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Planet of the Humans Backlash

Journal of People, Peasants and Workers

May 11, 2020

By Yves Engler

 

Planet of the Humans

The backlash may be more revealing than the film itself, but both inform us where we are at in the fight against climate change and ecological collapse. The environmental establishment’s frenzied attacks against Planet of the Humans says a lot about its commitment to big money and technological solutions.

A number of prominent individuals tried to ban the film by Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore. Others berated the filmmakers for being white, male and overweight. Many thought leaders have declared they won’t watch it.

Despite the hullabaloo, the central points in the film aren’t particularly controversial. Corporate-industrial society is driving human civilization/humanity towards the ecological abyss and environmental groups have largely made peace with capitalism. As such, they tout (profitable) techno fixes that are sometimes more ecologically damaging than fossil fuels (such as biomass or ethanol) or require incredible amounts of resources/space if pursued on a mass scale (such as solar and wind). It also notes the number of human beings on the planet has grown more than sevenfold over the past 200 years.

It should not be controversial to note that the corporate consumption juggernaut is destroying our ability to survive on this planet. From agroindustry razing animal habitat to plastic manufacturers’ waste killing sea life to the auto industrial complex’s greenhouse gases, the examples of corporations wreaking ecological havoc are manifold. Every year since 1969 humanity’s resource consumption has exceeded earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources by an ever-greater volume.

It is a statement of fact that environmental groups have deep ties to the corporate set. Almost all the major environmental groups receive significant cash from the mega-rich or their foundations. Many of them partner directly with large corporations. Additionally, their outreach strategies often rely on corporate media and other business-mediated spheres. It beggars belief that these dependencies don’t shape their policy positions.

A number of the film’s points on ‘renewable’ energy are also entirely uncontroversial. It’s insane to label ripping down forests for energy as “green”. Or turning cropland into fuel for private automobiles. The film’s depiction of the minerals/resource/space required for solar and wind power deserves a far better response than “the data is out of date”.

The green establishment’s hyperventilating over the film suggests an unhealthy fixation/link to specific ‘renewable’ industries. But there are downsides to almost everything.

Extremely low GHG emitting electricity is not particularly complicated. In Québec, where I live, electricity is largely carbon free (and run by a publicly owned enterprise with an overwhelmingly unionized workforce, to boot). But, Hydro-Québec’s dams destroy ecosystems and require taking vast land from politically marginalized (indigenous) people. Likewise, nuclear power (also publicly owned and unionized) provides most of France’s electricity. But, that form of energy also has significant downsides.

In the US in 2019 63% of electricity came from fossil fuels, 20% from nuclear and 17% from ‘renewables’. But, even if one could flip the proportion of fossil fuels to ‘renewables’ around overnight there’s another statistic that is equally important. Since 1950 US electricity consumption has grown 13-fold and it continues to increase. That’s before putting barely any of the country’s 285 million registered private automobiles onto the grid. Electricity consumption is growing at a fast clip in China, India and elsewhere.

Oil is another source of energy that is growing rapidly. Up from 60 million barrels a day in 1980 and 86 million in 2010, 100 million barrels of oil were consumed daily in 2019. That number is projected to reach 140 million by 2040.

On one point I agree entirely with critics of the film. It’s unfair to (even indirectly) equate Bill McKibben with Al Gore. Representing the progressive end of the environmental establishment, McKibben has engaged in and stoked climate activism. Gore was Vice President when the US led the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, bombed Sudan and sanctioned Iraq.

Still, it’s ridiculous for McKibben and others to dismiss the film’s criticism of his decade-long promotion of biomass and refusal to come clean on 350.org’s donors as divisive. “I truly hope that Michael Moore does not succeed at dividing the climate movement. Too many have fought too long to build it”, he tweeted with a link to his response in Rolling Stone titled “‘A Bomb in the Center of the Climate Movement’: Michael Moore Damages Our Most Important Goal.” Echoing this theme, Naomi Klein came to her 350.org comrade’s defence tweeting, “it is truly demoralising how much damage this film has done at a moment when many are ready for deep change.” Democracy NowCommon Dreams, the Guardian and other media picked up her remark.

If it is divisive to criticize McKibben’s positions, then the same must be said of his own criticisms aimed at those demanding the Pentagon be highlighted in decarbonization efforts. In a June New York Review of Books column titled “The Pentagon’s Outsized Part in the Climate Fight” McKibben pours cold water on those who have asked him about the importance of “shrinking the size of the US military” (the world’s largest single institutional emitter of fossil fuels) in the fight for a sustainable planet. In fact, his piece suggests the Pentagon is well-positioned to combat the climate crisis since right wingers are more likely to listen to their climate warnings and the institution has massive research capacities to develop green technologies. McKibben seems to be saying the green movement should (could) co-opt the greatest purveyor of violence and destruction in the history of humanity! (In the Wrong Kind of Green blog Luke Orsborne offers a cogent breakdown of McKibben’s militarism.)

McKibben’s repeated advocacy of the private electric car could also be considered divisive. In Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? McKibben calls for “millions and millions of electric cars and buses” (alongside “building a hell of lot of factories to turn out thousands of acres of solar panels, and wind turbines the length of football fields.”) Does anyone believe the planet can sustain a transportation/urban planning system with most of the world’s 7.8 billion people owning 3,000-pound vehicles?

When an electric car is powered from a grid that is 63% fossil fuels the GHG it contributes per kilometer of travel is generally slightly less than an internal combustion engine. But the production and destruction phases for electric vehicles tend to be more energy intensive and they still require the extraction and development of significant amounts of resources. Additionally, the private car underpins a land, energy and resource intensive big box retail/suburban economy. (For details see my co-authored Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay.)

Moreover, as Death by Car recently pointed out, “electric vehicles are haloware — a product that exists to distract attention from continuing SUV and pickup sales. If this thesis is correct, then it is a huge mistake for progressive forces to express enthusiasm” for electric vehicles. Of the 86 million new passenger and light commercial vehicles sold globally in 2018 about 1.2 million of them were powered by battery-only electric engines while 37 million were pickups and SUVs. In other words, for every new battery-electric car there were 30 new SUVs/pickups sold. Alongside growing buzz about electric vehicles, the number of SUVs increased from 35 million to 200 million between 2010 and 2018.

McKibben and associates’ ability to frame the film as divisive rests on the stark power imbalance between the ‘green’ capitalist and degrowth outlooks. While there are few profits in the consume-less worldview, McKibben is situated at the progressive end of a network of organizations, commentators and media outlets empowered by hundreds of billions of dollars of ‘green’ capitalism. This milieu has counterposed solar, wind and biomass to the hyper fossil fuel emitting coal, natural gas and oil industries. But, they aren’t keen on discussing the limitations of their preferred energies and the fundamentally unsustainable nature of limitless energy (or other) consumption. And they certainly don’t want any spotlight placed on environmental groups ties to the mega-rich and an unsustainable model.

Fragments of wind turbine blades await burial at the Casper Regional Landfill in Wyoming. Photographer: Benjamin Rasmussen

But, in reality it’s not the criticism that bothers. Wrong Kind of GreenDeath by CarCounterpunch and various other small leftist websites and initiatives have long documented McKibben and associates’ concessions to the dominant order. Often more harshly than in the film. What is unique about Planet of the Humans is that these criticisms have been put forward by leftists with some power (Michael Moore’s name and the funds for a full-length documentary, most obviously.) In other words, the backlash is not a response to the facts or argument, per se, but the ‘mainstreaming’ of the critique.

The environmental establishment’s ability to generate hundreds of hit pieces against Planet of the Humans suggests the movement/outlook has amassed substantial power. But, it’s not always clear to what ends. Most indicators of sustainability are trending in the wrong direction at the same time as top environmental figures have risen to the summits of power. Québec’s most prominent environmentalist, Steven Guilbeault, recently became a cabinet minister in the Liberal government while the former head of World Wildlife Fund Canada, Gerald Butts, was Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff. These individuals happily participate in a government that oversaw a 15 million tonne increase in Canada’s GHG emissions in 2018 and then decided to purchase a massive tar sands pipeline.

The incredible popularity of Planet of the Humans — seven million views on YouTube — suggests many are worried about the ecological calamity humanity is facing. Many also sense that the solutions environmental groups are putting forward don’t add up.

The lesson to be learned from the film and the frenzied attacks against it is that questioning the system — be that capitalism or the mainstream environmental movement — won’t make you friends in high places.

 

[Yves Engler is the author of 10 books, including A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and ExploitationRead other articles by Yves.]

Clinton to McKibben to Steyer to Podesta: Comments on Planet of the Humans by Michael Swifte

May 20, 2020

by Michael Swifte, Wrong Kind of Green Collective

 

 

“I think that the mainstream climate movement needs to collapse. It needs to end. And that the very comfortable organizers within that mainstream climate movement working in those NGO jobs – they need to fail. I think they need to be brought down. I think they need to have a little bit of hardship and a bit of suffering, and they need to create space for those historically oppressed groups.” [1]

 

— Tim DeChristopher, Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #6 [SOURCE]

 

To understand the “damage” Bill McKibben claims the Planet of the Humans documentary has done to the climate justice movement you have to look at where 350 dot org began.

A fifty million dollar beginning

Bill McKibben has been in a dance with philanthropo-capitalists for more than a decade. He may not have been paid to be the face of 350 dot org but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t ‘corporate’ money around.

There was corporate and philanthropic money from the start. Bill Clinton announced 50 million from a “range of corporate and non-profit partners” for 1Sky at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative. Bill McKibben was on the board of 1Sky in 2009 before it was merged with 350 dot org.

Watch this video and ask yourself how anyone could claim to be a leader of a ‘grassroots’ organisation or say that 350 dot org was ever a “rag-tag bunch of kids”. Watch the video.

 

Cory Morningstar has been tracking, analysing and cataloguing this stuff for 10 years, and by “this stuff” I mean the global capture of climate justice activism through #networkedhegemony at the behest of the non profit industrial complex #NPIC. Cory follows the money, analyses the networks, and interrogates the messaging.

#NewPower networks connect 350 dot org to a vast web of similarly funded campaigns and critically deliver opportunities to shape the Democratic party agenda. 350’s global expansion was built on replicating the organisations, institutions and campaigns that positioned it in the US and Canada.

Here are some links providing deep background on the #NewPower constructs and networks that empower the ‘climate cartel’.

‘Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion’

http://www.theartofannihilation.com/rockefellers-1sky-unveils-the-new-350-org-more-more-delusion/

‘SumOfUs are Corporate Whores | Some Of Us Are Not’

http://www.theartofannihilation.com/sumofus-are-corporate-whores-some-of-us-are-not/

Jessica Bailey at Rockefeller Brothers Fund actually used the word ‘merger’ to describe the union of the 2 campaign organizations incubated by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

“Bill McKibben, who has been a 1Sky board member and will chair the new 350.org board, once referred to 1Sky as the U.S. Embassy for 350.org and 350.org as 1Sky’s foreign legion.[] Matching 350.org’s talent for mass mobilization and online action with 1Sky’s advocacy and field campaign experience is tremendously exciting. Mergers are tough, and I applaud the leaders in both organizations for recognizing they’d be stronger together.“ [SOURCE]

Comments on Planet of the Humans

Planet of the Humans is a worthy documentary for it’s revelations about “green energy” and the failures of the climate justice movement. It is a testament to Jeff Gibbs’ extensive documentation and long commitment to environmental issues. I was pleased that it included the Climate Challenge segment with Karyn Strickler pitching a question from Cory Morningstar to Bill McKibben, and I was glad the film makers told the truth about Ivanpah and Robert F Kennedy Jr’s ties to fossil fuel giants.

Planet of the Humans is mostly about North America, and while it opens up a range of departure points for discussion of planetary issues, it’s a documentary about North American humans and westerners more generally, not the 100s of millions of blameless people who struggle to put food on the table. I found the discussion of the ‘population issue’ concerning given how little time had been given to putting global consumer markets into perspective, but documentary making is about access, and Jeff Gibbs has gained access to the world of “green energy” in North America. Michael Moore brings access of a different but equally vital kind, if you want to make a splash with a documentary.

Departure points are vital if we’re to make the most of what Planet of the Humans has highlighted as key issues. If the climate justice movement has failed and the environmental movement has been captured by billionaires, what else have they messed up? What are the other billionaire philanthropists doing to capture the efforts of environmental campaigners? What new diabolical schemes are planned to keep business as usual going?

People who feel inspired or moved by Planet of the Humans should look into biomass burning in Europe and the future plans for burying CO2 produced from burning biomass under the North Sea. American and European philanthropies have invested staggering amounts of money into organisations like the European Climate Foundation which is part of a global empire of similar organisations. The IPCC mitigation pathways are replete with the term BECCS (bio-energy with carbon capture and storage).

I watched Planet of the Humans after watching the Earth Day livestream discussion with Michael Moore, Jeff Gibbs and Ozzie Zehner. I hope that Michael Moore’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders and his plea that we put environmentalism into the hands of young people like the Sunrise Movement which was incubated by the Sierra Club is not the position of all three film makers. We can’t take Michael Moore’s words as a call to action so we are going to have to make our own calls to action.

Watch the full video of Karyn Strickler interviewing Bill McKibben on Climate Challenge here:

 

Departure point: John Podesta and a parallel climate campaign

In 2007 a plan was launched by 6 foundations. This plan #DesigntoWin produced the ClimateWorks Foundation, headed by John Podesta, which has spearheaded the incubation and funding of re-granting NGOs globally. ClimateWorks is perhaps the world’s largest recipient of  climate philanthropy having received more than 1.3 billion USD since it’s inception in 2008.

John Podesta has a long relationship with the Clintons, both as politicians and philanthropists. In the various roles he has played – always as a Democrat – his focus has been on the future of energy and how to message a position on climate change for the party and for the global philanthropo-capitalist agendas.

Have a read of the Wikileaks ‘Podesta Emails’ that refer to Bill McKibben and/or Tom Steyer. Check out the ‘climate tick tocks’ for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the updates from philanthropist-billionaires like Tom Steyer and Henry Sandler, or Chris Lehane’s ‘big idea’ briefing that became the ‘Clean Power Plan’ (more business as usual). [SOURCE]

Podesta is always engaged with philanthropists. The Sandler Foundation helped establish the Center for American Progress which Podesta heads up. It helped fund the Australian climate justice regranting NGO the Sunrise Project and the US Beyond Coal campaign. Tom Steyer, a former Wall St banker, hedge fund manager and friend of Nancy Pelosi befriended Podesta who welcomed him into his Center for American Progress. Podesta encouraged Steyer to start his NextGen Climate Action Committee. It is likely that Steyer’s dubious defection from the ranks of billionaire fossil fuel investors and hedge fund managers was orchestrated under the advice of Chris Lehane. Steyer’s defection would see him join with McKibben and 350 at high profile events, and according to the Podesta emails they were in regular contact.

350/McKibben have been a foil for Democrat positioning on climate. The non profit industrial complex needed a global climate justice brand, and it needed to nestle it in a web of networks all connected by funded talking points and touchstone pieces in Rolling Stone and Grist. Granting and regranting NGOs pass over talking points in their transactions with grant recipients. Billionaires on every continent get to play the game.

Important background on the Design to Win plan here:

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/09/11/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-volume-ii-act-i-a-design-to-win-a-multi-billion-dollar-investment/

Background on the largely ignored mitigation plans of big oil & gas here:

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/10/19/perfect-distractions-and-fantastical-mitigation-plans/

Departure point: The Steyer-Taylor Center and financing for CCS

Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor fund the Steyer Taylor Center at Stanford. The center was headed from it’s founding in 2011 until September 2018 by Dan Reicher who has spoken in favour of financing to support carbon capture and storage on numerous occasions.

Dan Reicher is a Clinton administration energy wonk who spent some of the Obama years at Google. He’s the Founding Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance, but is now at the Stanford Woods Institute. Reicher explains how the future is all laid out for enhanced oil recovery with CO2 in this 2016 video. His slides include the prexisting CO2 pipeline maps for enhanced oil recovery.

 

A quote from the video:

“Carbon capture and sequestration is a key climate change strategy. You ask the IPCC, you ask the International Energy Agency.”

Reicher argues that with the CO2 pipeline infrastructure that is already in place and the right financial instruments “Full scale cost effective CCS” is deliverable.

Here is Reicher discussing private activity bonds and CCS. In the past he has spoken about the usefulness of master limited partnerships. Both of these financial instruments have been included in bipartisan bills currently before congress.

“It’s less about how to make it work technically these days but more about how to make it work financially,” [SOURCE]

Here is a quote from Reicher speaking at the Exxon funded Global Climate and Energy Project – Research Symposium in 2015.

“We really need to be using CCS for coal, natural gas, and a whole host of industrial carbon sources. But the costs are too high,” [SOURCE]

The Steyer-Taylor Center has partnered with the Exxon incubated and funded Global Climate and Energy Project which was ended in August 2019.  Exxon are a founding member of the Strategic Energy Alliance along with Bank of America who support the – Sustainable Finance Initiative along with the Steyer-Taylor Center. [SOURCE]

Departure point: The Green New Deal and the failing phase out

Dan Lashof is the director of the World Resources Institute and the current COO of Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate America and Nextgen Policy Center. In January Lashof co-wrote an opinion piece for the Houston Chronicle with Occidental Petroleum – Low Carbon Ventures president Richard Jackson. Oxy’s air capture plans support their enhanced oil recovery efforts and net zero targets through negative emissions from their planned air capture for CO2 enhanced oil recovery project. [SOURCE]

There’s a lot of interest in Oxy’s direct air capture plans which are supported by Carbon Engineering who have a long list of investors including Bill Gates, Murray Edwards, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC, Chevron Technology Ventures and BHP. [SOURCE]

The World Resources Institute provided 2 of the 3 Data for Progress researchers that developed the #netzero language that made it into the Green New Deal resolution. After the resolution came and went it has become clear that any sort of commitment to a fossil fuel phase out had been abandoned.

Important background on the ties between the World Resources Institute and Data for Progress here:

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/02/13/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-new-green-deal-is-the-trojan-horse-for-the-financialization-of-nature/

The Green New Deal has taken some of the pressure from McKibben/350. The Clean Power Plan was business as usual, but a little bit cleaner. The GND allows Democrats to appear to be taking a harder line on climate,  but it’s a vehicle that has little legislative substance.

The Green New Deal must be failing to deliver a fossil fuel phase out if the director of the WRI, a so called ‘environmental advocate’, can share a by-line with a big oil executive to spruik a project that is the opposite of phasing out fossil fuels and seemingly nobody cares.

Here’s a quote from Dan Lashof regarding Oxy’s air capture for CO2 enhanced oil recovery project that clearly shows he’s not working for a fossil fuel phase out.

“On the other hand, to the extent that you’re expanding the total energy resources base and extending the fossil-fuel era, obviously that doesn’t solve the climate problem.” [SOURCE]

Data for Progress, New Green Deal Research Director and World Resources Institute US, Manager for Climate Action and Data, Greg Carlock referred to a WRI working paper on direct air capture in a recent blog post for WRI. The paper refers to Oxy’s DAC for CO2 EOR project as an example of where investments are increasing.

“Some companies interested in combining enhanced oil recovery with direct air capture are increasing investments. For example, Occidental Petroleum is partnering with Carbon Engineering to build potentially several direct air capture plants.” [SOURCE]

Departure point: Drax, BECCS and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

  1. On April 21, 2020, while the global oil market was in free fall, it was reported that a formal agreement had been signed confirming that Drax would be part of a consortium that included Equinor and Phillips 66 to develop “the world’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster” in Humber, UK. [SOURCE]

 

  1. Equinor are a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative who are funding the Teesside CCS cluster. [SOURCE]

 

  1. Drax have been trialling BECCS (bio-energy with CCS) in the UK. [SOURCE]

 

  1. The lions share of the biomass burned by the Drax Group is from North America. [SOURCE]

 

  1. BECCS is in 3 of the 4 pathways offered by the IPCC working group on mitigation. [SOURCE]

Departure point: European Climate Foundation and industrial CCS clusters

Laurence Tubiana is a former French ambassador to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and CEO of the European Climate Foundation.

 

“The phase when abatement of emissions from industry was considered impossible is over. Industry leaders are looking at totally disruptive technologies and visions.” [SOURCE]

I could try and explain how the ECF is positioned to shape the ‘climate solutions’ on offer, but Cory Morningstar has already done it perfectly:

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

3 key points about European Climate Foundation

  1. The European Climate Foundation commissioned Element Energy to prepare 2 reports. One report is on carbon capture utilisation and storage for gas, coal, oil and biomass, and the other is on liquid fuels (hydrogen) which will largely come from processing North Sea gas and sequestering the CO2 in geological storage or from electrolysis using electricity largely supplied from the grid that is ostensibly renewable.
  2. Element Energy prepared reports for the developers of Teesside CCS industrial cluster and for the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative which are funding the Teesside CCS cluster as part of their UN endorsed Kickstarter Initiative investments.
  3. It is clear that the European Climate Foundation which is part of the ClimateWorks empire under the Design to Win plan, are 100% in support of further entrenching fossil fuel extraction and use as part of their #NetZero

5 studies relating to BECCS and industrial clusters in Europe

2018: Study funded by the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

‘Policy Mechanisms to support the large-scale deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)’

“Element Energy and Vivid Economics have assessed policy mechanisms that could accelerate the deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to the scale required to meet climate change targets. The report begins by considering why, despite the central role that CCS plays in many deep decarbonisation trajectories, CCS has failed to build momentum. Having identified the problems, the work lays out policy and market mechanisms that could stimulate investment across the stages of deployment, acknowledges regional circumstances, and suggests principles that could help governments and firms to collaborate. Note that in this report CCS includes CCUS (carbon capture, utilisation and storage) in those cases where storage is permanent.'” [SOURCE]

2018: Study funded by the European Climate Foundation

‘Low-carbon cars in Europe: A socio-economic assessment’

“Hydrogen production for the transport sector is expected to be dominated by water electrolysers, steam methane reforming (SMR) and by-product from industrial processes (for example chloralkali plants). These sources form the basis of the production mix in this study. Other potential sources include waste or biomass gasification, or SMR with carbon capture and storage. These additional routes could potentially provide low cost, low carbon hydrogen, but are not yet technically or economically proven and have not been included in the cost assumptions below.” [SOURCE]

2017: Study funded by the European Climate Foundation and Industrial Innovation for Competitiveness (i24c)

‘Deployment of an industrial Carbon Capture and Storage cluster in Europe: A funding pathway’

“The 2020s will be a make-or-break decade for so many aspects of the low carbon transition. CCS in industrial plants needs to be part of the picture. Getting the financing right is clearly an essential first step. But we also need to establish the right frameworks for shared liability between operators and tackle some of the concerns the public and some policymakers still harbour over industrial CCS. This report shows the way for at least one of the hurdles related to CCS. I hope you enjoy reading it.” [SOURCE]

2011: Study funded by the One North East Regional Development Agency and the North East Process Industries Cluster.

‘Tees Valley CCS Network’

“An Element Energy study has looked at the logistics of implementing a shared CCS pipeline network in the Tees Valley to connect major CO2 emitters in one of the UK’s largest industrial clusters. By Harsh Pershad, Element Energy”[SOURCE]

2019: Study prepared for European Climate Foundation in collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Climate-KIC, the Energy Transitions Commission, RE:Source,and SITRA.

‘Industrial Transformation 2050: Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions from EU Heavy Industry’

“BIOMASS WILL BE REQUIRED PRIMARILY FOR FEEDSTOCK Achieving net zero emissions for the economy as a whole will lead to multiple competing claims on scarce biomass re-sources. The use of biomass for fuel or feedstock can compete with alternative uses for land like food or feed production, conservation for maintained biodiversity, or as a ‘sink’ for CO2 emissions. Furthermore, once the biomass has been extracted, there are multiple competing uses, from simple combustion for heat or electricity generation (the largest use today) to the production of transportation fuels, or use with CCS for ‘negative emissions’ to offset remaining emissions in other sectors.” [SOURCE]

2017: Research paper prepared for Chatham House by independent policy analyst Duncan Brack

‘Woody Biomass for Power and Heat: Impacts on the Global Climate’

“Biomass is classified as a source of renewable energy in national policy frameworks, benefiting from financial and regulatory support on the grounds that, like other renewables, it is a carbon-neutral energy source. It is not carbon-neutral at the point of combustion, however; if biomass is burnt in the presence of oxygen, it produces carbon dioxide. The argument is increasingly made that its use can have negative impacts on the global climate. This classification as carbon-neutral derives from either or both of two assumptions. First, that biomass emissions are part of a natural cycle in which forest growth absorbs the carbon emitted by burning wood for energy. Second, that biomass emissions are accounted for in the land-use sector, and not in the energy sector, under international rules for greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

“Many of the models used to predict the impacts of biomass use assume that mill and forest residues are the main feedstock used for energy, and biomass pellet and energy companies tend to claim the same, though they often group ‘low-grade wood’ with ‘forest residues’, although their impact on the climate is not the same. Evidence suggests, however, that various types of roundwood are generally the main source of feedstock for large industrial pellet facilities. Forest residues are often unsuitable for use because of their high ash, dirt and alkali salt content.” [SOURCE]

 

End notes:

[1] Verbatim: “I think that the, the mainstream climate movement, needs to, needs to collapse. It needs to end. Um, and, and that the very comfortable organizers within that mainstream climate movement, ah, working in those NGO jobs, um, they, they need to fail. Um, I think they need to be brought down. I think they, they need to, ah, have a little bit of hardship and a bit of suffering, and they need to create space for, ah, for those historically oppressed groups.” Tim DeChristopher, Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #6

 

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

WATCH: Planet of the Humans [Full Film]

WATCH: Planet of the Humans [Full Film]

April 22, 2020

 


WKOG caveat: Industrial civilization is destroying all life on Earth. Human destruction of biodiversity is not created equally: “Yet tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world, and 80% of our planet’s biodiversity is found in tribal territories.” [Further reading: The best conservationists made our environment and can save it, Stephen Corry] Human population is often identified as a problem because it strains the world’s resources and pollutes. [1] The first and most efficient way to address over consumption is to reduce consumption in the North is to a) redistribute the resources, (all arable land, etc.) to the Global South, to sustain those in the Global South, and b) phase out the production of all superfluous consumer products that harm life and biodiversity. [Further reading: Too Many Africans?, July 11, 2019] An analysis of population growth that accounts for the vast differences in consumption across class and region is critical in examining the worldwide environmental crisis.

 

Jeff Gibbs, Writer, Producer, Director:  “At long last our film “Planet of the Humans” is now released to the world! It’s one of the happiest days of my life, and a day I fervently hope has a role in initiating some real change in the world. “Planet of the Humans”  is now available free of charge to everyone on planet Earth courtesy of our partnership with Michael Moore. Please help us spread the word by sharing, blogging, posting, tweeting, emailing, or pony expressing your enthusiasm and urgency about why people must see this movie.”

Planet of the Humans takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has lost the battle through well-meaning but disastrous choices, including the belief that solar panels and windmills would save us, and by giving in to the corporate interests of Wall Street.

Jeff Gibbs, the writer/producer/director of Planet of the Humans, has dared to say what no one will – that “we are losing the battle to stop climate change because we are following environmental leaders, many of whom are well-intentioned, but who’ve sold out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.” This film is the wake-up call to the reality which we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the so-called “environmental movement’s” answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. “It’s too little, too late,” says Gibbs. “Removed from the debate is the only thing that might save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption. [1] Why is this not the issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business.”

“Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, ‘green’ illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end — and we’ve pinned all our hopes on things like solar panels and wind turbines? No amount of batteries are going to save us, and that is the urgent warning of this film.”

This compelling, must-see movie – a full-frontal assault on our sacred cows – is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way—before it’s too late.

[Jeff Gibbs, Writer, Producer, Director | Ozzie Zehner, Producer | Michael Moore, Executive Producer]

 

[1]

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin. It’s Underwater—and the Consequences are Unimaginable.

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin. It’s Underwater—and the Consequences are Unimaginable.

The Atlantic

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 ISSUE

 

By Wil S. Hylton

 

Mining robots, such as these, will help unlock a subsea gold rush. Source: World Economic Forum

Unless you are given to chronic anxiety or suffer from nihilistic despair, you probably haven’t spent much time contemplating the bottom of the ocean. Many people imagine the seabed to be a vast expanse of sand, but it’s a jagged and dynamic landscape with as much variation as any place onshore. Mountains surge from underwater plains, canyons slice miles deep, hot springs billow through fissures in rock, and streams of heavy brine ooze down hillsides, pooling into undersea lakes.

These peaks and valleys are laced with most of the same minerals found on land. Scientists have documented their deposits since at least 1868, when a dredging ship pulled a chunk of iron ore from the seabed north of Russia. Five years later, another ship found similar nuggets at the bottom of the Atlantic, and two years after that, it discovered a field of the same objects in the Pacific. For more than a century, oceanographers continued to identify new minerals on the seafloor—copper, nickel, silver, platinum, gold, and even gemstones—while mining companies searched for a practical way to dig them up.

Today, many of the largest mineral corporations in the world have launched underwater mining programs. On the west coast of Africa, the De Beers Group is using a fleet of specialized ships to drag machinery across the seabed in search of diamonds. In 2018, those ships extracted 1.4 million carats from the coastal waters of Namibia; in 2019, De Beers commissioned a new ship that will scrape the bottom twice as quickly as any other vessel. Another company, Nautilus Minerals, is working in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea to shatter a field of underwater hot springs lined with precious metals, while Japan and South Korea have embarked on national projects to exploit their own offshore deposits. But the biggest prize for mining companies will be access to international waters, which cover more than half of the global seafloor and contain more valuable minerals than all the continents combined.

Regulations for ocean mining have never been formally established. The United Nations has given that task to an obscure organization known as the International Seabed Authority, which is housed in a pair of drab gray office buildings at the edge of Kingston Harbour, in Jamaica. Unlike most UN bodies, the ISA receives little oversight. It is classified as “autonomous” and falls under the direction of its own secretary general, who convenes his own general assembly once a year, at the ISA headquarters. For about a week, delegates from 168 member states pour into Kingston from around the world, gathering at a broad semicircle of desks in the auditorium of the Jamaica Conference Centre. Their assignment is not to prevent mining on the seafloor but to mitigate its damage—selecting locations where extraction will be permitted, issuing licenses to mining companies, and drafting the technical and environmental standards of an underwater Mining Code.

Writing the code has been difficult. ISA members have struggled to agree on a regulatory framework. While they debate the minutiae of waste disposal and ecological preservation, the ISA has granted “exploratory” permits around the world. Some 30 mineral contractors already hold licenses to work in sweeping regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. One site, about 2,300 miles east of Florida, contains the largest system of underwater hot springs ever discovered, a ghostly landscape of towering white spires that scientists call the “Lost City.” Another extends across 4,500 miles of the Pacific, or roughly a fifth of the circumference of the planet. The companies with permits to explore these regions have raised breathtaking sums of venture capital. They have designed and built experimental vehicles, lowered them to the bottom, and begun testing methods of dredging and extraction while they wait for the ISA to complete the Mining Code and open the floodgates to commercial extraction.

At full capacity, these companies expect to dredge thousands of square miles a year. Their collection vehicles will creep across the bottom in systematic rows, scraping through the top five inches of the ocean floor. Ships above will draw thousands of pounds of sediment through a hose to the surface, remove the metallic objects, known as polymetallic nodules, and then flush the rest back into the water. Some of that slurry will contain toxins such as mercury and lead, which could poison the surrounding ocean for hundreds of miles. The rest will drift in the current until it settles in nearby ecosystems. An early study by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences predicted that each mining ship will release about 2 million cubic feet of discharge every day, enough to fill a freight train that is 16 miles long. The authors called this “a conservative estimate,” since other projections had been three times as high. By any measure, they concluded, “a very large area will be blanketed by sediment to such an extent that many animals will not be able to cope with the impact and whole communities will be severely affected by the loss of individuals and species.”

At the ISA meeting in 2019, delegates gathered to review a draft of the code. Officials hoped the document would be ratified for implementation in 2020. I flew down to observe the proceedings on a balmy morning and found the conference center teeming with delegates. A staff member ushered me through a maze of corridors to meet the secretary general, Michael Lodge, a lean British man in his 50s with cropped hair and a genial smile. He waved me toward a pair of armchairs beside a bank of windows overlooking the harbor, and we sat down to discuss the Mining Code, what it will permit and prohibit, and why the United Nations is preparing to mobilize the largest mining operation in the history of the world.

Until recently, marine biologists paid little attention to the deep sea. They believed its craggy knolls and bluffs were essentially barren. The traditional model of life on Earth relies on photosynthesis: plants on land and in shallow water harness sunlight to grow biomass, which is devoured by creatures small and large, up the food chain to Sunday dinner. By this account, every animal on the planet would depend on plants to capture solar energy. Since plants disappear a few hundred feet below sea level, and everything goes dark a little farther down, there was no reason to expect a thriving ecosystem in the deep. Maybe a light snow of organic debris would trickle from the surface, but it would be enough to sustain only a few wayward aquatic drifters.

That theory capsized in 1977, when a pair of oceanographers began poking around the Pacific in a submersible vehicle. While exploring a range of underwater mountains near the Galápagos Islands, they spotted a hydrothermal vent about 8,000 feet deep. No one had ever seen an underwater hot spring before, though geologists suspected they might exist. As the oceanographers drew close to the vent, they made an even more startling discovery: A large congregation of animals was camped around the vent opening. These were not the feeble scavengers that one expected so far down. They were giant clams, purple octopuses, white crabs, and 10-foot tube worms, whose food chain began not with plants but with organic chemicals floating in the warm vent water.

For biologists, this was more than curious. It shook the foundation of their field. If a complex ecosystem could emerge in a landscape devoid of plants, evolution must be more than a heliological affair. Life could appear in perfect darkness, in blistering heat and a broth of noxious compounds—an environment that would extinguish every known creature on Earth. “That was the discovery event,” an evolutionary biologist named Timothy Shank told me. “It changed our view about the boundaries of life. Now we know that the methane lakes on one of Jupiter’s moons are probably laden with species, and there is no doubt life on other planetary bodies.”

Shank was 12 years old that winter, a bookish kid in North Carolina. The early romance of the space age was already beginning to fade, but the discovery of life near hydrothermal vents would inspire a blossoming of oceanography that captured his imagination. As he completed a degree in marine biology, then a doctorate in ecology and evolution, he consumed reports from scientists around the world who found new vents brimming with unknown species. They appeared far below the surface—the deepest known vent is about three miles down—while another geologic feature, known as a “cold seep,” gives rise to life in chemical pools even deeper on the seafloor. No one knew how far down the vents and seeps might be found, but Shank decided to focus his research on the deepest waters of the Earth.

Scientists divide the ocean into five layers of depth. Closest to the surface is the “sunlight zone,” where plants thrive; then comes the “twilight zone,” where darkness falls; next is the “midnight zone,” where some creatures generate their own light; and then there’s a frozen flatland known simply as “the abyss.” Oceanographers have visited these layers in submersible vehicles for half a century, but the final layer is difficult to reach. It is known as the “hadal zone,” in reference to Hades, the ancient Greek god of the underworld, and it includes any water that is at least 6,000 meters below the surface—or, in a more Vernian formulation, that is 20,000 feet under the sea. Because the hadal zone is so deep, it is usually associated with ocean trenches, but several deepwater plains have sections that cross into hadal depth.

Deepwater plains are also home to the polymetallic nodules that explorers first discovered a century and a half ago. Mineral companies believe that nodules will be easier to mine than other seabed deposits. To remove the metal from a hydrothermal vent or an underwater mountain, they will have to shatter rock in a manner similar to land-based extraction. Nodules are isolated chunks of rocks on the seabed that typically range from the size of a golf ball to that of a grapefruit, so they can be lifted from the sediment with relative ease. Nodules also contain a distinct combination of minerals. While vents and ridges are flecked with precious metal, such as silver and gold, the primary metals in nodules are copper, manganese, nickel, and cobalt—crucial materials in modern batteries. As iPhones and laptops and electric vehicles spike demand for those metals, many people believe that nodules are the best way to migrate from fossil fuels to battery power.

The ISA has issued more mining licenses for nodules than for any other seabed deposit. Most of these licenses authorize contractors to exploit a single deepwater plain. Known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, or CCZ, it extends across 1.7 million square miles between Hawaii and Mexico—wider than the continental United States. When the Mining Code is approved, more than a dozen companies will accelerate their explorations in the CCZ to industrial-scale extraction. Their ships and robots will use vacuum hoses to suck nodules and sediment from the seafloor, extracting the metal and dumping the rest into the water. How many ecosystems will be covered by that sediment is impossible to predict. Ocean currents fluctuate regularly in speed and direction, so identical plumes of slurry will travel different distances, in different directions, on different days. The impact of a sediment plume also depends on how it is released. Slurry that is dumped near the surface will drift farther than slurry pumped back to the bottom. The circulating draft of the Mining Code does not specify a depth of discharge. The ISA has adopted an estimate that sediment dumped near the surface will travel no more than 62 miles from the point of release, but many experts believe the slurry could travel farther. A recent survey of academic research compiled by Greenpeace concluded that mining waste “could travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers.”

Like many deepwater plains, the CCZ has sections that lie at hadal depth. Its eastern boundary is marked by a hadal trench. No one knows whether mining sediment will drift into the hadal zone. As the director of a hadal-research program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, Timothy Shank has been studying the deep sea for almost 30 years. In 2014, he led an international mission to complete the first systematic study of the hadal ecosystem—but even Shank has no idea how mining could affect the hadal zone, because he still has no idea what it contains. If you want a sense of how little we know about the deep ocean, how difficult it is to study, and what’s at stake when industry leaps before science, Shank’s research is a good place to start.

Ifirst met shank about seven years ago, when he was organizing the international mission to survey the hadal zone. He had put together a three-year plan to visit every ocean trench: sending a robotic vehicle to explore their features, record every contour of topography, and collect specimens from each. The idea was either dazzling or delusional; I wasn’t sure which. Scientists have enough trouble measuring the seabed in shallower waters. They have used ropes and chains and acoustic instruments to record depth for more than a century, yet 85 percent of the global seabed remains unmapped—and the hadal is far more difficult to map than other regions, since it’s nearly impossible to see.

If it strikes you as peculiar that modern vehicles cannot penetrate the deepest ocean, take a moment to imagine what it means to navigate six or seven miles below the surface. Every 33 feet of depth exerts as much pressure as the atmosphere of the Earth, so when you are just 66 feet down, you are under three times as much pressure as a person on land, and when you are 300 feet down, you’re subjected to 10 atmospheres of pressure. Tube worms living beside hydrothermal vents near the Galápagos are compressed by about 250 atmospheres, and mining vehicles in the CCZ have to endure twice as much—but they are still just half as far down as the deepest trenches.

Building a vehicle to function at 36,000 feet, under 2 million pounds of pressure per square foot, is a task of interstellar-type engineering. It’s a good deal more rigorous than, say, bolting together a rover to skitter across Mars. Picture the schematic of an iPhone case that can be smashed with a sledgehammer more or less constantly, from every angle at once, without a trace of damage, and you’re in the ballpark—or just consider the fact that more people have walked on the moon than have reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth.

The first two people descended in 1960, using a contraption owned by the U.S. Navy. It seized and shuddered on the descent. Its window cracked as the pressure mounted, and it landed with so much force that it kicked up a cloud of silt that obscured the view for the entire 20 minutes the pair remained on the bottom. Half a century passed before the film director James Cameron repeated their journey, in 2012. Unlike the swaggering billionaire Richard Branson, who was planning to dive the Mariana in a cartoonish vehicle shaped like a fighter jet, Cameron is well versed in ocean science and engineering. He was closely involved in the design of his submarine, and sacrificed stylistic flourishes for genuine innovations, including a new type of foam that maintains buoyancy at full ocean depth. Even so, his vessel lurched and bucked on the way down. He finally managed to land, and spent a couple of hours collecting sediment samples before he noticed that hydraulic fluid was leaking onto the window. The vehicle’s mechanical arm began to fail, and all of the thrusters on its right side went out—so he returned to the surface early, canceled his plan for additional dives, and donated the broken sub to Woods Hole.

A 3-D model of the Mariana Trench
A 3-D model of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth. Most of what we know about its topography has been gathered by sonar. Only three crewed expeditions have reached the bottom. (Data Design Co)
The most recent descent of the Mariana Trench was completed last spring by a private-equity investor named Victor Vescovo, who spent $48 million on a submarine that was even more sophisticated than Cameron’s. Vescovo was on a personal quest to reach the bottom of the five deepest trenches in the world, a project he called “Five Deeps.” He was able to complete the project, making multiple dives of the Mariana—but if his achievement represents a leap forward in hadal exploration, it also serves as a reminder of how impenetrable the trenches remain: a region that can be visited only by the most committed multimillionaire, Hollywood celebrity, or special military program, and only in isolated dives to specific locations that reveal little about the rest of the hadal environment. That environment is composed of 33 trenches and 13 shallower formations called troughs. Its total geographic area is about two-thirds the size of Australia. It is the least examined ecosystem of its size on Earth.Without a vehicle to explore the hadal zone, scientists have been forced to use primitive methods. The most common technique has scarcely changed in more than a century: Expedition ships chug across hundreds of miles to reach a precise location, then lower a trap, wait a few hours, and reel it up to see what’s inside. The limitations of this approach are self-evident, if not comic. It’s like dangling a birdcage out the door of an airplane crossing Africa at 36,000 feet, and then trying to divine, from the mangled bodies of insects, what sort of animals roam the savanna.All of which is to say that Shank’s plan to explore every trench in the world was somewhere between audacious and absurd, but he had assembled a team of the world’s leading experts, secured ship time for extensive missions, and spent 10 years supervising the design of the most advanced robotic vehicle ever developed for deepwater navigation. Called Nereus, after a mythological sea god, it could dive alone—charting a course amid rocky cliffs, measuring their contours with a doppler scanner, recording video with high-definition cameras, and collecting samples—or it could be linked to the deck of a ship with fiber-optic cable, allowing Shank to monitor its movement on a computer in the ship’s control room, boosting the thrusters to steer this way and that, piercing the darkness with its headlamps, and maneuvering a mechanical claw to gather samples in the deep.

I reached out to Shank in 2013, a few months before the expedition began. I wanted to write about the project, and he agreed to let me join him on a later leg. When his ship departed, in the spring of 2014, I followed online as it pursued a course to the Kermadec Trench, in the Pacific, and Shank began sending Nereus on a series of dives. On the first, it descended to 6,000 meters, a modest target on the boundary of the hadal zone. On the second, Shank pushed it to 7,000 meters; on the third to 8,000; and on the fourth to 9,000. He knew that diving to 10,000 meters would be a crucial threshold. It is the last full kilometer of depth on Earth: No trench is believed to be deeper than 11,000 meters. To commemorate this final increment and the successful beginning of his project, he attached a pair of silver bracelets to the frame of Nereus, planning to give them to his daughters when he returned home. Then he dropped the robot in the water and retreated to the control room to monitor its movements.

On-screen, blue water gave way to darkness as Nereus descended, its headlamps illuminating specks of debris suspended in the water. It was 10 meters shy of the 10,000-meter mark when suddenly the screen went dark. There was an audible gasp in the control room, but no one panicked. Losing the video feed on a dive was relatively common. Maybe the fiber-optic tether had snapped, or the software had hit a glitch. Whatever it was, Nereus had been programmed to respond with emergency measures. It could back out of a jam, shed expendable weight, guide itself to the surface, and send a homing beacon to help Shank’s team retrieve it.

As the minutes ticked by, Shank waited for those measures to activate, but none did. “There’s no sound, no implosion, no chime,” he told me afterward. “Just … black.” He paced the deck through the night, staring across the Stygian void for signs of Nereus. The following day he finally saw debris surface, and as he watched it rise, he felt his project sinking. Ten years of planning, a $14 million robot, and an international team of experts—it had all collapsed under the crushing pressure of hadal depths.

“I’m not over it yet,” he told me two years later. We were standing on the deck of another ship, 100 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, where Shank was preparing to launch a new robot. The vehicle was no replacement for Nereus. It was a rectilinear hunk of metal and plastic, about five feet high, three feet wide, and nine feet long. Red on top, with a silvery bottom and three fans mounted at the rear, it could have been mistaken for a child’s backyard spaceship. Shank had no illusion that it was capable of hadal exploration. Since the loss of Nereus, there was no vehicle on Earth that could navigate the deepest trenches—Cameron’s was no longer in service, Branson’s didn’t work, and Vescovo’s hadn’t yet been built.

Shank’s new robot did have a few impressive features. Its navigational system was even more advanced than the one in Nereus, and he hoped it would be able to maneuver in a trenchlike environment with even greater precision—but its body was not designed to withstand hadal pressure. In fact, it had never descended more than a few dozen feet below the surface, and Shank knew that it would take years to build something that could survive at the bottom of a trench. What had seemed, just two years earlier, like the beginning of a new era in hadal science was developing a quixotic aspect, and, at 50, Shank could not help wondering if it was madness to spend another decade of his life on a dream that seemed to be drifting further from his reach. But he was driven by a lifelong intuition that he still couldn’t shake. Shank believes that access to the trenches will reveal one of the greatest discoveries in history: a secret ecosystem bursting with creatures that have been cloistered for eternity in the deep.

“I would be shocked if there aren’t vents and seeps in the trenches,” he told me as we bobbed on the water that day in 2016. “They’ll be there, and they will be teeming with life. I think we’ll be looking at hundreds or thousands of species we haven’t seen before, and some of them are going to be huge.” He pictured the hadal as an alien world that followed its own evolutionary course, the unimaginable pressure creating a menagerie of inconceivable beasts. “My time is running out to find them,” he said. “Maybe my legacy will be to push things forward so that somebody else can. We have a third of our ocean that we still can’t explore. It’s embarrassing. It’s pathetic.”

While scientists struggle to reach the deep ocean, human impact has already gotten there. Most of us are familiar with the menu of damages to coastal water: overfishing, oil spills, and pollution, to name a few. What can be lost in the discussion of these issues is how they reverberate far beneath.

Take fishing. The relentless pursuit of cod in the early 20th century decimated its population from Newfoundland to New England, sending hungry shoppers in search of other options. As shallow-water fish such as haddock, grouper, and sturgeon joined the cod’s decline, commercial fleets around the world pushed into deeper water. Until the 1970s, the slimehead fish lived in relative obscurity, patrolling the slopes of underwater mountains in water up to 6,000 feet deep. Then a consortium of fishermen pushed the Food and Drug Administration to change its name, and the craze for “orange roughy” began—only to fade again in the early 2000s, when the fish was on a path toward extinction itself.

Environmental damage from oil production is also migrating into deeper water. Disturbing photographs of oil-drenched beaches have captured public attention since at least 1989, when the Exxon Valdez tanker crashed into a reef and leaked 11 million gallons into an Alaskan sound. It would remain the largest spill in U.S. water until 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon explosion spewed 210 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. But a recent study revealed that the release of chemicals to disperse the spill was twice as toxic as the oil to animals living 3,000 feet below the surface.

Maybe the greatest alarm in recent years has followed the discovery of plastic floating in the ocean. Scientists estimate that 17 billion pounds of polymer are flushed into the ocean each year, and substantially more of it collects on the bottom than on the surface. Just as a bottle that falls from a picnic table will roll downhill to a gulch, trash on the seafloor gradually makes its way toward deepwater plains and hadal trenches. After his expedition to the trenches, Victor Vescovo returned with the news that garbage had beaten him there. He found a plastic bag at the bottom of one trench, a beverage can in another, and when he reached the deepest point in the Mariana, he watched an object with a large S on the side float past his window. Trash of all sorts is collecting in the hadal—Spam tins, Budweiser cans, rubber gloves, even a mannequin head.

Scientists are just beginning to understand the impact of trash on aquatic life. Fish and seabirds that mistake grocery bags for prey will glut their stomachs with debris that their digestive system can’t expel. When a young whale drifted ashore and died in the Philippines in 2019, an autopsy revealed that its belly was packed with 88 pounds of plastic bags, nylon rope, and netting. Two weeks later, another whale beached in Sardinia, its stomach crammed with 48 pounds of plastic dishes and tubing. Certain types of coral like to eat plastic more than food. They will gorge themselves like a kid on Twinkies instead of eating what they need to survive. Microbes that flourish on plastic have ballooned in number, replacing other species as their population explodes in a polymer ocean.

If it seems trivial to worry about the population statistics of bacteria in the ocean, you may be interested to know that ocean microbes are essential to human and planetary health. About a third of the carbon dioxide generated on land is absorbed by underwater organisms, including one species that was just discovered in the CCZ in 2018. The researchers who found that bacterium have no idea how it removes carbon from the environment, but their findings show that it may account for up to 10 percent of the volume that is sequestered by oceans every year.

Many of the things we do know about ocean microbes, we know thanks to Craig Venter, the genetic scientist most famous for starting a small company in the 1990s to compete with the Human Genome Project. The two-year race between his company and the international collaboration generated endless headlines and culminated in a joint announcement at the White House to declare a tie. But Venter’s interest wasn’t limited to human DNA. He wanted to learn the language of genetics in order to create synthetic microbes with practical features. After his work on the human genome, he spent two years sailing around the world, lowering bottles into the ocean to collect bacteria and viruses from the water. By the time he returned, he had discovered hundreds of thousands of new species, and his lab in Maryland proceeded to sequence their DNA—identifying more than 60 million unique genes, which is about 2,500 times the number in humans. Then he and his team began to scour those genes for properties they could use to make custom bugs.

Venter now lives in a hypermodern house on a bluff in Southern California. Chatting one evening on the sofa beside the door to his walk-in humidor and wine cellar, he described how saltwater microbes could help solve the most urgent problems of modern life. One of the bacteria he pulled from the ocean consumes carbon and excretes methane. Venter would like to integrate its genes into organisms designed to live in smokestacks and recycle emissions. “They could scrub the plant’s CO2 and convert it to methane that can be burned as fuel in the same plant,” he said.

Venter was also studying bacteria that could be useful in medicine. Microbes produce a variety of antibiotic compounds, which they deploy as weapons against their rivals. Many of those compounds can also be used to kill the pathogens that infect humans. Nearly all of the antibiotic drugs on the market were initially derived from microorganisms, but they are losing efficacy as pathogens evolve to resist them. “We have new drugs in development,” Matt McCarthy, an infectious-disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medical College, told me, “but most of them are slight variations on the ones we already had. The problem with that is, they’re easy for bacteria to resist, because they’re similar to something bacteria have developed resistance to in the past. What we need is an arsenal of new compounds.”

Venter pointed out that ocean microbes produce radically different compounds from those on land. “There are more than a million microbes per milliliter of seawater,” he said, “so the chance of finding new antibiotics in the marine environment is high.” McCarthy agreed. “The next great drug may be hidden somewhere deep in the water,” he said. “We need to get to the deep-sea organisms, because they’re making compounds that we’ve never seen before. We may find drugs that could be used to treat gout, or rheumatoid arthritis, or all kinds of other conditions.”

Marine biologists have never conducted a comprehensive survey of microbes in the hadal trenches. The conventional tools of water sampling cannot function at extreme depth, and engineers are just beginning to develop tools that can. Microbial studies of the deepwater plains are slightly further along—and scientists have recently discovered that the CCZ is unusually flush with life. “It’s one of the most biodiverse areas that we’ve ever sampled on the abyssal plains,” a University of Hawaii oceanographer named Jeff Drazen told me. Most of those microbes, he said, live on the very same nodules that miners are planning to extract. “When you lift them off the seafloor, you’re removing a habitat that took 10 million years to grow.” Whether or not those microbes can be found in other parts of the ocean is unknown. “A lot of the less mobile organisms,” Drazen said, “may not be anywhere else.”

Drazen is an academic ecologist; Venter is not. Venter has been accused of trying to privatize the human genome, and many of his critics believe his effort to create new organisms is akin to playing God. He clearly doesn’t have an aversion to profit-driven science, and he’s not afraid to mess with nature—yet when I asked him about the prospect of mining in deep water, he flared with alarm. “We should be very careful about mining in the ocean,” he said. “These companies should be doing rigorous microbial surveys before they do anything else. We only know a fraction of the microbes down there, and it’s a terrible idea to screw with them before we know what they are and what they do.”

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone is a deepwater plain wider than the continental United States. When the Mining Code is approved, more than a dozen contractors could begin commercial extraction there. (La Tigre)

Mining executives insist that their work in the ocean is misunderstood. Some adopt a swaggering bravado and portray the industry as a romantic frontier adventure. As the manager of exploration at Nautilus Minerals, John Parianos, told me recently, “This is about every man and his dog filled with the excitement of the moon landing. It’s like Scott going to the South Pole, or the British expeditions who got entombed by ice.”

Nautilus occupies a curious place in the mining industry. It is one of the oldest companies at work on the seafloor, but also the most precarious. Although it has a permit from the government of Papua New Guinea to extract metal from offshore vents, many people on the nearby island of New Ireland oppose the project, which will destroy part of their marine habitat. Local and international activists have whipped up negative publicity, driving investors away and sending the company into financial ruin. Nautilus stock once traded for $4.45. It is now less than a penny per share.Parianos acknowledged that Nautilus was in crisis, but he dismissed the criticism as naive. Seabed minerals are no different from any other natural resource, he said, and the use of natural resources is fundamental to human progress. “Look around you: Everything that’s not grown is mined,” he told me. “That’s why they called it the Stone Age—because it’s when they started mining! And mining is what made our lives better than what they had before the Stone Age.” Parianos emphasized that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which created the International Seabed Authority, promised “to ensure effective protection for the marine environment” from the effects of mining. “It’s not like the Law of the Sea says: Go out and ravage the marine environment,” he said. “But it also doesn’t say that you can only explore the ocean for science, and not to make money.”The CEO of a company called DeepGreen spoke in loftier terms. DeepGreen is both a product of Nautilus Minerals and a reaction to it. The company was founded in 2011 by David Heydon, who had founded Nautilus a decade earlier, and its leadership is full of former Nautilus executives and investors. As a group, they have sought to position DeepGreen as a company whose primary interest in mining the ocean is saving the planet. They have produced a series of lavish brochures to explain the need for a new source of battery metals, and Gerard Barron, the CEO, speaks with animated fervor about the virtues of nodule extraction.

His case for seabed mining is straightforward. Barron believes that the world will not survive if we continue burning fossil fuels, and the transition to other forms of power will require a massive increase in battery production. He points to electric cars: the batteries for a single vehicle require 187 pounds of copper, 123 pounds of nickel, and 15 pounds each of manganese and cobalt. On a planet with 1 billion cars, the conversion to electric vehicles would require several times more metal than all existing land-based supplies—and harvesting that metal from existing sources already takes a human toll. Most of the world’s cobalt, for example, is mined in the southeastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where tens of thousands of young children work in labor camps, inhaling clouds of toxic dust during shifts up to 24 hours long. Terrestrial mines for nickel and copper have their own litany of environmental harms. Because the ISA is required to allocate some of the profits from seabed mining to developing countries, the industry will provide nations that rely on conventional mining with revenue that doesn’t inflict damage on their landscapes and people.

Whether DeepGreen represents a shift in the values of mining companies or merely a shift in marketing rhetoric is a valid question—but the company has done things that are difficult to dismiss. It has developed technology that returns sediment discharge to the seafloor with minimal disruption, and Barron is a regular presence at ISA meetings, where he advocates for regulations to mandate low-impact discharge. DeepGreen has also limited its operations to nodule mining, and Barron openly criticizes the effort by his friends at Nautilus to demolish a vent that is still partially active. “The guys at Nautilus, they’re doing their thing, but I don’t think it’s the right thing for the planet,” he told me. “We need to be doing things that have a low impact environmentally.”

By the time i sat down with Michael Lodge, the secretary general of the ISA, I had spent a lot of time thinking about the argument that executives like Barron are making. It seemed to me that seabed mining presents an epistemological problem. The harms of burning fossil fuels and the impact of land-based mining are beyond dispute, but the cost of plundering the ocean is impossible to know. What creatures are yet to be found on the seafloor? How many indispensable cures? Is there any way to calculate the value of a landscape we know virtually nothing about? The world is full of uncertain choices, of course, but the contrast between options is rarely so stark: the crisis of climate change and immiserated labor on the one hand, immeasurable risk and potential on the other.

I thought of the hadal zone. It may never be harmed by mining. Sediment from dredging on the abyssal plains could settle long before it reaches the edge of a trench—but the total obscurity of the hadal should remind us of how little we know. It extends from 20,000 feet below sea level to roughly 36,000 feet, leaving nearly half of the ocean’s depths beyond our reach. When I visited Timothy Shank at Woods Hole a few months ago, he showed me a prototype of his latest robot. He and his lead engineer, Casey Machado, had built it with foam donated by James Cameron and with support from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whose engineers are hoping to send a vehicle to explore the aqueous moon of Jupiter. It was a tiny machine, known as Orpheus, that could steer through trenches, recording topography and taking samples, but little else. He would have no way to direct its movements or monitor its progress via a video feed. It occurred to me that if Shank had given up the dream of true exploration in the trenches, decades could pass before we know what the hadal zone contains.

Mining companies may promise to extract seabed metal with minimal damage to the surrounding environment, but to believe this requires faith. It collides with the force of human history, the law of unintended consequences, and the inevitability of mistakes. I wanted to understand from Michael Lodge how a UN agency had made the choice to accept that risk.

“Why is it necessary to mine the ocean?” I asked him.

He paused for a moment, furrowing his brow. “I don’t know why you use the word necessary,” he said. “Why is it ‘necessary’ to mine anywhere? You mine where you find metal.”

I reminded him that centuries of mining on land have exacted a devastating price: tropical islands denuded, mountaintops sheared off, groundwater contaminated, and species eradicated. Given the devastation of land-based mining, I asked, shouldn’t we hesitate to mine the sea?

“I don’t believe people should worry that much,” he said with a shrug. “There’s certainly an impact in the area that’s mined, because you are creating an environmental disturbance, but we can find ways to manage that.” I pointed out that the impact from sediment could travel far beyond the mining zone, and he responded, “Sure, that’s the other major environmental concern. There is a sediment plume, and we need to manage it. We need to understand how the plume operates, and there are experiments being done right now that will help us.” As he spoke, I realized that for Lodge, none of these questions warranted reflection—or anyway, he didn’t see reflection as part of his job. He was there to facilitate mining, not to question the wisdom of doing so.

We chatted for another 20 minutes, then I thanked him for his time and wandered back to the assembly room, where delegates were delivering canned speeches about marine conservation and the promise of battery technology. There was still some debate about certain details of the Mining Code—technical requirements, oversight procedures, the profit-sharing model—so the vote to ratify it would have to wait another year. I noticed a group of scientists watching from the back. They were members of the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative, which formed in 2013 to confront threats to the deepwater environment. One was Jeff Drazen. He’d flown in from Hawaii and looked tired. I sent him a text, and we stepped outside.

A few tables and chairs were scattered in the courtyard, and we sat down to talk. I asked how he felt about the delay of the Mining Code—delegates are planning to review it again this summer, and large-scale mining could begin after that.

Drazen rolled his eyes and sighed. “There’s a Belgian team in the CCZ doing a component test right now,” he said. “They’re going to drive a vehicle around on the seafloor and spew a bunch of mud up. So these things are already happening. We’re about to make one of the biggest transformations that humans have ever made to the surface of the planet. We’re going to strip-mine a massive habitat, and once it’s gone, it isn’t coming back.”

 

[Wil S. Hylton is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. He has published cover stories for many outlets including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper’s, Details, New York, and Outside.]

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

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

Ghion Journal

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

By Stephen Boni

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Green New Deal’s Sins of Omission

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Just a few of these absences include the fact that:

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

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

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

    November 2014

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

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

     

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

     

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

    INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

  • Climate Conflict and the Problem of Political Economy
  •  

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

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

  • Self-Fulfilling Climate-Conflict?
  •  

    Download the paper: The_Militarisation_and_Marketisation_of

     

    I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt

    I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt

    Popular Resistance

    October 16, 2019

    By Cliff Willmeng

    “I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt”

     

    The Natural Capital Coalition, that seeks the assigning of monetary value to nature, global in scale, promotes the Green New Deal.

    The Natural Capital Coalition, that seeks the assigning of monetary value to nature, (the financialization of nature) global in scale, promotes the Green New Deal.

     

    A Response to Ralph Nader

    We do the work.

    Well-known political commentator and activist Ralph Nader was recently featured in a Truthdig article titled, “Why Aren’t the 99% Revolting?”. The points made in the article sharply illustrate the scale of growing crisis and conflict across the US and globally. It covered issues as wide-ranging as medical care, climate change, and the titanic disparity of global wealth distribution. It concluded with the following, hollow statement. “I could go on and on. Pick up the pace, readers. Senator Elizabeth Warren has correctly called for “big structural changes.”

    Of course, we are all asking ourselves the same thing. How bad does it have to get before widespread rebellion? How many unarmed people of color will be gunned down by police? How many civil rights are going to be stripped? How rich can the elites get off of our labor? How much pain do we all need to feel before we rise up? It’s a natural question to ask by anyone suffering the nature of US capitalism. Unfortunately, Nader’s article rings tone-deaf. Like so many liberal arguments, it places the burden of rebellion on working class people while ignoring the mechanisms that kill revolt wherever and whenever it threatens to spark into life.

    Although the elements that prevent substantial rebellion are many, they really boil down to just three. They are the not for profit industry, the leaders of what is currently mislabeled as, “The union movement”, and the Democratic Party. These three elements, all loyal to each other and working in unison, act as the front-line protective mechanism for US capitalism and the political class that serves it.

    Many of you will be tempted to flail at this stage of the discussion. Aren’t the Republicans so much worse? Why would anyone attack the forces that are on our side after all they have done, even if they have some traits we may disagree with? The answer is quite simple. These forces are not allied with the types of changes our world desperately needs. They are not there to build, nor even prepare the ground for those types of changes. They act, instead, as the professional brokers of negotiated surrender for communities, workforces, and the environment. They are not building movements; they are preventing them.

    What is a Movement?

    What is a movement anyway? We hear the term tossed about as often as references to Martin Luther King Jr in every venue from the election of politicians to online petitioning. Although movements have changed the course of US politics for centuries, the essential qualities of movements are nearly forgotten today. In the 50 years that have passed since the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, the definition of “movement” has become the possession of the same institutions that have been most consistent in keeping new movements from forming.

    Let’s look at some basic qualities of movements throughout history:

    1. Although movements may build their own leadership, they do not look for change to come from above. Instead, movements build politically independent power from below.
    1. Movements understand that injustice is not an accidental or coincidental outcome of the political system, but the system working according to design.
    1. All movements, recognizing the systemic nature of the problem, will organize ways to break the rules of that system, not simply appeal to it.
    1. Through building independent political power and organized mass disobedience, movements force the system to do things it was otherwise unwilling to do.

    All of these qualities, synonymous with victories and grassroots power historically, are omitted from the dominant and promoted activism of today. Let’s take a look at who is writing the current narrative.

    The Not For Profit Industrial Complex

    Alongside any injustice taking place nationally, a cottage industry of professional activists and organizations arises. This occurs as soon as any outrage, protest, or other grassroots formation builds to the point of exerting even a minor amount of uncontrolled political power. As soon as sufficient people and attention are involved, not for profit organizations will be dispatched to commandeer, tame, and control the process. The not for profits are funded by foundations, dark money donors, or otherwise politically connected individuals. It’s easy to see why communities or other efforts fall into their influence. They have staff, networks, and resources that we don’t normally possess at the grassroots level. But in the end, they will lead people into the predictable forms of activism that have been the hallmark of the last 50 years of retreat before Wall Street and Washington D.C. The not for profits help you feel better about negotiating the terms of your defeat. They will not lead an effort, however, that threatens the political and economic elites in any meaningful way.

    The Union Leadership

    The US working class has been on a downward spiral for generations. Once a power that shook the ground and terrified the rich, and sent their politicians scrambling for ways to save US capitalism, the unions have seen decades of defeated strikes and retreat. Today, despite historic popularity, unions continue to lose strikes and membership, all the while handing hundreds of millions of dollars of hard-earned dues money over to politicians. What happened to the thunderous power of the labor movement? Was this what rank and file workers wanted?

    After record-setting strikes in the 1930s and 1940s, US financial interests were able to gain dominant influence within union leadership. Throughout the 1950s revolutionaries were expelled from locals as the labor bureaucracy strengthened its ties and acceptance of the generalized dominance of the rich and powerful. The unions became a force that negotiated better conditions of exploitation and traded their power for a comfortable relationship with the bosses and political class. It became so dominant of a strategy that union officials coined the Orwellian term, the “Team Concept”, which promotes the idea that CEOs and workers can overcome their opposing interests and work together. It has meant ruin for the American working class and an unparalleled race to the bottom for workers globally.

    Today the strategies of major victory are all carefully avoided within the union hierarchy. Even when places like Puerto Rico show definitively the effectiveness of efforts like a general strike, any discussion around such an idea is opposed by union leaders in the US. Why? Because it would risk the relationship of the union leaders and the owners of industry and government.

    The result is that 13 million union members, who could collectively bring the functioning of the largest capitalist economy to a halt, have been reduced to scripted measures and political spectatorship.

    The Democratic Party

    All resources, assets, time, labor, money, ideas, organizing and initiative are offered to and consumed by this dominant organization of US business interests. The Democratic Party, we are informed, is the alpha and omega of our efforts to organize for justice. The power of the Democratic Party is so accepted that conventional activism has come to mean a simplified lobby effort aimed to influence their operations or talking points. No movement in history started out with the hope that electing the right politicians would save us. No movement ever exploded onto the world stage with the position that powerful interests were open to moral persuasion. But this is the promoted conclusion and focus leveraged upon all grassroots formulations.

    When we accept this conclusion, that we can’t build a movement independent of the Democratic or Republican parties, by what force do we expect that they will change? And, even more, if we accept that the Democratic Party is our only political path forward, what specifically are the costs of maintaining that relationship? Given the nature of the Democratic Party, its owners, its ability to co-opt and control entire populations, what is the opportunity cost to staying within its good graces? It can only be one thing: The disarming of our power and any real threat of revolt. That is the price to ride.

    The consequences of this are not academic nor intellectual. Simply look at the state of the environment, the conditions in any major city, the US prison population, the decline of the working class, the wars, systemic racism, poverty and deepening crisis everywhere and you will see the objective consequences of a people outsourcing our power to politicians.

    The potential for forceful and effective revolt will be defined by its relationship to these three political forces. The more ties that exist between threatened rebellion and these forces, the more predictable and inert that rebellion will become.

    Is There Any Other Way Forward?

    Yes. Organized revolt has built occupations, urban insurrections, general strikes, and formed politically-independent organizations throughout history. The labor movement, the abolitionists, and the civil rights struggles all created political power sufficient to throw the system onto its heels and compel deep changes to government and industry. The examples aren’t confined to history either. In places like Kentucky and Virginia, rank and file teachers defied all convention and organized statewide strikes resulting in historic wage increases. Within the last five years, rebellion against racism and police brutality erupted in cities after the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson. Standing Rock saw a historic assembly of First Nations to protect the water of the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Just this year a general strike in Puerto Rico removed Gov. Ricardo Rosselló from power. And let’s not forget that the work stoppage of rank and file airline attendants that defeated Trump’s attempt to keep the US government closed. It took all of 48 hours for that victory.

    In every moment throughout history, forces from below threaten to find expression. It means the system has had to develop elaborate mechanisms to keep these forces in check, predictable, and historically inert. The role of regular people then, the working class, has to be to recognize how we are being maneuvered and by whom, and to overcome those mechanisms so we can build something powerful, independent and existentially threatening to the old order. If we can achieve that, revolt is only a moment away. And when it happens, it will rise to the level of the crisis that compelled it.

    References:

    Ralph Nader: Why Isn’t the 99% Revolting?

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/ralph-nader-why-isnt-the-99-percent-revolting/

     

     

    [Cliff Willmeng is a registered nurse, writer, and activist in grassroots labor and environmental struggles. Born in Chicago, Cliff co-founded the Chicago Direct Action Network after participating in the historic uprising against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, 1999. As a union carpenter in UBC Local 1, he was in the leading body of Carpenters For a Rank and File Union which organized successful fights for building trades members across Chicago. After moving to Colorado, Cliff was at the center of the fight against oil and gas drilling known as “fracking”, and helped to found Labor For Standing Rock in 1996. He ran for Boulder County Commissioner as an independent socialist and union official in 2018, receiving nearly 13,000 votes. Cliff lives with his wife and two children today in Minneapolis, Minnesota.]

     

    Perfect Distractions and Fantastical Mitigation Plans

    Perfect Distractions and Fantastical Mitigation Plans

    October 19, 2019

    By Michael Swifte

     

     

     

    The recent UN Climate Action Summit in New York delivered both spectacle and much ignored signifiers of political will. I would say it was a failure in terms of any meaningful or effective action to deliver anything like a fossil fuel phase out. At the centre of the spectacle was Greta Thunberg, the perfect distraction, urging us to honour Paris targets, recognise ‘the science’ and act on climate. Greta laments inaction from world leaders like most of us do – this is a continuing theme. And like most of us, Greta sees inaction as a result of the political will failing to deliver on decades of rhetoric. Sadly though, the mitigation plans of the powerful, the key signifiers of political will for continued relentless extractivism never enter the public conversation.

    Perfect distractions come with talking points and bring framing to the issue they come to embody. Like the Extinction Rebellion leaders, and Green New Deal proponents, Greta, under advice from a range of experts, leaves the fantastical assumptions in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation plans well alone. Kevin Anderson, who has given Greta advice in the past, despairs at the “technical utopias”, unfathomable quantities of biomass burning, and as-yet-not-invented air capture machines that fill three of the four IPCC mitigation ‘pathways’. I’m astonished that even the one pathway commissioned by the IPCC that could be called a ‘degrowth’ pathway is also rarely discussed.

    While the IPCC present fantastical mitigation plans supposedly representing the global consensus but with little basis in reality; the statements, networking activities, and research & development investments of fossil fuel giants tell another story. Events held, messages provided, and statements released during the UN Climate Action Summit show that the oil and gas industry are getting exactly what they want. Relentless extractivism in service of the consumer economy was the big winner around which climate action plans will be built.

    Political will and the UN Climate Action Summit

    On September 22, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) met for a dinner at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Emily Atkin reported on this event in her ‘Heated’ newsletter providing a transcript of a message presented by the Special Adviser to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

    The transcript of Guterres’ message is the primary source for a significant moment. It wasn’t till the next day, the same day Greta was giving her “how dare you” speech that the substance of the OGCI mitigation plans was revealed.

    Chris Lang from Redd-Monitor laid out how the summit failed saying “Obviously, none of the “action plans” involved leaving any fossil fuel in the ground.”, and noting that the OGCI also support the #NaturalClimateSolutions (NCS) campaign promoted by George Monbiot and Greta Thunberg.

    The International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Ministerial made public an embargoed media release from the OGCI at 12.01am on September 23 announcing their “Kickstarter” initiative in partnership with the OGCI to “unlock large scale investment” in CCUS with an emphasis on “low carbon industrial hubs” for CO2 export. [SOURCE]

    Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

    Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

     

    On September 19, just in time for the summit George Monbiot and Greta Thunberg became spokesfaces for #NaturalClimateSolutions on the Guardian News, YouTube channel.

    Stephen Corry from Survival International responded to the new video in worthy style pointing to the corporate relationships and big philanthropy behind the hashtag. In a September 20 Twitter thread, Corry takes Monbiot to task pointing to corporations that partner with the Big Conservation NGOs behind the NCS campaign.

    On September 21, International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, Gary Graham Hughes from Biofuelwatch and Souparna Lahiri from Global Forest Coalition sounded a warning to Greta and those who would meet under the banner of #NatureBasedSolutions at the summit. They made their position, a challenge to Greta and summit attendees very clear saying “Acres of monoculture plantations, bioenergy, and offsets are false solutions – bad for climate, undermining real solutions and bad for humanity.”

    On September 26, Cory Morningstar published her detailed write up of the the extensive networks behind #NaturalClimateSolutions. The networks explicated demonstrate the deep connections between the corporate world, big conservation, environmental NGOs, media, governments and the global consensus apparatus of the United Nations.

    Any well resourced emissions wonk at the summit would have known what the fossil fools want to do. Our global corporate energy leaders reveal certain details of their plans and they have to spruik their plans to particular people in particular ways. I suspect they’re grateful for the lack of scrutiny from the mainstream media and the NGO aligned press who routinely fail to report or unpack the political will.

    When the Atlantic Council hosted the 2019 Global Energy Forum in January, it was made very plain that CCS was necessary for any future energy plans. A panel discussion included representatives of the International Energy Agency, OGCI, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, The Institute of Energy Economics-Japan, and Saudi Aramco. Saudi Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer, Ahmad Al Khowaiter, made a statement at this panel discussion that really stuck out for me. “CO2 is a valuable feedstock, we should not forget that”. It’s a statement that acknowledges a barely understood reality: the oil industry has retained latent demand for liquefied CO2 for decades. [SOURCE]

    It stands to reason that the oil industry would fight to access liquefied CO2 as the best means to do enhanced oil recovery to get the last remaining drops of oil from depleted oil fields and get paid a subsidy to sequester CO2 in the process. The global consumer market demands throughput of oil for the full range of products derived from oil, not merely the transport fuel products.

    National Defense Authorization Act

    On April 10, I watched the C-SPAN live stream of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) as it met to discuss and vote on the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act). The USE IT Act is crucial to the expansion of the 45Q tax credit which is an effective subsidy for CO2 enhanced oil recovery and the full gamut of carbon capture and storage projects including ‘clean coal’ and ‘clean hydrogen’.

    The meeting began with chair John Barrasso outlining the purpose of the meeting before offering an opportunity for members to comment on the bills before the committee. Ranking member Tom Carper spoke to the bills before John Barrasso called a recess so that Democrat members could make quorum at which point Tom Carper said “I’ve asked my staff to reach out far and wide to get as many  Democrats here as quickly as we can so thank you for your patience.”

    While C-SPAN may provide livestreamed content, the archive of video, audio and transcripts available on the their website is subject to the discretion of the individual committee chairs. The EPW committee did not provide video to the C-SPAN archive preferring to post an edited video to their YouTube channel and archived webcast on their website. They did however provide audio of the complete proceedings of the April 10 meeting. [C-SPAN audio] [Archived webcast]

    In April, a WKOG member called the EPW Committee office to check the attendance records for both the February 27 and April 10 meetings. They discovered that on February 27, three of the Green New Deal cosponsors were in attendance, but Bernie Sanders was absent. None of the three Green New Deal cosponsors spoke to the USE IT Act on February 27. On April 10, all four Green New Deal cosponsors were absent. This means that Bernie Sanders was absent for both meetings. Was the absence of the four Green New Deal cosponsors the cause of the recess called by John Barrasso at the April 10 meeting? Were the four Green New Deal Resolution cosponsors absent to manufacture the eventual unanimous vote for the USE IT Act?

    On June 27, the USE IT Act passed the Senate 86 votes to 8 as part of S. 1790 National Defense Authorization Act 2020. The four Green New Deal cosponsors, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders voted against the bill.

    In an amendment to S. 1790 before it was voted up in the House of Representatives on September 17, Sec. 6001 which contained the USE IT Act provisions was removed.

    [SOURCE]

    On August 30, the Carbon Capture Coalition sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services asking that USE IT Act provisions be included as an amendment to HR. 2500. National Defense Authorization Act 2020.

    It is time to pass this important and widely-supported climate and energy legislation, and the NDAA provides an appropriate opportunity to do so.

    [SOURCE][SOURCE]

    The vote on the House of Representatives NDAA will likely take place on November 20 or 21.

    If the USE IT Act provisions pass then it will unleash an unstoppable wave of CCUS projects including fossil hydrogen projects and CO2 enhanced oil recovery projects. The success of the USE IT Act provisions will ensure the success of the 9+ bipartisan bills designed to deliver R&D, new pipelines and a raft of bureaucratic measures to support the implementation of 45Q tax credits. Cory Morningstar outlines most of these bills in her detailed investigation into the ‘Design to Win’ philanthropies.

    Mitigation plans and technology

    The truth about the mitigation plans of the powerful is masked in the public discourse by language, conflated logics and expansive silence. The political will that has been demonstrated for carbon capture and storage for fossil fuel extraction and refining should be held in contrast to the ‘pathways’ developed through the global consensus building processes of the IPCC.

    Three of the four IPCC pathways rely heavily on what are called ‘negative emissions technologies’ (NETs). The ‘technology’ on which the IPCC rely most heavily is called BECCS, or biomass with CCS applied. Biomass is currently being used in Europe in place of coal, and is regarded by some as a ‘renewable energy’. Biomass is used as an offset against emissions created when it is burned in place of coal as it is regarded to have sequestered carbon when it was part of a plant. When you read articles about renewable energy beating out fossil fuel energy in the UK or Germany, you can be sure biomass offsets helped. The implementation of BECCS will require access to geological storage of CO2, the preserve of fossil fuel extraction companies like Equinor, Chevron, Woodside and Shell.

    A ‘negative emissions technology’ is not a technology as such, but rather it is a collection of processes that upon the application of certain accounting can be said to have produced zero emissions. Geological storage of CO2 is a crucial process in transforming biomass burning into a negative emissions technology. If any implementation of the IPCC pathways were to take place any time soon then access to geological storage of CO2 would be absolutely necessary for BECCS to be effective.

    On September 5, the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Borge Freiburgh called for “international support” to amend the London Protocol to allow for under sea geological storage and export infrastructure to support the implementation of CCS. The full title of the London Protocol is the ‘London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter’. It is an international agreement to assist in making regional agreements. Amendments to the London Protocol have long been seen as the last regulatory hurdle to large scale under sea storage of CO2. [SOURCE]

    The IPCC has three working groups covering three key areas: science and carbon budgets, social and ecological impacts, and mitigation. As observed by Kevin Anderson on Twitter, Greta Thunberg does not speak about the mitigation pathways presented by Working Group 3 on mitigation, rather she focusses on Working Group 1 on “physical science”. Having followed the discourse on mitigation pathways following Thelma Krug’s unheralded presentation at last year’s GHGT-14 conference in Melbourne, I can say with certainty that none of the four pathways have ever been discussed by XR leaders, Greta Thunberg or Green New Deal proponents. Indeed, the climate justice friendly media mouthpieces have rarely if ever examined the IPCC pathways.

    [SOURCE: Thelma Krug]

    Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change, holding a joint chair in the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester and in Centre for Sustainability and the Environment at Uppsala University

    Kevin Anderson is Professor of Energy and Climate Change, holding a joint chair in the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester and in the Centre for Sustainability and the Environment at Uppsala University

     

    One of the unexamined pathways presented by the IPCC Working Group 3 is called P.1. or Grubler et al ‘Low Energy Demand’ scenario, which is the only degrowth scenario they provide. Grubler LED is also the only scenario/pathway not reliant on BECCS. Jason Hickel writing in Real-World Economics Review outlines degrowth as a radical and positive strategy for tackling climate targets. It is highly significant that so very little has been said about the Grubler LED pathway as it is the only pathway that provides any opportunity to deliver a fossil fuel phase out, which is, at least through suggestion, a principle objective of all climate justice groups including XR leaders and Green New Deal proponents.

    People should study what Kevin Anderson has to say about IPCC scenarios. He is very concerned about the abundance of negative emissions technologies. He can’t see how the three BECCS and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) ‘technologies’ can deliver enough mitigation in time. In a video entitled ‘Delivering on 2 degrees,’ he notes that the IPCC scenario data base is loaded with NETs reliant scenarios.

    In his response to the UK government’s “net zero” proposal following its declaration of a ‘climate emergency,’ makes it very clear that the fantastical quantities of BECCS and reliance on undeveloped air capture machines were already damaging the possibility of decisive action.   

    Already the tentative potential of NETs is being used to undermine the requirement for immediate and widespread decarbonisation, passing further unacceptable burdens and risks onto the next generation.

    [SOURCE]

    Shortly after announcing a ‘climate emergency’ the UK’s Committee on Climate Change indicated that they would much prefer to produce ‘clean’ hydrogen from steam reforming LNG than through renewable energy and electrolysis with water. Steam reforming is a process where fossil gas is coverted into hydrogen and other gases producing a stream of pure liquefied CO2 for enhanced oil and gas recovery, geological storage or other commercial applications. Clearly the renewable option was being discarded by the Committee on Climate Change, but this was not a concern for the XR leaders who don’t appear to be doing what it takes to keep fossil fuels in the ground.  

    Our scenarios assume that hydrogen production at scale is done via gas-reforming with CCS rather than electrolysis

    [SOURCE]

    Here is a remarkable interview with the Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 4 (on mitigation) of the IPCC AR6 Special Report, Heleen de Coninck. It is remarkable because it reveals how the language and framing of technologies and extractive processes has shifted around carbon capture and storage over several IPCC reports. The interviewer was compelled to ask a rather absurd sounding question that highlights how IPCC reports have framed and reframed technologies and extractive processes in producing mitigation scenarios.

    Ah, so you’re saying in AR3, CCS was still weird?

    [SOURCE]

    Rob Urie is one of the few writers to take an honest look at the technologies that the IPCC modelling requires. I think this is one of the most important pieces of writing that any informed person can read to understand where we are right now and where we are likely to be heading in the near future.

    Three of the four scenarios to keep the rise in global temperatures at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius presented by the IPCC in their 2018 paper require ‘negative emissions’ technologies—methods of actively removing carbon from the atmosphere. Some of these, like reforestation, are superficially attractive to the environmentally inclined. The problems come both through the fine print and the focus on climate rather than the environment.

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

    Wind Energy Development, Conflict & Resistance

    Wind Energy Development, Conflict & Resistance

    Colloquium

    September 20, 2019

    Featuring Alexander Dunlap, interviewed by Professor Mariel Aguilar-Støen

     

    MAS: Could you start by telling us a little bit about you?

    AD: Ouuuhhh… I am a dirty skateboarder turned academic who now has a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Development and the Envrionment, University of Oslo. I am proudly a part of the Rural Transformations group, which you lead.

    MAS: I found something you wrote in the book I would like you to explain. It is this adaptation of Michel Foucault, where you say: “How do you expect over a thousand wind turbines-operating, planned and placed in the lands of Mexico-to have survived, and to have established and actually maintained permanent power generation in the coastal Istmo? (p. 21).” How does this tie into what the book’s about?

    AD: So, yes, this is a play on Foucault’s words when he was giving a lecture on colonial conquest, meanwhile really raising the question: How does a lesser number of people — a minority invader population — take over, settle and control another land and people? And this book really is asking the same question: How do a bunch of certain elite or business actors move into a territory, build this infrastructure and begin accumulating energy when there is a well-known and strong opposition towards these projects — at least near the Lagoon. This book really examines how the projects come to exist, how they continue to exist and generate power in a context where they are popularly opposed. It is really trying to look at the way how development projects — even if they are unpopular — can enter a region and begin to control the territory, make the population acquiesce to the project and start controlling land, but also harnessing the vitality of wind resources in that area. So, it is really looking at how megaprojects enter a region, but also the dynamics that begin to form. This includes the divisive tactics employed by companies that makes it more difficult for people to organize themselves to resist these projects adequately.

    “My fieldwork would have been considered risky if I proposed what happened with an ethical review.”

    MAS: It is also interesting that you start your book with a critique of anthropology and that you mention ethics in relationship to anthropological research. Can you explain what you mean by this?

    AD: Yeah… I guess the short answer is that in many ways I am embarrassed to be an anthropologist. The legacy and history of anthropological research is extremely negative by my account. Despite all the “nuance” and “reflexivity” in the discipline, structurally speaking I do not think much has changed in terms of the purposes of knowledge generation, the institutional control and privatization of that knowledge and the subjectivities-or the implicit socially accepted types of biases-that underline research design. Of course, there are exceptions, but radical critique regarding the statist forms of organization and the development of industrial infrastructures are not questioned to the degree that they should be. Modernist infrastructure and computational technologies still condition and dominate our academic lives, which is increasingly normalized and integrated into universities with little opposition. But also, a lot of the knowledge being generated — while there might be liberatory intentions for a lot of the researchers — I think a lot of the banal knowledge being collected and organized can benefit many different extractive companies, marketing agencies and repressive forces. Not to forget turning villagers into poster children in power point presentations. In the book, there is a subsection, responding to discussions in anthropological ethics, called “For Anthropologists Against Anthropology.” The purpose is to really stress that, as anthropologists, we should be extremely critical of our discipline, but also ask ourselves why we are even researchers in the first place and what type of knowledge we want to generate. Because, as it says in the book, knowledge is a double-edged sword and it will often cut both ways. It is important to think critically in how one organizes their research.

    A lot of this is a response to the norms in anthropology, because I ended up embedding in a policia comunitaria (Communitarian Police) who were more-or-less a lightly armed group of fishermen and farmers with slingshots, machetes and their hunting rifles. They organized themselves to keep out the wind companies and the politicians that they saw as grabbing their land and destroying their livelihoods and culture. My fieldwork would have been considered risky if I proposed what happened with an ethical review committee at most institutions, but I did not know I was going to fall into the situation this way, even if it makes sense given how the research started, which is narrated in the beginning of the book. At the end of the day, it is all fun and games for anthropologists to go work for the military and police; it’s okay for anthropologists to go work for marketing agencies; it’s okay for anthropologists to go work for resource extraction companies, which is surprisingly more common than I expected as the research presented in the book shows. But when it comes to anthropologists actually embedding and conducting observant participation in environmental struggles to try and get a better idea of what is going on at the frontiers of the green economy, where people are trying to protect their land and sea, then these things are often frowned upon.

    MAS: I believe that goes beyond anthropology and anthropologists. As you present in your book, you mention the case where some geographers organized mapping indigenous communities to provide information to the Mexican state and paid by the US military, so perhaps it is an interesting reflection that goes beyond anthropology?

    AD: Yeah, most certainly. It raises the wider question that we have to ask: What is the purpose of the university? What is the purpose of research? A lot of people might think it is to make the world a better and happier place, but these broad words have different meanings that can be used in different ways. For me this means that the soil quality is being enriched, there are higher qualities of food, higher qualities of water, air and social relationships. In actuality, this “better,” or worse “improvement” is usually designed around spreading market-oriented perspectives and values systems or affirming institutions that prioritize their own existence over the issues they claim to be concerned with or working to fix. The support offered by state institutions and corporations for example are often token and serve branding or the purpose of market expansion. I think it is imperative that research is organized to address — in very honest ways — how “we,” industrial humans, can have better relationships with our environments. How we can create environments that nurture and support life: the trees, the cats, the animals, the water, the air and everything around us. Governments, universities and people need to really start reconciling… I guess we can say, “climate debt.” I do not really like that terminology, but the widespread ecological catastrophe that has been spread by industrial development and capitalism. We really have to switch our priorities: our research priorities, our institutional priorities and our own lives in how we can make them better, but also address socio-ecological crises.

    Photo by John Cameron

    “You need special types of coal to even smelt the metal for wind turbines.”

    MAS: Your book reads as a critique of the green economy, and you put forward this notion of “Fossil Fuel+” . In my head I started associating it with REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), REDD+ and then REDD++, which is an indication of REDD saving the forest with money which was renegotiated, and then renegotiated and renegotiated…. Is something similar happening with wind energy or “green” energy?

    AD: Well, yeah. There are two topics there. First, I think it is an understatement to say that this book is a critique against the green economy — it most certainly is. Maybe it is even hostile towards it, instead of offering the care necessary for critique. Second, this comparison with REDD+ and Fossil Fuel+ are very different, even if they are both trying to communicate something regarding the environment. REDD+ is trying to implement a program that can control land and (indigenous) populations in each context slightly differently, but for the most part it is a land control and market based strategy designed to commodify the environment and prepare habitats for carbon banks and things like this. Fossil Fuel+, on the other hand, was a term designed for my climate justice friends and other people involved in mainstream environmental activism who believe in this dichotomy between fossil fuels and renewable energy. That dichotomy is false. It is a marketed one. It is one that is very surreptitious and manipulative. Because the fact is, every single aspect of renewable energy development, whether wind or other programs — and of course I am referring to industrial and utility-scale — is based on hydrocarbon extraction and various industrial technologies.

    You need special types of coal to even smelt the metal for wind turbine towers or other steel infrastructures. You need to make the machines, that run on gasoline, that then do the mining. You need the factory to make those machines that do the mining, you need the transportation of these infrastructures, the processing facilities — every single aspect, I cannot stress enough — requires large-scale hydrocarbon and mineral extraction and processing. This distinction is misleading and it is a huge and undeniable weakness of environmental movements. It is paving the way for the new trap of “climate infrastructure” and other green economic schemes related to the inaccurate and reductive quantifications of carbon accounting that REDD+ and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) are dependent on and are metrics responsible for spreading conflict and ecological degradation, of which my book is another resource documenting this in detail. So, the term Fossil Fuel+ is a way to say: “Hey, we really need to break this dichotomy if we are going to be honest about the situation facing the planet,” because we are just drinking a repugnant old wine re-marketed in new bottles with green labels.

    Photo by Vitor Pinto

    MAS: Don’t you think there is some type of disconnect between the laywoman and all this knowledge you are talking about? I see a lot of people with the best intentions — even climate engaged academics — buying their Tesla, putting solar panels on their houses or moving towards other “greener” and “cleaner” energies. Do you think your book could contribute to raising awareness as to how everything is interconnected?

    AD: Yeah, the book is very specific case study that gets into three different phases of wind energy development revealing the different types of hopes people had and its impacts. I think the way large wind energy projects even gain some type of legitimacy in Oaxaca was through this kind of marketing of “green,” that it is sustainable and you will be “doing good.” This really opened people up to the idea. Second, people thought that not only it was good, but that they would be able to make money in the northern part of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Therefore, this “green” marketing, state and elite support that organized and managed it — reflecting back on that Foucault adaption — allowed the companies to gain a foothold in the region.

    This is precisely the issue when we talk about Tesla in Norway as well, where they cannot stop subsidizing and importing them from California. And people buy what is sold, what is marketed. We live in a situation where consumer consent is structured and manufactured. The subjectivities of people — their dispositions and desires — are already accounted for and manipulated in a certain way, maybe with the help of marketing anthropologists and sociologists. Tesla are great for the consumer to minimize their paying money at the gas pump, but from an ethnographically grounded supply chain and life-cycle perspective they are a nightmare. How are they getting the energy to charge the car; the minerals for the batteries, the mineral processing and manufacturing facilities, the various transportation of components and so on. People are not thinking — or feeling for that matter — they are buying what they are sold. It is disconcerting because, other than an ambiguous rhetoric, there is not a single thing about the green economy that actually suggests it wants to repair and restore the ecological degradation and serious ecocidal harm that has been created by industrial society. People in Oslo still love McDonalds, Starbucks’ are popping up like mushrooms and I did not expect that before I moved here. People buy what they are sold and what is available, thus bearing serious responsibility on these businesses and the state institutions that structured human habitation this way.

    So, instead of doing the right thing in the face of ecological and climate catastrophe, the state and its business associates are just intensifying and doubling down on this capitalist path of mass blind production and consumption. At face value it is making it less destructive, but if you look past the veil down the supply chain you will find extractive violence is just being exported to rural areas where black, brown and, most of all, materially poor communities face natural resource extraction and have less protections and opportunities than countries like Norway. Political and extractive violence are spreading at increasing rates in general and green technologies. If they are not already central players, they will be in a matter of years.

    MAS: I think you do a very good job in your book of not only presenting all the “shades of grey” in terms of resistance, but also recognizing the people who want these projects to happen. Can you explain a bit more about that?

    AD: Yeah, yeah. I do not think there is a more interesting topic — I guess I have thought this for a long time — than the idea of manufacturing desire. I guess you can link it to earlier stuff with Thorstein Veblen’s “emulation,” Edward Bernays’s “engineering consent,” Gills Deleuze, and Félix Guattari’s “desiring-machines” or Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “manufacturing consent.” Ultimately, a lot of people want to emulate and become what they are seeing on television. They want to be rich, they want to have the American Dream. Thinking of Arturo Escobar, the dream of development or, at the very least, surviving any way they can in a capitalist system. People want to believe that the green economy is going to work, people want to believe that wind turbines (and their supply chains) are not that “bad,” but the fact is that on so many levels: resource extraction and processing; land contracting: environmental impacts: energy use; and decommissioning these infrastructures are causing immense social dissatisfaction and ecological degradation. So yeah, there are definitely politicians and elites who are benefiting from this, and people allured by the marketed benefits. Even people who have collaborated with these wind projects have seen what they have done to the area. I remember speaking with a landowner who cared deeply for the mountain lions that would come onto his ranch. He observed the way the wind turbines have affected their relationship with the mountain lions, with their habitats and travel patterns were completely altered and the area became inhospitable for them. While this person had benefited from the projects, putting two of his sons through college, he also saw how nonhuman populations were affected and at least on some level regretted this to a point of tears in an intense conversation. This is a specific instance that is not mentioned in the book, but it was a very meaningful conversation. There are various shades of grey. There are plenty of people, however, that just want money and take what is offered, even if it disadvantages entire areas in the mid-to-long run. That said, in places like Oaxaca there are a lot more people who still have a connection with the land, sea and do not want to have this level of economic integration and dependence, but it is imposed on them in various ways.

    “Wind turbines are just the latest structure to slowly try to break indigenous cultures to the imperatives of the state and capitalist development.”

    MAS: You also draw a line from colonialism. From colonialism to wind energy development or “green” colonialism. Can you explain how you conceptualize this idea?

    AD: I guess this leads into one of the more inflammatory aspects of the book. I knew the situation was not ideal before I went there, but I found myself in far more violent and conflictual situations than I expected. Talking with research participants, words and phrases like “genocide”, “they are killing all of us”, “this is ethnocide” and “this is ecocide” kept coming up. By the end of the project the words kept coming up in interview transcripts and I said: “Wow… What am I going to do with this?”

    I really tried to honor this contention and embarked on a review of genocide studies to see how this was represented in the academic literature. It turns out that there is a long history of this in the “post-liberal” reading of genocide, which is closer to Ralph Lemkin’s definition of the term. Preventing semi-subsistence groups with distinct land-based cultures the means of subsistence-preventing them from accessing the land or sea-very much falls in line with the long-term and slower forms that hollows out the feelings and traditions of indigenous populations, all the while forcing them by various means into different types of jobs or ways of living. So yes, there is a lot to say that what is going on in the Isthmus and elsewhere in Latin America is a continuation of the colonial project, and that wind turbines are the latest intervention that are slowly hollowing out and pushing towards cultural extinction of Ikoot and Zapotec populations. Obviously, people are resisting in whatever ways they can, slowing down and subverting this trajectory mapped out for them, but this is a long struggle that indigenous people have been engaged in, since Spanish colonialism. Then it is more complicated than this, the Zapotecs were a colonizing imperial force in the Isthmus before the Spaniards. The point is, wind turbines are just the latest structure — among others — that are slowly trying to break indigenous cultures to the imperatives of the state and capitalist development.

    MAS: From what you write in the book and many chapters, there are a lot of things that are familiar or well known about extractive industries, let’s say mining or oil companies — even palm oil. There are patterns that are recurring across all these different types of extractive industries. This has been discussed in different places all over Latin America, but what about other contexts? I am thinking specifically about violence, the way people are repressed and silenced. School kids on climate strike in France who were beaten by the police or the case of a Sámi reindeer herder who was forced to kill his animals. Of course, you cannot compare or say that the violence is the same, but there is some form of violence in forcing someone to kill half of their animals. Do you think there is a common thread in what we are seeing in all these different parts of the world?

    AD: Yeah, yeah, of course. And what you asked before about global solidarity, it is a reaction to state control and further marketization of life. It is usually the exact same type of projects, but they are shaped by different cultural specificities and socio-historical processes that make the current political contexts. People across the world are dealing with the same impositions. Some acts of violence are more politically feasible than others in certain contexts. Whether it is wind energy development in the Isthmus with different “soft” and “hard” forms of coercion deployed to pacify the population or in the Hambach forest in Germany-which has a lower intensity of violence-but the same dynamic is in place with tons of surveillance, beatings and people being sprayed with water hoses in freezing temperatures.

    Photo by Warren Sammut

    Or as you mention here in Norway, there are also attacks on indigenous territories with wind energy development here, with land grabbing that is displacing reindeer migration and habitation patterns, which our colleague Susanne Norman is investigating. Now as you mention, the call for culling reindeer based on claims of a certain biological carrying capacity, which was imposed on the Sámi. A cull that is now being compared to the extermination of buffalo during the plain wars in the US, which exemplifies this idea of the genocide-ecocide nexus. It’s the same game of state control and divide and conquer in the name of economic development and market expansion, which recklessly disregards existing lifeways, other ways to live with ecosystems or, as they say in the post-development school, “alternatives to development”. Can the state support reindeer herding and culture as opposed to other forms of development? It’s the same game in different contexts. One is more bureaucratic and dispenses a type of epistemic violence like in Norway, another is a more overt political violence as in the Americas, yet there is a whole assemblage that makes this violence and the ecological catastrophe possible.

    “People do not necessarily know what carbon accounting is being used to justify.”

    MAS: Towards the end of the book, you quote Ivan Illich, referring to the crisis of imagination. I think this is an interesting point to consider, especially for environmental activists and all the people concerned about the climate catastrophe that we are experiencing. Do you have any thoughts about that?

    AD: Yeah. I do not think there is a more important thing than to get creative with your political actions, or life for that matter. Get creative, do things differently — create new and different types of situations in which to stop these projects or to live a better way within your everyday life. We have to be more than this predictable civil disobedience movement that is organizing a data collection dream for authorities. As much as I appreciate it in some ways, a lot of it has been turned into corporate activism that is conditioning environmental movements. There is a lot of big money trying to “roll-out” these kinds of green economic structures that people are not prepared to understand what they imply in practice, because people do not necessarily know the flaws or reductionism of carbon accounting. People do not necessarily know what carbon accounting is being used to justify. Therefore, the flowery and fiery environmental rhetoric from “youth leaders” sounds good, but they are not questioning the market-based mechanism and private sector profiteering that is implied with the internationally agreed upon climate change mitigation strategy. People are not aware of payment for ecosystem services (PES) and the environmental relationship it promotes, not to mention the land grabs-fast and slow-that are being executed under the banners of these programs. And the PES product diversifies with increasing complications, which keeps academics busy and in a job. The green economy requires an immense amount of bureaucratic and financial knowledge, becoming an academic specialty on its own. Understanding what is being “rolled-out” as a “solution” to mitigating ecological catastrophe is a job in itself. Really, it is just the repackaging of the same capitalist program, but now it is “green” with new technologies and justifications.

    Photo by Harrison Moore

    So when you hear Greta Thunberg and others dispensing great words — and they are great — if you actually look at the people behind her or the different UN programs that are being “rolled out,” then it is clear we are witnessing nothing more than the renewal of capitalist expansion. Consequently, green capitalist trap doors are being constructed everywhere — “climate infrastructure” — for people who genuinely want to see the restoration of ecological destruction and climatic patterns. Hopefully, this book is clear in demonstrating that what is the so-called “solution” is really not the solution it is sold to be, at least in the area of wind energy development. This extends very well, as you know very well from your over a decade of work, to conservation. There have been ideas of convivial conservation and things like this reacting against these market-based programs. I guess now, as much as ever, it is important to imagine alternative futures-to do different things, to press the boundaries of how one thinks about subversion and resistance against destructive developments in the hopes to create spaces where people, animals, trees and everyone can co-exist without destroying each other and the planet. Supporting each other, instead of separated and alienated from each other. So maybe now we can start living better lives and not worry about rising water, erratic weather patterns, food shortages or the rapid spread of forest fires or our shitty jobs.

    MAS: Thank you. What is your next project? What are you working on and how do you intend on using this idea of fossil fuel+ to expand your research?

    AD: Right now, I am looking at the formation of transnational energy super-grid between North Africa and the EU. I am examining this specifically through a ZAD in southern France that is resisting the construction of a mega-transformer on farmland grabbed through bureaucratic means. This energy transformer locally will lead to the rapid increase of wind and solar projects that have been colonizing the Aveyron region-even if the region is near energy self-sufficient through hydrological resources. The people are trying to resist ecological destruction for mass consumption-the expansion of green capitalism. They do not want wind turbines in this area if it continues alongside the expansion of nuclear and hydrocarbon consumption and development. Therefore, they are saying the energy transition is a joke and they do not want to see their countryside colonized like the Isthmus in Oaxaca, even if it is already heading in that direction. The equally interesting part is that this transformer is part of a forming energy corridor bringing energy from North Africa to meet renewable energy benchmarks set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. There are other conflicts or land grabs taking place in other indigenous territories in North Africa and arising from environmental and climate change policy. So I will be examining what energy infrastructure and renewable energy systems are creating across continents. This is what I’ve got ahead of me, and it looks tough.

    MAS: Okay, thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

    [Alexander Dunlap holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His PhD thesis examined the socio-ecological impact of wind energy development on Indigenous people in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Alexander’s work has critically examined police-military transformations, market-based conservation, wind energy development and extractive projects more generally with coal mining in Germany and copper mining in Peru. Current research investigates the formation of transnational-super grids and the connections between conventional and renewable extraction industries.]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg For Consent: A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment [VOLUME II, ACT I]

    The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg For Consent: A Design to Win — A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment [VOLUME II, ACT I]

    September 11, 2019

    By Cory Morningstar

     

     

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

    [Volume I: ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VIAddenda I] [Book form]

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

    • A 100 Trillion Dollar Storytelling Campaign [A Short Story] [Oct 2 2019]

    • The Global Climate Strikes: No, this was not co-optation. This was and is PR. A brief timeline [Oct 6 2019]

     

     

    “On the back of the Design to Win report (2007), a group of large liberal foundations proceeded to align their strategies and pool resources through common initiatives and projects, and most notable the creation of the ClimateWorks Foundation.” —The Price of Climate Action: Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena] [p. 41] [Emphasis added]

     

    The Design To Win Report

    The 2007 report Design To Win: Philanthropy’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming would serve to shape the future of the climate movement. The result of a commissioned study funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Oak Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Design To Win “served as a catalyst for an unprecedented outpouring of funding on energy and climate issues. Implicit to the report was the idea that the ‘market knows best’ and that the role of regulators is to create the right conditions and send the right signals for a transition to a low-carbon economy.” [1]

    The report would serve as the founding document for the creation of the ClimateWorks Foundation (ClimateWorks). ClimateWorks was launched in 2008 with the support of three foundations: the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. [Source] In 2008, the Hewlett Foundation alone pledged 500 million USD to ClimateWorks. This represented the single largest grant in Hewlett’s history. [Source] Packard would match it. Additional funding would come from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the United Nations. [2]

    Hal Harvey, who led the formation of ClimateWorks, would take the title of CEO and ex-officio member. [Source] During the formation of ClimateWorks, Harvey held the title of environment program director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (2001 to 2008). Prior to this role, from 1990 to 2001, Harvey served as founder and president of the Energy Foundation established in partnership with the Pew, MacArthur, and Rockefeller foundations. [3] Harvey would depart from ClimateWorks in 2012.

    ClimateWorks would serve as a tax exempt regranting foundation for vetted and compliant messenger NGOs to geographically advance the strategies, ideologies and goals espoused by ClimateWorks through the creation of a global network: the Energy Foundation in North America, the Energy Foundation China ProgrammeIniciativa Climatica de MexicoInstituto Clima e Sociedade in Brazil, and the European Climate Foundation. The Climate and Land Use Alliance would be created for the network in 2010. [4] [Source] The European Climate Foundation, which plays a leading role in this series is, in essence, a tentacle of ClimateWorks, as are the other ClimateWorks global network partners. Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer explains:

    “And here, too, the solution was ingenious. To begin, they proposed to create a central hub—the ClimateWorks Foundation—which would serve as grantor of funds to a coordinated global network. The network, in turn, consisted of two sorts of organizations. First, there were “regional climate foundations” or RFCs. RFCs had expertise in particular geographies and would serve as regrantors of funds from ClimateWorks to the most appropriate NGOs for particular work… A second set of organizations were called “best practices networks” or BPNs. These brought expertise in particular sectors, one in each sector for a total of seven. So, there was the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), and the Institute for Industrial Productivity, and so on. To work on transportation in Europe, then, ClimateWorks would simply channel money to ECF and ICCT [International Council on Clean Transportation] to work together on the problem.” [5] [Emphasis added]

     

    — Smith Celebration Lecture, February 7, 2017, Larry Kramer, President William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

    That being said, the ECF receives major funding outside of ClimateWorks. Major funders have included the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK), the McCall MacBain Foundation (Switzerland), the Oak Foundation (Switzerland), Nationale Postcode Loterij (Netherlands) and Villum Fonden (Denmark). A lack of respect for work/state sovereignty resulted in disagreements and friction with ClimateWorks. [ClimateWorks Foundation Case Study, 2015, “Deliberate Leadership and Wicked Problems”, pp. 38-39]

    Working with a host of select grantees, ClimateWorks and partners “fund fine-grained grant portfolios to pursue regional initiatives.” The resulted are closely monitored in order to “continuously adapt our efforts to be increasingly effective.”

    To ensure that the practices, policies, and legislation shaped and sought by ClimateWorks would be adopted at scale, the foundations were advised (by the California Environmental Associates consulting group) to pursue a variety of strategies. Outreach and pubic engagement would be instrumental. Reaching the voting base and “consumers” by utilizing the media was recognized as instrumental in order to build the political support required to implement desired reforms and policies in place of countries in and outside of its own borders – a soft power imperialism.

    Above: ClimateWorks, September 20, 2016 (Climate Week 2016 NYC)

    The creation of ClimateWorks dovetails with the inception of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), conceptualized in 2006 and launched in 2008. GCCA dominated the United Nations 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) held in Copenhagen under the TckTckTck campaign umbrella.

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

    “Support existing NGOs with deep knowledge of local conditions and needed strategies; create new organizations as necessary….In other cases, additional NGOs may be necessary to develop new, innovative approaches.” [Design to Win, p. 47]

    Together, GCCA (as the human face) and ClimateWorks (as the corporate body) would establish and lead what could be described as a defacto climate cartel. This cartel would successfully marginalize grassroots movements, peasant movements, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous knowledge, the G77, and small island states, thereby ensuring the climate debate remained firmly entrenched within the framework of neoliberalism while dominated by Western ideologies and finance. Those in the Global South who contributed nothing to the climate crisis would be effectively crushed under the imperial boot of those that created the crisis. Consider that there are 100 countries in the world that produce less than 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. [Source]

    Above: Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) founding partners

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

    The second largest is the ClimateWorks regional partner, the Energy Foundation which has received approximately 940 million USD. [March 1, 2018, Source]

    In addition to ClimateWorks’ founding partners/funders (the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Oak Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation), today they are joined by the KR Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to make up the core funders.

    The ClimateWorks portfolio funders include the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, [6] and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. [Source]

    The Hewlett Foundation has provided the bulk of ClimateWorks funding. Since its inception to 2015, ClimateWorks has received more than half of its funding from Hewlett. Other foundations which have contributed significant funds to ClimateWorks include the Foundation to Promote Open Society (Soros), the Energy Foundation, and the Sea Change Foundation (founded by Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons).

    The years and decades of colossal injections of funding serve an instrumental purpose: the mass distribution of messaging that will effectively strengthen the preconstructed narratives, and the building of networks to seek the desired results. [ClimateWorks Research Partners]

    The Hewlett Foundation

    In order for this body of work to stay on task, we cannot delve into every foundation behind ClimateWorks without becoming lost in a sea of oblivion. Suffice to say that the most critical role of the foundation is to maintain influence (i.e. dominance) over an acquiescent populace in servitude to corporations, capital, industry, and the ideologies  protecting current power structures. This can be observed in Hewlett Foundation Climate Initiative strategy developed for 2018-2023:

    “Climate philanthropy needs to invest more in research, analysis, and advocacy for policies that drive innovation in advanced energy systems and technologies. This includes finding ways to unlock public funding for the early stages of innovation and encouraging private investment for the commercial deployment of viable new technologies.”

     

    “We will focus philanthropic support more on sub-national efforts (led by states, regions, utilities, businesses, and more), continue to work with the private sector on clean-energy investment, and continue our efforts to build public will for policies that address climate change and promote clean energy.”

     

    “We will invest in a portfolio of efforts to support scientific and technological progress, especially carbon removal and advanced zero-emission technologies including nuclear power. This will require both risk tolerance and a willingness to embrace outcomes over a longer-than-usual time scale.

    “But it’s important first to recognize that the triumph of market ideology did not occur organically. It was, in fact, an intentional, cultivated, and — most important for present purposes — well-funded effort.”

     

    — Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy, April 26, 2018, p. 9

    On December 11, 2017, Hewlett announced it would donate 600 million USD over a five-year period (2018-2023) to “nonprofits globally working on solving climate change.” [Source]

    On April 26, 2018, the Hewlett Foundation announced the launch of a two-year, “$10 million exploratory effort to support research on new ideas and intellectual frameworks in economics and economic policymaking.”

    The new undertaking will be part of Hewlett’s Special Projects initiative managed by Jennifer Harris, a senior fellow in the office of the Hewlett Foundation president. Harris is also a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, as well as a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. Prior to her role at Hewlett, Harris was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations specializing in U.S. foreign policy in relation to climate, energy and economic policy. In 2011, as a member of the secretary’s policy planning staff at the U.S. State Department, Harris served as the lead architect of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s economic statecraft agenda. [Full bio]

    One such “special project” of Hewlett is “Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy.”

    Yet circumstances are ripe for the emergence of a new 21st-century social contract. Philanthropy can help support fresh thinking about policy that can inspire citizens and open new space for people on the left and the right to solve problems.”

     

    Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation, April 26, 2018 [Emphasis added]

     

    Most important, the free market movement was paid for — backed every step of the way by sympathetic foundations and philanthropists who provided the resources to succeed.”

     

    Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy, April 26, 2018, p. 12

    The Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy paper authored by Hewlett Foundation president Larry Kramer exemplifies the need for a new economic paradigm. In the paper, Kramer recalls the key and pivotal role of philanthropy in bringing the current “neoliberal” ideology into dominance. This theme captures the current essence of billionaires who are growing increasingly fearful that late-stage capitalism is failing – leaving them exposed and on equal footing with the working classes in the Global North and the campesinas/campesinos in the Global South. The peasantry and the working class whose very existence has become more volatile under the neoliberal model ushered in by foundations and institutions in servitude to the power elite. One can only imagine the fear and sheer terror being felt by the world’s most powerful and influential billionaires in imagining a future that could well resemble the existence of those they exploit. [Beyond Neoliberalism Public Board Memo, April 26, 2018]

    “We must reject the notion that our only choice is between neoliberalism and socialism. We must develop new ideas.”

     

    Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy, April 26, 2018, p. 17

    Kramer serves on the ClimateWorks board of directors.

    In order to save capitalism itself, foundations seek to convince the populace that under a new intellectual paradigm, capitalism can be reformed via “impact investing” and the commodification of nature. It can’t.

    “The participants in the 20th-century debates about political economy understood this perfectly well. As [Milton] Friedman’s senior colleague and intellectual mentor, Friedrich Hayek, observed, “experience indicates that once a great body of intellectuals have accepted a philosophy, it is only a question of time until these views become the governing force of politicsHayek was not wrong to believe that the ideas and philosophies that come to prevail almost always originate among elites, but intellectual and political leaders now have to persuade fellow citizens of the rightness of their ideas.”

     

    — Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy, April 26, 2018, p. 6 & p. 10

     

    No one believes we can or should abandon all the tenets of neoliberal thought, much less that we can live without an important role for free markets, which play an indispensable role in many contexts.”

     

    Beyond Neoliberalism: Rethinking Political Economy, April 26, 2018, p.17

    It’s not only the Global South the ruling class are intent on recolonizing. They are also recolonizing our minds.

    While the Hewlett Foundation defines the climate change as “an urgent global crisis that affects every problem philanthropy seeks to solve”, its own investments in corporate stock (3,341,965,570 USD, 2017) include a bevy of gas, and crude/petroleum, energy infrastructure and mining corporations. The list is extensive with the word “gas” identifying 33 investments, “crude” – 42, and “oil” – 47. Examples include Western Gas Partners, Sunoco, Kinder Morgan, Enbridge, Westlake Chemical Partners, BP Midstream Partners, TransCanada, Williams, Plains All American Pipeline, MPLX, Andeavor Logistics (since purchased by MPLX0, petroleum/energy infrastructure), Shell, Vale (one of the largest mining corporations in the world), Energy Transfer, Crown Castle (5G) and Black Stone Minerals. Other investments (many in the 10-20 million USD range) include Novartis, Wells Fargo, Lloyds, Walmart, Costco, McDonalds, MasterCard, Visa, Nestle, EBay, Microsoft, Kraft Heinz, Starbucks, Visa, Lowes, Facebook, Apple and Alphabet (Google). Hewlett’s largest energy investments are in Energy Transfer Partners and MPLX. [Investments – corporate stock: pp. 449-456] [Hewlett’s corporate bonds, largely consisting of fossil fuels can be viewed on pp. 457-466] [Source: The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation 990 Form, 2017]

    Design To Win: Carbon Capture and Storage

    “[The] best carbon capture facility in [the] world emits 25 times more CO2 than sequestered”

     

    June 12th, 2019, Clean Technica

    “Philanthropists must get CCS over the hump and make it practical for deployment in the U.S., China and India within the next decade.”
    Design To Win, 2007, p. 25

     

    “CCS, which remains in its infancy, deserves a critical push from philanthropy so that it can be rapidly deployed where demand for coal power is the greatest.”
    Design To Win, 2007  p.22

     

    “Policy Reform Spurs Carbon Markets: These policies – together with carbon pricing – can create vibrant new markets for the cleanest technologies and attract the massive sums of private capital needed to transform the world economy.”
    Design To Win, 2007  p.16

    A significant investment in carbon capture storage, as well as its rapid deployment is called for in the Design To Win report. Ignored by the NGOs who claim to represent civil society, CCS industry advocates are more than aware of the foundational support: “For instance, CCS was the largest single carbon abatement option in the global power sector identified in the Design to Win report from 2007, which called for significant investment in CCS.” [7]

    What constitutes the scale of rapid deployment is identified in the 2013 Carbon Tracker report “Unburnable Carbon“:

    “Given that the average annual rate of storage in 2015 is projected by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (2012) to be about 2.25 million tonnes for 16 CCS projects, a total of nearly 3800 CCS projects would need to be operating by 2050 under the idealised scenario.” [p. 12]

    Glen Peters, research director at CICERO, Norway’s leading institute for interdisciplinary climate research, offers an even starker view stating that the world will require 10,000 carbon capture and storage plants by 2050. [Source]

    As with all the shaping of our shared futures by the elite, the pathway to CCS is clear in the 2008 Green Alliance paper, A Last Chance for Coal, with contributions from Ben Caldecott (Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Natural Capital Declaration) while at the Policy Exchange think tank. The paper notes that it is critical Europe’s commitment to CCS be realized before 2020; 12 short years away from the paper’s publication date. [Source] The year 2020 is a critical date of vast significance – a recurring deadline for all environmental market solutions to be in place – including “The New Deal For Nature” (i.e. assigning monetary value to all of nature).

    More alarming yet is the fact that CCS demands massive volumes of freshwater. In regions where CCS will be implemented at scale, such demand could very well push rivers and water sources beyond the limits of what they can provide (i.e. what can be stolen.)

    “The consumption of freshwater from thermal power could rise considerably with widescale adoption of CCS, with potentially a doubling of freshwater consumption from 2010 levels by 2050.”

     

    Water and climate risks to power generation with carbon capture and storage, February 12, 2016

    It is important to observe that although CCS is largely associated with coal, this is an incorrect assumption.

    June 26, 2019, As Coal Fades in the U.S., Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground:

    “Nationwide, energy companies plan to add at least 150 new gas plants and thousands of miles of pipelines in the years ahead. A rush to build gas-fired plants, even though they emit only half as much carbon pollution as coal, has the potential to lock in decades of new fossil-fuel use right as scientists say emissions need to fall drastically by midcentury to avert the worst impacts of global warming. ‘Gas infrastructure that’s built today is going to be with us for 30 years,’ said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University. ‘But if you look at scenarios that take climate change seriously, that say we need to get to net zero emissions by 2050,’ he said, ‘that’s not going to be compatible with gas plants that don’t capture their carbon.’[Emphasis added]

    Indeed, “antipathy towards coal risks locking in hi-CO2 gas infrastructure”. (Kevin Anderson). Of course this is why “climate leader” Michael Bloomberg, a proponent of both nuclear and fracking, has financed the “Beyond Coal” campaigns in the United States and Europe [November 9, 2017, led by the European Climate Foundation] in excess of one hundred million USD, having recently announced an additional gift (i.e. investment) of 500 million dollars. [8] Somewhere between January 4, 2019 and June 7, 2019 the “Beyond Carbon” initiative became a “Bloomberg Philanthropies – Beyond Carbon” initiative with Bloomberg himself being a main highlight on the homepage and website. [This will be explored further in the series.]

    To be clear, 3,800, or perhaps even 10,000 CCS plants, are required to ensure that “consumers” in the West can continue to purchase and use egregious and unnecessary consumer items such as leaf blowers. In tandem with “direct air capture” (“negative emissions technology” / NETS) and afforestation fantasies, CCS plants deliver an assurance that those in the West can continue to fly extended families, friends and relatives to countries we impoverish for exotic weddings while simultaneously sharing climate emergency posts on social media. Thousands upon thousands of CCS plants that will hopefully keep safe our access to Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Unilever products. All of these things, plus a trillion other things that are not only not in any way required to live happy, healthy and productive lives, but directly contribute to our own ill health and demise.

    September 20, 2016, ClimateWorks: “The world needs to mobilize $90 trillion over the next 15 years to save our planet from the worst effects of climate change.” Here, the question never asked was, and continues to be, what volume of CO2 emissions are created by 90 trillion dollars of additional development (that will both contribute to and accelerate climate change impacts and temperature rise) – and how much environmental devastation does 90 trillion dollars of additional infrastructure demand. The third question would be, where will the vast majority of environmental devastation required to achieve these goals take place. This consideration is irrelevant to the ruling elite and Western society as a whole, as American exceptionalism coupled with a white supremacist ideology has fully normalized the plunder of the Global South to feed the rapacious Global North. Today these questions continue to be avoided and circumvented as the urgency to unlock 90-100 trillion dollars for new infrastructure (by 2050), identified and sought by institutions such as World Economic Forum and the New Climate Economy, accelerates.

    Here, it can be noted that the Carbon Tracker Initiative (“aligning capital markets with climate reality”), the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, the Climate Bonds Initiative, Track 0, InfluenceMap, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, all share the same address as the European Climate Foundation: 40 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UD, United Kingdom.

    It must be stated that while the ClimateWorks Design to Win report advocated for CCS for the future, the insignificant funding toward its implementation between 2008-2011 demonstrates that CCS was not yet a priority. These were the “Cap-and-Trade” years. “Funding was also highly concentrated among a handful of organizations. Just 25 groups received more than half of the money distributed. Almost all were highly professionalized national groups that specialized in legal and policy analysis, pushing for policy action by way of inside-the-Beltway negotiation, coalition building, and compromise. Major recipients, for example, included the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist think tank (Nisbet, 2011).” [Source]

    Carbon Capture & Storage = Enhanced Oil Recovery

    April 10, 2019, World’s largest CO2 pipeline under construction in Alberta, Canada

    “A new $470 million pipeline is being built in Alberta that will allow for production of an additional one billion barrels of light oil, but most Canadians have probably never heard of it. It has received little media attention outside of Alberta and appears to have generated little if any attention or objections from environmental groups.

     

    The pipeline we do not know, Business In Vancouver website, April 9, 2019

    Carbon capture and storage promises “business as usual” remains firmly intact for industry. Yet, it is actually worse than this. Not only can industry continue to emit, CCS infrastructure doubles as a means of reviving/expanding oil production via “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR):

    “In the U.S., most captured carbon has gone to enhanced oil recovery, a process that pushes out more oil from a producing well after the extractor has already used primary and secondary methods. That added revenue from EOR helped Petra Nova’s economics. It’s also used at other plants like the Great Plains Synfuels Plant in North Dakota.”

     

    — With 43 Carbon-Capture Projects Lined Up Worldwide, Supporters Cheer Industry Momentum, December 11, 2018

    A 2015 report by the US Department of Energy discloses that over the history of technological carbon capture projects (commenced in the 1970s), all of which are tied to the fossil fuel industry, the vast majority of sequestered CO2 and accompanying pipeline infrastructure has been utilized to pump more oil out of existing and exhausted oil wells (i.e. enhanced oil recovery).

    Adding to the above projection that CCS at scale has the potential to double our freshwater consumption by 2050, add to this the volume of freshwater demanded by enhanced oil recovery:

    “Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) uses the most nonsaline water of all other recovery technologies.”

    Who will pay for our collective and continued demise? Calgary, Canada, August 2, 2018:

    “Enhance Energy Inc. (“Enhance”) and Wolf Carbon Solutions Inc., an affiliate of Wolf Midstream (“Wolf”), are pleased to announce the two parties have entered into a project development and coordination agreement related to the construction and operation of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (“ACTL”). The ACTL is a 240-kilometre pipeline that will collect carbon dioxide (“CO2“) from industrial emitters in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and transport it to aging reservoirs throughout central and southern Alberta for secure storage and enhanced oil recovery (“EOR”) projects…

     

    The construction of ACTL will be funded by Wolf in part through investments made by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPPIB”) of up to $305 million. Additional public funding for the ACTL project of $63 million has been provided by the Government of Canada under the Federal EcoETI Program and the Federal Clean Energy Fund Program, and $223 million in construction funding has been approved under the Province of Alberta’s Carbon Capture and Storage Funding Act (2009).

     

    Through its CO2 EOR scheme, the Company is able to safely capture and permanently sequester CO2 while increasing production

     

    Wolf Midstream is a Calgary-based private company backed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPPIB”).” [Emphasis added]

    The working class and citizenry at large will pay for the billion dollar oil giants to extract more oil from deleted reservoirs – to be consumed and burned – under the guise of saving the planet. The citizenry pays for it (without consent), while the corporations reap the profits (and tax breaks). The public assumes the majority of risk.

    Recent “progress” on the ACTL shows the 16-inch diameter pipe being put into place under the North Saskatchewan River.

    CCS and EOR are not solutions to “save the planet” – they are an all-out assault on the decimated planet and all life she graciously sustains.

    The Right Hand of ClimateWorks – The European Climate Foundation (ECF)

    “In Europe, for instance, the ECF—which channels and redistributes funds from a number of prominent climate funders—acts as an unavoidable access point for anyone wishing to seriously engage in the climate debate.”

     

    The Failure of Climate Philanthropy, December 11, 2018

    The ECF is “linked to the central office (ClimateWorks] by common purpose and the funding each received from it.” [Source] In 2013, the ECF website offered this description: “The ECF is affiliated with the ClimateWorks Network and is the core of the ClimateWorks system in Europe.” [Source] Like ClimateWorks, ECF functions as a regranting foundation.

    “The European Climate Foundation (ECF) was established in 2008 as a major philanthropic initiative to promote climate and energy policies that greatly reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and to help Europe play a stronger international leadership role to mitigate climate change. The ECF is funded by major multi-year commitments from donors in Europe and the United States. The ECF is part of the international ClimateWorks Network that shares goals, strategies and resources to address the global challenge of climate change mitigation with a global network of aligned organizations.” [Emphasis added] [Source]

    The ECF was founded by George Polk who served as CEO and chairman of the executive committee. Polk’s background is extensive. Polk served as a senior advisor and executive board member of ClimateWorks, as well as serving as a senior advisor on climate change to McKinsey & Company. From 2008-2012, ClimateWorks paid McKinsey & Company 42.4 million USD, most of which was for “work to develop a deep analysis of the carbon abatement opportunities of the largest economies in the world”. [Source] Polk, with Norman Crowley, created The Cloud, which would become Europe’s largest wifi hotspot provider. The Cloud was purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB for 80 million USD in 2011. In 2011, Crowley would then found Crowley Carbon, where Polk would serve as chair. [Source] [Source]

    In addition, Polk was founder and CEO of the short-term Catalyst Project (an initiative related to the COP15 negotiations). He has served as a director of Richard Branson‘s Carbon War Room, now merged with the Rocky Mountain Institute where Polk serves as chair to the board of trustees. Polk served as an advisor/partner to a $1 billion initiative by George Soros to invest private equity “in ways which accelerate the development and diffusion of climate change technologies and business models.” [Source] Polk also serves as the director of Powerspan (a clean energies technology corporation that in 2009 sought to mobilize investment for carbon capture technology), as well as a senior advisor to SYSTEMIQ (which will be explored further in this series). Polk serves as the Managing Partner of Tulum Trust, “a private equity firm which manages private equity investments on behalf a small number of large family offices with a focus on generating excellent returns while having a meaningful impact on climate change.” [Source]

    ECF Management & Supervisory Board

    The European Climate Foundation supervisory board and fellows further exemplifies the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex, with many funders, institutions and states having present, past or rotating/intermittent representation.

    Laurence Tubiana is the CEO of the ECF. Prior to serving the ECF, Tubiana was France’s Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for COP21. Tubiana is considered a key architect of the landmark Paris Agreement with Christiana Figueres. Following COP21, she was appointed High Level Champion for Climate Action by the UN. The Climate Finance Partnership has been developed under the auspices of the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation, which is led by Laurence Tubiana. In addition, Tubiana has recently been selected to serve as a One Planet Lab member, a high level advisory group steered by the French Government. She has also been selected to serve as co-chair of the Ambition Advisory Group for the upcoming United Nations 2019 Climate Action Summit in New York City. Tubiana also serves as a commissioner to the Energy Transitions Commission. [Full Bio]

    Tom Brookes is executive director of strategic communications, and a member of the ECF Executive Management Team. Brookes is responsible for “external communications, public affairs, and political communications strategy for the ECF, its affiliates, and network”. He serves as senior advisor of global communications strategies for the ClimateWorks Foundation. [Bio]

    Kate Hampton serves as vice-chair to the supervisory board of the ECF. Hampton is the CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

    Joining Hampton on the supervisory board of the ECF is Jonathan Pershing, program director of environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, former special envoy for climate change at the U.S. State Department and lead U.S. negotiator to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    Also serving the ECF supervisory board:

    • Charlotte Pera: president and CEO of ClimateWorks
      • Connie Hedegaard: former European Commissioner for Climate Action
        • Sharon Burrow: B Team vice-chair, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
          • Leonardo Lacerda: environment programme director at Oak Foundation, formerly with WWF
            • Antha N. Williams: lead at the environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies
            • In five separate grants the Hewlett Foundation [9] funded the European Climate Foundation 31,730,000.00 USD in 2017.[Source] More recently (June 14, 2019) Hewlett gifted 4,840,000.00 USD to ClimateWorks for its Carbon Dioxide Removal Initiative: “The Fund will seed policy research, convenings, thought leadership, and communications outreach around natural and technological carbon dioxide removal.”

              The activities of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI) are supported by the European Climate Foundation. RCI is involved in European initiatives on CCS, such as the Berlin Forum on “sustainable” fossil fuels, the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants and the North Sea Basin Task Force.” [Source] RCI is a member of the Global CCS Institute. “Rotterdam was one of the first ports to consider a carbon capture and storage project, through the ROAD project – co-financed by the Dutch government, the European Commission and the Global CCS Institute.” [August 30, 2018, Source] The European Commission is also a partner to Climeworks, a corporation specializing in direct air capture.

              On May 14, 2019, the European Commission Foundation announced the establishment of an advisory council. The four founding members of the Advisory Council include:

              -Caio Koch-Weser: former chair of the ECF Supervisory Board who will serve as chair, member of the Board at the World Resources Institute, member  of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate overseeing The New Climate Economy [Bio]

              -Mary Robinson: B Team Leader, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former member of the ECF supervisory board, chair of Richard Branson’s Elders

              -Nicholas Stern: international advisor to the Global CCS Institute, co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate overseeing The New Climate Economy, chair of SYSTEMIQ board of directors, former World Bank chief economist

              -Paul Polman: B Team chair, Vice Chair of the UN Global Compact, co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate overseeing The New Climate Economy, former CEO Unilever, chair of the International Chamber of Commerce

              The European Climate Foundation is at the helm of the Climate Finance Partnership. The Climate Finance Partnership, introduced in ACT VI of the Manufacturing for Consent series, will be further explored in this second volume.

              The ClimateWorks Leadership & Board

              Charlotte Pera is the current president and CEO of ClimateWorks, a position she has held since 2012. Prior to joining ClimateWorks, she served as the director of U.S. programs at the Energy Foundation, a ClimateWorks regional network partner. Pera served as a special advisor to the European Climate Foundation when it launched in 2008. She currently serves on its supervisory board. The CEO position pays within the medium spectrum of the non-profit industry. Pera’s reported salary for 2017 was 497,630.00 USD with additional compensation in the amount of 52,060.00 USD. [2017 Form 990]

              The ClimateWorks board of directors includes John Podesta, founder of the think tank Center for American Progress. Having served as co-chair of former US president, Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008, Podesta would go on to serve as counselor to Obama from 2014-2015. More recently, Podesta served on Obama’s Global Development Council and the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Prior to founding the Center for American Progress in 2003, Podesta served as White House chief of staff to former US president Bill Clinton. [Bio] [10]

              William K. Reilly, ClimateWorks founding chair, is a founding partner of Aqua International Partners, a private equity fund that invests in corporations engaged in water and renewable energy. He also serves as a senior advisor to TPG Capital, an international investment partnership. Demonstrating how prestigious titles and appointments readily overlap, Reilly served as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1989-1993), president of the World Wildlife Fund (1985-1989), president of The Conservation Foundation (1973-1989), and director of the Rockefeller Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth (1972-1973). [Bio] [11]

              The ClimateWorks board chair is Susan Tierney, senior advisor for the Analysis Group, specializing in the electric and gas industries. Tierney serves as vice-chair to the board of the World Resources Institute. A former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, she is chairman of the board of the ClimateWorks’s regional network partner,the Energy Foundation, and a co-chair of the National Commission on Energy Policy. [Bio] Tierney also serves on the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). “CATF’s Decarbonized Fossil Energy work aims to enable global energy system decarbonization by 2070. CATF works towards this goal by developing and advocating for policies aimed at making carbon capture technologies cost competitive with using dirty fossil fuels for power generation and for use in the industrial sector, globally.” [Source] CATF is a member of the Carbon Capture Coalition.

              The following institutions are also represented on the ClimateWorks board of directors: European Climate Foundation (the aforementioned Caio Koch-Weser), the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation (Larry Kramer), the David & Lucile Packard Foundation (Carol Larson), Stanford University (Pamela Matson and Franklin M. “Lynn” Orr), the Oak Foundation (Kristian Parker).

              [ClimateWorks Board of Directors]

              Green New Deal Cosponsors – No Dissent Against CCS

              “The amount of carbon dioxide released globally from energy use is staggering at 36 billion tonnes. For power plants that will continue to use coal and natural gas, carbon capture can mitigate CO2 emissions. Global industrial sources such as chemical, cement, iron and steel production account for approximately a fifth of all CO2 emissions, which cannot be mitigated through any other technology other than carbon capture and sequestration.”

               

              Our Efforts, CAFT website

              The adoption of the FUTURE ACT (February 2018) by the US Congress, is driving industry forward via the expansion of the 45Q tax credits for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects. CCUS technology has also gained ground via other bills including the USE-IT Act. The USE-IT is making its way through U.S. Congress with unanimous votes via the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

              Under the new 45Q tax credit, projects are entitled to $35 per tonne of carbon captured and utilized for enhanced oil recovery and $50 per tonne for carbon captured and stored in geological storage. The previous credits were $10 and $20, respectively.

              The USE-IT Act will serve to expand tax credits for oil, gas, and coal industries, while facilitating the construction of dozens of CO2 pipelines much like the previously discussed Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL). [ACTL status]

              Although the Green New Deal proposal claims to advocate for vulnerable and frontline communities, the reality is the polar opposite with the USE-IT Act being allowed to commence forward by both US Senator Bernie Sanders and the Green New Deal co-sponsors.

              In similar fashion, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose team helped craft the 2018 New Green Deal resurgence, has endorsed New York’s recently unveiled climate plan. The Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act has been heralded as “moonshot”, “historic” and “one of the World’s Most Ambitious Climate Plans”. The plan promises more than a tripling of solar by 2025. The percentage of NYC electricity from solar in 2019? 1.40%. The plan does not discount the use of carbon capture and storage.

              Akin to the Stop the Keystone Campaign paving the way for Warren Buffet’s 21st century rail dynasty to take hold (crude via rail) – all while Buffett’s family foundation (NoVo) pumps tens of millions into Tides, the foundation that oversees the anti-pipeline campaigns. Akin to Willett Advisors, the investment arm for the personal and philanthropic assets of Michael Bloomberg, specializing in oil and gas – which has displaced coal – all while Bloomberg funds the Beyond Coal campaign to the tune of hundreds of millions. Capitalism never sleeps. Today the climate “movement” keeps all eyes on the “climate emergency” mobilizations as the carbon capture storage and all other false solutions gain traction – far away from the public eye.

              “I’ll require those technologies — anything from high-performance solar cells and technologies to improve energy efficiency in buildings to energy storage and clean carbon-capture technologies — to be made right here in the United States by American workers.”

               

              — U.S. Green New Deal co-sponsor Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), July 25, 2019

              “The adoption by Congress of the FUTURE Act in February was a major step toward ensuring that carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) can be an important tool in the kit for addressing global warming.”

               

              Kurt Waltzer, Clean Air Task Force (CATF), June 22, 2018 [12]

              The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) ties into the Green New Deal via the minority member list of the EPW; senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Ed Markey – the four co-sponsors of the Green New Deal resolution. [Source]

              On Wednesday February 27, 2019, Kurt Waltzer, Managing Director for the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), discussed the USE-IT Act at the EPW meeting as one of three speakers representing industry. CATF is a leading advocate for CCS and so-called clean coal technologies.

              While Republican and Democrat co-sponsors asked questions, no questions were forthcoming from the three co-sponsors of the Green New Deal who were in attendance: Booker, Gillibrand, and Markey. Sanders did not attend the vital meeting. The next EPW meeting to push the USE-IT Act bill through legislation would take place April 10, 2019. On this occasion, Booker, Gillibrand, Markey and Sanders did not attend either. To date, the CCUS bill has been voted upon three times – each time unanimous. [Source: Office of US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Michael Swifte]

              “I try to direct folks to the fields of contestation where authentic resistance ought to happen. Where silence falls in the wake of inaction. You would think 600 enviro groups could convince four Green New Deal co-sponsors to actually go to the Senate committee meetings they’re paid to attend and vote according to their supporters’ fervent aims.”

               

              Australian activist Michael Swifte

              The “Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology” (EFFECT) Act (introduced on April 11, 2019), if passed, will authorize a full suite of carbon, capture, utilization, storage, and removal technology programs.

              “‘The EFFECT Act would help bring carbon capture and utilization technologies to bearIn promoting an all-the-above energy approach, the United States must tap into its fossil fuel resources in the most clean, efficient manner possible.”
              April 11, 2019

              In addition to the adoption of the FUTURE Act and the USE-IT Act there are at present a minimum of eight additional bipartisan acts that will enable a future of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) – if allowed to succeed in the US Congress:

              1.  Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
              2.  Financing Our Energy Future Act: “Newly eligible energy resources would include solar, wind, hydropower, marine and hydrokinetic energy, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat to power, renewable fuels, biorefineries, energy efficient buildings, and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).” Endorsers include Ceres, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and National Wildlife Federation. [Full list]
              3. Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology Act
              4. Carbon Capture Improvement Act
              5. Carbon Capture Prize Act
              6. CarbonCapture Modernization Act
              7. Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act of 2019
              8. Fossil Energy Research and Development Act of 2019

              At this same time, as part of the bipartisan Carbon Dividend Act and Baker-Schultz Plan, a “climate liability waiver” is being sought for big polluters.

              The Hewlett Foundation is a supporter of the Clean Air Task Force. [Source]

              “Solving the problem will likely also require large investments in “negative emissions”—chiefly carbon capture and storage, soil carbon sequestration, and afforestation, but possibly also direct air capture or geoengineering”.

               

              — Hewlett Foundation, Climate Initiative strategy 2018-2023

              [Further reading: Extractivism is Winning and the Green New Deal is the Perfect Distraction, February 6, 2019]

              [Further reading: The Green New Deal Has an AFL-CIO Problem, January 7, 2019]

              “This is the era of Bana and now Greta; it is the digital age of internet marketing, a tool even for ISIS. And the age of an american populace searching for environmental solutions at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream section of the super market. Or at the Prius dealership. There are no capitalist solutions. Full stop. Indulging this stuff is an absolute waste of time. The Green New Deal et al….waste of time. The environmental crises is real but obscured by western media, not clarified. Education is critically important, and stopping the extreme privilege of the elite class. Equality is the real green.”

               

              Imperialism and the Stupid Show, June 11, 2019

              The Global CCS Institute

              “The evidence makes it clear. CO2 needs to be removed from the atmosphere, known as carbon dioxide removal (CDR), using negative emissions technologies (NETs) to meet global warming targets. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is emerging as the best solution to decarbonise emission-intensive industries and sectors and enable negative emissions.”

               

              Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage, The Global CCS Institute, March 14, 2019

               

              “The Institute has a unique and unrivalled membership including governments, global corporations, private industry and academia. Amongst its representation, are the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Australia, and multinationals such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Toshiba, Kawasaki and BHP.”

               

              The Global CCS Institute website

              The Global CCS Institute is “the world’s leading authority on carbon capture and storage (CCS) – an international climate change organisation whose mission is to accelerate the deployment of CCS as an imperative technology in tackling climate change and providing energy security.” Following the announcement of the institute by the Australian Government in September 2008, Norway and the UK announced their support for the project as did WWF. Masdar (Abu Dhabi), The Climate Group, Anglo American and Shell International would become the founding partners as would Alstom, Mitsubishi Corporation, Rio Tinto Ltd, Services Petroliers Schlumberger, and Xstrata Coal. The institute was formally launched in April 2009. [13]

              With a team of approximately 40 professionals, its diverse international membership includes “governments, global corporations, private companies, research bodies and non-governmental organisations; all of whom are committed to CCS as an integral part of a clean energy future. Amongst its representation, are the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Australia, and multinationals such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Toshiba, Kawasaki and BHP.” The Global CCS Institute is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with offices in Washington D.C., Brussels, Beijing, London and Tokyo. [Source] [Source]

              Serving as an international advisor to the Global CCS Institute is Nicholas Stern.

              From 2000-2003, Stern served as chief economist and senior vice president to the World Bank. He currently serves as the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and has served as chair of the Grantham Research Institute since its inception in 2008. From 2003-2007, Stern was head of the Government Economic Service and Adviser to the UK Government on the Economics of Climate Change and Development, reporting to the Prime Minister. In 2006, he authored the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change which received international attention. From 2004-2005, he oversaw the Report of the Commission for Africa. [Bio][Source]

              In addition to his extensive background [14], most notably, Stern serves as co-chair to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate – now the New Climate Economy. Discussed in ACT V of the Manufacturing Consent series, the New Climate Economy is at the helm of the “fourth industrial revolution” with the World Economic Forum and the World Resources Institute. Stern also serves as commissioner to the Energy Transitions Commission and has been selected to serve as a One Planet Lab member, the aforementioned high-level advisory group steered by the French Government.

              Global CCS Institute strategic partners include:

              • Asian Development Bank
                • Bellona Foundation
                  • Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum
                    • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
                      • International Energy Agency
                        • International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme
                          • International Energy Forum
                            • The Climate Group
                              • United Nations Industrial Development Organisation
                                • William J Clinton Foundation
                                  • World Bank
                                  • The links for the majority of the Global CCS Institute annual membership lists no longer exist, however, the 2014 and 2015 membership (375 members for both 2014 and 2015) can still be accessed. [Global CCS Institute 2014 membership, Global CCS Institute 2015 membership] Collaborating participants in 2014 include the European Commission, the International Energy Agency, the International Energy Forum, OPEC and the World Bank.

                                    “The International Energy Agency has established that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critical component in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

                                     

                                    — United States Energy Association Briefing, May 16, 2019

                                    The requirement to keep our suicidal living arrangements intact is made clear:

                                    “CCS is endorsed by the highest echelons of science and academia which confirm that it is the only mitigation technology able to deeply decarbonise large industrial sectors. CCS is the only technology capable of reducing large-scale emissions from myriad industrial sources, particularly the gigantic steel, cement and petrochemical industries.”

                                     

                                    The Global CCS Institute

                                     

                                    “CCS is the only technology able to curtail emissions from the more than 500 new coal plants currently being built around the world (and the additional 1000 in planning). In the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, around 210 gigawatts of coal plants are fitted with CCS globally, 150 GW of which are in China.”

                                     

                                    The Global CCS Institute [Emphasis added]

                                    BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) refers to the application of CCS to bioenergy production. The marketing of BECCS promises large-scale negative emissions when CCS is applied to the “transformation” (death) of trees and crops (to be largely genetically engineered and planted using drones) into energy fuels. The Global CCS Institute supports BECCS alongside organisations including the Royal Society, the International Energy Agency, Stanford University and Imperial College London (amongst others). [Source: The Global CCS Institute]

                                    “[F]or BECCS technology to be truly effective in reducing CO2 emissions, massive tracts of arable land need to be cultivated and these are not always available, or easily utilised.”

                                     

                                    The Global CCS Institute

                                     

                                    “In a recent reality check, scientists estimated what it would take to sequester 1 billion tonnes of carbon using BECCS based on switchgrass feedstock. Their findings showed a startling 218-990 million hectares of land would have to be converted to switchgrass (which is 14-65 times as much land as the US uses to grow corn for ethanol); also 17-79 million tonnes of fertiliser a year – which would be 75% of all global nitrogen fertiliser used at present; and 1.6-7.4 trillion cubic metres of water a year.”

                                     

                                    — ‘Uncertainties’ is an understatement, when it comes to BECCS, November 10, 2014

                                    As the tireless Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch, has argued for the past decade, “the carbon consequences of bioenergy [are] far from “climate friendly” or “carbon neutral,” a myth that has been perpetuated by industry proponents and even parroted by many naive environmentalists.” [Source] Yet Smolker’s reference to “naive environmentalists” is far too kind. The truth is, most naive environmentalists are not environmentalists at all. They are lobbyists presented as environmentalists (via framing and spectacle), well rewarded and financially compensated for their “activism”. An activist fights to protect nature – not lobbies to destroy it. [Last-ditch climate option or wishful thinking?, Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, 2015 BECCS Report, Smoke and Mirrors Report.]

                                    The Land is Sacred

                                    Guatemala: Petén at the center of the sustainable development plans of the NGOs, March 22, 2019

                                    “Both by origin and by position in capitalist society, worker and peasant are blood brothers.”

                                     

                                    The Coalition of the Working Class and the Peasantry under Capitalism [Source]

                                    Once upon a time, environmentalism actually meant the defence of the natural world. The soil, the microorganisms. The water. Everything that the natural world offered in all of her glory. Then came a very dark time, when environmentalism came to encompass the defence of an economic system that benefited the few. Today, we witness the “herding of cats” (GCCA) mobilized to further destroy the environment – under the guise of a climate change emergency. The spectacle repackages and presents the tragedy as environmental activism.

                                    “We distinguish between large-scale violence linked to armed conflicts (civil, guerrilla or international) rooted in struggles over natural resources, and that aimed at individuals or particular communities or groups of individuals due to their acts of resistance and/or protection of their land or environmental rights. Environmental defenders currently face a wave of violence that includes threats of physical harm, intimidation and criminalization. We focus on the deaths of environmental defenders.”

                                     

                                    The Supply Chain of Violence, August 2019, Nature

                                    In 2019, the words “activist” and “environmentalist” have become commodified and meaningless. It’s past time to replace them both with one term that cannot be subjected to rebranding or reframing – land defenders. The act of defending the natural world by any means necessary. There is a reason that land defenders in occupied countries continue to be murdered, rather than featured on the covers of Vogue and GQ. The reason being – they pose a threat to the very system orchestrating the spectacle that we are currently subjected to. “In 2017, at least 185 environmental and land defenders were killed. Of these, Indigenous peoples died in higher numbers than any other group.” [Source] August 5, 2019: “At least 1,558 people in 50 states were killed between 2002 and 2017 while trying to protect their land, water or local wildlife.” [Source] None of these land defenders, prior to their executions, were given international press coverage, let alone presented as heroic by the media. None were bolstered to international fame. None were featured on the cover of Time magazine, or lavished praise by heads of state, the World Bank or CEOs.

                                    To a society made oblivious and subservient by the spectacle, violence and death upon the marginalized “other” is normalized, while all the glaring contradictions go undetected, or worse, disregarded.

                                    +++

                                    Here we must recall that the term “net zero” does not mean zero emissions – and that the term “100 percent renewable energy” generally refers to electricity which constitutes approximately 20 percent of total energy use. To be clear, approximately 80% of total energy usage is not electricity. Therefore, to keep the engine of global industrialization running – in order to maintain current power structures – CCS and negative emissions technologies (NETs) are a requirement. All the rest is more or less storytelling. The CCS/NETs fantasy is what the ruling classes hope will keep the populace entrenched in the false belief that our planetary crises can be resolved within the global capitalist framework. To rub salt further into the wounds of disenchantment, in many instances, the largest component of the aforementioned 20% which is categorized as “renewable energy” – is actually biomass. The destruction, death, chipping and burning of the planet’s last remaining forests – along with all the biodiversity they once held.

                                    More key “solutions” to be implemented by the world’s largest corporations are investments into “green” energy for electricity (with biofuels at the forefront) coupled with “certified environmental projects” (carbon offsets).

                                    “It is impossible to radically cut emissions right away – but it is possible to neutralize our global annual co2 emissions of 3.3 million metric tonnes in the short term…”

                                     

                                    May 10, 2019 climate change video, BoschGlobal

                                     

                                    “These organizations’ concept of conservation can be seen as part of the neoliberal model, given the way in which Protected Areas are viewed economically. If the State wants to conserve, it has to pay to do so.”

                                     

                                    Guatemala: Petén at the center of the sustainable development plans of the NGOs, March 22, 2019

                                    An Astronomical Injection of Money into Climate Messaging

                                    “In September 2018, in the largest-ever philanthropic investment focused on climate change mitigation, 29 philanthropists pledged USD 4 billion over five years to combat climate change. Oak has pledged USD 75 million. This represents a broad global commitment to accelerate proven climate and clean-energy strategies, spur innovation and support organisations around the world to protect the air we breathe and the communities we call home.”

                                     

                                    Oak Foundation website

                                    Since 2009, the Oak Foundation has channeled a phenomenal amount of funding into ClimateWorks and designated climate change initiatives via selected NGOs. A partner in the ‘Design to Win’ platform for climate philanthropy, Oak is represented on both the ClimateWorks and ECF boards. Prior to the Oak’s 75 million USD commitment to ClimateWorks announced on September 14, 2018, Oak had gifted this same amount to ClimateWorks in 2014. [Source] The September 14, 2018 announcement of a 4 billion USD pledge by 29 foundation/philanthropies [15] would represent the largest philanthropic investment in climate mitigation in history.

                                    The largest recipient of Oak funding is ClimateWorks ($167 million), followed by the European Climate Foundation ($41 million), WWF ($24 million), Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors ($17 million), Human Rights Watch ($13 million) and Greenpeace ($10.5 million). There is an imperative here to understand that these organizations are the key to the behavioural change for the global populace – change sought and heavily financed by foundations. (Of special interest is the funding emphasis on NGO campaigns in Brazil. [16])

                                    • Access Now (Avaaz), 2018: $1,200,000.00
                                      • 350.org, 2011-2017: $3,998,834.00
                                        • Amnesty, 2011-2018: $3,600,000.00
                                          • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (led by Michael Bloomberg), 2017-2018: $3,250,000.00
                                            • Carbon Tracker, 2014-2018: $1,690,800.00
                                              • Climate Works, 2009-2018: $167,100,000.00
                                                • European Climate Foundation, 2008-2018: $41,246,517.00
                                                  • Global Call For Climate Action (GCCA/TckTckTck), 2009-2016: $7,223,746.00
                                                    • Greenpeace, 2005-2018: $10,535,158.00
                                                      • Human Rights Watch, 2008-2018: $12,981,535.00
                                                        • More In Common, 2018 (Purpose): $400,000.00
                                                          • Purpose (Avaaz), 2012-2018 (Brazil campaigns): $4,624,781.00
                                                            • Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc., 2010-2018 (Climate Nexus): $16,877,743.00
                                                              • World Resources Institute, 2007-2018: $5,455,658.00
                                                                • WWF, 2005-2018: $23,834,441.00
                                                                • [Source: Oak Foundation. All current grants / Latest update 22.02.2019]

                                                                  Here, it is wise to pause and reflect upon the fact that the astronomical aforementioned funding from the Oak Foundation to the aforementioned handful of NGOs represents only the monies received from a single foundation – not taking into account the monies received from a multitude of other foundations. Further, the few NGOs identified in Oak’s grantee list, represent a tiny handful of organizations and accompanying grants – out of hundreds and thousands. One could rightly muse that the non-profit industrial complex is the largest army in the world.

                                                                  The pledge of 4 billion USD announced on September 14, 2018, “the largest-ever philanthropic investment focused on climate change mitigation” (ClimateWorks press release), demands that one takes a closer look at the foundations aligning their interests, led by ClimateWorks. Backers include Bloomberg Philanthropies, Grantham Foundation, IKEA Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Sea Change Foundation, Sir Christopher Hohn and The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Turner Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. [Full list]

                                                                  Of these foundations most, if not all, are aligned with the existing Blended Finance Taskforce, or the blended finance vehicle being developed under the auspices of the Climate Finance Partnership (announced September 26, 2018 at the One Planet Summit). The blended finance vehicles have been identified as the key to mobilize institutional capital for climate infrastructure in the developing world, by unlocking public funds. This 4 billion dollar “commitment” must be recognized as not a gift, but rather as an investment in their own expanding fortunes. Indeed, the press release itself cites the 4 billion as an investment. Today’s “climate wealth opportunity” is an opportunity for “philanthropists” to expand their epic largesse accumulated via the exploitation of labour coupled with the destruction of the natural world. Through the magic of language and framing, the money captured from the citizenry is repackaged as a gift from those that stole it. Criminals repackaged into divine beings via the media construct and societal conditioning.

                                                                  “This initiative is a breakthrough, and very welcomed by civil society. Political leaders need to feel the pressure from their constituencies to prioritize action on climate change. By supporting a strong base of mobilizers, influencers and change agents in local communities around the world, this commitment can help accomplish that.”

                                                                  Wael Hmaidan, executive director of Climate Action Network (CAN) International, Philanthropic Community Announces $4 Billion Commitment to Combat Climate Change, September 14, 2018 [Emphasis added]

                                                                  One may wonder how foundations have acquired these billions of dollars. Wael Hmaidan, executive director of Climate Action Network (CAN) International (quoted above) was an invitation only participant of the Climate Briefing Service (CBS) at COP15. A service created in order to control and dominate the communications, talking points and narrative on climate change. [A Decade of Social Manipulation for the Corporate Capture of Nature – Crescendo]

                                                                  One grantee of the CBS was The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). We will explore it briefly.

                                                                  The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

                                                                  In 2003, investor and hedge fund manager Christopher Cooper-Hohn founded the very private and exclusive Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), “a successful — and controversial — hedge fund that has become a gadfly to corporate giants like CSX, the American railroad.” Cooper’s then spouse, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, would oversee the affiliated charity, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation was financed by a portion of the fund’s fees generated by the hedge fund in order to finance the foundation. CIFF received its initial funding as donations from The Children’s Investment Fund Management which manages the London-based hedge fund.

                                                                  “The marriage of business and philanthropy that is at the heart of the Children’s Investment Fund and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation provides a great tool to effect serious change in the developing world.”

                                                                   

                                                                  Former US President Bill Clinton, 2006 [Source]

                                                                   

                                                                  “We are on the cusp of a sea change,” she said, citing a large increase in new wealth, the changing role of the state and the emergence of private equity and hedge fund donors as factors driving that change.”

                                                                   

                                                                  Susan Mackenzie, Philanthropy UK, 2006

                                                                  In 2004, the fund generated returns of between 42 to 44%  (depending on the class of share invested in). Returns for 2005 were 50 to 52%. [Source] In 2008, the New York Times reported that investors who had been with the fund since the beginning were rewarded with a 42% annual internal rate of return. In 2013, TCI’s flagship Master Fund generated a whopping 47% return representing one of the highest performing hedge funds in the world. Again, in 2016 it was reported that the “TCI Enjoys Record Year With 47% Return”.

                                                                  “Competitors praise Mr. Hohn’s business model for the hedge fund. ‘Hohn is a marketing genius,’ said a hedge fund manager. ‘Who wants to go up against a firm whose name is the Children’s Investment Fund?'”

                                                                   

                                                                  — New York Times, November 13, 2006

                                                                  The New York Times would also report that “about 90 percent of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation’s assets are reinvested with T.C.I.”, adding a quote by Jamie Cooper-Hohn: “It is hard to match those returns with any other investment. I may have a biased perspective, but we have one of the best investment firms in the world taking care of our capital.”

                                                                  “TCI’s returns were fueled by its investments in the British Royal Mail, which went public last year, News Corp. and European Aeronautic Defense and Space, the parent of airplane-maker Airbus.”

                                                                  January 8, 2014

                                                                  Following the divorce of the Cooper-Hohns in 2014, the firm no longer contributes to the children’s charity as per the fees built into the original business model (that funneled money into CIFF, the charitable arm of TCI), but instead makes contributions on a discretionary basis.

                                                                  “Hohn — whose net worth was recently pegged at $3 billion by Forbes — returned to activist investing and through TCI bought large stakes in Australian railway company QR National, Japan Tobacco and News Corp. Today, the fund also maintains large stakes in telecommunications company Charter Communications, European plane manufacturer Airbus and global agricultural firm Syngenta.”

                                                                   

                                                                  The billion-dollar bankroller, October 1, 2018

                                                                  In 2018, TCI’s steady and enormous returns crashed. January 11, 2019, Extraordinary’ Month Heaps Further Pain on Hedge Funds:

                                                                  “Activist investor Chris Hohn of TCI Fund Management Ltd., who has never lost money in a year except for 2008, saw a 7 percent loss in December that erased nearly all of his gains for 2018, according to a letter to investors seen by Bloomberg.”

                                                                  With capitalism “in danger of falling apart” (July 27, 2014, Al Gore) and global economic growth “now in free fall (Globe & Mail, January 3, 2019), again, it must be painfully reiterated that the global climate change mobilizations are not being orchestrated and propelled for the purpose of “saving the planet”, rather, the mobilizations have been designed and encouraged for the sole purpose of saving capitalism. To save the world’s billionaires from the horrific fate of being equal to the wage worker that they exploit.

                                                                  “The most important principle that I have about having an impact is that the people who have their hands on the various levers of power to change things have got to consider this an emergency. That this is a crisis situation, and if we don’t resolve it well, we are going to have a serious situation.”

                                                                   

                                                                  — Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with $160 billion in assets, April 25, 2019 [17]

                                                                  December 12, 2017, the One Planet Summit at the Elysée palace in Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron (3rdR) meets with English investor Christopher Hohn (L), US businessman and politician Michael Bloomberg (2ndL), US entrepreneur Bill Gates (behind Bloomberg), British entrepreneur Richard Branson (4thL), US businessmen CraigMcCaw (R) and Nat Simons (2ndR), US technical expert Eric Gimon (5thR) and President of Virgin Unite, Jean Oelwang (7thR) AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

                                                                  Like Al Gore’s Generation Investment, whose own holdings fail to reflect his feigned concern over climate and poverty in the Global South (which his investments exacerbate), TCI’s holdings are in railway (an industry which has experienced a spectacular revival due to the transport of oil via rail led by both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates), Google/Alphabet, communications (television, media, cable) and chemicals – while the charitable arm – the CIFF – is firmly entrenched in colonial mindset, with a focus on “family planning” in the Global South.

                                                                  May 8, 2017: “Pfizer Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) today announced a multi-year extension of their collaboration to further broaden access to Pfizer’s all-in-one injectable contraceptive, Sayana® Press (medroxyprogesterone acetate), for women most in need in some of the world’s poorest countries.”

                                                                  Working with the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and others, CIFF is focused on managing the reproductive rights of women and girls in the Global South using “Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives” (LARCs). This is not about women’s rights, rather it is about dominance, control and white supremacist values/ideologies. Of course, it is also about profits and new markets: “By the end of 2016, 6.4 million units of Sayana Press were shipped to 20 developing world countries, potentially reaching more than 1.5 million women – up from 350,000 women at the end of 2014. Pfizer is continuing to make investments in its manufacturing facilities to meet the expected increase in market demand.” [Source]

                                                                  The contraceptive injection contains a progestogen hormone called depo medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). Studies convey that DMPA can raise the risk of HIV infection in exposed women by approximately 40%. Depo-Provera is the injected contraceptive encouraged and supplied by imperial NGOs, corporations and institutions such as WWF, Johnson & Johnson and USAID. Sayana Press is very similar to Depo-Provera and also contains DMPA. The injections are required every 12 weeks. Infertility and bone density loss are just two more of the many associated health risks of DMPA/LARCs.

                                                                  CIFF has committed 43 million USD “to create a sustainable global market for Sayana Press to increase access to an innovative contraceptive choice for girls and women”. Partners in this venture targeting Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia include Concept Foundation, Crown Agents, DKT International, FHI360, JSI, Marie Stopes International, PATH, Pfizer and The United Nations Population Fund. Other funders of the colonial project include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID, UNFPA and USAID. [Source] [November 18, 2016: “Nearly half a million doses of Sayana Press (DMPA-SC in Uniject) administered in four countries: As access to Sayana® Press (subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, or DMPA-SC in Uniject™) expands globally, PATH has monitored product consumption in four pilot introduction countries: Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda.”] [Source]

                                                                  An uncomfortable yet necessary question is required at this juncture. How many teenage climate strikers in Sweden, Belgium, Paris, inclusive of young Greta Thunberg, are receiving Sayana Press or Depo-Provera injections in response to over population concerns and “innovative contraceptive choice for girls and women”? The question of course is rhetorical, as we all know the answer: none.

                                                                  The image above demonstrates what populations are unequivocally responsible for the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is not new information. Rather, like the Indigenous led People’s Agreement of Cochabamba, produced in 2010, the paper and contents were ignored, marginalized and made invisible.

                                                                  “The world’s richest half-billion people are responsible for 50 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.”

                                                                   

                                                                  Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat, April 13, 2009

                                                                  In 2007, Professor Stephen Pacala of Princeton University calculated the emissions per person based on 6.5 billion people. He concluded that the wealthiest 15% emit 75% of all global greenhouse gas emissions while the 3 billion poorest people emit essentially nothing. In the 2009 paper, Sharing Global CO2 Emission Reductions Among One Billion High Emitters, the authors highlighted that “one billion high emitters” was chosen as a metaphor for a globally coordinated attack on climate change.

                                                                  “In contrast, the rich are really spectacular emitters. …the top 500 million people [7.5% of humanity] emit half the greenhouse emissions. These people are really rich by global standards. Every single one of them earns more than the average American and they also occur in all the countries of the world…

                                                                   

                                                                  “Pacala’s data shows the globally wealthy could solve the crisis. Most importantly, it also shows there is absolutely no other way. Humanity must cut fossil fuel emissions massively and the only people who can cut global fossil fuel use to the extent needed are the wealthiest 15%. Furthermore, most of the cuts will need to be made by the wealthiest 7.5%, because they are using almost all of it. The globally wealthy must make the major reductions.” [Source]

                                                                  Today, Pacala chairs a 24-member national committee (the Carbon Mitigation Initiative) calling for an immediate push for CO2-removal technology (NETs). [Source]

                                                                  Showing the direct correlation between income/wealth and emissions, a 1996 study surmised that citizens in the U.S. who earned in excess of $75,000 generated nearly four times the CO2 emissions as those who earned less than $10,000. The authors of the book “A Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy”, who cited this study, state that while comparing the disparities between nations was difficult, a single definitive observation could be made: “It can be said with confidence that the world’s richest people cause emissions thousands of times greater than those of the world’s poorest.” [Source]

                                                                  Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has stated in numerous lectures that 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions are created by the world’s richest 1% (the Pareto 80:20 rule). Anderson recently detailed the huge potential reductions in carbon emissions if the world’s top 10% of emitters were forced to reduce their carbon emissions to the level of a typical EU citizen – global emissions would be cut by 33%. [Source] The not so invisible irony of this, not lost on Anderson, is that the 1% comprises the ruling classes in control of the global economy – inclusive of the policy makers, scientists, and all of those controlling the narrative. Under the very top tier (the billionaire and millionaire class) would be those who can afford to get on a plane.

                                                                  At this juncture, we could discuss the high-level meetings being organized by the black supremacist bourgeoisie in the Global South in response to the planetary ecological crises being created by the richest 10% in the Global North. Those responsible for half of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, we cannot, as there are none.

                                                                  The CIFF Leadership

                                                                  Today, Kate Hampton serves as the CEO of CIFF. As outlined earlier within this segment, Hampton serves as vice-chair to the supervisory board of the European Climate Foundation (ECF).

                                                                  Hampton is a member of the FP2020 (family planning for brown people) Reference Group and has been featured in the top 100 Profiles of Paris, “a collection of stories from the key people who created the Paris Agreement” created by Christiana Figueres. Prior to serving CIFF, Hampton was Head of Policy at Climate Change Capital, a boutique investment firm with $1.5 billion under management. In addition, Hampton served as Head of the Climate Change Campaign for Friends of the Earth International. She has served as Senior Policy Advisor for the United Kingdom’s G8 and EU presidencies in 2005, and as a Sherpa to the EU High-Level Group on Competitiveness, Energy and Environment in 2007. In 2008, Hampton was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. [Source]

                                                                  Graeme Sweeney serves as the current Chairman of the Board for CIFF. Following a 35-year career at Royal Dutch Shell, which included heading its global renewable business, Sweeney is a founder of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. [Full bio]

                                                                  In 2016, Mark Malloch-Brown stepped down as interim chairman and rotating off the CIFF board after five years as a trustee. Malloch-Brown is the founder of the International Crisis Group and Open Society Foundations Global Board Member. He is a former number two in the United Nations and has served in the British Cabinet and Foreign Office. Other positions served include World Bank vice president, lead international partner in a political consulting firm, and vice chairman of the World Economic Forum. Malloch-Brown is the co-founder and former chair of The Business and Sustainable Development Commission. On March 18, 2019, Malloch-Brown was appointed board member of the United Nations. [Full Bio]

                                                                  [CIFF Board of Trustees and Executive Team]

                                                                  Other CIFF benefactors include C40 cities (Michael Bloomberg and Bill Clinton), an implementation partner of We Mean Business, with grants in the amount of 9,640,000.00, 24,300,000.00, and 6,522,000.00 USD. [Source] [Source] [Source]

                                                                  A sum of 20.9 million USD has been granted by the CIFF to the European Climate Foundation, making it the single largest benefactor under the climate and energy category. [Source]

                                                                  On a side note, Chris Hohn (CIFF), Tom Steyer (Next Gen), Richard Branson (The B Team, We Mean Business, The Elders, The Carbon War Room, etc.), Mark Benioff (Salesforce) – are all co-founders of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. Launched in 2015 at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the coalition has a keen focus on the expansion of nuclear.

                                                                  On May 29, 2019, the European Commission announced the launch of a €100 million clean energy investment fund in partnership with Breakthrough Energy, the “Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe.” In reality, outside of the spectacle,this partnership was already sealed on October 2017, 2018: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: “We must push for the modernisation of Europe’s economy and industry in order to meet the ambitious targets put in place to protect our planet. Pooling public and private investment in new, innovative clean energy technology is key to enabling long-term solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Maroš Šef?ovi?,Vice-President of the Commission for the Energy Union, remarked: “The scale and speed of what is needed to reach our climate goals require innovative thinking and bold action. Not only is this new public-private investment vehicle being set up in record time, it will also serve as an example of us joining forces to accelerate breakthrough innovation in Europe.” The release added:Breakthrough Energy Europe links public funding with long-term risk capital so that clean energy research and innovation can be brought to market faster and more efficiently… It is a pilot project that can serve as a model for similar initiatives in other thematic areas.” [Emphasis added]

                                                                  It is worth observing that as of March 29, 2019, the TCI hedge fund was up 18%.

                                                                  +++

                                                                  In Volume II we take a closer look at the Climate Finance Partnership.

                                                                   

                                                                  End Notes:

                                                                  [1] The Price of Climate Action: Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena, Bartosiewicz and Miley.  p. 51]

                                                                  [2] ClimateWorks grantors: 2009, 2010, and 2011 annual reports:

                                                                  • Arcadia Fund
                                                                  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
                                                                  • Dutch Postcode Lottery
                                                                  • Elizabeth Simons
                                                                  • Ford Foundation
                                                                  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
                                                                  • Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment
                                                                  • Grousbeck Family Foundation
                                                                  • Heising-Simons Foundation
                                                                  • John and Ann Doerr
                                                                  • Kresge Foundation
                                                                  • Mark Heising
                                                                  • McCall MacBain Foundation
                                                                  • Meher Pudumjee
                                                                  • Mertz Gilmore Foundation
                                                                  • Oak Foundation
                                                                  • Pirojsha Godrej Foundation
                                                                  • Pisces Foundation
                                                                  • Robertson Foundation
                                                                  • Rockefeller Foundation
                                                                  • Schmidt Family Foundation
                                                                  • Stiftung Mercator
                                                                  • Stordalen Foundation
                                                                  • Tilia Fund
                                                                  • TomKat Charitable Trust
                                                                  • TOSA Foundation
                                                                  • United Nations Environment Programme—Global Environment Facility

                                                                   

                                                                  [3] The concept of the Energy Foundation “came from three recently appointed foundation presidents—Peter Goldmark (Rockefeller Foundation), Rebecca Rimel (Pew Charitable Trusts) and Adele Simmons (MacArthur Foundation)… Having validated the business plan, the three foundations proceeded to officially launch the EF in 1991 through a combined promissory grant of 20 million USD. By 1998, contributions to the EF were in excess of 100 million USD.” [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena, p. 45]

                                                                  [4] ClimateWorks regional partners:

                                                                  1) CLIMATE AND LAND USE ALLIANCE (CLUA): a “donor collaborative” of 6 foundations focused on forests and sustainable land as a means to “combating climate change”. Hosted at ClimateWorks Foundation, CLUA was established in 2006 by founding members ClimateWorks Foundation, Ford Foundation, Foundation, David & Lucile Packard, and the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. CLUA was later joined by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP) and Good Energies Foundation. It works not in the US, but in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Central America while simultaneously pursuing “a complementary global agenda of promoting policies, programs and finance in favor of sustainable land use.” [Source: Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors]

                                                                  2) ENERGY FOUNDATION CHINA (EF China): a program of the Energy Foundation with a focus on in the eight sectors of buildings, electric utilities, environmental management, industry, low-carbon development, renewable energy, sustainable cities and transportation. An English website.

                                                                  3) ENERGY FOUNDATION (EF): Founded in 1991, the EF programs focus on making the buildings, power, and transportation sectors more efficient, and on advancing policy solutions that build markets for clean energy technology. Grantees include business, health, labor, environmental, faith, property-rights, and consumer groups, as well as military organizations, think tanks, and universities.

                                                                  4) EUROPEAN CLIMATE FOUNDATION (ECF): Founded in 2008, the ECF was launched as “a major philanthropic collaboration” to promote climate and energy policies that position Europe as an international leader role in climate mitigation.

                                                                  5) INICIATIVA CLIMATICA DE MEXICO (ICM): The ICM programs focus on decarbonizing the electricity sector, low-carbon transportation, and national climate policy.

                                                                  6) INSTITUTO CLIMA E SOCIEDADE (ICS): “a hub for philanthropy in Brazil, providing grant support to civil society, academic, and government institutions and convening diverse stakeholders to catalyze action on climate policy, clean and efficient electricity, and urban mobility.”

                                                                  [5] Full text: “And here, too, the solution was ingenious. To begin, they proposed to create a central hub—the ClimateWorks Foundation—which would serve as grantor of funds to a coordinated global network. The network, in turn, consisted of two sorts of organizations. First, there were “regional climate foundations” or RFCs. RFCs had expertise in particular geographies and would serve as regrantors of funds from ClimateWorks to the most appropriate NGOs for particular work. There was, for example, the Energy Foundation in the U.S., the European Climate Foundation (or ECF) in Europe, Energy FoundationChina in China, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation in India, Latin America Regional Climate Initiative (LARCI) in Latin America, and Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) in Indonesia (though it also works in Central and South America). A second set of organizations were called “best practices networks” or BPNs. These brought expertise in particular sectors, one in each sector for a total of seven. So, there was the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), and the Institute for Industrial Productivity, and so on. To work on transportation in Europe, then, ClimateWorks would simply channel money to ECF and ICCT to work together on the problem.”
                                                                  — Smith Celebration Lecture,
                                                                  February 7, 2017, Larry Kramer, President William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

                                                                  [6] “The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust was formed in 2005 by Jeremy Grantham, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (GMO) and his wife Hannelore. GMO currently manages approximately $80 billion in a variety of strategies for institutional investors. The Trust is a 501(c)(3) public charity and a Type II 509(a)(2) supporting organization that supports charities whose mission is environmental protection. Its endowment is approximately $250 million and its trustees include representatives from The Nature Conservancy, The World Wildlife Fund-US and Rare in addition to Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham.” [Source]

                                                                  [7] Interview with CATF founder Armand Cohen in 2013: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/sites/default/files/Armond_Cohen_7-23-13_%28public%29.pdf

                                                                  [8] “For his part, philanthropist Michael Bloomberg via his foundation and other donations is estimated since 2011 to have devoted $164 million to political and legal campaigns to shut down coal-fired power plants in the United States and he recently announced an additional $50 million in funding to expand such efforts to other countries.” (Carrington, 2017) [Source]

                                                                  [9]

                                                                  [10] John Podesta is the founder and a board member of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for American Progress. He served as Counselor to US President Barack Obama from January 2014 to February 2015. His duties included overseeing climate change and energy policy. In 2008, he served as co-chair of President Obama’s transition team, where he coordinated the priorities of the incoming administration’s agenda, oversaw the development of its policies, and spearheaded its appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees. Prior to founding the Center for American Progress in 2003, Podesta served as White House chief of staff to US President Bill Clinton. He also recently served on President Obama’s Global Development Council and the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Additionally, Podesta has held numerous positions on Capitol Hill, including counselor to Democratic Leader Sen. Thomas A. Daschle (1995-1996). A Chicago native, Podesta is a graduate of Knox College and the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is currently a visiting professor of law. He is the author of The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate and Our Country. [Source]

                                                                  [11] Reilly is also a senior advisor to TPG Capital LP, an international investment partnership. He headed the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992. He holds a B.A. degree from Yale, a J.D. from Harvard, and an M.S. in urban planning from Columbia University. [Source]

                                                                  [12] An announcement on June 19th is the first proof of concept that this 45Q tax incentive will drive more commercial investment. Occidental Petroleum and White Energy are now evaluating a project to capture up to 700,000 tons of CO2 from two of White Energy’s ethanol facilities in Hereford and Plainview, Texas. The oil field storage site, owned by Oxy, is in the same Permian Basin region and already has a geologic storage monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) plan approved by the US EPA. Depending on the results of the evaluation, the project could come on line as early as 2021. In a sense, it’s no surprise that an industrial source with low cost CO2 that’s near an oil field is looking to undertake such a project. But what’s clear from the companies’ joint statement is that the new 45Q incentive is what prompted them to take this step. [Source]

                                                                  [13] The Global CCS Institute became a legal entity in June 2009 when it was incorporated under the Australian Corporations Act 2001 as a public company and began operating independently as of July 2009. The Institute is a not-for-profit entity, limited by guarantee, and owned by its Members, with the Australian Government initially committing $100 million AUD annual funding to the organisation for a four-year period. [Source][Source][Source] [Source]

                                                                  [14] Stern serves as chair of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the LSE, President of the Royal Economic Society, Director of the India Observatory, and Fellow of the British Academy. [Source]

                                                                  [15]

                                                                  1. Barr Foundation
                                                                  2. Bloomberg Philanthropies
                                                                  3. Bullitt Foundation
                                                                  4. Dee & Richard Lawrence and OIF
                                                                  5. Grantham Foundation
                                                                  6. Growald Family Fund
                                                                  7. Heising-Simons Foundation
                                                                  8. IKEA Foundation
                                                                  9. Ivey Foundation
                                                                  10. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
                                                                  11. Joyce Foundation
                                                                  12. KR Foundation
                                                                  13. Kresge Foundation
                                                                  14. McKinney Family Foundation
                                                                  15. McKnight Foundation
                                                                  16. Oak Foundation
                                                                  17. Pirojsha Godrej Foundation
                                                                  18. Pisces Foundation
                                                                  19. Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF)
                                                                  20. Sea Change Foundation
                                                                  21. Sir Christopher Hohn and The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)
                                                                  22. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
                                                                  23. The Educational Foundation of America
                                                                  24. The George Gund Foundation
                                                                  25. The Grove Foundation
                                                                  26. The JPB Foundation
                                                                  27. Turner Foundation
                                                                  28. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
                                                                  29. Yellow Chair Foundation

                                                                  “Prominent funders included the Gordon and Betty Moore, Sea Change, Hewlett, and Packard foundations on the larger end, and smaller thought-leader funders such as the Rockefeller Brothers and Rockefeller Family philanthropies and the UN Foundation.” [p. 6: ClimateWorks Foundation: Lessons in Leadership and Learning December 2015, Source]

                                                                  [16] This Oak funding included 2.65 million to assist Climate Works in support of Instituto Clima e Sociedade which has separately received more than 5 million from Oak since 2018 to set up as a climate grantmaking organization in Brazil. Also notable is the 800K given to Purpose Climate Lab in Brazil.” [Source: www.oakfnd.org/assets/oak-foundation_-all-currrent-grants_latest-update-22.02.2019.pdf]

                                                                  [17] Ray Dalio is the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund. Bridgewater Associates has $160 billion in assets. In 2018 its largest fund rose 14%, even as hedge funds broadly lost an average of 6%. Dalio himself has a net worth north of $18 billion. [Source]

                                                                   

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

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