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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 second volume of the Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent series will be released over the month of September.]

 

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 sacrilege 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]

Trees Don’t Grow on Money – or Why You Don’t Get to Rebel Against Extinction

Tim Hayword 

April 29, 2019

 

Money doesn’t go on trees, and although people can make money out of trees, they cannot make trees out of money. This much may seem platitudinous, but it is worth keeping in mind.

What is true of trees is true of the natural world as a whole, including the human beings that are part of it. Nature is real; money is an abstraction. If money seems real that is because our institutions and practices are so deeply premised on beliefs in it. There is an important sense in which those institutionalized beliefs – in crediting it with a certain value – make money real; but it is not real in the way the natural world is real. If a bank goes bust, if a whole economy crashes, the social upheaval that follows may be immense, but life goes on – people will pick themselves up and start again (and some people, meanwhile, will likely have found a way to profit from it!). By contrast, if a species goes extinct, if an ecosystem collapses, then there is no prospect – certainly not on human timescales – of a recovery. The threat of extinction to our own species is the ultimate threat.

Extinction Rebellion has given publicity to critically important concerns of our time – the ecological crises as exemplified by dangerous climate change and biodiversity loss.[1] But it also gives rise to some perplexity.

A circumstantial puzzle is how an apparently spontaneous social movement of protest comes to have the energetic backing of big business interests and even to receive notable support from influential sections of the corporate media.

On deeper reflection, what does it even mean to stage a rebellion against extinction? Rebellions usually involve a group of people rising up to protest or overthrow another group that wields unjust or illegitimate power over them. How can you ‘rebel’ against extinction? It is not as if you can choose to disobey the laws of nature.

The website that asserts the copyright © Extinction Rebellion, states certain demands directed at government.[2] The moral clarity of their seemingly simple message, however, could be deceptive.[3]

Two key demands are: “halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”

These may sound like goals that any ethically rational person could wholeheartedly endorse, and yet, as a recent critical study by Cory Morningstar has demonstrated, what their pursuit entails does not necessarily correspond to what people might imagine.[4]

First, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero does not mean eliminating emissions, or even necessarily reducing them at all. It refers to the possibility of engaging in other activities to offset them. The offsetting may be accomplished by various means of  technological fixes and/or accounting innovations, but what these means have in common is that they will be profitable to engage in. As was made explicit some years ago in the influential Stern Review of climate economics, a policy approach allowing emissions offsetting creates great opportunities for businesses and the financial sector.

‘Capital markets, banks and other financial institutions will have a vital role in raising and allocating the trillions of dollars needed to finance investment in low-carbon technology and the companies producing the new technologies.’ (Stern 2006: 270)

‘The development of carbon trading markets also presents an important opportunity to the financial sector. Trading on global carbon markets is now worth over $10bn annually’. (Stern 2006: 270)

By attaching a price to carbon, a whole new commodity is created over which the distribution of rights represents a new income stream. So it’s good for shareholder profits, but what about nature? How confident can we be when its protection relies on a new multi-billion dollar market involving the same people responsible for the global financial crisis?

The other key goal, to halt biodiversity loss, sounds like one that should not allow wriggle room for profiteers to game it. And yet, consider for a moment how one might propose – even with the best and purest of intentions – to bring biodiversity loss to a halt. The sheer extent of activities around the world that are undermining habitats and ecological systems is so great and complex, it is hard to conceive what exactly could and should be done, even given determined political will to do it. The proposed policy in reality, therefore, is not literally to stop doing everything we are currently doing that compromises biodiversity. Instead, it once again centres on putting a price on the aspects of nature that market actors attach value to. The premise is that if we accept it is not possible to halt the destruction of biodiversity in some places, it is still possible to protect and even re-create biodiversity in others. Thus, just as with carbon emissions, the ideas of substitution and compensation play a pivotal role: biodiversity loss may not be literally halted, but it can be offset.

And how is biodiversity loss to be offset?[5] Here comes the familiar move: in order to weigh the loss in one place against a putative gain in another they must be subjected to a common scheme of measurement. Biodiversity being something of value, the way to record how much value any instance of it has is taken to be by reference to monetary price. Hence we learn that ‘biodiversity conservation and the related concept of “natural capital” are becoming mainstream. For instance, the Natural Capital Coalition is developing the economic case for valuing natural ecosystems and includes buy-in from some of the biggest players in business, accountancy and consulting. And the financial industry is moving toward more responsible investing.’[6]

Yet this unidimensional quantification of value completely disregards the point that biodiversity is a complex and quintessentially qualitative phenomenon. It is of the essence of biodiversity that its biotic components and their environments are diverse. Being diverse means being different in ways that cannot be reduced to the measure of a single common denominator. Hence the essence of biodiversity is an irreducible plurality of incommensurables. The idea of ‘compensating’ for loss of biodiversity of one kind by the protection or enhancement of biodiversity of another kind elsewhere means disregarding the very meaning of biodiversity.[7]

The idea of biodiversity offsets, then, does not have its rational basis in ecological concern but in the expansionary logic of capitalist profit seeking.

A rebellion that really has any prospect of fending off disaster for our biosphere and ourselves needs to be based on a proper understanding of who and what needs to be rebelled against.

Extinction Rebellion publicity material says that it is apolitical. Yet there is nothing apolitical about the real struggle that is required for people to seize the power currently concentrated in the hands of plutocrats. And to those who say – rightly – that ecological issues are greater than mere politics, it may be responded that this is why we cannot let it be “dealt with” by those who currently so misuse their political power.

Asking governments to enact policies that corporate and financial backers are lining up to draw massive profits from is not what the people protesting against impending ecological disaster have in mind. It needs therefore to be clear that you can’t actually protest against disaster. You need to take on those who are driving us towards it. So you need to know who they are and how they are doing it. It’s a good idea to look carefully at who is shaping the demands you are being enlisted to make, and what exactly they entail.

land-savings

[1] For other, less discussed but no less significant problems, see Rockström et al. (2009).

[2] Why they are directed at government without reference to the central role of powerful corporations is not completely obvious, and nor is the reason why the site also says the protest is ‘apolitical’, a question to be returned to.

[3] We humans, especially the worst off – and not even to mention members of other species we share the planet with – certainly have powerful reasons for concern at the ecological crises being provoked by our collective global exploitation of the biosphere. But what “we” can do about that is nothing like as clear.

In fact, there is no “we” that can act as a collective. There are multifarious different people, groups, tribes, classes, and nations that have competing interests. “We” are not organized to respond in a concerted, ethical and rational manner.

On the other hand, a very small group of people – who alone command as much of the world’s aggregate resources as half the rest of the world’s population put together – is very well coordinated. At the highest levels of corporations and financial institutions they hold great power. With their immense wealth comes control over those – including politicians, journalists and various “thought leaders” – who exercise greatest influence over publics. Their power to manipulate public perceptions vastly exceeds most people’s awareness of it.

So we – ordinary members of the public, whether old or young – can protest and engage in symbolic actions and go green in aspects of our lifestyle, yet to real little effect. In our heart of hearts we may know this, and yet we may still believe it important to try and to act as we think all should. So when the makings of a real social movement appear, we energetically embrace the opportunity it appears to present for making some more noticeable impact. Hence the enthusiastic welcome of Extinction Rebellion, in which school kids and pensioners have united around the moral and existential cause.

But what sort of ‘rebellion’ is it that is conjured into action by a consortium of corporate-backed organizations and given extensive positive coverage in the corporate media? The commitments and beliefs of the multifarious individuals and groups on the ground are various and sincerely held, and they do tend to converge around something like the headline goals stated in the publicity material ©Extinction Rebellion. But the exact goals being endorsed focus on two very specific demands: “halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.” And in this post I am arguing that it is very easy to be misled into thinking these capture what we really want to achieve, whereas in reality they may in fact capture our acquiescence in the further extension of corporate power over the natural world and our own lives.

[4] Morningstar’s set of six articles makes for somewhat demanding reading, and her purposes have sometimes been misunderstood or misrepresented on the basis of apparently rather casual perusal. Certainly, this has been noticeable in comments on Twitter, so I tried to distil some of her key points, without her detail or her critics’ distractions, in a Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/Tim_Hayward_/status/1120748645069021185

[5] Some useful introductory sources are World Rainforest Movement: http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/tag/green-economy/; Clive Spash 25 minute talk: https://vimeo.com/33921592; and the collection of material here: http://naturenotforsale.org/author/berberv/

[6] Richard Pearson, ‘We have 15 years to halt biodiversity loss, can it be done?’, The Conversation, 26 Oct 2015 https://theconversation.com/we-have-15-years-to-halt-biodiversity-loss-can-it-be-done-49330.

[7] For a pithy presentation of the basic ideas here see the short video ‘Biodiversity offsetting, making dreams come true‘ https://vimeo.com/99079535.

References

Rockström, Johan et al. (2009), ‘A Safe Operating Space for Humanity’, Nature 461: 472–75.

Stern, Nicholas et al. (2006), Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, London: HM Treasury.

The Most Valuable Players of the Natural Capital League: Part 2

Wrong Kind of Green

October 19, 2017

 

 

The Natural Capital League (NCL) has gained it’s power and influence steadily over time and through it’s extensive networks.

After 35 years of the development of ecological economics two senior foundational figures have emerged who are utterly worthy of the title MVP.

One of these senior figures is a revered economist and the other is a lawyer, networker, manager, author, and academic.

Herman Daly

Herman Daly is not only a most valuable player, he has defined the game itself while developing the other talented players who’ve pushed the league forward. His great conceptual achievement is the idea of the ‘steady state’ (1977). He has been a very active proponent of the ‘polluter pays principle’. In 1991, while he was at the World Bank to work on sustainable development policy, he argued for the idea of ‘rights to pollute’. In 1992 he co-wrote a paper containing one of the earliest usages of the term ‘natural capital’ titled ‘Natural Capital and Sustainable Development’. In this paper a definition of the term ‘natural capital’ was provided based on a ‘functional definition’ of capital – “a stock that yields a flow of valuable goods and services into the future”.

Herman Daly was the 1996 winner of the Right Livelihood Award, the 2008 Adbusters ‘Man of the Year’ and the 2014 Blue Planet Prize winner. He co-founded the journal Ecological Economics, was closely involved in the founding of the International Society of Ecological Economics and is currently on staff at the Centre for the Advancement of Steady State Economics (CASSE). In 2012 he was a featured interviewee in the documentary ‘Four Horsemen’ directed by Ross Ashcroft who is also known as the Renegade Economist.

“Instead of maximizing returns to and investing in man-made capital (as was appropriate in an empty world), we must now maximize returns to and invest in natural capital (as is appropriate in a full world).”

Herman E. Daly (1994) in: AnnMari Jansson. Investing in Natural Capital: The Ecological Economics Approach To Sustainability. 1994. p. 24

***
‘Rights to Pollute’

Allocation, distribution, and scale: towards an economics that is efficient, just, and sustainable. Ecological Economics

http://www.uvm.edu/~jfarley/EEseminar/readings/sus%20jus%20eff.pdf

***

CASSE – Meet our staff

http://www.steadystate.org/meet/our-staff/

***

Natural Capital and Sustainable Development

http://www.life.illinois.edu/ib/451/Costanza%20(1992).pdf

“The SSE will also require a “demographic transition” in populations of products towards longer-lived, more durable goods, maintained by lower rates of throughput.”

http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/data/files/publications/Herman_Daly_thinkpiece.pdf

***

Gus Speth

James Gustave Speth is all about networking and was once dubbed the “ultimate insider”. He’s an MVP because his whole contribution is much greater than the some of the parts he has played, and he has played so very many parts. His list of fellowships and board appointments stretches to every corner of the sustainable development project. He is the highest ever American office holder at the united nations. He was the administrator of the United Nations Development Program, and he went on to become the Special Coordinator for Economic and Social Affairs under UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and chair of the United Nations Development Group. He cofounded the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and founded the World Resources Institute (WRI). Crucially he knows how to reposition his career to the advantage of sustainable development.

Gus Speth got arrested with climate justice movement leader Bill McKibben in an anti-KXL pipeline protest for the first time in 2011 shortly after moving on from the NRDC and WRI. He responded to the threat of climate change by joining the US advisory board of climate justice organization 350.org and followed up on his vision for the future laid out in his book ‘America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy’ through his various networks and positions held in the new economy movement. He is a senior fellow of the Democracy Collaborative, associate fellow at the Tellus Institute, co-chair of the NextSystem Project, board member of New Economy Coalition, former dean Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Professor at Vermont Law School and was chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (Carter Administration). He has a string of other fellowships and advisory roles all relating to sustainable development and new economy issues.

It’s Gus Speth’s role as consultant to the Capital Institute that ties all his networks to the Natural Capital League. The Capital Institute could be called the home of ‘regenerative capitalism’ which connects natural capital flows to the restoration of nature to improve the value of ‘ecosystem services’. Several natural capital economists from organisations such as the Gund Institute with which he shares a close relationship are involved in the Next System Project which he chairs. The Next System Project is focussed very much on social enterprise, support for communities and democratic process. We can expect that Gus Speth will continue to refine his networks and position himself to see sustainable development and the Natural Capital League flourish.

“CHILDREN CENTERED, NOT GROWTH CENTERED. Overall economic growth will not be seen as a priority, and GDP will be seen as a misleading measure of well-being and progress. Instead, indicators of community wealth creation — including measures of social and natural capital — will be closely watched, and special attention will be given to children and young people — their education and their right to loving care, shelter, good nutrition, health care, a toxic-free environment, and freedom from violence.”

America the Possible: A Manifesto, Part II

https://orionmagazine.org/article/america-the-possible-a-manifesto-part-ii/

***
Measuring What Matters: GDP, Ecosystems and the Environment

http://www.wri.org/blog/2010/04/measuring-what-matters-gdp-ecosystems-and-environment

***

Review of America the Possible by John Fullerton

https://capitalinstitute.org/blog/crb_book_review/gus-speths-america-possible/

***

Gus Speth Returns to WRI, Inspires

http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/11/gus-speth-returns-wri-inspires

 

Further reading:

 

The Most Valuable Players of the Natural Capital League: Part 1

 

 

Obama to Open Post-presidency Office in World Wildlife Fund Headquarters

wwf-our-natural-capital-a-profitable-investment-in-times-of-crisis-wwf
wwf-logos-natcap-1
The “Natural Capital Project” partners
“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.”— May 6, 2016, Jay Taber, Earth Economics
Could Obama’s move into WWF headquarters also signal what could be an acceleration of the implementation of payments for ecosystems services (also referred to as the “new economy”, “natural capital”, the financialization of nature, The Next System, etc.) by the world’s most powerful institutions and states? Consider the White House memorandum, October 7, 2015: Incorporating Natural Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services in Federal Decision-Making:
“That is why, today, the Administration is issuing a memorandum directing all Federal agencies to incorporate the value of natural, or “green,” infrastructure and ecosystem services into Federal planning and decision making. The memorandum directs agencies to develop and institutionalize policies that promote consideration of ecosystem services, where appropriate and practicable, in planning, investment, and regulatory contexts.”
wwf-teeb-dr-joshua-bishop-wwf-australia-presentation-unaa-vic-natural-capital-seminar-2-728
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The Washington Post

December 12, 2016

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.]

Don’t Put a Price Tag on Nature

Take Part

March 11, 2016

by Richard Conniff 

 

The ‘ecosystem services’ idea devalues the natural world by trying to monetize it.

(Photo: Lena Trindade/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Not too long ago, Mexican free-tailed bats seemed like a perfect example of how conservationists could use the “ecosystem services” idea to save the natural world. These bats feed on insect pests in the Southwestern United States, and researchers have calculated that they provide a benefit to cotton farmers that was at one point worth about $24 million a year.

It would, of course, have taken a miracle worker to get the farmers to pay for a service they had always gotten for free. But before that could happen, technology and market forces intervened: BT cotton, a strain of cotton genetically modified to produce the insecticide BT, came on the market. The BT took over the job of controlling insect pests on cotton farms, and suddenly the free-tailed bats were like buggy-whip makers in the automotive age or newspaper reporters today. The value of their services plummeted by 80 percent.

Cases like this have led a lot of biologists to wonder, as the title of a recent article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution put it, “Have Ecosystem Services Been Oversold?” These critics increasingly question the validity of the entire ecosystem services movement on practical and moral grounds. They ask, among other things: What happens when technological and market forces make the services a species provides, and thus the species itself, seem worthless? Is it even right to monetize and in some cases privatize nature, the ultimate public good?

The questions are worth asking because the ecosystem services idea is a movement, beloved by many conservation organizations, and the subject so far of more than 15,000 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Schemes to pay for ecosystem services, such as REDD, are also a big deal in global financial markets. You might think REDD is a brand of apple ale with really stupid television advertising. But it’s an international program, arguably overhyped, called Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

The idea behind REDD is twofold: Forests sequester carbon, harbor biodiversity, and otherwise provide ecosystem services. So why not get corporations, governments, and others to pay to protect those services, if only to offset their own carbon emissions or earn public relations bonus points? Thus Norway, a leader in the movement, has pledged $3 billion under REDD schemes to protect threatened tropical forests in Brazil, Indonesia, and other countries. This is serious money being put to work to protect natural resources, so you can understand why conservation groups might love the idea.

But much as was the case with the free-tailed bats, “there are no markets for many of the goods and services that ecosystems provide,” Jonathan Silvertown, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh, points out in the “Oversold” article. The solution for ecosystem services proponents, he writes, has typically been to “invent a market” like the REDD scheme for carbon credits. Or they “pretend there is a market” and ask people how they would value ecosystem services in hypothetical situations. But “make-believe markets” are highly likely to fail when people are otherwise, he writes.

But make-believe markets are highly likely to fail when people are otherwise relentlessly focused on nickel-and-dime realities. The market mentality also degrades nature by attempting to turn it into a commodity. “People are not allowed to sell their organs or their children,” Silvertown writes, citing the 2012 book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. “These have intrinsic value that is beyond price.” That’s true of species and habitats too.

The attempt to sell nature went spectacularly wrong for the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron. When he came to power in 2010, he pushed to sell off the roughly 1,000 square miles of forest that until then had been owned and protected by the national Forestry Commission. The ecosystem services idea seemed to offer the new government a bright, shiny “technocratic rationale for the deployment of its natural capital,” Silvertown writes, with the added likelihood of putting bright, shiny millions into government coffers.

Some conservation groups went along, “taking the view that it is regulation” of the forests “and not ownership that matters.” But Cameron, a conservative, was slashing regulations at the same time. The response from the British public was furious. It turned out that no amount of money could make up for what it perceived as the loss of its forests, and no amount of monetizing could capture the value of simply being able to walk in the woods. Cameron quickly backed down, with one government source describing the whole idea as “a cock-up,” or what Americans might call a FUBAR: “We just did not think.”

So, let’s think. Where does all this leave the ecosystem services idea? Trying to “unbundle” all the things we get from the natural world and put a price on them cheapens nature, and it cheapens us. The people who first developed the idea in the mid-20th century meant that conservation could benefit from showing people how their lives depend, in all sorts of unseen ways, on the natural world: Intact wetlands save downstream cities from flooding, coastal marshes serve as nursing grounds for offshore fisheries, and that air you breathe? Yes, it’s an ecosystem service, provided by healthy forests and obscure ocean microorganisms.

This is the only sense in which the ecosystem services idea deserves to live—as a constant reminder of how utterly we all depend on the priceless blessings of the natural world.

 

 

[Richard Conniff is the author of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth, and other books.]

Survival of the Richest or Radical Living

HuffPost Green

March 4, 2016

by Angie Cordeiro

 

 

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Humans need habitat to survive, to live, and to thrive. Air, water, food, shelter.

Reality Check:

We are living on a planet with a scarce amount of drinking water, limited regions that are able to grow food, and ever increasing regulated areas for housing.

Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is becoming “… as certain as death and taxes.” There’s even an interactive game to acclimate our young people to evaluate every person, place, and thing on our planet. Placing a price tag, a cost, a monetary value on existence itself.

Time is money, ticktock, ticktock…

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151008-costing-the-earth

Can You Cost the Earth?
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Natural resources:

Freshwater

Value: $73.48 trillion

Renewal of water supplies is dependent upon a variety of natural assets, for example, healthy soils, wetlands and forests. Without new freshwater there would soon be no economy, so the total aggregate value of the water-related services provided by Nature is presented as at equivalent to global GDP (about $73.48 trillion). Researched by Juniper/WCMC-UNEP.

Trees

Value: $16.2 trillion

The numbers presented in relation to the contribution made by trees are derived from Costanza, R. et al. (2014). Changes in the global value of ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change. The number for ‘trees’ is produced from an aggregation of figures presented in this paper in relation to different kinds of forests. Researched by Juniper/WCMC-UNEP.

Plankton

Value: $222 billion

The value of plankton is estimated on the basis of their role in carbon capture and is derived from Siegel, D.A. et al. (2014). Global assessment of ocean carbon export by combining satellite observations and food-web models. Global Biochemical Cycles. The six billion tonnes of carbon captured by plankton was multiplied by ‘the social cost of carbon’ as calculated by the US Government (at $37 per tonne). Researched by Juniper/WCMC-UNEP.

A bald eagle

Value: $39

The value of a single bald eagle is calculated by Richardson, S. and Loomis, J. (2009) The total economic value of threatened, endangered and rare species: An updated meta-analysis. Ecological Economics.

A gray whale

Value: $35

The value of a single gray whale is calculated by Richardson, S. and Loomis, J. (2009) The total economic value of threatened, endangered and rare species: An updated meta-analysis. Ecological Economics.

The United States

Value: $17.42 trillion

The US is valued by its Gross Domestic Product (Purchase Power parity), (2014 est), provided by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook.

Average US worker

Value: $47,230

The annual earnings of a US worker in 2015 are calculated by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on its website under the sections Occupational Employment Statistics and May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, as published on 5 October, 2015.

Air

Marketed as “the next bottled water” fresh air bottled in Canada and shipped to China as a solution to serious smog problems sells in two flavors, and comes in single or twin packs.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/15/asia/china-canadian-company-selling-clean-air/

Sales of canned Canadian air booming in China...
Vitality Air said that the first batch of 500 canisters filled with fresh air from the Rocky Mountain town of Banff went on sale in China last month (November 2015) and sold out within two weeks.
“Now we’re taking lots of pre orders for our upcoming shipment. We’re getting close to the 1,000 mark,” said Harrison Wang, director of China operations. The air sells for $14 to $20, depending on the size of the canister.

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What about those of us that live in relatively smog free areas of the planet?

http://robertscribbler.com/2016/02/05/co2-rockets-to-405-6-ppm-a-level-not-seen-in-15-million-years/

 

Atmospheric CO2 (has recently) Rocketed to 405.6 ppm — A Level not Seen in 15 Million Years

…Unfortunately, this daily February peak at 405.66 parts per million is not the end to the current year’s ramp up. Typical atmospheric peaks occur during May. And this year, we are likely to see atmospheric levels hit near 407 parts per million in the weekly and monthly averages over the next few months. Such a range thrusts us solidly out of the Pliocene climate context and well into that of the Miocene.

Though the Middle Miocene was not a hothouse extinction climate, it was one much more foreign to humankind. Back then, only the great apes existed. Our most ancient ancestor, Australopithecus, was still at least 9 million years in the future. It’s fair to say that no human being, or even our closer offshoot relatives, have ever breathed air with the composition that is now entering our lungs.

“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” Dr. Guy McPherson

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Water

Civilization is contaminating nearly all of the natural water resources on our planet by chemical, physical, radioactive or pathogenic microbial substances.

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“There are two categories of people: those who shit in their drinking water supplies and those who don’t.”
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http://humanurehandbook.com/

 

The Humanure Handbook–a 255-page guide to composting human manure, including building your own toilet and turning your own excrement into rich, crumbly brown humus for your garden…deemed “the book most likely to save the planet!”
Jenkins has been a compost practitioner in the United States since 1975 and has grown his family’s food with humanure compost for the past thirty-five years. His website offers videos, instructions and the complete Humanure Handbook free of charge.

Every time we flush a toilet, we launch five or six gallons of polluted water into the world. That would be like defecating into a five gallon water jug and then dumping it out before anyone could drink any of it. Then doing the same thing when urinating. Then doing it every day, numerous times. Then multiplying that by about 305 million people in the United States alone.

Even after the contaminated water is treated in wastewater treatment plants, it may still be polluted with excessive levels of nitrates, chlorine, pharmaceutical drugs, industrial chemicals, detergents and other pollutants. This “treated” water is discharged directly into the environment.

Food

The future for food is vegan. Sadly it’s not because of compassion and a reverence for all life on our planet. Nor is a vegan future about taste, or health, or sustainability; it is simply because eating meat is too inefficient.

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Shelter

Family and community addresses our human need to socialize. Tiny home communities are an empowering solution to dis-empowering high cost shelters that further marginalize the human spirit.

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Tiny houses were seized in L.A. last week without offering any viable alternative to those who will now sleep on the streets, truly homeless.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-tiny-houses-seized-20160224-story.html

 

L.A. is seizing tiny homes from the homeless
Cannon, 58, said her husband, a Vietnam-era Marine veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and memory loss, was hospitalized with a seizure Feb. 5, then disappeared.

Larry Joe Cannon turned up Friday, but the couple’s house was gone. As Summers (an L.A. resident who says he was once homeless, had placed donated structures within encampments on overpasses along the 110 Freeway, for homeless people to use instead of tents ) drove off with her house on a flatbed trailer, Julia Cannon sat on a thin bedroll on the ground and pointed to the concrete.

“I’m staying right here,” she said, her eyes filling with tears.

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Conclusion

Humanity has a handful of years left of habitat to support life on Earth. Our predicament is dire.

“Live simply so others may simply live” is not being presented as a TED conference “Dream Team” topic by former VPOTUS Al Gore, nor is simplifying our lives being suggested by the 350.org gang.

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The choice of embracing the sacredness of all life, pursuing excellence everyday; or blindly yielding to the cleverly marketed solutions that will only benefit an elitist few; once again, polarizes our collective consciousness as human beings.

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Marching for Monsanto

Public Good Project

November 29, 2015

by Jay Taber

change paris2

 

The Climateers are back. Seeking to recapture the euphoria of the 2014 Rockefeller-funded People’s Climate March, the Wall Street-backed, World Bank-approved Paris Climate 2015 charade is meant to build momentum for removing all barriers to privatization of the planet.

Championed by the UN and transnational corporations like Monsanto, this globalized ‘new economy‘ — hyped by Social Capitalists like World Wildlife Fund and 350 — is integral to Sustaining Privatization. The usurping of civil society by these Wall Street-funded NGOs means the annihilation of civil liberties is just A Click Away.

The Architects of the Final Solution will be pleased at the resounding success of their investments in Controlling Consciousness; the whole world is becoming A Culture of Imbeciles.

 

[Jay 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 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.]

 

Further reading: TckTckTck: The Bitch is Back

Must Watch Bulldozing Biodiversity Lecture by Clive Spash

Lecture in English, Bank of Austria, Vienna, 6th December 2010

A guest lecture on the economics of biodiversity management and the problems of the current ecosystems services and market based policy approaches.

 

Human Rights vs. Right Based Fishing: The Ideological Battleground in Siem Reap

World Forum of Fishers People

April 28, 2015

By the international secretariat of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples – 26 April 2015

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(2014) Photo courtesy of Masifundise 

On 23-27 March 2014, six representatives from the global fisher movements, the WFFP and WFF, supported by ICSF and a couple of researchers, participated in the UserRights2015 Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Few in numbers, these delegates represents millions of people from indigenous and small-scale fishing communities. The additional 130 participants were from government, inter-governmental organisations, academia, big business, and international conservation organisations.

Even after the five days in Cambodia, it remains somehow unclear what the conference aimed at achieving. Bringing together 140 people from across the world – of whom only about 45 were women – should clearly aim at something more concrete than providing “… guidance on how to support appropriate rights-based systems in fisheries and thereby contribute to a sustainable future:”1

During the five days, it became clear that the dominant, hegemonic view brought to the fore by most speakers and delegates centred around ‘private property’ as a fundamental basis for user rights in fisheries. In fisheries governance this is also referred to as Rights Based Fishing, ITQs, Wealth Based Fishing or Catch Shares by various different players.

There is an irony in this almost fundamentalist belief in private property. On the one hand the FAO – the key host of the conference – and the World Bank aims at eliminating huger and reducing rural poverty. On the other hand, the World Bank – as one of the most powerful players in fisheries governance globally – admitted that the private property system is good for some and bad for many. If the very system aggressively promoted by the World Bank – and many other participants at the UserRights conference – is bad for many, how then can it contribute to eliminating hunger and reducing poverty?

For more examples on the devastating consequences of private property systems in fisheries – or Rights Based Fishing – see the Global Ocean Grab: A Primer.

The WFFP delegates repeatedly argued – from the floor, as panellists and in presentations – that small-scale fisheries must be governed by applying a Human Rights Based approach. The underpinning principles of such an approach include equality, indigenous peoples rights, food sovereignty, gender equity, poverty alleviation for all, customary and traditional rights, traditional low-impact fishing, and participation in governance. Yet, these arguments only gave rise to a minimal dialogue, and on numerous occasions the responses were degrading and unwarranted.

The form of the conference allowed for many short and long presentations but limited scope for real engagement and dialogue. As such, it took the shape of an ideological battleground, where the strongest voice may end up being the one that finds its way into a conference report. Considering that proponents of private property were stronger in numbers and were allocated the majority of slots – air time – at the conference, it is feared that the views of the WFFP will becomes oppressed in the outcomes of the conference. While we do not know what to expect in terms of concrete outcomes, it is speculated that the conference will produce a report that will be used by the FAO with respect to its future work on fisheries governance, including the International Guidelines on the responsible Governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests (Tenure Guidelines) and the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines).

Considering that the FAO recently endorsed the SSF Guidelines (2014) and the Tenure Guidelines (2012), it was expected that the FAO would use the guidelines to set the scene and inform the contents of the programme. Yet, aside from a couple of references on the official conference website and the mentioning of the guidelines in an opening speech, it was only the WFFP, WFF and ICSF who consistently made use of the guidelines to inform presentations and dialogue. Many participants seemed unaware of the guidelines – or outright ignored their existence – and the FAO officials showed disappointingly little interest in picking up on the linkages between the main theme of the conference – ‘user rights’ – and the Tenure and SSF Guidelines.

Considering that the FAO has invested huge amounts of human and financial resources in the development of the guidelines, this almost ignorant position is even more controversial.

The strategic use of language in Siem Reap

While many of the ‘usual suspects’ spoke openly about the need for private property, ITQs and similar terms in relation to fisheries governance, some adapted the language and thereby masked their underlying belief in private property as the one and only solution. This way of adapting the language is used to strategically persuade others – including fisher movements across the world – about their ‘honest’ and ‘sincere’ support and not only in Siem Reap but more generally so. At face value, it can be difficult to distinguish the good from the bad, but by looking just a bit deeper it’s not that difficult at all. One approach is to look where the funding comes from, and another is to do a bit of research on the political positions of the various actors and to find out who is serving on their boards. Too often, and in particular with international conservation organisations, we see a very close tie with multinational agri-businesses, super-market chains or other financial giants, and some are even governed by top-business people from the same funding corporations.

In the light of the above, it should come as no surprise that the overall impression of the WFFP is that the conference failed in ‘providing guidance’ – which was the only concrete objective of the conference mentioned on the website. Yet, the participation in the conference was crucial for a couple of reasons. Firstly, without the interventions of the WFFP and friends from WFF, ICSF and a couple of researchers, the conference would have been an assembly of neo-liberal thinkers and institutions who would have had an unhindered opportunity to develop their own plans for fisheries governance on the basis of private property regimes. Secondly, the knowledge and information about some of the key actors and their agendas, which we have gained by participating in the conference, is critical for developing and refining strategies on how to push for a Human Rights Based approach and the implementation of the FAO Guidelines.

A couple of facts about UserRights2015

Donors/partners: Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) Norad and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Participants: 95 men and 45 women

1 The only concrete reference to the objectives of the conference on the official website: http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/user-rights-2015/en/