A Nest of Carbon Vipers

Source: SPPI

by Dennis Ambler

Vast sums of money, influence and power are involved in carbon mitigation schemes, and yet there is never any mention in the media of these massive and lucrative conflicts of interest. They appear quite content swallowing the diversionary tactics pushed by the likes of DeSmog Blog and Greenpeace ExxonSecrets with their claims of ?oil- company funded deniers?.  It is doubtful that mainstream journalists ever bother to look behind the scenes at these people, yet it is all available on official websites.

It is no wonder that Christiana Figueres wanted the Kyoto Mechanism to continue, when she addressed the UNFCCC Tianjin Conference on the 4th of October, because without it her friends in the carbon business would find their virtual world starting to disappear, as evidenced by the recent problems at the Chicago Climate Exchange.

An ancillary issue ripe for Congressional oversight is how do they get away with these incestuous financial relationships involving carbon trading companies, whilst devising and promoting legislation for a CO2 control agenda that will only benefit themselves and the companies that they advise, but will cause new and additional untold hardship to millions by casting them into political, economic and energy poverty.

For example?

UN Climate Secretary was Trained by Al Gore

In March this year, Christiana Figueres replaced Yvo de Boer as the new Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC, which is responsible for the annual Conferences of the Parties, (COPS) such as COP 15 in Copenhagen and the upcoming COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. Former Secretary De Boer, has moved to KPMG and ?will have an international role working with KPMG member firms in advising business, governments and other organizations on sustainability issues.?

Trained by Al Gore

There are some very interesting details on Figueres? website, one of which is her proud claim to have been ?Trained and authorized by Al Gore to deliver his presentation The Inconvenient Truth.?

She was greatly involved in Carbon Trading until taking up her new position. She has also been a member of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment (called Annex 1 countries) to invest in ventures that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries. It is the mechanism used for transferring wealth from industrialised nations to developing nations such as India and China.

Carbon Pricing

From 2008 to 2010, she was Vice Chair of the Rating Committee, Carbon Rating Agency, described on her web site as the ?first entity to apply credit rating expertise to carbon assets?.

The Carbon Rating Agency is a subsidiary of IdeaCarbon who say about themselves, ?our unique access to some of the most influential decision-makers in the carbon and environmental community, gives us the possibility to foresee important regulatory and market trends and thus allow clients to have unparalleled views and advice on climate issues and debates.? IdeaCarbon is based in the Isle of Man, a tax haven.

The Carbon Rating Agency openly boasts of its highly influential management team and ratings committee: ?which includes ratings experts, financial market professionals, UN climate change negotiators and former senior managers from development agencies such as the World Bank, a combination which ensures that the full range of risks facing carbon projects are taken into account by the ratings process.?

Influential people driving the carbon pricing agenda

Idea Carbon includes amongst its advisers Lord Stern Chairman of the London School of Economics (LSE) Grantham Institute and author of the influential Stern Review in 2006. He joined IdeaGlobal, the parent company, in 2007, as Vice Chairman. The Grantham Institute was set up in 2008 by Jeremy Grantham, chairman and co-founder of GMO, a $140 billion global investment management company based in Boston with offices in London, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney and Zurich.

He funds amongst others, WWF-US and Environmental Defense. WWF President Carter Roberts and Environmental Defense President Fred Krupp, are both on the management board of the Grantham Institute along with Grantham himself.

Fellow adviser at IdeaCarbon is Dr Samuel Fankhauser, who is also a colleague of Lord Stern at the LSE Grantham Institute as a Principal Research Fellow. Fankhauser is also on the UK Climate Change Committee and its Mitigation sub-committee. He participated in the 1995, 2001 and 2007 assessments of the IPCC.

IdeaCarbon is involved in carbon trading on the Indian Multi-Commodities Exchange, (MCX), which estimates that by 2020 the market for project based carbon offsets is estimated to grow to at least ?200bn.

Another IdeaCarbon colleague of Lord Stern is Mr. Nitin Desai, a Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Internet governance and chair of the Advisory Group that organises the annual UN Internet Governance Forum. He is an Honorary Fellow of the LSE and former Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations from 1997 to 2003.

In India, he is a colleague of IPCC chair Dr Pachauri, as a ?Distinguished Visiting Fellow? at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and advises the Indian Government on its national climate change action plan.

Dr Pachauri is the Chairman of the Indian Carbon Exchange, an offshoot of the Chicago Climate Exchange, which was set up by Richard Sandor in 2000 with money from the Joyce Foundation. Then an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama was on the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation at that time. In 2009 the Foundation gave $1,104,000 to Fred Krupp’s Environmental Defense.

In the beginning, Maurice Strong was on the Board of Directors and Al Gore’s GIM had a major investment in the company. It is not clear if Strong and Gore are still involved because the web site no longer shows their names, but they were certainly there until recently. President of the World Resources Institute, (WRI) Jonathan Lash, is also a director of the Indian Carbon Exchange with Pachauri and is an adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. WRI is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange and Al Gore is on the WRI Board of Directors.

Christiana Figueres was also a Senior Advisor to C-Quest Capital, ?a carbon finance business dedicated to originating and developing high-quality emission reduction projects around the world. We invest in carbon assets that generate not only superior returns but also concrete benefits to the environment. Founded by Ken Newcombe and Matthew Mendis in 2008, CQC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with offices in Australia and Malaysia and a presence in India.?

Ken Newcombe, CEO was, from 2006 to 2007, Vice Chairman of Climate Change Capital in London, which manages the largest private sector carbon fund in the world. (Lord Oxburgh of the UEA enquiry is a director).

?Before joining the private sector, Newcombe led the development of the Prototype Carbon Fund, a public-private partnership of the World Bank which pioneered the global carbon market and managed the growth of World Bank?s carbon finance business to eight carbon funds, with approximately a billion dollars under management for investment in carbon offset projects and laying the foundation for additional funding of the same order.?

Executive Director and Vice Chairman  of Climate Change Capital, James Cameron, is a member of GE‘s Ecomagination board, Pepsico UK’s advisory board, chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Agenda Council on Climate Change, a trustee member of the UK Green Building Council and the Carbon Disclosure Project and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group. He was instrumental in negotiating the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol as an adviser to the Alliance of Small Island States and is a board member of the Worldwatch Institute.