[Kumi Naidoo is the Chair of TckTckTck, as well as the Executive Director of Greenpeace International.]
Sleeping with the Enemy …
EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé
The mainstream environmental movement no longer inspires nor leads society to an enlightened existence – it simply bows down to the status quo.
Who Really Deserves the Fossil Fool Award? TckTckTck or us?
The largest climate change campaign in the world is in bed with the world’s most powerful corporations.
In this HAVAS press release TCK HAVAS PAGER we obtained Havas announces their TckTckTck campaign launch. In this release it states: “The objective was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit”. After the background text on the TckTckTck campaign itself, the release goes on to state in ‘the results’ the following:
The open-‐source campaign has been adopted around the world with everything from massive stunts in Central Park
by Oxfam, to ad agency Y&R in Brazil creating a Tck Tck Tck TV commercial, to advertisers like EDF including the TckTckTck logo on one of their latest TV commercials, to huge global press coverage.
It then lists the partners that have come on board thus far.
From the release:
The following companies who have already come on board as partners includes Galeries Lafayette, Virgin Group, Yahoo! Music, iTunes, Google, Pernod Ricard, EDF, Microsoft, Zune, YouTube, USA Today, National Magazines, HSBC, M&S, Uniqlo, Lloyds Bank, MySpace, MTV, Bo Concept Japan K.K., Volvo, Kipa Turkey, Claro Argentina, Peugeot, NTV, Universal, Tesco, Sina.com, GDF Suez, Centrica, Oxfam, New Zealand Wine Company, 350.org, Handbag.com, Avaaz.org, Lesinrockuptibles, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, EMap, Greenpeace, Commensal, The Atlantic, Fast Company, News Limited, Tesla, Wired Magazine, and RFM Radio.
And this is not the full list of partners.
Who is EDF?
EDF, the world’s leading nuclear power utility, operates a French nuclear fleet consisting of 58 reactors spread over 19 different sites.
Here is a little information you might like to know about another partners – GDF Suez – that I found on the ‘World Nuclear News‘ website:
GdF-Suez and Total secure nuclear stake
05 May 2009
Oil and gas firms will have a substantial interest in the second new large nuclear reactor to be built in France. GdF-Suez is to take a one-third stake and share it with Total.
We are in fact sleeping with the enemy.
In the press release it also states “Havas Worldwide incorporates the EURO RSCG whose clients include Novartis and Adventis – both biotech industries in genetic engineering and biofuel including the disastrous Jatropha. One must ask if this could be why biofuels and nuclear were not really listed high on the menu at COP 15 even though these two false “solutions” are equally bad if not worse than the problem they are intended to solve.
The Tck Tck Tck: Time for Climate Justice campaign was also developed by GHF & as mentioned above, Euro RSCG Worldwide. Clients of Euro RSCG include Air France, Kraft, McDonalds, Volvo, Evian, IBM, Nokia, Starbucks, etc. etc. You may recognize some of these corporations from the massive advertising campaign labeled ‘Hopenhagen’ which incited cries of greenwash from the likes of Naomi Klein, organizations and activists from across the planet. The Hopenhagen campaign was unveiled with the support of dozens of agency, media, and brand partners to do one thing – “rebrand a city”. See the friends of ‘Hopenhagen’ here.
As it turns out, Havas the creator of TckTckTck, and Euro RSCG were also the initial partners and creators of the infamous Hopenhagen campaign.
November 12th 2009: “Over 200 partner organizations have joined this fight for climate justice, including the World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the National Resource Defense Council. With close to 3 million people already signing up to declare their support for climate justice, the stunning advertising created for this campaign is positive proof that our industry can help to make the world a better place.”
Like the corporations greenwashing products, the practice of NGOs not only greenwashing corporations but partnering with them is quickly becoming ‘normalized’. While people continue to die, the corporate elites sit back and laugh. Surely this is not climate justice. In the past our organization has used the independent firm ‘Fair Trade Media’ when we needed graphics for campaigns we created. Surely such organizations exist around the world?
The mainstream environmental movement is no longer led by visionaries, thinkers, activists. (Was it at one time? I would like to think so.) It is clearly being shaped and defined by advertising firms. From top to bottom – it is being led by advertising executives – people whose expertise is ensuring corporate profit and growth at every quarter. I would argue that the mainstream environmental movement is no longer based on truth. In the past activism was based on what was ‘right’ both ethically and morally – not on what the polls stated public perception would be. Today, polling is now done by most of the bigger NGOs before they message anything. Imagine the information Euro RSCG could collect through the TckTckTck campaign to give their other clients valuable insight of the millions of concerned citizens showing interest for the environment. Sponsors of TckTckTck include carbon offset companies which are being aggressively opposed by true Climate Justice groups, therefore, beyond watering down of the term “climate justice,” there has been a corporate takeover of the political space on the climate crisis including, even, the hijacking of the language and framing. Simply put – the climate justice concept is now being used by corporations and institutions for greenwashing their market-oriented policies.
The mainstream environmental movement no longer inspires nor leads society to an enlightened existence – it simply bows down to the status quo. Conveniently there is always an envelope for a donation – this could perhaps be considered a note of gratitude from the citizen for allowing them to remain in denial yet still feel as though they are doing their part. Or citizens may simply choose to accessorize with a TckTckTck pin to show their dedication to the cause. The tck tck tck pins from the ‘store’ section are made with nickel (mined) in a ‘care certified’ sweatshop facility in China. Their associated carbon emissions have been ‘offset’ by TckTckTck partners. (Just pray that you personally never have to work in a mine nor a sweatshop) What happened to the cries of ‘leave it in the ground!’ on the streets of Copenhagen?
All ENGOs are vastly aware that the industrialized nations are in a death-spiral brought about by the capitalist, consumptive and corporate domination of society is suicidal, we all know – yet we never hear mention of system change nor real climate justice targets from tck tck tck or the mainstream environmental NGOs. We are in what scientists call the 6th extinction. It is not only species that are at great risk. Our humanity, our empathy and truth itself are all on the endangered list.
Copied from the TckTckTck site:
Who We Are
The ‘tck tck tck – time for climate justice’ campaign was developed by the Global Humanitarian Forum and Euro RSCG Worldwide to re-frame the climate crisis as a human problem and to publically mobilise action towards the UNFCCC talks (COP15) in Copenhagen in December of this year. This campaign is designed to be open-source and can be taken up and used by every and anyone who wants to publically campaign towards delivering a strong and just global climate deal at Copenhagen. If you don’t have something you want, or think there’s something we need, do get I contact at campaign. After all, in the word’s of our climate ally Desmond Tutu ‘This is your campaign’. Founded in 2007, the Global Humanitarian Forum is a new international organization personally led by Kofi Annan working to build a stronger global community for overcoming humanitarian challenges.
A world where the full potential of the global society is harnessed for eradicating human suffering.
Euro RSCG Worldwide is global in the truest sense of the word. Their offices resound with different languages, resonate with cultures and colours, and pulse with the beats of 75 countries. The largest global agency as measured by total number of global accounts, according to the 2008 Advertising Age Global Marketers Report, Euro RSCG Worldwide has 233 offices across the globe that specialize in advertising, digital, marketing services, healthcare, PR and corporate communications.
But wait – it gets a lot worse
Who are ‘The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change’? This is one of the TckTckTck partners. You can find it on the main tck tck tck site if you look hard enough. It’s a bit buried under ‘partner’ links. The groups members include corporations such as Shell, Unilver, Lloyds Banking Group, Fortis Bank, Thames Water, etc. etc. Signatories include 1000+ companies from across the globe including Coca Cola, RBC, BP, Nestle, etc. etc. etc.
So now, unknowingly, TckTckTck partners have now been teamed up so to speak with the very same corporations we challenge in our everyday campaigns. Many of these are the same corporations that greenwash summits and caused such social injustice and environmental degradation in the first place and continue to lobby and bully to maintain the status quo of corporate dominance today. The Rio Summit led to a series of challenging negotiations whose purpose was to protect the earth and improve life for its most impoverished inhabitants. Unfortunately, that purpose was undermined by the Summit’s failure to confront corporate power in any meaningful way. The failure in Copenhagen has effectively legitimized climate genocide.
Prospects for human and other living species do ultimately hinge on whether or not global capitalism is replaced by an entirely different economic system. A system based on fairness and ethics where the wealthy elites do not exploit nor prey on their fellow human beings and our shared natural environment. Where associated producers and consumers democratically plan and harmonize their own economic activities based upon reasonably accurate information on the consequences of different options. The sooner that such a change happens, the happier, the healthier and the safer both society and the environment will be.
Climate change is the worst consequence of a wrong and unfair economical system which is killing hundreds millions of hungry people. Yet again, one must emphasize, the mainstream NGOs do not speak of this. Is it any wonder why these NGOs never make mention of system change itself when the same advertising firms which they contract are in a feeding frenzy – feeding from the very hands of the largest multinational corporations on the planet.
Needless to say we have asked TckTckTck to REMOVE us as a partner.
Working with mainstream NGOs has left a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps their must be a separate category for compromised NGOs which we could label. This process was described, in remarkably stark terms, by 1960s-era campus radical leader James Kunen in his 1968 memoir The Strawberry Statement. Therefore I am going to put out the label ‘strawberries’ which could be coined to identify these groups found in strawberry fields where nothing is real and where living is easy with eyes closed. You can see how the corporate entities and the environmental lobby are now working together hand in hand as they dance down the yellow brick road. A large sector of the green movement has lost so much integrity that this term ‘strawberry’ can now apply to many. Many climate justice groups now feel that this compromised part of the environmental movement should no longer be welcomed by the movement. The allure of “success” and the power of the dollar have seduced the strawberries. They belong with the industry, not with us. The corporations have become so incredibly strong and organized – we now need to download ‘lobby guides’ just to get a grasp of who’s who.
Yet – this is not new. As previously mentioned above, this process was described, in remarkably stark terms, by 1960s-era campus radical leader James Kunen in his 1968 memoir The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary. One of Kunen’s comrades in the Marxist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had been approached by representatives of the Business International Round Tables, who “tried to buy up a few radicals.” “These men are the world’s leading industrialists and they convene to decide how our lives are going to go,” wrote Kunen. “They offered to finance our demonstrations in Chicago. We were also offered ESSO [i.e., Rockefeller Foundation] money. They want us to make a lot of radical commotion so they can look more in the center as they move to the left.” Jerry Kirk, who had also been involved in the SDS, as well as the Black Panthers and the Communist Party, gave an even more candid description of the scissors strategy in testimony before the House and Senate Internal Security Panels following his 1969 break with the revolutionary left. “Young people have no conception of the conspiracy’s strategy of pressure from above and pressure from below,” testified Kirk. “[The radical activists] have no idea that they are playing into the hands of the Establishment they claim to hate. The radicals think they’re fighting the forces of the super rich, like Rockefeller and Ford, and they don’t realize that it is precisely such forces which are behind their own revolution, financing it, and using it for their own purposes.” In fact, the “super-rich” tax-exempt foundations devote substantial amounts of their wealth to the environmental movement to gain their own ends.
The acknowledgment that the heads of states of the industrialized nations have no intention whatsoever of saving us from catastrophic climate change left me exhausted and deep in thought. Of course one didn’t have to go to Copenhagen to see the corporatization and commodification of climate change close up – it was here all along. We watched the mainstream NGOs become embedded with the corporations. Yet, no one yet really wants to step outside the mainstream ‘NGO circle’. There is a hierarchy of power with the mainstream environmental movement and everyone wants to be in the ‘inner circle’. Mainstream NGOs do not want leaders but only followers – therefore it is difficult to get into the circle. Visionaries are seen as threats to ‘the campaign’. Low level staff & volunteers are in the outer circle trying to get in. Few will say anything against the ‘inner circle’ because then they will never get in. In effect they are muzzled unless they wish to be blacklisted or ignored.
Today Monbiot wrote an excellent article titled ‘Consumption Hell’. He asks: “So how do we break this system? How do we pursue happiness and well-being rather than growth? I came back from the climate talks Copenhagen depressed for several reasons, but above all because, listening to the discussions at the citizens’ summit, it struck me that we no longer have movements; we have thousands of people each clamouring to have their own visions adopted. We might come together for occasional rallies and marches, but as soon as we start discussing alternatives, solidarity is shattered by possessive individualism. Consumerism has changed all of us. Our challenge is now to fight a system we have internalised.”
Monbiot is in the circle therefore he is heard. He does not have to clamour for his ideas to be heard. Perhaps it is not possessive individualism people seek in the environmental movement but only representation and a voice in a movement being shaped by wealthy advertising executives, instead of the activists on the front lines who live and breathe the cause. The visionaries could be found exhausted along the walls of the packed Klima Forum during COP15. Any NGOs with a grain of vision or integrity should be seeking these people out to replace the advertising executives that do not represent true climate justice let alone understand what it really means. The mainstream environmental climate justice movement is a façade. It is fake. There is no truth. It is not about changing the system – it is little more than sleek advertising and high end videos of people dancing on beaches. Images such as Bono & Oprah running on the sand hand in hand with ‘Red’ brand iPods & Gap t-shirts. Shop to save the world! Dance on the beach to save the climate!
Climate Change is a bitch of a campaign because the more you understand the science – the more you become not only alienated from NGOs, but alienated from your own family and friends and society as a whole whose entire existence is now based on consumption. When one takes a position based on truth, morals and ethics one risks further alienating ones self from NGOs and fellow campaigners. Jiddu Krishnamurti stated “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”What more can be said. Our society is sick and yet we all go on pretending this way of life can be maintained. Compromised NGOs have been most complicit in this messaging. Everything we need to live has been graciously given to us – yet we destroy it as we simultaneously destroy ourselves. We are insatiable.
The mass greenwashing from corporations is hard enough to fight. Why must the true climate justice movement tolerate the strawberry NGOs that only help them protect their corporate interests – that being corporate profit, at the expense of our shared natural environment and life itself.
Dr. Hansen, top climate scientists, denounces ‘Greenwash’ in advance of Copenhagen
Bill C-311 – My first taste of NGO denialism
Bill C-311 was being pushed in Canada. In the fall there was a big push on Bill C-311 by Greenpeace Canada under the KyotoPlus campaign, the Sierra Club and others larger NGOs. As I continued to immerse myself into the climate change science, particularly the feedback mechanisms Bill C-311 became more and more of deep concerned to me. The targets were incredibly weak based on science from years ago that has since become completely irrelevant. The bill may have been progressive at the time however, this was no longer the case. Of particular help during this time was my correspondence with Clive Hamilton and access to an excellent lecture. I began to believe (and stress) that if this bill passed, instead of being beneficial – it could instead be incredibly detrimental to have such a bill locked in. If passed it would be reviewed once every five years which also terrified me as the science continues to accelerate at rates which even frighten the scientists. In my naïveté, I was certain once I spoke to the NGOs engaged with this campaign (CPAWS, Suzuki, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Pembina, etc.) they would agree the targets needed to be adjusted.
My communications were met with a deafening sound of silence. It became very clear that no one wished to engage in this dialouge. It is like what Bill McKibben stated – my questions pushing on true climate targets had labeled me as a ‘skunk at the garden party’. There was one exception – the campaigner from Council of Canadians who I know personally from my involvement with Council of Canadians did respond. To be fair, it is difficult for an energy campaigner (or anyone else for that matter) to get a grasp on the reality of climate change quickly. However, she at least showed interest and concern. They continued to support the KyotoPlus campaign – however by December it came with a qualifier that science was now calling for 40% emissions cuts rather than the KyotoPlus demand of 25%.
I’m waiting to see which, if any, larger NGO will lead the movement by backing the demands and targets of those most vulnerable clearly voiced at COP15 by the G77 and ALBA. I believe it may well be Maude Barlow’s Council of Canadians although I am not certain. We will find out soon enough. Will real NGOs please step forward?
Whether intentional or unintentional the fact is that weak, passive campaigns give support to passivity amongst Canadians where we already struggle against peak apathy and social bankruptcy in a culture of climate change denial all drowned out by the relentless consumption. Supporting targets that will ensure the deaths of billions is not climate justice. It is that simple. Such messaging allows citizens to believe that what they are calling for is more than adequate when nothing is further than the truth. Yet, such campaigns continue to be pushed in Canada and the U.S. Why? When a campaign collects over a hundred thousand signatures the campaign becomes more valuable than the very lives the campaign was to designed to protect in the first place. Protect the brand at all costs.
Welcome to the TckTckTck ‘Climate Insider’ list – managed by communication & marketing firms
I am on two main climate lists. The first is the ‘Climate Insiders’ list. I refer to as the ‘elitist list’ when I speak of it to other activists. The second is the ‘climate justice network’ which gives me hope and continues to inspire. The second list is as real as the blood pumping through the veins of the brilliant minds which contribute to it. Grassroots groups, writers, etc. from all over the world contribute valuable insight.
The greatest tragedy of the failure of COP15 is in fact the fallacy of the mainstream NGO community itself. For the most part – the big players (many on the climate insider list) have become complicit in blocking real progress on climate change. I will stop here and add that there are also many on the list are well intentioned and many on the list are ethical and voice true climate justice ethics.
Our organization joined at the beginning of October 2009. After the launch, it quickly became a list of not only the biggest mainstream NGOs of the world, writers , journalists, etc. – but a list saturated with marketing strategists and communications persons. I received my first post from on 10/27/2009. At present there are approx. 350 people / organizations on this list.
TckTckTck … STRIKE ONE
What at first seemed like an excellent list to discuss climate topics quickly became nothing more than a closely monitored list of communications shaped by the marketing strategists that controlled it. Communications regarding climate change science quickly fizzled out for the most part and a list evolved centered around strategic communications and messaging. As I followed the posts something very disturbing became very evident very quickly. It was clear that very few understood the real science or they understood it and insisted on passive targets and messaging anyway. I was not certain which one it was and when I asked the question I again was answered with the deafening sound of silence.
My first communication sent out November 10th was titled: ‘Strategies for Copenhagen & Beyond’. I questioned that although we (referring to the movement) are not psychologists; we are the people who work on the front lines. I argued we need to trust ourselves. I voiced the question as to why we are letting strategists, etc. control the messaging. I attached two articles: Fear is Good & Transition Plan. This communication resulted in my account being moderated from that point on. When I posted anything it would disappear into cyberspace. I edited my post and my edited version was not published. So instead I sent it directly to the recipients of the list using the bcc field. I was immediately informed by a ‘communications person / moderator’ that what I was did (reaching out to others on the list that I had received messages from directly rather than using the moderated list) was illegal by the laws of Canada and the US and I needed to stop immediately. Ironically, it was signed ‘in solidarity’ but with threats of legal action from a communications firm I really didn’t have faith he even knew what the word solidarity meant. It seems that today solidarity is a union expression and at least that movement means it within its own ranks. The word solidarity within the mainstream environmental movement has become a mirage. Simply put by my friend Roy – ‘ad hoc alliances and temporary places to lean on’.
Relying on the environmental organizations’ movement is futile. It will be the citizen groups who will move politicians – primarily because their community members are respected and considered intelligent enough to understand real issues. They are given truth even if harsh and not spoon fed lies to make them feel better while the earth burns.
Another communication person ‘managing’ the list responded to me in a similar hostile manner. I had not expected the marketing people to be supportive of my ideas so I cannot say I was that surprised by their reaction. What surprised me was the fact that the controls and shaping of our campaigns have been taken from activists, given to NGOs who have contracted them out to communications and marketing firms. Communicopia happen to be a client of Fission Strategy. The more one digs the more embedded things become. An inquiry will result in a reply from the Hoggan firm cc’d to a person from Communicopia. Communicopia also lists BC Hydro as a client as well as Greenpeace Canada and tck tck tck.
I did receive support from two NGOs. This is the post I received from a 350 person:
@elleprovocateur per climate list: thank you for your post! It helped hone our focus here as we build toward COP15 action!2:20 PM Nov 11thfrom web
‘Be That Change’ shared offered an articulate response supporting such strategy and wished to support “deal-centred goals as outlined spectacularly comprehensively” in the communication. He ended reaching out to the list with “Let us know how we can help”. There was no response. After this very few of my posts were ever published to my knowledge. When I asked why no one would ever reply.
TckTckTck believes they have introduced a new organizing model, ‘the Open Campaign’, where organizations or individuals can use the TckTckTck branding for use in their campaigns to educate and encourage their supporters. In reality, the TckTckTck ‘open’ campaign controlled the Copenhagen dialogue and the ugly truth is the fact that it is directly linked with many advertising firms whose clients have been sabotaging any progress on the fight against climate change for the last thirty years. Advertising CEOs set the agenda for Copenhagen. One must wonder if any of these advertising / public relation firms receive corporate funding of any kind.
TckTckTck … STRIKE TWO
ENSURE THAT GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS PEAK WITHIN THE NEXT 8 YEARS AS THE SCIENCE DEMANDS.
Our organization was generously offered the opportunity to participate is what I assumed was an incredibly expensive full page ad that would be carried in several newspapers during the first day of COP15. We almost signed on. It was only when we noticed within a sentence within this statement which read: ‘ENSURE THAT GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS PEAK WITHIN THE NEXT 8 YEARS AS THE SCIENCE DEMANDS’ that we tried to sound the alarms. This ad would run in the full-page black and white ad in the Financial Times on December 7thas well as Dec 12/13 and Dec 14 and the International Herald Tribune on Dec 7.
This sentence within the statement translated to the citizens that we can continue business as usual for another 8 years – an incredibly dangerous message to citizens of the world. It read as though the corporations themselves endorsed it. The message would be endorsed by trusted NGOs – approx. 200 NGOs it total. In solidarity, we urged everyone who had signed this statement ask for this sentence to be to be changed or omitted. Small island states were asking for a minimum of 45-50% reductions within ten years based on a baseline of 1990 baseline. So how could NGOs convey to the public the false message that we must peak within 8 years?
Our communication (more like a plea) continued to explain how this was a misguided and dangerous message to convey. Again – it was met with a resounding silence. There are too many followers and too few leaders. TckTckTck sent our concerns to the ‘Nerve Centre’ which has never responded.
TckTckTck … STRIKE THREE
Don’t rock the boat or you get thrown off
On the Friday night before Cop15 another communication firm handling the media accreditation for TckTckTck informed me that I would no longer have accreditation – even though it had already been approved weeks before through tck tck tck. In this post in the Tyee the same communications firm (Hoggan) that revoked my accreditation is in question. The Sierra Club of Canada reprints this expose article on their website here. This is the same Hoggan who recently wrote ‘climate cover up’ based on research shared on his Desmog Blog. Grassroots organizations along with Friends of the Earth and others froze outside and risked arrest while other NGOs gave awards at lavish Galas for those who continue who continue to support destroying our shared environment in the name of profit. This is the same person who is the chair of the David Suzuki foundation whose communications firm clients include BC Hydro. This firm shows as giving money to the Suzuki foundation in the 2007 – 2008 annual report. They are listed in the ‘Suzuki Leadership Circle of 10,000 & 99,999.00. David Suzuki himself also is very generous donating in the status circle of 100,000 – 249,999.
This past week Suzuki was recipient of BC Fossil of the Decade Award along with Pembina, BC Sustainable Energy Association, Sierra Club of BC, and POWER UP/ FOREST ETHICS. A day earlier the excellent blog ‘Climate and Capitalism’ posted an article titled: ‘Pale Greens Honor BC Climate Vandals – For some, a tiny tax outweighs massive environmental destruction.’ It states that premiere GordonCampbell, during COP15 received an ‘Economy Wide Carbon Pricing’ award from Tzeporah Berman of PowerUp Canada, one of ten of Canada’s best funded “environmental groups” that endorsed the award, presented at a gala recognizing “acts of climate leadership” by municipal and provincial governments across Canada. Other award endorsers were the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Équiterre, ForestEthics, the Green Energy Act Alliance, the Pembina Institute, TckTckTck, and WWF Canada. So while grassroots organizations along with Friends of the Earth and others froze outside and risked arrest other NGOs gave an award at a lavish Gala for those who continue to support destroying our shared environment in the name of profit.
The more you engage, the deeper you dig, the uglier it gets. When I asked Power Up how Pembina’s ‘Green Learning Institute’ can be successful when funded by oil money I was again met with deafening silence. The Pembina Green Learning Centre has a list of founding members that will make your head spin. Their sponsors are found here.
Engineers without Borders is funded by Shell Canada. Most recently a friend of mine belonging to this organization asked his group if someone from Shell could be invited to a panel discussion to speak to the social abuses, murders, poverty, corruption and environmental degradation that continue to proliferate in the Niger Delta under Shell’s watch. His idea was met with that of a resounding no way in hell. He was told in a matter of fact way that this was not possible because EWB receives funding from Shell. Therefore they cannot place Shell in such a hot seat. Enough said.
Copenhagen | Reality hits home | CAN in the hot seat
In an excellent article by Alex Evans he asks the poignant question: Why are environmental NGOs pushing for a later peak emissions year than the IPCC? Luckily somehow on the ‘insider’ list had enough sense to post this that was not being moderated (yet). The writer states that although global emissions must peak between 2000 and 2015 and that even though the chair of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri has also said that 2015 is the deadline, astonishingly, the main federation of environmental NGOs – the Climate Action Network – says that any time up to 2017 is fine. WWF International agree. TckTckTck used to say 2017 too (as noted when they published their policy position); they’ve subsequently revised their target to 2015, but still have documents on their website using the old date.
He added a sample letter one could use writing to eight members of the CAN network (below) but added; “let’s at least give the body representing most of the world’s NGOs at the Copenhagen climate conference the right to explain the process by which they choose their targets and policy”.
Dear Matthias, Karim, Ulriikka, Tomas, Erica, Mechthild and Vanessa,Climate Policy expert Alex Evans has pointed out an error of fundamental importance in your Climate Change Campaign message that requires urgent redress. His short article at the linked page spells it out. Basically, it seems that Climate Action Network (and WWF) are demanding a dangerously insufficient peak date for carbon emissions.
Needless to say, if we get the demand wrong, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot from the offset. I will be highlighting this story for those organisations I support; however I thought it important to begin at the heart of the movement and I now hope that you, as the engine behind the agglomeration of NGO’s on the climate case, will act swiftly and ensure that the correct message is communicated at Copenhagen.
Delaying global peaking up to 2017 has no rationale and is a crime. To no surprise I have never seen a response from CAN on why they uphold policies that one can only imagine Shell and Exxon laughing in glee at such a statement. Yes – CAN is on the insiders list. David Turnball has written in himself. The article continues:
Be very clear: this isn’t just hair-splitting. Once the peak date for emissions slides beyond 2015 and towards 2020, according to the IPCC, we’re heading for a world that’s not 2.0-2.4 degrees C warmer, but 2.4-2.8 degrees C. That is what the environmental NGOs are arguing for. Shortly before they spend a fortnight calling everyone else at the Copenhagen summit ”fossil of the day“. It’s breathtaking.
So, if you can’t make it to the summit but still want a way to take action and make your voice heard ahead of Copenhagen, how about this. First thing on Monday, get in touch with any environmental NGOs you support. Ask them their position on the global peak emissions date. And if it’s any later than 2015, then cancel your subscription.
I’m not kidding. Policymakers aren’t the only ones at Copenhagen who need to be held to account. If the green NGOs can’t get their figures right on something this fundamental, this basic (even as the development NGOs manage it just fine) then they need to – what’s that phrase from the Bali summit? –”leave it to the rest of us, please, get out of the way”.
What both TckTckTck and CAn should have told the public was this – We peaked already! Global emissions for 2009 were down 3% on 2008 which is down 6% on projected emissions (International Energy Agency Nov 2009). So why on Earth would we want them to rise again for several years? We need not and must not delay any more years to peaking.
Today’s atmospheric CO2 concentration is the highest in the past one million years (Global Carbon Project) and probability the past 20 million years (NOAA) The rate of CO2 increase is 14,000 times anything ever recorded in geologic history. (J Hansen) Every year we delay peaking we add more than 8.5 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere. As 20% of all CO2 emissions last in the atmosphere 1000 years delaying peaking is asking for runaway climate change.
Below is the Nov 09 Global Carbon Project carbon budget – which was not (to my knowledge) but should have been tabled at COP15 as it is internationally recognized. In the graph it shows that the Unites States & Australia budget (& I will assume Canada) for carbon emissions until 2050 will be used up by 2019. So why does CAN state that we need to peak within eight years and why did TckTckTck INSIST in the full page ad targeting the American audience to include the statement that emissions must peak in in eight years if their own revised target is 2015? Yes – it is astonishing. If we had true climate justice, could such misinformation be considered criminally negligent?
On December 26th I wrote the following post to the list:
The G77 & Bolivia (At COP15) have called for targets of 1C, 52% by 2017, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030 & well above 100 by 2050. There can be no denying of what targets those most vulnerable have asked us to support. Can I ask which of the large NGOs on this list have the integrity to back/demand the targets asked of us by those who are counting on our support? I hope everyone will all be on the same page with this.
I received this on December 30th: Your message to the ClimateInsider group has been rejected, due to a violation of the List Rules:
ClimateInsider List Rules:
1) All messages are expected to be private, off-the-record and not for distribution unless explicitly stated otherwise.
2) Messages should focus on climate content and action of relevance to a diverse global audience. Please do not promote highly local or niche campaigns/activities.
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It’s so unbelievable one could almost laugh if it were not so tragic. One apparently cannot speak about climate change targets on a climate change ‘insiders’ list. A climate change list moderated and censored by a slew of marketing strategists. We may as well have bar codes stamped on the backs of our necks.
Meanwhile back in Canada …
Back in Canada we had our own mystery unfolding. A handful of activists – most connected to NGOs were mobilizing under Climate Justice Now – said to be a grassroots citizens organization – were mobilizing direct actions across Canada. There were a handful, including myself communicating via Skype and email. I was shocked when after the first action – the media release referred to false targets under the KyotoPlus campaign. I was shocked because grass roots activists usually will not compromise when it comes to the truth. I called one of the members who and expressed my concern. This person stated they absolutely supported my position and concern and suggested I bring it up on the call that day which I did. I was a lone voice on the call. No one including this person – supported my concern. The group suggested they wished to focus on climate justice alone and not targets. The reality is that you cannot have true climate justice without acknowledging and supporting true climate targets. The following action did not refer to any specific targets. Yet – the next action the false targets reappeared again. After COP15 – one of the group members shared with me some excellent ideas which were dismissed outright by CAN. I am quite certain that the ‘citizens’ mobilization groups were actually created or under a formal or informal CAN or Greenpeace Canada umbrella or both. This would explain the false targets being placed within the media releases and other odd occurrences that took place. The people that were involved in these actions are to be commended. They were courageous, made sacrifices and took risks that most are not willing to make. They were absolutely well intentioned. I believe they would have been much more effective if there were not outside influences, which in my opinion, there were. One odd occurrence involved a direct action that was to take place in Toronto was given the red light as an unidentified NGO insisted such an action would hurt progress they felt their campaign was making. The only climate campaign I am aware of that was taking place at this time in Toronto was “Mothers Against Climate Change’ which was developed under Environmental Defence and Forest Ethics. Both NGOs are two of six which just received the colossal greenwashing award of 2010.
On the Upside. There absolutely is a real environmental movement underway
One of the many brilliant minds from the ‘climate justice now’ list is Tord Björk. In a communication regarding the Black Block he summarized the situation as follows: “The problem is that there is not only privileged white middle class in the ranks of some identity political radical groups, they also filling up the ranks of NGOs. Maybe in 2002 in Florence old style working class mass party disciplined behavior still was possible. Today the Italian mass parties are destroyed. In Denmark they were a long time ago. What you have is party headquarters with professional media staff. What you also have in Denmark to be drastic are organisations without activists and activists without organisations. And the ones fully committed to a Southern agenda are the activists it seems. FoE Sweden has been trying to address these issues for half a year without getting response from either CJA, CJN or Danish organisations until recently when things have been a bit better.”
I agree wholeheartedly. How many times have I recognized that those in paid positions start at 9am and quit when the clock strikes 5pm. These are perhaps people with degrees in particular fields, with marketing expertise among other qualifications … but for most – the blood of an activist, a true eco-socialist, does not pump through their hearts. For most – they possess no passion, they do not live and breathe the pain of our planets last dying breath nor do they feel the injustices; the pain and the suffering of those most vulnerable and those most exploited and oppressed. I know there are individuals on the climate insider list and everywhere who deeply want to contribute and do not realize there are true activists out there all communicating and sharing ideas in one common space.
Greenpeace Australia-Pacific has the integrity to be one of the only organizations on the planet calling for the necessary targets of zero in their excellent report ‘Final Warning – The World’s Rapid Descent into Runaway Climate Change‘ released in March of 2009. Yet in Canada – we call for nothing like this. Why? Because the campaigns now are based on what people want to hear and Canadians are not yet really feeling the impacts of climate change. In Canada, the majority of consumers (formerly known as citizens) are addicted to their SUVs, their drive-thrus, and relentless shopping. We have been successfully dumbed down, stupified and corporatized to consume. Peak apathy is the national anthem. Too few noticed and too few had any objections. Why is it we can call a national emergency on H1N1, but we do not have the political will to do the same for our climate change emergency which ensures certain death to billions? The answer is easy – just follow the money.
Most are happy to be complicit to the system that is destroying us. Anyone who tells them different can fuck off. So in order to give the citizens they want – a campaign that does not challenge their lifestyle in any way – a blessing to cling to the status quo enjoyed by many – compromised NGOs continue to lie to their members and lie to themselves. ‘Something is better than nothing’ is the preferred language – or – ‘it’s a good start’. But are little steps better than nothing when little steps mean certain death? Why are many of the large NGOs today so wealthy? I would argue that a huge surplus of money has successfully corrupted many NGOs. The surplus of wealth has destroyed imagination and creativity. It had successfully stifled if not destroyed risk taking for most and most tragically it has killed off integrity if not our humanity.
It’s past time we take Alex’s advice and reconsider who to support and who not to support. We will be supporting ALBA, The G77 (see video -part 1 of 5- of Lumumba Di-Aping below) and the Small Island States along with all those most vulnerable and visionary. Make no mistake about it. True climate justice is about system change – not only climate change, not a trademark branding mechanism and certainly not about protecting status quo.
I do not believe corporations have any right to be ‘sitting at the table’ as so many NGOs justify is necessary. If corporations truly want to become sustainable – great – let them advertise their efforts with their own marketing firms. They certainly do not need to NGOs to assist. They can manage on their own. In Copenhagen the corporate elites all sat at the table while civil society was locked outside.
In a blog, a writer wrote about Lumumba Di-Aping, Sudanese by birth and chief negotiator of the G77. The writer describes Lumumba addressing the citizens as follows: “He did not start his speech immediately. Instead he sat silently, tears rolling down his face. He put his head in his hands and said “We have been asked to sign a suicide pact.” The room was frozen into silence, shocked by the sight of a powerful negotiator, an African elder if you like, exhibiting such strong emotion. He apologised to the audience, but said that in his part of Sudan it was “better to stand and cry than to walk away.”
In the comments below someone responds:
If it takes the tears of an old man to sensitize the cold hearted then let the tears of the poor come down like acid rain on the heads of the rich and selfish.
So let’s take this wise advice. Let’s stand and cry – and then let’s walk away from he strawberry fields where nothing is real. Then let the tears of the poor fall like acid rain on the heads of the cold hearted who have sold their humanity. Then let’s dry off our tears and get to work. No more compromising. We have a planet to save.
for the earth,
 See the full article ‘Behind the environmental lobby: it may seem stranger than fiction, but it’s a documentable fact: the eco-socialist movement is financed by the super-rich as part of a comprehensive agenda for global control’ here.
Content written by Cory Morningstar | Canadians for Action on Climate Change is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.