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Greenwashing Capitalism: Conservation’s Cosy Relationship with Corporations

Conservation Watch

By Chris Lang

March 21, 2017

Since the year 2000, there have been many partnerships between conservation organisations and the industrial corporations responsible for destroying nature. Mining companies are particularly popular.

A new paper by William M. Adams published in the Journal of Polical Ecology explores the “surprising closeness and apparent warmth of the relations between biodiversity conservation organisations and corporations”.

The paper is titled, “Sleeping with the enemy? Biodiversity conservation, corporations and the green economy”, and can be downloaded here.

Adams traces the partnerships between conservation organisations and the mining industry to a series of initiatives starting in the 1990s:

1997: Conservation International published Reinventing the well, a report on “minimizing the environmental and social impacts of oil development in the tropics”.

1998: a Global Mining Initiative, “to provide sustainable leadership for the mining and minerals industry in the areas of our economic, social and environmental performance”.

1999: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development began a Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development project.

1999: Rio Tinto started working with Conservation International.

2000: Conservation International published a report on large-scale mining, titled, Lightening the lode.

2001: The International Council on Mining and Metals was formed, “to act as a catalyst for performance improvement in the mining, minerals and metals industry”.

2000–2002:The Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project, a research collaboration between the WBCSD and IIED.

Adams argues that,

[C]onservationists are turning a blind eye to their own past and to the working of neoliberal capitalism, showing a remarkable willingness to entertain future risks to biodiversity from the outworking of neoliberalism.

Conservation has been transformed by neoliberalism. Instead of looking at how capitalism uses (and destroys) nature, neoliberal conservation presents capitalism as the way of achieving environmental sustainability.

In their 2012 paper, Bram Büscher, Sian Sullivan, Katja Neves, Jim Igoe and Dan Brockington write that,

[N]eoliberal conservation shifts the focus from how nature is used in and through the expansion of capitalism, to how nature is conserved in and through the expansion of capitalism.

Benefits and consequences

Adams highlights the benefits and the consequences of partnerships between conservation organisations and corporations. There are three benefits:

  1. Power: Conservationists see corporations as having the power to make decisions to either conserve or destroy biodiversity. “Conservationists therefore engage because they want influence.”
  2. Funding: Corporations are key financiers of conservation, from sponsorship of NGO activities, to support for partnership activities, to philanthropic support from individuals in corporations, to linked for-profit enterprises, such as conservation-endorsed commodity chains.
  3. Careers: Corporate executives on NGO Boards allows for career mentoring, and access to networks of corporate contacts. “Corporate support also offers opportunities for career development: all NGOs depend on cash income to develop their programmes, and working in a way that aligns your programme with the interests and activities of corporations is a good way to keep your job and grow your program.”

An obvious problem with conservationists partnering with corporations is what Adams calls the “fundamental nature of capitalism”.

Capitalism is parasitic on nature, in that it “continuously gnaws away at the resources base that sustains it”, as Geographer David Pepper puts it in his 1993 book, Eco-Socialism: From deep ecology to social justice.

Corporations need to make only slight changes to their corporate strategies. But for the conservation organisations working with corporations, the ideological and organisational changes are significant. Biting the hand that feeds, by criticising corporate partners, is out of the question.

And conservation organisations that work closely with corporations start to look more like corporations themselves. Mark Tercek, the President and CEO of , previously worked at Goldman Sachs, rising to Managing Director and Partner.

Adams points out that corporate partnerships “do not in any obvious way ‘work’ for conservation, in terms of systematically addressing the fundamental drivers of biodiversity loss”.

Adams writes that the partnership between conservation organisations and corporations is a Faustian bargain, “a deal with the devil to acquire power in exchange for the soul”. Adams adds,

If conservation is Faust, the power it wins by its bargain with capitalism is inevitably trivial and transient: ultimately, in the face of capitalism’s destruction of nature, conservation will lose.

And he concludes that,

The reframing of nature as natural capital and the reinvention of conservation as the management of capital flows through market-based instruments, might make a close engagement between neoliberal conservation and corporations look unproblematic. Such a relationship offers the lure of financial resources and power. But conservationists considering getting into bed with corporations should remember the tale of Faust’s bargain. The story takes many forms, but in none of them does the pact turn out well.

 

[Conservation Watch is run by Chris Lang (conserwatch@gmail.com). The views expressed on Conservation Watch do not necessarily reflect the formal positions of any organisations or individuals, except when this is clearly stated. Conservation Watch is funded by the Rainforest Foundation UK.]

Earth Economics

Running with Bad Company

Public Good Project

May 6, 2016

By Jay Taber

Earth-Economics

Earth Economics–founded by Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard–is a partner with the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), which is in turn a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). CERES funders are associated with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. WBCSD is part of a Wall Street strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, and prevent enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.

Ceres Sachs Blood Mckibben

May, 2013: “CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes, Generation Investment Management Co-Founder David Blood (formerly of Goldman Sachs) and 350.org’s Bill McKibben have a lively conversation about how investors can influence the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Ehnes also serves on the Ceres board of directors.

As noted in The Social Capitalists–Part VIII of an investigative report documenting the corruption of the non-profit industrial complex by Wall Street–researcher Cory Morningstar revealed that one third of the CERES network companies are in the Fortune 500, and that since 2001, CERES has received millions from Wall Street corporations and foundations. Further, she observed that CERES president Mindy Lubber is a promoter of so-called “sustainable capitalism” at Forbes. Bill McKibben (founder of 350) was an esteemed guest of CERES conferences in both 2007 and 2013.

1Sky, which merged with 350 in 2011, was created by the Clinton Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Betsy Taylor of 1Sky/350 is on the CERES board of directors. In 2012, Bill McKibben and Peter Buffett (oil train tycoon Warren Buffet’s son) headlined the Strategies for a New Economy conference. Between 2003 and 2011, NoVo (Buffet’s foundation) donated $26 million to TIDES Foundation, which in turn funds CERES and 350. Suzanne Nossel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton, is on the TIDES board of directors.

Fullerton_ PES _small

As reported in Axis of Evil, the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk—co-hosted by CERES, the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Office for Partnerships—focused on the ‘New Economy’ unveiled by the financial elite at COP21. The ‘New Economy’–promoted by CERES and the Wall Street-funded social media marketing agencies Avaaz, Purpose and 350—forms the core of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by Bill Gates, Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz & Purpose), and Bill McKibben (350). The ultimate target of the SDGs is the privatization of Indigenous and public resources worldwide.

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In Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons under the Banner of a “New Economy”—Part XII of Morningstar’s investigative report—she says, the goal to commodify the commons under what has come to be known as ‘payment for ecosystem services’ and ‘Natural Capital’ will look to the private sector for investment. “The scheme,” she remarks, “promises corporations, private investors and the world’s most powerful financial institutions both ownership and control (i.e. expansion of power) of Earth’s natural resources.”

Litovsky_ PES

“The implementation of payment for ecosystem services,” Morningstar observes, “will create the most spectacular opportunities that the financial sector has ever witnessed.” This new mechanism for generating profits for the wealthy, she says, represents “the commodification of most everything sacred,” and “the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure”—a mechanism that, “will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.”

Money Can Buy You Nature

In Hijacking the Environmental Movement, I wrote that the ‘New Economy’ privatization cheerleaders, i.e. 350, Avaaz and CERES, all have fundamental ties to Wall Street moguls and finance sector criminals, and are “currently pressing for changes in international law that would give the finance sector carte blanche in privatizing all of nature.” What this so-called ‘sustainable capitalism’ is in reality sustaining, I observed, “is totalitarian corporate control of world governance and human survival.” Earth Economics, initially founded by TIDES, is a key player in promoting this scheme.

earth economics 1

Earth Economics: “We Take Nature Into Account”

As I noted in Architects of the Final Solution, “For ubercapitalists like Bill Gates and their sycophants like William Jefferson Clinton, who promote the false hope of neoliberal globalization, terminating the collective ownership of indigenous nations in exchange for totalitarian corporate control of the planet’s resources is a dream coming true.”

Global Goals 11

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies 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 defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

New World Order—Same Old Crimes

Wrong Kind of Green Op-Ed

December 21, 2015

by Jay Taber

Robinson-SG-COP21-NOV2015

November 2015: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Mary Robinson and Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz at “One Heart One Tree: Lighting of the Eiffel Tower”. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

In terms of relevance to the indigenous nations often referred to as the Fourth World, the rollouts from the COP21 gathering of UN member states, Wall Street-funded NGOs, and the global financial elite resemble colonial initiatives undertaken as a result of similar 19th Century gatherings to carve up the world for capitalism. Then, as now, indigenous territories and resources were targeted for expropriation through coercion, with Africa being a prime target.

cop21

Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (fourth from left) and Christiana Figueres (centre), Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), meet with “Civil Society Leaders” at the Le Bourget-Paris exhibition site, for Cop21. From left: Jagoda Munic, Chairperson, Friends of the Earth International; Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director, Avaaz; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation; Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International; May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org; Wael Hmaidan, Director, Climate Action Network International; and Bridget Burns, Administrator on Climate, Global Gender and Climate Alliance.

As statements emanating from COP21 by Wall Street-driven entities like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition were tailored to seduce the naïve into believing that First World consumption of indigenous territories and resources for luxury goods could continue unabated under the pretext of saving the planet, the agenda of the financial elite at Paris was to subsume human rights to the all-encompassing ‘clean energy’/New Economy regime.

Global Goals -PrivateProperty

A look at the ‘clean energy’ Ponzi scheme — led by magnate Bill Gates, and promoted by Havas – reveals two key attributes of the plan are 1. Expanding nuclear power development and 2. Privatizing public process and policy. Indeed, privatization of the planet, which led to the indigenous revolution in Bolivia and elsewhere, is a core component of the Natural Infrastructure for Business launched at COP21.

lithium mexico

“Clean” energy: Lithium mining in Mexico

lithium chile

“Clean” energy: Lithium mining in Chile

While the allure of the ‘clean energy’ chimera is appealing to First World consumers of electronics and energy storage devices such as electric car batteries, the Fourth World reality in Africa, Asia and South America – where resources for these technologies are mined — is one of utter devastation. Indeed, it has been convincingly argued that the recent misadventures of AFRICOM, NATO, and the UN in Libya, Mali and the Great Lakes region of Africa are aimed at securing these minerals for the US and the EU.

mckibben patel AOSIS-Press-Conference

COP15, 2009: Bill McKibben of 350.org, Ambassador Antonio Lima of Cape Verde (Vice-President of AOSIS), and Ricken Patel, Avaaz Executive Director

The NGOs and PR firms behind the social engineering used to drum up support for Wall Street’s privatization plan — Avaaz, Havas, Purpose and 350 — are key to saving the planet for the financial elite. While their choreography of the climate drama has resulted in lots of moral theatrics, the failure of 21 years of lobbying and protesting suggests something more serious is needed. Organizing for political power requires challenging these Wall Street-funded fronts. ‘Civil society’ does not equal NGO.

 

FURTHER READING

BREAKTHROUGH BOONDOGGLE

CLEAN ENERGY PONZI SCHEME

COP21: SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

MARCHING FOR MONSANTO

PRIVATIZATION STRATEGY

RAVE NEW WORLD

WANTED FOR DESTROYING OUR FUTURE: AVAAZ

 

 

 

COP21: Privatization Strategy

Center for World of Indigenous Studies

December 13, 2015

by Jay Taber

cop21-showtime1

 

World Business Council for Sustainable Development is part of a Wall Street strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, and prevent enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.

A partner of WBCSD is Ceres (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies), whose funders are associated with Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Ceres and 350 are funded in part by Tides, whose largest donor is NoVo–Warren Buffet’s private foundation.

Today, WBCSD launched another initiative to privatize ecosystems — Natural Infrastructure for Business — and to capitalize on the Breakthrough Energy Coalition boondoggle hyped by the financial elite at COP21.

The privatization of public process and policy — which led to economic collapse in the US, and bank bailouts from the U.S. Treasury that eviscerated the general welfare — is now being enacted at the UN.

The Clean Energy Ponzi Scheme and the ‘new economy’ — false hope marketed for the financial elite by Havas, Avaaz and 350 — now has its sights set on privatizing the planet.

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber (O’Neal) derives from the most prominent tribe in Irish history, nEoghan Ua Niall, the chief family in Northern Ireland between the 4th and the 17th centuries. Jay’s ancestors were some of the last great leaders of Gaelic Ireland. His grandmother’s grandfather’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to South Carolina in 1768. Jay 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 activists 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]

The “Purpose” of “Consumer Activism” & COP21 – “We Mean Business”

Wrong Kind of Green

December 11 2015

We Mean Business Logo

 

“The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.” — Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

The most critical of ecological nightmares – the key driving forces of climate change, those being first world consumption:

 

Interwoven with exploitation of Earth and her most vulnerable citizens and sentient beings, the continued genocide of Indigenous peoples as the caretakers of our lands and forests, the continued meltdown of Fukushima, are problems from a different world, a different lifetime.

They have no place amongst the negotiations led by 1% of the Earth’s population creating 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

The ultimate goal of course has now been achieved, the non-profit industrial complex (and those it feeds) having not only succeeded in establishing the global acquiescence for a third industrial revolution under the guise of “clean energy”, it manufactured a global demand – saving a suicidal economic system teetering on the verge of collapse. Rather than recognizing this is a  unique and rare opportunity in our history to allow and ensure this lethal economic system fails, all radical resistance (as activism) is now passé. In vogue is “activism as choice” for what technological solutions (i.e further consumption/growth) can “save” the humans species (of privilege).

On September 15, 2014, one week prior to the People’s Climate March in New York, Inside Climate News published the article Only $1 Trillion: Annual Investment Goal Puts Climate Solutions Within Reach. From the article:

“Leading up to the UN Climate Summit next week in New York, business groups and investors who manage trillions of dollars published reports and held meetings to call for action. Last week, investment groups publicized the creation of We Mean Business, an umbrella organization of investors urging world leaders to agree on a plan for fighting climate change.”

From the Climate Group (incubated by Rockefeller as in-house project that later evolved into a free-standing institution) website:

“The Climate Group is a proud partner of We Mean Business – a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors.”

The founding partners of We Mean Business are:

  1. Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
  2. CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project)
  3. Ceres
  4. The B Team (founded by Richard Branson)
  5. The Climate Group
  6. The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG)
  7. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) [Further reading: http://bit.ly/1lBgbU0]

Together these organizations represent thousands of the worlds most powerful corporations and investors.

We Mean Business Network partners:

  1. Asset Owner Disclosure Project (AODP)
  2. CEBDS
  3. Climate Leadership Council (CLC)
  4. WWF Climate Savers
  5. EPC, Japan-CLP
  6. National Business Initiative
  7. Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
  8. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
  9. United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

We Mean Business working partnerships were formed with the following organizations:

  1. Carbon Tracker
  2. Carbon War Room
  3. Climate & Clean Air Coalition
  4. Climate Markets & Investments Association
  5. E3G
  6. Forum for the Future
  7. Global Alliance for Energy Productivity
  8. International Emissions Trading Association
  9. Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC/Ceres)
  10. Rocky Mountain Institute (now partnered with the Carbon War Room)
  11. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy
  12. The New Climate Economy
  13. The Shift Project
  14. United Nations Global Compact
  15. World Bank Group
  16. World Resources Institute

[Further reading: Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”]

Ceres, a founding member of We Mean Business is a key partner of the 350.org divestment campaign which was created in consultation with the organizations “friends on Wall Street“. Ceres, 350,org, B Team, Avaaz, The Climate Group, We Mean Business and CDP are all “Earth to Paris” partners. (“Earth To Paris, a coalition of partners helping to drive awareness about the connection between people and planet as well as the need for strong climate action, announced it will host “Earth To Paris—Le Hub” a two-day, high-impact, live-streamed summit on 7 and 8 December in Paris during COP21 — the United Nations climate conference to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.”) [Source]

The ideologies espoused by “We Mean Business” are transparent in the following (01:40) interview with Avaaz & Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans by We Mean Business.

“We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.” — Jeremy Heimans, Purpose, 2011

September 15, 2014, This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe:

“What you are about to witness is the global mobilization of “consumers” to be ushered into the green economy, without SAYING it is the green economy. The climate parade in NYC, coinciding with the release of 350’s Naomi Klein’s new book, is the launching pad.

 

The kings and queens of hegemony have rolled the dice and placed their bets on Avaaz, 350.org and Naomi Klein (350.org board member) to usher in the illusory green economy under the guise of a so-called “new economy.” Their winning bet is that author Naomi Klein’s latest book will be the vehicle that ignites their new economy, and thus “changes everything.”

 

It is not by accident that foundation-financed “progressive” media and those within the non-profit industrial complex are heavily promoting Klein’s upcoming book release with multiple side events. It is not by accident that Avaaz’s latest petition titled The Global People’s Climate March has strategically modified the This Changes Everything book title to “Join to Change Everything” and “To change everything, it takes everyone.” Note the similar language employed by WWF: “To change everything, we need everyone.”

The fact that the Peoples Climate March was designed and orchestrated as a mass mobilization social engineering experiment financed by the oligarchs to”change everything” (expand capital and existing power structures) is captured in the (01:40 minute) video titled We Mean Business Momentum:

“And hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York City and all across the world. The momentum became contagious.”

 

The dystopian focus on perpetual growth via consumption as the solution to climate change is clear in the following We Mean Business video (3:40). Also note the reference to “Natural Capital” which is code for the global privatization of nature via payments for ecosystems services (PES) which is currently being implemented into policies behind closed doors.

“It won’t be about sacrifice. It will be about a new era of clean abundance.” — Steve Howard, Ikea

Activist Kevin Hester writes: “It is always worth looking for pearls of truth where the hubris and arrogance of the spin doctors lets them down… ‘the future of consumer activism’ … there you have it, the scam laid bare, they can never disown the market.”

This begets the question: is “the future of consumer activism” (under the guise of a “new economy”) already here?

sacrilege-2 (2)

Klein OECD

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

Indeed the foundation has been laid. After all, Naomi Klein’s book and film project (financed by the same oligarchs who bestow billions of dollars upon the non-profit industrial complex) was not made available for free in an exclusive online format. The book, a #1 international bestseller is being translated into 25 languages. Millions of books, driving and flying to international climate events/parades, social metrics, and a multitude of other foundation financed “activist” activities, all assist in the propping up of a capitalist economic system that is “flying at close to stall speed“. 

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

 

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

Klein OECD

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

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

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

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EGADE Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey

September 25, 2015

Mexico City

bono 2

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

Excerpts:

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

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

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

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

Global Goals 10

 

 

Greenwashing Wall Street: CERES, Tides and 350

A Culture of Imbeciles

February 7, 2015

Wall_Street

 

Excerpts from the McKibben’s Divestment Tour: Brought to You by Wall Street series by Cory Morningstar:

 

+++ Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) is a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). CERES funders are associated with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.

+++ WBCSD is part of a Wall Street strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, and prevent enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.

+++ One third of the CERES network companies are in the Fortune 500. Since 2001, CERES has received millions from Wall Street corporations and foundations.

+++ CERES president Mindy Lubber promotes “sustainable capitalism” at Forbes. Bill McKibben (founder of 350) was an esteemed guest of CERES conferences in 2007 and 2013.

+++ 1Sky, which merged with 350 in 2011, was created by the Clinton Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Betsy Taylor of 1Sky/350 is on the CERES board of directors.

+++ In 2012, Bill McKibben and Peter Buffett (oil train tycoon Warren Buffet’s son) headlined the Strategies for a New Economy conference. Between 2003 and 2011, NoVo (Buffet’s foundation) donated $26 million to Tides Foundation, which in turn funds CERES and 350.

+++ Suzanne Nossel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton, is on the Tides board of directors.

 

 

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part VIII of an Investigative Report] [The “Social Capitalists”]

The Art of Annihilation

January 9, 2015

Part eight of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII


“Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

Prologue: A Coup d’État of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

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Ceres: “The Social Capitalists”

The Clinton Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was an integral participant in the creation of 1Sky. 1Sky (which officially merged with 350.org in 2011) was, in fact, an incubator project of the Rockefeller fund at its inception. Like 1Sky, Ceres would also receive accolades from the Clinton administration:

“It is immensely gratifying that our unique skills and leadership are being noticed. Our project with Yale and Marsh was saluted this fall by former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative and this month Ceres received a prestigious Social Capitalist Award from Fast Company magazine. We also were honored to receive a 2006 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.” [Source: 2006 Ceres annual report]

Note that in 2009 (as disclosed in the SKOLL FUND CO SILICON VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 990) the Skoll Foundation awarded Ceres with a $2,000,000 grant for the “Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.”

Ceres Key Partnership: The World Climate Summit

“The World Climate Summit provides a unique opportunity to build collaboration among investors, businesses and governments on the steps needed to enable the necessary flows of private capital to achieve a low-carbon global economy.” — Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres and Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk.

Ceres’s INCR is a founding industry partner of The World Climate Summit (WCS) (2010) [1], now operating under the auspices of World Climate Ltd, a private company registered in England and Wales (No. 07186968) [Doha: World Climate Summit 2012 | 2012 Partners] WCS founding partners include the planet’s most powerful corporations and institutions with access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion in assets under management. [See screenshot below: UNEP FI Soft Launch: Conference in Cancun]

[Video: Climate Solutions – World Climate Summit 2013 – COP19 – Interview with Ursula Mathar – BMW]

Ceres Key Partnership: The United Nations

Since 2003, Ceres, the United Nations and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships has hosted a bi-annual Investor Summit (on climate risk & energy “solutions”). The Investor Summit convenes over 520 global investors controlling tens of trillions of dollars in assets from four continents “who understand that climate change creates enormous economic risks and also know that it represents one of the great financial opportunities of our time.” [Source]

64 trillion

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

“Another major policy planning group emerged in the mid-1990s with an increased focus on environmental issues, called the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which ‘instantly became the pre-eminent business voice on the environment’ with a 1997 membership of 123 top corporate executives, tasked with bringing the ‘voice’ of big business to the process of international efforts to address environmental concerns (and thus, to secure their own interests).” [Source: “Global Power Project, Part 2: Identifying the Institutions of Control”] Sourcewatch states: WBCSD was officially “formed in January 1995 through a merger between the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) in Geneva and the World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE) in Paris,” both of which were founded by billionaire industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny and Maurice Strong. “According to critics, this group was part of a strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations as it moved towards enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.” [Source: Taking Strong Action For Capitalist-Led Environmental Destruction]

WBCSD’s corporate partnerships are extensive. Major WBCSD water partnerships include but are not limited to: Ceres, AquaFed, the international federation of private water operators, CEO Water Mandate, GEMI , International Water Association, IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, Stockholm International Water Institute, UN Water and World Resources Institute.

“WBCSD collaborated with Ceres to develop a publicly available framework to help investors understand how water-intensive companies are positioned to manage water-related risks and opportunities.”

The WBCSD governance is comprised of individuals representing Unilever (chairman), ACCIONA, Toshiba, Royal Dutch Shell (vice chairmen). Members includes representatives of Toyota, Infosys, Lafarge France, Fibria Brazil and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). Stephan Schmidheiny serves as honorary chairman.

In 2012 Schmidheiny, heir, former executive and key shareholder in construction firm Eternit, was found guilty of negligent behavior in exposing Eternit’s workers and citizens to asbestos that resulted in over 3,000 asbestos-related deaths blamed on contamination. The guilty verdict resulted in a 16-year prison sentence. Schmidheiny failed to present himself in court during the two-year long trial and was not present for the verdict. In 2013 a third appeal upheld the conviction. The court increased the prison term to 18 years from the 16-year prison term handed down by a lower court in 2012 and awarded victims €88 million in damages. Again Schmidheiny appealed. On November 20, 2014 the Italian Supreme Court acquitted the convicted Schmidheiny and overturned his 18-year prison sentence stating the evidence in the case was out of date. His acquittal has set a precedent for other corporations whose CEOs are currently being held responsible for environmental and health damages.

“With this verdict, money and power won again. Eternit’s flagrant disregard for public health and the environment is reprehensible and criminal.” — Linda Reinstein, President of the US-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation

Watch: Background: Looking back at the Eternit case:

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/embedded/looking-back-at-the-eternit-case/41124758

In an October 2014 interview with Joppe Cramwinckel (WBCSD) in response to the question “In Europe there has recently been a strong campaign for public water supply: what is your position? Do you think it is right to privatize the management of a resource like water? If so why?”

WBCSD makes it clear the shared intent on the commoditization of Earth’s natural resources (by both corporations and the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) under the guise of corporate responsibility via careful linguistics:

“We don’t have an opinion about privatizing water services, that is a choice individual countries have to make. We do believe however that a key approach to improve water management is ‘water valuation’ coupled with charging the ‘full cost’ of using water through better pricing policies. Government regulations may also enforce, or at least encourage, valuation of water. In addition, growing stakeholder and supply chain demands are likely to grow as perceptions evolve in relation to growing sustainability awareness. This whole movement towards better understanding and pricing the true value of water will have significant implications for all businesses – both in terms of risks and opportunities.”

WBCSD Members:

wbcsd org member banner

Higher Fuel Economy Standards = More Growth

In February 2008, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation brought together 450 global investors managing $22 trillion in assets to a 3rd Investor Summit on Climate Risk. [2][3] One of the highlights that came from this summit was a joint Citi/INCR research report (2007) that highlighted the growth opportunities for U.S. automakers based on higher fuel economy standards.

“In July Ceres, along with a dozen other nonprofit partners, was an invited guest at the White House ceremony where President Obama announced stronger fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for new cars and trucks. Increasing fleet average fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025 will make a significant difference for the environment and our economy.” (2010-2011 annual report)

Obama announces in 2008 that stronger fuel-efficiency that will come into effect in 2025? Seventeen years into the future? Who cares!? To add insult to injury, consider that in 1908, the gas efficiency of a Ford Model T was 25 MPG, while in 2008, 100 years later, the EPA average of fuel efficiency on all cars was 21 MPG. Further, the EPA figure was inflated, as “most drivers achieve only about 75 percent of the [EPA mileage] figures.”

Ceres – Teeming with Religious Entities

“However, to read last week that the head of the Catholic Church, His Holiness the Pope, has cautioned mankind against greed while urging world leaders to tackle the problem of climate change was so surprising that I was sure I was reading a parody of events.… Large investments with everyone from the Rothschilds of America, Britain and France to some of the most powerful multinational corporations like Shell and General Motors, the Catholic Church has and still does benefit from a free market global economy that is solely motivated by profit. — Left Foot Forward, November 28, 2014

If 350.org really wants divestment he should start with the Catholic Church. [May 31, 2011: Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel.] To suggest that 350.org target religious entities about divestment first and foremost is not without reason. The fact is that 350.org’s “friends on Wall Street” (Ceres) are actually teeming with wealthy religious organizations. Ceres faith-based coalition members include religious organizations such as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Methodist Church, Board of Pension and Health Benefits (2003). Ceres’s faith-based board of directors includes representation from The United Methodist Church, Mission Responsibility Through Investment, Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others. [View all religious affiliations 2001-2010: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010]

“Among our most valuable coalition members is the United Methodist Church General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, one of the nation’s largest denominational pension funds representing 74,000 clergy and lay members with over $14 billion in assets.” [CERES 2008 Annual Report]

Surely the churches need no convincing by 350.org nor any other NGO on the virtues of morality and ethics … so why is it they have not already divested from fossil fuels? The investments held by the Catholic Church demonstrate that religious entities are just as guilty of rapacious greed and racism as the corporation itself, which is easily defined as having the very same characteristics of a full-blown psychopath.

350.org, McKibben, Ceres, Nike and Friends | Ego Uber Alles

Bill McKibben (founder and former chair of 350.org) has been an esteemed guest of Ceres conferences in 2007, and again in 2013.

An example of 350.org’s delusional idea of environmentalism from its inception is the continuous accolades for corporate social responsibility (as if there were such a thing) such as the “greening” of Nike. This is the same Nike that exploits sweatshop workers in Southeast Asia (April 20, 2011):

“Today from 12-1pm EST, ClimateCounts.org, Ceres.org and 350.org are supporting the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s Campus to Corporation (C2C) campaign by tweeting during Bard’s open dialogue with Sarah Severn, Stakeholder Mobilization Director of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike Inc.

 

“For the third year in a row Nike topped the ClimateCounts.org scorecard and last year made headlines by resigning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board over climate disputes.

 

“In December of 2010 at the release of the latest ClimateCounts.org scores, Wood Turner, ClimateCounts.org Executive Director, noted that, ‘There’s an emerging top tier of innovative companies leading on climate.’ Turner went on to state that ‘Climate action may have bogged down in Washington, but these companies know they can build successful businesses while tackling the climate crisis.’

 

“ClimateCounts.org and partners will be encouraging climate-conscious consumers to join the open dialogue today and tweet using the #Nike hashtag to learn more about the climate action Nike is taking.”

March 8, 2012:

” …according to War on Want, an anti-poverty charity accusing the sportswear giants of exploiting their workers in Bangladesh. In Race to the Bottom, a report released on Monday, the organization documents evidence of illegal work hours, dismal wages, sexual harassment, and physical violence in six factories contracted by Adidas, Nike, or Puma.”

In stark contrast to 350.org et al, the UK Feminista group took to the streets when it observed such exploitation:

“The group is asking people to stand in solidarity with the women producing Nike’s sportswear for the 2012 Olympics who are systematically being denied their rights. New research released by War on Want shows that Bangladeshi garment workers, 85% of whom are women, are being cheated of their maternity rights, face sexual harassment, and receive poverty pay.”

Yet this should be of little surprise. The NPIC is patriarchal; those at the helm could care less that women suffer the most under the industrialized global capitalist system. Those exploited the most, and in particular women, will suffer the most as climate impacts intensify. There is a reason 350.org no longer uses the term “climate justice.” The reality is that climate and justice will not and cannot coincide under the current economic system, as violence and exploitation are inherently built into the system.

Capitalism Doesn’t Care if Anyone Divests

“At Ceres, we understand that capitalism and sustainability are deeply and increasingly interrelated. Whether it’s energy and water needs, workplace conditions or nutrition, businesses must pay attention. These issues pose risks that must be managed proactively. They present opportunities that must be leveraged immediately.” Ceres Annual Report 2005 & Beyond, Ceres, 2006

 

“The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.” ? Against Empire

 

All money, like water, will flow somewhere. Meaning that at the end of the day even (“direct”) divestment from fossil fuels (asked to take place within a 5-year time frame) will only change the flow of investments. Examples include divesting from traditional fossil fuels to investing in the exploitation/drilling of “green” methane hydrates, rapid expansion of bio-fuels and other dangerous false solutions. The divestment campaign is of no threat to the fossil fuel industry at large because it has and will continue to expand into all the niche markets under the paradigm of the illusory “new economy.”

Campaigns of Distraction

Fossil fuel corporations will continue to rake in billions of dollars in revenues and profit. Investment funds understand that these stocks are secure. No risk. The notion of a carbon bubble in this respect … essentially referring to fossil fuels that cannot be burned – is laughable. Who is going to say no to the consumption of these fossil fuels because they are no longer part of our “carbon budget” – the U.S. military perhaps? We have not stopped on our own since climate talks began in 1979 (February 12-23, 1979 in Geneva); meaning, we’ve had 35 years to stop, and instead, only massively accelerated our consumption – an imperative under our suicidal economic system simply because the system would collapse with perpetual/infinite growth. One would be delusional to believe that we will in the future, on our own accord, make any meaningful attempt to address our consumption fetish – even as resources disappear at an accelerated rate. In the United States of Megalomania, and beyond, new generations are indoctrinated by design to be super-consumers – almost from the moment they can walk. The system demands it. Today, like deadly cancer cells, the western culture is permeating most all other cultures on our finite planet. Why would an investment firm (or their stockholders) believe that continued investment in fossil fuels would place their investments at risk when the American anthem “we will not apologize for our way of life” has become the empty dream to aspire to around the globe? The fossil fuel it takes to run an industrialized global economy built upon (and dependent upon) planned obsolescence is absolutely massive. Americans cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of fossil fuel necessary to allow such consumption to continue.

There is a reason such discussion and comments, such as the one which appears below, are highlighted on the Ceres website:

“Now, some people’s response is to demand that we end all coal production now – they say “End Coal.” Never mind that such a thing is simply not going to happen – there is no substitute now for metallurgical coal and if we stopped burning coal this afternoon and cut the power in the U.S. grid by 50 percent, as Mayor Bloomberg advocates, he’d be reading handwritten memos by candlelight this evening.”

We can cry “stop the Keystone XL!” and “Save the planet!” and “Action on climate change!” all we want. Yet, until we are willing to completely and collectively starve the corporate-machine that hums beneath our capitalist system, we remain chained to our demise. This includes but is in no way limited to: the most minimal amount of community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs; local and regenerative plant-based agriculture based on permaculture principles; trade/cooperative banking, etc. etc. etc. Yet, here there is a critical distinction that must be made.

Is “community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs” better than what we have at present? Yes. It would be difficult to argue otherwise. And yet, the question that arises is this: why are we looking (through tunnel vision) at (a global proliferation of) renewable energy infrastructure (the creation, transporting of and maintenance of, all dependent on fossil fuels) when the very societies (predominantly Euro-American) marketing/advocating the 100% renewable energy campaigns (via NGOs), the same societies creating 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, have not even succeeded, let alone even attempted, to cut our current consumption/emissions by at least half? (50% being a starting point only). After all, renewable energy infrastructure on a global scale is further ecological destruction (on a massive scale) to a planet in which planetary boundaries, feedbacks and tipping points have already being crossed.

Massively cutting our energy consumption for essentials such as heat will be very difficult if not impossible. Virtual zero carbon emissions would appear to be no easy feat. But deep and immediate cuts in emissions would be achievable simply by the eradication of, or even the collective rejection of, energy-intensive products, flying [critical][4] and energy-intensive food sources. Think no more “Black Friday.” Think the relinquishing of air conditioners, personal automobiles, fast food, flying, gadgets and everything else we believe we need, but which are in reality, for the most part, no more than short-sighted wants.

Considering that a massive amount of all energy is unnecessarily wasted (over 40% in the U.S.) while over 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are from industrialized factory farming, this could perhaps be achieved – but the fact is that we have not done so. Industrialized factory farming is perhaps the most taboo subject (along with the lethal military-industrial complex) among the liberal left and in particular the NPIC, much to the detriment of our children and billions of other sentient beings. Also not spoken of is the multitude of health benefits (let alone the immense environmental benefits) of a collective transition to a plant-based diet. We don’t talk about it despite a frightening epidemic of childhood diabetes (due to obesity) in America. One in three children born today in the U.S. is expected to develop diabetes in her/his lifetime, with black and Hispanic children having the highest risk.] Of course, such a transition (which requires no legislation) will never be championed by the NPIC simply because 1) it costs people nothing (therefore there is no profit to be made), 2) it threatens corporate power (leaving factory farming a reprehensible act of the past), and finally, 3) such a transition would leave the pharmaceutical industrial complex in the cold. Why prevent disease when we can “treat” it, further lining the pockets of big pharma? What foundations would fund such nonsense? The same foundations financing the national campaign to cut your consumption by 50%: none. Another barrier is the fact that 350.org et al, as well as the NPIC as a whole, understand their target audience well. Middle class, privileged, predominantly white. The NPIC employs and depends upon multi-million-dollar marketing companies to poll reactions – more importantly, reactions to specific language and phrases – prior to launching any campaign. They don’t “lead” with progressive/radical ideologies – they cater to corporate-driven and celebrated individualism. In other words, they give the people what the people want to hear. And to suggest to the American populace that it would be in their best interest to not eat dead animals three times a day or to consume/purchase only what is vitally necessary is to risk being nailed to a stake and burned alive.

One must question how it is at all sensible to believe the solution is “green” energy, when there have been zero attempts to curb our consumption to date. More is simply more. It is a fact that as all new “renewable” energies have come online, the end result has been more energy consumed. Perhaps one could argue for (or even believe) in “100% energy for 100% of the people” if we had achieved massive cuts in our emissions/consumption to date or even if such a process was now being taken on with war-time mobilization efforts. But they have not and are not. No doubt one will argue that once the renewable infrastructure is in place, we will de-commission all the fossil fuel plants. Yet what evidence is there that at any time we (the 1% creating 50% of the GHG emissions) will give up any energy – or anything at all? If we haven’t by now, and we certainly haven’t, why would the future be any different? The illusion of a future that runs on “clean,” “renewable” energy (by 2050) is allowing us to ignore (and continue) our rapacious consumption today. The “100% renewable” campaign serves the same purpose as the carbon “budget” (30 more years to “safely” burn) and the zero emissions by 2050 “goal.” The carefully constructed phrases, marketed and normalized by the tentacles of empire, deliberately serve the illusion that we can keep consuming, keep burning, keep killing, keep growing, as per usual. Today’s emergency is kept locked away in the future. It is easy to promise zero in 2050 when by this time the Earth will likely be uninhabitable, with little to no life, human or otherwise.

100-per-cent-for-the-one-percent-lg

The slogan that appeared for the “People’s Climate March” – “100% energy for the 100%” – is nothing but a phrase that serves to alleviate guilt. A sign/phrase based on reality would read “100% energy for the 1-3%” (the 1% being anyone who can afford to get on an airplane). Most all “renewable” energies will flow to the very same people who have always had the energy since the beginning of the industrial revolution: the empire states, the Annex I states, the privileged few. As an example, the October 29, 2014 article “Solar Power Plant in Africa to Supply Europe” states that “by 2018, a large solar power plant in the Tunisian part of the Sahara desert may start sending power to energy-hungry Western Europe.” This is nothing new. This is the norm. This is imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism. Beautiful Africa, the most resource-rich continent on Earth, ravaged and terrorized for her abundant wealth, her people purposely impoverished by colonial and imperial states. Consider that nearly 97% of the people on the planet that are without access to electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia – and then ask yourself why African solar is being transported to Europe, part of the 1% that already creates 50% of the GHG emissions.

It’s not what we need to add to “the existing” that should be our initial effort. Our initial effort/focus should be on what we can live without. An extraordinarily massive amount LESS. The relinquishing of what we don’t need is far more important than using what little remains of Earth’s natural resources to create additional infrastructure. The planet has already been raped and pillaged to the max. Climate science aside, humans are rapidly exhausting all Earth’s natural resources. July 7, 2002: “Earth’s population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week… In a damning condemnation of Western society’s high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted. The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.” October, 2010: “…our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we’re using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth’s limits, by 2030 we’ll need the equivalent of two planets’ productive capacity to meet our annual demands.” Is it any surprise we would rather focus all of our energies on how much more/what more we need in order to be “sustainable” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), rather than focus on what we can cut out of our lives in an attempt to be sustainable … starting today. Not because it will save us, but simply because it is the right thing to do. The fact that we do not do so and will not do so reveals much about our western societies and ourselves… perhaps more than we can bear to look at. Is this critical? Consider the response by Administrator of NASA, Charles Bolden speaking at the Humans to Mars summit: “If this species is to survive indefinitely we need to become a multi-planet species. We need to go to Mars, and Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems.” (Note that the quest to place greenhouses on and colonize Mars is well underway.)

A transition from our suicidal economic system to a system in which knowledge, dignity, courage and compassion serve as our shared foundation is paramount. We must start somewhere. Even if the beginning of such a transition is shared collectively in ideology alone, this would represent a true turning point toward a society grounded in humility and decency with purpose.

Until we do, we remain modern day slaves numbly intoxicated with 21st century soma. Our actions speak louder than words, “likes” and clicks.

Quiet Now

Illustration by Katharina Rot via social media. Attached were the words from a daughter to her father: “love this daddy” to which the father replied: “[Y]our girl will do this someday.”

The only way to stop an uncaged monster hurtling us towards oblivion faster than the speed of light is to starve it. This requires the participation of the masses – led by those at the margins. Together, we must starve the monster to the best of our ability, until it loses strength. At this point, when the system is weak and on its knees, in a valiant and united effort, we must do everything in our power to destroy it, shifting the existing power structures back to where they belong: with the people.

 

Good for people – bad for Wall Street.

 

 

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Next: Part IX

 

[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, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

EndNotes:

[1] Established in 2010, the World Climate Summit (WCS) worked with three categories of partners: Founding, Industry and Media Partners. “WCS is building the most comprehensive coalition of companies, investment, government, industry and media partners to come to the Summit during UNFCCC COP 16.” WCS founding partners are TIME, CNN International, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Dow Jones, The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group [a  TckTckTck partner that is no longer made public on the tcktcktck.org website], The Climate Group [a Rockefeller NGO], UN Global Compact, Bright Green, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The World Bank, The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Club of Beijing, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, and the support of the Mexican Government’s Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, ProMexico. The World Climate Summit held access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion of assets under management.

[2] “Ceres’ investor and NGO partners are already channeling the Roadmap into concrete action, including dozens of face-to-face meetings with companies. Our recent UN climate summit brought together investors who manage $22 trillion, many of whom called on the U.S. and other countries to move quickly to reduce global carbon emissions.” (2009-2010 annual report)

[3] INCR brought together 450 investors representing $22 trillion at the United Nations for the fourth Investor Summit on Climate Risk in 2010 – a fifth Ceres-sponsored Investor Summit is coming to the U.N. in January 2012. (2010-2011 annual report)

[4] Particulates, not CO2, are perhaps the greatest contributor to the melting of the Arctic. Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering in Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, believes that soot is the primary cause of melting arctic ice, stating that “[C]ontrolling soot may be the only way to significantly slow Arctic warming over the next two decades.” In a study published in 2012 Jacobson led a team of scientists to calculate the monetary cost to reroute the flights around the Arctic circle. The study found rerouting would increase costs by approx. one hundred million dollars a year in higher fuel and operating costs (47 to 55 times less than the global warming costs to the U.S. alone which would occur without doing so). The result of rerouting would be the reduction of the jet fuel emissions of black carbon by approx. 83% in the Arctic Circle. This would not only delay the loss of the Arctic sea ice but also reduce warming worldwide on a global average by 2%. [Source]

“Air traffic is the biggest source of pollution in the Arctic. Ever since cross-polar flights became commonplace in the late 1990s, flights crossing the Arctic Circle have risen steadily, surpassing 50,000 in 2010. While cross-polar flights account for only a tiny percent of total global emissions from aviation, the standard cruising altitude for commercial planes in the Arctic is the stratosphere, an extremely stable layer of the atmosphere. Black carbon and other emissions get trapped in this layer and as a result remain in the atmosphere longer, causing far more damage than emissions from flights at lower latitudes, scientists say. The research team gathered emissions data from 40,399 cross-polar flights in 2006 and used computer simulations to compare what would happen over the next 22 years if those flights skirted the Arctic rather than following their current routes.” [2012 New York Times]