Monday, September 26, 2011

Carbon Credits: Plant A Tree, Starve A Human

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Finance Minister of Niger...                    Image via Wikipedia
From their website, slathered in green righteousness:
The New Forests Company is a UK-based sustainable and socially responsible forestry company with established, rapidly growing plantations and the prospect of a diversified product base for local and regional export markets which will deliver both attractive returns to investors and significant social and environmental benefits.
From InfoWars.Com:
Armed troops acting on behalf of a British carbon trading company backed by the World Bank burned houses to the ground and killed children to evict Ugandans from their homes in the name of seizing land to protect against “global warming,” a shocking illustration of how the climate change con is a barbarian form of neo-colonialism. 
The evictions were ordered by New Forests Company, an outfit that seizes land in Africa to grow trees then sells the “carbon credits” on to transnational corporations. The company is backed by the World Bank and HSBC. Its Board of Directors includes HSBC Managing Director Sajjad Sabur, as well as other former Goldman Sachs investment bankers.
The company claims residents of Kicucula left in a “peaceful” and “voluntary” manner, and yet the people tell a story of terror and bloodshed. 
Villagers told of how armed “security forces” stormed their village and torched houses, burning an eight-year-child to death as they threatened to murder anyone who resisted while beating others. 
“We were in church,” recalled Jean-Marie Tushabe, 26, a father of two. “I heard bullets being shot into the air.” 
“Cars were coming with police,” Mr. Tushabe said, sitting among the ruins of his old home. “They headed straight to the houses. They took our plates, cups, mattresses, bed, pillows. Then we saw them getting a matchbox out of their pockets.”
“But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming,” reports the New York Times
Another leftist initiative gone horribly bad. When it comes to green, the poorest of the poor don't count, because, when it comes to leftist initiatives toward the third world, it's not about them, it's about us. Always.
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19 comments:

Frances said...

But Greenies really, really do not like people, not even in the abstract. They may pretend concern for the poor and marginalized, but the honest ones will tell you the earth requires serious depopulation.

RkBall said...

Yes. I'm a bit surprised this post didn't get more responses -- where's the outrage? Maybe I muffed the headline.

Anon1152 said...

According to the NY Times article you link to, the organization Oxfam is the one complaining about this. (A "lefty" organization?).

Speaking of "people... in the abstract"... the entity in question (or the questionable entity) is a private profit seeking corporation.

Anon1152 said...

I'm also not sure about the picture. The post talks about a UK based company, an international bank (HSBC) and areas in Uganda. The picture is of the Finance Minister of Nigeria. I'm guessing the World Bank/IMF connection makes her relevant here. But... is she personally involved?

RkBall said...

I try to use photos where there is no copyright issue. She was the best I could come up with. The photos in the linked articles are much better.

RkBall said...

You think leftists don't personally seek profits while espousing socialism? Most of the leftists I know openly admit to cheating on their taxes, while the conservatives I know are honest in their reporting. The main point is that the whole Carbon Credits scam is a leftist endeavour from start to finish. Of course the smart ones will find ways to profit from it -- that's what they do -- like Hollywood poseurs.

Anon1152 said...

"You think leftists don't personally seek profits while espousing socialism? "

Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully. Much depends on what we mean by "profit" and how it is achieved. Making money as a doctor or nurse is different than making money as a loan shark. I don't think trying to make money is a bad thing in itself (though I'm troubled if making money is an end in itself). I doubt many leftists these days dream of a world without money. Some do, of course. I just don't know any. Now that I think of it... we should be clear on what we mean by "socialism." Do you mean a system in which the state owns all factors of production?

Anon1152 said...

"Most of the leftists I know openly admit to cheating on their taxes, while the conservatives I know are honest in their reporting."

This may be true. As for how honest leftists are compared to conservatives in general... I doubt that there would be any statistically significant difference. This reminds me of debates over whether or not religious believers are more or less moral than atheists. Of course, these are empirical questions with empirical answers that can be (however imperfectly) tested for. But my belief at the moment is that it's better to judge individuals moral-ness insofar as they are individuals, rather than making judgments based on what group they belong to. I think you'd agree with this, but say that when all is accounted for, the "leftists" cheat on their taxes (and perhaps engage in other bad behaviours) more than "conservatives". I would say that, based on what I've seen here thus far, you are inclined to count cheating and other immoral behaviour as part of the definition of "the left".

Anon1152 said...

"The main point is that the whole Carbon Credits scam is a leftist endeavour from start to finish."

A few years ago I read an article (I think it was by Peter Singer) making the case for a Carbon credits system (along the lines of the trading regime established as part of the elimination of CFCs). In the case of CFCs, the system worked. (Note: it worked insofar as CFCs were largely phased out. The Ozone layer is still compromised, and it will take some time before it recovers fully). But the circumstances were different. Anyway. After reading that article, I thought that a carbon credit system was a good idea (or at least defensible).

That said, I thought (and still think) that a carbon tax might be simpler and more efficient. We can tax many things. Consumption. Income. Wealth. Property. Why not tax greenhouse gas emissions rather than, say, income? There are ways to make such a tax "progressive" (that is, the poor would not be the ones to suffer the most) and it sets up the right incentive structure (if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).

The carbon credit system is an attempt to use "market based solutions". Which is not typically a "leftist" solution. In this case, it looks like many leftists (e.g., Oxfam, which surely represents more "leftists" than does an international forestry company) are against the company's actions. It looks like the company is trying to take advantage of "market forces" and is pursuing profit at the expense of people.

Anon1152 said...

I wish the debates over Global Warming (or CFCs... there were "deniers" there too) acknowledged the basic science. These days, whether or not you believe in Global Warming has largely become a code for what side you're on. And people let their side determine what they believe about the science. There are legitimate (and always ongoing) scientific debates. But some things are known with a high degree of certainty (e.g., the earth rotates on its axis which leads to our day/night cycle... the sun does not orbit the earth).

And what side people are on does not always determine what they think about the science. There are "evangelicals" who want to fight global warming, for example.

But I think in general my characterization of these debates is true. This is bad news. It would be nice if our scientific battles remained scientific, and if our ideological battles were over how to deal with the situation, rather than over what the situation is exactly. A debate over a carbon trading regime and a carbon tax is one sort of ideological debate that brings differing philosophies into play without denying the science.

RkBall said...

Hi Anon1152. No. I mean extensive redistribution of wealth based on "entitlements".

RkBall said...

There are solid studies that show that conservatives give far, far, more to charities than liberals. It's just a fact of life.

RkBall said...

Peter Singer!

RkBall said...

The evangelicals who want to fight global warming are mostly left-wing evangelicals, I suspect.

Anon1152 said...

Yes. Peter Singer. I just found the reference. (I think). It was the chapter "One Atmosphere" in the book "One World: The Ethics of Globalization". I read it and, as I said, I found myself swayed in a more "market based" direction.

I'm not too familiar with his work. I'm more of a Kantian. I don't like Utilitarian reasoning very much (at least not as a basis of morality).

*

"There are solid studies that show that conservatives give far, far, more to charities than liberals. It's just a fact of life."

I have heard this before. I would like to see the solid studies. I wonder if you are conflating "Conservative" and "religious" here. And if we are talking about religious donations... I'd wonder about the details. How are the donations spent. Is a donation to an organization fighting against same sex marriage, for example, counted as "charitable"? Is a donation to be spent at least in part on evangelizing considered charitable?

*

"The evangelicals who want to fight global warming are mostly left-wing evangelicals, I suspect."
Again, I wonder how you are defining "right" and "left" here. Is Rick Warren, for example, a leftist?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/national/08warm.html?ex=1155787200&en=19d0c89eb3b4f5c6&ei=5070

Or course, that's just one example. And I don't know which evangelicals want us to focus on climate change. But I think if you look at the science objectively, you'd worry. (Though how you'd want to deal with those worries could vary depending on your other beliefs/values).

RkBall said...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465008232?tag=beliefnetauto-20

Conservatives give more than liberals, far more, even when giving to religious institutions is removed from the equation.

RkBall said...

I don't know enough about Rick Warren to categorize him. Climate change, however, clearly has a very strong ideological component that is distinct from whatever science may actually exist around the topic. And, of course, scientists have a tremendous financial self-interest in promoting climate fears and getting aboard the climate gravy train. You don't get a lot of publicity or money for saying, "most of this is probably not our fault, and it's probably not going to turn out too bad anyway".

Africa, by the way, loves the idea of "climate justice" and the west handing over great gobs of money to them in the name of combatting climate change or dealing with its negative effects.

Anon1152 said...

"I don't know enough about Rick Warren to categorize him."

I'm not very familar with him myself. Though I suspect you might like what he as to say about same sex marriage and evolution...

*

"Climate change, however, clearly has a very strong ideological component that is distinct from whatever science may actually exist around the topic."

Yes. But that doesn't mean that there are not facts of the matter that can be known with reasonable certainty.

*

"And, of course, scientists have a tremendous financial self-interest in promoting climate fears and getting aboard the climate gravy train. You don't get a lot of publicity or money for saying, "most of this is probably not our fault, and it's probably not going to turn out too bad anyway"."

Scientists have a financial self interest in doing good science. If you want to look at personal financial self interest, you could also look at the "deniers". They have far more money than science behind them.

*

Thank you for the reference, by the way. I see the book is available at my school library. I'll have to pick it up. I'm most interested in the appendix...

Environmental Training Courses said...

Not a lot of people actually knew this. These are really serious problems that the government should really look into.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"