- The public will be told what you can and what you cannot eat.
- Venture Capitalists now own the natural world to "protect it."
- The entire global population will be tracked and traced using carbon credits to control your movements.
- A Global Government is needed to "save the world."
Whitney Webb, Iain Davis and Cory Morningstar:
Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class
A project of the multilateral development banking system, the Rockefeller Foundation and the New York Stock Exchange recently created a new asset class that will put, not just the natural world, but the processes underpinning all life, up for sale under the guise of promoting “sustainability.”
Last month, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced it had developed a new asset class and accompanying listing vehicle meant “to preserve and restore the natural assets that ultimately underpin the ability for there to be life on Earth.” Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end of goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable.
Though described as acting like “any other entity” on the NYSE, it is alleged that NACs “will use the funds to help preserve a rain forest or undertake other conservation efforts, like changing a farm’s conventional agricultural production practices.” Yet, as explained towards the end of this article, even the creators of NACs admit that the ultimate goal is to extract near-infinite profits from the natural processes they seek to quantify and then monetize.
NYSE COO Michael Blaugrund alluded to this when he said the following regarding the launch of NACs: “Our hope is that owning a natural asset company is going to be a way that an increasingly broad range of investors have the ability to invest in something that’s intrinsically valuable, but, up to this point, was really excluded from the financial markets.”
Framed with the lofty talk of “sustainability” and “conservation”, media reports on the move in outlets like Fortune couldn’t avoid noting that NACs open the doors to “a new form of sustainable investment” which “has enthralled the likes of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink over the past several years even though there remain big, unanswered questions about it.” Fink, one of the world’s most powerful financial oligarchs, is and has long been a corporate raider, not an environmentalist, and his excitement about NACs should give even its most enthusiastic proponents pause if this endeavor was really about advancing conservation, as is being claimed.
How to Create a NAC
The creation and launch of NACs has been two years in the making and saw the NYSE team up with the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), in which the NYSE itself holds a minority stake. IEG’s three investors are the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin America-focused branch of the multilateral development banking system that imposes neoliberal and neo-colonalist agendas through debt entrapment; the Rockefeller Foundation, the foundation of the American oligarch dynasty whose activities have long been tightly enmeshed with Wall Street; and Aberdare Ventures, a venture capital firm chiefly focused on the digital healthcare space. Notably, the IADB and the Rockefeller Foundation are closely tied to the related pushes for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and biometric Digital IDs.
The IEG’s mission focuses on “pioneering a new asset class based on natural assets and the mechanism to convert them to financial capital.” “These assets,” IEG states, make “life on Earth possible and enjoyable…They include biological systems that provide clean air, water, foods, medicines, a stable climate, human health and societal potential.”
Put differently, NACs will not only allow ecosystems to become financial assets, but the rights to “ecosystem services”, or the benefits people receive from nature as well. These include food production, tourism, clean water, biodiversity, pollination, carbon sequestration and much more. IEG is currently partnering with Costa Rica’s government to pilot its NAC efforts within that country. Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza Murillo, has claimed that the pilot project with IEG “will deepen the economic analysis of giving nature its economic value, as well as to continue mobilizing financial flows to conservation.”
With NACs, the NYSE and IEG are now putting the totality of nature up for sale. While they assert that doing so will “transform our economy to one that is more equitable, resilient and sustainable”, it’s clear that the coming “owners” of nature and natural processes will be the only real beneficiaries.
Per the IEG, NACs first begin with the identification of a natural asset, such as a forest or lake, which is then quantified using specific protocols. Such protocols have already been developed by related groups like the Capitals Coalition, which is partnered with several of IEG’s partners as well as the World Economic Forum and various coalitions of multinational corporations. Then, a NAC is created and the structure of the company decides who has the rights to that natural asset’s productivity as well as the rights to decide how that natural asset is managed and governed. Lastly, a NAC is “converted” into financial capital by launching an initial public offering on a stock exchange, like the NYSE. This last stage “generates capital to manage the natural asset” and the fluctuation of its price on the stock exchange “signals the value of its natural capital.”
However, the NAC and its employees, directors and owners are not necessarily the owners of the natural asset itself following this final step. Instead, as IEG notes, the NAC is merely the issuer while the potential buyers of the natural asset the NAC represents can include: institutional investors, private investors, individuals and institutions, corporations, sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks. Thus, asset management firms that essentially already own much of the world, like Blackrock, could thus become owners of soon-to-be monetized natural processes, natural resources and the very foundations of natural life itself.
Both the NYSE and IEG have marketed this new investment vehicle as being aimed at generating funds that will go back to conservation or sustainability efforts. However, on the IEG’s website, it notes that the goal is really endless profit from natural processes and ecosystems that were previously deemed to be part of “the commons”, i.e. the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. Per the IEG, “as the natural asset prospers, providing a steady or increasing flow of ecosystem services, the company’s equity should appreciate accordingly providing investment returns. Shareholders and investors in the company through secondary offers, can take profit by selling shares. These sales can be gauged to reflect the increase in capital value of the stock, roughly in-line with its profitability, creating cashflow based on the health of the company and its assets.”
Researcher and journalist Cory Morningstar has strongly disagreed with the approach being taken by NYSE/IEG and views NACs as a system that will only exacerbate the corporate predation of nature, despite claims to the contrary. Morningstar has described NACs as “Rockefeller et al. letting the markets dictate what in nature has value – and what does not. Yet, it’s not for capitalist institutions and global finance to decide what life has value. Ecosystems are not ‘assets.’ Biological communities exist for their own purposes, not ours.”
A New Way to Loot
The ultimate goal of NACs is not sustainability or conservation – it is the financialization of nature, i.e. turning nature into a commodity that can be used to keep the current, corrupt Wall Street economy booming under the guise of protecting the environment and preventing its further degradation. Indeed, IEG makes this clear when they note that “the opportunity” of NACs lies not in their potential to improve environmental well-being or sustainability, but in the size of this new asset class, which they term “Nature’s Economy.”
Indeed, while the asset classes of the current economy are value at approximately $512 trillion, the asset classes unlocked by NACs are significantly larger at $4,000 trillion (i.e. $4 quadrillion). Thus, NACs open up a new feeding ground for predatory Wall Street banks and financial institutions that will allow them to not just dominate the human economy, but the entire natural world. In the world currently being constructed by these and related entities, where even freedom is being re-framed not as a right but “a service,” the natural processes on which life depends are similarly being re-framed as assets, which will have owners. Those “owners” will ultimately have the right, in this system, to dictate who gets access to clean water, to clean air, to nature itself and at what cost.
According to Cory Morningstar, one of the other aims of creating “Nature’s Economy” and neatly packaging it for Wall Street via NACs is to drastically advance massive land grab efforts made by Wall Street and the oligarch class in recent years. This includes the recent land grabs made by Wall Street firms as well as billionaire “philanthropists” like Bill Gates during the COVID crisis. However, the land grabs facilitated through the development of NACs will largely target indigenous communities in the developing world.
As Morningstar notes:
“The public launch of NACs strategically preceded the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the biggest biodiversity conference in a decade. Under the pretext of turning 30% of the globe into “protected areas”, the largest global land grab in history is underway. Built on a foundation of white supremacy, this proposal will displace hundreds of millions, furthering the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples. The tragic irony is this: while Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the global population, they support approximately 80% of all biodiversity.“
IEG, in discussing NACs, tellingly notes that proceeds from a NAC’s IPO can be used for the acquisition of more land by its controlling entities or used to boost the budgets or funds of those who receive the capital from the IPO. This is a far cry from the NYSE/IEG sales pitch that NACs are “different” because their IPOs will be used to “preserve and protect” natural areas.
The climate change panic that is now rising to the take the place of COVID-19 panic will surely be used to savvily market NACs and similar tactics as necessary to save the planet, but – rest assured – NACs are not a move to save the planet, but a move to enable the same interests responsible for the current environmental crises to usher in a new era where their predatory exploitation reaches new heights that were previously unimaginable.
UN Press Release: New Financial Alliance for Net Zero Emissions Launches
PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE COP25 and COP26 CLIMATE CHAMPIONS
Industry-led and UN-convened Net Zero Banking Alliance also announced today, co-launched by the UNEP Finance Initiative and the Financial Services Taskforce of the Sustainable Markets Initiative
• The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), chaired by Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, brings together over 160 firms (together responsible for assets in excess of $70 trillion1) from the leading net zero initiatives across the financial system to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
• All GFANZ member alliances must be accredited by the UN Race to Zero campaign. They must use science-based guidelines to reach net zero emissions, cover all emission scopes, include 2030 interim target setting, and commit to transparent reporting and accounting in line with the UN Race to Zero criteria.
• 43 banks from 23 countries (with assets of $28.5 trillion) form the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) today - which joins GFANZ - with its members committing to align operational and attributable emissions from their portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
• The Net-Zero Banking Alliance is convened by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and co-launched by the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Financial Services Taskforce (FSTF).
21 April 2021 - Today, on the eve of President Biden’s Head of State Climate Summit, Mark Carney (the UK Prime Minister’s Finance Advisor for COP26 and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance) – in partnership with the UNFCCC Climate Action Champions and the UN Race to Zero campaign, and the COP26 Presidency – join the Honorable John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the Honorable Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary to launch a global alliance that brings together existing and new net zero finance initiatives into one sector-wide strategic forum: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero
GFANZ will work to mobilise the trillions of dollars necessary to build a global zero emissions economy and deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement. GFANZ will provide a forum for strategic coordination among the leadership of finance institutions from across the finance sector to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy. All initiatives in GFANZ require signatories to set science-aligned interim and long-term goals to reach net zero no later than 2050 in line with Race to Zero’s criteria. These goals are supplemented by member-determined short-term targets and action plans.
The industry-led Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and co-launched by the Financial Services Taskforce (FSTF) of the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), is the newest net zero alliance. NZBA brings together an initial cohort of 43 of the world’s leading banks with a focus on delivering the banking sector’s ambition to align its climate commitments with the Paris Agreement goals with collaboration, rigour, and transparency.
The NZBA joins existing initiatives: the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.
State Street Global Advisors, Trillium Asset Management, and Coutts are also joining the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative today, bringing its membership to 87 members with assets under management representing over $37 trillion. The Paris Aligned Investment Initiative is joining the Race to Zero. The UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance’s 37 members, with over $5.7 trillion assets under management, are demonstrating ambition by already setting science-aligned targets for 2025.
These alliances will shortly be joined by some of the world’s leading insurers and reinsurers in the soon-to-be launched UN-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA).
By bringing together leading existing and new net zero finance initiatives in the Race to Zero together in one sector-wide strategic forum, GFANZ will catalyse strategic and technical coordination on the steps firms need to take to align with a net zero future.
1The Glasgow Finance Alliance includes 160+ financial institutions across Race to Zero initiatives. These institutions include: 87 asset managers representing US$36.95 trillion in assets under management; 42 banks with US$28.5 trillion in assets; and 58 asset owners with US$7.4 trillion in assets under management. Each entity has made its own net zero commitment with potential overlap across initiatives, institutions and assets.
Raising the bar, coordinating action
To unlock the trillions needed to achieve a resilient, zero emissions future, GFANZ will:
Broaden Race to Zero’s existing finance sector campaign to establish credible net zero commitments covering all financed activities in all sectors of the financial system.
Expand the number of financial institutions with high ambition, credible, and transparent commitments to financing the transition to net zero.
Ensure that commitments are backed by interim targets (2030 or sooner), alongside robust transition plans consistent with 1.5°C above pre- industrial levels as required by Race to Zero.
Coordinate commitments and actions across the financial system to support economy-wide transition, including the critical analytical tools and market infrastructure (such as credit rating agencies, auditors and stock exchanges) for financial institutions to implement their net zero strategies.
Support technical collaboration on substantive and cross-cutting issues that will accelerate the alignment of investment and lending with net zero.
Advocate for public policy that supports economy-wide transition to net zero.
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Uniting the world’s banks and financial institutions behind the global transition to net zero is crucial to unlocking the finance we need to get there – from backing pioneering firms and new technologies to building resilient economies around the world. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero will lead this charge ahead of COP26 to scale-up our ambition, accelerate our shift and help us to build back greener together.”
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “The largest financial players in the world recognize energy transition represents a vast commercial opportunity as well as a planetary imperative. As countries around the world move to decarbonize, the large sums these institutions are dedicating to climate solutions reflect a growing understanding that the transition to a low-carbon global economy will be critical for their business models. To be credible and effective as market signals, these financial commitments should adhere to clear definitions, metrics, and reporting. Ultimately, the transition to this new economy will create a massive number of new jobs and increase our collective ability to tackle climate change.”
COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma, said: "Without adequate finance, we simply will not achieve the change needed to safeguard our planet for future generations. As the world continues down a crucial decade of delivery on climate action, GFANZ will ensure much-needed acceleration towards net zero by uniting some of the world's most powerful financial actors. I look forward to seeing this new alliance drive up ambition as we look to COP26 and beyond."
Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and Prime Minister Johnson’s Climate Finance Advisor for COP26, said: “This is the breakthrough in mainstreaming climate finance the world needs. I welcome the leadership of the SMI Financial Services Task Force and other global banks for their new commitments to net zero and for joining forces with GFANZ, the gold standard for net zero commitments in the financial sector. Most fundamentally, GFANZ will act as the strategic forum to ensure the financial system works together to broaden, deepen, and accelerate the transition to a net zero economy.”
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme said: “In a critical year for climate and nature, these alliances speak to the high level of commitment and ambition that the world urgently requires from the financial sector. The end goal is a net-zero transition of the economy in line with science. Nothing less. Immediate, transparent and accountable actions underpin these commitments, and we encourage all financial institutions to follow their peers in committing to achieving the drastic reduction of emissions required over the next decade if we are to succeed in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.”
Nigel Topping, High-Level Climate Champion for COP26, said: “Already, a fundamental shift in capital is accelerating, with the world’s largest asset owners and managers – and now banks – joining the Race to Zero. But the finance gap remains in the trillions of dollars, particularly for developing economies, and concerted efforts are needed to translate necessary solutions into investable propositions, which is why I am delighted to be collaborating on GFANZ.”
Brian Moynihan, Co-Chair of the SMI and Chairman and Chief Executive of Bank of America, said: “This commitment to net-zero by the SMI financial services leaders is an example of the leadership that the CEOs of SMI companies can generate by working together. We will work closely with CEOs from other industry groups and others to continue to drive the other SMI priorities established by His Royal Highness in the Terra Carta earlier this year.”
Noel Quinn, Chair of SMI Financial Sector Taskforce and Group Chief Executive of HSBC, said: “A commitment to financing the transition to net zero is essential. It’s important that the banking sector is committed to providing the financial support needed to help customers on that transition. But we have to establish a robust and transparent framework for monitoring progress against that objective and we want to set that standard for the banking industry. Industry-wide collaboration is essential in achieving that goal. I’m delighted that banks from the SMI Financial Services Taskforce have joined forces to establish the Net Zero Banking Alliance.”
Ana Botin, Group Executive Chairman, Banco Santander, said: “If we are to green the world’s economy, we need a truly global effort - banks, companies, governments, regulators and civil society working together at pace. At Santander we are proud to be part of the founding members of this new alliance, and to accelerate progress towards net zero.”
Bringing in global banks
The industry-led Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA)2, convened by the UN, joins the Race to Zero and brings together 43 banks from around the world — from Latin America to Asia to Africa – elevating the vital role of banks in supporting the global transition of the real economy to net-zero emissions.
It sees the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which will convene the alliance, join forces with banks from the Financial Services Taskforce (FSTF), an industry sub-group of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI). All banks that have signed the commitment will:
Align operational and attributable emissions from their lending and investment portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
Within 18 months of joining, set 2030 targets (or sooner) and a 2050 target, with intermediate targets to be set every 5 years from 2030 onwards. All targets will be regularly reviewed to ensure consistency with the latest science (as detailed in IPCC assessment reports).
Banks’ first 2030 targets will focus on priority sectors where the bank can have the most significant impact, ie. the most GHG-intensive sectors within their portfolios.
Within 36 months of joining, banks will set a further round of sector-level targets for all or a significant majority of specified carbon-intensive sectors, including: agriculture; aluminium; cement; coal; commercial and residential real estate; iron & steel; oil & gas; power generation; transport.
The commitment is designed to ensure that banks engage with their clients’ own transition and decarbonisation, promoting real economy transition
Annually publish absolute emissions and emissions intensity in line with best practice and within a year of setting targets, disclose progress against a board-level reviewed transition strategy setting out proposed actions and climate-related sectoral policies.
Take a robust approach to the role of offsets in transition plans.
The commitment is underpinned by the bank-led UNEP FI Guidelines for Climate Target Setting for Banks, also launched today. These guidelines have been developed by banks from the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, a leadership group under the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking.
2 The UN-Convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance will deliver internationally consistent guidelines and a global community, with local implementation also supported by country chapters, the first of which will be established by the UK Bankers for Net Zero.
Coming soon: Insurers for net zero
Some of the world’s leading insurers and reinsurers are currently establishing the UN-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) under the auspices of UNEP FI’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), building on their climate leadership as investors via the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. The seven companies involved in establishing the NZIA are AXA (Chair), Allianz, Aviva, Munich Re, SCOR, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance Group. The NZIA has submitted a statement of intent to join the UN Race to Zero and become part of the GFANZ, and is expected to be officially launched at COP26.
For more information and a full list of participating banks see here.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Register for the launch event here: https://www.theclimategroup.org/our-work/events/cop26-glasgow-financial-alliance-net-zero
GFANZ background document: https://racetozero.unfccc.int/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/GFANZ.pdf
UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance: www.unepfi.org/net-zero-banking
UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance: www.unepfi.org/net-zero-alliance
UN-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance: www.unepfi.org/net-zero-insurance
Net Zero Asset Manager Initiative: www.netzeroassetmanagers.org
Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Financial Services Taskforce: https://www.sustainable-markets.org/financial-services-taskforce
Paris Aligned Investment Initiative: https://www.iigcc.org/our-work/paris-aligned-investment-initiative/:
Amount of finance committed to achieving 1.5°C now at scale needed to deliver the transition
Capital committed to net zero now at over $130 trillion, up from $5 trillion when the UK and Italy assumed COP26 Presidency
Today, through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), over $130 trillion of private capital is committed to transforming the economy for net zero.1 These commitments, from over 450 firms across 45 countries, can deliver the estimated $100 trillion of finance needed for net zero over the next three decades.
To support the deployment of this capital, the global financial system is being transformed through 24 major initiatives for COP26 that have been delivered for the summit. This work has significantly strengthened the information, the tools and the markets needed for the financial system to support the transformation of the global economy for net zero.
New analysis, commissioned by the UN High Level Climate Action Champions, finds that the private sector could deliver 70% of total investments needed to meet net zero goals.2 In its progress report published today, GFANZ announces that financial sector commitments to net zero now exceed $130 trillion, a 25-fold increase under the UK and Italian Presidency.3
Now firms across the entire financial spectrum – banks, insurers, pension funds, asset managers, export credit agencies, stock exchanges, credit rating agencies, index providers and audit firms – have committed to high ambition, science-based targets, including achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, delivering their fair share of 50% emission reductions this decade, and reviewing their targets towards this every five years. All firms will report their progress and financed emissions annually.
The progress report also outlines the ambitious body of work underway – led by GFANZ CEOs – to address some of the biggest climate finance challenges, including defining net zero pathways for carbon-intensives sectors, aligning on what constitutes a robust transition plan for corporates and financial institutions, and a sector-wide plan to mobilise capital needed for decarbonisation in emerging markets. Collectively, this work will accelerate the implementation of net zero commitments and help to rapidly scale capital flows to support the net zero transition.
It comes as UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced today new requirements for firms to publish net zero transition plans setting out how they will decarbonise through 2050. This follows calls from GFANZ for G20 countries to implement policies to unlock and accelerate capital to support the transition, including mandatory net zero transition plans.4 Already, firms are turning ambition into action that will align their portfolios with 1.5°C. Over 90 of the founding institutions of GFANZ have already delivered on setting short-term targets, including 29 asset owners that have committed to reducing portfolio emissions by 25-30% by 2025, as well as 43 asset managers that have published targets for 2030 or sooner.5 And the first targets have also been published by Net Zero Banking Alliance members.
The 24 other major finance initiatives, led by Mark Carney as part of the private finance priorities for COP26, will help transform the financial architecture by mainstreaming and scaling: climate-related reporting; climate risk management; climate-related investment returns and the mobilisation of private finance to emerging and developing economies.6 Today, the IFRS Foundation, the international accounting standard body, announces the establishment of a new International Sustainability Standards Board to develop globally consistent climate and broader sustainability disclosure standards for the financial markets. This work has been welcomed by Finance Ministers from over 50 countries stretching across 6 continents and follows support from the G7 and others to make climate disclosures mandatory.
Through the work of the Network for Greening the Financial System climate risk management is also being transformed. Thirty-eight central banks, in countries comprising 67% of the world’s emissions, have committed to climate-related stress tests to review the resilience of the world’s largest financial firms in the face of several climate-related risks. And 33 central banks and supervisors, representing 70% of the world’s emissions, have committed to issuing guidance to firms on managing climate-related financial risks. And to measure more accurately the alignment of lending, investment and underwriting with net zero, the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has published guidance on metrics, targets and transition plans.
Finally, for COP26, GFANZ Co-Chair Mark Carney is publishing a new plan on how to scale private capital flows to emerging and developing economies. This includes the development of country platforms to connect the now enormous private capital committed to net zero with country projects, scaling blended finance through MDBs and developing high integrity, credible global carbon markets.7
GFANZ is supporting these mobilisation efforts and has identified an initial set of five catalytic initiatives to accelerate the transition in these countries, based on their scalability and potential impact. In doing so, GFANZ has committed to bring together technical expertise and balance sheets to scale capital commitments ahead of COP27.8 GFANZ is taking a number of measures to accelerate the global transition to net zero beyond COP26 with new leadership, announcing that UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and Race to Zero Ambassador Michael Bloomberg will join UN Special Envoy Mark Carney as co-chair of GFANZ. Mary Schapiro, Head of the Secretariat for the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and former Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, will be the vice-chair. They join UN High Level Champion Nigel Topping in the GFANZ leadership team. A new permanent secretariat will have a presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. GFANZ also unveils it will periodically report on its work to the G20’s Financial Stability Board.
Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and COP26 Private Finance Advisor to PM Johnson said:
“The architecture of the global financial system has been transformed to deliver net zero. We now have the essential plumbing in place to move climate change from the fringes to the forefront of finance so that every financial decision takes climate change into account. Only this mainstream focus can finance the estimated $100 trillion of investment needed over the next three decades for a clean energy future.” “The rapid, and large-scale, increase in capital commitment to net zero, through GFANZ, makes the transition to a 1.5°C world possible. To seize this opportunity, companies must deliver robust transition plans and governments set predictable and credible policies. This will give finance the confidence to invest, pulling forward climate actions and smoothing the transition to net zero, driving growth and jobs upwards, and forcing emissions downwards. Let’s work together to seize this opportunity.” Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 said: “To keep 1.5°C within reach, we need the owners, managers, lenders, and underwriters of capital to realign their business models with the climate science. The core of the financial system is now publicly committed to that task. And it will have a ripple effect across the global economy. Now we need governments to help get the job done, by setting the ambitious policies that can unlock, accelerate and help direct the investment to where it’s needed most.” Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “I’m proud that under the UK’s leadership, the number of financial firms committed to Net Zero plans has tripled, with the assets now covered totalling $130 trillion. Harnessing the trillions of dollars controlled by these companies in the fight against climate change is crucial. So I’ve announced new requirements for firms to publish their net zero transition plans. Together we can provide the cash the world needs to stop catastrophic climate change.” Michael R. Bloomberg, Co-Chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero said: “Winning the battle against climate change will require vast amounts of new investment and the majority will have to come from the private sector. Leaders in finance have strong incentives to act, and under Mark Carney and Nigel Topping’s leadership, GFANZ has grown to include some of the largest financial institutions in the world. We look forward to building on this progress in the next phase of the alliance’s work, by creating the tools and industry wide coordination we need to turn commitments into action and speed up the transition to a net-zero global economy.” Klaas Knot, Vice Chair of the Financial Stability Board, said: “An orderly transition of the financial sector to meeting net zero commitments supports financial stability. So, we look forward to regular updates to the FSB on the progress of GFANZ, as part of the FSB’s broader outreach in taking forward its roadmap to address financial risks from climate change.”
1. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) is a global coalition of leading financial institutions in the UN’s Race to Zero that is committed to accelerating and mainstreaming the decarbonisation of the world economy and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. It provides a practitioner-led forum for financial firms to collaborate on substantive, crosscutting issues that will accelerate the alignment of financing activities with net zero and support efforts by all companies, organisations, and countries to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. To ensure credibility and consistency, access to GFANZ is grounded in the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, and entry requirements are tailored to the activities of the diverse firms represented. Further details can be found on https://www.gfanzero.com. Note that each entity in GFANZ has made its own net zero commitment with potential overlap across initiatives, institutions and assets across GFANZ and its sub-sector alliances. 2 Analysis undertaken by Vivid Economics. More detail found here: https://www.gfanzero.com/netzerofinancing 3 The full report The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero: Our progress and plan towards a net-zero global economy can be found here: https://assets.bbhub.io/company/sites/63/2021/11/GFANZ-Progress-Report.pdf 4 The Call to Action can be found here: https://assets.bbhub.io/company/sites/63/2021/10/GFANZ-call-to-action.pdf. 5All members of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance or the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Manager Alliance. Source: https://www.unepfi.org/news/industries/investment/net-zero-asset-owner-alliance-members-to-cut-portfolio emissions-25-30-by-2025/ and https://www.netzeroassetmanagers.org/net-zero-asset-managers-initiative-signatories disclose-interim-targets-with-over-a-third-of-assets-managed-in-line-with-net-zero 6 Full details can be found in the Notes to Editors. 7 More details can be found here: https://www.gfanzero.com/ 8 For list of the initial initiatives, see Notes to Editors.
COP26 Climate Politics: Contraction And Convergence
To grasp what is going down at the COP26 ‘last chance saloon’ in Glasgow besides Scotch whiskey, it is worth revisiting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s most ambitious creation, the Green Climate Fund. In climate politics, the devil resides in the detail and the history.
The Green Climate Fund is to become the main instrument for multilateral climate finance in the future. It will channel a significant share of international climate finance needed to keep global temperature increases to below 2° Celsius. GCF statement, Bonn, September 9, 2014
On November 14, 2014, the White House announced a ‘unique development in the U.S.-China relationship’. The ‘carbon pollution’ targets trumpeted that day would be torn up and replaced by the rhetoric of NetZero in less than a decade. Another case of climate déjà vu all over again.
The G20 Brisbane Summit kicked off the next day. Paragraph 19 of the Summit Communiqué reads:
We support strong and effective action to address climate change. Consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its agreed outcomes, our actions will support sustainable development, economic growth, and certainty for business and investment. We will work together to adopt successfully a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC that is applicable to all parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015……We reaffirm our support for mobilising finance for adaptation and mitigation, such as the Green Climate Fund.
Despite much media excitement, there was little new. UNFCCC’s search for ‘another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force’ for ‘mobilising’ developed world finance had been going on – with increasing urgency – since the 2009 Copenhagen COP15 debacle.
How did we get to this point?The UN climate-control and ‘climate-protection’ racket began in earnest in Mexico four years earlier at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort, Cancun. More than 15,000 delegates danced to the COP16 theme song: ‘Let’s put the CAN in Cancun!’ This event in early December, 2010, still sticks in the mind, if not the gullet, for some people.
It was here that UNFCCC’s new Costa Rican executive secretary, Christian Figueres, first warned that ‘the environmental stakes are high, because we are quickly running out of time to safeguard our future.’
The stakes were high too. Ms Figueres wanted the ‘multilateral UN climate change process’ to remain ‘the trusted channel for rising to the challenge’. To protect its ‘effectiveness and credibility’, GCF was conjured up as the mechanism for transferring eagerly anticipated billions of dollars from the developed to the developing world.
The ‘world’s poorest and most vulnerable’ were already facing nasty – invariably assumed to be human-induced – climate impacts. They urgently needed assistance – payment of ‘climate debt’ – to tackle ‘a problem that they did not cause’. Translation: Every extreme, random, unusual or destructive weather – or climate – event in the developing world was, is and would be – by dodgy definition – conveniently attributed to carbon dioxide emissions by the developed world.
Ms Figueres urged attendees to embrace the wisdom of Ixchel – a Mayan goddess with a writhing serpent headdress and crossed bones embroidered on her skirt. It worked. Governments – with the exception of the US under President Trump – continue to promote the novel notion that a huge bureaucracy – should, could and can – control the planet’s elusive thermostat; while demanding billions of dollars for ‘climate reparations’ and future ‘climate protection’ money from the developed world by demonizing – and monetizing via ‘carbon credits’ and grants on a grand scale – an invisible atmospheric trace gas crucial to global plant photosynthesis and all organic life, including homo net zero.
Four years later, Ms Figueres described the challenge of driving the greatest wealth transfer in history as:
probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model , for the first time in human history. We are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. February 3, 2015)
For some, it was a shrewd eco-Marxist tactic designed to solve other challenges, such as population growth and poverty. Saving the planet was an easy sell in a world awash with slogans and young eco-worriers.
On March 15, 2011, a decade ago, UNFCCC released The COP16 Cancun Agreement” (FCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1, Decision 1/CP.16). Under Clause 103, GCF would be governed by a 24-member Board comprising equal numbers from developing and developed countries; representatives of relevant UN regional groups, small island developing States and least-developed countries.
Clause 98 spelt out the key commitment:
developed country Parties [shall] commit, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
Yet many developed countries remain reluctant to share with their electorates precisely why, how – and for how long – they intend to fund multi-billion dollar ‘climate-resilient development pathways’ in the developing world – and help it ‘adapt’ to all the ‘adverse impacts of climate change’.
How the West came to agree to this goal — to pay the developing world annual ‘climate reparations’ of a ‘meaningful’ USD100 billion from 2020 remains a mystery. Was it the Tequila Effect or the Ixchelian spell of the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort? Whatever it was, President Obama woke to the occasion.
There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. And that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate. — President Obama, September, 2014
What, then, of the President’s USD3 billion pledge at the University of Queensland that week, which had local climate-crusaders urging Australia ‘to lead on the front foot’? An article in the Times of India described it (correctly) as ‘just peanuts’. Likewise the developed world’s total early pledges of about USD7.5 billion – USA ($3 billion), Japan ($1.5 billion), Germany ($1 billion), France ($1 billion), Sweden ($500 million), Netherlands ($125 million) South Korea ($100 million) and Mexico ($10 million).
Yet the UN’s grand decarbonisation mission powers ahead at the ‘make or break’ COP26, driven by the hope this COP will deliver finally a very big bag of money: ‘climate finance’.
It is clear from statistics that we need to re-channel trillions from the existing assets entrenching today’s unsustainable economy into greener growth. However it is less clear where the necessary finance to deliver the change will come from and how to mobilize it to enable this transition. — United Nations Environment Program
In early September 2014, the GCF held its second Initial Resource Mobilization (IRM) meeting in Bonn, just weeks after Germany pledged up to USD1 billion. At the informal consultation, Ms Figueres told representatives:
the Green Climate Fund is up, but it is not yet running. In order for that to happen, governments need to move from words to deeds. Between now and the next Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Lima, Peru, the capitalization of the Fund must begin. Initial funding of US$ 10 billion would be a good start and a good signal of intent as the world looks forward to a new climate agreement in 2015 that is both universal and meaningful.
Once GCF is ‘appropriately capitalized’, it will make grants and loans ‘for projects and programmes that enable developing countries to boost sustainable development, whilst curbing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change’.
What formula was used to determine the GCF’s annual dollar pledges and targets? There are clues in how the UN’s approach or ‘architecture’ has evolved over the past two decades – and, crucially, in the contraction-and-convergence ideology that informed its early development. That ideology is now imbedded with another core concept in the agency’s quest for global peace and happiness: ‘sustainability’.
The COP16 Cancun Agreement preamble reaffirmed that:
climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and that all Parties share a vision for long-term cooperative action in order to achieve the objective of the Convention under its Article 2, including through the achievement of a global goal, on the basis of equity and in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities; this vision is to guide the policies and actions of all Parties, while taking into full consideration the different circumstances of Parties in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention.
All signatories – including Australia – continue to commit to that ‘global goal’ based on ‘equity’. They accept the notion of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. For those who came in late, the first principle of the 1992 UNFCCC Agreement (Article 3) states:
The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.
When Presidents Obama and Xi made their joint announcement in late 2014, it was not about a formal agreement. They merely referred to future targets that have turned out not to be achievable. Nevertheless, they threw a much-needed bone to a UN climate bureaucracy anxious about another crisis of credibility – and a grenade into the procrastinator-camp.
The world’s two largest emitters – China then with 26 per cent and the US 17 per cent – did something else. They publicly endorsed the contraction – of US and developed world’s emissions – and their convergence – with China’s and the developing world’s emissions. They provided specific targets for the first time, even if they were provisional and lacked ‘legal force’.
This was indeed consistent with the Cancun Agreement, where signatories reaffirmed their intention to:
cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries, and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-carbon development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development; in this context, further agrees to work towards identifying a time frame for global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions based on the best available scientific knowledge and equitable access to sustainable development.
The key date in the 2014 Obama/Xi announcement was 2030. This is the year when China’s national greenhouse gas emissions – and population – were projected to peak and reach ‘parity’ with the US. Last week it became 2060 for China and Russia, and 2070 in the case of India.
If one accepts the UN’s climate alarmism – ignoring for the sake of argument its many flaws – how are carbon dioxide emissions to be shared between countries – equitably and sustainably – in a world where the human population continues to grow and is expected to exceed nine billion people by 2050?
For contraction-and-convergence fans, the best way would be by convergence on an agreed per person amount of emissions by an agreed date, according to an agreed global contraction budget and schedule (see graph). Developed world wealth transfers, they argue, are required to settle past ‘climate debt’ and to fund urgent ‘adaptation’ projects forced on vulnerable societies by the West’s profligacy.
If last century’s Utopia was populated by Soviet Man, he has been superseded this century by Green Person and Net Zero, yet with eerily similar yearnings – this time for a ‘sustainable’ world free of ‘inequity’.
Paradoxically, the contraction-and-convergence concept’s surprise creator, Aubrey Meyer, is not a UN climate bureaucrat. He is a musician (viola) by training and former member of the UK Green Party. Now a climate campaigner and composer, he co-founded the Global Commons Institute in 1990.
Both the UN Charter and the US Declaration of Independence declare everyone is born equal. This proposal takes equity as the starting point for the whole world to resolve the twin problems of global warming and global inequity. Contraction and Convergence, along with the practice of Allocation and Trade, can be used to provide a structure for human societies to reach sustainability with the earth and its ecosystems. Without a plan of this sort, there will be an increasingly visionless future and many people will perish. — Aubrey Meyer, Pacific Ecologist, Summer 2006/07
According to Mr Meyer’s site, his first public “Contraction & Convergence” statement was published in The Guardian on June 18, 1991, with 250 signatories, including 50 UK Parliamentarians. The following year, he presented what appears to have been an influential paper on it — ‘The Unequal Use of the Global Commons’ — to Policy Working Group Three of the IPCC Second Assessment Report.
Meyer later said the world must collaborate with musical discipline to avert runaway climate change: that is, play his “contraction-and-convergence carbon reduction score in time, in tune and together”.
Was someone in the UN at that time tempted to put the dollar-cart before the dangerous climate-horse? Surely not. Yet Mr Meyer’s concept appeared years before UNFCCC’s emphatic reliance on attribution pseudoscience, the surge in activist “blah-blah-blah” waffle and the pandemic of climate anxiety that has led us to where we are today.
But that’s another story, perhaps one titled with a proverb: ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’.
Beware Industry-Backed 'Nature-Based Solutions' Scam, Warns Global Climate Coalition
"What corporations and big conservation groups call 'nature-based solutions' is a dangerous distraction."
As a global climate summit continued in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday, an international coalition of advocacy groups warned world leaders that corporate polluters are pushing for "nature-based solutions" to capture planet-heating emissions so they can "keep burning fossil fuels, mine more of the planet, and increase industrial meat and dairy production." "The purported solutions will result in 'nature-based dispossessions.'"
"What corporations and big conservation groups call 'nature-based solutions' is a dangerous distraction," the statement says, blasting companies from Microsoft and Nestlé to Shell, Total, and Unilever for "peddling a dangerous scam" that "is dressed up with unproven and flawed data."
As the coalition explains: When corporations and big conservation groups talk about "nature," they mean enclosed space devoid of people. They mean protected areas guarded by armed rangers, tree plantations, and large monoculture farms. Their "nature" is incompatible with nature understood as territory, as a life space inseparable from the cultures, food systems, and livelihoods of the communities who care for it and who see themselves as intrinsic parts of it. What's more, behind a marketing front of genuine agroecology and natural regeneration initiatives, backers of "nature-based solutions" are preparing to advance yet more harmful practices such as monoculture tree plantations and industrial agriculture. Rather than helping the world tackle the climate emergency, the coalition continues, "the purported solutions will result in 'nature-based dispossessions'" that negatively impact Indigenous peoples, peasants, and other forest-dependent communities. Businesses and some nonprofits are advocating for such "scams" at the Scotland summit—COP26—and beyond to "buy another decade or two of unrestrained corporate profiteering from fossil carbon extraction and industrial agriculture while increasing outside control over community territories," the statement warns, urging governments to instead listen to the "growing movement of frontline communities, organizations, and activists for climate justice."
Echoing a Monday letter supported by over 700 groups worldwide demanding "real climate solutions, not net-zero promises," the coalition's statement asserts that "only a rapid, time-bound plan to leaving the remaining coal, oil, and gas reserves in the ground and industrial agriculture overhauled will avert catastrophic climate chaos." On Tuesday, Focus on the Global South, one of a dozen organizations that launched the coalition, distinguished between industry-backed "nature-based solutions" and locally informed efforts to care for lands and waters.
"Forests, soils, ecosystems, and biodiversity must be restored and protected for sure," the group said. "But to meaningfully address the havoc wreaked by industrial agriculture, globalized industrial food systems, and global trade, we need systemic transformation such as agroecology, local sustainable food systems, short supply chains, and territorial markets." Focus on the Global South also reiterated that "the climate damage caused when corporations keep releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere cannot be offset through planting trees, protecting forests, restoring soils, or tweaking industrial farming practices."
In the lead-up to COP26, signatories to the statement and other critics of greenwashing have tried to warn global leaders against such "dangerous" distractions. Last month, Friends of the Earth International (FOEI)—the world's largest grassroots environmental federation and another coalition initiator—put out a position paper on nature-based solutions. Such false solutions are "a bad idea dressed up in acceptable terminology and beautiful imagery—a sheep in wolf's clothing," said Sara Shaw, co-author of FOEI's paper. "The term sounds good but is so broad and vague that it can refer to anything—from real solutions such as Indigenous-based ecosystem restoration to damaging activities like monoculture tree plantations."
"Much of what is being done in the name of nature-based solutions is little more than a repackaging of previously discredited market-based approaches," she said, pointing to the example of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). "Companies must cut carbon emission at source, not go in for greenwashing and displacement activities."
Fiore Longo, a research and advocacy officer at coalition member Survival International, made similar arguments in a recent opinion piece for Common Dreams, emphasizing the need for climate solutions rooted in justice. Emissions offsetting schemes such as nature-based solutions, Longo wrote, "should be abandoned, and instead governments should put in place real regulations over companies and finance to tackle the real causes of environmental destruction: exploitation of natural resources for profit and growing overconsumption, driven by the Global North." "We also need to decolonize our approaches and stop marginalizing and silencing Indigenous peoples and other local communities, who have been protecting our planet for generations," she argued. "Finally, we need a radical change of our economic structure and of our way of living."
And Now For The 100 Trillion Dollar Bankster Climate Swindle
Quick: what's the first thing you remember about the climate conference in Paris last December?
The weather astrologers' absurd resolution to control the amount of temperature rise the world will experience over the next century?