Jay Taber, a dedicated enviromental advocate, guest writes this critique of protest events, such as at the Anacortes oil refineries last weekend. This first posted on the Salish Sea Maritime website 3 days ago..
As I noted in the introduction to Hijacking the Environmental Movement: Just Say No to 350, in 2011, when the oil industry tycoon Warren Buffett poured $26 million into TIDES foundation—funder of 350–he was making a strategic long-term investment in public relations (PR), while simultaneously scheming to cash in on the gullibility of young, impressionable activists.
Most recently, 350 has come out with new propaganda to mislead climate activists. As they did with the KXL charade and the fossil fuel divestment hoax, 350 is promoting ineffective disobedience as a means of diverting activist energy from reality-based social change that might actually threaten the 350 funders’ fossil fuel investments.
As a fossil fuel industry-financed organization, 350 is the most insidious Wall Street Trojan Horse since Avaaz and Purpose. The 350 followers, like most activists, are utterly clueless.
The 350 break free moral theatrics, as a follow-up to the college campus fossil fuel divestment fraud, is not going to shut down Pacific Northwest oil refineries any more than divestment was going to shut down the oil industry. Divestment made the oil industry more powerful, and the break free scheme is part of Wall Street’s clean energy scam to build nuclear power plants.
The ‘New Economy’ unveiled by the global financial elite at COP21 has two main components: 1. ‘clean energy’, and 2. ‘sustainable capitalism’. These, in turn, comprise two of the elements of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 21st Century–a partnership project between Wall Street, the UN and international NGOs, i.e. Avaaz, Ceres, Purpose and 350.
The primary promoters of the ‘New Economy’, ‘clean energy’ and ‘sustainable capitalism’–that form the core of the UN SDGs–are Bill Gates, Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz & Purpose) and Bill McKibben (350). Economic development under the SDGs relies on financial investment from the World Bank, and compliance enforcement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)–in partnership with Wall Street and regional investment banks.
The results of this ‘sustainable capitalism’ can already be seen in the form of mega-dams, mega-plantations, and mega-mining projects in South America, Africa and Asia. This industrial development–while profitable to the investors–has unfortunately resulted in major deforestation, toxic pollution of fresh water, and ethnic cleansing of Indigenous peoples who formerly called these territories home.
Adjacent to the mega-dams, mega-plantations, and mega-mines of the ‘New Economy’ are makeshift camps for the industrial laborers, as well as rural shanty towns for displaced farmers and fishermen. The Indigenous peoples–those that aren’t murdered by corporate security personnel working in tandem with the police and military–are frequently relocated to urban slums far away, where many die a slow death of poverty and substance abuse.
The mega-dams provide electricity for industry, including the processing of minerals from the mega-mines, as well as the GMO soy and palm oil produced on the mega-plantations. The ‘clean energy’ minerals include gold, copper, and lithium, which are used in consumer electronics, solar panels, wind mills, and batteries for electric vehicles. They also include coal, oil, and uranium that is used to fuel the electrical grids in countries such as France, Japan and the UK.
The ‘clean energy’ plan of the UN, Wall Street and NGOs–that championed the financial elite at COP21–relies on two primary projects: 1. a global nuclear power renaissance, and 2. privatization of Indigenous and public resources worldwide.
Enchanting as the chimera of clean energy might be, it doesn’t scale to meet energy demand, and its use by marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose and 350 is to perpetuate the misbelief that Wall Street — which caused all our social and environmental problems — is our only hope for salvation. Sort of a New Age Ghost Dance.
The reason for the glut of Bakken crude now rolling into the March Point and Cherry Point refineries in Washington State goes back to 2012, when Obama opened up millions of acres for gas and oil in 23 states, ushering in the fracking boom that brought us the ‘bomb trains’ owned by Obama’s friend Warren Buffett since 2009, when he purchased Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) for $34 billion–the same year TIDES Foundation funded 350.
In 2010, 350 launched the campaign to reject KXL; by 2014, crude-via-rail in the US soared to 500 thousand car loads per year, up from 5 thousand in 2008, with trains exploding across Canada and the US.
To refresh readers’ memories, the KXL ‘grassroots’ hoax was funded in large part by TIDES (flush with Buffett money) with 350 at the helm. Funds laundered through Buffett’s foundation NOVO and the TIDES Foundation — a money laundry used by Tar Sands investors and other elites to control NGOs — helped finance the KXL NGO charade, thus eclipsing any discussion about shutting down the Tar Sands, and making possible the explosive growth of bomb trains and other pipelines.
When Klein and McKibben herded thousands of college students across America to fight climate change by forcing their schools to divest in fossil fuels, no one stopped to ask if that would make any difference. Using the emotive force of the idea of divestment as people power — based on an intentional association with its use in South Africa and Palestine — 350 inducted hypnotic behavior that omitted any critical judgment.
The fact that apartheid was opposed by a combination of boycott, divestment and sanction–by national and international institutions in support of armed insurrection–was lost on the climateers. Instead, they were hypnotized into believing that colleges selling back fossil fuel shares to Wall Street (where unscrupulous investors could then make a killing) was part of a magical social revolution. The same could apply to the nonsensical demand to end fossil fuels.
As a Wall Street shell game, the global fossil fuel divestment campaign — exposed by Cory Morningstar in Divestment as the Vehicle to Interlocking Globalized Capital — is a PR masterpiece.
As noted in the November 4, 2014 Harvard Business Review,
Were divestment ever to succeed in lowering the valuations of fossil fuel companies, an unintended consequence could be a shift from public markets to private markets… Such a shift could hurt transparency; companies that go private have minimal reporting obligations and they typically become very opaque. This could limit everyone’s ability to engage the management of these companies in a discussion around climate change.
As an indicator of the scale of fraud perpetrated by the divestment campaign led by 350, Exxon in 2014 spent $13.2 billion buying up its own stock. As I noted previously,
Discursive monoculture is the result of investment in private equity media, university endowments, and NGOs. The energy industry understands production and consumption cycles, and makes just as much on low prices as high. When the glut from fracking is burned up by frolicking consumers, they’ll double the price again, and make a killing on the divested shares.
Using hedge funds and other non-transparent private equity trading firms, the aristocracy – that is heavily invested in fossil fuels – is betting on increasing oil and gas consumption, long into the future. Corporate media rarely discusses the American aristocracy and how their agenda affects society. Consumers blame banks, but they have no idea how financial institutions are used by private equity traders to constantly replenish aristocratic wealth at our expense.
Private equity funds are not openly traded in any public stock exchange system, and therefore face considerably less regulatory oversight from institutions such as the Securities and Exchange Commission than their publicly traded counterparts.
Buying energy assets on the cheap as a result of fossil fuel divestment by universities and pension funds, investors such as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners “wield an immense amount of political influence” that divestment on college campuses helps to increase. While students celebrated divestment at their schools, private equity in 2015 raised $34 billion for oil and gas funds—a 94% rise from 2012.
Meanwhile, 350 promotes its ongoing Wall Street-funded revolution. As someone wise once said, “A half-truth is a whole lie.”
Tilting at Windmills
The kids mobilized by 350 don’t understand how they are being manipulated, but that’s the reality of the power elite behind the 350 hoaxes. They might get some token windmills and solar panels–which require fossil fuels to make, maintain, and replace–but those won’t come anywhere near to meeting the electrical demand now met by burning fossil fuels.
The funders of 350 know all this, which is why they finance 350 campaigns that don’t address the consumerism and militarism that drive fossil fuel demand. Instead, they promote the idea that Americans can continue consuming vast quantities of minerals for electricity and electronics, car and jet travel at the expense of the rest of the world. If the kids think Americans are going to tolerate them shutting down refineries, they are going to be unpleasantly surprised.
The oil trains are a problem that can be addressed as a public safety issue, but the refineries will still receive oil by ships and pipelines. Our society would collapse without it. Imagine no fossil-fueled shipping by air, land or sea of food, medicine, clothing or building materials. Where do they think their coffee, kayaks, bicycles, polar wear and yoga mats come from?
France went for fossil-free electricity, and they have nuclear power plants and radioactive waste instead. They have to invade African countries to get uranium, and now they have nuclear contamination to deal with. That’s the reality of breaking free.
[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]