to keep capitalism afloat. At its core this is a system that is incapable of even beginning  to address climate change or biospheric degeneration. Its principles are based upon the exploitation of the environment for the material gain of the ruling class, kept alive through institutions of repression and corporate state violence. Under this rubric environmental causes may be soothed for some; but the poor and working class are continually battered and raped by industry and the corrupt governments that house and protect them. Indigenous peoples, who face the worst exploitation, continually see their lands desecrated and denuded by state policing factions at the behest of powerful corporations. And militarism, which is of course wedded to capitalism, ensures that all of this exploitation can continue and expand virtually unopposed by bourgeois society.

It may be a hard pill for many to swallow, but there are simply no viable answers to be found in Washington, or the hills of Hollywood, or the board rooms of Wall Street, or even at the United Nations which generally capitulates to the demands of the ruling class. They have molded each of these institutions, media industries and government bodies to fit their censorious narrative in order to suppress dissent against the current economic order, under which they so handsomely profit. And one would be wise to approach whatever they offer with great caution. After all, they have been labouring for years to dismember the commons, grow their inordinate wealth through plunder, and maintain their dominance through corruption, militarism and distraction. The sacredness of the public sphere has been defiled by the inviolable liturgy of free market dogma. And they have manufactured a culture of cruelty, devoid of character and predicated on colonization and the commodification and exploitation of everything and everyone that exists. In this way neoliberalism, the last and most ruthless stage of capitalism, has become the most elaborate and successful form of brainwashing and social control the world has ever known, convincing hundreds of millions of people of the absolute necessity of its economic tyranny and omnicidal madness.

But despite the machinations of the ruling class to obfuscate, infiltrate and co-opt movements, there remains a genuine longing for connection to the ever besieged living planet and solidarity with one another that transcends the indifferent and sadistic brutality of the capitalist order. This is especially true as capitalism begins to implode and the biosphere continues to degrade. Therefore the most coherent response to what we are witnessing will always come from ordinary people in community, especially the poor and especially indigenous peoples who are on the front lines of a war being waged by governments serving the interests of the wealthy ruling class and global capitalism. But we can be assured that anything that emanates from the halls of power will be merely another ploy to maintain their control and fill the coffers of the uber-rich at the expense of the rest of us and the living earth itself. And they have no problem using the innocent passion of a 16 year old girl to hide all of their crimes.

 

[Kenn Orphan is an artist, sociologist, radical nature lover and weary, but committed activist. He can be reached at kennorphan.com.]

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

Wrong Kind of Green

February 6, 2019

By Michael Swifte

 

 

A Game of Cosponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Significant Act

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That begins with the USE IT Act.

 

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

 

This Congress we want it signed into law.

 

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

 

The USE IT Act advances that goal. [Source]

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

“Frontline and Vulnerable Communities” are Forgotten

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

Silence on Labor and CCUS

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

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

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

Framing the Resolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Help?

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Scurrying Fascist Cockroaches

Dissident Voice

February 25th, 2019

 

 

Suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effects has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something. Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover-with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there’s just no other alternatives right now.
— Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, 2002

 

We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.
— Bill McKibben, The New Republic, 2016

 

…the survival of National Socialism within democracy (was potentially more dangerous than )the survival of fascist tendencies against democracy.
— Theodor Adorno, quote by Enzo Traverso, The New Faces of Fascism

The question of the appropriation of Environmental movements by Capital is one that has been resisted even more than I had anticipated. So, right off the bat I encourage you to read Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer’s Wrong Kind of Green…especially now, part four.

Now this stuff links directly with the rise of the newest wave of sheepdogging Democratic Party hopefuls. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and now, Ilhan Omar, are the darlings of liberal media and punditry. Omar read (haltingly) from a prepared text as she questioned war criminal Elliot Abrams. She essentially called him a liar, which he is, but which is also what the US government itself already calls him. And she mentioned El Mozote. But, when push came to shove, as they say, Omar like Ocasio Cortez, signed on for regime change in Venezuela.

Now, Ocasio Cortez is floating something she calls the Green New Deal (which, in another form, was already promoted by Green Party candidate Jill Stein) and which is a nakedly pro capitalist bit of three card monte that will provide a boost to the nuclear power industry and line various corporate pockets. It’s capitalism. Omar and Ocasio Cortez also signed the odious Code Pink letter condemning US involvement in coups while at the same time slandering and fabricating stories about Maduro. The logic of the letter was that US proxy forces and covert activities had a counter productive effect and only helped to shore up the credibility of the Maduro government. In other words, fascism is OK, is just fine, only please do it in ways that will not bruise my delicate sensitivities.

Now please note: Ocasio Cortez and Omar are nearly identical physical types. Both are wildly telegenic (until they open their mouths, but maybe that’s not as a big problem as I make it out to be) and both are sort of pixie like, lithe and slender. When I point this out I am told there is nothing wrong with being slender. At which point I silently scream and tear the flesh from my face. The point is only to describe the similarities in presentation of these two political products. In other words, they are manufactured political commodities. And as Madison Avenue knows, such marketing works, even when everyone is on the manufacturing process.

The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.
— Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

All life is theatre, to some degree of other. I have written before that theatre did not come out of religion but rather religion came out of theatre. And the short explanation is that our psychic formation is tied to a self narration that must take place on stage…even if just in our heads. The scene of the crime. It is Ur-theatre. So in contemporary life I am constantly reminded of just how caught up in the spectacle.. or rather…in the streaming of the spectacle, is everyone, and that it is one that occurs 24/7. And even when the smarter among us notices this facsimile existence, nothing happens. For it is ever harder to crawl up and out of capital. Out of accumulation. Out of the spectacle.

And set against this is the rising tide of Fascism. Global fascism. Chomsky, long a suspect figure and sort of the honorary chair of political gate-keeping emeritus, openly and none too timidly advises fascism as perhaps (!) the solution to “getting things done”. As in, the environmental crises — let’s use that term for now — is dire and suddenly (as they say in Hollywood story conferences) there is *a clock on it*. Meaning there is exactly no time to spare. In fact, it’s too late. Etc. I read recently a headline that said insects were going extinct. That struck me as, I don’t know, unlikely on the face of it. And sure enough it was a pure sensationalized headline for a sensationalistic article. Bugs are the most diverse creatures on earth. There are more kinds of just one variety of wasp than there are kinds of mammals. And, yes, Monsanto is killing honey bees. And it’s pretty dire. But it’s not led to honey shortages yet, at least that I have noticed. But it has raised prices! And colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the result of a number of factors, including pesticides and fungicides, which among other things render bees susceptible to the Nosema ceranae parasite. Capitalism kills life. Socialism protects life. But in general the bugs are not going extinct in thirty years. Still, what is driving this apologia for fascism? And why would Chomsky equate fascism with ‘getting things done’? Socialism…as in Cuba, for example, gets things done. Ask earthquake survivors around the globe. Ask whose doctors are first on the scene. But the rehabilitation of fascism is gaining momentum.

Now, there is a clear necessity for western societies to change how they live. Just a ban on the manufacturing of plastics, or pliable plastics even, would do an enormous amount of good. But that means a lot of very big and rich plastic manufacturing businesses would go out of business. Hence there is no movement toward that. Instead you get The Green New Deal. And what, you might ask, is this going to really achieve?

Today’s climate emergency mobilization must be recognized for what it is: a strategically orchestrated campaign financed and managed by the world’s most powerful institutions – for the preservation of capitalism and global economic growth. This is the launch of a new growth industry in the Global South coupled with the creation of new and untapped markets. Leading up to this precipice, The B Team, the Open Society Foundation, Oxfam, and many others that serve as the human face of capitalism, have moved their offices or set up new divisions in both Africa and Latin America.
— Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer, “Wrong Kind of Green”, Part IV

and…

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

Read the entirety of the breakdown here….

The same fingerprints are always found. The Gates Foundation, 350.org, the US state department and an assortment of varied NGOs of the moment (all based in the West). Western capital is in transition phase. And riding along in the propaganda wing is a clear new focus on fascist iconography and symbol, and on metaphors of war and the military. Getting things done!!

The rehab of fascism is laying the groundwork for various states of emergency to come. Most will be given a token coat of green paint. The worst thing you can be…even worse than an apologist for Harvey Weinstein or something, is a climate denier. It has already superceded Conspiracy theorist as most toxic appellation available today. Pedophile, Conspiracy Theorist, and at the top…Climate Denier.

“School children hold portraits of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in front of a giant picture of Gates during celebrations to mark his 60th birthday inside the school premises in Chennai, India, October 28, 2015.”

In a society in which public education is a shell of its former mediocre self, and one in which science is not much emphasized, it is amazing how many times I have had complex statistics and calculus quoted in regard to global warming or rising sea levels or methane bubbles etc. It has become a kind of incantatory recital of belief. And it is about shaming and stigmatizing. And about self righteousness. And again, the trouble with all this is that there IS a climate crisis. There is massive environmental decay and pollution. And there is, in the U.S. certainly, a crumbling material infrastructure. Clean water will be ever more of a problem. There is ample but very general evidence for all of this. But I am not a scientist. And I have to say I have a healthy suspicion of professional science overall. The planet is very very very complex. And again, I may have missed it, but where are the scientists pointing fingers at the military? I ask that one sincerely. I’d like to know. For there is one thing I do feel pretty confident about: And that is..the military produces pollution, kills sea life, poisons the ground and humans both. And on a massive massive massive scale. So why is that never a target do you suppose?

As a major turning point in the history of Europe, total war introduced mass violence into everyday life, ‘brutalized’ societies, and accustomed them to industrial massacres and anonymous mass death. As a nationalist political movement, fascism grew out from this trauma. Mosse sees it as a product of the ‘nationalization of the masses’ that was powerfully accelerated during the war. In fact, anti-communism characterized fascism from the beginning to the end of its historical trajectory. It was a militant, radical, aggressive anti-communism that transformed the nationalist ‘civil religion’ into a ‘crusade’ against the enemy.
— Enzo Traverso (The New Faces of Fascism)

The rehabilitation of fascism cannot find traction without a concomitant anti communist platform. And the spike in anti-communism has been acute. I wrote on my blog about Liam Neeson…

The normalizing of fascist mythology and sentiments preceded what is now open expressions of fascist ideology. And it appears in codes appropriate to the celebrity driven individuality of the Marvell Comix era of entertainment. Liam Neeson’s recent comments (as part of a marketing tour for his next film… a *revenge* thriller..{sic}) about having once wanted to find a black man to beat to death is a rather good example. There is no moral to Neeson’s story, interestingly, beyond it taking him a week, in his words, to figure out “what the fuck am I doing”. This is a form of white masculine bragging now. It’s another celebrity search for authenticity. Oh, he also was thrilled as a lad to listen to the speeches of Ian Paisley. Not much more is said about this beyond it inspired him to take up acting. So again the fascist rehabilitation is open. And again, there is a racist underpinning, as Paisley actively campaigned against the civil rights movement and organized gangs of club-carrying thugs to block pro civil rights protestors. The inherent acceptability of fascism. No celebrity A-list actor would ever admit to having been thrilled by the speeches of Fidel Castro.

When Trump said “Make America Great Again”, what he meant, of course, was make America white again. But not just white, but a fascist white. For the very idea of *greatness* resides in that exceptionalism that is connected at its roots to manifest destiny and slave owning. The appeal to a manufactured nostalgia of greatness is an appeal to a white hierarchical martial heroism that is today reflected in Marvel and DC comic super hero movies. And this rehabilitation is neo-colonial as well. Communism fought against the colonial European powers, while the US and western capital fought on the side of apartheid and colonial powers. Make America colonial again. Make America a land of plantations, again. Make it a land of *Indian killers*. All of this is running through popular culture today. The masculine panic of Liam Neeson is the same one, on a cruder level aesthetically, found at Trump rallies, but also found on Wall Street and in the industrial usage of escort services those brokers are known to indulge — and in fraternities at universities across the U.S. It is tied to a virulent misogyny. And it is, indeed, tied to Harvey Weinstein — though, problematically, it is also found in much of the lynch mob mania of #metoo.

…fascism comes to power in stages, beginning with attacks on the democratic rights of working people, the imprisonment of communists and trade unionists, hostility to national minorities and immigrants, and the gradual erosion of democratic institutions. It relies on its mass supporters, mostly from the middle class but also including workers and intellectuals, to carry out these policies. Once fascism has consolidated power, it begins to build up the fascist state and engages in expansionary imperialist wars. The terrorist dictatorship of finance capital is only fully established when all opposition has been outlawed and a fascist state machinery has been completely developed.
— Fabian Van Onzen, Monthly Review, February 2019

There is a constant drum beat that compares communism to fascism. And it has taken a quality of desperation. So insistent are the authors of this familiar trope of “totalitarian” societies ‘all being the same’ that it is sort of now in another phase that might be labeled *secondary conflations*. And it is important to observe the liberal and urban educated bourgeoisie and their emotional connectivity to Green ideas and policy. This is the collaborationist class Gramsci wrote about so trenchantly. But the level of emotional attachment and reaction to questions of Climate Change or Global Warming (and related environmental issues) needs to be explored a bit more.

For it is as if suddenly the bourgeoisie deeply “cares” about Nature and mother earth. About the planet, about saving mankind. The emotional responses one finds here are not only disproportionate to the specific issues that arise, but they are psychologically prophylactic mechanisms that seem to keep actual political analysis buried. There are knee jerk responses that look to stigmatize those now demonstrating insufficient environmental awareness. Those not invested enough, or in the right way, with Green policy. These are going to be the people who line up behind Ocasio Cortez and The Green New Deal. This outrage is almost never displayed against US bombing “errors” when, say, a wedding party is olbiterated and a half dozen children are killed. But maybe it’s a genuine personal fear. Maybe this is a class now afraid and that is a new experience for them.

What haunted them {the Frankfurt School thinkers} was the evidence, everywhere to be found in the Federal Republic of Germany to which Adorno returned in 1949, that the fascist era was being airbrushed from history, erased from collective memory in an act of repression. The fear was not only that it was being forgotten in itself, but that if not remembered, it was likely to resurface in unpredictable forms.
— Stuart Walton, “Theory from the Ruins”, Aeon Magazine 2017

The Democratic field is forming for the 2020 run at Trump. Think about who is running. I mean, let’s do a quick survey…very quick.

Bernie Sanders is another glaring example of the cognitive dissonance operating at the collective level. Sanders who famously referred to Hugo Chavez as “that dead communist dictator” was also the guy who demanded the Saudi’s “get their hands dirty”. One of the things that seems not to register on the public, both pro Sanders and contra Sanders, is that Bernie just isn’t very smart. He is not a particular fluid speaker nor does he do very well off script. But Bernie has never seen a defense contract he didn’t want a piece of. Never.

Paul Street wrote back in 2015 {from an article in 2017}….

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (“I”-VT) is not the independent left politician many progressives claim he is. He’s a Democratic Party company man. That has been clear from his long Congressional record of voting with the neoliberal, dollar-drenched Democrats and accepting their seniority-based committee assignments. [1]

But Bernie is, again, not in it to win (I don’t think). He is too well fitted to his one specific role; sheepdog for the DNC. But Beto O’Rourke, another youthful Democratic pseudo leftist who, like AOC is telegenic and comely — his hair alone is pure Madison Avenue stuff. Vote for the hair! Which might be a useful slogan for O’Rourke because his voting record is appalling and deeply reactionary. But Beto is looking to find traction as the new JFK or RFK, and is in it to win.

O’Rourke has also gone out of his way to praise Israel and promise fidelity to “our shared values”. None of this is any sort of surprise. At some point the public has to learn being a Democrat means being pro war and an Imperialist.

The Fasci di combattimento were born in the aftermath of the war. They were imbued with the petit-bourgeois character of the various veterans associations which arose at that time.

 

Due to their trenchant opposition to the socialist movement they obtained the support of the capitalists and the authorities. This aspect of the Fasci was inherited in part from the conflict between the Socialist Party and the ‘interventionist’ associations during the war years.

 

They emerged during the same period when the rural landowners were feeling the need to create a White Guard to tackle the growing workers’ organisations. The gangs that were already organised and armed by the big landowners soon adopted the label Fasci for themselves too. With their subsequent development, these gangs would acquire their own distinct character – as a White Guard of capitalism against the class organs of the proletariat.

 

Fascism still conserves this trait of its origins. But until very recently, the fervour of the armed offensive kept a lid on the tensions between the urban cadre – who are predominantly petit-bourgeois, orientated on parliament, and ‘collaborationist’ – and the rural cadre, which consist of the big and medium landowners and their tenant farmers.”
— Antonio Gramsci, The Two Fascisms, 1921

Now O’Rourke is another supporter of the Green New Deal. Quelle surprise.

Kamala Harris is the former DA from San Francisco, and later AD for the state. She used to date (his words) Willie Brown. And she is married to attorney Doug Emhoff, formerly of Venable LLP — a firm whose lawyers included Asa Hutchinson (former Governor of Arkansas, former Undersecretary of Homeland Security and former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration). Also a number of former state’s ADs and a couple other governors (John Marhsall Butler for one). Just sayin’. Kamala no doubt has the deepest rolodex of anyone who has so far declared (unless you count Gentlemen Joe Biden, and I don’t because Joe has almost ZERO chance to go anywhere in this thing).

Margaret Kimberley wrote of Harris….

One of her more disgraceful policies was to victim shame black mothers for their children’s school truancy. They were fined and when most of them could not pay, were put in jail and separated from their children.This action is the epitome of modern day chattel slavery and Harris cannot be given a pass.{ } Harris has spent her career locking up Black and brown people. She should not be allowed to shake hands, kiss babies or walk into black churches without being taken to task. [2]

Kirsten Gillibrand will likely declare. A favorite daughter of Wall Street and the tobacco industry Gillibrand is heavily entrenched in the bowels of the DNC. She once authored a bill that would criminalize ‘boycotts’ by individuals or groups seeking to express disapproval of Israel. Gillibrand’s stance against protests and ‘boycotts’ included her co-sponsoring the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S 720). Her parents are both attorneys. She attended Dartmouth and her maternal grandmother Polly Noonan was a key player in Estes Cornings powerful political machine in Albany from the 40s through the mid-80s. One of the last great political machines in the United States, in fact.

Tulsi Gabbard is the *identity* candidate. A pacific islander, and a Hindu. On the plus side she spoke positively about US enemies like Assad… except for when she was, you know, calling him a brutal dictator. And she was at least mildly respectful of the DPRK. Sort of. And she was right about the murder, by the US, of Gaddafi. But in all this she is still on the side of the Imperialist overlords. In a sense, Gabbard is the new Obama. The comprador candidate. Oh, and she is an aggressive supporter of Israel and highly critical of the BDS. She is the rational Imperialist. I know it’s a buzz kill to point out all these things, but she also happens to be a major in the US Army, a member of the Hawaiian National Guard, and significantly, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She also did TWO tours in Iraq. Not one, but two. Meaning she volunteered to go back and do it again. She has also praised the BJP party in India, and its neo-fascist president. Richard Spencer admires her (sic) for what that is worth. And Gabbard also signed to enforce sanctions on Iran and Russia. But so bankrupt is the electoral landscape in the U.S., that Gabbard is routinely described as a radical voice.

The worker, the peasant, who for years has hated the fascism that oppresses him believes it necessary, in order to bring it down, to ally himself with the liberal bourgeoisie, to support those who in the past, when they were in power, supported and armed fascism against the workers and peasants, and who just a few months ago formed a sole bloc with fascism and shared in the responsibility for its crimes. And this is how the question of the liquidation of fascism is posed? No! The liquidation of fascism must be the liquidation of the bourgeoisie that created it.
— Antonio Gramsci, Neither Fascism nor Liberalism: Sovietism! 1924

The Green New Deal is the fig leaf that provides material for this manufacturing of a new fascist narrative. The green fascism of these new ‘products’ from the Democratic Party laboratories is pretty much in line with what Bill Clinton ushered in and what Obama sort of perfected.

There is no potential for change in electoral movements in the U.S. That system is closed. Any radical third party would be quickly stopped, on that Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi both agree. And the idea of an American gilets jaunes (or Occupy redux) would likely lack both leadership and, more importantly perhaps, a narrative. The disaffected in the U.S. have no way to imagine an end to the system that oppresses them. And this is partly where the Soviet Union is so acutely missed. But one senses this is also why Maduro and Venezuela must be shut down. Sure oil, that’s a nice bonus, but the threat is, even if partly unconscious for the ruling class, an ideology where the slaves revolt. Same as Milosevic had to go. Same as they tried for decades to eliminate Fidel. Independence is not tolerated.

Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre noted (for France) that for what they call the *post fascist* ….“The ‘bad’ people— the immigrants, the Muslims and Blacks of the suburbs, veiled women, junkies, and the marginal—merge together with members of the leisure classes who have adopted liberal mores: feminists, the gay-friendly, anti-racists, environmentalists, and defenders of immigrants’ rights. Finally, the ‘good’ people of the postfascist imagination are nationalist, anti-feminist, homophobic, xenophobic, and nourish a clear hostility toward ecology, modern art, and intellectualism.
— Quoted by Enzo Traverso, Vers l’extrême: Extension des domaines de la droite, Paris: Editions Dehors, 2014; Gérard Mauger, ‘Mythologies: le “beauf” et le “bobo”

And here is also where Green issues become a kind of fulcrum around which the NGOs and marketing firms fully understand the ambivalences. The sudden compassion about the Earth and Global Warming is a narrative that is being appropriated very rapidly right now. For the bourgeoisie ‘going green’ is a cause they can get behind, and one that costs them almost nothing. It also provides cover for their new tough love of the underclass (meaning they get to be more openly racist and contemptuous of the poor). The educated urban liberal is borrowing heavily from the Health Food Co-op back room.

For the right, bad people are those with environmental concerns; i.e., the affluent urban liberal who is experienced as the class looking to take away the working class and poor’s small pleasures. First all those *sin* taxes, on tobacco and booze, and then restrictions on muscle cars, and all sort of stuff is given a crude story line by folks like Steven Bannon. Good people are those who deny any of this environmental stuff. Thereby in their Evangelical piety the flyover state working poor (and unemployed) justify their ignorance and more to the point, can stop having to wrestle with complicated and often ambivalent ideas to which a destroyed public education system never exposed them.

Because of this mutual disconnect, the emotional cathexis of the liberal educated classes in both Europe and the U.S. identify with their ‘superior’ concerns, their belief in science, which they understand no better than those sitting in the seats at NASCAR races, but who are encouraged to practice what they see as “sober” thinking, “tough love”, and “responsible” telling of hard truths. What this means is they increasingly are now finding permission to express more openly what they have kept silent about (cue Liam Neeson). And that is a virulent racism, but one now more tilted toward antisemitism, and most significantly Islamaphobia. The affluent bourgeois class is experiencing great relief in being given permission to vent their buried xenophobia. The Muslim is a structural replacement (though not really a replacement so much as an addition but in perception management terms it’s a replacement) for Jew in this new liberal antisemitism. It is not expressed in quite the same way as those in the flyover states, but it’s there all the same. And yet these classes recognize nothing of themselves in the other.

The idea of a healthy and prosperous Green New Deal (part and parcel of the fourth industrial revolution) for the world – is a lure to keep you believing in the system.
— Cory Morningstar (in conversation).

When Gramsci wrote of hegemony he never forgot that bourgeois rule, even when it advanced behind ‘mere’ coercion, still had physical violence as an option. The increased surveillance state and police militarization are linked, in the end, to policing of the inner cities (black and latino neighborhoods) and to US imperial policing and pacification of the global south.

But in looking at the narratives today, the ruling class and their collaborationist allies in the bourgeoisie, have refashioned environmental concerns so that its truth is always about protecting capital and capitalism while the narrative is about their own virtues. It’s an investment opportunity. Nothing more. And part of the problem (often a large part) is transferred to the victims of capital; the very poorest in the world, the very people who consume the least and pollute the least. This is the logic (and always has been) of eugenics and its contemporary trope “overpopulation”. And the cruelty and ruthlessness of the overpopulation meme is given a cosmetic make-over to resemble compassionate white saviour stories. The superior white expert come to stop the savages from having too many children.

To fix or at least manage, to some degree, the worst environmental problems will actually require drastic socialist programs. Not fascism as Chomsky suggests…or as Bernie or AOC or any of the rest of these capitalist sock puppets….but socialist. And nothing, NOTHING of any good is ever going come out of the Democratic Party. And nothing of any significance can happen via the US electoral theatre. The amount of energy wasted in endless debate about the virtues or “electability” (sic) of Elizabeth Warren vs Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris vs Tulsi Gabbard etc is breathtaking. Imagine that time spent on something useful. Like, oh, how to prevent more war and carnage. And how to create a sustainable form of human development.

Socialism, in its most radical form, is about substantive equality, community solidarity, and ecological sustainability; it is aimed at the unification—not simply division—of labor.

Once sustainable human development, rooted not in exchange values, but in use values and genuine human needs, comes to define historical advance, the future, which now seems closed, will open up in a myriad ways, allowing for entirely new, more qualitative, and collective forms of development. This can be seen in the kinds of needed practical measures that could be taken up, but which are completely excluded under the present mode of production. It is not physical impossibility, or lack of economic surplus, most of which is currently squandered, that stands in the way of the democratic control of investment, or the satisfaction of basic needs—clean air and water, food, clothing, housing, education, health care, transportation, and useful work—for all. It is not the shortage of technological know-how or of material means that prevents the necessary ecological conversion to more sustainable forms of energy.103 It is not some inherent division of humanity that obstructs the construction of a New International of workers and peoples directed against capitalism, imperialism, and war. All of this is within our reach, but requires pursuing a logic that runs counter to that of capitalism.
— John Bellemy Foster, Monthly Review, February 2019

 

  1. Counterpunch, April 2017. [?]
  2. Black Agenda Report, January 2019. [?]

 

[John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwrighting. He’s had plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. He has taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. Plays include The Shaper, Dream Coast, Standard of the Breed, The Thrill, Wheel of Fortune, Dogmouth, and Phantom Luck, which won the 2010 LA Award for best play. Film credits include 52 Pick-up (directed by John Frankenheimer, 1985) and Animal Factory (directed by Steve Buscemi, 1999). A collection of his plays was published in 1999 by Sun & Moon Press as Sea of Cortez and Other Plays. He lives with wife Gunnhild Skrodal Steppling; they divide their time between Norway and the high desert of southern California. He is artistic director of the theatre collective Gunfighter Nation. Read other articles by John, or visit John’s website.]

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

February 24, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

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

 

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

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

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

Let this knowledge serve as a weapon for resistance.

+++

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

A C T   V I

 

 

March 10, 2014:

“… the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets”  and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.” — McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part II of an Investigative Report, The “Climate Wealth” Opportunists]

 

The Chaperone

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

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

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

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

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



Above: January 25, 2019, Twitter

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

Above: January 25, 2019, twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here we must pay attention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Above: January 23, 2019, Green New Deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Decade of Strategic and Methodical Social Engineering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The GCCA would greatly benefit the IPPI:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Nations Development Programme Press Release, October 29, 2015:

“Earth To Paris, a coalition of partners helping to drive awareness about the connection between people and planet as well as the need for strong climate action, announced it will host “Earth To Paris—Le Hub” a two-day, high-impact, live-streamed summit on 7 and 8 December in Paris during COP21 — the United Nations climate conference to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.”

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

“As the establishment rave in Paris winds down, the chimera of clean energy propels industrial societies toward nuking the future. The new age ghost dance, as an expression of social despair, has led to progressive self-delusion that promises us the world, if only we believe. Stepping through the looking glass, one can examine the metrics of messaging by establishment social media and philanthropy, that, combined, is the driving force of the non-profit industrial complex. — Jay Taber, Rave New World

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The Key Foundations

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

John D. Rockefeller once stated that, “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” Truer words were perhaps never spoken.

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

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

 

 

 

Underway: The Monetization of Social Capital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

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

Storytelling

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Voice for the Planet

 

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

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

Global Shapers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

And this too is a lie.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Last Vestiges of Ethics and the Corporate Capture of Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature doesn’t deal.

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

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

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

 

 

End Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.