Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up
Part two of an investigative report. (Part 1: http://bit.ly/fqm0BI)
Above: Courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN
Bolivia Versus the World
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable …” – George Orwell
11 December 2010. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 16 in Cancún, Mexico.
Bolivia repeatedly opposes attempts to pass the text. Bolivia’s UN Ambassador, Pablo Solon, objects on the grounds that the draft proposals are far too lax to stop global warming. Solon stands his ground until conference chair Patricia Espinosa bangs the gavel at 3:31 a.m. saying: “The objections and complaints will be noted duly.”
A key clause of United Nations rules is that all agreements must be reached in harmony. However, Espinosa seems to have a very broad interpretation of this rule. Harmony, Espinosa stated, does not necessarily mean unanimity. Despite the lack of unanimity, Espinosa approves the text, which includes a deadly 2-degree limit for global warming. The negotiators and heads of state cheer like ravenous hyenas, drowning out Bolivia with rapturous applause. Bolivia stood alone, strenuously opposing the pyrrhic victory.
The overruling of Bolivia’s position demonstrates the clear disdain and callous disregard for vulnerable countries who refuse to be coerced – reflected clearly by the jettisoned UN principle of consensus. This clear abuse of the framework agreement on climate protection would never have been attempted or tolerated if the state in opposition had been a rich, powerful state such as the United States or the European Union (EU). (One may recall COP13 in Bali – American resistance stood in the way of an agreement. Papua New Guinea had to suggest that they “lead or get out of the way” before the US would join the consensus.) Bolivia, the world leader in the battle on climate change, has vowed to file a complaint with the International Court of Justice against the text approved in Cancún.
A primary reason why Bolivia opposed the so-called Cancún “agreements” was the fact that the 2ºC target – identified as extremely dangerous – completely disregards the climate science as well as the accelerating climate impacts and climate feedbacks already happening today. Another very revealing component to this document is the language: ”4) … with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and that Parties should take urgent action to meet this long-term goal ….” The word “should” in policy does not demand commitment. In legal documents, “shall” is considered mandatory. If I tell my son he “should” clean his room rather than he “will”, “shall” or “must” clean his room, I know damn well it is never going to happen. A future binding or non-binding agreement, one that parties “should” take urgent action on, demands no accountability whatsoever. The word “should” appears in the document 38 times. In stark contrast, the word “must” appears only four times.
The fact that the Cancún Agreements passed without consensus (the UNFCCC consensus rule is adoption by virtue of no objection or unanimity – meaning all 192 members voting in favour) is revealing. On 7 December 2009, at COP15 in Copenhagen, Papua New Guinea proposed that, rather than descend to the lowest common denominator, the parties should strive for consensus with a fallback of 75%. This proposal was summarily dismissed by the Chair. 
21st Century Suicide Pact
SOLD. Our Earth’s shared atmosphere. A catastrophically dangerous 2ºC temperature rise, as well as the commodification of Earth’s final remaining natural resources, was accepted by all countries save Bolivia. Over 70% of atmospheric space (the US is historically responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions; the EU, 27%) has been designated to the wealthiest 20% of the world, thus denying developing and vulnerable countries the opportunity to achieve the fundamental development necessary in order to meet their basic needs and transition to zero carbon societies. This leaves 80% of humanity competing for the less than 30% remaining interest. The suffering and devastation that will result from the greatest heist in history is unparalleled desperation, starvation and death on a massive scale.
SOLD. Life itself. During the last days of the Cancún climate summit, 5,000 Latin American campesinos blocked the main (and only) highway leading in and out of Cancún. In stark contrast, the rich of the wealthy obstructionist states lit a candle in the window of their warm, comfortable homes. How will citizens react when they finally realize – after wading through the rubbish heaps of corporate media propaganda – that the value of human life was tossed on the garbage heap in Cancún in order to protect the global economy? It is true that those in the Pacific Ocean, the vulnerable atolls, Bolivia and Africa will be burying their children and loved ones before the wealthy, obstructionist states, such as my own, must bury theirs. But make no mistake. Very few people, if any, will escape nature’s final performance. Without urgent emergency action, rapid climate shifts resulting from runaway climate change are practically inevitable with the suicide pact that was passed – without consensus – in Cancún.
The art of propaganda has been nothing less than brilliant. The deceit is so thick – you need a knife to cut through it. The corruption and greed so deep you need wings to stay above it and thigh high boots to wade through it. An alluring tapestry of luminous lies, interwoven with finely textured deception and silk-like corruption – as smooth and seductive as freshly churned butter. The pursuit of man’s mind by way of domination has been the greatest and most successful experiment – the manipulation of man’s mind has resulted in a massive erosion of empathy, which has allowed status quo “business as usual” to continue uninterrupted with little resistance. Capitalism effectively bred a contempt for our Earth that multiplied like a virus. The pollution of mind mutated into narcissism with inflicted self-hatred to form a suicidal Molotov cocktail. Those who have succumbed now hold hands in a circle and taunt the very planet that gives us life. The ugly side of humanity continues to violently pierce our Earth Mother with drills and slash her beautiful skin with razors. She is losing breath. She is dying. Yet, when she lashes back, it will be with an Armageddon deathblow against which our own actions will resemble childish prattle. And perhaps not until this time will global society finally recognize that our shared purpose was not to compete with one another and claim dominance and superiority over our Earth Mother – but rather our role was to protect, defend and nurture. The human family – under the arm of its EuroAmerican “big brother” – will have finally succeeded in conquering our shared planet, only to find that we have destroyed ourselves.
Major greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting developed states continued to dominate the climate talks in Cancún as the Earth burned. Corporate media continued to pander to those who own them, those who control the system. The major GHG-emitting developed states have and will continue to coerce, bribe and bully the strong developing states such as Bolivia and the vulnerable states such as Tuvalu. Such vulnerable states, as well as Africa, will be decimated if temperatures are allowed to rise by 2ºC. In reality, we are now looking at 3ºC to 5ºC. Further, a global temperature rise of 3ºC to 5ºC will mean much higher temperature extremes for Africa – a furnace for African agriculture. Certain death. The harsh history of the continued exploitation, the raping and pillaging of beautiful Africa and her people, will finally be complete. There will be nothing left for rich nations to steal except for the sun’s energy falling on an empty landscape void of life – and there is little doubt the world’s wealthiest, ethically-bankrupt states will steal this, too.
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Because of the influence of Joseph Stalin, “this definition of genocide under international law does not include political groups.”
It should. This genocide is being carried out openly by the world’s wealthiest – individuals and corporations alike – in collusion with the governments of the obstructionist states, with full knowledge of the consequences.
Agriculture | The Disappearing Bread Basket
Strangely and eerily absent in scientific papers and IPCC reports is any reference to protection of agriculture. This is not an oversight. In 1987, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee noted the threat to agriculture in particular, and stated its belief that “global warming is a potential environmental disaster on a scale only exceeded by nuclear war.” Once the United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) low risk temperature rise of 1ºC was dismissed and essentially buried, the emphasis on protecting agriculture disappeared as well.
When global temperatures increase by more than 1ºC, approximately half of the world’s agricultural regions will experience crop decline. But due to the ocean heat lag effect, that 1ºC of increase will commit us to more than 1.5⁰C, which is food catastrophe for low latitude (the most climate change vulnerable) nations and disastrous for food security and agricultural productivity in other regions. Above 2⁰C is global food catastrophe with agriculture in decline globally, taking civilization with it.
Keep in mind that scientists believe the “agreements” from Cancún represent a real life 3⁰C to 5⁰C temperature rise this century (as early as 2040-2050) and a global 7⁰C if even the paltry commitments are not honoured.
This coming loss of agriculture – known yet ignored – will amount to certain mass genocide as millions, becoming billions around the world, will be left without food. There will be no sharing of food as even wealthy countries will be hard pressed to feed their own people. Importing for wealthy countries will be a thing of the past as vulnerable countries struggle to feed their own people. And all the while the Monsanto’s of the world will be salivating over the potential profits of genetically engineered foods, which could come to dominate and control the entire remaining food chain. An economy – no matter how strong – cannot provide nourishing soil, nor the right conditions to grow food. An economy – no matter how strong – cannot magically create water. Bolivians will lose access to water and, following, Africa will lose the ability to produce food. And all of the money in the world will not make this not so. 
Does Anyone Care? Yeah, the Pentagon
Will the decision in Cancún to ignore food security lead to violence, fundamentalism and terrorism – all directed at the wealthy GHG-emitting obstructionist states? What would you do if your children were dying in front of your eyes, because rich, developed nations were unwilling to stop growing their economies, unwilling to abandon a fossil fuel economy, unwilling to stop deforestation, unwilling to live within nature’s limits? If everything around you is dying, you have nothing to lose through violent retaliation.
Not to worry. While diseased cultural norms have kept the public distracted with shopping and irrelevant corporatized propaganda, the military has been gearing up for years for our upcoming climate wars. Indeed, while well-funded lobbyists engaged the public in a deadly game of “is global warming real?”, this issue was never a matter of dispute within the military and the US Pentagon itself. Within the realm of militarism, climate change and the deadly threats it presents have always been seen as unequivocal and the dangers it presents are viewed as unparalleled in magnitude. From the National Security and Threat of Climate Change Report: “Unlike the challenges that we are used to dealing with, these will come upon us extremely slowly, but come they will, and they will be grinding and inexorable. But maybe more challenging is that they will affect every nation, and all simultaneously” (VADM Richard Truly). Such stark warnings – even from the highest officials in the military ranks – continue to be ignored.
COP16, Cancún, Mexico. The largest economic conference in history was an epic failure for humanity. And as the world burns, the wealthy elites stuffed their custom gold-lined Brioni pockets with dreams and promises of unsurpassed wealth predicated upon climate catastrophe in the 21st century. Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist who is co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change, stated in an interview on 14 November 2010:
“The climate summit in Cancún at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.… [I]t’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.…”
Although Edenhofer clearly recognizes and perhaps believes himself that there is no other way that wealthy obstructionist states will step up to the plate unless they can further enhance their economic power by commodifying the Earth’s last remaining natural resources, he does state this: “What we need to look for is an oasis that is the non-carbon global economy. It’s about the common departure for this oasis.” Edenhofer states unequivocally that only a non-carbon global economy can prevent climate catastrophe. In complete contrast, the Cancún outcome clearly tells us that the major GHG-emitting developed states are absolutely not about to end their addiction to the fossil fuel economy. Yet the fact is, only if we achieve zero carbon – at a speed and magnitude unparalleled in our entire history – can we prevent climate catastrophe.
IPCC 2007 Assessment Science Technical Report. Question 10.3: “If emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, how quickly do their concentrations in the atmosphere decrease?”
“While more than half of the CO2 emitted is currently removed from the atmosphere within a century, some fraction (about 20%) of emitted CO2 remains in the atmosphere for millennia. Because of the slow removal process, atmospheric CO2 will continue to increase in the long term even if its emission is substantially reduced from its present levels. In fact, only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilized at a constant level.”
In our unparalleled, corporatized mind game of ultimate denialism, we can pretend that green capitalism, green consumerism, conservation, flying less, the right light bulbs, transforming our Earth’s forests into carbon markets, etc. will all avert climate catastrophe – but this is unfortunately not true. The only way to avert climate catastrophe is to END our dependency on all fossil fuels. Unfortunately for our children, this view has been painted with the corporate brush as “radical” – a most brilliant word recently hijacked by those who have sold us off in the name of greed.
“… [T]he word radical [comes] from the Latin radicalis, meaning ‘root.’ Radical analysis goes to the root of an issue or problem. Typically that means that while challenging the specific manifestations of a problem, radicals also analyze the ideological and institutional components as well as challenge the unstated assumptions and conventional wisdom that obscure the deeper roots. Often it means realizing that what is taken as an aberration or deviation from a system is actually the predictable and/or intended result of a system.” 
The word “radical” is not a derogatory word to denote wild people, it is a term to embrace, one that describes critical thinking, root causes and self reflection. This is absolutely essential if we are to win the war on climate change. Yes, we can keep going on our suicidal journey, but the reality is that at the end of the road there will be nothing left except death. We are in a race to our own extinction, taking countless species with us – and it seems that if anyone tries to stand in our way with warning signs of “Danger Ahead,” they are pushed aside as we keep running as fast as we can – straight to the precipice.
Death, Lies & WikiLeaks
In Cancún, the wealthy obstructionist states, the states that are most responsible for the global planetary crisis in the first place, attempted to kill off the Kyoto Accord once and for all, replacing it with the “noted” Copenhagen Accord. This sleight of hand will effectively extinguish the threat of binding obligations on the wealthy nations while also eliminating the obligations of the 1992 climate convention. Any international climate accord that cites 2ºC, as sought in Copenhagen and Cancún, will be a legally and lethally binding agreement. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than the greatest crime ever committed against humanity.
The largely unnoticed 2009 State of the Future Report, the most comprehensive report ever produced to look at the future of the planet, states that due to climate change, “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilization will collapse.” Saving the lives of billions is clearly off the real agenda behind the international climate negotiations. It is clear that global monetary wealth has evolved to become the only real issue behind this broken, corrupted process.
Even mainstream media recognize the glaringly obvious. The Guardian reports on 3 December 2010 that hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the dirty real life politics. The powerful greenhouse gas emitting states use money and threats to buy political support while spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage. “[D]istrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog climate negotiations and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial ‘Copenhagen accord,’ the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.” The US diplomatic cables, made public by WikiLeaks, clearly revealed how the US looks for dirt on vulnerable and developing states opposed to its business-as-usual approach and its steadfast refusal to tackle global warming. Further, the leaked cables revealed how financial and other aid is used by the world’s most powerful countries to gain political backing.
WikiLeaks reveals unequivocally that climate prostitution amongst the obstructionist states has become status quo. In a US Embassy cable, Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, suggested the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) countries “‘could be our best allies’ given their need for financing.” Hedegaard and Froman discussed the need to “neutralise, co-opt or marginalise unhelpful countries including Venezuela and Bolivia.” Hedegaard again links financial aid to support for the accord, noting “the irony that the EU is a big donor to these countries.” In April 2010, after this discussion, the US cut aid to Bolivia and Ecuador, citing opposition to the accord.
The US, determined to keep their crumbling imperialist empire intact, has continued to seek allies to protect self interests from states who could, in united fashion, threaten current global power structures. This is evident in a cable from Brussels on 17 February reporting a meeting between the deputy national security adviser, Michael Froman, Hedegaard and other EU officials. Froman stated that the EU needed to learn from Basic’s (four large developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China) skill at impeding US and EU initiatives thereby playing them off against each other in order “to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future train wrecks on climate.” Hedegaard demonstrates the complicit silence of the EU by stating that she “hoped the US noted the EU was muting its criticism of the US, to be constructive.”
It’s not as though we didn’t suspect this – climate justice activists have been battling climate opportunists for years. It is just that now it appears the players are so egocentric, they’re not even going to pretend otherwise. The question is, how did the greatest crisis ever to present itself to civilization come to be dominated by economic interests, in essence destroying our opportunity to prevent cataclysmic, irreversible climate change when we’ve understood for decades that it could be prevented? What happened to our threshold of 1ºC, which in 1990 we were warned not to exceed?
The Death of 1ºC
As discussed in Part I, 20 years ago it was recommended by the UN Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) that the global average temperature not be allowed to rise more than 1ºC on the very reasonable principle of precaution. Their recommendation was based on not exceeding the historical temperature limit that has existed throughout the age of agriculture. (Civilization is based upon and now absolutely dependent upon agriculture.)
The IPCC was formed in 1988 out of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) AGGG (although proposals for the IPCC appear earlier). It appears that the formation of the IPCC was when the dynamics began to shift and climate change modelers – such as neoclassical economist, Bill Nordhaus – became heavily involved and most influential. Managing climate risk responses rather than simply focusing on reducing carbon dioxide emissions became the leading imperative. However, the First Assessment Report (FAR) Working Group 1 published by the IPCC in 1990 included the following in the Summary for Policymakers: “We calculate with confidence that … immediate reductions in emissions from human activities of over 60% [are needed] to stabilize concentrations at today’s levels…” (p. 1).
Tragically for the children of today and tomorrow, despite scientists calling for urgent emission cuts in 1988 and the UN AGGG report in 1990 citing 1ºC as the maximum temperature rise that the planet must not exceed, the 2ºC target became predominant in global climate policy by 1996. Climate models had been introduced in order to establish if and how far the global temperature could be allowed to rise above 1°C. The original European Union (EU) policy was an easing up on the 1ºC with a range of 1ºC to 2ºC. In 2001, the IPCC noted “warming over 1.5ºC raises serious potential threats for some systems and regions.” In a short time, 2ºC was cited as the absolute limit to avoid planetary catastrophe (runaway global climate change). Prior to this, the EU’s position was that a 2ºC temperature rise was not safe because 2ºC could not ensure safety from runaway global climate change but would rather “minimize” it. From this time, the imperative 1ºC seemed to simply disappear.
The EU proposed 2ºC as the policy target in 1996.  The European Council (25 heads of government of the European Union) restated the 2ºC target in 2005, concluding that it was both scientifically justifiable and, more telling, that it was vital to promote cost effective action to ensure temperatures did not rise beyond the 2ºC limit. “Cost effective” is policy-making jargon implying that environmental protection measures will only be applied if it is certain that such measures will not result in any economic cost. Economic cost is determined by a cost-benefit analysis after externalizing social and environmental costs. In fact, the final paragraph of the final report of the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment (synthesis report) stated that it could not be said with certainty that mitigation of global climate change would have any economic benefits beyond the economic costs of unlimited global climate change.
Also in 2005, the British, chairing the Group of Eight (G8) meeting, reaffirmed the 2ºC target. The statements made by the G8, although not legally binding, were made with the intent that the 2ºC target would eventually become an accepted target of a global treaty. All eight of the G8 countries were amongst the 15 top-ranked leading export countries in the world.
As the Earth Burns
A 2005 EU report stated that the European Council first agreed on the 2ºC goal in 1996, based predominantly on the impact studies assessed in the second assessment report of the IPCC, even though the IPCC suggested that the risk of severe climate change impacts would increase markedly beyond a temperature rise of 2ºC. The EU considered 2ºC as a threshold. This is confirmed as recently as October 2009 by the European Commission: “… 2°C. That threshold is important because it minimises the risk of dangerous runaway climate change.” The 2005 report continues that recent studies have strengthened the argument that the EU’s target is high risk and that significant impacts on ecosystems and water resources are likely with a temperature increase as low as 1ºC. The report notes that once the global average temperature increase exceeds 2ºC, climate impacts on ecosystems, food production and water supply are projected to increase significantly, unexpected climate responses are more likely, and irreversible catastrophic events may occur.
In December 2010, a series of papers was published by the Royal Society. They are alarming. One critical paper, When Could Global Warming Reach 4°C?, states that with high emissions and strong carbon cycle feedbacks, we could reach a lethal 4ºC as early as 2060. A separate paper, Beyond ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change: Emission Scenarios for a New World, states that the impacts associated with 2ºC have been revised upwards, sufficiently so 2ºC now more accurately represents the threshold between “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous” climate change. Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre, states in the published paper that if the world is to keep within a global temperature increase of 2ºC, this will require World War II-style rationing in the developed world.
Thousands of years from now, if there is still a human species on what will be left of Earth’s biosphere, this will be a story that so defies all logic and all sensibilities, no one will ever believe it.
“It may seem impossible to imagine that an advanced society such as ours could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” – Elizabeth Kolbert, in Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
Ironically, many consider humans to be a brilliant, superior species. There is a term for such irrational logic. It is defined as Homo economicus: “Homo economicus, or Economic human, is the concept in some economic theories of humans as rational and narrowly self-interested actors who have the ability to make judgments toward their subjectively defined ends. This theory stands in contrast to the concept of Homo reciprocans, which states that human beings are primarily motivated by the desire to be cooperative, and improve their environment.” The Homo economicus perverse view of the world has reached peak influence in past decades as neo-classical economics.
30 November 2010: Emergence of the chair’s text. All references to the Tianjin negotiated text (October 2010) and to proposals from Bolivia and the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba (April 2010 – recognized in UNFCCC text in Bonn, June 2010) have vanished. 
8 December 2010 in Cancún: After pressure from Bolivia, the Chair re-introduced the bracketed section related to degrees (1ºC, 1.5ºC and 2ºC). However, she did not re-introduce key Tianjin bracketed sections, such as establishing an international tribunal.
10 December 2010: In the final text that passed the corrupted international climate negotiating process in Cancún, there is no mention of halting all further fossil fuel exploration, nor is there mention of major GHG-emitting developed states commencing a plan to begin capping extractions of current reserves. Eliminated from the text was the reference to 1ºC and guaranteed human rights in every action. Technology transfer to developing countries was eliminated. Gone are mechanisms of enforcement, including the proposal for an International Court of Justice. There is no mention of the impact of war and military industries on greenhouse gas emissions, as wars emit more emissions than entire countries.
There is no mention of stopping or even halting further expansion of the Canadian tar sands. The text includes no alternative options for reducing GHGs – no laws, positive regulation, or control of financial transactions – proposals that Bolivia had made to ensure that humans create a different relationship with the rest of nature through defense and recognition of the rights of nature.
The Cancún text implies there was consensus on launching new carbon market mechanisms even though this was not agreed upon. For example, the Earth’s forests are to be transformed into carbon markets, a move that indigenous peoples from all over the world have opposed and continue to vehemently oppose. Bolivia’s proposal for nations to conserve and preserve forests was not included. Of course there is no mention in the text of why it is ethically unjust to profit from pollution of our shared atmosphere, therefore important to make the practice illegal. Gone from the text is the essential zero carbon language – the most critical, most neglected and most denied aspect of climate change mitigation.
Disregarded was the advice of the International Energy Agency (IEA) to end subsidies to fossil fuels (which amounted to $558 billion worldwide in 2008). In the meantime, our inaction on climate change in 2009 alone has cost $1 trillion (IEA).  Governments claim a limit of 450 ppm, yet the IEA estimates that due to complete inaction in 2009, it will now cost an additional trillion dollars to stabilize the atmosphere at 450 ppm. Of course nothing has happened in 2010 either and Cancún promised further inaction. The recent IEA report stated that further delay will only escalate the crisis, that stabilization at a deadly 450 ppm simply will not happen.
In bitter irony, the investment necessary for the world to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies is approximately $30 trillion – approximately the same amount as the global transfer to the world’s banks following the engineered banking crisis of 2008.
The reality is ugly – wealthy states have trillions in bail-out money for “saving” the banks and corporations, but when it comes to saving lives of ordinary citizens, families and vulnerable peoples, such an investment is of no interest to the elites in power.
The Cancún Climate Agreements were prepared in direct response to requests from parties urging the president to present a text that covers all the issues and paints the whole picture of the outcome. It reflects the current status of the efforts of the delegations to converge on a “balanced” outcome  (with the one exception noted – that being Bolivia):
• agree to continue to agree on nothing, commit to nothing, and do nothing to prevent planetary global climate catastrophe
• agree to abandon the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
• agree to abandon the Kyoto Protocol principles
• agree to allow the global temperature to increase by 3°C to 4.2ºC
• agree to ignore catastrophic impacts on world and regional food and water security
• agree to ignore the catastrophic risks to planet Earth from Arctic climate feedbacks
• agree to continue supporting the fossil fuel industry, committing to the collapse of agriculture, civilization, humanity and most life on Earth
• agree to deny that the world is into dangerous interference with the climate system
• agree to deny that a planetary global climate emergency exists
• agree to deny the human rights – especially the right to survival – of the billions of most climate change vulnerable and indigenous peoples
• agree to deny the rights to survival and human rights of all future generations
• agree to deny the rights to survival of living ecosystems and all other species
• affirm that this agreement serves as a continuation of the delaying tactics and prevarication led by the industrialized nations in order to avoid complying with their human rights obligations and their obligations under the clear intent and terms of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 
“Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.” – Eric Hoffer
Right now, the world must acknowledge and accept the reality that the UN climate change negotiations over the past two decades have served as nothing more than a brilliant and lethal distraction – a diversion that protected and allowed the global economic power structures to continue business as usual for the last 20 years – while emissions soared a further 40%. A far cry from the 66% emission reductions that scientists already knew were necessary back in the 1980s if the world was to avoid climate catastrophe. Lost is the window of time we had to set in motion legitimate solutions and measures for transitioning to a global zero carbon economy. Like the sham of corporate social responsibility and voluntary compliance, this process of climate change negotiations, too, has failed the people – a violent assault on the world’s most vulnerable who have been thrown out with the swill.
Have our intoxicated, manipulated minds become too diseased to see clearly what is happening now?
Have we become so desensitized that we are prepared to watch billions suffer, starve and die – simply because we lack the imagination to see a better world and lack the strength and resistance necessary to demand it?
The climate crisis is the final lap in the final race for what is left of the world’s remaining resources. When the race is over, the “winner” will be alone – to preside over an Earth that will resemble a global nuclear holocaust, a world that reeks of decay and death – and all of the money in the world won’t make it not so. The climate negotiations have become a corrupt broken process – an instrument not to legitimately slash emissions but rather to further expand corporate profits at any and every expense … in this case, life itself.
Next in Part III: Economy Versus Life Requires Tyranny Over Mind
How did delusional thinking come to replace rational, critical thinking?
 TIME TO BE BOLD: If one counts the G77, representing 130 developing states, along with some low-lying states or small island states that were not members of the G77, with some of the member states of the European Union, then possibly over 75% of the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would have been prepared to sign and ratify a strong, legally binding agreement. It could be argued, on the one hand, that such an agreement would have been irrelevant because the major greenhouse gas producers would not have signed on. On the other hand, citizens in the major greenhouse gas producing states could have used a new legally binding agreement to pressure their governments to commit to stronger emission reductions; signatories to the new protocol could have forced the delinquent states to comply either through the International Court of Justice or through an International Climate Justice Tribunal set up specifically under the UNFCCC to address the failure to comply with international obligations under the UNFCCC. COP16, in Mexico, must respect the demands of the majority.
 Hello. This is the Map to the End of Our World. Good bye. | Climate Food2
 Robert Jensen’s (2004) book Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream.
 By 1996, the EU commissioners focused not just on a target for keeping 2000 emission levels to 1990 levels, but also on working toward a maximum allowable temperature target of 2ºC. The EU target drew inspiration from being toward the lower end of the mid-range IPCC emissions scenario in the IPCC 1995 Second Assessment Report (SAR). This was interpreted to be a 2ºC temperature rise by 2100 and as the point beyond which climatic “dangers” would become more visible. While integrated assessment models provided possibilities for suggesting “danger” points, they did not uniformly suggest a specific target. IPCC did not highlight a specific target – instead they made a distinction of small (under 2ºC), medium (2–3ºC), and large (over 3ºC) temperature increases. Upon doing this, the IPCC intentionally or unintentionally conveyed a message that policy would be framed within these cited distinctions.
 The International Energy Agency defines “cost” as the cost to the fossil fuel economy according to the conventional, environmentally perverse, cost-benefit analysis. In reality, ending fossil fuel subsidies and subsidizing clean, safe, renewable energy would be a massive benefit to the zero carbon energy industries and to all future generations.
 16 August 2010: Bolivian UN Ambassador Pablo Solon reported that after the climate change conference in Bonn, proposals from the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba were still in the negotiating document: “After a week of negotiations, the main conclusions of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (Cochabamba, April 2010) have been incorporated in the document of United Nations on Climate Change, that now has been recognized as a negotiation text for the 192 countries which have been congregated in Bonn, Germany, during the first week August of 2010.” The most important points that were incorporated for consideration in the next round of negotiations before Cancún, which took place in China, are:
1) 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries for second period of commitments from the Kyoto Protocol years 2013 to 2017.
2) Stabilize the rise of temperature to 1ºC and 300 parts for million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
3) To guarantee an equitable distribution of atmospheric space, taking into account the climate debt of emissions by developed countries for developing countries.
4) Full respect for the human rights and the inherent rights of indigenous peoples, women, children and migrants.
5) Full recognition to the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous People’s Rights.
6) Recognition and defense of the rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony with nature.
7) Guarantee the fulfillment of the commitments from the developed countries though the building of an International Court of Climate Justice.
8) Rejection of the new mechanisms of carbon markets that transfer the responsibility of the reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases from developed countries to developing countries.
9) Promotion of measures that change the consumption patterns of the developed countries.
10) Adoption of necessary measures in all relevant forums to exclude from the protection of the intellectual property rights those ecologically sustainable technologies that are useful to mitigate climate change.
11) Developed countries will allocate 6% of their national gross product to actions relative to Climate Change.
12) Integrated management of forests for mitigation and adaptation, without applying market mechanics and with the full participation of indigenous peoples and local communities.
13) Prohibition of the conversion of natural forest for plantations, since the monoculture plantations are not forest, and instead encourage the protection and conservation of natural forests.
 Opening statement on draft text document. Note by the president. https://motherjones.com/files/lca12-10.pdf
 A People’s Assessment on the Outcome of the Cancún Climate Negotiations. http://bit.ly/iiQCMQ Dr. Peter Carter is the climate policy advisor for Canadians for Action on Climate Change.
Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur
We are quite honored that this piece has appeared in several venues before publishing here. Please visit each to show them your support, and share this page widely. We are especially grateful to:
This piece continues the series being presented by Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey and is part of their anticipated and controversial book and multimedia project due out in 2011.
It is safe to assume that in modern political arenas, an approach to the climate change emergency through conventional directives will not work. Indeed, across every movement, from single payer health care to American wars and occupations abroad, the conventional has failed. And while we are very skilled at making excuses and providing analysis for some aspects of that failure, we are not very good at determining other, alternative mechanisms for change. The climate change movement is no exception to this reality.
Ineffective and otherwise corrupted major political parties in the United States and elsewhere reflect the failure of the masses to control our own political will, expand the solution sets we may desire, and reconstruct the fabric of society at its foundation. Corporate control of those parties, and more directly, elections and political offices, limits our collective effectiveness on the policy-making playgrounds of Washington DC and other capitals. And again, recent history on the global and national stages shows the climate movement no less co-opted by the rapacious institute of corporate control.
Capitalism is a sacrosanct concept for most, even though the modern system of capitalism isn’t pure by any means – in both positive and negative ways. Yet observing the modern capitalistic approach to the global economy through the climate lens demands we become critical of the very system that, to one degree or another, has provided for our lives of comfort in the first world. For instance, any analysis of a modern company like Nike demonstrates that both LeBron James and you and me can wear the hottest kicks as basketball season arrives, but those kicks are manufactured through the modern capitalistic directive of cheap labor – by the exploited hands of men, women, and children in southeast Asia in sweatshops and hell holes – and shipped worldwide via inefficient container ships and trucks wholly dependent upon fossil fuels.
Our shoes and sense of fashion, like nearly everything else in life, are intimately connected to the carbon economy.
Given that those in the climate change movement stand to piss off multi-national corporate conglomerates, the politicians they control, and LeBron James with any sort of meaningful approach, most have gone the way of standardized emails, sanitized campaigns, and symbolic actions.
NRDC was a lead author of the worthless bills peddled in the US Congress in 2010 that would have continued to subsidize fossil fuels and nuclear power, enriched the corporations behind their largest funders, and sacrificed future generations.
350.org wasted time, money, and activists organizing symbolic parties around the globe in the hopes that some leader somewhere would do something sometime, while selling a bunch of tshirts (guess where most are made) and propelling big oil (350 funders are dripping in it) back to the top of the greenwashing list.
The Nature Conservancy continues its close “win-win” partnership with BP.
All three, and plenty more, would like to keep us convinced that if only we green our consumptive way of life, we can keep it, with little or no sacrifice.
They are wrong.
And that means we are wrong.
Realistically, we know at best we have until 2020 to fully enact the changes necessary to overcome the fossil fuel economy and all if its derivatives. There is nothing comfortable about that reality, but it is the only opportunity we have to stem the tide of the global climate emergency. No part of the current economic and political systems has the flexibility to bring appropriate leadership, action plans, and strength of will to the fore. To quote your favorite American Democrat, Barack Obama: “It took a hundred years for health care (d)reform.” The psychology of entrenchment alone prevents significant movement from happening within 10 years; further, the fossil fuel aspect of the economy is the engine that drives the thing, controlling or having a powerful hand in nearly every facet of life, as well as policy. Knowing that, what makes anyone one of us believe the powers-that-be will wake up early enough in the 10 year period to acknowledge the need for removal of the carbon economy and the corporations that drive it, implement that removal, and maintain civil society as it currently is all at the same time? For argument’s sake, if a person is put in power to dismantle it against the will of the fossil fuel stasi, what sort of civil unrest will the fossil fuel economy create in order to stall the mechanics of change and sustain themselves?
Critical reflection should quickly allow us to answer these questions.
We no longer can afford to be afraid to read the truth. We no longer can afford to be afraid to reflect on our failure. We no longer can afford to avoid answering. We no longer can afford to avoid challenging the system for what it is.
Manufacturing discontent is an important method for the climate movement to employ in order to implement sound reasoning for moving away from modern capitalism and its predatory effects to something of the people. It is probably the most important component, because learning the truth about corporate control of our lives inherently leads to discontent amongst all but the richest in society. In order to spread the truth, the movement must create the mechanisms to deliver it in light of the greenwashing, debtwashing, status quo delivery of commercial policy and politics. Yet the calculus for creation isn’t difficult. Most people are burdened to the point of despair by debt, disease, and disaster. The discontent rests uneasily beneath the surface.
We simply need to set it free.
It is a scary notion to think about enacting. Few things are scarier than recognizing the system that allows us our creature comforts will fail – whether we control it via transition or not. Knowing that we probably have 10 years to implement the change required is frightening. Afraid as we are, however, an alternative is coming, and the question remains as to whether or not that alternative way of life will be one we collectively design. Climate reality is forcing the decision upon us. The system is preventing any semblance of action designed to preserve life. The responsibility is ours.
Positive systemic change as a goal can profoundly effect our ability to salvage what we can under the climate emergency, and alter other despotic modern conditions besides, from resource wars to global poverty to individual health. Implementation of that change beyond the impacts of our collective dissent will require a new brand of strategy and tactics, employed under the banner of humanity.
Discontent will drive components of change from beginning to end, perpetuating failure or manufacturing success.
One significant baseline where discontent rages and appears ready to be shaped lies within the constructs of the modern financial system, and there are reasons to believe allies across the political spectrum can unite in common purpose – overwhelming the status quo. Those engaged in climate activism – and most types of activism geared towards the collective – tend to lose these potential allies from the start, typically because the issue in hand has been given false AKA’s or due to the general perception of the movement itself.
Take five minutes now to silently consider the peace movement over the last few years. Your judgment at the end of those moments will likely be sound and profound.
Now look around the globe, and observe France, Portugal, the UK, Greece…
Do you see what can be seen?
When the opportunity to do what is right presents itself, as well as the means, we need to rise up and grasp it; for when it comes, there are only two ends: prevail or fail.
Up next in the series: Streets and Policies – Actions and Enactions for Everyone, From Darfur to DC.
We believe this is the most important interview Bill McKibben has done to date. Kudos to Karyn Strickler and Climate Challenge TV for having the courage and knowledge to do this. Please watch and spread.
Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up
Part one of an investigative report.
December 10, 2010
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu
Behind every tragedy there is a story. This story is non-fiction and begins in the 1980’s. It involves the Rockefeller funded Villach conferences, the entrance of the neoclassical economists, propaganda, and most importantly the disappearance of the 1ºC temperature threshold cited as the safe limit in 1990 by the United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases.
Like so many stories there was a villain. In this story, the villain’s name was ‘Insatiable Greed’ – like the Agent Smith virus, uploaded into ‘the Matrix’, Insatiable Greed was a terminating virus capable of multiplying.
Insatiable Greed was warned by the United Nations working group that “ beyond 1ºC there might be “rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.” He was also warned that a 2ºC increase was “viewed as an upper limit beyond which the risks of grave damage to ecosystems, and of non-linear responses, are expected to increase rapidly.” Non-linear in this case means runway climate change.
Earth and her inhabitants would clearly be threatened if the 1ºC threshold was to be exceeded. However, Insatiable Greed, did not listen. Insatiable Greed dismissed the wise advice – only interested in knowing how much further destruction could be continued before the Earth would reach her maximum limit where catastrophe would be unavoidable. Being the virus he was, Insatiable Greed used the tools available to successfully infect and multiply – effectively burying the initial warning of 1ºC, thus ensuring the Earth’s inhabitants would believe the extremely dangerous threshold of 2ºC would be safe. This is the story.
The Origins of 2ºC – Neoclassical Economist Bill Nordhaus
The 2ºC temperature rise “target,” which is the only limit in the text of the ‘noted’ Copenhagen Accord, may well be one of the least understood cover-ups in history. The first suggestion to use 2° Celsius as a critical temperature limit for climate policy was not made by an esteemed climate scientist. Rather it was made by well-known neoclassical economist, W.D. Nordhaus, in a discussion paper of the prestigious Cowles Foundation. In 1977 Nordhaus stated: “If there were global temperatures more than 2 or 3° above the current average temperature, this would take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several hundred thousand years.”
This temperature increase is in fact well outside of the natural limits of the past 10,000 years during which agriculture and civilization developed. It is also higher than has existed over the past couple of million years.
“A rich man’s cat may drink the milk that a poor boy needs to remain healthy. Does this happen because the market is failing? Not at all, for the market mechanism is doing its job – putting goods in the hands of those that have the dollar votes.”
The author of the ice cold quote above is none other than our neoclassical economist and Yale University Professor Bill Nordhaus (Nordhaus and Samuelson, 2005), originator of the now infamous 2ºC threshold target that has come to dominate climate discussions and to dismiss all sensibilities as our Earth spins toward a terrifying, irreversible apocalypse.
Today, this 2ºC target, largely defined as the maximum allowable warming to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate has replaced an almost unknown 1ºC target highlighted in the 1990 UN AGGG (United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases) report when climate change as a global issue was widely unknown.
Nordhaus has been one of the most influential economists involved in climate change models and construction of emissions scenarios for well over 30 years, having developed one of the earliest economic models to evaluate climate change policy. He has steadfastly opposed the drastic reductions in greenhouse gases emissions necessary for averting global catastrophe, “arguing instead for a slow process of emissions reduction, on the grounds that it would be more economically justifiable.” In a brilliant review by Richard York, Brett Clark and John Bellamy Foster, the frightening “logic” of Nordhaus is fully exposed.
The Origins of 1ºC – United Nations 1990
“…[B]eyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.”
- United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases
In 1986, three international bodies, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), who had co-sponsored the Villach Conference in 1985, formed the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG), a small international committee with responsibility for assessing the available scientific information about the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the likely impact.
In 1990 the AGGG calculated what level of climate change our planet could tolerate, also referred to as “environmental limits.” These levels and limits were summarized in the document, “Responding to Climate Change: Tools For Policy Development,” published by the Stockholm Environment Institute.
The targets and indicators set limits to rates and total amounts of temperature rise and sea level rise, on the basis of known behaviour of ecosystems. The AGGG report identified these limits in order to “protect both ecosystems as well as human systems.” The report states that the objective is: “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic [human made] interference with the climate system.”
It adds: “Such a level should be achieved within a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.” Thus the report requires limits to both the total amount of change and the rate of change.
Further, they warned that a global temperature increase “beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.” A temperature increase of 2ºC was viewed as “an upper limit beyond which the risks of grave damage to ecosystems, and of non-linear responses, are expected to increase rapidly.” [For "non-linear," read "runaway global climate change."]
The Framework Convention on Climate Change signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 should have ensured that staying within the AGGG-identified ecological limit of a 1ºC temperature rise is a central objective. But it didn’t. This investigation attempts to spell out why.
From the AGGG report. The low risk indicators:
Sea level rise
· maximum rate of rise of 20–50 mm per decade
· maximum total rise of 20–50 cm above 1990 global mean sea level
Global mean temperature
· maximum rate of increase of 0.1ºC per decade
· maximum total increase of 1.0ºC
The AGGG report also identified the CO2 [equivalent] concentrations corresponding to these as 330 – 400 ppm for 1ºC and 400 – 560ppm for 2ºC. It is critical to understand these concentrations cited from the report are far below the 350 ppm that has become the status quo target of today.
Citing a need for climate stabilization, a Dutch Ministry of Environment funded project concluded in 1988 that this would preferably be at just 1ºC above pre-industrial temperatures, but certainly with a maximum target of 400 ppm CO2 concentration (Krause, 1988).
Further Origins of 2ºC | Environmental Defense Fund & Rockefeller
Altering the framing of the climate change issue
Cost benefit analysis (CBA) is used like a bible to convey and perpetuate an image of science being driven by facts as opposed to politics. The high risk 2ºC target does not take note of the fact we are beyond dangerous climate interference today, and that even 1ºC represents a immediate danger today, rather it represents the cost-benefit view. This view is to justify the limit by comparing benefits of avoiding climate damages – with costs of reducing economic growth. In this case instead of the benefit being ‘the benefit of staying alive’ – the benefit is expressed as percentage points of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Further origins of 2ºC trace back to a traffic light system in the early 1990’s as well as discussions within the Bellagio workshops held in Europe in 1987. Gordon Goodman, an AGGG member and Executive Director of the Beijer Institute (later, the Stockholm Environment Institute) received money from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to commission two inter-linked workshops in September and November 1987 at Villach and Bellagio respectively. On 28 September 1987, the first of two workshops convened in Villach, Austria.
In the report it states that the workshops were carried out under the auspices of AGGG. The report states that AGGG members had limited input and control over these workshops. It is reported that papers contributed by twenty scientists, economists, and policy experts provided background material for working sessions where some fifty scientists and other technical experts from fourteen developed and developing countries examined the consequences of the emissions of greenhouse gases, with measures that might be used to limit or adapt to these effects.
It is stated that the objective of the Villach workshop was to provide a technical basis for deliberations by a group of high-level policy makers which convened subsequently at Bellagio, Italy, on November 9th, 1987. The said findings and the recommendations of the Bellagio workshop appear in a report titled “Developing Policies for Responding to Climatic Change” (Jaeger, 1988) published by the World Meteorological Organizational and the United Nations Environment Programme in April 1988.
The project to organize the two workshops was initiated by the Beijer Institute (for whom Bill Nordhaus has written numerous papers), the Environmental Defense Fund (U.S.) and the Woods Hole Research Center (U.S.). A steering committee included Michael Oppenheimer from Environmental Defense Fund while sponsorship was provided by a small handful including: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (U.S), the German Marshall Fund (U.S.); Rockefeller Foundation (U.S.) and the Beijer Institute.
This workshop was supported by AGGG and behind them the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). The Bellagio conference proposed that policymakers should set a maximum rate of temperature increase at 0.1ºC per decade as the maximum tolerable limit and a second target, and a 1ºC – 2ºC above preindustrial temperature target. This appears to one the earliest references to a 2ºC maximum temperature change (along with rate of change) from a working group. The underlying principle for the rate of change target was that of the adaptability of ecosystems to climatic change, whereas in the case of the temperature target it was the boundary between changes that could be accommodated without serious or costly implications.
However, the goal of 0.1 °C per decade could only be achieved “with significant reductions in fossil fuel use” – World Climate Programme, 1988, p. 24, (emphasis in original)
Investigation into these workshops raises many questions. It has been suggested that the Villach conference was critical to altering the framing of the climate change issue. It was known at that time that to reach the 0.1°C per decade target, the rate of CO2 emissions could have to be reduced by up to 66%.
Rockefellers were now embedded with those who would be addressing policy change. Such policy, yet to be written would be the principle means of effectively ending global societies addiction to fossil fuels – which would effectively destroy the Rockefeller empire built on oil.
From 1968-1978, Frederick Seitz was president of Rockefeller University as well as chairman of the board of directors for the Science & Environmental Policy Project – a project set up to advocate global warming skeptism. Seitz was also the founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, a tobacco industry consultant and a prominent skeptic on the issue of global warming.
In what must be the most bitter of ironies, the 2°C limit reemerged in 1990, in the same influential UN AGGG paper where the 1ºC is cited, 2ºC was also cited as being a high risk target. [Rijsberman, Swart, 1990] We can only assume that pressure from outside and within the negotiations – from governments influenced and controlled by both corporations and economists must have played a crucial role in killing off the 1ºC suggested temperature rise the world was warned not to surpass.
In an address titled “Economic Issues in Designing a Global Agreement on Global Warming” presented by Nordhaus to the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Science (10-12 March 2009), Nordhaus argues that it is not legitimate to try to second guess the market, going so far as to propose that people may “come to love the altered landscape of the warmer world.” It is most revealing that the world’s foremost scientists on climate change who understand the terrifying risks we now face due to lack of action invited one the most influential voices calling for caution and moderation to give a keynote address.
Nordhaus uses his own magical economical model to spit out the very best apocalyptic scenario he would like our governments to adopt – one, in Nordhaus’s skewed view, that strengthens the economy. If the world does nothing, Nordhaus believes, we will reach a temperature increase of 3.1ºC by 2100 (a gross underestimate by most standards) and 5.3ºC by 2200. Instead, he suggests, the world should choose to spend what allows the temperature to rise by 2.6ºC by 2100, increasing to 3.5ºC by 2200 (keep in mind that any temperature increase will eventually double for future generations due to the inertia of the climate system). He presents this scenario delusion, which supports atmospheric concentrations rising to approximately 700 ppm, despite the fact that scientists claim such temperature increases will be catastrophic beyond measure. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research states “Our survival would very much depend on how well we were able to draw down carbon dioxide to 280 ppm”.
To Nordhaus – his numbers are nothing less than an epiphany – rather than doing nothing at all, we can save the world 3 trillion dollars. He insists that any attempt to stay below 2.6ºC – accepting that this is an eventual rise to 5.3ºC – would be a big mistake. Wassily Leontief and John Kenneth summarized this delusional train of thought quite strikingly: “Departments of economics are graduating a generation of idiot savants, brilliant at esoteric mathematics yet innocent of actual economic life.” Of course, this description does not apply to all economists and there are the mavericks such as Kenneth Boulding, Howard Odum, Hazel Henderson, E. F. Shumacher and Herman Daly to name a few.
In a 1997 paper, Linking Weak and Strong Sustainability Indicators: The Case of Global Warming, the authors define the neoclassical delusion as follows: “In several contributions, damage cost calculations of climate change like that of Nordhaus (1991), Cline (1991) and Fankhauser (1995) were criticized especially from an ecological perspective. It had been argued that mere neoclassical optimisation concepts tend to ignore the ecological, ethical and social dimension of the greenhouse effect, especially issues of an equitable distribution and a sustainable use of non-substitutable, essential functions of ecosystems.
The ecological argument addresses the use of damage cost values for computing optimal levels of emission abatement neglecting the special function of the atmosphere as a sink for greenhouse gases. This function is absolutely scarce and essential for the global ecosystem. It is feared that, by putting certain monetary values on this essential natural function, politicians may be encouraged to ‘sell it’ in exchange for goods being possibly of higher value in a short time horizon (e.g. income).”
Science is Politics | Politics is Science
In the 1980’s, although there was scientific uncertainty in regards to the precise time, location and nature of particular impacts, scientists stated it was inevitable that in the absence of major preventive and adaptive undertakings by humanity, significant and potentially disruptive changes in the earth’s environment would occur and that human-induced climate change would have profound consequences for the world’s social and natural systems.
Responding to these dire warnings, the redesigning and innovation towards decarbonization of energy systems comprised just one of several preventive measures that found itself moving up on the policy agenda towards the late 1980s. This was a direct result of the active policy engagement by a range of scientific institutions. The urgent scientific call for global action to prevent potential climate catastrophe opened the door to the global politics of the climate.
Intergovernmental negotiations soon transformed the vision of prevention into a more restricted mitigation/adaptation agenda. By 1992 it is clear that influential interest groups and powerful institutions had become heavily involved in the negotiations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OPEC countries, oil-importing developing nations and private industry/corporations. The OECD has been heavily criticized by several civil society groups as well as developing states. The main criticism has been the narrowness of the OECD on account of its limited membership to a select few wealthy states.
In 1997–1998, the draft Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) was heavily criticized by developing states. Many argued that the agreement would threaten protection of human rights, labor and environmental standards, and the most vulnerable countries. Critics argued (correctly) that the MAI would result in a ‘race to the bottom’ among countries willing to lower their labor and environmental standards to attract foreign investment. The OECD’s actions against harmful tax practices has also raised criticism. The primary objection is the sanctity of tax policy as a matter of sovereign entitlement. Saudi Arabia played a key role interfering, and shaping international climate policy since international negotiations began in the 1990’s in order to ensure that the billion dollar oil industry would not be affected.
As a consequence of such interference by many powerful players who sought to ensure the economic and political power structure would not be threatened, adaptation surfaced as the primary goal in international climate science and policy, effectively replacing the goals of prevention and mitigation from the 1980’s.
By 1992, unwilling to sacrifice economic growth, negotiating parties rejected strict targets and timetables for emissions reductions, rather, through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) countries avoided the necessary targets and trajectories by instead agreeing to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere at a level that were to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The result would be a vicious race to the bottom. Science became politics. Politics became science.
Which brings us to our current climate crisis we now face dead on.
A recent and revealing example of questionable politics within science can be found in Hansen’s recent papers. Although the Arctic sea ice is diminishing faster than what scientists ever thought possible, Hansen recently revised the number required to refreeze the Arctic sea ice upwards – from 300-325 ppm to 300-350 ppm. Considering we have feedbacks which are now operational, this revision can be hard to believe. This is a brilliant example of questionable politics within a realm of brilliant scientists. One could argue that as we are at 390 CO2 today – the melting of the ice in the Arctic could be caused by being over 350 ppm. To date, this upward revision has gone relatively unchallenged. The first Hansen paper published establishing 300-325 ppm for the Arctic sea ice was published prior to the creation of the brand 350.org. When McKibben and Hansen were criticized and asked the obvious question – why was 350.org focusing an entire campaign on the number/brand 350 – when the safe boundary for the planet was under 325 ppm, the number was revised upwards. Further, the science of Veron et al states that temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded 320 ppm. When CO2 levels reached 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. So why aim for 350?
It is possible that the science has been adjusted to accommodate the 350.org brand? This brand has been funded by Rockefeller Brothers and others who are set to lose if the world were to do what is necessary to get back down to 300 ppm – that being a complete abandonment of fossil fuels. The abandonment of fossil fuels is the greatest threat to the current power and monetary structure in the world.
Hansen says Arctic sea-ice passed its tipping point decades ago, and in his presentations has also specifically identified 300-325ppm as the target range for sea-ice restoration (see slide image), as did the paper: Open Atmos. Sci. J. 2:217-231. This view, by perhaps the most eminent climate scientist in America, is reinforced by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, head of the Potsdam Institute who goes further stating “Our survival would very much depend on how well we were able to draw down carbon dioxide to 280 ppm”.
2008: Hansen – Where should Humanity Aim?
A further imbalance reduction, and thus CO2 ~300-325 ppm, may be needed to restore sea ice to its area of 25 years ago.
Assessment of Target CO2
1. Arctic Sea Ice 300-325
2. Ice Sheets/Sea Level 300-350
3. Shifting Climatic Zones 300-350
4. Alpine Water Supplies 300-350
5. Avoid Ocean Acidification 300-350
2010: Hansen: French National Assembly May 2010
Assessment of Target CO2
PhenomenonTarget CO2 (ppm)
1. Arctic Sea Ice 300-350
2. Ice Sheets/Sea Level 300-350
3. Shifting Climatic Zones 300-350
4. Alpine Water Supplies 300-350
5. Avoid Ocean Acidification 300-350
An excerpt from Climate Code Red: ‘350 is the wrong target: put the science first’ :
… But that is only half the story. Here’s what else Hansen et al. said (emphasis added) in their article in Open Atmos. Sci. J. 2:217-231:
“Equilibrium sea level rise for today’s 385 ppm CO2 is at least several meters, judging from paleoclimate history. Accelerating mass losses from Greenland and West Antarctica heighten concerns about ice sheet stability. An initial CO2 target of 350 ppm, to be reassessed as effects on ice sheet mass balance are observed, is suggested”
It is important to note that this paragraph is not about the Arctic sea-ice tipping point, it’s about Antarctica. Hansen explains in the same article that 350ppm is a precautionary target to stop global loss of ice-sheets, because the paleoclimate record shows 450ppm ± 100ppm as boundary for glaciation/ deglaciation of Antarctica. In the next paragraph, attention turns to the question of Arctic sea ice:
“Stabilization of Arctic sea ice cover requires, to first approximation, restoration of planetary energy balance. Climate models driven by known forcings yield a present planetary energy imbalance of +0.5-1 W/m2. Observed heat increase in the upper 700 m of the ocean confirms the planetary energy imbalance, but observations of the entire ocean are needed for quantification. CO2 amount must be reduced to 325-355 ppm to increase outgoing flux 0.5-1 W/m2, if other forcings are unchanged. A further imbalance reduction, and thus CO2 ~300-325 ppm, may be needed to restore sea ice to its area of 25 years ago.”
The central point is that Arctic sea-ice is undergoing dramatic loss in summer, having lost 70-80% of its volume in the last 50 years, most since 2000. Without summer sea-ice, Greenland cannot escape a trajectory of ice-sheet loss leading to an eventual sea-level rise of 7 metres. Regional temperatures in the Arctic autumn are already up about 5C, and by mid-century an Arctic ice-free in summer, combined with more global warming, will be pushing Siberia close to the point where large-scale loss of carbon from melting permafrost would make further mitigation efforts futile. As Hansen told the US Congress in testimony last year, the “elements of a perfect storm, a global cataclysm, are assembled”.
In short, if you don’t have a target that aims to cool the planet sufficiently to get the sea-ice back, the climate system may spiral out of control, past many “tipping points” to the final “point of no return”.
And that target is not 350ppm, it’s around 300 ppm.
The most powerful, most aggressive agreement on climate in existence to this day, The People’s Agreement, was written at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. 350.org fought to highlight their brand /number in the agreement. They did not succeed.
McKibben now makes reference to 350 ppm as being “the upper limit”, and in a recent radio interview McKibben stated that pre-industrial levels might be the only safe zone. In spite of his acknowledgment of pre-industrial levels being a safe zone, despite mention of the 280 ppm in a recent ‘future’ scenario written by McKibben himself, and despite pressure from climate justice groups and activists – 350.org refuses to endorse the Cochabamba People’s Agreement. This agreement is the only democratic agreement ever drafted to date that has the potential to save civilization from catastrophic climate change.
McKibben states 350.org will not endorse the agreement as Hansen does not agree with the science of 300 ppm. This is ironic as on the 350.org website it now reads:
“These considerations have led 350.org to see the 350 ppm target not only in terms of CO2, but CO2e. On a technical level, this becomes a more ambitious target, incorporating other greenhouse gases. On a practical level, it signifies the same priorities 350 has embodied all along. Any climate target lower than where we are right now—be it 350 CO2e, 350 CO2, or anything else—represents a transformative shift in how the world operates.”
In effect, 350.org, now recognizing themselves as 350 ppm eq. goes beyond the targets of even that of Cochabamba. So what is the real reason they do not endorse it? Or maybe, 350 just means whatever you want it to mean – after it all it’s just a brand under the tcktcktck corporate umbrella – and without an expedient plan to zero – it is meaningless.
John Holdren – We are already beyond dangerous
Such inaction is impossible to justify today. Leading climate scientist John Holdren on 3 November 2006:
“Climate change is coming at us faster, with larger impacts and bigger risks, than even most climate scientists expected as recently as a few years ago. The stated goal of the UNFCCC – avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate – is in fact unattainable, because today we are already experiencing dangerous anthropogenic interference. The real question now is whether we can still avoid catastrophic anthro-pogenic interference in climate. There is no guarantee that catastrophe can be avoided even we start taking serious evasive action immediately; But it’s increasingly clear that the current level of anthropogenic interference is dangerous: Significant impacts in terms of floods, droughts, wildfires, species, melting ice already evident at ~0.8°C above pre-industrial Tavg. Current GHG concentrations commit us to 0.6°C more.” 
Furthermore, James Hansen has been pressing for a global climate state of emergency since 2008.
Paleoclimate scientist Andrew Glikson interviewed by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio Australia, 2009, in response to the question “what has to be done?”stated: “extremely rapid reduction in emissions … I would say, 80 percent within the next ten years or so … people like me have been looking at the evidence about this on a day to day basis and we have been doing it for years, and to look in to the abyss at this length is a daunting task.”
“My view is that the climate has already crossed at least one tipping point, about 1975-1976, and is now at a runaway state, implying that only emergency measures have a chance of making a difference…” “The costs of all of the above would require diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation.” – 2010, Andrew Glikson
Next: Part 2: Greenpeace - Grassroots Goes Big Green and with it 1º Vanishes
 Nordhaus 1977, p.39-40; see also Nordhaus 1975, pp. 22-23, where the same words are to be found, excluding a suggestive diagram.
 Hansen: The paleoclimate record does not provide a case with a climate forcing of the magnitude and speed that will occur if fossil fuels are all burned. Models are nowhere near the stage at which they can predict reliably when major ice sheet disintegration will begin. Nor can we say how close we are to methane hydrate instability. But these are questions of when, not if. If we burn all the fossil fuels, the ice sheets almost surely will melt entirely, with the final sea level rise about 75 meters (250 feet), with most of that possibly occurring within a time scale of centuries. Methane hydrates are likely to be more extensive and vulnerable now than they were in the early Cenozoic. It is difficult to imagine how the methane clathrates could survive, once the ocean has had time to warm. In that event a PETM-like warming could be added on top of the fossil fuel warming. After the ice is gone, would Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I’ve come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.
 Reports in the early 1990s established a target-based approach for climate policy – a ‘traffic light’ system for climate risk management consisting of three colors – green, amber, and red. Green was to symbolize limited damage and risk impliying a temperature rise of less than 0.1◦C per decade. Amber symbolized extensive damage and risk of instabilities, implying a temperature rise of between 0.1 and 0.2◦C per decade. Red symbolized considerable disruption to society and possibly rapid non-linear responses, and would occur with temperature rises of above 0.2◦C per decade. Note that the margin between green and amber was also estimated to be up to a maximum temperature increase of 1◦C, while the margin between amber and red was defined at 2◦C.
 There are conflicting reports as to under what auspices these workshops were held. Both the Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the AGGG have been cited in conflicting reports.
 Holdren is advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
As we stand on the edge of apocalypse, we must wake up and acknowledge what the big greens are not saying is far more important than what they are saying.
Excerpts from a controversial new book to be released 2010-2011. Article one in a series, we discuss the connection between environmental campaigns and their corporate sponsors.
By Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey
CODE GREEN: “The good intentions of participants of 350 aside, requesting world leaders to reduce carbon emissions is unfortunately not going to work. Bill McKibben asserts that world leaders will listen “if we’re loud enough,” but that’s simply untrue. If we stick with symbolic action, the destruction will become progressively worse, and we will continuously lose ground and be reduced to begging for mercy that will never be granted. Those in power (and their political representatives) will only stop destroying the planet if they are forced to do so. The immediate threat of social disorder and economic disruption will make them listen. An immediate and serious threat to their wealth and well-being will make them listen.”
All big greens and little greens alike are promoting the latest climate change campaign, 10:10:10, on the front page of every website and in every email. Two of the main promoters of 350.org’s 10:10:10 ‘Global Work Party’ are none other than corporate darling TckTckTck and, of course, Greenpeace International. Making the intimate link between the two, Kumi Naidoo is the Executive Director of the organization and chairs the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the group behind TckTckTck.
The escalating climate crisis – scientists now refer to it as the ‘6th extinction’ – has now been transformed to a party.
10:10:10 states, “A strong and vibrant climate movement will create the political space for our champions to lead; take-on the big polluters and bought-off politicians who are blocking progress; and help us implement innovative climate solutions from the ground up.” Completely ignoring the intent of their own rhetoric, some of the top ideas on the 10:10:10 website for the party are: organize a tree planting, work on a community garden or an organic farm, go for a bike ride, or do a trash cleanup. Once again, the emphasis of this latest symbolic big green campaign avoids the root causes of climate change; the current state of accelerating climate change according to the latest science; the false solutions being sold as just goods; and a stark, deafening silence on the People’s Agreement constructed in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 2010. (It is important to note here that this is the only agreement to date that has the potential to save humanity from suicidal extinction. This last, despite 350.org’s presence in Cochabamba, with its own representatives positioned as ‘presidents’ of several working groups.)
The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that all nations and all non-government organizations (NGOs) formally acknowledge the world is far beyond dangerous interference with the climate system. Why not? Leading scientist John Holdren has been explaining this since 2006. Holdren is advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that nations and NGOs declare a global climate state of emergency. Why not? NASA climate scientist James Hansen has appealed for such a declaration since 2008. Further, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that civil society must be the organ to make this declaration – yet those who claim to represent civil society — as 350.org often does — spew rhetoric instead of reality.
The greatest danger to survival of life lies within combined Arctic feedback cycles, all of which are now operational. None of the climate models used by IPCC include any of the Arctic feedbacks below. This makes all projections of potential increase in global temperature, as well as any contrived limits on human emissions, dangerously misleading.
Arctic sea ice volume has reached the lowest level ever recorded, prompting the director of the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, Mark Serreze, to state, “The Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover…I hate to say it but I think we are committed to a four- to six-degree warmer Arctic.”
Methane release from melting permafrost is the most dangerous amplifying feedback in the carbon cycle. Earlier this year we were witness to a science stunner. Scientists found that the vast Siberian Arctic shelf methane stores are now destabilizing and venting. National Science Foundation issued our world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”
Scientists have discovered that the seas are acidifying ten times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. The increasing acidity reduces the amounts of calcium carbonate available to plankton and other species which require it to form shells and skeletons. Studies show phytoplankton have died off more than 40% since 1950 and continue to do so at an accelerating rate. “This is an almost unprecedented geological event,” stated Andy Ridgwell, an earth scientist at the University of Bristol.
Making matters significantly worse for humanity, food security manifests itself as a second state of emergency intimately connected with climate.
The worst ever environmental and health catastrophe is now inevitable, and we must render a comprehensive global emergency response. Nations and NGOs who refuse to acknowledge destructive climate interference and the inherent state of global climate emergency are, in effect, supporting and perpetuating the status quo: a general state of denial of, and inaction toward, the worst crime ever committed against humanity.
In the presence of fact and a recognizable path to global extinction, the only target that now matters is zero carbon. To save humanity, fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Every other target, without distinction, leads to irreversible climate catastrophe.
Yet we are told to throw a global day of action for 24 hours each year (this year, 10:10:10), no matter the challenges science purports and reality verifies. And somehow this party will grow into a new movement to take on these challenges, and this reality that no one discusses.
Symbolism must be an omnipotent force.
“Get to Work” – 350.org
“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe – Nigerian Writer
For too long, the environmental movement – led by the big greens – has locked the climate movement into a two-pronged strategy comprised of lobbying partisan, corrupt politicians, and climbing into bed with any – and nearly every – corporate power, in the pursuit of symbolic victories, the ecstasy of the illusion of power, and to integrate the DC cocktail circuit. Even in this, the movement has failed.
After the largest oil spill in history earlier this year, the movement and its most powerful leaders did not call for a ban on all offshore drilling; instead, they urged citizens to demand a temporary moratorium on new offshore drilling. Having no ability in the art of negotiation, and displaying an approach that was sophomoric, at best, they failed to properly secure the half-solution they sought, and the loopholes continue the cataclysmic trends that existed before the Deepwater Horizon entered our consciousness. Epic fail.
Nearly two decades after the first climate convention in Rio, global emissions are up over 40% and planetary boundaries are being crossed. We now stand on the cusp of humanity’s most dangerous moment. For those two decades the big greens have been flirting and sleeping with the enemy, and no matter their willingness are still shamed come morning, because the BPs of the world are welcome to plant their decadent seed in any of the big greens, and the governments around the globe besides, without any recourse.
What more evidence do we need to see in order to accept that backroom lobbying and symbolic campaigning has not worked and will not work?
“The best we can get.”
Big greens can’t yet comprehend the concept of morning remorse. It takes a spine to accept the guilt.
Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. We have already stated that, from the perspective of reality. Let us say it again. Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Nature won’t be giving us a pat on the back or boost our resumes for what we deem politically feasible, and the physics of nature is not about to come to the table for negotiations on entropy. Better is not better when better still means dead. Massive climate emergency movements in every country are the only forces with the potential to drive politicians toward effective action against greenhouse gas emissions. That is the only way to win time for our Earth – and ourselves.
Image from Keith Farnish’s ‘The Unsuitablog’:
“it is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”, because the nature of civilization is to destroy, to take what it wants to achieve its aims and only stop when it runs out of energy, people or space. It only stops when it collapses – it never stops of its own accord.”
Thus, we find ourselves in yet another bizarre situation and ready to party on 10:10:10 with international climate change organization TckTckTck; with Greenpeace; with 350.org; with World Wildlife Federation (WWF); with more than 350 other dance partners; and, not without significance, with Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth largest advertising company, and creator of the TckTckTck campaign. Havas clients include Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, BP and several other multinational conglomerates who indiscriminately rape and pillage our Earth, while exploiting the most vulnerable communities, cultures, and societies around the globe, in exchange for nothing more than financial profits and cash windfalls, seeking infinite gains on a finite planet.
When we fight multinationals, we call them corporate criminals. When we take their money, we call them partners.
The climate change movement is said to oppose oil giants controlled by Rockefeller and friends. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller and friends generously fund progressive environmentalists with the purpose being to ultimately oversee and influence various and significant activities.
Recall the fairytale in which the witch decorates her home as a gingerbread house in order to entice the children inside and ultimately cook them to kibble in a pot of boiling water. We are those children – and we are being manipulated to admire the grand illusion of democracy set before us as we march as one towards our own demise.
Not so bad, says 10:10:10 and friends. We can throw a party along the way, and the conscientious among us can pre-order caskets made of green, sustainable bamboo manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop.
Last year, on 350.org’s Global Day of Action (October 24, 2009), TckTckTck was shiny, new and present. In Canada, on Parliament Hill, between 1,000 and 2,000 people assembled throughout the morning and afternoon. The crowd received instructions to move apart, and individuals were then told reach their hands to the sky and pretend they were clocks. Next, they were told to chant “TckTckTck!” while rotating arms in analog fashion. TckTckTck … TckTckTck … faster! Faster! It is no stretch of the imagination to envision Havas and their corporate CEO friends – friends who push for more nuclear power, more genetic engineering, more cloning, more water privatization, more growth, more consumption – sitting back and laughing their asses off at those of us at Parliament Hill and all around the globe that day, people-clocks chanting their corporate branded slogan TckTckTck as the world burned.
Big greens want us to believe that we will fall into a pit of despair once we accept the situation as dire and will become immobilized. Is this true? No. In fact, history demonstrates time and time again that when faced with cataclysmic emergencies, people and communities pull together. Facing disaster, citizens of nations have shown they can unite for the common good. Sure, when we face the facts that now exist, despair is only human. The question is whether acknowledging our circumstances will immobilize us or give us the truth we need to face a daunting task. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche distinguished between what he called the “pessimism of strength” and the “pessimism of weakness”. “Pessimism of weakness” means succumbing to apathy in the face of overwhelming odds. “Pessimism of strength” means facing up to the facts, acknowledging the danger fully, and making a decision about how best to act. In other words, fear is good, and these parameters define our sense of responsibility.
Big greens are certainly aware that we are now in a death-spiral brought about by the capitalist, consumptive, and corporate domination of society. Yet they actively choose to remain muzzled on the subject. Power structures in place today do not act, and never will act, to stop climate change, because the changes so desperately needed by those most vulnerable on the planet are in direct conflict to the needs and rapacious desires of capital. Capital has no empathy. Capital has no children to love and protect. Capital has only one imperative, and that is to grow. Under the current economic system, the penultimate measure of success is profit. Corporations exist to maximize profits while externalizing costs. That is their nature. They cannot behave otherwise. Spewing greenhouse gases, toxins, and chemicals into the environment is a fundamental feature of capitalism employed by modern corporations and governments, and accounts for most of the pollutants directed into our air, water, and earth. Waste, pollution, and ecological destruction are built into the system.
September 27th, 2010. From Chris Hedges Column on TruthDig:
“Nemesis was the Greek goddess of retribution. She exacted divine punishment on arrogant mortals who believed they could defy the gods, turn themselves into objects of worship and build ruthless systems of power to control the world around them. The price of such hubris was almost always death. Nemesis, related to the Greek word némein, means “to give what is due.” Our nemesis fast approaches. We will get what we are due. The staggering myopia of our corrupt political and economic elite, which plunder the nation’s wealth for financial speculation and endless war, the mass retreat of citizens into virtual hallucinations, the collapsing edifices around us, which include the ecosystem that sustains life, are ignored for a giddy self-worship.”
Are we ready for such reflection? Is it past time to start talking about the core issues, the root causes of climate change? Is it past time to start questioning why those who claim to speak for civil society refuse to discuss these very issues?
The most provocative tool for comprehending abject behavior we have learned as climate justice activists is this: when issues are not being tackled by directly addressing the root of the problem, one must ask why.
To answer this question, this “why”, we have discovered there is one tactic which uncovers more information than any other single tactic.
It is this:
Follow the money.
The 350.org project, 10:10:10, in whole or in part, is funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), an entity which works with, and receives funding from, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and others, including ‘1% for the Planet’ (slogan: “Keep Earth in Business”). On July 21, 2010, GGF announced a partnership with 350.org: “Greengrants is excited to launch a new initiative of the Greengrants Climate Fund: the 350 Project Fund. Led by 350.org, the campaign to build a global movement for climate solutions, this initiative builds momentum and funds for climate solutions worldwide.”
Who is Global Greengrants? GGF states: “Our advisers and partners are currently focusing on REDD and REDD+ efforts around climate mitigation. REDD stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (forest) Degradation’. It is one of the areas of discussion at COP15 where some believe the most positive movement was made.”
In fact, REDD is one of the most contentious false solutions being fought by Indigenous peoples and grassroots climate activists all over the world. GGF has announced that through the establishment of their new pro-REDD ‘Climate Fund’, they were, and remain, involved in sponsoring delegates to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conferences such as COP15. This has proven to be a very successful formula for ensuring that anti-REDD Indigenous voices have been silenced from international conferences and climate talks, conveying to the general public the falsehood that REDD has been embraced far and wide. Those with no financial means to attend COP quite effectively have their mouths gagged and therefore become invisible on the global stage.
Those who agree with false solutions continue to be funded. Those who do not are replaced.
From the Rockefeller site:
RBF grantee Sustainable Markets Foundation’s 350.org launched its new web site, gearing up for “10/10/10, the Global Work Party” on October 10, 2010. Organizers are encouraging individuals worldwide to do something to combat global warming in their communities. More than a thousand groups in over 100 countries already have registered their events with 350.org, which include a bicycle repair day in New Zealand, planting thousands of trees in Uganda, and installing solar stoves for a carbon-neutral picnic in Bolivia.
These are all nice events, and are likely being organized by well-intentioned individuals. Unfortunately, none of them – or any semblance of them – will save us from catastrophic climate change.
Has the climate crisis (d)evolved into a mere Earth Day event to be held on an annual basis – a festive party to be celebrated? The symbolic Earth Hour, organized by industrial nonprofit complex World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), is now held each spring. 350.org a.k.a. Sustainable Markets Foundation a.k.a. 350.org Project a.k.a. 10:10:10 now claims a global climate party in the fall. Perhaps if we participate in Earth Hour or the Global Day of Action (or both!), and recycle our cans, bottles, and paper products at home, we can all feel we did our part until next year.
The Rockefellers certainly would like us to think so.
The Rockefeller family – think big oil (as big as oil gets) – is another primary funder of 350.org (Sustainable Markets Foundation). The Rockefellers, with other members of the plutocracy such as the Clinton family, were also instrumental in the creation of 1Sky, sister of 350.org. An organization which pushes false solutions and grossly inadequate climate legislation under the guise of ‘grassroots’ democracy, 1Sky is a prime example of an NGO created for the power elite. It operates as a think tank where past, present, and future policy analysts, high-ranking government officials, business leaders and CEOs, intellectuals, journalists, and conservative activists come together to develop political vision and strategy. Many well-intentioned, well-respected individuals are manipulated into lending their involvement to such institutes, which in turn lends credibility to 1Sky, 350.org, and their ilk when they deserve none.
We would like to name every foundation and corporate entity that funds 350.org and 10:10:10, and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they receive to implement the tactics of manipulation put forth by their corporate partners, but they choose not to respond to our requests for information. Likewise, they refuse to share the information on their websites, or in any other public forum.
Why it Matters
“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair
Whether directly or indirectly, industry and industry-linked foundations steer environmental organizations away from grassroots movements and create an elite-structured caviar class of environmentalists financially motivated to pursue ‘business as usual’ solutions. Today there is a deafening silence as well as cries for censorship on this critical topic, even within the climate justice movement itself.
Silence kills and silence is complicity in the escalating climate disruption, climate emergency and climate genocide that is predicted to kill billions this century. Earth and paleoclimate scientist, Dr. Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University states that “informed people are now staring into the abyss”.
Pablo Eisenberg at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute has stated, “although we know that our socioeconomic, ecological, and political problems are interrelated, a growing portion of our nonprofit world nevertheless continues to operate in a way that fails to reflect this complexity and connectedness.” This unwillingness to confront the broader issues of climate change such as militarism, livestock, and the capitalistic practices inherent in the current corporatocracy, is at the heart of the crisis of the climate change movement. Behind closed doors, the organizations manipulating and exploiting 10:10:10 know and understand the dilemma created by their infatuation with the corporate power structure. Yet the big greens refuse to advance these fundamental issues. And to be fair, they can’t. For if they were to be effective, in a meaningful way that actually started a paradigm shift, they would quickly be cut off from their generous ‘partners’. These groups have become barriers to the movement. They no longer represent civil society, but stand as walls to protect the system. They utilize the coercive tactic of inviting supposed leaders of civil society into sanitized circles of power, and simultaneously repress the rank and file climate movement.
Why are the big greens and compromised NGOs spewing out meaningless targets for legislation which do nothing more than ensure a death sentence for humanity? It is because they have become corporations themselves. They are, in essence, subsidiaries of the very corporations that they claim to oppose. There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent itself is generously funded by those same corporate interests who must be targets of the protest movement.
Reading Between the Lies
We must start turning off the faucets of the propaganda machine. Information flows from dominate forces that keep our society passive, dumbed down and stupefied. Humans display a universal propensity to deny uncomfortable realities—we actively repress intelligence and reason. Big Greens now employ marketing strategists to poll the public in order to ensure any messaging is palatable before campaigns and campaign messages are rolled out. This ensures the sad fact that the mainstream movement no longer leads, but rather capitulates to the status quo. The movement is now being shaped by marketing executives rather than activists. Big greens simply tell the public what they (the big greens) calculate the public wants to hear while at the same time protecting the system upon which they (the big greens) feast. Unfortunately, for ourselves and for our children, such denialism will ensure humanity’s certain famine – and ultimate demise.
“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon 1895.
“For us to maintain our way of living, we must… tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves… the lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers… are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities” – Derrick Jensen 2000.
Now we have three partners slithering out of the rot of the decayed carcass that was the climate change movement: 350.org, Greenpeace, and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have joined hands to sing a new version of Kumbayah with the grand illusion of waking the dead, and anyone can join the circle of song – provided we adhere to their guidelines. God forbid we challenge the system for what it is – a rapacious beast devouring humanity in the name of capitalism. Doing that doesn’t provide the win-win type of ‘solution’ these groups and their funders demand. Don’t begin to consider surprise actions that challenge corporate elites and the political structure directly. Don’t be provocative. Don’t plan for the potential need for self-defense. Don’t disturb dinner plans. Don’t miss yoga class.
Follow the lead of Bill McKibben (350.org), Phil Radford (Greenpeace USA), and Becky Tarbotton (RAN) and put three additional nails into the coffin of humanity. The Earth is beyond reacting to the tactics employed by those controlled by corporations, shared by tweets, and defined by actions that happen on a Saturday afternoon and end just in time for the next episode of Law and Order.
Aggressive action is required.
Mario Savio and Peter Camejo knew this. In the 1960’s they galvanized the souls of Berkeley into a force that would not be denied, and would not be repressed.
Those of us in the climate fight must not be denied, and we must not be repressed.
“Who raises money to protect rainforests yet greenwashes their first time logging? Who celebrates their 25th anniversary twice? Who has no scientists yet sets policy it refuses to defend? Rainforest Action Network @RAN of course.” - Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Climate reality dictates that there are no solutions within our cushy envelopes of political negotiation. We no longer have the luxury of playing nice and limiting sacrifice. There is no reason for our favorite big environmental groups to sit down with industry and hammer out a compromise; the Earth is already screaming at us that half-measures won’t work. There is no reason to believe that if we change a bunch of light bulbs or recycle all those plastic bottles or rock our Prius on the way to a Global Work Party we are part of the solution. We aren’t. We must strive for what defeatists and their enablers deem impossible. The science dictates a systemic upheaval that will shock us all, and we can choose to endure, or choose to die.
The alarms are sounding. All 5 of them. And we ask you this: if your neighbor’s house is burning, and you called 911 twenty minutes ago, and there has been no response, what would you do? Would you fill a bucket from your sink, toss the water on the blaze, pat yourself on the back, and conclude you’ve done your part? Would you throw a party next to the blaze with other neighbors, cheering the fact that they also brought their buckets of water? Or would you realize the structure, as it once stood, is now lost, and it is time to rebuild a better one, perhaps resistant to flame?
None of the placating, enabling, corrupt entities herein is prepared to tell you the truth. Most of them recognize it, as they have seen the same science we have. They understand the deadly consequences of ocean acidification, plankton kills, methane releases, ice shelf deterioration, and temperature extremes; yet their agenda, cozy as it sounds through rhetoric and repetition, does nothing to curtail this reality: the truth will hurt.
We have no time to argue over strategy and tactics. We have limited time (and only the planet really knows what hour it is) to implement massive, global changes. And we have a system in place that will refuse and refute every critical mode for the required paradigm shift part and parcel. That leaves little choice for those of us alive today.
The carbon economy must end. An optimist should say we have until 2020 to accomplish that. By every means necessary we must bring it to an end. We believe that requires an absolute refusal on the part of us, the masses, to continue to participate in it.
Pick a date, and after? Don’t participate.
Attend the Global Work Party. And when you realize the effort is going nowhere, let that uncomfortable reality demonstrate that we should attend a Global Work Shutdown.
The truth is not, and will not be, televised. We must collectively recognize that the solution set we must enact is far more complex than any one of us currently believes, or can rightly handle within the constructs of current society. Tactics that generate financial upheaval, such as refusal to pay debts to banking institutions, must be employed. Corporations must be exorcised through aggressive carbon taxation in the short-term, and severed from the subsidizing bonds to governments of the people. Criminal prosecutions against complicit individuals, corporations, and countries must take place. The car must die. Corporate media and irrelevant distraction must be abandoned. The insatiable, commodified narcissism poisoning our culture must fade. As it does, an new age of creativity and imagination must reawaken with fervor, re-energizing both the spirit and the means of our global community.
Wake up. Tear down. Rise Up.
“Humans claim to be uniquely capable of logical thought, forward planning and moral judgment. None of these unique capabilities are evident in the mainstream international dialogue on responses to climate change. The time has come to rise above primitive tribal instincts and exercise our full human capacities in confronting climate change. The time has come to act with intelligence, foresight and compassion for the mutual benefit of all.” - William Rees – originator of the “ecological footprint” concept and co-developer of the method.