Global Warming and the New Climate Change Economy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Global Warming and The New Climate Change Economy….

When George Orwell wrote 1984 he epitomized the use of doublespeak.  His words, “Freedom is Slavery” made us think about the human use of language and how we use it to generate ideas, and from those ideas create an ideology.  Take Global Warming for example, what started out as a movement towards responsible stewardship of our planet, has turned into it’s own kind of stock market economy that threatens to take away our right to stewardship under the strict control of the United Nations.  What once was an appeal for nations to work co-operatively to manage resources and preserve our living spaces has turned into the Church of Global Warming.  The question is how did we let it get to this and what does it really mean for our future.

As a kid, I remember the first Earth Day, where we were all supposed to start worrying about our pollution, saving the whales, the extinction of the tiger and just how much woodpulp went into our textbooks.  The timing merged well with the birth of a digital age where information would be more accessible through something called the “web” and the personal computer.  It was to be a huge leap for mankind; efficient, responsive, responsible human beings taking care of their earth using the technological advances we created.  Reducing waste, re-using what we consume and recycling what we previously threw away was suddenly the new mantra, and one that made sense, but made little impact in the grand scheme of things. Schoolkids at home madly recycled their juiceboxes, while big oil companies contaminated their tailing ponds or wrecked their tankers near a nature preserve.  Just how could one kid be expected to make a difference?

There was also, for a short time, a recession in the 80’s that once we were out of it, spurned a new decade of “gotta have it” mentality.  Christmas at our house got WAY out of hand, with more and more presents appearing under the tree each year.  The amount of money being spent on bigger and more expensive presents just so you could outdo yourself from last year increased instead of decreased.  Obscene is the best way to describe it.  It was as exhausting getting ready for Christmas as it was actually opening presents Christmas Day.  And there was so much cardboard and paper and filler thrown out at the end of that day that my mental “save the planet” alarm was going beserk.  We could have whatever we wanted and had no reason to think about being responsible consumers ( I know because the television ads and credit card companies told me so!).  Only recently have I learned to ask “Do I really need this?” before making a purchase.

The Kyoto accord, was in essence, an attempt to adress what we were doing to our environment but without any real consequences.  It was like our parents saying, “If you don’t stop that right now, you’re getting a time out!”.  Not much there to inspire the world to change.  Fear, however, is a great motivator.  In fact greater than love or hate combined, fear can do more to move a person to action and so it makes a valuable tool for politicians.  Politicians like Al Gore have made Global Warming the fear buzzword that Kyoto never was.  Global Warming is going to destroy the earth in case you hadn’t heard and is already responsible for the drowning of the Polar Bears and for every drought and flood in the past 100 years.  The idea that the Sun regulates the earths temperatures is clearly not as popular (or as well funded) as the belief that what humans breath out is responsible for an apparent rise in earth temperatures.  And of course, every campaign needs a campaigner; enter Al Gore.  Now most people only remember Al as the guy who ran for President against Bush and somehow magically lost the election. (See the article from Investigate Magazine below for a primer).  But most would never guess that Al had some dealings with Enron and Ken Laye that although he denies, don’t paint him in a very eco-friendly light.  It is important, however, to understand the Kyoto/Enron/Gore/Laye connection as it has profoundly set the stage for the “mechanism’ now in place that will undoubtedly affect everyone in the western world.  This mechanism, the brainchild of the World Resources Institute (via Al Gore and Ken Laye) and the United Nations  ( UNFCC) aims to capitalize on our failure to take concrete measures to address the issues such as species conservation, pollution control, toxic waste, air and water quality, water conservation etc… by lumping them under the umbrella called Global Warming.  Now here, I will not debate the validity (or lack) of the Global Warming concept as put forth by several climate scientists.  There is plenty of data on both sides to support either argument (either that Global Warming exists, or that it is a scam).  What is most important is that a whole new economy is being forged on the premise of this ‘theory’.

COP 16 (or the Council of the Parties #16), which was recently held in Cancun and is the progeny of the Kyoto Accord, reveals the true nature of the movement to adress Global Warming.
A preliminary review of the documents found at the UNFCC shows the following:
1. Several dedicated funds have been set up which party countries contribute funds to on a yearly basis (these funds are accessible in the form of grants and loans depending on who is accessing the funds and for what project)
2. Countries who are Party to the treaty agree to curb their GHG (greenhouse gas) emmissions through a series of reporting, monitoring and regulation measures that they have already begun to institute.  The reporting measures for agriculture (for example) include specialized software that allows for the input of individual producers information such as how many sheep, cattle, chickens are on their farm, how much manure is produced, is it transported ‘off-site’ for disposal, how much nitrogenous fertilizer is added to the soil, how much natural fertilizer is added to the soil, how many legumous crops are grown, etc.   This data is formulated so as to produce a number relating to the amount of GHG produced for that particular farm or operation.  It accounts for how the land is used, how waste organic matter is used etc…  Having a number and having a database of specific producer operations allows for the better calculation of how much that producer should be taxed.
3. Yes, there will be taxes…. Canada has only committed funds for 2010 and has not reported how much it will contribute in 2011-12, but it will be in the area of 41-44 million dollars to the fund.
4.  Third world countries have the ability to submit their projects for review and to apply for funding of these projects through the funds.
5.  The funds are controlled through the World Bank.
6.  The United Nations has appointed the Secretariat and Board Members (of which Canada has no representation).
7.  Technology transfer is also one of the initiatives of the UNFCC, which allows for third world countries to access technology for their projects without payment of licencing fees, and overrides patent protection.
8.  The monies put into the funds are tax free to the third world parties.
9.  The monies put into the funds cannot be accessed by developed nations for their own technology transfer, green projects etc… In other words, it is a one way flow from Most Developed to Least Developed.
10. Party countries are restricted to activities that maintain a temperature increase of less than 2 degrees centigrade.  Canada has agreed to a GHG emission reduction of 17% by 2012 in step with the US.

Sounds fair right?  Sure, if we were striving for a Utopian society less dependant on crappy plastic toys from Malaysia, cadmium laden jewellery from China, etc… AND if developed nations were also given tools to help make the transition to greener energy rather than becoming more dependant on fossil fuels to supply the WB with the funds in the form of taxes in the first place…. As well, who will benefit most from the technologies used in these projects?  Those who invest in the newly formed green economy and those poorer nations struggling to make their countries more vibrant.  Development in the worlds poorest nations is not a bad thing, when approached from a more co-operative standpoint, and should not be used as an opportunity for the corporate elite to get richer.

I suppose it’s a fitting punishment for our inaction and lack of resolve.  We didn’t regulate big oil, or mining or logging so now we must pay.  We didn’t do enough to help the poor in other countries so now we must pay.  The problem is that these policies and treatise are not about staving off a 2 degree increase in global temperatures, as much as creating a new “stock” that can earn interest, can be traded and sold.  The weather will continue to do what it always does, and that is behaves in a way that is erratic and unpredictable and UNCONTROLLABLE except by the influence of our Sun.  So, while all you people in Canada, the US and Great Britain are bracing for the most severe winter in decades, try not to laugh too hard when they tell you it’s due to Global Warming.

The Kyoto Conspiracy (Gore, Enron, Carbon Trading, Global Warming)

Investigate Magazine ^
March 2006

Posted on April-06-07 12:56:24 PM by Shermy

Not one single day goes by in New Zealand now without a reference somewhere to global warming, and New Zealand’s requirement to comply with the Kyoto protocol. But few people realise that Kyoto was the brainchild of a corrupt multinational energy company, looking to make a buck out of the green movement. KEN RING explains:

Amidst the talk about the benefits that Kyoto Protocol is sup-posed to promote, it is perhaps forgotten especially amongst the greenies how Kyoto was born in the corridors of very big business. The name Enron has all but faded from our news pages since the company went down in flames in 2001 amidst charges of fraud, bribery, price fixing and graft. But without Enron there would have been no Kyoto Protocol.

About 20 years ago Enron was owner and operator of an interstate network of natural gas pipelines, and had transformed itself into a billion-dollar-a-day commodity trader, buying and selling contracts and their derivatives to deliver natural gas, electricity, internet bandwidth, whatever. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to put a cap on how much pollutant the operator of a fossil-fueled plant was allowed to emit. In the early 1990s Enron had helped establish the market for, and became the major trader in, EPA’s $20 billion-per-year sulphur dioxide cap-and-trade program, the forerunner of today’s proposed carbon credit trade. This commodity exchange of emission allowances caused Enron’s stock to rapidly rise.

Then came the inevitable question, what next? How about a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program? The problem was that CO2 is not a pollutant, and therefore the EPA had no authority to cap its emission. Al Gore took office in 1993 and almost immediately became infatuated with the idea of an international environmental regulatory regime. He led a U.S. initiative to review new projects around the world and issue ‘credits’ of so many tons of annual CO2 emission reduction. Under law a tradeable system was required, which was exactly what Enron also wanted because they were already trading pollutant credits. Thence Enron vigorously lobbied Clinton and Congress, seeking EPA regulatory authority over CO2.

From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed nearly $1 million dollars – $990,000 – to the Nature Conservancy, whose Climate Change Project promotes global warming theories. Enron philanthropists lavished almost $1.5 million on environmental groups that support international energy controls to “reduce” global warming. Executives at Enron worked closely with the Clinton administration to help create a scaremongering climate science environment because the company believed the treaty could provide it with a monstrous financial windfall. The plan was that once the problem was in place the solution would be trotted out.

A lawyer named Christopher Horner was hired who had worked in Senator Liebermann’s Environment Committee. Horner, employed by Enron, became director of relations with the Federal Government. That was in 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was drafted. According to Homer, on the second day at the job he was told that the Number One Objective was to obtain an international treaty that would impose cuts in CO2 emissions, but at the same time allowed trade with emission rights. Enron had the biggest natural gas production behind Russia’s Gazprom. Enron was making a lot of money trading with coal, but they had already calculated that the profits they would lose with coal would be more than compensated by the profits derived from its privileged position in other areas. With clever positioning and anticipation Enron had bought the world’s biggest wind power company, GE Wind, from General Electric. They now also owned the biggest solar power company in the world, in society with Amoco (now belonging to British Petroleum – BP). Enron then started to finance everything related to the global warming hype, including grants to scientists – but asking for results favorable to their interest – “proof” that humans were responsible for the excessive emissions of CO2 through fossil fuel burning. The fire of malaise, now lit and kindled, only required feeding.

The expressive term ‘Baptist-bootlegger’ derives from the days of prohibition. Under prohibition bootleggers and those who trans-ported and supplied illegal alcohol made fortunes. One such entrepreneur was Joseph Kennedy whose second son, John, became US President in 1961. The bootleggers had allies in the Baptists and other teetotalists, who believed that alcohol was a deadly threat to the social order, and had worked for decades to get prohibition onto the statute books. The Baptists provided the political cover and the bootleggers pocketed the proceeds. In public the two groups maintained a great social distance from each other. Now Enron had positioned itself at the centre of an awesome Baptist-bootlegger coalition. The gargantuan rents which Enron energetically sought could be realized only if the Kyoto Protocol became established as part of US and international law. Ken Lay, Enron’s CEO saw Enron as not only making billions from sales of the natural gas which was to displace coal as the preferred fuel under the Kyoto commitments, but he realised that as the main if not the only international and domestic trader in the new barter world of carbon credits, Enron could realise hitherto unimagined wealth. Such credits, of course, would only become bankable pieces of paper if governments, particularly the US Government, established and policed a global policy of decarbonisation under which a global tax on carbon was to be enforced.

As the movement to establish the Kyoto Protocol developed momentum, it was necessary for Ken Lay to build up alliances with the green movement including Greenpeace. A 1998 letter, signed by Lay and a few other bigwigs asked President Clinton, in essence, to harm the reputations and credibility of scientists who argued that global warming was an overblown issue, because these individuals were standing in Enron’s way. The letter, dated Sept. 1, asked the president to shut off the public scientific debate on global warming, which continues to this date. In particular, it requested Clinton to moderate the political aspects of this discussion by appointing a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission. The purpose of this commission was clear – high-level trashing of dissident scientists. Setting up a panel to do this was simple; just look at the recent issue of Scientific American where four attack dogs were called out to chew up Bjorn Lomborg. He had the audacity to publish The Skeptic Environmentalist demonstrating that global warming is overblown. David Bellamy, the world’s foremost environmentalist also stepped out of line with his widely printed article “Global Warming? What a load of old Poppycock.” In the same way Galileo was forced to publicly utter that the moon had no effect on tides, so Bellamy under pressure backtracked on some of his claims.

Enron commissioned its own internal study of global warming science. It turned out to be largely in agreement with the same scientists that Enron was trying to shut up. After considering all of the inconsistencies in climate science, the report concluded: “The very real possibility is that the great climate alarm could be a false alarm. The anthropogenic warming could well be less than thought and favorably distributed.” One of Enron’s major consultants in that study was NASA scientist James Hansen, who started the whole global warming mess in 1988 with his bombastic congressional testimony. Recently he published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicting exactly the same inconsequential amount of warming in the next 50 years as the scientists that Enron wanted to gag. They were a decade ahead of NASA.

True to its plan, Enron never made its own findings public, self-censoring them while it pleaded with the Bush administration for a cap on carbon dioxide emissions that it could broker. That pleading continues today – the remnant-Enron still views global warming regulation as the straw that will raise it from its corporate oblivion. Some greenie campaigning in America is still directed from this source. On July 7, 2004, Kenneth Lay was indicted by a federal grand jury for his involvement in the scandal.

Everyone knows that a few hundred votes in Florida tipped the election to George W, but few are aware that West Virginia, normally a Democrat stronghold, went for Bush because the coal industry in that state decided to back him because he would not endorse Kyoto. Without West Virginia, the vote in Florida would have made no difference.

”Enron stood to profit millions from global warming energy-trading schemes,” said Mike Carey, president of the Ohio Coal Association and American Coal Coalition. The investigation into the collapse of Enron will reveal much more about the intricacies of the Baptist-bootlegger coalition which was promoting the Kyoto cause within the Republican Party and within US business circles. Coal-burning utilities would have had to pay billions for permits because they emit more CO2 than do natural gas facilities. That would have encouraged closing coal plants in favor of natural gas or other kinds of power plants, driving up prices for those alternatives. Enron, along with other key energy companies in the so-called Clean Power Group – El Paso Corp., NiSource, Trigen Energy, and Calpine – would make money both coming and going – from selling permits and then their own energy at higher prices. If the Kyoto Protocol were ratified and in full force, experts estimated that Americans would lose between $100 billion and $400 billion each year. Additionally, between 1 and 3.5 million jobs could be lost. That means that each household could lose an average of up to $6,000 each year. That is a lot to ask of Americans just so large energy companies can pocket millions from a regulatory scheme. Moreover, a cost of $400 billion annually makes Enron’s current one-time loss of $6 billion look like pocket change. Little wonder Americans and the incoming Bush administration did not want a bar of it.

In NZ the Labour government was forced to agree to the Kyoto Protocol because the Alliance Party self destructed and Labour needed the Greens for support in Confidence and Supply. The cost of that support was agreement to GE legislation and the Kyoto Protocol. Labour could see that the GE debate had no financial return, but the carbon credit trading game looked much more promising. Positive credit-trading with all our trees acting as CO2 sinks made politicians see dollar signs. But just as Enron came unstuck mired in financial ruin and scandal, so too is the Kyoto Protocol set to ruin economies and bring down governments and any players foolish enough to be taken in. Enron collapsed in a quagmire of bribery, misinformation, energy price manipulation and the use of political connections to exert pressure on energy boards. Anything connected to the Kyoto Protocol will turn out to be good money after bad, because a scheme instigated by half-truths and hype must eventually collapse under the weight of the spin of its own cover-up. The half-billion dollar debt NZ now owes could be just the beginning. In 2002 Helen Clark said “Climate change is a global problem ..the Kyoto Protocol is the international community’s response to climate change and New Zealand is playing its part”.

This contrasted strongly with Enron’s own internal report expressing doubt that global warming was real. It is hard to accept that Clark does not know that the Protocol only became real through Enron. Real problems are the gullibility of satellite western economies, the dangers of being the tail of giant corporate dogs and the perceived need to appease the EU for trade deals. Global warming itself does not even get a look in. In NZ the only funding for environmental research comes to the NZ Climate Change Office for the Ministry for the Environment and is funded through the Ministry of Fisheries and the Public Good Science & Technology fund.

The particular institute concerned has all the appearance of an independent research body whilst at the same time proclaiming to be spokespeople for government policies re the environment. In this way debate is suppressed in NZ, because there is no funding for alternative viewpoints, no panel for review or accountability of government-science agendae and no voice of balance in government-funded public media. I suggest you look out the window to see if there is any catastrophe happening. While looking, check to see if any ocean is yet rising. Also look up – exactly where is this methane cloud? Please, someone, explain how heavier-than-air car emissions can get 6-8 miles up where weather is generated? We are not all that taken in.

Despite all the handwringing and increasingly desperate hysteria, where global warming is concerned there has been a failure to force this paranoid religion onto the world. Since the Rio Conference in 1992, the greens have tried using the threat of global warming to induce Protestant guilt in us all, to cap growth, to change lifestyles, to attack the car, industry and the Great Satan of America. They have lost. Only schoolchildren remain rich fodder willing to believe it is up to them now to Save The World, which hasn’t needed saving one iota during the last 4,000,000,000 years or it wouldn’t still be here. Now it is surely time to face the facts: there isn’t a snowflake-in-hell’s chance of global warming altering real life. But the failure of the greens is not just with the public. While playing the climate-change card at the G8 Summit, the final Gleneagles’ declaration shows that the leaders of the developed world have no intention of sacrificing growth and economic success for an ascetic global warming religion. To quote Michael McCarthy, the environment editor of the Independent: ‘The failed agenda that Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the World Wide Fund for Nature and others were complaining of – that the US has still not agreed to cut its carbon dioxide emissions – was the green groups’ own agenda, not the British government’s.

At G8 the idea of capping greenhouse gas emissions was cleverly replaced by an emphasis on technological innovation and imaginative development. The Kyoto Protocol is effectively dead.

SIDEBAR In NZ almost the only funding for environmental research is invested in NIWA and comes via the NZ Climate Change Office for the Ministry for the Environment, but mostly funded through the Ministry of Fisheries and the Public Good Science & Technology fund. The institute has all the appearance of an independent research body whilst at the same time acting in the appointed role of spokespeople for government policies on the environment. NIWA is a fine organisation when it comes to marine biological research, but when it comes to climate projection theirs must still be only an opinion. Sadly, though, other opinions that might make for lively debate are somewhat suppressed in NZ, because there is no funding for alternatives, no panel for review or accountability of government-science agendae and subsequently no voice of balance across most government-funded public media. Consequently the work of NIWA is perceived in some quarters as having become politicised which is sad for an otherwise valuable and necessary national research resource.



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