September 26, 2019
The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent series has been written in two volumes. [Volume I: ACT I • ACT II • ACT III • ACT IV • ACT V • ACT VI • Addenda I] [Book form] [Volume II: An Object Lesson In Spectacle • ACT I • ACT II • ACT III • ACT IV • ACT V]
“I’m convinced of my disagreement with the counterrevolution – imperialism – fascism – religions – stupidity – capitalism – and the whole gamut of bourgeois tricks – I wish to cooperate with the revolution in transforming the world into a classless one so that we can attain a better rhythm for the oppressed classes.”
— Frida Kahlo
“The oppressors do not favor promoting the community as a whole, but rather selected leaders.”
—Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
“Capitalism, a vicious system, does not merely seek to rip off our labor and resources but it seeks to confound our thinking. It seeks to make us think we’re thinking when in fact we’re not thinking but merely reacting to stimuli.”
“Greta Thunberg’s video on natural climate solutions, done with George Monbiot, has reached more than 1 billion people in less than 24 hours. More than a third of the events of Climate Week focus on nature-based solutions, demonstrating the huge amount of innovation and progress taking place on the ground.”
— Nature4Climate, September 22, 2019
On September 19, 2019, a short film featuring Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot was launched in advance of the September 20 global climate strikes organized by GCCA NGOs. The film (trending and recommended on YouTube), emphasizing the urgency of funding “natural solutions”, was paid for by Conservation International and the *Food and Land Use Coalition, with “guidance” provided by Nature4Climate (The Nature Conservancy, We Mean Business, WWF, UN-REDD, et al.) and Natural Climate Solutions. [*Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill.]
Here, Greta Thunberg becomes the official face for, and of, corporate capture. The rebranding of REDD (the UN “reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation” market mechanism), and the coming New Deal for Nature – under the auspices and brand of “natural climate solutions”.
To understand how this transpired, we need to step back in time to April 3, 2019.
“It all sounds so simple and reassuring. No one needs to change anything. The airline industry can continue to expand. The oil industry can continue drilling. We can stop worrying and leave it to the experts. Just a few techno-fixes, and nature will solve climate change for us. Obviously, this is bullshit. It’s a form of climate denial – pretending that we can address climate breakdown without even talking about keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”
— March 3, 2019, Chris Lang, The REDD Monitor, “Natural Climate Solutions: ‘It really is time that governments stopped trying to find more ways to offset their fossil fuel emissions'”
April 3, 2019 – The Launch
On April 3, 2019, The Guardian published an open letter entitled “A Natural Solution to the Climate Disaster – Climate and ecological crises can be tackled by restoring forests and other valuable ecosystems, say scientists and activists”.
The letter, written by The Guardian’s George Monbiot, is co-signed by establishment-endorsed eco-celebs Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, and other “leaders”/celebrities associated with the liberal climate “movement”. The “movement” that evades all systemic drivers of climate change and ecological devastation (militarism, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, etc.).
The letter – addressed to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments and NGOs – is republished on the Natural Climate Solutions website.
Launched on April 3, 2019 (coinciding with The Guardian coverage), the Natural Climate Solutions project was created “for the promotion of an important and exciting environmental initiative, led by journalist and author George Monbiot.” [Source]
The said mission of Natural Climate Solutions (website created March 15, 2019) is to “catalyse global enthusiasm for drawing down carbon by restoring ecosystems: the single most undervalued and underfunded tool for climate mitigation.”[Emphasis added]
In real life, this mission to “catalyse global enthusiasm” effectively serves the United Nations carbon market mechanism UN-REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation). In addition, it is a construct being created that will build the acquiescence required for the coming “New Deal For Nature” to be adopted in 2020. That is, the privatization, commodification, and objectification of nature, global in scale. That is, emerging markets and land acquisitions. That is, “payments for ecosystem services”. That is the financialization of nature, the corporate coup d’état of the commons that has finally come to wait on our doorstep.To be clear, as this research will demonstrate, the very same NGOs which set the Natural Capital agenda and protocols (via the Natural Capital Coalition, which has absorbed TEEB) – with the Nature Conservancy and We Mean Business at the helm, are also the architects of the term “natural climate solutions”.
Monbiot has consistently and publicly voiced disapproval for “putting a price on nature”. [One such example: May 15, 2018]. Yet, consider that Monbiot has never utilized his influential platform to oppose the coming “New Deal For Nature”.
The said purpose of Natural Climate Solutions is to “direct public attention towards this issue and champion the work of others.” [Emphasis added]
The “work of others” that Natural Climate Solutions seeks to direct the public’s attention to takes one to the “Our Allies” page:
“There are several wonderful organisations already working hard to highlight and implement Natural Climate Solutions. Please follow these links and support their efforts.” [Emphasis added]
The allies (“wonderful organizations”) that Natural Climate Solution highlights , which it encourages people to follow and support, include many at the helm of the “New Deal For Nature” such as WWF, Conservation International, Avaaz, Greenpeace, Nature Needs Half, etc.
“Conservation: The Quiet Spread of Imperialism.”
— Mordecai Ogada
Here, we find perhaps the most grotesque aspect of the Monbiot/Guardian project of all. The deliberate endeavour to rally support for and redirect citizens to WWF. As both Monbiot and The Guardian are fully aware, WWF bears responsibility for decades of human rights violations including torture, rape and murder, a direct result of “conservation” schemes. In March 2019 in part 1 of an investigative series, BuzzFeed News revealed that WWF, “funds, equips, and works directly with anti-poaching forces that have beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted, and killed people living near wildlife parks across Asia and Africa.” Part 4 of the investigation (published July 11, 2019) reported that “WWF-Backed Guards Raped Pregnant Women And Tortured Villagers At A Wildlife Park Funded By The US Government.”
Such “conservation projects” have been consistently displacing Indigenous peoples under the guise of conservation while inflicting misery. This has been meticulously documented by Survival International and others. By presenting WWF as an “ally” amongst many “wonderful organizations” Monbiot demonstrates a complete disregard for the decades of work by conservationists such as Mordecai Ogada, Noga Shanee, Reclaim Conservation, and Stephen Corry, executive director of Survival International. By extension, Monbiot turns a willful blind eye to the plight of Indigenous peoples who have been separated from the land they defend. Whose lives and tribal communities have been completely destroyed by these very organizations to which Monbiot directs his followers.
[Watch: WWF – Silence of the Pandas, © Wilfried Huismann, Germany 2011]
[Further reading: The Big Conservation Lie, The Untold Story of Wildlife Conservation in Kenya, John Mbaria & Mordecai Ogada, 2017]
“Guardian joins growing chorus for natural climate solutions –N4C is delighted that the Guardian and in particular George Monbiot has catalyzed so many diverse voices to champion the cause of natural climate solutions”
– Nature4Climate News, Guardian joins growing chorus for natural climate solutions, April 3, 2019
Upon its launch on April 3, 2019, the Natural Climate Solutions project had 29 allies (today it lists 48). The most important one to look at, to demonstrate the leveraging of market solutions via the branding and terminology of “natural climate solutions”, is the first ally listed: Nature4Climate, an initiative created by The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy’s Nature4Climate
Launched on June 20, 2018, (on the first day of the two-day Ministerial on Climate Action) as a five-year initiative, the Nature4Climate initiative was created as an instrument for strategic communications to escalate the “solutions” (i.e. market solutions) sought by the Nature Conservancy, WWF, We Mean Business et al:
“Nature4Climate (N4C) is a new campaigning vehicle which is supported by a multi-stakeholder coalition. Its purpose is to use strategic communications to drive action on natural climate solutions.”
“Nature4Climate (N4C) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN-REDD, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Woods Hole Research Center, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), We Mean Business (WMB) and WWF that aims to increase investment and action on natural climate solutions in support of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The N4C partners work together to catalyze partnerships between governments, civil society, business and investors that use nature-based solutions to climate change.” [Source]
Here, we can add that We Mean Business (co-founder of the Nature4Climate initiative as stated above) was formed with the assistance of both Greenpeace and Purpose, the public relations arm of Avaaz specializing in behavioural change. [Further reading: They Mean Business, Volume II, Act IV].
“We bring voices from governments, IGOs, NGOs, and business – underpinned by a steering group with communications and advocacy representation currently from CBD, CI, TNC, the UNDP, WHRC, WRI and WWF.”
The NGOs and institutions represented on the Nature4Climate steering committee include CBD (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity), CI (Conservation International), TNC (The Nature Conservancy), the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), WHRC (Woods Hole Research Center), WRI (the World Resources Institute) and WWF (World Wildlife Foundation). All of the aforementioned are leading “natural capital” architects and advocates of the “New Deal For Nature” – that is, the financialization of nature, global in scale.
“Countries are in the process of negotiating a new global biodiversity framework through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which has been called a “New Deal for Nature.” This pact, expected to be agreed in Beijing in late 2020, will lay out the global strategy for protecting nature through 2030. Conservation International will contribute our expertise to this process, to ensure the recognition of the value of nature for all aspects of human well-being.”
— DEAL FOR NATURE, Conservation International and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework [Source][Emphasis added]
Here again, we have the same high-level institutions, NGOs and individuals corralling millions of people toward a fourth industrial revolution sought by the ruling classes. A “New Climate Economy“, largely targeting the Global South. A new era of “green” colonialism, under the guise of saving the planet.
“It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism.”
— Malcolm X, 1964, speech at the Militant Labor Forum Hall, New York City, May 29, 1964 [In response to the Harlem “Hate-Gang” scare]
One of the first individuals to promote Monbiot’s Natural Climate Solutions on the day of its launch was Justin Adams. Adams joined The World Economic Forum to lead the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA)  in November 2018. [Nature Conservancy, Our People: “Executive Director, Tropical Forest Alliance (Currently seconded to the TFA from The Nature Conservancy)]. Prior to the TFA, Adams spent five years as the Global Managing Director for Lands at the Nature Conservancy where he launched and led all the organisation’s work on Natural Climate Solutions and set up the nature4climate partnership.” Adams served as an advisor to the World Bank from 2012 to 2014 supporting the design and fundraising for the $300M BioCarbon Fund. [Source][Bio] The first initiative launched by TFA 2020 was the Africa Palm Oil initiative, currently ongoing, targeted at the development and implementation of regional principles for “responsible” palm oil development in West and Central Africa. [Source]
Here we must add that there is no such thing as “responsible palm oil” at industrial scale. Almost 20 years ago (2001), WWF and partners began designing the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). It launched in 2004. Yet, in the past 25 years as much as 76 million acres of forest in Indonesia alone has been cut down for palm oil plantations. In 2013, Mongabay cited the global deforestation accredited to palm oil at 136 million acres. Now it moves to encroach on and decimate Africa. RSPO is just one of many billion dollar certification schemes initiated by WWF. Certification is a means to pay to destroy – under the guise of sustainability. It is a lie. The global palm oil industry (production at scale) is not and can never be sustainable.
The Nature Conservancy, Nature 4Climate and “The Forgotten Solution”
In 2018, Nature4Climate launched the “The Forgotten Solution”(conceptualized in 2016, see image above) – a glossy advertising campaign featuring a Hollywood-esque movie trailer. Featuring its own newsroom, The Forgotten Solutions website utilizes the 350.org font that has proven to resonate with the public.
“THE FORGOTTEN SOLUTION (2018) – Official Trailer [HD] – Movietrailers” [Running time: 1m:18s]
Corporations, institutions and NGOs promoting “The Forgotten Solutions” include Connect4Climate (the World Bank), UN-REDD+, WBCSD, We Mean Business, UNREDD+, the Global Landscapes Forum, Shell, the Ford Foundation, and billionaire Richard Branson (The B Team, We Mean Business), to name but a few.
One of the first institutions to highlight Monbiot’s Natural Climate Solutions launch (April 3, 2019) was the Food and Land Use Coalition. This coalition was initiated under the Business and Sustainable Development Commission leadership led by Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO, and Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who conceptualized the International Crisis Group in 1993 (with Mort Abramowitz), where he serves as chair. Member foundations include ClimateWorks, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Good Energies, and Margaret Cargill. [Source][Board] [Further reading: Controlling the Narrative,Volume II, Act II]
The Food and Land Use Coalition is supported by partners, including the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (housed at SYSTEMIQ), the EAT Foundation, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the New Climate Economy (housed at World Resources Institute). [Source] SYSTEMIQ, is advancing the blended finance vehicle (leveraging public funds for private investments into emerging markets) for the Climate Finance Partnership.
As the corporate social media accounts demonstrate, the branding of the term “natural climate solutions” was already well established prior to Monbiot’s project launched on April 3, 2019, with a surge in its promotion in December 2018 for COP24 (following the launch of Nature4Climate in June 2018). In fact, the term was being promoted by The Nature Conservancy in 2016 to highlight a parallel revenue stream generated from carbon offset permits.
In the 2016 video below by The Nature Conservancy, Justin Adams remarks:
“In many other parts of the world you have forest dependent communities, you have indigenous communities, who know very well how to protect their natural environment. They see the natural world and their own world as much more integrated.”
The Nature Conservancy, February 8, 2016 [Running time: 4m:5s]:
The question here is why those in the Global South should be expected to retain their critical roles as protectors of the natural world, simply because the Western societies are too unaware, or too insatiable, to do so. The “other” – are expected to continue protecting their natural environment so the white man in the West can continue to pollute. We can also observe that these communities, in many parts of the world Adams speaks of, do not inflict war, displacement or any misery whatsoever on other communities in the world.
The Big Sell
The Monbiot Natural Climate Solutions “plan” (“by supporting the efforts of others, we want to help bring together two issues that have mostly been considered in isolation: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown”) lends itself as a vehicle for “herding cats”. This is an expression attributed by Forbes, to the efforts of the GCCA alliance in 2014. It was used in reference to the method in which GCCA mobilized the populace for 2014 the People’s Climate March. A march orchestrated to serve the interests of those that financed and organized it (the trial version of what we witnessed on September 20, 2019), with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the helm. The herding is essential in order to attain acquiescence and, even demand, for something so ugly it requires the utilization of extraordinarily beautiful imagery, holistic linguistics, coupled with celebrity power, Hollywood trailers, slick marketing and emotive imagery to bring it into policy. Natural Climate Solutions deliberately stays at arm’s length from any direct association with a “New Deal For Nature” (the financialization in nature to be implemented in 2020) and instead sends the new supporters it “herds” into the clutches of the big “conservation” NGOs that are privatizing nature. From the Natural Climate Solutions website:
“Our plan is to generate the publicity and enthusiasm required to bring this issue to the front of people’s minds. In doing so, we hope to catalyse and accelerate the work of the excellent organisations already operating in this field.”
—Natural Climate Solutions website [Emphasis added]
Like magic, with the sleight of hand, the very corporate term “natural capital solutions”, is transformed into the benevolent “natural climate solutions”. In the transition from the corporate boardroom, into the public realm, the two terms are thus entwined and at once largely indistinguishable. What we have is a rebranding exercise. Thus we have George Monbiot, The World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the UN REDD Programme, The Nature Conservancy (via Nature4Climate), Conservation International, Natural Capital Partners, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), WWF – all sharing the identical branded term.
Here it is imperative to highlight the fact that Conservation International, WWF, IUCN, WBCSD, are all founding members of the Natural Capital Coalition. [Natural Capital Coalition founders]
The architects of the financialization of nature enjoy the penthouse suite of what constitutes a five-star de facto clearing house for institutions, corporations and “conservation” NGOs that serve capital.
The Art of Playing Obtuse
On the first day of the launch, Monbiot announces: “We’ve launched a website explaining #theforgottensolution and directing people to the wonderful organizations seeking to help nature to help stop #ClimateBreakdown.”
Yet nature doesn’t need man’s “help” to “help stop climate breakdown”, she simply needs to be left alone. Released from the corporate chokehold killing her. And she certainly does not need help from egregious “conservation” NGOs notorious for land acquisitions (in servitude to corporations and ruling classes), and displacement of Indigenous peoples which has been long documented.
Following the April 3, 2019 launch of “Natural Climate Solutions” Monbiot is challenged by a person who understands the intent behind the branding of “natural climate solutions” by institutions, corporations and “conservation” NGOs that serve capital. Monbiot, a recognized influencer with global reach, responds as follows: “Just because some people hijack this approach for their own ends does not invalidate it. It’s like saying that because David Cameron cynically promoted his Big Society as a substitute for government, all community projects “played into his hands”. Perspective please.”
The individual who challenged Monbiot responds: “Some people”? You’re evidently unaware that this concept has already been thoroughly co-opted by the WBCSD, Shell, Equinor, the International Emissions Trading Association, International Paper etc.”
Monbiot’s response? – “All the more reason to reclaim it from them.”
Monbiot’s weak defense does not hold water.
This would be akin to anti-imperialists “reclaiming” the term “responsibility to protect” – to protect citizens of targeted states. While at the same time, US-led NATO forces are preparing to annihilate a sovereign state for resources – building consent by using the identical term. If this were to take place, the said “anti-imperialists” repetition of this term would expose them as fraudulent, as individuals deliberately in servitude to empire.
“As the cognitive linguist George Lakoff points out, when you use the frames and language of your opponents, you don’t persuade them to adopt your point of view. Instead you adopt theirs, while strengthening their resistance to your objectives.”
— George Monbiot, The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it, May 15, 2018
In the same article cited above, Monbiot writes: “…Tony Juniper – who in other respects is an admirable defender of the living world – says he will use his new post as head of campaigns at WWF to promote the natural capital agenda.”]
Today, Monbiot is essentially herding the populace to WWF. The most important campaign of both WWF and Conservation International is the “New Deal For Nature” (also marketed as “Voices or the Planet”). Finance, corporations, government, industry, institutions (UN, IPBES, CBD), and those at the helm of the non-profit industrial understands exactly what it is. Everyone that is, except the public.
Trondheim, Norway, 2 July, 2019– WWF issued a rallying cry for an urgent New Deal for Nature and People for halting biodiversity loss by 2030 at conference for Biodiversity in Trondheim Norway which starts today. [Emphasis added]
Monbiot informs his audience that “new scientific studies reveal #rewilding has a much greater potential for carbon drawdown than almost anyone imaged” – yet Monbiot did not call his project “Rewilding the Earth” or “Rewilding for Climate” or any other name with the word rewilding.
“The Panda Bare”, on Twitter, further elucidates: “The vast majority of what is typically described as #NaturalClimateSolutions” has got nothing to do with rewilding – in fact massive areas of new plantation.”
As the launch day wears on, Monbiot again reiterates his desire for people to follow the groups he lists. He writes: “Usually writing and thinking about #ClimateBreakdown is pretty soul-destroying. But these new discoveries thrill and delight me. Please help us to spread the message, by RTing this thread, directing people to the site and encouraging them to support the group we list.” Tagged users include Greta Thunberg, Margaret Atwood, Philip Pullman, Michael Mann, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, RSPB, Tim Christopherson, and Nature4Climate.
On social media (Twitter) Monbiot feigns aggravation that, despite a concerted effort working with a public relations firm, his campaign is being ignored by broadcast media. This is fairly ironic considering his access to and subsequent exposure from The Guardian alone. It also reveals the privilege and entitlement held by white liberal “activists” who have been deemed safe for public consumption by the establishment. Most legitimate grassroots groups are given zero exposure for new campaigns by mainstream media, let alone colossal exposure by The Guardian.
Other tweets accompanying the launch included one in which Monbiot tagged “some wonderful people whom I think will love this approach:” who could help spread the word. The tagged individuals (influencers) included Caroline Lucas, Chris Packham, Avaaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, Mark Lynas, Russell Brand, and Ai Weiwei. If only we could all be as environmentally conscious as Leonardo DiCaprio, especially those in the Global South, perhaps then we could save the planet. [Further reading: The Age of Storytelling, Volume II, ACT II]
The Natural Climate Solutions Project
The first “follows” chosen by for the Natural Climate Solutions Twitter account are its three founders (inclusive of Monbiot who is #1). The next accounts chosen to follow are Wetlands International (#4), followed by Nature4Climate (#5) and the aforementioned James Lloyd (#6), the project lead at Nature4Climate and Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy. [“Working at the interface of strategic communications and external affairs for nature and climate change. [Nature4Climate Steering Committee] The fifth is Youth4Nature, which is partnered with Nature Conservancy.
Following the April 3, 2019 launch of Natural Climate Solutions, we see Extinction Rebellion, YouthStrike4Climate, and those flying under the “grassroots activism” banner, in unison with the most egregious corporations and “conservation” NGOs on the planet (which work in servitude to these very corporations) all sharing the same branding meme #naturalclimatesolutions.
This is yet another step forward in the engineered evolution of “together” – an orchestrated effort to bring corporations and civil society together as one. The employment of soft-power to give the illusion that class divisions no longer exist.
“It’s odd, to say the least, to hear a spokesperson for Shell promoting natural climate solutions, and to hear George Monbiot apparently promoting the same thing.”
— Chris Lang, The REDD Monitor, April 5, 2019
In the same way that global “green new deals” are setting the stage for the “new deal for nature” which is slowly and cautiously being introduced to the public, “natural climate solutions” can help achieve public acceptance for the “new deal for nature”. These are the applications of behavioural change strategies as outlined by Avaaz/Purpose founder Jeremy Heimans. Akin to “killing green” to build the “green economy”, [“we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”] today corporations, states and financial institutions intend to fully privatize and monetize every aspect of nature – to build the “new” capitalist economy. They just won’t talk about it and they won’t say that they’re doing it.
“However, while the critique of capitalism is the starting point, the analysis cannot simply stop there; it must confront the reality of generalized monopoly-finance capital now operating on a world scale and the deep, systematic division of the world into center and periphery, global North and global South—a division only worsened by climate change. It is in this larger imperialist context that capitalism exists as an actual historical system in the twenty-first century, and it is this that must be opposed.”
— Imperialism in the Anthropocene, May 21, 2019
The methodology of marketing “natural climate solutions” is this: We will “kill market solutions – to save market solutions”. Here, it can be added that Purpose and Greenpeace assisted in the creation of Nature4Climate co-founder, We Mean Business.
The ruling classes have devised a marketing strategy to sell us the unthinkable (the monetizing of nature, global in scale) by not divulging what lies beneath the surface.
Patterns appear as branding to target youth broadens its scope. [Nature4Climate, YouthStrike4Climate, Fridays4future, Youth4Nature.]
Leads on the Natural Climate Solution project led by Monbiot include Charlie Latimer (Charotte Lattimer, Charlotte Martineau), consultant (clients include UNDP, UNICEF, UN OCHA and UNRWA), Patrick Sterling, former director of product for The Guardian, and Al Boardman, a graphics designer whose clients include “some of the most respected international brands, organisations and agencies in the world; the likes of Apple, Google, Twitter, IBM and BBC amongst them.”
Further, we have Sandrine Dixson-Declève, John Elkington, Paul Simpson, all identified as members of the advisory panel of Guardian Sustainable Business. Dixson-Declève served as the chief partnership officer for UN Agency Sustainable Energy for All. Prior to this position, she served as the director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (also referred to as EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, a corporate partner of GCCA/TckTckTck in 2009); vice chair, European Biofuels Technology Platform; board member, We Mean Business; and the advisory board of the oil and gas major Sasol. [Bio] Today Dixson-Declève serves as co-president of the Club of Rome. [Further reading: “Emerging From the emergency: Harnessing the momentum”]. Elkington is the founder of Volans, a B Team expert and Extinction Rebellion Business Signatory. Paul Simpson is the CEO of CDP, a co-founder of We Mean Business.
Here we can add that The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Leadership section is sponsored by Xynteo, a group that includes Shell, Woodside, and Statoil. Xynteo: “We are reinventing growth”. [Source]Dixson-Declève serves as special advisor to the Xynteo & Energy Transition Commission (ETC). [Source]
The Guardian Sustainable Business (GSB) Australia advisory council membership has included representatives of WWF, ClimateWorks, 350.org, and Greenpeace (2015) [Source] [An inquiry submitted on September 1, 2019, to The Guardian on members and status of Guardian Sustainable Business advisory panel/panels was unanswered.] Greenpeace International director Jennifer Morgan clearly supports the “new deal for nature” as demonstrated in ACT VI, Volume I of The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent series, while Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard has co-founded Earth Economics which aims at “identifying, monetizing, and valuing natural capital and ecosystem services”. All hands are on deck.
The Natural Climate Solutions “call to action” page offers holistic proposals and states that it is opposed to offsets. Yet on April 8, 2019, the carbon certification corporation Verra (formerly the Verified Carbon Standard) was added to the list of allies on the Natural Climate Solutions website. Further, the REDD projects that Shell purchases carbon credits from are certified by Verra. [Source] The Natural Climate Solutions-Verra alliance was disclosed by the REDD Monitor on April 9, 2019. On May 21, 2019, Verra disappeared from the list of allies.
REDD+ (the UN’s program to “Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation”) was devised as a strategy to enable business as usual to continue in the face of irrefutable evidence of the role of fossil fuel emissions in driving climate change.
Rather than cut emissions at the source, forests and their ability to store carbon became the sole focus of the UN and the World Bank. The REDD+ scheme allows corporations and states to buy the carbon stored in forests elsewhere to supposedly “offset” the fossil fuel emissions they are producing. However, because the carbon stored in the forest has to be verifiably protected, anyone living in the forest – including those who historically protected it in the first place – have to be removed to ensure they do not use any of that carbon. On the other end of the equation, people living around the polluting industry’s that have “offset” their emissions continue to suffer the health impacts of living in a toxic environment. Finally, there is no legitimate scientific evidence that temporarily stored biological carbon, in the form of forests, can “offset” fossil carbon, which is a highly condensed permanent form of carbon that was previously locked underground for millions of years. [Learn more at the Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP). GJEP explores and exposes the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction, and economic domination.]
What Natural Climate Solutions does not reference, or oppose, is the “new deal for nature”. In fact, this “new deal”, which is advancing quickly, is not opposed by any environmental “leaders” that have been placed at the vanguard of the spectacle by the ruling classes. This is the foundational structure of the system, functioning exactly as intended.
Consider that while earlier this year, over 100 NGOs publicly condemned Shell’s launch of a 300 million USD “natural climate solutions” carbon offsetting scheme, there is no dissent whatsoever over Shell’s major partnership in the Natural Capital Coalition. There is practically little to no dissent to the Natural Capital Coalition, its “conservation” partners, nor its plans to commodify the global commons. For the past decade; The Natural Capital Coalition (which absorbed TEEB, initiated in 2008) has been developing the tools and protocols for a new global system of finance where all nature will be assigned a monetary value. It is now time to present the unthinkable to the public in a manner in which it will not only be accepted, but demanded. This requires building global acceptance which will only be possible utilizing unprecedented global behavioural change strategies, methods and manipulations.
Chris Lang of the REDD Monitor asks the question: “Natural Climate Solutions – in whose interest?” This is the fundamental question given that the massive advertising campaign behind this effort – and foundations (with investment portfolios in the billions) do not invest in any solutions other than market solutions, or solutions that serve to expand their influence and power (such as societal behaviour modification). “Natural climate solutions” must not be perceived as altruistic or holistic – it is a branding term to increase profits and land acquisitions for corporations.
Monbiot cites “three crucial opportunities over the next two years for ensuring that Natural Climate Solutions receive the global attention they deserve”. [1) The UN Climate Summit this month, 2) COP 15 of the Convention on Biodiversity in 2020, and 3) the UN COP 26 in 2020, at which countries are supposed to put forward their new Nationally Determined Contributions.] [Source]
Yet, as pointed out by the Redd Monitor, “Two-thirds of the countries who signed on to the Paris Agreement have already included Natural Climate Solutions in their Nationally Determined Contributions. More than 100 countries include natural solutions in their adaptation plans, and 27 countries include them in their mitigation plans. They are doing so in order to allow continued pollution from fossil fuels – either in their own country or elsewhere.” [Source]
This clearly demonstrates that the intent of the campaign is hardly to influence states, rather the purpose is to influence and shape public perception.
Monbiot, June 26, 2019, “Shell is not a green saviour. It’s a planetary death machine”:
“But the company’s strategy is working. A remarkable number of people who should be fighting Shell instead see it as a green alternative to Exxon, persuaded by what is, in comparison with the company’s filthy investments, a tiny sop. Shell has longstanding relationships with four “environmental partners”: the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Nature Conservancy, Wetlands International, and Earthwatch. I believe it is just as wrong for these groups to take its money as it is for the RSC to take money from BP. It surprises me that there is not as much pressure on them to break their links as there has been, for example, on the British Museum, whose relationship with BP is becoming a national embarrassment.
Monbiot places quotation around “environmental partners” in reference to the NGOs – two of which are “allies” of his own project, and one, that being Nature Conservancy, which created Nature4Climate, led by The Natural Climate Solutions stakeholder manager at The Nature Conservancy. The British Museum should be embarrassed, but Monbiot should be embarrassed even more.
The final paragraph:
“But naivety about Shell is not confined to its partners. Plenty of well-intentioned organisations and people, who share my enthusiasm for natural climate solutions, appear so desperate to clutch at any straws of hope that they are prepared to see this company as part of the solution. Shell is not our friend. It is an engine of planetary destruction.”
And here we can paint Monbiot’s “allies” with the identical brush. And so desperate are the citizenry, that they will clutch the “natural climate solutions” straw that has been produced for mass consumption.
From Strategy to Implementation
The WWF-WEF campaign for the New Deal For Nature (Voice for the Planet) is supported by Nature4Climate.
The overlap between the New Deal For Nature public partners (Voice For the Planet) and the Natural Climate Solutions partners is as follows: WWF, Conservation International, International Union For The Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme, Nature4Climate, Royal Society For The Protection of Birds and Birdlife International.
And while The Nature Conservancy (Voice for the Planet partner) is not listed as an “ally” of Natural Climate Solutions, as demonstrated, it remains at arm’s length. A single degree of separation made possible by the creation of Nature4Climate, the primary ally of Natural Climate Solutions.
The research for this article was compiled on September 1, 2019. Since this time, we can observe how this branding strategy has been implemented, in real time.
Corporate Knights – The Voice for Clean Capitalism, April 20, 2015
September, 19, 2019, Climate Change and Nature-based Solutions: Top 30 Influencers and Brands:
“Onalytica have analysed an audience of 3.5k sustainability influencers to understand current perception and awareness of Nature-based solutions within the Climate Change debate and how organisations can leverage those influencers to drive policy change.”
Onalytica’s report opens with an introduction from Lloyd [“This conversation needs to be reflected in the real economy.”]It then identifies the top 100 influencers on the Twitter for “nature-based solutions”. The number one influencer identified is George Monbiot with an influencer score of 100%. Second to Monbiot is Greta Thunberg with an influencer score of 67.56%. Onalytica directs its readers to the nature4climate website for more information.
The top 30 “brands” identified by Onalytica in driving the most engagement on the “nature-based solutions conversation” include the World Resources Institute [Volume I, Act IV], The World Bank, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, WWF, C40 Cities and Extinction Rebellion. [Full list]
At this juncture we can recall the question imperative put forward by John Elkington, founder of Volans and initial signatory to Extinction Rebellion Business (which quickly disappeared after its public launch).
On September 19, 2019, the United Nations, the Government of Norway, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy celebrated that the California Air Resources Board adopted the Tropical Forest Standard, a new vehicle for the expansion of carbon offsets into tropical forest regions. Prior to approval by California Air Resources Board (CARB) the standard was narrowly reviewed by a self selected group state legislators through an exclusive stakeholder process dominated by Conservation International, TNC and EDF. [“The purpose of the California Tropical Forest Standard is to establish robust criteria against which to assess jurisdictions seeking to link their sector-based crediting programs that reduce emissions from tropical deforestation with an emissions trading system (ETS), such as California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.”]
“Forest carbon offsets neither protect forests nor reduce emissions. Forest carbon offsets are an unjust false solution to climate change that enables business and pollution as usual, condemning forests and communities globally to its devastating impacts. If what is proposed as a solution to catastrophic climate change jeopardizes other people or ecosystems it cannot claim to be just or sustainable.” [Source]
September 18, 2019
On cue, We Mean Business co-founders – united with NGOs, global institutions, and media – coordinate their efforts in promoting the video, ensuring it will go viral. At once, We Mean Business co-founders – united with NGOs, global institutions – and the hundreds of corporations they represent, are now affiliated with Thunberg. The citizenry is encouraged to “love thy enemy”, “changing together” in order to save the power elite. [The Behavioural Change Project “To Change Everything”, Volume II, Act V]
In the same way that Hitler and Goebbels, in the 20th century, utilized youthwashing as a means of psychological warfare in order to carry out a genocide on a population they believed as inferior, today the ruling class, in conjunction with corporate power, have restored youthwashing for the 21st century as an effective means to continue an ongoing genocide of the natural world, and all life which she graciously sustains. Life, believed to be inferior, by those committing the atrocities. By those seeking societal consent to continue.
A natural climate solution would be the end of the military industrial complex. The end of the relentless assault on our Earth, our brothers and sisters, and all life, waged by the US Pentagon. A natural climate solution would be discontinuing the production of all superfluous “goods“. A natural climate solution would be returning stolen lands to those from whom they were stolen.
Stokely Carmichael asked the pivotal question in 1966:
“And that’s the real question facing the white activists today. Can they tear down the institutions that have put us all in the trick bag we’ve been into for the last hundreds of years?”
On September 20, 2019, millions of people went to the streets. Those walls could have been torn down. Instead they were propped up.
I quote Carmichael, as what constitutes mainstream activism in the West, has become nothing more than a parody. We must stop identifying with the ruling class. We are not part of it. And all the luxury consumer brands that one can buy on credit, will not make it any less so. Emulating the rich is a devised marketing stratagem that creates a false sense of belonging in a system designed and protected to serve the rich.
The question is, will we break away from the clutches of manufactured false demigods and align ourselves with revolutionary grassroots groups, or will we continue to uphold those that protect the very system destroying our natural world? Although the outlook looks bleak, the future is not yet written.
[REDD Monitor: Offsetting fossil fuel emissions with tree planting and ‘natural climate solutions’: science, magical thinking, or pure PR?, July 4, 2019]
[REDD Monitor: Shell and Natural Climate Solutions: US$300 million for carbon offsets, April 4, 2019]
[REDD Monitor: Is the new Natural Climate Solutions campaign a distraction from the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground?, April 5, 2019]
- ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF BIRDS
- UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME*
- REWILDING BRITAIN
- FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
- LEONARDO DI CAPRIO FOUNDATION
- NATURE NEEDS HALF
- DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION
- WILDERNESS SOCIETY
- REWILDING EUROPE
- WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
- EQUATOR INITIATIVE
- FOUNDATION EARTH
- CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL
- CLIMATE LAND AMBITION AND RIGHTS ALLIANCE
- THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP ON FOREST AND LANDSCAPE RESTORATION
- GLOBAL LANDSCAPES FORUM
- WILD FOR LIFE
- WWF | WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE
- GLOBAL PEATLANDS INITIATIVE
- SIERRA CLUB
- NATURE BASED SOLUTIONS INITIATIVE
- EU BIOMASS LEGAL CASE
- HEALTH IN HARMONY
- EUROPEAN OUTDOOR CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
- SANCTUARY ASIA
- SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE
- PLAN VIVO
- NORTHEAST WILDERNESS TRUST
- WILD FOUNDATION
- BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL
- JOHN MUIR TRUST
- IUCN | INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR THE CONSERVATIONS OF NATURE
- WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL
- URBAN BIODIVERSITY HUB
- PUBLIC PASTURES – PUBLIC INTEREST
- GO CONSCIOUS EARTH
- ALLIANCE FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY IN AFRICA
- AFRICAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
- TRUE NATURE FOUNDATION
- A ROCHA
- THE EUROPEAN NATURE TRUST
 “The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 was founded in 2012 at Rio+20 after the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) committed to zero net deforestation by 2020 for palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp supply chains in 2010. The CGF partnered with the US government to create the public-private alliance with the mission of mobilizing all actors to collaborate in reducing commodity-driven tropical deforestation.
In support of the commitments of TFA 2020 partners to reduce deforestation in tropical forest countries, TFA 2020 has throughout the years grown its partner members and continues to bring on board those key actors committed to tackling deforestation. Since June 2015, the Tropical Forest Alliance Secretariat is hosted at the World Economic Forum offices in Geneva, with financial support of the governments of the Norway and United Kingdom.” [Source]