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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.]

 

 

 

 

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: Controlling the Narrative [Volume II, Act II]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: Controlling the Narrative [Volume II, Act II]

September 14, 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] [ACTS VI & VII forthcoming]

 

 

ClimateWorks, European Climate Foundation, the Global Strategic Communications Council & the Global Call for Climate Action

 

 

“On March 15, there was a global protest under “Fridays For Future” which saw demonstrations in Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Guwahati. Students from over 1,300 towns and cities went on planned strikes across the world on Friday, according to a statement from the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC).”

 

March 16, 2019, The Asian Age, City Youth Protest Climate Change

 

“I can’t breathe. Should I stop going to school?” “Kids need clean air”. “No more excuses”. These were some of the phrases on placards Delhi-NCR students carried as they joined the global “Fridays for Future” protest against climate change, urging governments and authorities to tackle the problem. The protests were started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg in August 2018, becoming a regular event on the 15th of every month. Students from over 1,300 towns and cities went on planned strikes across the world Friday, a statement from the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) said.”

 

March 17, 2019, Over 500 Delhi-NCR Students Join ‘Fridays For Future’ Climate Change Protest

Above: The European Climate Foundation Funders [Source]

In Volume II, ACT I, we explored the origins of US ClimateWorks and its core system in Europe, the European Climate Foundation (ECF).

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.

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… 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.”

As discussed in Volume II, Act I, 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]

“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.” [Source]

[Further reading on ClimateWorks and the ECF: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg For Consent – A Design To Win: A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment, Volume II, ACT I]

Serving as media director for both the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) is Daniel Donner.

Donner also presides over media relations and events for Greta Thunberg and family. [Source] [Source]

“Based in Brussels, Daniel works with media strategy and outreach as part of the ECF’s Strategic Communications team, focusing on both news media and digital platforms. He maintains relationships with key media correspondents and keeps them informed about international stories on energy and climate change, with the aim to raise the media narrative of EU climate ambition.” [Source]

As an example of Donner’s experience in climate change policy, in relation to governments and municipalities, one can read his July 5, 2017 C40 cities press release for the C40 Cities and Climate Action Network:

“Hundreds of cities, states and regions, businesses, investors, and civil society are moving to implement the Paris Agreement ahead of G20 meeting in Hamburg.”

Funders of the ECF include ClimateWorks (created by the Hewlett, Packard and McKnight foundations), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the KR Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Ikea Foundation, along with many more identified in the Climate Finance Partnership and Blended Finance Taskforce such as the Government of France, the Government of Germany, BlackRock and Grantham. The Climate Finance Partnership was established by French President Emmanuel Macron at the September 2018 One Planet Summit as a vehicle to tap into and mobilize institutional capital – by leveraging public funds. [Further reading: Volume I, Acts IV and VI of the Manufacturing for Consent series]

ClimateWorks receives funding for specific programs from foundations including the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Ford FoundationThe Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

+++

The Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) is a global communications network, set up by the ECF. Its purpose “is to plan and deliver strategic communications in the climate and energy fields at both the international and national levels.” [Source, p. 106]

“The network brings together communications specialists from around the world, each focusing on a particular country or region. They collaborate with and assist a wide range of actors: corporate, government, institutional, media, NGO, think tanks. Part of their work involves identifying high-potential campaigns and individuals, and helping them to plan their actions, target the right audiences and formulate their baseline messages, making sure along the way that each campaign bolsters an overarching narrative. Through the combination of behind-the-scenes (GSCC) and public communications activities, the ESC sought to shape the public debate around climate change.” [Source, p. 107] [Emphasis added]

Countries with GSCC-affiliated experts are growing. States represented thus far include as Australia, Poland, China, India, Brazil, France, Germany, Turkey, the EU, the UK, and the US.[Source] [Source]

As the Manufacturing Greta Thunberg For Consent series has demonstrated, the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) has played a leading and critical role as lead organizer and behavioural change agent in the climate “movement” realm over the last decade. In ACT VI of the series, we touched upon three other instrumental actors who have shaped present and future climate policies to reflect the desires of the ruling classes: the European Climate Foundation’s Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC), the Climate Briefing Service (CBS), and the International Policies and Politics Initiative (IPPI).

Funders of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) include ClimateWorks, the European Climate Foundation, International Policy and Politics Initiative (IPPI), the Oak Foundation, Foundation of Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Government of France, Purpose (Avaaz), the Government of Québec, The Rockefeller Foundation, the UNFCCC Secretariat, and the VK Rasmussen Foundation. [1] [Source] In 2017, GCCA secured new funding from the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC), the Waterloo Foundation, and the Institute for Climate and Society. [Source]

Jennifer Morgan, current executive director of Greenpeace International, (instrumental in the formation, launching and management of the GCCA) was also in charge of coordinating the International Policies and Politics Initiative (IPPI) formed in 2013. Leading up to COP15, IPPI worked closely with the European Climate Foundation’s (ECF) strategic communications team. [Further reading: A Decade of Strategic and Methodical Social Engineering, Volume I, ACT VI, Crescendo]

“IPPI was initially intended as a “discrete ECF programme” whose role was to “work behind the scenes.” While the ECF had given rise to the original idea and while it housed its dedicated staff, IPPI was very much presented as an autonomous and “unbranded” initiative (“unbranded” as in not linked to any particular organization). Jennifer Morgan from the WRI was appointed as its coordinator.”[Source, p. 101][Emphasis added]

The overlap between the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) and the European Climate Foundation’s Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) is extensive. As is the overlap between GCCA, GSCC, the CBS, and the IPPI. Yet, whereas GCCA played the lead role in the public realm, GSCC, like CBS and IPPI, would work behind the scenes as a largely invisible entity. [2]

“Secondly, whereas the GCCA pushed its partners to adopt, publicize and rally behind a common brand—TckTckTck—CBS and IPPI adopted a behind-the-scenes, unbranded approach, supplying partners with information and suggested key messaging but without ever appearing as the source of that information and messaging. CBS briefing recipients were systematically reminded that they were ‘confidential and not for public circulation.'” [Source, p. 111][Emphasis added]

This overlap extended to Climate Nexus [3], a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and organizer of the 2014 People’s Climate March in collaboration with with foundations and GCCA NGOs.

“The underlying idea was to ‘nurture and engage influential constituencies (industry alliances, ambassadors, foreign affairs think tanks, mayors, states and regions, security officials, humanitarian organisations) with a view of aligning organisations around political interventions as agreed with the relevant national communications capacity of the region.’ At the national and regional levels, this required identifying key narratives and spokespeople. To do this, CBS built up a team of country leads or ‘relationship managers.’ There again, there was an overlap between CBS, the GSCC and other associated communications outfits (Climate Nexus, [The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit] ECIU, etc.).” [Source, p. 112][Emphasis added]

By 2015, following the GCCA and the Climate Action Network (CAN-International) inaugural meeting in Paris the year prior, the groups had morphed into the “tightly focused, unbranded, Global Strategic Communications Committee (GSCC+) aimed at delivering powerful, positive messages ahead of the Paris COP21”:

Close integration among GSCC+ partners meant that, by Paris, coordination reached unprecedented levels, allowing us to operate in multiple languages worldwide before, during and after the COP. Work included media and policy analysis, pitching proactive stories, and a reactive strategy for unforeseeable threats and opportunities, involving a team including op-ed writers, graphic designers, social media campaigners, photographers and videographers. GCCA staff held key roles in this team, taking joint responsibility for overall coordination and rapid response, and leading the visual media crew, including the production of daily video newscasts broadcast via GreenTV. As part of this initiative, more than 350 participants from 107 different countries languages and 70 countries. Together, we framed the Paris Summit as a vital stepping stone in the ongoing and inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewables and greater climate resilience, and our ‘Road Through Paris’ message had a huge impact on media coverage at and after COP21 – aligning and amplifying the ‘good news’ story that the transition is both necessary and desirable.” [Source: Global Call for Climate Action Annual Report 2015–2016, p. 4][Emphasis added] [4]

Among CAN International funders in 2015 were Avaaz, ClimateWorks, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace, GSCC, Res Publica (co-founder of Avaaz), and WWF. [For the full list, see CAN’s 2015 Annual Report.]

“Within the climate community gravitating around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) space, one group in particular was especially satisfied with the Paris outcome. The members of this group were not just satisfied with the agreement but with themselves. They were convinced that they had played a pivotal role in the Paris success. Cutting across a variety of organizations and interests, this group of activists, consultants, business representatives, policy analysts, public figures, climate experts, communications and media specialists, and data analysts worked together—and often in collaboration with the UNFCCC and Parties to the negotiation—in the months and years leading up to COP21 to create the conditions for a “successful” Paris outcome. Late into the evening of December 12, at the Climate Action Network (CAN) International celebratory event in central Paris, members of this highly qualified and experienced network of individuals were celebrating not only the agreement but also their contribution to its realization. As they sang along to Queen’s “We are the Champions!” they had themselves in mind. This was their moment. This was their agreement.”

 

The Price of Climate Action: Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena] [p. 3] [Emphasis added]

Those who served on the GCCA Board of Directors in 2015-2016 include GCCA Board Vice-Chair Phil Ireland (Purpose), Online Progressive Engagement Network), Hoda Baraka (350.org), Fatima Denton (WWF International), Lo Sze Ping (WWF China), and Farhana Yamin, Associate Fellow, Chatham House, and recognized by the Financial Times as “one of the movement’s leading voices” in Extinction Rebellion.

“Over the next two years, GCCA aims to grow its new entrant network to 4,000+ members.”

 

Global Call for Climate Action Annual Report, 2015–2016 [Source]

The interlocking directorate between those serving ClimateWorks/EFC and the foundations, institutions and leading NGOs with “designs to win”, can be illustrated in the following brief examples:

  • Tim Nuthall serves as the international communications director at the European Climate Foundation. During 2016 Nuthall served as the communications director of the Christiana Figueres’ campaign to become the new secretary general of the United Nations. [Source] Nuthall was also short-listed for the 2014-2016 International Council for Science (ICSU) Road to Paris top “20 people we want to hear more from in the climate change debate.” [Source] [5]
  •  

  • Tom Brookes is executive director, strategic communications, and a member of the ECF Executive Management Team. Based in Brussels, Brookes works to advance the policy response to climate change, and has responsibility for external communications, public affairs, and political communications strategy for the ECF, its affiliates, and network. [Source] Having joined the ECF in 2009, Brookes is also senior advisor on international strategic communications for the ClimateWorks Foundation and executive director of the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC). [Source]
  •  

  • Christian Teriete is part of the ECF’s Strategic Communications unit working as the network director to coordinate the activities of an international team of communications specialists. Prior to joining the ECF in 2016, Teriete served as communications director for the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA). Prior to joining the GCCA in 2010, Teriete spent seven years working for WWF. From 2004 to 2006, he managed communications for the global PowerSwitch campaign. From 2007 to 2010, he coordinated WWF’s climate and energy campaigns in the Asia-Pacific region. [Source]
  •  

  • Andrew Schenkel “works primarily with the Global Strategic Communications Council, a global network of communications professionals in the field of climate and energy.” Prior to this role, Schenkel served as both communications Director and managing editor and director of special projects for Global Call for Climate Action – GCCA. [Source]
  •  

  • James Lorenz serves as Southeast Asia manager for the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC). “The role has required diplomacy, tact and leadership to forge relationships with a broad range of stakeholders – from investors at Vietnam Holdings, to Mission2020, led by former Executive Director of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres.” Prior to this Lorenz served as Australia lead to the GSCC. Prior to his work at GSCC, Lorenz served as senior media advisor, media manager, head of communications for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. [Source: Lorenz CV]
  •  

  • Aarti Khosla is director of Climate Trends. Prior to this position, Khosla was climate and energy communications specialist for Global Strategic Communications Council India for four years. Prior to this position, Khosla served WWF for seven years. [Source]
  •  

    As an example of the collaborative efforts between GSCC and affiliates, one can observe the Social Media Communications hybrid capacity-training program led by GSCC and assisted by GCCA co-founder Avaaz. [“Social Media Communications Skill Share (SMC) is a hybrid capacity building training organized by GSCC,Bankwatch and European Beyond Coal Campaign.] SMC aims to address the needs of the civil society organizations in Central Eastern Europe and Balkans Region”.] All online learning modules, weeks one to four were led by GSCC affiliates. Week 1 was led by GSCC’s Devin Bahceci (climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace) and Greg McNevin (communications director for Europe Beyond Coal, former strategic communications directors for GCCA, and former media relations specialist for Greenpeace). Week 2 was led by Daniel Donner (Thunberg media manager) and Paul Batty, both of GSCC, while the social media campaigning and engagement webinar was to be conducted by Iain Keith of Avaaz. The webinars were open to all interested people from the Europe Beyond Coal network and partner organizations. A day camp to “focus building skills together on concrete case of social media campaigning” was also organized. [Source]

    The ECF is the leading partner of the Beyond Coal campaign in Europe. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a major funder of ECF:

    “November 9 2017, New York, NY— Just after announcing a renewed commitment of $64 million to the Beyond Coal campaign in the United States and during this year’s UN Climate Conference COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, announced a $50 million-dollar commitment to partners worldwide to catalyze a global effort to move nations away from coal dependence. European Climate Foundation will be the leading partner in Europe.”

     

    Michael R. Bloomberg Commits $50 Million to International Effort to Move Beyond Coal, Reinforcing Leadership on Global Climate Action, ECF website

    As coal was phased out, natural gas moved in to take its place with energy corporations planning to add at least 150 new gas plants and thousands of miles of pipelines in the years ahead, in the US alone. [June 26, 2019: “As Coal Fades in the U.S., Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground”] It’s par for the course that Willett Advisors, the investment arm for the personal and philanthropic assets of Michael Bloomberg, specializes in oil and gas. Here, we can note that the lead at the environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies sits on the ECF supervisory board. [Further reading: Volume II, ACT I]

    +++

    A pivotal role in foundation funding, is hegemonic control and further colonization over states struggling to achieve or maintain their right to sovereignty. The protection and expansion of imperial foreign policies and economic interests is paramount. Consider that from 2015 to 2016, the Oak Foundation provided funding to the ECF in order to “expand and improve the public discourse on climate change and energy issues in India”. Not the Netherlands, where the project is based, but India. [“Starting with a focus on COP21, GSCC is working across a diverse set of partnerships including civil society groups, policy makers and the informed public to mainstream the discussions on climate change and energy in India.”] This is nothing more egregious than continued colonization under the guise of climate protection. [Source]

    Whereas 20th century missionaries carried out their conquests in servitude to colonial states, in the 21st century it has been international NGOs for the most part fulfilling this endeavour. A transition is underway, however. Whereas the NGOs comprising the non-profit industrial complex are this century’s primary force multipliers, today, in an avant-garde brave new world – meets society of spectacle, the new improved, modern weapon of choice has become the citizenry of a targeted demographic, who can be made to demand a camouflaged destruction of their own shared futures. Consumers have been shaped into prosumers – product and brand advocates –  who now take the lead in demanding products and/or change/reform. This new role is encouraged, nurtured, and repurposed by corporations as leverage to bolster their profits, growth and credibility under the guise of capitulation and benevolence. Unwittingly, the collective can be made to demand their own further servitude and enslavement under the guise of empowerment. Made both invisible and irrelevant is the labourer, now recognized as human capital, who with little to no disposable income, has become largely disposable.

    +++

    The European Climate Foundation (ECF) has provided the GSCC millions in funding since its inception. More recently, and notably, on August 9, 2018, the ECF granted the GSCC and the Philanthropy Task Force just over one million dollars:

    “This grant will support the European Climate Foundation’s Philanthropy Task Force. This was inspired by French President Emmanuel Macron to catalyze both private donors and development agencies to support climate mitigation in Southeast Asia, clean energy innovation, global clean air campaigns, and efforts to protect land-based carbon sinks. The second part of the grant will support ECF’s Global Strategic Climate Communications program. This grant will fund the GSCC’s core program and its India program. The key focus in this grant period is to create narratives of climate ambition at key moments throughout the year, both at international and national levels, in order to help turn sectors and governments from a simple commitment to the Paris Agreement to implementing its measures in earnest.” [Source][Emphasis added]

    The ECF grant exemplifies the cohesion between the European Climate Foundation’s Philanthropy Task Force with the European Climate Foundation’s Global Strategic Climate Communications program. Hence, the Philanthropy Task Force and the Global Strategic Climate Communications program can be considered shared/joint endeavours. Both endeavours belonging to the European Climate Foundation, “the core of the ClimateWorks system in Europe”.

    The Natural Capital Summit led by ClimateWorks Australia took place from June 6-7, 2019, as part of Climate Week Queensland 2019. A Natural Capital Roadmap was developed which will provide a framework for accelerating “natural capital thinking” in Australia. “The program is contributing to and benefiting from participation in the global Food and Land Use Coalition, led by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Resources Institute and others.” [Source]

    Rebrand: From Corporate Sycophant to Corporate Activist

    Both the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC) and Christiana Figueres are slowly being introduced and embedded into the public “activism” realm. The May 2, 2019 article “United Zero Emission Union until 2050 – recommends the Climate Change Committee” reports, “After the protests of Extinction Rebellion, climate strikes involving Greta Thunberg and the announcement of a climate threat by the parliaments of Scotland, Wales and the United Kingdom, climate change is at the top of the political agenda in the UK, even removing Brexit.” The article, which quotes both Christiana Figueres (highlighting her leadership position with Mission2020 as well as her past position as the executive secretary of the UNFCCC) and WWF, is published by Wojciech Makowski, Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC).

    Another recent example of the Figueres rebranding from elite and corporate strategist to activist can be explored in the April 12, 2019 op-ed written by Figueres with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. This follows an op-ed written by Figueres with Greta Thunberg in January 2019 as touched upon in this Volume of this series.

    On June 18, 2019, an additional case in point of Figueres being brought into the mainstream fold of manufactured activism can be identified in the form of an Extinction Rebellion podcast. A description of the Extinction Rebellion Podcast Episode 4 – Looking Forwards reads: “In our first episode since April’s International Rebellion, the Extinction Rebellion Podcast discusses the future.” The interview was highlighted in the June 26, 2019 XR newsletter. The episode also features The Guardian’s George Monbiot.

    L-R: Aarti Khosla (GSCC India), Christiana Figueres (Mission 2020 Convenor and former head of the UNFCCC), Dr. Arvind Kumar (Founder and Trustee, Lung Care Foundation), and Shweta Narayan (Healthy Energy Initiative India Coordinator) November 8, 2018 [Source]

    Within this series, we will spend a brief moment highlighting the close-knit relationship between Christiana Figueres and GCCA co-founder Avaaz. Avaaz’s for-profit sister org, Purpose, is a New York public relations firm specializing in behavioural change for clients. As the material demonstrates, Avaaz promotes and assists Figueres. Figueres, in turn, promotes Avaaz.

    We also need to highlight the relationship between Farhana Yamin (Extinction Rebellion) and Avaaz. The Avaaz branding and campaigns are heavily promoted through Yamin’s NGO “Track 0” website and affiliated Twitter account. Yamin, an “invitation only CBS participant” with others such as Iain Keith (Avaaz) and Jamie Henn (350.org) – also attended the 2015 Avaaz retreat with those such as Rajiv Joshi, Managing Director of Richard Branson’s The B Team. The B Team, is co-founder of We Mean Business. B Team leader and experts include Christiana Figueres and Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans. The B Team is managed by Purpose. Both Purpose and Greenpeace assisted in the creation of We Mean Business. [Volume 1, ACT ]

    We Have A Plan – M2020

    The Nature (“international weekly journal of science”), June 28, 2017 paper “Three Years to Safeguard Our Climate” [Christiana Figueres et al – Christiana Figueres, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Gail Whiteman, Professor in-Residence at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Johan Rockström, Chief Scientist of Conservation International, co-chair of the Future Earth Advisory Committee, Anthony Hobley, CEO of Carbon Tracker, and Stefan Rahmstorf oceanographer and climatologist at the Potsdam Institute] outlines a “six-point plan for turning the tide of the world’s carbon dioxide by 2020.”

    An excerpt from the Nature paper highlights the imperative, with a concession for the global economy:

    “After roughly 1°C of global warming driven by human activity, ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already losing mass at an increasing rate. Summer sea ice is disappearing in the Arctic and coral reefs are dying from heat stress — entire ecosystems are starting to collapse… The magnitude of the challenge can be grasped by computing a budget for CO2emissions — the maximum amount of the gas that can be released before the temperature limit is breached… If the current rate of annual emissions stays at this level, we would have to drop them almost immediately to zero once we exhaust the budget. Such a ‘jump to distress’ is in no one’s interest. A more gradual descent would allow the global economy time to adapt smoothly.” [Emphasis added]

    Here, we must note three things: 1) The global temperature not to exceed has always been 1°C (UNAGG, 1998). It was adjusted to 2°C by economist William Nordhaus in order to allow for continued global economic growth. 2) Even if emissions stopped tomorrow, the world will still be locked in to 2-4+°C (V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng, 2008), and 3) There is no remaining carbon budget, which should be obvious by the ecological devastation that has already taken place, as highlighted by authors.

    From the paper:

    The fossil-free economy is already profitable and creating jobs (www.clean200.org). A report this year by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the IEA shows that efforts to stop climate change could boost the global economy by $19 trillion. The IEA has also said that implementing the Paris agreement will unlock $13.5 trillion or more before 2050.”

    One wonders how a global economy enhanced by 19 trillion dollars, and the unlocking of trillions more, has anything to do with nature – in a scientific nature journal or otherwise (aside from contributing to nature’s further obliteration).

    The paper identifies six milestones in six sectors to prioritize actions developed by many of the NGOs and institutions laid out in the Manufacturing for Consent series: “Developed with knowledge leaders, these were reviewed and refined in collaboration with analysts at Yale University, the Climate Action Tracker consortium, Carbon Tracker, the low-carbon coalition We Mean Business, the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), advisory firm SYSTEMIQ [explored in Volume II], the New Climate Economy project and Conservation International.”

    And although carbon-intensive industries (iron, steel, cement, chemicals, oil, gas, etc.) are identified in the paper as emitting “more than one-fifth of the world’s CO2, excluding their electricity and heat demands”, neither the scientists Rockström, Schellnhuber, nor the signatories of the paper who now declare a global “climate emergency” deem it essential that we put the brakes on industrialization as quickly as possible. Rather, the goal is to accelerate it.

    The Signatories to the paper are most, if not all, those explored in this series, including World Resources Institute, the European Climate Foundation, ClimateWorks, Generation Investment, New Climate Economy, SystemIQ, Grantham Institute, The B Team, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, C40 Cities, CERES, We Mean Business, Unilever, Carbon Disclosure Project, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Conservation International, Sustainable Energy for All, International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary, and Climate Action Network. [The full list of co-signatories are identified in the paper’s supplementary information.] [6]

    These six sectors and milestones then form Christiana Figueres Mission2020 campaign, an initiative of Figueres’ Global Optimism project: The Climate Turning Point report published in April 2017 states: “These six milestones provide a vision for where we need to be by 2020 in order to successfully meet the climate turning point.”[Source]

    The Tracking Progress of the 2020 Climate Turning Point report was published by World Resources Institute in February 2019:

     The research shows that we are not yet on track. Despite encouraging progress in some areas such as the uptake of renewable energy, in many other areas, extraordinary action is necessary to meet the milestones. Encouragingly WRI analysis points to tremendous, untapped opportunities to scale up and accelerate action across all sectors.” [Source] [Emphasis in original]

    If the populace followed these institutions rather than NGOs such as Greenpeace, 350.org et al, we would not be easy fodder for such manipulation, as we are at present.

    M2020: Be A Part of It

    Echoing the sentiment and support for the September 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit is Figueres’ M2020 NGO:

    “BE A PART OF IT – Sept 23, 2019, | New York City”

    The call for further mobilization can be found under the “#2020 Don’t Be Late” section, on the Mission2020 website:

    The heartbeat moments below represent a few of the key opportunities to step up and engage in accelerating climate action so that we can meet the 2020 climate turning point.”

    This “activism” sought by Figueres, We Mean Business, et al., poses zero threat to the system destroying our world, or to those that oversee it. Rather, the “activism” eagerly bolstered by the ruling classes, has been identified as the strategic apparatus which can save the very system itself.

    The two “heartbeat moments” identified by M2020 are the #FridaysForFuture global climate strikes, “an opportunity for school children and adults alike to raise the voice of urgency for climate action and urge leaders to follow the Paris Agreement”, and The UN Secretary-General’s Summit in September 2019: “UN Secretary-General António Guterres is bringing world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to the UN Climate Summit on 23 September 2019. All relevant stakeholders who demonstrate the highest level of ambition and action will be invited to profile their efforts.” [Emphasis added]

    “The Paris Agreement signifies commitment to sustained industrial growth, risk management over disaster prevention, and future inventions and technology as saviour. The primary commitment of the international community is to maintain the current social and economic system. The result is denial that tackling GHG emissions is incompatible with sustained economic growth. The reality is that Nation States and international corporations are engaged in an unremitting and ongoing expansion of fossil fuel energy exploration, extraction and combustion, and the construction of related infrastructure for production and consumption. The targets and promises of the Paris Agreement bear no relationship to biophysical or social and economic reality.”

     

    Clive Spash, This Changes Nothing – The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2016

    Organizations contributing to the “2020 Climate Turning Point” report highlighted by Mission2020, what is best described as a continuum of the June 28, 2017 paper “Three Years to Safeguard Our Climate“, again include the same “leaders”, institutions and many of those identified in the Manufacturing Consent series. These include The New Climate Economy, SYSTEMIQ, We Mean Business, Conservation International, and World Resources Institute. [Full list] In section four, addressing global industrial processes, the need to accelerate the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is highlighted.

    The Age of Storytelling

    In 2015, Laurence Tubiana represented France as French ambassador and the lead negotiator for COP 21. In 2018, French president Macron appointed Tubiana to France’s High Council on Climate Change. Like Figueres, Tubiana is recognized as a leading architect of the Paris Agreement.

    Leading up to COP21 Tubiana, Figueres (in her role as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and members of the Climate Group attended the July 2015 World Summit Climate & Territories–Lyon (France). A pivotal focus of the meeting was the implementation if the carbon market, “a Tool for Green Economic Development”. [Press release, July 10, 2015]

    “Neoliberal language is rife across their reports and policy recommendations and their adoption of natural capital, ecosystems services, offsetting and market trading. These new environmental pragmatists believe, without justification, that the financialisation of Nature will help prevent its destruction. Thus, environmentalists promote carbon emissions trading but pay little attention to its dangers and failures (Spash, 2010). For example, Nat Keohane of the Environmental Defence Fund has noted on their website how they pushed in the corridors of Paris for ‘an opening for markets’. The right-wing government of New Zealand, leading an 18-country lobby, also had its negotiators pushing for the same international carbon markets. However, you will not find emissions trading, markets, cap and trade or offsets, mentioned in the doublespeak of the Agreement, but rather the term ‘internationally transferred mitigation outcomes’ (clause 108 and Article 6), something Keohane applauds.”

     

    Clive Spash, This Changes Nothing – The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2016

    Today, as touched upon on this series, Tubiana serves as CEO to ECF alongside serving high-level appointments (One Planet Climate Lab, Energy Transitions Commission, etc.).

    On March 20, 2019, the ECF website highlighted the fact that “Laurence Tubiana, ECF CEO, and key leading architect of the landmark Paris Agreement listed in the World’s 100 most influential people in Climate Policy in 2019”.

    Also highlighted by the ECF were Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “the youngest ever US congresswoman and lead advocate of the Green New Deal”, and David Attenborough. Attenborough serves as an influencer for the financialization of nature under the guise of “New Deal For Nature” as well as a voice for a population control that exclusively targets the Global South.

    More and more, members of the ruling class, and those they appoint, or accept, are believed to the 21st century saviours. Saviours for a planet we are fully prepared and willing to sacrifice, on the promise (fantasies and outright falsehoods) that green technology will save our Western privilege.

    The transition, and normalization, of a fully commodified activism is now a fait accompli. Collectively, the Western populace has been socially conditioned to the concept, and has fully accepted (if not embraced) a 21st century corporate “activism”.

    +++

    October 24, 2016, We Could Be At The Dawn of Climate Friendly Air Travel:

    “With 30,000 new large aircraft taking off in the near future, Christiana Figueres and Laurence Tubiana say now is the time to decouple increased CO2 emissions from aviation growth. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, demand for air travel is growing, with more than 30,000 new large aircraft expected to take to the skies in the next few years. But if we are to sustain growth in air travel without aggravating global warming, we must quickly reduce aviation-related CO2 emissions, which are substantial and not covered by the Paris climate agreement that more than 190 countries agreed to last December. Fortunately, now is the perfect time to decouple aviation emissions from air-travel growth…”

    The delusion and oxymoron behind the concept of “carbon-smart flying” inspired by Figueres and Tubiana masks the grim fact that 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are created by a mere 1% of the population – that is, anyone that can afford to get on a plane. [Further reading: Volume II, Act I] Yet, such fictions are brazenly told as the Western citizenry is hungry to hear them, and more importantly to believe in them. This is the age of storytelling.

    An integral part of the global “green growth” fairytale is the concept of “decoupling”. [Ecological Indicators, December 2018: “When emissions grow less rapidly than GDP environmental economists speak of relative decoupling; if emissions even decrease relative to the pace of economic growth, then decoupling is absolute.”] [7]

    “Despite all the green-growth nonsense, decoupling in line with 1.5-2°C carbon budgets is a pipedream.”

     

    Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, November 13, 2018

    In response to a question put forward by a journalist, if peak emissions by 2020 is “mission impossible”, Christiana Figueres, responds as follows, referencing a decoupling of emissions:

    “The fact is that now we now have confirmation from different sources, independent sources that we are on for the third year in a row we have actually flattened out in emissions. So for the three years in a row we’ve had flat GHG emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and we have an increasing GDP. So we could already be beginning to decouple greenhouse gas emissions from GDP. The fact is we are already walking in the right direction. Now what we’re trying to do actually is just increase the pace and the scale.”

    Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research sheds some much needed light on such fantasy: ” Taking account of UK CO2 from aviation & shipping & from its imports & exports & the UK’s CO2 emissions in 2016 were virtually unchanged from 1990. Real decoupling at a level even approaching what Paris requires has not yet occurred within any nation.” [Anderson, August 24, 2018]. Anderson adds: “I would add that no nation is even approaching doing what “they feasibly can” – & will continue to fail whilst we worship the God of mammon, ephemeral economics, & green-growth (i.e. decoupling) the unholy trinity.” [Anderson: November 18, 2018]

    It is of interest to note that in a largely positive framing of decoupling published by The Guardian, [April 14, 2016: “Is it possible to reduce CO2 emissions and grow the global economy?”] Anderson’s thoughtful and critical commentary was largely disregarded. Anderson’s comment: “In the absence of the huge uptake of highly speculative negative emissions technologies, the concept of green growth within the wealthier industrialized nations is very misleading – all the more once allowance is made for the equity considerations enshrined in the agreement” – was shortened to – “The concept of green growth is very misleading.” Further, Anderson was cited in the article as “an avowed pessimist” for offering a response based on reality rather than one based on wishful thinking – 21st century parables that pay allegiance to the current neoliberal paradigm. [Anderson’s full commentary, April 16, 2016]

    The journalist submits a second, very straightforward question to Figueres: “Emissions from aviation are rising as people want to fly more. Should we just fly less?”

    Incredibly, yet par for the (growth) course, Figueres does not agree unequivocally that “yes, we should fly less”, rather she responds that flying less is the wrong approach:

    “The fact is that you cannot exempt any sector of the economy from these efforts. So you can’t say okay we’re not going to fly because aviation is too high emitting. No that’s the wrong approach.”

    Figueres then shifts the topic to two recent announcements from a “very small start-up as well as from Siemens that they foresee that ten years from now they will be having airplanes that are fully electric with clean energy and that have a thousand kilometer range.” Here again, we have decision-making and legislation (or lack of) being based and dependent upon technologies not yet invented. Technologies that may or may not be realized decades into the future.

    Figueres then concedes, if only slightly: “But [for] the time being if you want to be responsible, yes definitely go for the mobility with the low submissions, but that cannot exempt any sector. Every sector needs to bring down to the submissions. And aviation is coming.”

    [Full interview: published April 12, 2017]

    Yes. Aviation is certainly coming. Consider the recent announcement that Leonardo DiCaprio is joining with billionaire investors and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth to create Earth Alliance, “a new non-profit environmental powerhouse.” Sheth is the co-founder and president of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Powell Jobs, widow of former Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, over the last year, has helped fund Boom Supersonic, a project to create an “economically-viable supersonic airliner” via her Emerson Collective. Yes, these are the people that are going to “tackle climate change”.

    “The Emerson Collective —an org. headed by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs —is one of a number of investors to take part in a $100 million round of funding for Boom…a 55-seat aircraft that is touted to fly at speeds of up to match 2.2 once completed.”

     

    January 8, 2019, Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective contributing to $100M funding round for Boom Supersonic

    On another note, consider Conservation International (leading the implementation of the financialization of nature) reports in 2017 that its chairman [2017 earnings: 616,343.00 USD] and CEO [2017 earnings: 442,606.00 USD] “may travel first class due to the frequency and length of the trips required.” [2017 990, p. 124] The Nature Conservancy has similar guidelines. The travel budget for Conservation International came in at just under 11 million dollars in 2017.

    According to the WWF, unregulated carbon pollution from aviation is the fastest-growing source of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change. Current expansion plans for the aviation industry could lead to emissions from this sector tripling by 2040. [Source] Of course, WWF does not address militarism nor the US pentagon, nor does any other entity or “leader” in a position of power or influence. Regardless, the concept of “environmentally sustainable aviation” put forward by Figueres and Tubiana flies in the face of Figueres’ “Every Breath Matters” campaign. Every breath matters, but the necessity for aviation profits and economic growth matters far more.

    “What the Paris Agreement tells is a bizarrely unreal story. Apparently, the cause of climate change is not fossil fuel combustion or energy sources but inadequate technology and the solution is sustainable development (i.e. economic growth and industrialisation) and poverty alleviation. As far as the current production and consumption systems are concerned, little needs to change. There are no elites consuming the vast majority of the world’s resources, no multinational corporations or fossil fuel industry needing to be controlled, no capital accumulating competitive systems promoting trade and fighting over resources and emitting vast amounts of GHGs through military expenditure and wars, and no governments expanding fossil fuel use and dependency.”

    Every Breath Matters

    According to Greta Thunberg’s father, Svante Thunberg, Greta is assisted by various climate organizations. This includes the “Every Breath Matters” group that arranged for Greta’s presence in Davos where she was publicly accompanied by Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. Every Breath Matters was unveiled to the public on October 30, 2018 by its co-chair Christiana Figueres. The Every Breath Matters campaign is a collaboration between the Berggruen Institute, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and Figueres’ Global Optimism.

    The Every Breath Matters group of “clean air champions” includes:

  • Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Convenor of Mission 2020
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Chairman of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • Greta Thunberg, Climate Activist
  • Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization
  • [Full list]

    All inquiries for Every Breath Matters were directed to Callum Grieve, the communications specialist for “Every Breath Matters“. Grieve is the former communications director for We Mean Business, The Climate Group (co-founder of We Mean Business), and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) [8]. He has coordinated high-level climate change communications campaigns and interventions for the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and several Fortune 500 companies. [“Led communications for a coalition of the world’s most influential business leaders and investors to help secure the most ambitious global climate agreement possible at COP21.”] In addition to the aforementioned roles, Grieve created and led Climate Week NYC. He is a co-founder and director of Counter Culture, a for-profit brand development firm specializing in behavioural change campaigns and storytelling, still in its initial stages. [Source]

    Callum Grieve tweets to Greta Thunberg on the very first day of her now infamous strike. Others who tweeted to or about Greta on the first day of her strike (August 20, 2018) include Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank who would later write Thunberg a personal letter in the virtues of capitalism, publicizing it via Twitter. [The Thunberg Twitter account created in June, 2018 also follows Beslik.]

    “Nordea boss says climate protests are ‘just the beginning'” — BBC, April 17, 2019

     

    At this juncture we should reflect upon the following information disclosed by Bloomberg on August 10, 2019 in the article “Climate Changed – Greta Thunberg and ‘Flight Shame’ Are Fueling a Carbon Offset Boom”:

    “Campaigning by climate activist Greta Thunberg and filmmaker-naturalist David Attenborough is persuading pollution-conscious fliers to try and mitigate the environmental damage caused by their flights.

     

    Sales of so-called carbon offsets are soaring: Myclimate, a Swiss nonprofit whose clients include Deutsche Lufthansa AG, reported a five-fold uptake in its credits in a year. At Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest discount carrier, the number of customers making voluntary offset payments has almost doubled in 18 months.”

    From “Activist” for Capital to Influencer

    On the sample list of participants from the We Mean Business, Leaders’ Quest and Mission 2020 [All explored within Volume II] document outlining the “Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners Programs” from 2017, recognizable names include 350.org’s Henn. The term “Deep Practitioners” is applied to a cohort of “30 senior leaders of influential private, public and civil society organizations, who are willing to collaborate across sectors and change their own patterns of behavior.” “Global Influencers will create public and private opportunities for influential leaders to join the collective movement. Committed leaders will increase pressure on their peers to engage – establishing a new norm.” [Source] [Further reading: Volume II]

    The shaping and moulding of our increasing corporatized planet is being carried out by a select group of meticulously groomed people in servitude to a ruling class founded on white supremacist values and American exceptionalism.

    April 1, 2019 From left: Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer, *ONE youth ambassador with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström. Source: Detlev Scheerbarth. *ONE was co-founded in 2004 by Bono in partnership with eleven non-profits/NGOs including GCCA co-founder and Purpose partner Oxfam. Funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Here, we can reflect upon the “Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners” as shaped, moulded, imagined and desired by We Mean Business and partner NGOs founded by Figueres. In this regard, young Thunberg has exceeded all expectations. Consider Thunberg’s May 2019 interview by Brandon Hurlbut for Political Climate (presented/funded by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation) when asked for her advice for US climate activists:

    “I think just to stick to your message and don’t come with any demands, any specific demands. Leave that to the scientists because we don’t have the proper education to do that. Now we should only [be] focusing on speaking on behalf of the scientists and telling people to listen to them. And that is what I’m trying to do. And to not have opinions yourself, but always refer to science.”

    “Activism” with no demands – is “establishing a new norm”. A dream for corporate power and ruling classes – a nightmare for the working class and those in the Global South who do not have the luxury to afford such lax dissent.

    The mantra (talking point), put forward by young Thunberg, that we (collective society) should “not have opinions, but always refer to science” is an incredibly dangerous proposal. Consider such unequivocal support by society for scientist Johan Rockström, chief scientist of the corporate NGO powerhouse Conservation International, a leading advocate behind the implementation of the financialization of nature.

    Peter Kareiva is the former chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy and co-founder of the Natural Capital Project. Kareiva states that “money can buy you nature”. And this, of course, inadvertently reveals the other side of the equation – that those with no money cannot buy nature. And we are all aware of who has the money. This single ideology alone, now held by many scientists (see the excellent work by ecological economist Clive Spash) is more than enough to demonstrate that scientists are not deities to be obeyed without question. In fact, with Western science playing a leading role in the destruction of the natural world and all life she sustains, while biodiversity that remains intact is under the care and protection of Indigenous populations, this really begs the question of who should be in charge of our multiple ecological crises. Those who have demonstrated they can destroy it – or those who have demonstrated they can protect it. The answer is obvious, yet power will never be given. It must be taken.

    “But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they have no power.”

     

    Howard Zinn

    Unite Behind the Science

    We are subjected to the branding term “Unite Behind the Science” pushed hard by the UN-WEF Partnership. This is coupled with a heavy emphasis from the exploited Thunberg, who serves as the face and voice of the movement, to “listen to the science”. The sentiment, which is a subtle yet direct directive, is reverberated throughout international media outlets.

    The slogan “Unite Behind the Science” is not meant to be a call to protect Earth. Here, we have science being used as a tool, and even a weapon, to privatize the commons under the guise of protecting nature, climate and biodiversity. It is meant to unleash a new era of privatization and plunder. All aboard the New Deals for Nature train: New Deal For Nature, Voice for the Planet, New Deal for Nature and People, and Global Deal For Nature (“© Copyright Global Deal for Nature, a project of Sustainable Markets Foundation”).

    Also trending is the “Natural Climate Solutions” terminology, being rolled out by The Nature Conservancy project “Nature4Climate” in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN-REDD, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Woods Hole Research Center, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), We Mean Business (WMB), and WWF (the dirty dozen). The new term providing a holistic cover for carbon offsets – a rebranding exercise for the carbon market mechanism UN-REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

    Above: James Lloyd, project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy, Twitter

    Above: One of the first institutions to highlight Monbiot’s Natural Climate Solutions launch (April 3, 2019) was the Food and Land Use Coalition. This coalition was initiated under Business and Sustainable Development Commission leadership led by former Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Mark Malloch-Brown, recently appointed to the UN Foundation board. Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill. 

    The Planetary Boundaries Are Not Intended to Limit Growth

    “The failure to put the issue of imperialism in the Anthropocene at the center of its analysis is the greatest weakness of the Western ecological movement. It is often acknowledged that the effects of climate change and the crossing of planetary boundaries in general are having their greatest effects on the global South, where millions are already suffering from climate change… Nevertheless, there is very little consciousness at present that imperialism, representing the global rift inherent in the world capitalist system, is an active force organized against ecological revolution, seeking to lock in the fossil fuel system and the current regime of maximal environmental degradation and human exploitation. Twenty-first-century imperialism is, in this sense, the exterminist phase of capitalism.”

     

    — Imperialism in the Anthropocene, July 1, 2019

     

    At the 2015 WEF annual gathering in Davos, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre held a press conference titled “Planetary Boundaries: Blueprint for Managing Systemic Global Risk” in order to highlight the “New Global Context for the Planet”. Speakers on the panel included Georg Schmitt, head of corporate affairs, World Economic Forum, Johan Rockström, director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Marco Lambertini, director-general, WWF International, Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general, United Nations, and Hans Vestberg, chief executive officer, Verizon Communications. [Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2019: Verizon Ventures Prepares for 5G Startup Wave]

    Rockström declared:

    I represent the global community of earth system scientists, that today stand on a vast mountain of empirical evidence, to conclude from a scientific perspective, that the new global context is really about recognizing that humanity has become a global force of change at the planetary scale. We can today unfortunately envisage the global world economy itself disrupting the stability of the earth system.

     

    Science has now finally been able to translate this into a constructive new paradigm for world development. Shedding off the old sustainable development paradigm which as you are all aware is about economic growth and minimizing environmental impacts to recognize that the economy must operate within the safe operating space of the planetary boundaries.”

    As the press conference comes to a close, Rockström assures his audience that “using planetary boundaries is not a way to hamper development. It is rather a way to put the incentives in place, to guide the kind of incentives and innovations that Hans in talking about. So it is about a transformation of abundance within a safe operating space. So it is not limited growth – but growth within limits.”

    In the age of storytelling, we call this convenient doublespeak – the utilization of language to disguise the truth. In a planet under siege by a global corporatocracy, what should be absolute partition between science and corporate power, is instead, shattered, blurred and enmeshed.

    “The scaling of solutions is the biggest challenge we have.”

     

    Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, WEF, 2015 press conference, Planetary Boundaries: Blueprint for Managing Systemic Global Risk

    +++

    In addition to his position as director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and chief scientist at Conservation International Johan Rockström serves as co-chair of the Future Earth Advisory Committee.

    In the July 16, 2019 article “Three steps to meeting the climate and nature emergency”, Rockström articulates how society must move from incremental to exponential action.

    In the first major step identified by Rockström, he divulges a new commission: “First, the scientific community needs urgently to explore targets and set scientific boundaries for the entire Earth system, beyond those set to combat climate change. As part of a new global commons alliance, the first Earth Commission, to be announced later this year, will do just that.”

    Outlining the second step, Rockström states the imperative to “go beyond GDP as a measure of economic and social wellbeing“. What Rockström is actually speaking to is the assigning of monetary value to nature’s “goods and services”. That is, the financialization of nature via the coming “New Deal For Nature”. This ties into the third major step articulated by Rockström:

    “And, finally, we need to take full advantage of 2020, a super-year for international policy on the environment, with three big milestones in the journey to build global co-operation. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity will meet to agree new targets. On climate, nations must submit more ambitious targets for the Paris Agreement. And a UN ocean summit may reshape marine policy for the next generation.” [Emphasis added]

    Again, this is emotive holistic linguistics framing for the very ugly monetization of nature.

    “This leads to an intriguing possibility. In 2020, the UN will 75 years old. Following the lead of the UK and Ireland, is it now time for the UN to declare a climate and nature emergency?”

     

    Johan Rockström, director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, chief scientist, Conservation International, July 16, 2019

    Rockström ends his article stating: “The next decade must bring the fastest economic transition in history to prosperity that protects the planet. This is necessary, achievable and desirable. But the work must start now.” [Emphasis added]

    Here again, we must pay close attention to the language, framing and repetition. The phrase “this is necessary, achievable and desirable” is one echoed by partner “climate leaders” and faux environmental groups:

    “Bending the emissions curve by 2020. Net zero by 2050. Necessary, desirable and achievable.”

     

    Christina Figueres, Twitter

     

    “2020: the necessary, desirable and achievable turning point to safeguard our climate.”

     

    Leonardo DiCaprio website

     

    “Corporate climate action: what’s necessary, desirable and achievable.”

     

    Natural Capital Partners

     

    “Within the next three decades, the Fourth Industrial Revolution — driven by digitalization such as mobile internet, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things — will transform everyone’s lives and every business on the planet… With the goal of catalyzing broad and rapid progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is necessary, desirable and achievable.”

     

    Step Up Declaration, Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution

    Other institutions, NGOs and declarations reverberating the terminology and/or sharing articles attributed to Figueres (containing the “desirable” phrase), include the Grantham Institute, Futerra, The B Team, the UNFCC, and so on.

    +++

    In May 2016, the map “Indigenous Peoples, Protected Areas and Natural Ecosystems in Central America,” released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the most comprehensive map of its kind ever produced for the region. The map details that “approximately 51 percent of Central America’s current forest cover is either inside or adjacent to indigenous territory”. [Source]

    Upon release of the map, Grethel Aguilar, Regional Director of the IUCN Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean stated: “You cannot talk about conservation without speaking of indigenous peoples and their role as the guardians of our most delicate lands and waters. This map shows that where indigenous people live, you will find the best preserved natural resources. They depend on those natural resources to survive, and the rest of society depends on their role in safeguarding those resources for the well-being of us all.” [Source]

    Actions speak louder than words, however, with IUCN a leading partner in the Natural Capital Coalition tasked with the financialization of nature. That is, the corporate coup of the Earth’s commons. [“IUCN’s Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, along with World Business Council for Sustainable Development and a consortium of organisations, has led the business outreach on the new Natural Capital Protocol (the Protocol)”.] [Source]

    In addition, IUCN is a co-founder of “Business for Nature” and “We Value Nature”. [Both to be explored in this Volume.]

    If we are to listen to the science, we must come to the conclusion that the stolen lands we occupy must be returned to the Indigenous peoples – with zero strings attached. We reach the inevitable conclusion that those who stole the land, those who carried out genocide against Indigenous peoples (which continues to this day), those who have destroyed our natural world, those who create global institutions to which they appoint themselves, have no authority whatsoever to “lead” the global citizenry in any way, shape, or form.

    Global Commons Alliance – “A Plan For the Planet”

    “What we need—and urgently—is a radical shift in perception by the private sector to view the global goals as the greatest economic opportunity any generation has had, rather than a burden and constraint to growth.”

     

    — Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, The Opportunity of the Commons, Global Environment Facility (GEF), IUCN, Global Commons Alliance, July 19, 2018, p. 4

    “Davos, Switzerland – Standing outside in the pitch-black cold at the World Economic Forum on January 23, 2019, a panel including Future Earth and partners announced to a live audience their intent to launch an Earth Commission.”

     

    Future Earth website, January 31, 2019

     

    “The Global Commons Alliance is a massive collaboration developed by world leading institutions.”

     

    Global Commons Alliance website

    In January 2019, the “Why our Planet needs an Earth Commission” lecture was hosted by Arctic Basecamp with long-standing partner Christiana Figueres. Moderated by Gail Whiteman (professor in-residence at WBCSD and co-founder of the Davos Arctic Basecamp), the panel included Rockström, Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth, Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business, and Greta Thunberg. The Earth Commission would be led by Future Earth and the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). [Source]

    Future Earth, launched at Rio+20 (2012) is funded extensively by foundations, governments and institutions including ClimateWorks, The European Climate Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the Skoll Foundation. [Full list] It is governed by institutions including the United Nations Environment Programme. [Full list of Governing Councils] Partners include IPCC, the UN and IPBES. [Partners] The Future Earth Twitter account was created in December 2012. The Climate Group and GCCA/TckTckTck are included within the first 22 chosen accounts chosen to follow out of 883.

    The Global Commons Alliance brands itself as a new 21st century platform to transform the global economy under the pretense that doing so will benefit society and “sustain the natural systems of Earth”.

    Many of the names found under the heading of “Systems Change” are those now well-recognized within this series:

  • Naoko Ishii: CEO and chair of the Global Environment Facility and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, co-chair of the Advisory Network of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. [9]
  • Johan Rockström: Conservation International chief scientist, director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, co-chair of the Future Earth Advisory Committee
  • Christiana Figueres: former executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), B Team Leader, Global Covenant of Mayors
  • Dominic Waughray: managing director, head of the Centre for Global Public Goods, World Economic Forum
  • Andrew Steer: president and chief executive officer, World Resources Institute, former Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank
  • Amy Luers: executive director, Future Earth
  • Nigel Topping: CEO, We Mean Business
  • Sunny Verghese: WBCSD chair, co-founder, CEO of Olam International, (to be explored in Volume II)
  • Inger Anderson: UNEP executive director, former director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  •  

    The organizations and institutions comprising the Global Commons Alliance include the World Economic Forum, We Mean Business Coalition, the World Resources Institute, the Natural Capital Coalition, CDP, Conservation International, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the WBCSD, WWF, the Potsdam Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

    The Global Commons Alliance partners [accessed September 13, 2019]:

  • BSR™ (Business for Social Responsibility™)
  • CDP
  • Ceres
  • Circle of Blue
  • Conservation International
  • EAT
  • Future Earth
  • Globaïa
  • Global Environment Facility
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
  • Natural Capital Coalition
  • Ocean Unite
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • UN Global Compact
  • UNEP-WCMC
  • WBCSD
  • We Mean Business Coalition
  • World Benchmarking Alliance
  • World Economic Forum
  • World Resources Institute
  • WWF
  • “In July 2016, the world took a giant step towards natural capital accounting by officially launching the Natural Capital Protocol— opening a new pathway for companies… The combination of systems transformation at the industry and business level, and economic restructuring on the financial and reporting level, will push the world in the right direction. But we need to abandon incrementalism in favour of complete transformation.

     

    — Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Transformative change to safeguard the global commons could mobilise investment, The Opportunity of the Commons, Global Environment Facility (GEF), IUCN, Global Commons Alliance, July 19, 2018, p. 29 [Emphasis added]

     

     

    “Large reductions in the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon—80% between 2004 and 2014—open up opportunities for an alternative model based on seeing the Amazon as a global public good of biological assets for creating high-value products and ecosystem services… We are rapidly gaining understanding of how things are created in nature, how organisms sense their surroundings, how they move in their environment and how they behave and function. This is bringing within reach a third pathway where we aggressively research, develop, and scale up a new high-tech approach that sees the Amazon as a global public good of biological assets that can enable the creation of innovative high value products, services and platforms for current, and entirely new, markets.”

     

    — The Amazon’s new industrial revolution, Carlos Nobre, Member of the UN Scientific Advisory Board for Global Sustainability and Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, Chairman of Space Time Ventures and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Environment and Resource Security, The Opportunity of the Commons, Global Environment Facility (GEF), IUCN, Global Commons Alliance, July 19, 2018, p. 42 [Emphasis added]

     

    A Plan For the Planet – The First Earth Commission

    The Earth Commission (to be announced later this year according to Rockström) is to comprise a select team of scientists. Future Earth will host the Earth Commission’s scientific secretariat in collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The Commission will be “part of an extensive network which is complementary to and builds on existing assessments, such as the IPCC, IPBES and GEO [Global Environment Outlook] reports.”

    The insights of the Earth Commission will be central for informing the work of the new Science Based Targets network. This network will consist of a group of international NGOs that will create “practical applications”, and scalable solutions for corporations and cities. In addition, the NGO network will develop methodologies for corporations and municipalities “to set specific science-based targets to guide policies and practice.”

    The Earth Commission structure is set up very much like ClimateWorks:

    Again, we bear witness to the global mobilization of hundreds of millions, even billions, of citizens by a small yet powerful set of hegemonic institutions.

    +++

    Today we can learn more from the inspirational words and sound guidance left behind by Indigenous peoples and murdered revolutionaries, than all the scientists and experts in servitude to Western ideology combined. Thomas Sankara:

    “Colonial plunder has decimated our forests without the slightest thought of replenishing them for our tomorrows. The unpunished disruption of the biosphere by savage and murderous forays on the land and in the air continues.

     

    As Karl Marx said, those who live in a palace do not think about the same things, nor in the same way, as those who live in a hut. This struggle to defend the trees and forests is above all a struggle against imperialism. Because imperialism is the arsonist setting fire to our forests and our savannas…

     

    We can win this struggle if we choose to be architects and not simply bees. It will be the victory of consciousness over instinct. The bee and the architect, yes! If the author of these lines will allow me, I will extend this twofold analogy to a threefold one: the bee, the architect, and the revolutionary architect.”

     

    [Thomas Sankara: Imperialism is the Arsonist of our Forests and Savannas, at the International Conference on Trees and Forests, Paris, February 5, 1986]

    The solutions to our multiple ecological crises will not be discovered by Mission Innovation, Google, nor Verizon. The knowledge to live in harmony with the Earth already exists. The knowledge is retained and understood by the planet’s Indigenous peoples struggling to maintain their existence in the Earth’s remaining forests and natural spaces, protecting what remains of the Earth’s living natural communities.

    The fact that WWF, at the helm of the “new climate economy” being propelled forward by the UN-WEF Partnership, bears responsibility for the mass displacement, torture, murder and rape of Indigenous peoples with no public outcry from the Western citizenry, sheds an ugly light on white supremacist values that infect Western science, Western academia and Western society as a whole.

    The revolutionary architects are not to be found in the ivory towers of the West. We continue to indulge in willful blindness at our own peril.

     

     

    End Notes:

    [1] Other funders include the Compton Foundation, Instituto Arapyaú, Instituto Ekos Brasil, Kendeda Foundation, The Minor Foundation for Major Challenges, and the Stichting Global Climate Action.

    [2] “CBS’s emphasis on information sharing and coordination between stakeholders mirrors the GCCA’s own capacity-building approach. The fact that Jennifer Morgan, who had played an instrumental role in launching the GCCA, was now in charge of IPPI and was actively involved in the CBS project supports this idea. A number of those who were active in CBS had also been involved in the GCCA. Like the GCCA’s nerve centre, the CBS’s “global team” brought together members of the international climate community representing a wide array of both insider and outsider organizations—environmental and development NGOs, climate networks, campaign groups, think tanks and research organizations, as well as foundations. While some NGOs were initially reluctant to join, arguing that there was a risk of overlap between their activities and those of CBS, the global team ultimately brought together representatives from the most prominent and active organizations in the international climate arena. As with the GCCA, among those who were not represented were groups associated with the climate justice movement. Members of the “global team” regularly took part in conference calls, strategy sessions, workshops and conferences to share views, information and intelligence on policy-related issues, and collectively establish strategic priorities.” [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena, p. 110]

    [3] On November 15, 2018, the Climate Markets and Investment Association reported that the parties that comprise the Climate Finance Partnership would “work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.” All media inquiries pertaining to this announcement were to be directed to Climate Nexus (People’s Climate March) or the European Climate Foundation.

    [4] GCCA’s multi-lingual digital publishing stream, The Tree, rose to meet the needs of this historic year, putting its network-based approach to good use keeping thousands of influencers informed and intervening in key climate debates. By the end of 2015, The Tree counted more than 2,500 actively engaged influencers (977 in Europe, 803 in North America, 493 in Australasia, and the remaining 293 in Latin America) – a rise of nearly 1,000 since 2014 – and had a cumulative potential Twitter reach of over 26 million. The Tree was also GCCA’s primary vehicle for circulating the ‘Road Through Paris’ narrative, working in five languages across nine countries and regions during COP21, with seven Tree editors on the ground in Paris to support the GSCC+ communications efforts and deliver special daily Tree Alerts for the network. [Source: Global Call for Climate Action Annual Report 2015–2016, p. 5]

    [5] “Thanks to all our judges for their nominations, and apologies that a lot of their excellent recommendations didn’t make it to the final fifteen: Alice Bows-Larkin, Max Boycoff, Simon Buckle, Mike Childs, Tan Copsey, Susannah Eliott, Sam Geall, Will Grant, Fiona Fox, Leo Hickman, Brendan Montague, Tim Nuthall, James Painter, Chris Rapley, John Timmer, James Wilsdon.” [Source]

    [6] Three years to safeguard our climate (Nature 546, 593–595; 2017), co-signatories:

  • Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute
  •  

  • Caio Koch-Weser, chairman, European Climate Foundation
  •  

  • Charlotte Pera, president and CEO, ClimateWorks
  •  

  • Daniela Saltzman, director, Generation Investment Management
  •  

  • David Blood, senior partner, Generation Investment Management
  •  

  • Helen Mountford, programme director, New Climate Economy
  •  

  • Jeremy Oppenheim, partner, SystemIQ
  •  

  • Joanna Haigh, co-director, Grantham Institute for Climate Change & Environment
  •  

  • Keith Tuffley, managing partner and CEO, B Team
  •  

  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation (ECF)
  •  

  • Mark Malloch-Brown, chair, Business and Sustainable Development Commission
  •  

  • Mark Watts, executive director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  •  

  • Mary Robinson, president and chair of the board of trustees, the Mary Robinson Foundation
  •  

  • Mindy Lubber, president, CERES
  •  

  • Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business
  •  

  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
  •  

  • Paul Simpson, CEO, Carbon Disclosure Project
  •  

  • Peter Bakker, president and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  •  

  • Peter Seligmann, chairman, CEO and co-founder, Conservation International
  •  

  • Rachel Kyte, CEO, Sustainable Energy for All
  •  

  • Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation, general secretary
  •  

  • Tom Brookes, executive director, strategic communications, European Climate Foundation
  •  

  • Tomas Insua, executive director, Global Catholic Climate Movement
  •  

  • Wael Hmaidan, international director, Climate Action Network (CAN)
  •  

  • Yacob Mulugetta, professor of Energy and Development
  •  

    [Source]

    [7] “The environmental devastation this would entail is meant to be addressed by the ‘endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation’, which is meaningless unless undertaken in absolute terms and that is simply impossible for the industrial economy being promoted in Goal 9. Yet, hoping for technological miracles fits well with faith in a never-ending economic expansion of material and energy throughput.” Source: Clive Spash, This Changes Nothing – The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2016

    [8] “Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) is yet another striking example of the emerging trend of gradually shifting (“outsourcing”) activities from the UN to a multi-stakeholder body positioned outside the UN system, while still using the name and reputation of the UN… In addition to participating in the deliberations of the High-Level Group, the business actors also provided financial support. As the Report of the Co-Chairs from September 2012 pointed out, “(t)he Sustainable Energy for All initiative has depended on generous contributions from its sup-porters,” including, in addition to a few government donors, the UN Foundation, Masdar (the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), the Bank of America, First Solar, Johnson Controls, Veolia Environment, and the International Copper Association. In addition, the consulting firm Accenture and the Norwegian oil company Statoil seconded senior man-agers to the Sustainable Energy for All secretariat, and Statoil designed the Sustainable Energy for All logo.” [Source: Fit for whose purpose? Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations, 2015]

    [9] Naoko Ishii, elected as CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility in 2012. Before Joining the GEF, Naoko was Japan Deputy Vice Minister of Finance, and represented the Japanese Government during the design of the Green Climate Fund. She worked as a Country Director for the World Bank, and has held positions at the IMF and Harvard Institute for International Development. Naoko is co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, and co-chair of the Advisory Network of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. She is a special advisor to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a Commissioner for the Global Adaptation Commission, Member of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and of the Advisory Committee of Future Earth. [Source]

    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] [ACTS VI & VII forthcoming]

     

     

    “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.]

                                                                  An Object Lesson In Spectacle [Excerpt From the Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent – Volume II]

                                                                  An Object Lesson In Spectacle [Excerpt From the Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent – Volume II]

                                                                  The Art of Annihilation

                                                                  September 10, 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] [ACTS VI & VII forthcoming]

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  An object lesson in spectacle

                                                                  On February 21, 2019, accompanied with much media fanfare, Greta Thunberg spoke alongside then European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the ‘Civil Society for rEUnaissance’ event in Brussels:

                                                                  “The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed the key role that organised civil society must play for the future of Europe during an event on 21 February 2019 – just over 90 days from the European elections – that brought together the highest representatives of the European institutions and civil society organisations from across the entire EU.”

                                                                  Thunberg’s opening speech was followed by remarks from Juncker, who had kissed Thunberg’s hand upon introduction. The event took place alongside approximately 10,000 youth climate strikers, with politicians, officials, lobbyists and journalists abound. [1] Praising the climate strike movement, Juncker announced that one quarter of the EU budget would be spent on climate mitigation from 2021 to 2027.

                                                                  Around the world, the media reaction was instant and sensational.

                                                                  Common Dreams, February 21, 2019:

                                                                  Greta Thunberg, literally changing the world

                                                                   

                                                                  Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged a quarter of $1 trillion budget over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.

                                                                   

                                                                  In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.

                                                                   

                                                                  “Every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change,” Juncker said. The plan will spend billions over seven years…”

                                                                  Reuters, February 21, 2019:

                                                                  “Swedish student leader wins EU pledge to spend billions on climate…

                                                                   

                                                                  In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change,’ Juncker said of his proposal for the EU budget, which is typically 1 percent of the bloc’s economic output, or 1 trillion euros ($1.13 trillion) over seven years.”

                                                                  CNBC, February 22, 2019:

                                                                  “EU’s Juncker proposes billions of spending on climate change after a 16-year-old’s speech…

                                                                   

                                                                  Every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards climate mitigation actions between 2021 and 2027, Jean-Claude Juncker says.”

                                                                  Global Citizen, February 22, 2019:

                                                                  “EU Boosts Climate Change Budget After Greta Thunberg SpeechFollowing a speech by student climate activist Greta Thunberg in Brussels on Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the EU should spend hundreds of billions of euros combating climate change during the next 10 years. Juncker proposed that between 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget go toward action to mitigate climate change.”

                                                                   

                                                                  Above: Sasja Beslik, head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank shares a photo Jean-Claude Juncker kissing the hand of Greta Thunberg. On the very first day of Thunberg’s strike (August 20, 2019), she would share a post on Twitter. Within hours Beslik shared the Thunberg post adding his own commentary.

                                                                  The said victory would be highly referenced as a shining example of power conceding to Thunberg and the youth mobilizations, from that day forward to the present:

                                                                  “These days, the New York Times and Financial Times are profiling her, and the EU has proposed to spend billions of dollars to address climate change, right after one of her speeches.”

                                                                   

                                                                  Pulsar, intelligence trends and techniques, addressing the influence of Greta Thunberg, February 28, 2019

                                                                   

                                                                  “And the movement is winning. In February 2019, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, standing next to Greta, stated his intent to spend hundreds of billions of euros on climate change mitigation, amounting to a fourth of the EU budget.”

                                                                   

                                                                  Why We’re Striking on September 20th, Global Greengrants Fund, September 3, 2019

                                                                   

                                                                  “She has “compelled the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker to dedicate every fourth Euro to be spent between 2021-27 to climate action,” said Leah Qusba, deputy director of Alliance for Climate Education, a non-profit climate education organization That is translating youth movement building into real political action.”

                                                                   

                                                                  CBS News, Youth are changing the game on climate change, March 13, 2019

                                                                   

                                                                  +++

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  Not so fast.

                                                                  May 3, 2018, EU plans to massively increase spending on climate change:

                                                                  “The European Commission has put forward its future budgetary plans, which include spending a quarter of its entire finances on tackling climate change.”

                                                                  On September 26, 2018, during the One Planet Summit, the following announcement was made:

                                                                  “The European Commission proposed to dedicate 25% of the next European Union budget (2021-2027), i.e. EUR 320 billion to climate objectives and foresees a dedicated financial support for sustainable infrastructure investments through the “InvestEU” programme, expected to leverage more than EUR 150 billion.” [Source] [Emphasis in original]

                                                                  The February 21, 2019 identical “win”, sensationalized to the world, had, in fact, already been pledged on September 26, 2018. The One Planet summit is a partnership of the World Bank, the United Nations (now officially subservient to the World Economic Forum), the Government of France, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

                                                                  To be clear, the financing that the European Commission had earmarked was not a concession in response to Greta Thunberg’s speech given that day, nor the climate strikes orchestrated with Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA/TckTckTck) at the helm. Here we see how reality can be made to turn on its head. Waving the magic wand of spectacle, a decision made on September 26, 2018 with the World Bank et al – is turned into a victorious changing of tide for the populace. [2]

                                                                  What is not shared with the citizenry, is that the InvestEU programme [3] opens the door for the financing of carbon capture and storage, carbon-intensive bio-energy plants, “smart” grids, and ecosystem services financing (the financialization of nature) – all by leveraging private finance with public funds. All made invisible by the spectacle. As growth is sacrosanct under the capitalist economic system (paramount to life itself), a major component of InvestEU is research and innovation in order to allow the suicidal system to continue and expand.

                                                                  Following the One Planet announcement on September 26, 2018, on October 17, 2018, the EU signed a memorandum of understanding between Mission Innovation’s Breakthrough Energy (Bill Gates et al) and the European Commission. The memorandum states that through the partnership formed with the European Commission (to form Breakthrough Energy Europe), Breakthrough Energy Europe portfolio corporations [4] will have preferential access to any/all funding “from relevant EU Programmes—including, but not limited to the European Innovation Council (EIC) in its future pilot and fully-fledged phases, InnovFin EDP and its successor(s) under InvestEU, the future EU financial instrument for the period 2021-2027.” Breakthrough Energy Europe individuals include Richard Branson, Bill Gates. Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros, and Chris Hohn (the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation) [Full list]

                                                                  Today, we have the United Nations on its knees to the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF having announced the “UN-Forum Partnership” (signed on June 13, 2019) is now at the helm of the so-called Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to this corporate coup d’état, we can bear witness to elected governments handing over billions of dollars (exploited from the working class) to the world’s most powerful billionaires and corporations via Breakthrough Energy partnerships. The same entities destroying our natural world (and devolving societies), are now in charge of most, if not all, decision making regarding our multiple ecological crises and shared futures.

                                                                  From left: Borge Brend, president of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and chief executive, António Guterres, UN secretary-general, and Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general. On June 13, 2019, the UN secretary-general, signed the UN-Forum Partnership with the World Economic Forum to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting was held at United Nations headquarters.

                                                                  As Mission Innovation is partnered with the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union) and 24 states – we can fully expect similar memoranda to be signed in each of the states that have entered into partnership with Mission Innovation. (No, there were no referenda.)

                                                                  “The smug acceptance of what exists can also merge with purely spectacular rebellion; this reflects the simple fact that dissatisfaction itself became a commodity as soon as economic abundance could extend production to the processing of such raw materials.”  — Guy Debord,  Society of the Spectacle

                                                                  Such strategic and conniving theatre displays a patronising and an elitist contempt for the populace. There is no doubt that those behind Thunberg were not fully aware of the EU pledge made in 2018, or of the accompanying InvestEU programme. The European Climate Foundation is the European arm of US ClimateWorks. ClimateWorks is the largest beneficiary of climate “philanthropy” (i.e. investment) in the world. This is paramount, as all media relations and events for Greta Thunberg and her family are presided over by a media director for the European Climate Foundation and its Global Strategic Communications Council. [This is further explored in Volume II.]

                                                                  As the thunder of triumphant applause shakes the global stadium, the joke is on us.

                                                                  In 1959, the revolutionary Che Guevara remarked to journalist José Pardo Llada that “newspapers are instruments of the oligarchy.” Today, six decades later, the non-profit industrial complex and even “activism” itself must both be considered as instruments crafted and wielded by the 21st century oligarchs.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  End Notes

                                                                  [1] In addition to the above event, is an awkward and irrelevant conversation between EESC President Luca Jahier and Thunberg which was released for public consumption: https://youtu.be/TiUhBwTwaf8

                                                                  [2] Climate Action Network (CAN is a co-founder of GCCA), published a news article outlining the proposal on May 2, 2018.

                                                                  [3] InvestEU:

                                                                  InvestEU is the successor to the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) or ‘Juncker Plan’ created to mobilize private/investment finance using guarantees from EU budget funds (tax dollars). Only 50% of projects under the sustainable infrastructure window need to contribute to EU climate and environment objectives while there is no exclusion of fossil fuel or carbon-intensive investments. [Source]

                                                                  Infrastructure for carbon-capture, and for carbon storage in industrial processes, bio-energy plants and manufacturing facilities towards the energy transition are eligible for financing and investment operations. [See full policy document]

                                                                  It will also house the “Natural Capital Financing Facility” (NCFF). Stepping up biodiversity and  ecosystem services financing is considered one of the prerequisites for achieving the EU’s 2020 biodiversity goals. The NCFF’s four project categories are 1) Projects using Payments for Ecosystem Services – payments involving payment or compensation for the benefits provided by ecosystems, 2) “Green” infrastructure projects – investments in “natural capital” that generate a range of “goods and services”, 3) Projects developing biodiversity offsets – “conservation measures designed to compensate for the unavoidable damage to biodiversity arising from development projects“, andInnovative pro-biodiversity and adaptation businesses.” [Source]

                                                                  The InvestEU programme will streamline and consolidate the EU financial instruments. The Innovation Fund will work in synergy with the InvestEU and other EU programmes on research and innovation for “low-carbon technologies”. The Innovation Fund will finance “a broad variety of projects achieving an optimal balance of a wide range of innovative technologies in all eligible sectors (energy intensive industries, renewable energy, energy storage, CCS and CCU) and Member States”. It will fund sufficiently mature projects that promise the biggest innovation potential. [Source]

                                                                   “To enable CCS to fulfil its role in delivering this long-term Strategy, action must begin now. Support mechanisms such as the Innovation Fund, Connecting Europe Facility and InvestEU programme, will all be critical for delivering the first EU CCS clusters.” [Source]

                                                                  [4] In December 2016, members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition formed Breakthrough Energy Ventures. At the 2017 One Planet Summit in Paris, Breakthrough Energy announced the expansion of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition from the 26 private investors announced at COP21 to include corporations, institutional investors and banks to accelerate the commercialization of new energy technologies. The additional members include: African Rainbow Capital, African Rainbow Minerals, BNP, Paribas, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, ENGIE, General Electric, Microsoft, National Grid, OGCI Climate Investments, Prelude Ventures, Reliance Industries Limited, SAP SE, Total, University of California, Virgin Group, Wells Fargo, and the Wheatsheaf Group. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition also announced the piloting of public-private partnerships with five Mission Innovation members, including the EC.” [Source]

                                                                  The Age of Humanism is Ending

                                                                  Mail Guardian Africa

                                                                  December 22, 2016

                                                                  killing-earth

                                                                  There is no sign that 2017 will be much different from 2016.

                                                                  Under Israeli occupation for decades, Gaza will still be the biggest open prison on Earth.

                                                                  In the United States, the killing of black people at the hands of the police will proceed unabated and hundreds of thousands more will join those already housed in the prison-industrial complex that came on the heels of plantation slavery and Jim Crow laws.

                                                                  Europe will continue its slow descent into liberal authoritarianism or what cultural theorist Stuart Hall called authoritarian populism. Despite complex agreements reached at international forums, the ecological destruction of the Earth will continue and the war on terror will increasingly morph into a war of extermination between various forms of nihilism.

                                                                  Inequalities will keep growing worldwide. But far from fuelling a renewed cycle of class struggles, social conflicts will increasingly take the form of racism, ultra nationalism, sexism, ethnic and religious rivalries, xenophobia, homophobia and other deadly passions.

                                                                  The denigration of virtues such as care, compassion and kindness will go hand in hand with the belief, especially among the poor, that winning is all that matters and who wins — by whatever means necessary — is ultimately right.

                                                                  With the triumph of this neo-Darwinian approach to history-making, apartheid under various guises will be restored as the new old norm. Its restoration will pave the way to new separatist impulses, the erection of more walls, the militarisation of more borders, deadly forms of policing, more asymmetrical wars, splitting alliances and countless internal divisions including in established democracies.

                                                                  None of the above is accidental. If anything, it is a symptom of structural shifts, which will become ever more apparent as the new century unfolds. The world as we knew it since the end of World War II, the long years of decolonisation, the Cold War and the defeat of communism has ended.

                                                                  Another long and deadlier game has started. The main clash of the first half of the 21st century will not oppose religions or civilisations. It will oppose liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism, the rule of finance and the rule of the people, humanism and nihilism.

                                                                  Capitalism and liberal democracy triumphed over fascism in 1945 and over communism in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed.  With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the advent of globalisation, their fates were disentangled. The widening bifurcation of demo-cracy and capital is the new threat to civilisation.

                                                                  Abetted by technological and military might, finance capital has achieved its hegemony over the world by annexing the core of human desires and, in the process, by turning itself into the first global secular theology. Fusing the attributes of a technology and a religion, it relied on uncontested dogmas modern forms of capitalism had reluctantly shared with democracy since the post-war period — individual liberty, market competition and the rule of the commodity and of property, the cult of science, technology and reason.

                                                                  Each of these articles of faith is under threat. At its core, liberal democracy is not compatible with the inner logic of finance capitalism. The clash between these two ideas and principles is likely to be the most signifying event of the first half of a 21st-century political landscape — a landscape shaped less by the rule of reason than by the general release of passions, emotions and affect.

                                                                  In this new landscape, knowledge will be defined as knowledge for the market. The market itself will be re-imagined as the primary mechanism for the validation of truth.

                                                                  As markets themselves are increasingly turning into algorithmic structures and technologies, the only useful knowledge will be algorithmic.

                                                                  Instead of people with body, history and flesh, statistical inferences will be all that count. Statistics and other big data will mostly be derived from computation.

                                                                  As a result of the conflation of knowledge, technology and markets, contempt will be extended to anyone who has nothing to sell.

                                                                  The humanistic and Enlightenment notion of the rational subject capable of deliberation and choice will be replaced by the consciously deliberating and choosing consumer.

                                                                  Already in the making, a new kind of human will triumph.  This will not be the liberal individual who, not so long ago, we believed could be the subject of democracy. The new human being will be constituted through and within digital technologies and computational media.

                                                                  The computational age — the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — is dominated by the idea that there are clean slates in the unconscious. New media forms have not only lifted the lid previous cultural eras had put on the unconscious. They have become the new infrastructures of the unconscious.

                                                                  Yesterday, human sociality consisted of keeping tabs on the unconscious. For the social to thrive meant exercising vigilance on ourselves, or delegating to specific authorities the right to enforce such vigilance.

                                                                  This was called repression.

                                                                  Repression’s main function was to set the conditions for sublimation. Not all desires could be fulfilled. Not everything could be said or enacted. The capacity to limit oneself was the essence of one’s freedom and the freedom of all.

                                                                  Partly thanks to new media forms and the post-repressive era it has unleashed, the unconscious can now roam free. Sublimation is no longer necessary.

                                                                  Language has been dislocated. The content is in the form and the form is beyond, or in excess of, the content.

                                                                  We are now led to believe that mediation is no longer necessary.

                                                                  This explains the growing anti-humanist stance that now goes hand in hand with a general contempt for democracy.  Calling this phase of our history fascist might be misleading unless by fascism we mean the normalisation of a social state of warfare.

                                                                  Such a state would in itself be a paradox because, if anything, warfare leads to the dissolution of the social. And yet under conditions of neoliberal capitalism, politics will become a barely sublimated warfare. This will be a class warfare that denies its very nature — a war against the poor, a race war against minorities, a gender war against women, a religious war against Muslims, a war against the disabled.

                                                                  Neoliberal capitalism has left in its wake a multitude of destroyed subjects, many of whom are deeply convinced that their immediate future will be one of continuous exposure to violence and existential threat.

                                                                  They genuinely long for a return to some sense of certainty, the sacred, hierarchy, religion and tradition. They believe that nations have become akin to swamps that need to be drained and the world as it is should be brought to an end. For this to happen, everything should be cleansed off. They are convinced that they can only be saved in a violent struggle to restore their masculinity, the loss of which they attribute to the weaker among them, the weak they do not want to become.

                                                                  In this context, the most successful political entrepreneurs will be those who convincingly speak to the losers, to the destroyed men and women of globalisation and to their ruined identities.

                                                                  In the street fight politics will become, reason will not matter. Nor will facts. Politics will revert into brutal survivalism in an ultracompetitive environment.

                                                                  Under such conditions, the future of progressive and future-oriented mass politics of the left is very uncertain.

                                                                  In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat. The transformation of the political into business raises the risk of the elimination of the very possibility of politics.

                                                                  Whether civilisation can give rise at all to any form of political life is the problem of the 21st century.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  [Achille Mbembe is based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. His new book, The Politics of Enmity, will be published by Duke University Press in 2017.]

                                                                  The Work of Revelations: Snowden, the Torture Report, and the Diminishing Returns of Info-Spectacles

                                                                  Popaganda

                                                                  January 2, 2015

                                                                   

                                                                  omidyar-lede

                                                                  Omidyar, right, with (clockwise from left) Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and Laura Poitras. Illustration by Matthew Woodson. Photo: Matthew Woodson. Image: THE PIERRE OMIDYAR INSURGENCY [Source]

                                                                   

                                                                  “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come,” wrote Victor Hugo. Isn’t that ultimately the message of Les Misérables? In contrast to the revolutionaries hopelessly slaughtered en masse at the barricades, it’s Jean Valjean’s unimpeachable righteousness alone that ultimately drives his longtime tormentor to suicide. I dreamed a dream…

                                                                  Rather than just being the domain of French Romantics and office motivational posters, the notion that information alone has transformative power is the cornerstone of establishment left thinking. It stems from liberal enlightenment ideals that configure history as a linear progression—embodied in the apocryphal quote about the moral arc of the universe. It goes one way, and that’s forwards towards progress. This coincides happily with the preponderance of lawyers in the ranks of mainstream human rights and civil liberties groups, for whom information is the sine qua non of preparing briefs and mounting cases.

                                                                  There’s a more controversial theory that information isn’t inherently good. Even revelatory information—stuff the powerful don’t want you to know—ostensibly in the service of a progressive goal, can be used for right-wing ends if it obscures or moderates a more radical prescription. If information is getting used to co-opt a more radical course of action, then that project is reactionary.

                                                                  For its part, progressive e-magazine TruthDig doesn’t want people messing with this line of thinking in the case of the Senate Torture report: “When the truth is spoken by politicians…skeptics are right to suspect it’s not merely the truth. It is always tailored to redound to some benefit to the speaker. But there are moments in history when that doesn’t matter.”

                                                                  We’re being told it’s one such moment now. The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a heavily redacted, heavily abridged “Executive Summary” of its 6,000 page report on CIA torture. Adding to the report’s mystique is the fact that the White House and CIA wanted to suppress the information contained within, with the CIA even hacking the computers of Senate staffers compiling the report. The torture report seems like the most illicit kind of revelatory information, so it’s created an enormous amount of commentary and condemnation.

                                                                  However, with the exceptions of some specific ghoulish details, most of the information was already known. The most horrific facts—that the CIA raped prisoners, that torture was used to fabricate justifications for the War in Iraq, that human beings were tortured to death, that almost a quarter of torture cases were the result of mistaken identity—had all been reported on within the last decade.

                                                                  There’s a disconnect between the content of the torture report and the narrative that now surrounds the event itself. When TruthDig called for putting skepticism aside, it was in a piece hailing Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain as their progressive heroes of the week. Feinstein’s fingerprints are on many of the US’s worst abuses of this century, and McCain is one of the most bloodthirsty figures in the US government, and by extension the planet. Given that these newly minted progressive heroes are some of the worst imperialists, and the torture report’s aura doesn’t reflect reality, this seems like exactly the right moment for those meddlesome skeptics to be asking questions.

                                                                  The journalists and public figures who promote the torture report present it as transformative information, but it’s shaping up to be a spectacle that sets the left back yet again. The report has followed many parallels with the last time this happened, the spectacle surrounding Ed Snowden’s leaks to Glenn Greenwald et al. The Snowden drama provided a useful template for how dissent is going to be managed, channeled, and moderated going forward. The way the NSA leaks were handled has provided the elites a scalable model for taking the release of even revelatory information and using it to come out on top and consolidate their power.

                                                                  ***

                                                                  Fortunately, last October Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media had an acrimonious public divorce with once-hire Matt Taibbi. If Taibbi had been someone with less social capital, then the failure of Racket might’ve just been a momentary hiccup for the internet’s hottest journalistic “insurgency.” As it stands, the fact that people want to be in Taibbi’s orbit has opened up a lot of space for analysis of Omidyar’s would-be media empire, where the establishment consensus was once airtight. It’s certainly vindicated what Taibbi said about journalists being akin to an easily spooked herd of deer, who only get around to asking the right questions “eventually. But far after the fact.”

                                                                  When the leaks began, they painted a complete picture of a monster whose contours had only previously been hinted at. Stories about warrantless wiretapping and the size of “Top Secret America” had won their authors Pulitzers and hinted that the US government was spying on all of us. There were reports of a secret government data-storage facility of gargantuan proportions being built in Utah. Stories had periodically cropped up in unexpected places about the government’s ability to record and store all our communications. However, now the public knew the truth definitively. There was excitement, talk of change, reform, maybe even something more drastic. Soon, the whistleblower went public. More stories came out, about more countries.

                                                                  However, there were problems from the outset. Tarzie, one of maybe 3 or 4 people asking the right questions from the outset, drew these threads out in August 2013 in his “Fuck the Guardian” series. Some of the serious problems were a zeal for secrecy and redactions, an over-emphasis on one set of actors at the expense of the bigger picture, and a single-minded devotion to “debate” and reform as the ideal solution. There were plenty of other problems, like the smearing of Chelsea Manning and a near-monopoly on information, all of which spoke to having surrendered ground to the very enemies being exposed. The entire event was taking place on the state’s terms, and as Arthur Silber wrote, “when the state floods the zone, any chance for reform is dead.”

                                                                  However, the state weren’t the only interested parties. There was a big story to be told, after all, and a billionaire patron chose to underwrite the project. The consensus that instantly emerged–and remained firmly in place until Racket’s collapse–was that Pierre Omidyar was a “civic minded billionaire.” What was being exchanged between Omidyar and Greenwald was a paycheck for prestige. As Tarzie pointed out at the beginning, PayPal had conducted an extrajudicial corporate blockade against WikiLeaks that hobbled the organization, and Greenwald lied about Omidyar’s involvement.

                                                                  When it came out that Omidyar had funded regime change in Ukraine and the election of a fascist PM in India, and would profit handsomely for it, this revelatory information wasn’t enough to tarnish the “civic-minded” gloriole. “Since the rich man in question has demonstrably been involved in funding imperialist activities,” explained Patrick Higgins, the Snowden leak keepers were now “by extension, running interference on imperialism’s behalf.” A typical imperialist oligarch bought a bulletproof reputation as a civic-minded hero, for only $250 million (of which only $50 million has actually been paid so far). To get an idea of what a robust return on investment this is, Bill Gates has to spend billions of dollars a year in order to be seen as a humanitarian while defending capitalism’s brutality and making Malthusian calls for population reduction in Africa and Asia.

                                                                  Snowden eventually came out of his self-imposed media exile and played a part in the vaunted debate. It’s been reported that whistleblowers tend to be conservative individuals, and this makes sense. Someone who thinks the CIA is an organ of state terrorism is unlikely to get hired there, nor would they seek to restore it to an imagined past if they joined up and eventually found this to be the case. That explained phenomena like Snowden’s insistence that information be mediated by “responsible journalists and government stakeholders,” and a whole slew of reactionary statements he made as the spectacle went on.

                                                                  As Snowden explained, he was “still working for the NSA” in spirit, seeking to reform temporarily disoriented agencies. For anyone hoping that substantive change would result, this is a death sentence. As Chris Floyd said, “the system itself is not under threat [when] the only goal of any revelations will be ‘reform.’ ‘Reform’ and ‘debate’ can always be managed by those who control the levers of power.”

                                                                  In the end, the public accrued very limited benefits if any. There were stories that essentially recapitulated the same theme of mass government data collection, told with some different details but committed salesmanship. Long after most of the world has moved on, The Intercept’s reporters still use the same breathless promotional language. In mid-December 2014 Jeremy Scahill was promoting a “Blockbuster” story at The Intercept that’s basically a longer version of a story already reported at Der Spiegel 14 months ago. There wasn’t even reform, either, with one failed bill widely derided as a “sham.” Even First Look supporters concede that the NSA ultimately “retained its powers.” And they might have stronger defenses against future leakers in place now, thanks to Ed Snowden. As reported in a Wired cover story, as Snowden took documents from NSA servers, he did so in a way that “[gave] the government time to prepare for leaks in the future,” in case anyone more radical than him came along.

                                                                  If anyone benefitted from the event, besides the leak’s owners and the state, it was the tech sector. Snowden updated Thomas Jefferson for the disruptor set when he recommended restraining government surveillance with “the chains of cryptography.” He announced the Reset the Net initiative on June 5th, 2014. By unveiling it a year after the Guardian released its first Snowden-sourced story, the event was marketed as the solution to government surveillance, the logical endpoint of the events that have preceded it. According to Wired, Reset the Net is “a coalition of more than two-dozen tech companies,” i.e. former partners in government spying who would now be the vanguards of privacy. When Trevor Timm, a board member of the Electronic Frontiers Foundation with Greenwald, listed “Four Ways Edward Snowden Changed The World,” two reasons were essentially sales pitches for the tech industry. To hear left celebrities orbiting the Snowden trove tell it, all Silicon Valley had to do was suffer a mild public shaming in order to become zealous guardians of their users’ privacy.

                                                                  ***
                                                                  Obviously, some factions of the state and oligarch class* would rather the public know nothing. However, if this isn’t an option, then there are ways to accrue benefits from the information release. The Snowden spectacle has shown how the guilty parties can create positive outcomes for themselves, coming out even better than before. The common threads include:

                                                                  1. A distracting, singular focus on one set of actors at the expense of other guilty parties.
                                                                  2. An erasure of related and often more serious crimes.
                                                                  3. The lionizing of deeply reactionary figures.
                                                                  4. Right-wing, power-serving “solutions.”
                                                                  5. The erasure of leftist ideas from the left.
                                                                  6. A further fetishizing of the transformative power of revelation.

                                                                  In the Snowden spectacle and the torture report, there are two situations in which information is released to the public. It’s been known, but now there are specific details and official confirmations. This is presented as a revelation, and re-stated in different permutations to retain public interest. From there, the ruling class will create an unexpected victory.

                                                                  1. Distracting Focus on One Set of Actors

                                                                  In the case of the Snowden leaks, over a year of reporting focused almost exclusively on the NSA. There was almost no reporting done on the private sector, or the 16 other government agencies that comprise the Intelligence Community—from the FBI and DEA to Army intelligence and the National Reconnaissance Office.

                                                                  In the case of the Senate torture report, the focus has been exclusively on CIA torture authorized and directed by the Bush administration and its lawyers. Dick Cheney has come out of the shadows to issue ghoulish pronouncements about torture’s goodness, acting as a cartoonish, literally heartless proxy for the entire cast of villains.

                                                                  However, the focus on the Bush administration has erased contemporary Democratic culpability in the torture program. The 2002 briefing of House Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller by the CIA was, according to CIA war criminal and noted sociopath José Rodriguez, “short and sweet.” Though Democrats at the at the time adduced torture as a reason to vote for Democrats, it was, like anti-war opposition, cheap posturing to score political points.

                                                                  A few years later, it was rising Democratic star Barack Obama’s turn to sweep torture under the rug after exploiting it for electoral reasons. In a tremendously revealing statement that received scant attention at the time, then-Senator Obama said that impeachment was off the table because it was reserved for “serious breaches” of the President’s authority. The statement was a clear indication that Obama didn’t—and doesn’t—consider torture to constitute a serious offense, at least when committed by the United States. Though candidate Obama made overtures to investigate torture, his 2008 behavior on FISA showed how hollow these promises were. On the campaign trail, the Senator declared that he would filibuster TeleCom immunity, before voting for it once it was politically expedient. When Obama was elected and made “look forwards, not backwards” his mantra, the Democratic leadership owned torture as much as Bush.

                                                                  Just like the NSA was the sole focus of the Snowden cache, a casual observer would think that the CIA were the sole perpetrators of torture after 9/11. The singular focus on the CIA has erased the fact that the US military was responsible for many of the most horrific abuses of the War on Terror. Abu Ghraib, for instance, was born out of a policy to “’Gitmoize’ Iraq,” applying the brutal torture policies of America’s Cuban hellhole to the entire nation of Iraq. Military installations were the sites of countless crimes, like Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base or Iraq’s Camp Nama, whose name was backronymed to mean “Nasty-Ass Military Area.”

                                                                  The Senate torture report has successfully cordoned off torture as the work of one agency and one set of elites, when the entire political class and national security apparatus is guilty.

                                                                  1. Erasure of Related and More Serious Crimes

                                                                  The Snowden event brought us dozens of stories that reiterated essentially the same point. Less publicized was Reuters’ August 2013 report on NSA-DEA “parallel construction,” where the NSA was giving warrantlessly surveilled information to the DEA, who then build up a criminal case under the pretense that the information had been lawfully obtained. In this case, abstract reports on government abuse were crowding out concrete reports of government abuse. The narrative around the Senate report has taken this aspect of the Snowden drama to a much higher degree. There is a constellation of American crimes that are being erased, whitewashed, and legitimized by the focus on the CIA torture report.

                                                                  The Obama administration and the CIA saw the kind of legal and political mess that came from indefinite detention, and concluded that assassination was easier. A 2004 report from the CIA’s inspector general warned that “The agency faces potentially serious long-term political and legal challenges as a result of” the torture regime. “The report was the beginning of the end for the program,” according to journalist Mark Mazzetti. “The ground had shifted, and counterterrorism officials began to rethink the strategy for the secret war. Armed drones, and targeted killings in general, offered a new direction.”

                                                                  Consequently, the Obama administration has waged a far more vicious assassination campaign than Bush ever did, with thousands killed in drone strikes and even American citizens targeted for extrajudicial murder. Obama’s theory of executive power was best summarized by Attorney General Eric Holder explaining that “due process” didn’t need to involve a trial by jury, but could be achieved by the President deciding to murder you in one of his “Terror Tuesday” meetings.

                                                                  That’s not to say that torture isn’t still practiced. Torture is still common practice in Guantánamo Bay, where inmates are subjected to excruciating force-feedings. The experience of having a feeding tube slid through the nasal cavity and down into the prisoner’s stomach is usually compared to having a razor blade shoved through the nostril and down the throat.

                                                                  Obama’s vaunted torture ban has also not banned torture, merely returned it to the grey-area status it enjoyed before the Bush administration codified it. The CIA has long practiced torture, like under the Phoenix program in Vietnam or taught at the notorious School of the Americas. Today, the CIA maintains its “extraordinary rendition” and secret prison programs, with loopholes in place for torture to continue more covertly. Torture is still allowed for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and since expanding JSOC’s operational scope has been a cornerstone of Obama’s war-fighting policies, some inductive reasoning indicates that it’s expanded into those dark corners. As the blog Moon of Alabama points out:

                                                                  The Army Field Manual 2 22.3. Appendix M is still in force and it allows “interrogation techniques” which the UN’s Committee against Torturesays (PDF) amount to torture. The White House is also still believing that using torture abroad is not covered by the UN Convention Against Torture and thereby permissible.

                                                                  This, together with Appendix M, lets me assume that the U.S. is still torturing people abroad. Why else would it keep those legal holes open?

                                                                  All this is only to discuss how torture is still practiced in prosecuting the War on Terror (or as it’s called now, the Overseas Contingency Operations). It’s an entirely different story about the United States practicing torture in its system of mass incarceration through solitary confinement, which “human beings experience…as torture,” according to Dr. Atul Gawande.

                                                                  1. Reactionary Heroes

                                                                  The release of the torture report has lead to some strange scenes. Teju Cole, for instance, a longtime critic of American imperialism, thanked Dianne Feinstein “for [her] service” in the pages of the New York Times. Dianne Feinstein has long been a supporter of almost every imperialist venture the US has embarked upon. Her husband’s status as a member of a lucrative government contractor also makes her, quite literally, a war profiteer.

                                                                  As for John McCain, this release affords him to playact the maverick that the media needs to remind everyone that he is. It’s also erased the fact that in 2008 McCain fought to exempt the CIA from a torture restriction.

                                                                  Besides Feinstein and McCain, the biggest hero in the release of the torture report has been John Kiriakou, the CIA case officer who first blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. As is typical of National Security whistleblowers, Kiriakou is deeply conservative, a “patriotic” spy whose “Letters from Loretto” penitentiary spend a lot of time railing against the FBI. A common theme of his letters are slams against the FBI for their dishonesty, positioning the CIA—who’ve spent over a decade running a global torture and assassination program—as the honest Agency.

                                                                  At least the Snowden case gave Americans a fresh face, who only exposed his retrograde beliefs gradually. The Senate torture report has boosted “heroes” who are some of the past decade’s most imperialist figures.

                                                                  1. Power-Serving Solutions

                                                                  Jane Mayer, who’s written more about America’s post-9/11 torture regime than any other journalist, wrote in the New Yorker that “torture is becoming just another partisan issue.” Particularly given the incoming Republican-majority Senate, torture accountability seems like a position that the Democrats can own after having tacitly endorsed it. According to Mayer, Feinstein “proved that Congress can still perform its most basic Madisonian function of providing a check on executive-branch abuse,” while “By contrast, the new report, even before it was released, came under attack from Republicans.” Soon, newly minted transparency and accountability heroine Feinstein will be out, replaced by Republican Richard Burr, “a staunch defense and surveillance hawk,” according to Joshua Eaton at Al Jazeera. “At the same time, one of the intelligence community’s most outspoken voices, Mark Udall, will leave the committee after losing re-election last month.” The departure of the Democrats “threatens to stall attempts to reform the nation’s surveillance laws and avoid transparency about the CIA’s controversial interrogation program,” Eaton says. The narrative, as it’s taken hold, paints a clear distinction between Democrats and Republicans on this issue.

                                                                  For a Democratic party seeking to reinvigorate its increasingly apathetic base after what Dr. Cornel West calls “a Wall Street and drone presidency,” this is a great branding opportunity. One of Obama’s first decisions in office was to immunize torturers. However, with a Republican Congressional majority imminent, this is a perfect chance for the soon-to-be-helpless Democrats to act like they’d been champions of transparency all along.

                                                                  For those who remember the now-ancient years of Bush’s second term, the reason proffered to vote for Democratic representatives in 2006 was to stop the Bush agenda. Then, Democrats still couldn’t do anything without a Democrat in the White House. Once Americans gave the Democratic party the veto-proof Democratic supermajority that they needed for some sweet Change, they discovered that relatively little could get done in the face of Republican intransigence. Increasing numbers of Americans see little hope in the two-party system, but the torture report provides a golden opportunity for the Democrats to burnish their image anew.

                                                                  The report puts torture back in the contested category it once enjoyed. Democrats can once again compel their supporters to go to the polls to vote against torture and in favor of transparency—just like they did in 2006 and 2008, and by recycling the exact same rhetoric. That Hillary Clinton is making a public show of denouncing torture and praising the report’s release is a sign that this is exactly what’s going to happen. Clinton, who supported torture and is “a walking profanity” embodying the worst American corporatism and imperialism, signals that the Democrats are interested in play-act opposition to torture once again, after years of tacit approval.

                                                                  Beyond just the Democrat/Republican modality, the torture report is functioning as a whitewash for the entire American project. There’s the predictable “rally ‘round the flag” effect—the idea that only America could produce a work of decency and introspection like a report on its own torture program.

                                                                  Then there’s the hand-wringing over how aberrant torture is—how America lost its way—and accompanying appeals to return to an imagined past. “When I was growing up,” a typical missive goes, “Americans thought of torture as a tactic used by history’s villains.” It’s true, America thought of torture as a uniquely evil tactic, while committing it covertly and teaching it to its proxies. While the author of the above passage was growing up, learning that torture was the sole domain of dictators and terrorists, the US was exporting torture expertise throughout the Southern Cone.

                                                                  Torture has been with the US since its foundation—what could the treatment of African slaves be called besides that? Overseas torture programs also date back at least to the counterinsurgency to subjugate the Philippines at the birth of the 20th century. So the idea that the CIA torture program was a unique, momentary evil that erupted from the minds of Dick “work the dark side” Cheney and John “the President can crush a baby’s testicles” Yoo serves to conveniently whitewash America’s history as a white supremacist and imperial entity. The release of the torture report is propagating these narratives even as it seems to challenge power.

                                                                  1. An Erasure of Substantive Leftist Beliefs

                                                                  Adolph Reed has written about how one of the ideological functions of neoliberalism is to erase substance from politics, and leave only empty signifiers. “Being a progressive is now more a matter of how one thinks about oneself than what one stands for or does in the world.” The Snowden drama was remarkable for how much it divorced substantive leftist politics from a position called “leftist.” Leftists went to the mattresses for a journalist’s right to redact, hoard, and genuflect to NatSec concerns. “Marxists, anarchists, libertarians and Occupy activists now call a billionaire by his first name”:Pierre. The Snowden leaks told the left some information about bulk collection in exchange for dragging it rightward.

                                                                  The torture report is so far succeeding in erasing more of the left. Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, published a New York Times op-ed calling for Obama to pardon the Bush administration. “If the choice is between a tacit pardon and a formal one, a formal one is better. An explicit pardon would lay down a marker, signaling to those considering torture in the future that they could be prosecuted.” Besides the obvious inversion of reality evinced by Romero’s position, and the childish treatment of “the law” as some supernatural Platonic construct, it’s literally the ACLU advocating pardons for war crimes. Stephen Walt reiterated this position in a Foreign Policy piece that compared Chelsea Manning to Dick Cheney. A few days later, he tweeted this:

                                                                  Merry Christmas, torturers. #empathy

                                                                  A few days after Romero’s op-ed, the ACLU published a piece titled “CIA Agents Said ‘No’ to Torture.” The reason people are discussing the torture report is because CIA personnel said “yes” to torture, but the ACLU is here to remind Americans that #NotAllSpies chose to commit this offense to human dignity. These case officers and analysts the ACLU is celebrating held fast to their day jobs assassinating people, subverting foreign democracy, or otherwise manifesting “the ruling class’s determination to retain power and privilege.”

                                                                  Those who did torture were, shockingly, not even trained torturers. This is according to one narrative that’s cropped up, echoed by progressive outlets like Mother Jones and lawyers for prisoners’ rights group Reprieve. Deferring to the state’s euphemisms for torture, Mother Jones says that “Extreme interrogations…went on for more than three months before CIA officers received any sort of training in the new techniques from anyone.” For some, evidently, the problem is that CIA torturers hadn’t been briefed on proper torture techniques. This probably resulted in total amateur mistakes like threatening to murder their mothers instead of sisters, or blasting Metallica for 8 hours when they should’ve been blaring Marilyn Manson. Maybe liberal outlets were too quick to pounce on the $80 million payments to those two torture psychologists, since there were too few torture-professionals rather than too many.

                                                                  Whatever the celebrity left believes their positions to be, many of their concerns don’t seem particularly left-wing. Even less than a month into the torture report drama, we’ve seen calls for pardons, celebrations of CIA spies, and a focus on improper torture techniques and insufficiently trained torturers. With heroes like Feinstein and McCain at the center of this, there’s no rightward boundary for how far the left can slide.

                                                                  1. The Fetishizing of Information

                                                                  In the end, the fetish for information above all else is reified. If only the public learns the truth, if only the lawyers who overwhelmingly staff human rights groups have more direct evidence, something will change. Each revelatory event is also presented as the proverbial Big One, restarting the cycle from scratch. There have been diminishing returns, but the salesmanship is just as enthusiastic.

                                                                  Shahid Buttar, the executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, called the torture report “the most important document revealing crimes of the intelligence agencies since the Pentagon Papers.” The Snowden leaks, Wikileaks and Cablegate, the Washington Post’s “Top Secret America”—all these events didn’t accomplish much since this is the event we’ve been waiting for. Buttar harkens back to the Pentagon Papers, which have become the Ur-Leak Event in all these conversations. Daniel Ellsberg himself adds to the mystique of each event by coming out and saying he’s been waiting his whole life for it (free idea for The Onion: “Daniel Ellsberg can’t remember all the people who are the next Daniel Ellsberg”).

                                                                  The narrative that This Is The Leak Event We’ve Been Waiting For serves to keep the public interested in supporting leftish groups like the ACLU, whose lawyers can now meet standing requirements and prepare the relevant briefs. It also resets the clock, convincing a new group of people that justice is imminent while the ruling class manages increasingly favorable outcomes. The Snowden spectacle worked out so well that the torture report offers more reactionary ideas for even less new information.

                                                                  The idea that information itself, especially information you’re not supposed to possess, is its own good is an article of faith. There’s additional pressure because pointing out that revelatory information is already publicly available is associated with the political right. When someone points out that the information isn’t “new,” it’s usually a crass attempt at smarmy self-promotion or a diversionary tactic from a party with some stake in derailing the inquiry (Mark Ames once wrote “you can always tell a paid troll by their ‘nothing new here’ nonsense”).

                                                                  However, the left can’t embrace these events without interrogating them more than is going on now. As it stands, the ruling class is being strengthened by these spectacles, and seeing their power further entrenched. Most insidiously, with each info-drama, the left is being purged of actual leftist substance. The idea that’s reflexively invoked, “at least now we know,” is wrong—there’s more than that going on. As Chris Floyd said:

                                                                  Yet revelations of these machinations, of government/corporate crime or “excesses,” have made no difference. Nothing changes, because the commanding heights of politics and media are in the hands of people deeply committed to preserving the system that gives them wealth and power.

                                                                  We live in an age of revelation. There has never been era in which so much clear and glaring evidence of so many horrific crimes and abuses by state and private power has been so widely and freely available. Year after year, the revelations pile up. None of it makes any difference. Instead, power doubles down.

                                                                  The truth alone might not set us free. Powerful entities are working to see it does nothing, or even make us less free in the end.

                                                                  Update: additional reading– “Liberals vs. Radicals on the Power of Information

                                                                  YouTopia

                                                                  Public Good Project

                                                                  February 15, 2016

                                                                  by Jay Taber

                                                                   

                                                                  mad men 2

                                                                   

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

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

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

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

                                                                  *(affiliated with Public Good Project)

                                                                   

                                                                   

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

                                                                  A Madame of Mediocrity

                                                                  A Culture of Imbeciles

                                                                  January 23, 2016

                                                                  Klein - Oprah 2

                                                                  “Naomi Klein is the Oprah Winfrey of the Toy Che Brigades–another vapid luminary on the cover of Vogue.”  Poet Garcia Madero, Visceral Realist

                                                                   

                                                                  Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse