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Financial Ecology: From Global Warming to Climate Change

Sunday, January 3, 2016 17:06
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After serving Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher, environmental rhetoric was reused by Al Gore. This was no longer to divert attention from US wars of Empire, nor to restore the greatness of the British Empire but rather to save Anglo-Saxon capitalism. In this third and final part of his study of environmental discourse, Thierry Meyssan analyzes the preparatory dramatics for the Earth Summit of 2012 and the Cochabamba rebellion. We remember that, in 1988, Margaret Thatcher spurred the G7 to finance an intergovernmental Study Group on Climate Change (IPCC) under the auspices of UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization. In its first report, in 1990, the IPCC considered an unambiguous increase in the greenhouse effect “unlikely in the coming decades or more.” In 1995, a second report of this political body takes up the ideology of the Rio Summit and “suggests a detectable influence of human activity on planetary climate”. A cadence of UN conferences on climate change followed at an annual rate. That of Kyoto (Japan) in December 1997, developed a protocol by which signatories voluntarily committed to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases; mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) but also five other gas: methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), fluorocarbons (FC) and the hydroclorofluocarbures. Even for states that do not believe in a significant influence of human activity on climate, this protocle is a good thing in that it encourages better use of non-renewable energy resources. However, it seems very difficult for developing countries to modernize their industries so they are less energy-intensive and less polluting. Noting that these states, having only embryonic industry, emit few greenhouse gases as they need financial help to develop efficient and clean industries, the Protocol establishes a Fund adaptation managed by the World Bank and a system of tradable permits. Each state receives greenhouse gas quotas to distribute among its industries. The developing States, that do not use all their permits can sell to developed countries that pollute more than allowed. With the proceeds of the resale, they can fund their industrial adaptation. The idea seems virtuous, but the devil is in the details: the creation of a tradable permits market opens up further financialization of the economy and, from there, to new opportunities to continue the plundering of poor countries. In all hypocrisy, Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol but instructed congressment to not ratify it. The US Senate unanimously rejected it. During the period of ratification of the Protocol, the United States applies itself to organizing the marketing of tradable permits, even though they intend to comply with the common requirements as late as possible. Preparatory studies are funded by a charitable association, the Joyce Foundation. They are led by Richard L. Sandor, a Republican economist who led a double career as trader (Kidder, Peabody & Co., Indosuez, Drexel Burnham Lambert) and as an academic (Berkeley, Stanford, Northwestern, Columbia). Ultimately, a holding company -the Climate Exchange- is created in the form of a Limited Public Company under British law (that is to say that its shares were sold in a public offering and the liability of its shareholders is limited to contributions). Its articles are written by a director of the Joyce Foundation, a lawyer then totally unknown to the public, Barack Obama. The public call for investors is launched by former US Vice President Al Gore and David Blood (former director of Goldman Sachs). After the operation, Blood and Gore in London create a green investment fund, Generation Investment Management (GIM). To this end, they associate with Peter Harris (former director of Al Gore’s firm), Mark Ferguson and Peter Knight (Blood’s two former assistants at Goldman Sachs) and finally with Henry Paulson (then CEO of Goldman Sachs, but who will retire when he becomes Secretary-Treasurer in the Bush administration). The Climate Exchange Plc stock exchanges opened in Chicago (USA) and London (United Kingdom) as well as branches in Montreal (Canada), Tianjin (China) and Sydney (Australia). By combining shares blocked during the creation of the holding company and those he acquired after the public offering, Richard Sandor holds nearly a fifth of the shares. The rest is mainly divided between mega hedge funds: Invesco, BlackRock, Intercontinental Exchange (including Sandor is a director), General Investment Management and DWP Bank. The market capitalization is now more than 400 million pounds. Dividends paid to shareholders during the year 2008 amounted to 6.3 million pounds. Naively, members of the European Union are the first to adhere to the human cause of global warming theory and ratify the Protocol. But for it to take effect, they need Russia. Russia has nothing to fear since the emission ceiling is not limiting given its production decline after the dissolution of the USSR. Nevertheless it requires in exchange European Union’s support for its accession to the World Trade Organization. Finally, the Protocol enters into force in 2005. 2002: The fourth “Earth Summit” in Johannesburg and recall of priorities by Jacques Chirac The ten-year summit of Johannesburg (South Africa) does not interest the US more than that of Nairobi. The US agenda now is exclusively oriented towards the global war on terrorism. Environmental issues will have to wait. George W. Bush does not travel but sends the Secretary of State Colin Powell to deliver a brief speech, while his plane crew awaits with engine idling. The conference gives up the international Rio carnival style and focuses on specific […]

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