After serving Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher, environmental rhetoric was reused by Al Gore. This was no longer to divert attention from US wars of Empire, nor to restore the greatness of the British Empire but rather to save Anglo-Saxon capitalism. In this third and final part of his study of environmental discourse, Thierry Meyssan analyzes the preparatory dramatics for the Earth Summit of 2012 and the Cochabamba rebellion.
- In his film "2012", Roland Emmerich portrays the collapse of the Earth’s crust under water and rescue of the richest capitalists thanks to two modern Noah’s arks, while the rest of mankind perished under the waves.
The Kyoto Protocol
We remember that, in 1988, Margaret Thatcher spurred the G7 to finance an intergovernmental Study Group on Climate Change (IPCC) under the auspices of UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization.
In its first report, in 1990, the IPCC considered an unambiguous increase in the greenhouse effect "unlikely in the coming decades or more." In 1995, a second report of this political body takes up the ideology of the Rio Summit and "suggests a detectable influence of human activity on planetary climate".
- President Bill Clinton (here with Vice President Gore), with great pomp, signed the Kyoto Protocol, but quietly instructed Democratic lawmakers to block its ratification by the United States.
A cadence of UN conferences on climate change followed at an annual rate. That of Kyoto (Japan) in December 1997, developed a protocol by which signatories voluntarily committed to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases; mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) but also five other gas: methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), fluorocarbons (FC) and the hydroclorofluocarbures.
Even for states that do not believe in a significant influence of human activity on climate, this protocle is a good thing in that it encourages better use of non-renewable energy resources. However, it seems very difficult for developing countries to modernize their industries so they are less energy-intensive and less polluting. Noting that these states, having only embryonic industry, emit few greenhouse gases as they need financial help to develop efficient and clean industries, the Protocol establishes a Fund adaptation managed by the World Bank and a system of tradable permits. Each state receives greenhouse gas quotas to distribute among its industries. The developing States, that do not use all their permits can sell to developed countries that pollute more than allowed. With the proceeds of the resale, they can fund their industrial adaptation.
The idea seems virtuous, but the devil is in the details: the creation of a tradable permits market opens up further financialization of the economy and, from there, to new opportunities to continue the plundering of poor countries. In all hypocrisy, Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol but instructed congressment to not ratify it. The US Senate unanimously rejected it. During the period of ratification of the Protocol, the United States applies itself to organizing the marketing of tradable permits, even though they intend to comply with the common requirements as late as possible.
Preparatory studies are funded by a charitable association, the Joyce Foundation. They are led by Richard L. Sandor, a Republican economist who led a double career as trader (Kidder, Peabody & Co., Indosuez, Drexel Burnham Lambert) and as an academic (Berkeley, Stanford, Northwestern, Columbia).
- Then unknown to the public, the lawyer Barack Obama wrote the statutes for the world stock market in greenhouse gas emission rights.
Ultimately, a holding company -the Climate Exchange- is created in the form of a Limited Public Company under British law (that is to say that its shares were sold in a public offering and the liability of its shareholders is limited to contributions). Its articles are written by a director of the Joyce Foundation, a lawyer then totally unknown to the public, Barack Obama. The public call for investors is launched by former US Vice President Al Gore and David Blood (former director of Goldman Sachs).
After the operation, Blood and Gore in London create a green investment fund, Generation Investment Management (GIM). To this end, they associate with Peter Harris (former director of Al Gore’s firm), Mark Ferguson and Peter Knight (Blood’s two former assistants at Goldman Sachs) and finally with Henry Paulson (then CEO of Goldman Sachs, but who will retire when he becomes Secretary-Treasurer in the Bush administration).
The Climate Exchange Plc stock exchanges opened in Chicago (USA) and London (United Kingdom) as well as branches in Montreal (Canada), Tianjin (China) and Sydney (Australia).
By combining shares blocked during the creation of the holding company and those he acquired after the public offering, Richard Sandor holds nearly a fifth of the shares. The rest is mainly divided between mega hedge funds: Invesco, BlackRock, Intercontinental Exchange (including Sandor is a director), General Investment Management and DWP Bank. The market capitalization is now more than 400 million pounds. Dividends paid to shareholders during the year 2008 amounted to 6.3 million pounds.
Naively, members of the European Union are the first to adhere to the human cause of global warming theory and ratify the Protocol. But for it to take effect, they need Russia. Russia has nothing to fear since the emission ceiling is not limiting given its production decline after the dissolution of the USSR. Nevertheless it requires in exchange European Union’s support for its accession to the World Trade Organization. Finally, the Protocol enters into force in 2005.
2002: The fourth "Earth Summit" in Johannesburg and recall of priorities by Jacques Chirac
The ten-year summit of Johannesburg (South Africa) does not interest the US more than that of Nairobi. The US agenda now is exclusively oriented towards the global war on terrorism. Environmental issues will have to wait. George W. Bush does not travel but sends the Secretary of State Colin Powell to deliver a brief speech, while his plane crew awaits with engine idling.
The conference gives up the international Rio carnival style and focuses on specific issues: access to water and health, coming depletion and the price of non-renewable energy, the ecology of agriculture and animal species diversity. The climate is just one among many other issues.
- In Johannesburg, Jacques Chirac calls for a change in priorities: the priority is not the hunt for Bin Laden, but the development proper.
The summit suddenly becomes the scene of a clash when French President Jacques Chirac exclaims: "Our house is burning and we are looking elsewhere. Nature, mutilated and overexploited, can no longer recover, and we refuse to admit it. Humanity suffers. She suffers from poor development, in both North and South, and we are indifferent " . His speech sounds like an indictment against the United States. No, the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not the priority. It is the development of poor countries and access to essential goods.
Furious, the senior officials of the US delegation sabotage the negotiations. While the Bush administration in the process of setting up the Guantánamo torture center and secret prisons in 66 countries, it stands as a giver of lessons and demands that southern states make concessions on human rights and the fight against terrorism. No major final document is adopted.
Copenhagen, while waiting for the 2012 Earth Summit
It is in 2012 that the Fifth Earth Summit and the revision of the Kyoto Protocol are scheduled to take place. But Washington and London have decided to set up the XV Conference on Climate Change in a great interim gathering. Thus the new Anglo-Saxon policy intends to use global warming to advance its two major objectives: to save capitalism and to appropriate to itself the UN’s ability to write international law.
It is clear that the U.S. economy is down and can not get out of its internal crisis. The U.S. no longer produces much, except weapons, while the goods they consume are manufactured by an increasingly prosperous China. The main solution lies in a molting of capitalism. The time has come to revive speculation by pointing toward tradable pollution permits stimulating consumerism with eco-friendly products, and boost labour with green jobs .
On the other hand, forced globalization meeting increasing resistance, one must achieve acceptance by presenting it in another way. Let’s say that environmental issues require global governance, and that the US must take the lead. For this, we must first demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the UN in this regard.
- Former vice president of the United States, Al Gore, now special adviser to the Crown of England, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his propaganda film "An Inconvenient Truth"
The Copenhagen conference was preceded by a long and powerful propaganda campaign. Starting with the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth, presented at Cannes in 2006 and from which he garnered the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, the former vice president of the United States, whose two-faced Kyoto Protocol game is now forgotten, presents himself as a committed activist. To defend his noble cause, he would spend his free time volunteering. In reality, he directed the documentary and began a promotional tour as a paid advisor to the British Crown, the veritable sponsor of the operation. Al Gore is a specialist at mass manipulation. It was he who had organized, at the end of the twentieth century, the great millenarian anguish known as "Y2K". He then instigated the creation of a group of experts from the UN, IY2KCC - in all respects comparable to the IPCC-to give the appearance of a scientific consensus around a hyped up minor problem .
To Al Gore’s film was added various documentaries and fictions. Thus, French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s film Home is internationally distributed by UNEP, on June 5, 2009. Alternatively, German Roland Emmerich’s Hollywood film “2012” portrays the collapse of the earth’s crust under water and the rescue of the richest capitalists with two modern Noah’s arks, while the poor are engulfed by the waves.
Ostensibly the Copenhagen conference was meant to address the issue of greenhouse gases by determining emission ceilings and aid to developing countries. In reality, London and Washington intended to push Europeans to lower the ceilings set by the Kyoto Protocol - to increase the volume of tradable permits and therefore stock market speculation - and to derail the conference to prepare world public opinion for an out-of-UN solution.
Very comfortable in the middle of this masquerade, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev prepared a bluff that could pay big dividends to his country. He decided to up the ante by taking a radical spontaneous engagement. He announced to the Western Europeans that Moscow is conforming to their requirements and will reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases to 20-25% by 2020 compared to 1990. Who could do better than that? No one !
Except that Russian emissions having fallen by 34% between 1990 and 2007 due to the industrial collapse of the Yeltsin era, the so-called reduction committed to by the Kremlin actually leaves him the possibility of an increase of 9-14%!
- Violating UN rules, Nicolas Sarkozy pretexting a climate emergency constitutes a management board responsible for drafting the final declaration of the Copenhagen conference in place of the General Assembly.
Not surprisingly, the Anglo-Saxons advance their pawns by relying on French President Nicolas Sarkozy, too happy to be given the role of deus ex machina. Arriving while the session is already underway, he denounces the lack of voluntarism of his counterparts and convenes an impromptu meeting of several heads of state and government.  Without translators, sitting on uncomfortable chairs, some world leaders lent themselves to the game. On the corner of a formica table, they scribble good intentions that are presented as a panacea. The "planet" is saved, everyone can go home. In reality, this staging only aims to prepare world public opinion for the decisions it will impose on the "Earth Summit" in 2012.
Tumbling down like a dog in a bowling game, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez calls into question the issue of the summit without discouraging environmental groups who demonstrate outside the conference center. He criticizes Sarkozy’s kitchen which is to draft a final declaration between States self-appointed "leaders" and to impose on the international community. He denounces a masquerade that allows capitalism without conscience to hide its responsibility and rebuild its virginity.  He takes up a slogan chanted by protesters outside the conference center "Do not change the climate, change the system! "
His Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales draws conclusions from the Copenhagen summit. It is clear to him that the great powers are playing with the environment. On this subject, as on many others, they intend do their business at the expense of the third world. However, the presence of a crowd of activists held outside the conference center allows one to hope for different planetary will.
Morales then convene a "World Conference of Peoples on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth." It is held four months later in Cochabamba (Bolivia). Exceeding all forecasts, over 30 000 people and 48 participating governments are represented there. Its atmosphere is reminiscent of both the Earth Summit in Rio and the World Social Forums. But what is at stake is different. In Rio, the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller had validated associations to legitimize decisions made behind closed doors. In Cochabamba, the opposite is true: the associations excluded from the Copenhagen conference center became decision makers. The comparison with the social forums do not work either: they intend to contest the Economic Forum in Davos and were exiled to the other end of the world to avoid confrontations as had taken place in Switzerland. This time it is the UN that is disputed. Evo Morales acknowledged the fiasco of Copenhagen and the will of the great powers to override General Assemblies. He relies on civil society against Western governments.
Evo Morales and his Foreign Minister, David Choquehuanca, address environmental issues from their Aymara Indian Culture . While Westerners discuss know how much one would limit emissions of greenhouse gases to not disrupt the climate, they say that we cannot continue such programs when we think them dangerous, whether true or false. Breaking with dominant logic, they reject the principle of tradable permits. For them, we cannot afford, let alone sell, what we think disastrous. From this, they argue for a complete change of paradigm. The developed states, their armies and multinational companies, have wounded Mother Earth, threatening all of humanity, while indigenous peoples have demonstrated their capacity to preserve Mother Earth. The solution is thus political: the management of large areas must be returned to indigenous peoples, while multinationals must answer for the damage they have committed before an international court.
- The Cochabamba conference affirms the ability of indigenous peoples to succeed where the West has failed. From left to right: Hugo Chávez, David Choquehuanca and Evo Morales.
The Peoples’ conference calls for the organization of a referendum to establish a Global Climate and Environmental Justice, and to abolish the capitalist system.
According to a method already applied to many international summits beyond the control of the Anglo-Saxons, a media campaign was immediately launched by Washington to stifle the message. Controversy grows about President Morales deformed proposals. Regardless, Western green ideology is no longer unanimous.
The tree that hides the forest
During 40 years of UN discussions on the environment, things have not improved, quite the contrary. But an amazing conjuring trick has been achieved: the responsibility of States has been forgotten, that of the multinational has been obscured, whereas that of individuals is stigmatized. The tree hides the forest.
In international summits, no one attempts to assess the energy cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including daily airlifts to transport United States logistical support to the battlefield, including the soldiers’ rations.
No one measures the living areas contaminated by depleted uranium ammunition from the Balkans to Somalia through the Greater Middle East.
Nobody mentions farmland destroyed by fumigation as part of the war on drugs in Latin America and Central Asia; nor those sterilized by the spraying of Agent Orange, from the Vietnamese jungle to Iraqi palm groves.
Until the Cochabamba conference, the collective consciousness has obviously forgotten that the main environmental damage is not the consequence of particular lifestyles or civil industry but corporate wars to allow multinational to exploit natural resources, and the ruthless exploitation of these resources by the multinationals to supply the imperial armies. Which brings us back to our starting point, when U Thant proclaimed "Earth Day" to protest against the Vietnam War.